Last week I was lucky enough to spend the day at the HealthyFood Studio in Joburg, on the 9th floor of Discovery’s amazing new office. The views across the city were spectacular – the diabetes-friendly food even more so!
Talking diabetes and COVID-19
The HealthyFood Studio has recently re-opened after COVID-19. To celebrate, they’ve launched a ‘Delicious Done Right’ course which focuses on very tasty dishes that happen to be very healthy. I worked with the team to ensure the recipes are diabetes-friendly, and they’ve included carb counts and other nutritional info for every recipe, which is such a relief! No need to guess what’s in your meal…
Here’s how they’re describing the course:
Food can actually be a form of medicine when it comes to illnesses like diabetes, heart conditions and hypertension, because they are often a result of what we eat, and a healthy diet is crucial in managing these conditions.Vitality HealthyFoodStudio
To kick off the event, I had a fascinating conversation with Terry Harris, the dietician at Discovery, all about living with diabetes and how COVID-19 affected people with diabetes. You can watch the video below.
Delicious diabetes-friendly dishes, simple to make
Then we dived into cooking the dishes – some amazing Salmon Quinoa Bun-less Burgers with toasted sesame, bok choi and beetroot, as well as Golden Turmeric Roasted Vegetables. So tasty! So friendly on the blood sugar. Although the end results of all the dishes looked very fancy, they were actually very simple to make. The key, of course, is using fresh, healthy ingredients and cooking them in the right way so that the ingredients can shine.
For dessert, we ate this divine Vanilla Bean Yoghurt Panna Cotta with mixed berries, and it was so delicious I asked if we could share the recipe with you. Click below to download it – this would be a fantastic festive season dessert. Hardly any carbs but it tastes heavenly, and feels like a real treat.
Download this free diabetes-friendly recipe
The importance of healthy eating during COVID-19
One of the fascinating pieces of research Discovery Vitality did during the COVID-19 pandemic is to look at how eating habits have changed for Vitality members. They’ve summarised what they learnt in the infographic below, but the essence is that healthy food can have a big positive impact on health – and this has never been more important. While this isn’t surprising, COVID-19 offers an opportunity for us to see healthy eating as an important step we can take to ensure good health in the face of the pandemic.
While we have seen increases in purchases of certain unhealthy foods among Vitality members during the lockdown period, the simultaneous 6.2% increase in healthy foods purchased offset the potential impact on body mass index (BMI).
However, given the existing high prevalence of overweight and obesity in South Africa and that many South Africans are not incentivised to purchase healthy foods, much still needs to be done. While we are all aware of the importance of social distancing, handwashing and wearing cloth masks, achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is another crucial aspect that we can and should control during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.Vitality Nutrition and Lockdown: white paper
It was a fascinating day, full of thoughtful conversations about diabetes in South Africa, and what we can all do to ensure we spread the message of healthy eating far and wide.