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Sunday, 12 November 2023 | The HEALTH PIONEER


Diwali is all about the festival of lights, joy, prosperity and family bonding. However, for those suffering with erratic blood sugar levels or diabetes as well as hypertension or high blood sugar levels, it can turn out to be a traumatic experience too. On the eve of the festival of lights and the World Diabetes Day being round the corner on November 14, health experts in a chat with THE HEALTH PIONEER, suggest a few tips to help the patients enjoy the festival to the hilt

Heavily sugar loaded sweets are strictly no, the doctors say. They warn that overdosing on such sweet items can be harmful for people suffering from various health conditions, especially those suffering from erratic blood sugar levels or diabetes as well as hypertension or high blood pressure.

The doctors have also suggested the diabetic patients not to skip the meal. They must ensure that it is eaten on time as during the festivals and guests around most of the time the diabetes patients forget their health status and are busy in preparing for the celebrations or hosting the guests. Eating after a long gap can result in a spike in blood sugar levels. Thus, make sure to have 5 meals a day instead of 3 big meals, as per the doctors.

It is very important for diabetics to be mindful of their diets around festivals, because eating whatever you like might lead to disastrous consequences. Not just the sweets, even the drinks that are served and distributed during the festival are laden with calories and added sugar.

Sweets are a constant among so many recipes and dishes on a table during a Diwali party. While they are not healthy for anyone, they are especially harmful for diabetics.make sure to include diabetic-friendly snacks for people who cannot eat sugar or normal sweets. These include olives, nuts, and fruits.

Dr. Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, Director of the Internal Medicine Department at Fortis Hospital (Greater Noida), says that individuals with high blood sugar, especially those whose blood sugar spikes rapidly, should steer clear of traditional sweets and fried foods. Traditional sweets are often laden with refined sugar, which can cause an immediate spike in blood sugar levels. Go for more diabetic-friendly options, he suggests, as per a news agency.

People who are cooking and trying new recipes during the Diwali festivities must use sugar alternatives instead of unhealthy refined sugar. You can use fruit extracts, organic honey, jaggery, and healthy alternatives available in the market.

Drinks are also a constant in a Diwali party and the games would be no fun without drinks. Firstly, it is best to avoid the alcoholic menu on Diwali. Second, replace cold drinks and soft drinks with water, lime juice, and coconut water.

Do not forget your dietary restraints during the festival. White rice does no harm to diabetes patients if consumed moderately. But try to avoid white rice or recipes using white rice since they have a high glycemic index and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, the doctors say.

Even if you consume alcohol during Diwali, do not indulge in the over-consumption of alcohol since it has high sugar and can cause harm to diabetic patients.

Stick to healthy routine as much as possible, the doctors say, emphasizing that it's important for diabetics to maintain a healthy routine and fixed meal and snack timings. Also, diabetics should strive to stick to their healthy routines as much as is possible. If it's not possible to eat at regular timings during Diwali, break the meals up into snacks to ensure intake of calories is as similar to pre-festival days as possible.

People suffering from insulin dependent diabetes need to be extra cautious about their diet during Diwali. It's not okay to overdose on sweets at any given day of the festival. However, for those who have non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, they may indulge but even that should be in moderation. Ideally, diabetics should reach out for the healthiest options on offer

Diabetics should be very aware of their symptoms and should hear what their bodies are telling them. If your levels of sugar and HbA1c have been doing well in the last two times you've got them tested, then you may indulge. But nonetheless, don't overdo sweets.

In the event of elevated blood sugar levels, Dr. Tyagi recommends taking prompt action. If your blood sugar rises, make sure to take your prescribed medications on time. Regular exercise can assist in controlling blood sugar levels, so consider incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. If your sugar levels are still high, you may want to reduce your calorie intake and opt for lighter, more balanced meals. Staying well-hydrated is essential, and drinking sufficient water can aid in blood sugar management. If blood sugar levels remain elevated despite these measures, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention to ensure proper diabetes management.

Psychological Hacks to Manage Diabetes

Mindful eating

Mindful eating (i.e., paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment) is an approach to food that focuses on individuals’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food. Eating your main meals quietly without distractions before the guests pour in is important. Plan your guests’ visits in such a way that you have your 15 min to complete your meals without distractions. You’ll not only feel more satisfied and fuller after meals but also have lesser cravings for sweets.

Affirmations about your purpose

It’s very natural to feel low or left behind when you have to step back from eating a sweet or food the way others are. That’s why it’s important to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

Focus on emotions and not food

Diwali is a time to bond with your loved ones. You must be meeting most of them after a long time, thanks to the lockdown. So, focus on sharing your emotions and love. People are now craving for these and not for food.

If you’re not planning to meet or talk to people, you could try journaling, mandala activity, painting/colouring when you feel sad or heavy-hearted.

Make this a healthy Diwali for everyone

Most people have put on weight – living with diabetes or not. So, think of healthy treats this time, not just for you but also for your guests. They will be thankful for your gesture! Here are some healthy recipes you could try.

Use Progress reminders

Whether it’s your HbA1C or blood sugar reports, your weight readings or your before and after photos – keep them handy as reminders of your progress. Sweets are no reason to give up on your progress, isn’t it? And of course, you always come first. Don’t forget that!

Plan your dessert intake in advance

Desserts are a meal in themselves, so do not have them as part of another meal. You know what dessert you crave for. Make space for only a small portion of that and nothing else. Time it in such a way that you get some exercise immediately afterwards. If you do not know what you want to eat, try some healthy recipes

Reward yourself

If you’ve managed to have a healthy Diwali, gift yourself that pair of jeans/shoes/vacation or anything else that you’ve always wanted. After all, rewards reinforce healthy behaviour in the future as well.

Get some me-time & meditate

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with guests pouring in or meeting many people, especially after the lockdown situation. All this stress could lead to emotional overeating. So, do not overschedule and get some me-time to destress. If you could meditate for short periods of time, even better.

Don’t skip exercise

Lack of exercise, the stress of being overwhelmed by too many people can lead to a lack of feel-good hormones. Getting some exercise before your day starts can lead to a surge in these and keep you going through the day. No matter which hacks works for you, you always need someone to help you through the process.

Source: Fitterfly website

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