The start of November marks the beginning of National Diabetes Month. In order to spread awareness and information on how to prevent, maintain and adapt to a life with diabetes, we will be publishing articles on the healthy lifestyle changes that may help type I and type II diabetes sufferers, as well as those at risk for developing the disease, throughout the month of November.
When enjoying your NutriBlast, balance and fiber are key! The human body works optimally when it has carbohydrate at regular intervals throughout the day. The consistent intake of carbohydrate keeps the muscles and brain fed with the help of insulin from the pancreas as it travels in the bloodstream with the carbohydrate you eat.
Tips for optimazing blood glucose levels:
- Avoidance of lengthy fasting, beyond 4-5 hours, can help prevent lows and highs.
- Having a consistent amount of carbohydrate throughout the day along with plenty of dietary fiber and a little protein and fat (preferably from non-animal sources) helps.
- A serving of protein with carbohydrate slows down the rate of digestion of the carbohydrate, helps trigger the pancreas to release insulin and offers an increased sense of fullness.
Let’s look at how to make your Blast do the most for your body.
Add a serving or two of fruits and/or vegetables to your cup. Many prefer fruit in their Blast, however, vegetables are also a wonderful addition and offer fiber and fewer calories than fruit, while also giving your body a myriad of other essential vitamins and nutrients.
- A tennis ball-sized serving of fruit or about a measuring cup portion provides about 15 grams of carbohydrate and about 60 calories.
- A serving of vegetable (a cup-full) provides 2-5 grams of carbohydrate and is about 25 calories.
Using cow’s milk or yogurt in your Blast adds carbohydrate from lactose sugar, protein and sometimes fat. However, some diabetics, especially in the morning hours, experience less stability in their blood glucose when consuming dairy products from cows.
Almond, soy, and rice milk can provide optimal substitutes. They also offer protein and fat, depending on which variety is chosen. An 8 ounce serving of one of these options serves as a wonderful base for your Blast and provides 30 to 100 calories.
A special note about animal fat in cow’s milk: studies show that consuming animal fat actually makes your cells close down and deny the entrance of carbohydrate into them. This means your blood glucose may be higher than it should be. The take away message: avoid animal fat in the products you choose to optimize blood glucose levels.
Finally, you can top with a diabetic-friendly boost, such as cinnamon, which has been shown to help regulate blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics.
Depending on your fruit and vegetable choices, you will get greater amounts of fiber and other health benefits. As a general rule, apples and pears are higher fiber fruits and broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage are higher fiber vegetables. But don't exclude any others; variety is important!
Your fiber goal should be at least 5 grams. Getting 10-20 grams is optimal, unless you suffer from issues that may be complicated by extra fiber. Issues such as flares of Diverticulitis or Diabetic Gastroparesis may warrant little to no fiber and your personal Dietitian/Diabetes Educator can help you around this issue.
Supplemental fiber comes in many forms. Psyllium fiber does special things for our digestive system and blood glucose maintenance and might be a great addition to your Blast. Ideally, fiber from the fruits or vegetables placed in your Tall Cup each day is the best option. However, for some, a variety of fiber supplements serve different purposes and can be very helpful. Again, the guidance of your personal Dietitian/Diabetes Educator can be key.
Keep these notes in mind each time you Blast:
- The nice thing about adding your entire selection to your NutriBullet is that all the nutrients will be 100% ready for your body to use. In the past, I had to recommend my patients use a coffee grinder to prepare their freshly ground flaxseed before adding it to their smoothies. Remember, the human tooth cannot break down the flax seed, so the extraction from the NutriBullet is needed.
- A few added ice cubes makes the frosty texture and temperature perfect to your liking.
- Adding your supplemental fiber at the end will offer a different texture than adding it at the beginning of the extracting process. Test out both ways to see which you prefer.
- If attempting to cut calories in your NutriBlast for a small snack, you might consider decreasing or excluding any protein powder. Use essential oil or flavor extracts in place of some fruits, or enjoy plain or vanilla greek yogurt or the non-dairy milk as mentioned above in place for any dairy. Ice cubes and fiber as before. This mixture can be as little as 50 or so calories and offers you a healthy alternative.
Good luck and let’s Blast our way to health!