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An A to Z of Diabetes diet and lifestyle

Sometimes it feels like diabetes (whether Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes) needs to come with an instruction manual – preferably an A to Z on what to do!

Here’s an easy set of instructions to help you navigate through the A to Z of healthy diabetes – a whole alphabet of assistance:

A – Always have your medication handy. No matter where you are or what you’re doing.

B – Be aware of everything you eat. You can’t afford to snack without thinking.

C – Check your blood-sugar levels frequently. The only way you’ll know if you’re in good control is if you have the numbers to prove it.

D – Don’t forget to drink lots of water. It’s a simple thing that makes a big difference to your health.

E – Exercise every day, for at least half an hour. It doesn’t have to be anything hectic – just a walk around the block will do.

F – Fresh fruit is a must, in moderation. Try to eat as much fresh food as possible, and avoid processed food whenever you can.

G – Good health is in your hands – if you choose it. Balance your food intake, insulin and exercise and you’ll feel on top of the world.

H – HbA1c tests are important to have, every 3 to 6 months. They can give you an average blood-sugar reading for the last few months.

I – Insulin needs to be kept cool if you’re not using it – keep extras in the fridge. Insulin can last for 30 days at room temperature, but any longer than that and it deactivates.

J – Juice is a great pick-me-up for a low. Try to carry a small juice box on you at all times, to combat an inconvenient low.

K – Ketones should be avoided at all costs (it means your sugar is very high). If you’re in good control, you shouldn’t have to worry about ketones.

L – Learn as much as you can about your condition, and it will make more sense to you. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the less diabetes will be a problem in your life.

M – Move! A sedentary lifestyle won’t do you any favours. Even if it’s just dancing to your favourite song or going for a quick jog around your garden.

N – Never allow yourself to feel like a patient. You’re going to be diabetic for the rest of your life – but if you look after yourself, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

O – One or two treats might keep you from a binge – don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s better to have a cookie a week than feel deprived and then eat a whole bag in one day.

P – Preparation is key for diabetics in any situation. You always need to have your insulin, a snack, and a clear idea of where your next meal is coming from.

Q – Quitting is not an option, with a chronic condition. So make sure you’re good to yourself and you get lots of positive reinforcement.

R – Regular check-ups with your doctor are a must. You can’t afford to ignore any kind of illness – best to double-check.

S – Sometimes you won’t feel so great – that’s okay, just accept it and it will pass. Give yourself a day off and catch your breath.

T – Take time out to relax and rejuvenate. There’s nothing better to combat stress!

U – Unless you take control of your diabetes, it will take control of you. Don’t let it become the defining point of your life.

V – Vegetables are a diabetic’s best friend. Make sure you eat enough of them, every single day.

W – Wholegrains should be a big part of your diet. They’ll keep you and your heart healthy.

X – eXtra care should be taken any time you feel unwell. Learn to recognise the symptoms, and nip illness in the bud.

Y – You are the most important part of your diabetes care programme. Treat yourself well!

Z – Zzzz… Make sure you get enough sleep…

Do you have anything to add to the diabetic alphabet?

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  1. Mervyn Wratten Mervyn Wratten

    If this (our) website is to be successful it will need typically the lay sector helping each other. This has its risks so check replies before using them. Here is a contribution relating to an A to Z. Possibly the inquirer wanted a description of terms like basal/bolus etc. being encountered relating to Diabetes. If this is the case, the DSA mag Focus has given these in past editions so give them a call and see if you can get one. Or make a list of terms when you come across them and ask your doctor, nurse educator or this web site.

    • Exactly – we want to be a forum where diabetics and their friends and families can ask us any questions they have, and we can all answer them. For medical questions we have an endocrinologist on our Panel of Experts who can contribute, for dietary questions we have a dietician and sport questions a biokineticist. We also have a medical counselor on our panel who can assist with psychological advice. We do believe that diabetes is a condition that benefits from shared information, though, as we can all help each other with our own experience. Looking forward to more and more conversations like these!

  2. There are some good points made here. I need to really get the ball rolling bcus my approach to dieting has been slow to say the least!

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.