It is that time of the year again, when the city gets cold, and we start to huddle indoors and consume more food. One of the things that we should be looking out for is the amount of calories and sugar that we are consuming, especially those with the diabetes condition.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to process food. Normally, the body breaks down the food (carbohydrates and other sugars) into smaller molecules called glucose for the body to process. Glucose is the main fuel for the body, and needs a hormone called insulin to take in the glucose and use it as energy. Diabetes happens when your body does not produce the insulin, or makes defected insulin, which prevents cells from taking up glucose from the bloodstream. When the glucose is not taken up by the cells via insulin, it builds and starts to affect other aspects of your body by damaging the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, heart, eyes and nervous system.
According to Diabetes Australia (www.diabetesaustralia.com.au) diabetic eye disease happens when diabetes starts to affect the eye (ocular) health. This happens when the blood vessels become weak, and starts leaking fluid and blood into the retinal cells, which causes damage to the retinal fibres. It is a serious sight-threatening condition, and one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
If you notice any changes in your vision contact your family doctor, endocrinologist, optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Some examples of symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include:
- Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses
- Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
- Being overly sensitive to glare
- Difficulty seeing at night
The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. Good blood glucose levels and blood pressure can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy but it does not eliminate it, and regular comprehensive eye examinations help keep your ocular health in check.
Some simple recommendations to get you through the winter months include:
- Eat regularly, and spread meals throughout the day
- Consume a lower fat diet, especially saturated fat
- Limit foods that are high in energy: take away foods, sweet biscuits, cakes, sugar sweetened drinks and fruit juice, lollies, chocolate and savoury snacks
- Being active: going for afternoon jogs, exercise: anything that gets your body moving J
Survival recipe guide: ft. Lentil Potato Spinach Soup (from Diabetes Australia website)
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 medium brown onions
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
- 280g frozen spinach
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Cover lentils with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Set aside. Drain liquids.
- Saute chopped onions and minced garlic in a large saucepan, until browned. Add vegetable (or chicken) stock, lentils, chopped parsley, thawed and finely chopped spinach, and cubed potatoes.
- Cook mixture for about 1 hour until lentils and potatoes are tender.
- Puree 1/4 of total soup and return to saucepan. Season with salt and pepper
- Stir in lemon juice just before serving.