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My cousin is a diabetic with a gentically weak heart and occaissional blood preassure. Also he is of the old guard that wants tasty food. I need to formulate a workable diet for him. It has to be easy to do with ingrediants that are locally available.

We are already baking most thinks instead of frying. Oil has been cut down to a bare minimum, salt is out and sugar is out.

What I would like help with is anything in terms of advice as to what could work. Do you know a diabetic? Do you know of any foods that are helpful to diabetics? Any websites that deal with diabetic food for Indians?


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Bitter gourd, because it helps to regulate blood sugar, though I'm clueless as to its place in Indian cookery because I understand it to be something with a cold water energy to it, and don't know how spices would affect it.


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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A friend who was recently diagnosed with diabetes reports wonders from switching to a non-wheat, non-rice diet. She's only eating grains like jowar and bajra and the lucky thing of being in Bombay is that you can get very tasty options with both. Try the jowar khichidi at Swati, or the puffed jowar that's sold in some health food shops (makes a good snack). She's even eating the multigrain bread from Yazdani which is wonderful, in fact that's become my staple bread.


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Are there English names for jowar and bajra?

Achaya gives sorghum for jowar and for bajra he gives its Latin name pennisetum americanum. Ragi, the third in this group of less commonly used grains he describes as finger millet. He also has another entry for millets that describes several other less commonly used types. Some months back this subject came up on this forum and someone posted a link to an excellent FAO document that went into the subject in even more depth, check it out,


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Yes weve put him on Bajra rotis, will look into the Yezdani option.

Is there an interesting way to package Karela.

FYI for your friend, Methi sprouts work too, the taste really good more crunchy less bitter. I used to have them a lot and I did not have a prob with diabetes, I just liked them tossed in salads or with other sproute. Also made Masala bhaat with them.


PS editted for too much use of the word "nice"!

Edited by Rushina (log)
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I have switched to low-carb diet in the last few months and that has helped me keep my blood sugars in the controlled range for most times. For the Indian food, especially North Indian, bread is a staple. So after experimenting with various combinations, this is the ratio that works best for me. 2.5 cups of regular whole wheat flour (atta) and 1 cup of soy flour. The dough becomes low-carb, remains pliable and rotis/paranthas turn out very good. Actually they remain soft even after being in the fridge for 3-4 days or more.

I remember long time back in Delhi, my father used to get special missa atta milled. It was 5 kg of wheat, 1 kg of soy beans and 1 kg of black chana. Use this atta for rotis for diabetic people and you dont have to worry about blood sugars spiking due to wheat.

Of course, you stay away from processed flour (maida), rice and potatoes as well.

Hope this helps.

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I have read that chana dal is extremely low on the glycemic index. Relative to other legumes, eating chana commonly leads to an exceptionally low blood sugar response in diabetics.

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Is there an interesting way to package Karela.

If you do not like Karelas or Ucchhes (bengali name for the small bittter melon), I guess one way to make them more palatable is to have sliced up and deep fried. Bengalis have these when eating rice and dal.

But deep-frying sort of defeats the purpose here, doesn't it?

Another way we cook it is make a chorchori out of it with sliced potatoes and sliced bitter melon (basically, just a stir fry with turmeric powder, coriander and cumin, and green chiles).

But adding potatoes will also defeat the purpose here.


My mom eats mashed boiled bitter melon (with just salt added) with rice. I can't eat it. Even though I actually like bitter melon.

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  • 5 months later...

I recently put some bitter melons, sliced and lightly sauteed, into a curried soup with winter squash, shallots and assorted leftover vegetables. The bitterness is a good balance to the hotness of the curry. At first I thought I didn't like it but as I kept drinking the broth I found I appreciated the balance. I will certainly put bitter melons in that type of soup again.

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They are good stuffed with green mango and sauteed. is green mango ok? I had a friend who used to use green apple if she couldnt get mango, but i think that tasted weird.

paneer and coconut stuffing is good too, but i guess fairly bad for you.

I love bitter melon, but i think I might have to spit if i got a mouth full of them boiled and mashed with salt and rice.

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Is your cousin on insulin? If so, I hope his physician or diabetic educator has filled him in on the need to always have available an emergency supply of quick-acting carbohydrates (glucose tablets are the preferred form) in case his blood glucose level goes abnormally low.

Overall, one does need to restrict (not eliminate) carbohydrate foods as a diabetic, and try to eat complex rather than simple carbohydrates, because complex carbohydrates are metabolized more gradually and therefore have less influence on rapid blood glucose moves, which you want to avoid. So, whole grains are preferred to refined grains. Likewise, what carbohydrates you do consume you want to offer additional nuitritional value, rather than being "empty" carbs. For that reason, friut is preferred to pastry. That doesn't mean he can't indulge in favored foods, he just have to be careful about portion size and frequency of consumption of these foods. For example, a piece of sweet pastry with 30 grams of carbohydrates has no more impact on blood glucose level than a large banana. It probably has a lot more fat, however, which brings up other issues.

