Living with Diabetes and Exploring Vegetarianism

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Diabetes vegetable dietYou may choose to go vegetarian for varying reasons, one being the potential health benefits. A vegetarian diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease, and cancer.

Here are our tips to help maintain your health and control over your diabetes if you transition into this new meal plan.

  • As with any substantial change in diet, your medication or insulin dosage may need to be adjusted, so you should make an appointment with your diabetes specialist to discuss your plan.
  • Give yourself time. Gradually reduce the amount of meat in your diet; this will help your body adjust to a plant based diet.
  • Many vegetarian diets can be very high in carbohydrate. Keep your carbohydrate intake consistent and read food labels carefully for their carbohydrate content.
  • Choose a variety of foods. Make sure you’re supplementing the lack of meat in your diet with equal parts veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, seeds (and dairy if desired.)
  • Substitute soy-based products (tofu and meat substitutes) and/or legumes for meat, poultry and fish.
  • Choose lower-fat versions of soy products, like reduced fat tofu and low-fat soy milk.
  • If milk and egg products remain in your diet, choose versions low in fat.
  • If you’re cutting out dairy altogether make sure you’re getting the essential vitamins you need. Vitamins B-12 and D come from dairy, so you may need to take extra precautions to ensure they appear elsewhere in your diet.
  • Use fats sparingly; choose unsaturated fats, such as olive, canola and peanut oils, nuts and seeds, instead of saturated fats, such as butter, margarine and cream cheese.
  • Limit your intake of high-fat foods, such as cheeses, whole milk, nuts, seeds, avocados and oils– especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Have any of you recently made a successful switch to a vegetarian diet? Tell us about it.

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