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A cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

A smart, showstopping Thanksgiving side dish—whole roasted cauliflower your way Thanksgiving is all about the harvest, so why not make veggies the center of attention? This is the best roasted cauliflower recipe we've found—you can make it your own with nearly any flavors that complement the rest of your meal (even maple, although there may be enough of that already on the table). Prep is super simple and roasting brings out cauliflower's natural sweetness, making this recipe a winner. Do two or three for a crowd—they'll look quite impressive on a buffet.   Ingredients (...

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A trio of healthy paninis

Colourful, Flavourful, Wonderful

Do you find your lunchbox uninspiring? Are you fed up with the sad ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich and its carroty escort? Here are some tips to put a bit of delight back in your little airtights. Basically Save yourself some stress in the morning by preparing your lunch the day before, at the same time as dinner or right afterwards. For example, you can set aside an extra serving of your evening meal to have for lunch the next day. That way, you’ll be less tempted to resort to the quick fixes of store-bought meals or fast food restaurants! The reason why those easy solutions are less than ideal is because you should cut processed foods out of your diet as much as possible. Go for fibre-rich foods that are low in fat and sodium! A few reminders Eat at regular times and don’t skip meals. Prefer water to sugar-filled soft drinks or juices. Moderate your intake of sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sucralose or stevia. The lion’s share of your plate should be reserved for vegetables. The other half should consist of equal parts starchy foods (brown or wild rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta) and protein (lean meat, fish or others). Be aware that certain foods may be healthy but contain carbohydrates: fruits, dried fruits, dairy products, legumes and starchy foods, for example. What about snacking? To prevent hypoglycemia and cope with everyday life realistically (delayed meals, physical activity, alcohol consumption, etc.), keep healthy snacks around—some that are high in protein, fibre and carbs. Here are some ideas: A hard-boiled egg to go with your raw vegetables Edamame beans An apple and peanut or almond butter Some whole-wheat crackers and guacamole Cottage cheese and pepper or cucumber Down with monotony! Change up your menu! It may seem convenient to prepare a ton of raw vegetables and a pile of sandwiches every Sunday to last you the whole week, but by Thursday or Friday, you may find you’d rather leave your lunchbox at home and eat at the cafeteria or the restaurant. Similarly, seek variety in your vegetables and snacks, and try new foods regularly. Choose whole-grain couscous, quinoa or bulgur. Revamp your sandwiches with buckwheat, corn, kamut or spelt bread.  Also consider switching up the form of bread you use. There’s no lack of options: bagel, tortilla, pita, naan, baguette, Kaiser, ciabatta… Invite vegetables into spring rolls, onigiri, quiches or frittatas. Tofu and tempeh are great all-purpose foods: use them to replace meat or try them in sandwiches, pasta or rice dishes, warm salads, etc. Trade your yogurt for Greek yogurt or kefir. As much as soups and stews can warm the heart in winter, cold soups like gazpacho can be a welcome refreshment during the summer. And since even a small thing can provide a lot of motivation, try finding a nice lunch bag, a bento box or coloured utensils—you may find that enough to get you pumped up at the prospect of putting some time and care into your meals and snacks.

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crossed legs of lady practicing yoga

Taking Care Of Yourself

The effects of stress are no secret to anyone: the body releases hormones that are directly responsible for a spike in blood glucose. It’s also common knowledge that depression is more common in people living with diabetes. And when you’re tense and tired, you are that much less motivated to manage your blood glucose. This creates a vicious circle that’s hard to escape. Getting some “me” time Paradoxically, when you feel time is too tight is when it’s most important for you to wrest some away for your personal use. Taking a good break renews your energy reserves. And when you’re worn out and too tired to go jogging or practice an intense sport, even light exercise is a breath of fresh air. That’s why tai chi and yoga (for example) are so useful. You can also decide to practice meditation, which has its own set of benefits. The point is to improve your quality of life, both physically and psychologically. Living in the now The immediate benefit of meditation is that it allows you to take a step back from what’s troubling you. Over the long term, this practice reinforces coping strategies and resistance to stress and anxiety. Someone who meditates regularly will be more likely to keep eating well and managing their blood glucose properly when a stressful situation occurs. Accordingly, meditation also helps reduce hypertension and the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other things. Breathe in Everyone is always singing the praises of sport, but naturally, not everyone wants to be a triathlete or a mountain climber. Choose your activities based on your abilities and interests. For example, try aquafitness or hiking—or just taking a walk in your neighbourhood! Yoga is a physical and mental discipline that originated in India and adapts well to all body types and abilities. In addition to improving muscle tone and flexibility, yoga involves some meditation through breath control during practice. Another benefit is that you can practice it at the gym or in a park as part of a group session, or—if you ever need a bit of peace and quiet—on the beach, in your backyard or in your living room. According to some studies, yoga not only helps alleviate anxiety and depression, but also improves digestion, blood circulation and the effectiveness of your immune system. As great as that may sound, yoga is still physical activity, and so, it’s best to consult your health professional before dedicating your body and soul to practicing it. Also, remember to measure and record your blood glucose levels before and after each session. A healthy mind in a healthy body is your best tool for meeting the challenges of everyday life!

