Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia). Diabetes is today recognized as a major lifestyle disease and India has become the Diabetes Capital of the world with 61 million Diabetics between 20-79 years suffering from this dreaded disease and continue to increase by the day. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that by 2030, 8.4% of India’s adult population will have diabetes and this figure is expected to go up to 101.1 million. As one knows, diabetes is not only the blood sugar problem, but it brings along many other complications as well.
Yoga is considered to be a promising, cost-effective option in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, with data from several studies suggesting that yoga and other mind-body therapies can reduce stress-related hyperglycemia and have a positive effect on blood glucose control.
When we’re stressed, our blood sugar levels increase and elevated blood sugar levels increase the chances of serious complications such as heart disease.
Yogasakhi organized a 2 hour session on the occasion of diabetes day on November 13th. Parul Bhatnagar (Dietician/Nutritionist) started the session by playing some fun music and getting us swinging to the beat. She explained how keeping active is an excellent way to keep diabetes at bay and also control it.
We played musical chairs and each person who got out was asked a question relevant to diabetes. For instance, what are the organs that get affected, the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, what are the best foods to eat and what to avoid, so on and so forth. For every correct answer, the participant had to pick out their reward from the goodie bag full of fruit! Parul and Saee substantiated each answer, clearing doubts while giving some useful information.
1}Artificial sweeteners containing aspartame are harmful but those containing Sucralose (Brand name:Natura) are much better.
2}Brown rice, Oats, Millets are excellent carbohydrates and pulses and beans are key in managing diabetes.
3}Alternate between various oils while cooking and use olive oil only to drizzle.
Saee quizzed us on the specific asanas that help in compressing, stretching and twisting the area of the body that stimulate the pancreas. Ardha-Matsyendrasana, variations of Trikonasana and Hasta-padangustasana were some of them.
The session ended with a pot luck lunch with an array of dishes which were as healthy as they were delicious. The diabetes-friendly dishes ranged from salads and raitas, to idlis, kebabs to quesadillas, a mouth watering karela pickle and a low-fat dessert made by carefully incorporating the correct ingredients. The dishes were vegetarian, contained no refined flour or sugar,were low in calories but rich in nutritive value. For eg: Ragi ladoos steamed with negligible ghee, flaxseed and pomegranate raita, different variations of tikkis substituting beans and vegetables instead of potato, and oats preparations galore. Each dish will be judged by Parul on the basis of taste and suitability to diabetic guidelines (except the wholesome ragi chilaas which she brought along!) We enjoyed the food amidst discussion of recipes and appreciation of each others’ culinary talent and creativity!
A yogic lifestyle comprising of regular asanas, a sattvic diet and a positive attitude is absolutely essential in preventing and controlling diabetes. It is necessary to train ourselves and our taste-buds and as Saee pointed ou,t equip children with the right habits to prevent this widely spreading disease.
This post is contributed by Nivedita Master. She is a counselor by profession and a regular yoga practitioner.