Yoga For Diabetes - Food Choices
- Publish Date: 2009/02/12 - (Rev. 2012/09/17)
- Author: Bradley Kapture
Outline: In the yoga community whether you are a vegetarian or meat eater is a topic of sometimes heated discussion.
Main DigestA good spot for anyone to begin the path of a mindful diabetic diet would be to stay away from trans fats, omega 6 vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup and all refined and processed grain and flour products. Eat plenty of fiber, choose carbohydrates that are low in the glycemic index, (most fresh vegetables), eat lean proteins and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The best choice for cooking or salad dressings is olive oil.
The definition of yoga is union. This union is a fused connection to whatever task we are involved in. It's a space where there is no distinction or separation of the doing or the doer. It can be understood by what's referred to as a "peak" experience, or being in the "zone". The practices of yoga are designed to cultivate this type of peak connection.
In the action of Asana, the body, mind and breath connect and work as one to eventually create a moving meditation. In the action of Mantra a union with the silent space of the true self is discovered. The action of Pranayama or breath work combines the body, mind, breath and the space of silence. All of these actions have a common thread or goal so to speak. The goal is Mindfulness, a practice in which this union can be discovered and is the fourth action in my method of yoga for diabetes.
Mindful Attention to Food Choices
Mindfulness is exactly as it sounds. The mind full of presence, a pure attention to what is being done, said or experienced. In action four, the concept of Mindfulness will be applied to conscious, mindful food choices. When you have diabetes or pre-diabetes there is no room for mindless automatic pilot comfort food eating or binging. The same rules apply to diabetics using insulin, medication or those managing the disease with a program such as yoga4diabetes. The burden of responsibility for your health rests in the choices you make every moment of every day. So choose health! That means read labels and understand the effects that all types of food and food additives have on your blood sugars.
Mindfulness can be applied not only to specific food choices but to the food source as well. In the yoga community and even now in the mainstream, (at least in California) whether you are a vegetarian or meat eater is a topic of sometimes-heated discussion. I don't hold judgment on the choice of either and though there have been periods of time in my life that I have lived as a vegetarian, I eat meat. I do however find the arguments compelling regarding the ethical treatment of animals. That means "free range" and "organic". Not caged and tortured and shot full of growth hormones and antibiotics, but animals given free range to live as nature intended and then terminated ethically. The result is not only the ethical treatment of these animals, but free-range game has far less saturated fat and more essential fatty acids and is in line with a healthy diet close to the one our hunter-gatherer ancestors enjoyed for thousands of years. This balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats in free-range foods help to combat insulin resistance and heightened inflammatory response often found in diabetics.
Healthy eating is an important subject and there are volumes of information available. Unfortunately for the diabetic a lot of the information is conflicting. As each one of us is such a unique individual there really is no one "right diet". A close monitoring of blood sugars in relation to diet is the only way to find out what works for you to stay in a good glucose range to feel vibrant and healthy. It comes down to the basics of healthy eating rather than the seeming infinitesimal amount of "diet" books available. As you use mindfulness as an approach to food choices you will develop a more intimate connection to the intelligence of your body. You will be more in tune with the body and begin to access your intuition when selecting the proper food choices for you.
A good spot for anyone to begin the path of a mindful diabetic diet would be to stay away from trans fats, omega 6 vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup and all refined and processed grain and flour products. Eat plenty of fiber, choose carbohydrates that are low in the glycemic index, (most fresh vegetables), eat lean proteins and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The best choice for cooking or salad dressings is olive oil. From this point let your mindful attention be the guide!
Reference: Bradley Kapture, author, "The Sounds of Silence" and lecturer, is the founder of yoga4diabetes. Kapture is an expert in asana, mantra and meditation practices. In 2004 a turn in life circumstances forced him to close his yoga studios, leave his yoga practice and go to work in the world of corporate sales. After just 3 years he found himself overweight, filled with anxiety and with type 2 diabetes. He refused standard drug treatment and instead returned to yoga and developed a yoga method to address the causes of type 2 diabetes and to heal his body.
Within just three months his blood sugars had returned to normal levels. His doctor responded, "I agree with you on your diabetes control; the HGA1C is well below target at 6.5 so keep doing what you're doing. It's really a tremendous achievement to go from 7.7 to 6.5 in such a short time period without medication." These results inspired him to share his yoga method and help others with diabetes reduce or eliminate dependence on medication and help those with pre-diabetes from developing the disease.
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