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A man and his wife on a boat sailing

Exotic Flavours: A Recipe For Success

You’ve chosen your destination, watched all the slideshows, salivate at the delicious dishes that await you… and then, diabetes crashes your party. Yes, travelling impacts your routine, especially food-wise, but there’s no need for you to go hungry. Read on! Before setting sail First, research your destination and its cuisine. For example, Mediterranean food is generally easier to manage than carb-rich Italian dishes (pizza and pasta ahoy!). Also make sure you learn about local eating habits. In some countries, such as Spain, people eat much later than in North America. Then, whether you’re going by plane or boat, contact your travel agent or carrier in advance to confirm mealtimes and request healthy options. You may be hit with delays, so plan to carry snacks such as nuts, crackers or fruit compote as well as rapid-absorption sugars—glucose tablets, for example. Finally, with all of this information in hand, talk to your health care professional about adjusting your diet plan and how to react if your blood glucose levels act up. While flying or sailing Be aware that travelling by plane can cause altitude-related discomfort such as dehydration and bloating, which can disrupt your blood glucose. Try to drink plenty of water, go easy on the alcohol and coffee, and avoid gassy foods (legumes, fast food, etc.). On a cruise, you’re likely to get plenty of time to enjoy good food and drinks. Be wary of buffets—or rather, of excess—watch your portions, prefer healthy options and don’t indulge in too many of those often super-sweet colourful cocktails. Both feet on the ground Once at your destination, you’ll probably want to see everything, do everything, taste everything… but you still need to monitor your carbs and follow your diet plan to keep your diabetes under control. Here are some tips for the road: Start by trying foreign foods in small quantities, and test your blood glucose more often than at home to see how it reacts to these changes. Prefer healthy cooking methods—grilling instead of frying, for example. Savour your meal by eating it slowly. That’s a good habit to adopt in general, as it helps you detect your satiety signals. Be as regular as you can with your meal schedule, and fill in the gaps with healthy snacks. When combined with heat, alcohol can have severe effects on your blood glucose level. Once again, moderation is your best friend. And remember to stay hydrated! Some diseases, such as hepatitis A, traveller’s diarrhea and typhoid, are transmitted through food and beverages. Do your best to avoid hazardous products (seafood, unpasteurized dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, badly cooked meat, street food, cocktails with ice cubes). Ultimately? Culinary pleasures are at the heart of travel, and though diabetes never goes on vacation, you can easily keep it at bay with a few precautions. Bon appétit!

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Delicious fresh breads on a table

