According to the World Health Organization, about 422 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, most of them living in low- and middle-income countries, and diabetes is directly responsible for 1.5 million deaths each year. Diabetes has been progressively increasing in both the number of cases and prevalence over the past few decades.
“Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels, which over time leads to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not make enough insulin.
“In the last three decades, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin on its own. For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025. – WHO
“Lifestyle is an all-encompassing concept that has the power to change your life within weeks,” says Khushboo Jain Tibrewala, founder of The Health Pantry, Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator. IANSlife spoke to Khushboo, author of ‘Everyday Recipes for Diabetes’, to better understand the disease and how to deal with it to achieve the global goal of ending the chronic disease by 2025.
What led you to create a free e-book?
Khushboo: If you actually see each of the recipes, you will notice that most of them are normal everyday foods that we all eat at home. I may have tweaked them here and there, but these are more Indian home cooking than recipes written by me. I made this book free for everyone because I wanted people to see at the end of the day all they need is normal home cooked food.
Our traditional foods have everything we need to stay healthy, we just need to learn how to tweak basic recipes to fit our health goals. This book will be useful in almost every Indian household no matter where they are from in India or where they live in the world today. This one had to be free.
What are the most common problems that your association with diabetics has revealed?
Khushbo: There are quite a few! But one of the most common is the role played by the rest of the family. In some homes, the remaining family members discover that these are lifestyle disorders and everyone as a family can be at risk. They make dietary and lifestyle changes as a family.
Such patients see an almost magical response. Because there is no stress with their food at home. In homes where remaining family members refuse to support the patient, outcomes are slower and there is a higher chance of premature departure.
How does your book help individuals suffering from conditions such as hypertension, PCOS, high cholesterol, weight loss, and type 2 diabetes?
Khushboo: This book is perfect for anyone who has these lifestyle disorders. Each recipe is gluten-free, low on the glycemic index, high in fiber, rich in phytonutrients, and plant-based. These simple features will ensure that your glucose levels are more stable, and stabilizing your blood glucose levels is the one trick that helps any lifestyle disorder, including those mentioned here.
How is your book different from the many others on the market that cover diabetes and other topics?
Khushboo: As mentioned earlier, this book is a simple selection of recipes from Indian households. What makes it unique is the addition of a nutritionist’s perspective. I’ve labeled each recipe based on its glycemic index, the cooking skills required, and whether it can be used as part of a weekly meal prep. I have also created some simple recipes to help the reader adapt the recipe and use locally available ingredients. For example, there is a recipe for cheela that can be made with literally anything you have at home, just stick to my proportions. Similarly, there is a recipe for mixed green saag, which again is just a formula that can be used to make saag from any vegetable you have at home.
Share one recipe with an interesting story?
Khushboo: What makes this book so special to me is that literally every recipe has a special story and a special person to thank. The recipe for Sattu comes from my Nani, Kanji from my Dadi, there is a salad that comes from all the lunches at my best friend’s house. Mangodi pulao is my mother’s recipe. One that I am most excited about is the Methi ki Chutney. When I was growing up, Aloo Bedmi and this Chutney was a standard Sunday breakfast at home. Then we would buy this one special brand from Delhi which we would never find in Mumbai.
Cut to my adult life when I learn that methi seeds are actually fantastic for type 2 diabetics. So while most nutritionists tell you to soak the seeds and eat them every morning, I wanted to find a tastier way to incorporate methi seeds. That’s when I recreated the recipe for that chutney and now this simple recipe has become a part of all my clients’ lives.