Your Holistic Diabetes Comfort Kit

by Mary Shomon Patient Advocate

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.

Gaiam yoga mat

Yoga Mat

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.

Manage Diabetes guided meditation disc
Courtesy of Health Journeys

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.

Nivava sleep mask
Courtesy of Nivava

Sleep Mask

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.

Anjou Essential Oil Diffuser

Aromatherapy Diffuser

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.

Sans Pareil’s Natural Organic Shea Butter
Courtesy of Sans Pareil

Natural Moisturizer

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.

Dartan's colorful Food Journal and Blood Sugar Log

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.

Vera Bradley-Travel Pill Case
Courtesy of Vera Bradley

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.

Zing individual packets of powdered stevia

Stevia

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.

Pukka organic three ginger tea
Courtesy of Pukka Herbs

Ginger Tea

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.

Mary Shomon
Meet Our Writer
Mary Shomon

Mary Shomon is a patient advocate and New York Times bestselling author who empowers readers with information on thyroid and autoimmune disease, diabetes, weight loss and hormonal health from an integrative perspective. Mary has been a leading force advocating for more effective, patient-centered hormonal healthcare. Mary also co-stars in PBS’ Healthy Hormones TV series. Mary also serves on HealthCentral’s Health Advocates Advisory Board.