Reverse your diabetes diet

Salade Nicoise

Salade Nicoise

It’s true! you really can reverse diabetes by changing the way you eat –with these irresistible recipes
We once believed that if a person had type 2 diabetes, they had it for good. The disease, caused by the body becoming resistant to the effect of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, now affects 3.5 million Britons – an epidemic by any standards.

We once believed that if a person had type 2 diabetes, they had it for good. The disease, caused by the body becoming resistant to the effect of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, now affects 3.5 million Britons – an epidemic by any standards.

If not controlled, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney problems and amputations.

And, just five years ago doctors like me would have told everyone with the condition that it would be life-long and that medication would almost certainly be required at some stage. But not any more.

Recently, a number of studies have proved beyond all doubt that, astonishingly, type 2 diabetes can be reversed. The main weapon in this new battle? Diet. The effect of simply changing the way you eat is remarkable, and can occur within weeks or, in some cases, even days.

I’m not promising a magic bullet. But if you have type 2 diabetes and are willing to overhaul your lifestyle, increase your physical activity and alter the way you shop for, cook and eat food, there is a good chance you can reverse the underlying disease process so that you can achieve better control of your diabetes and in some cases reverse it altogether.

At the very least, making such changes will ensure the condition becomes more manageable with less need for tablets or injections (but speak to your doctor before making any changes). Plus you will lose weight and feel vital, and filled with energy to boot.

Exclusively, I’ll guide you through the lifestyle changes you can start making today to help bring significant improvements in your blood-glucose levels.

To get you started, you’ll find a raft of tempting recipes, from quick breakfasts to leisurely brunches, on-the-go lunches and family favourite dinners, each one designed to help keep your blood-glucose levels within as normal a range as possible, without compromising on taste or satisfaction.

There are no fancy ingredients or expensive bits of kit needed: every recipe is simple, delicious and full of things that most of us have in our cupboards.

I don’t advocate complicated, step-by-step diet plans because there is no one-size-fits-all one, plus I believe they are the quickest way to turn people off. So consider this more of a practical guide, bursting with brilliant ways in which you can start improving your health and taking steps towards reversing your diabetes.

It’s going to require lifelong commitment but it will be worth it, and your loved ones will thank you for it.
What exactly is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the fastest-growing health epidemic of our times, and the number of people in the UK with the condition is predicted to rise to five million by 2025. It develops when the level of glucose (an essential sugar used for energy in the body) in the bloodstream is higher than normal.

It usually occurs from middle age but, alarmingly, the under-40s now account for 12 per cent of all newly diagnosed cases.

In the short term, abnormally high blood sugar causes – among mainly things – tiredness, extreme thirst (and, subsequently, needing the loo all the time), and blurred vision.

Long-term, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications including damage to the retina, kidneys and nerves, and a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and amputation.

When we eat carbohydrates (sugars and starch), they are broken down into glucose by the body, which is then absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream and transported to the tissues to be used as energy. The latter part of this process is controlled by insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas.

The main problem in type 2 diabetes is that accumulation of fat in the internal organs (particularly the liver) means that insulin doesn’t work properly and glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The pancreas produces more insulin in an attempt to control this but eventually the body becomes more resistant to insulin and so blood-glucose levels rise regardless.

If you have been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, that will be because your blood sugar has been found by blood tests to be consistently higher than it should be both when you’ve not eaten, and after a meal.

Can you really reverse type 2 diabetes with a diet?

Absolutely. In the 1990s, people were told that their type 2 diabetes was due to unknown factors or ‘in their genes’ and, therefore, beyond their control. Twenty years on, scientists have proven that a person’s weight and lifestyle are directly linked to developing the condition.

Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight and the message is now very clear; if you eat too much and/or exercise too little, you will become overweight, and if you become overweight there is a greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some people develop type 2 diabetes despite a relatively normal weight, although they likely carry excess fat in their liver. It has been shown that by making lifestyle changes that reduce the level of fat in the internal organs, it is possible to become free of type 2 diabetes.

This is good news as it means that diet and lifestyle changes are the greatest weapons for controlling and reversing the condition.
So, what should I eat?

Most people with diabetes know that foods containing sugar will raise their glucose levels.

But many are surprised that starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and cereals also cause blood-glucose levels to increase. When they are digested by the body they are all broken down into glucose, some of them faster than table sugar itself.

Like most people, I was brought up eating potatoes or rice with a main meal, but evidence shows that when eaten to excess they, along with processed meat, fizzy drinks and fruit juices are some of the biggest culprits for increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. All of them lead to a rapid increase in the level of glucose in the bloodstream, causing the pancreas to secrete more insulin and increasing the likelihood of fat accumulating in the liver.

In contrast, following a vegan, vegetarian or Mediterranean diet – rich in green vegetables and healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and oily fish – reduces your risk of developing the condition.

Put simply, to try to reverse the changes in your body that have led you developing type 2 diabetes, you must cut down on foots that raise glucose levels and increase your intake of the good stuff. So, for example, if you usually eat cereal for breakfast, swap it for eggs (poached, scrambled or boiled) or unsweetened Greek yogurt mixed with a handful of nuts, seeds or oats.

