Your Holistic Diabetes Comfort Kit
When it comes to healthy living with diabetes, it’s about more than popping pills or injecting insulin. Whether you’re adapting yoga or meditation into your daily routine, opening yourself up to natural remedies, or treating yourself to small creature comforts that will lift your spirits, a holistic approach that incorporates your mind, body, and lifestyle can take you to new levels of wellness and true well-being. These are some of things that help me live my best diabetes life—and I hope they'll help you, too.
Yoga’s long been known for its body-mind benefits, but it’s been found to have specific advantages for people with diabetes, too, by helping to lower and manage blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, according to research in Endocrinology & Metabolism. So why not do your body good and incorporate a little downward dog in your day? A beautiful yoga mat to practice on at home or at yoga class can add some much-needed inspiration. Gaiam has a gorgeous selection of colors and designs.
Guided Meditation CD
The research is in: Regular meditation can help you lower your blood-sugar levels and better manage your diabetes. You don’t need to take a class or spend hours in the lotus position, though. The perfect introduction to meditation, just for diabetics, is Health Journey’s “A Guided Meditation to Help You Manage Diabetes,” created by renowned mind-body expert Belleruth Naparstek. Soak up her soothing voice, the calming music, and empowering imagery of energy and strength.
Sleep deprivation and short sleep—less than 7 hours a night—put you at higher risk of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar, according to research from the University of Chicago. If your body is starving for sleep, blocking out light with a sleep mask can help. The washable Nivava mask is comfortable, even if you sleep on your side, and it has built-in wireless Bluetooth and headphones. Listen to your guided relaxation or meditation program while you drift off into a night of deep, restorative zzz’s.
Aromatherapy has helped alleviate symptoms for centuries. Now, one small study suggests that aromatherapy can have a positive effect on your gut metabolism within just 10 days of use, according a report in Evidenced-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Lavender oil in particular has been associated with lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes. Start soaking in the wellness with The Anjou Essential Oil Diffuser—along with Sky Organics’ Lavender Essential Oil.
You may be no stranger to the dry skin that’s often a result of medications for diabetes, and rough skin is potentially dangerous — it can lead to risky wounds and infection. The antidote: shea butter. Many drugstore lotions are inadequate to restore your skin’s richness, but shea butter may have anti-inflammatory benefits for dry skin and has a luxurious feel. Check out Sans Pareil’s Natural Organic Shea Butter for the perfect moisturizer for body and soul.
A Tracking App
“Holistic” focuses on the “whole,” so you’ll want to go beyond your medication, and bring food and exercise into the picture. Consider using a multi-feature app to help you keep track — and improve your success rate! In fact, research from Duke University found that simply logging your weight and what you eat can help you lose weight. MyFitnessPal is a favorite, making it easy to track your food intake, nutrient levels, and exercise.
A Tracking Journal
If technology and apps feel too impersonal, consider logging your food, exercise, and blood sugar levels in a gorgeous notebook that suits your style. Whether it’s a classic Moleskine, or a journal designed for this purpose — like Dartan's colorful Food Journal and Blood Sugar Log — keeping track can be an added pleasure instead of a high-tech chore.
A Travel Pill Case
Sometimes, beautiful, everyday things can feed your soul. Why not ditch that ugly gray plastic pill case, and replace it with something that make you happy to look at? Two stylish options for taking along supplements and medications: a colorful, floral-printed Vera Bradley fabric travel pill case, or the sleek, minimalist wood and metal mbarc case.
Whether it’s your daily coffee or tea, or turning plain yogurt into sweet treat, there are times when your sweet tooth demands satisfaction. Researchers now caution against most artificial sweeteners—they may promote weight gain! But natural stevia is getting attention because it doesn’t affect blood sugar or increase hunger like other non-caloric sweeteners, according to a study in Appetite. Some stevia can be bitter, but BioPure liquid stevia, and Zing individual packets of powdered stevia are just right, with no aftertaste.
Ginger is believed to lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation, and sipping on ginger tea is a soothing way to incorporate it into your day. I especially like Pukka Three Ginger Organic Herbal Tea. It’s not only delicious, but Pukka packs an extra punch by adding two extra spices—galangal and turmeric—for extra anti-inflammatory benefits.
Diabetes and yoga: Endocrinology and Metabolism. (2018). “Therapeutic Role of Yoga in Type 2 Diabetes.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145966/
Meditation and diabetes: International Journal of Yoga. (2018). “Effect of 6 Months of Meditation on Blood Sugar, Glycosylated Hemoglobin, and Insulin Levels in Patients of Coronary Artery Disease.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934947/
Sleep deprivation and diabetes: Sleep Medicine Reviews. (2007). “The Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1991337/
Essential Oils and Gut Metabolitic Function Study: Lipids in Health and Disease. (2013)."Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats." https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-189
Dry Skin and Diabetes: Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome. (2016). "Skin disorders in diabetes mellitus: an epidemiology and physiopathology review." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5006568
Shea Butter's Healing Capabilities: International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (2017). "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
The Effectiveness of Tracking Food: Duke University. (2019). "Tracking food leads to losing pounds: Those who tracked food and weight lost pounds in new study." https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190228154839.htm
Effects of Stevia on Blood Sugar: Appetite. (2010). "Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900484/
Ginger's Effect on Blood Sugar: Food and Chemical Toxicology. (2007). "Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe): A review of recent research." http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.453.2286&rep=rep1&type=pdf