Although carbohydrates are the primary actor on blood glucose levels, fat and alcohol also influence it. Both actually tend to depress blood glucose levels immediately after consumption, and then raise it abnormally a few hours later. So, fat and alcohol consumption should be low to moderate. Again, no need to totally eliminate, just to understand their effects and act accordingly.

Beans and other legumes, by the way, are an excellent food for diabetics. Although carbohydrates, they are metabolized into blood glucose comparatively slowly, and also offer protein.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Totally agree with rliblind. The challenge is to adopt a lifestyle where you do eat some carbs but only "good" and "complex" ones and in a controlled fashion. Grill veggies or meats rather than frying them. Lots of lentils and green leafy stuff. Whole wheat atta and besan and soy flour instead of Maida. And of course, exercise as prescribed by your doctor. Walking is very good.

If you are in India, eat lots of Jamun fruit and don't throw away the seeds. Dry them up in sun and grind into a fine powder. Take half a spoon of that every day. It is known to reduce blood sugar. I am told that some Ayurvedic companies in India and now making a capsule of this jamun stuff.

Just my 2 cents,


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Some recent research indicates cinnamon cassia has a highly beneficial on blood glucose levels, as well as cholesterol and triglicerides. Only one small (60 people) human study has been conducted so far, but it is highly suggestive of broader results. And one doesn't need a whole lot of cinnamon, either: as little as 1 gram daily appears to have impact.

Here's the abstract of the research.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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:angry::biggrin: In my travels of the web in general I've found that a fruit diet should be prescribed to any patient of diabetes. For that matter all diseases are curable by fruit diet.

:wub: I llove fruits very much and love to diet so they both are a very food options to me in case of any case of sickness.

I have a memory of my mother asking me to eat my pomegranate porion of fruit since I insisted they were bitter the bitter taste is translated into wogouru into tamil (or may be it is telegu).. is very good to fight this disease, and for many other types of disease one encounters today.

:wub: Fruits are the key to stay well today. What ever you may not know yet you have to believe in truth of thousand years of wisdom when it comes to fruits.


Regards :smile: I hope this helpful to some of you in need of it. :shock::raz::hmmm::biggrin:


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This and none of the posts in my jurisprudence have been to hurt any of my fellows friends of eG here.

I hope only to help and Love of food is a seemingly good way to expression of belief of connections with others

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:angry:  :biggrin:  In my travels of the web in general I've found that a fruit diet should be prescribed to any patient of diabetes. For that matter all diseases are curable by fruit diet.

Fruits can certainly (and should be) incorporated into diet by diabetics, and they offer many health benefits.

However, a diet exclusively of fruits will be DANGEROUS, because it would lead to exceedingly high blood glucose levels. Now, if you only had one or two or even three medium pieces of fruit a day, that wouldn't cause a problem with blood glucose, but you will be sorely under the minimum caloric intake you need to sustain good health if that is all you eat. And if you reach that minimum caloric level strictly with fruit, your carbohydrate (fruit sugar) intake will be much too high. Yes, fructose (the sugar found in most fruits) is metabolized more slowly than most other sugars, but when eaten in quantity it will still preciptiously increase blood glucose, which would be the result if fruit is the only food group in your diet.

So, go for balance and moderation. Your appetite will be much better satisfied, and your body will thank you. If you eat a diet made solely of fruit, or solely of meat or solely of dairy, your body will punish you.

You can undertake a vegetarian diet, so long as it has a good balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. But an all-fruit diet is asking for trouble. Add vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils and/or dairy products in appropriate quantities and you'll be fine.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Nuts are also considered fruits by many who believe in fruits diet to supply our protein needs...

Perhaps we have a semantical difference. To me, fruits are fruits and nuts are nuts. If someone says they're on an all-fruit diet, to me that excludes nuts, legumes, etc.; it would even exclude root vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, but not eggplants/aubergines, tomatoes, which are botanically classified as fruits.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Nuts like cashews are grown on trees whose fruits when dried are used nuts, also there is a questions of this generalization of all nuts, when sunflower seeds are called nuts by some they are wrong in their classification, basically I'd like to think of fruits as those that are grown on trees, that are not discarded for their lack of productivity at the end of a season like the tomatoes, or aubergines.

Trees that flower season after season for long years and don't need to be replanted every season for the sole reason of production of the fruit (or vegetable).

But nuts are really only the dried forms of fruits that we speak of here. This is based on principals of life that for Nature to give us something in return for caring for it and fruits are therefore the greatest examples of such gifts of nature to man and all others who want to take what the nature provides in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

I know I'm predated to before the agricultural revolution in taking of a fruit diet I'm indeed not in tune with our present times. Rather in tune with the wonderful living systems of future to have a safe and long existence on planet earth. This is what was practiced long before on earth. And we are all looking towards a bright future indeed in assuming that man will learn to live in harmony tomorrow and realizes his faults and remarry with Nature again tomorrow.. today .. now for ever.

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