Ditch your lunchtime sandwich for soup (preferably home-made, but minus starchy veg such as potatoes or parsnips) or salad, and make sure your main meals contain only a small portion of starchy food, such as a couple of small, boiled potatoes, if at all. You can enjoy carb-heavy meals such as pizza or pasta now and again; just accept that your glucose level will rise sharply afterwards.

However, not all starch is the same and some, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread or pasta, are absorbed more slowly with less impact on blood glucose. Still, if you do eat them, make sure they take up less than a quarter of your plate.

Reducing carbohydrate intake is not only good for controlling blood-glucose levels, it will also reduce insulin production.

This is essential in reversing the metabolic changes that occur in type 2 diabetes.

How do I know if the recipes suit me?
Before eating any of the recipes, do a blood sugar glucose test – if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should know how to do this yourself with your home test kit.
Then do another blood test to check your glucose level two hours after you have eaten. The second test should be no more than two to three points higher than the first. If it’s more, then that recipe doesn’t work for you, so try tweaking it. If it contains potatoes or bread – remember these are starchy foods which cause your blood sugar to rise – remove them next time, or reduce the portion size. Make other adjustments along the way till you find what’s best for you.

Can I have snacks?
Yes! Nuts and seeds contain protein and healthy fats with relatively little carbohydrate, so a small handful will satisfy hunger without raising

your blood glucose or insulin levels. You can also snack on fruit such as berries or an apple, tangerine, peach, plum or pear.

Salade Nicoise
This fresh-tasting, chilled summer salad is great for sharing with friends, and is guaranteed to evoke memories of Mediterranean holidays dining al fresco.
Serves 2
2 large eggs
50g (13/4 oz) fresh broad beans or French beans, trimmed
4 very ripe large tomatoes
¼ cucumber, peeled, quartered, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 spring onions, finely chopped on the diagonal
Handful of torn lettuce leaves
½ red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
50g (13/4 oz) small pitted black olives
1 tbsp capers, rinsed under cold water and drained on kitchen paper
6 anchovies in olive oil, cut into slivers
Few basil leaves, rough torn
For the dressing
50g (1 3/4 Oz) pitted black olives
5 anchovies in olive oil, drained
1 garlic clove
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Hard-boil the eggs (7-8 minutes). Cook the beans in a pan of salted boiling water for 5 minutes, then plunge into iced water. Skin, chop into quarters and deseed the tomatoes.
For the dressing, make a paste of the olives, anchovies and garlic in a pestle and mortar. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Season and set aside.
Toss the beans, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce, red pepper and tomatoes together. Add a slug of the dressing and mix well. Tip on to a large serving plate.
Quarter the eggs and add them with more olives, the capers, anchovies and basil leaves. Spoon over the remaining dressing and serve.

Lamb and leek broth
Allow a good few hours to rustle up this dish, and be sure to have slices of buttered brown bread on hand to mop up the juices.

Nutrition facts
(Per serving)
Calories 480g, Total fat 30g, Sat Fat 14g, Carbs 20g, Fibre 5g, Protein 34g

Serves 6
1kg (2lb) lamb (the scrag end of neck or any cheap cut), sliced into chunks
200g (7oz) carrots, roughly diced
100g (31/2oz) turnip (or swede), roughly diced
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 leeks, outer layer removed, washed, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
70g (4oz) pearl barley
Bunch of parsley, stalks removed and leaves chopped
Worcestershire sauce, to serve (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the lamb in a large casserole dish and cover with cold water, then bring to a gentle simmer.
Using a large flat spoon, skim off the scum as it rises to the top. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes, periodically removing any scum.
Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/gas mark ½.
Add the carrots, turnip (or swede), onion, celery, leeks, cloves and bay leaves to the casserole. Bring everything back to a simmer and remove any remaining scum before putting on a tight-fitting lid and transforming the pot to the oven.
Cook for at least 1 hour until the lamb is very tender.
Remove the lamb pieces to a large plate and allow to cool. Add the pearl barley to the stock, then return the pot to the hob and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Shred the lamb with your fingers, discarding any bits of bone or fatty pieces. Stir the meat back into the simmering stock and keep it on the hob for another 5-10 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Season with plenty of black pepper.

Tomato salad PHOTO: arecipeforgluttony

Tomato salad PHOTO: arecipeforgluttony

Tomato salad
To make sure this dish is bursting with sunshine, seek out the plump, juicy tomatoes you find at farmers’ markets or – even better – grow your own.
Nutritional facts (per serving)
Calories 122, Total fat 12g, Sat Fat 1.7g, Carbs 4.7g, Fibre 1.1g, protein 0.9g

Serves 4
12 or so good quality, ripe medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
A few basil leaves, torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste black pepper, to taste
For the vinaigrette
50ml (1 3/4ft oz) white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon or grain mustard
250ml (9fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

To make the vinaigrette, pour the vinegar into a small bowl. Add the mustard, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Place the tomatoes on a serving plate. Season with black pepper then place the onion over the tomatoes, douse with the vinaigrette and top with a handful of freshly torn basil leaves.

With egg: Top a layer of sliced tomatoes seasoned with black pepper with a layer of sliced hard-boiled egg. Repeat with another layer of tomatoes and eggs. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and chives, and a splash of white wine vinaigrette.
With tuna: Make a tomato and egg salad as above and season with white wine vinegar vinaigrette. In a bowl, mix a can of tuna with two tablespoons of mayonnaise, chopped chives and seasoning.

To Be Continued
Culled From The Mail On Sunday

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