Reconciling Gluten Intolerance And Diabetes

An estimated 1% of the general population suffers from celiac disease. And there is a significantly higher prevalence of the disease in people living with type 1 diabetes. For those people who have two autoimmune diseases, gluten-free eating is anything but a fad. What is gluten, exactly? Contrary to what the recent dietary trend would have you believe, gluten is not bad in and of itself. This protein, present in wheat, rye, triticale and barley, helps bind bread and other baked goods, which is why it’s found in many processed foods. Celiac disease or gluten intolerance? In people who suffer from celiac disease, gluten triggers an abnormal reaction of the immune system, causing damage to the small intestine. This results in nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to fatigue, anemia, weight loss, cramps and chronic diarrhea. People who are sensitive to gluten do not have damaged intestines but nevertheless experience various symptoms like abdominal pain, fatigue and headaches. Freeing yourself from gluten Be careful: before cutting gluten out of your life, you’ll need to have your celiac disease or gluten sensitivity diagnosis confirmed by a doctor. Reconciling this new problem with diabetes = mission impossible? Do you need to avoid anything that resembles grains? Of course not! Rice, corn, potato or legume flours, for example, in addition to millet, quinoa and manioc are all naturally gluten-free. But don’t think that gluten-free foods are necessarily healthier for you: they’re often lower in protein and higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. The most important thing, of course, is to maintain a balanced diet. Otherwise, you could develop dietary deficiencies or see your blood sugar increase. On that note, some bad news: eliminating whole-wheat products means losing a major source of dietary fibre—an ally for controlling blood sugar. Instead, opt for whole grains. Finally, it’s better to avoid battered or fried foods, since oils used for frying in restaurants are often contaminated by gluten. As you’re already following much of this advice, you probably won’t have any trouble making these few changes to your menu!

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A man and a woman walking in the snow

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Winter is not the exclusive domain of world-class athletes! You too can conquer the white season and enjoy its lovely landscapes. Get moving! It feels great! The benefits of physical activity are no secret to anyone: decreased blood pressure, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, improved weight and blood sugar management… On top of all this, it also helps fight off the seasonal blues by acting as a great source of energy and well-being. Keeping the flame alive Some activities can be practised throughout the year (jogging, for example). If your favourite physical pastime is firmly anchored in your habits, you’ll have less trouble continuing it when the mercury drops. Winter could also be a good time to switch sports—kind of like a wardrobe refresh! If you’re not already active, no need to get discouraged! Start small. Step by step, you’ll begin enjoying it, and before you know it, time will fly during your workout sessions. Look at it as fun “me” time! Setting foot outside No matter the time of year, if you want to have fun getting active, you need an activity you like. Try giving new adventures a go or rediscovering fun childhood memories.  Introduce your kids to skating, skiing or snowshoeing. Enthusiasm is catching, and the whole family will be having fun in no time! Go sliding with your family, or take a walk while dragging your toddlers along in a sled. Let your creativity run wild: bring snowmen to life, sculpt animals or mythical creatures… Who said that sport and art are mutually exclusive? Go for a nice, old-fashioned walk—see your neighbourhood in a new light! A few precautions Try to go out around midday, when it’s a little warmer and the sun is high in the sky. Don’t forget to dress warmly and cover your hands and face. If the sidewalk is likely to be frozen, wear cleats. Cold air tends to make you forget to drink water. Stay hydrated! Take good care of your skin! You should use sunscreen even in the winter. Bring things like moisturizing cream and lip balm along, too. If you’re planning to stay outside for a long time, bring a snack and blood sugar testing equipment as needed. Keep your equipment in your coat pocket or near your body so that the cold doesn’t damage the strips and cause your glucose meter to malfunction. Remember to measure and take note of your glucose levels before and after every physical activity session. Brrrrrrrr! In extremely cold weather, it’s better to stay indoors, but that’s no excuse for melting into your sofa until the snow melts! If you don’t feel like visiting the gym, there are lots of exercises you can do at home, with or without equipment. Why not tone your abs, legs or arms while watching a movie or between chores? Conclusion Remember to consult your health care professional; they can evaluate your physical condition and help you determine which activities are best for you.

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healthy plates on a table

To The Great Outdoors!

What better way to enjoy nice weather than by having a picnic? With a bit of planning, you can have all the fun you want while properly managing your blood glucose. Summertime, and the playin’ is easy Your outing can combine good food and physical activity! If you’re out with friends, bring out your frisbee or your old hacky sack. Have you still got it since high school? Going out as a family, you can play ball with the kids! Remember to always protect your skin from the sun. Crunchy foods, dipping foods Bring an assortment of raw vegetables to keep you satisfied. This way, you won’t have to resort to salty or fatty snack foods or go overboard on bread, cheese and cold cuts. Also prepare filling salads from ingredients such as quinoa or legumes. If you’re more of a sandwich fan, stuff them with vegetables and use whole-grain bread. Make your own dips and dressings rather than buying them. Great dips can be made using a Greek or plain yogurt base, since those are less fat than mayonnaise. You can add cucumber, mint or herbs. Let your creativity run wild! For dressings, combine: 1) Vegetable oils: olive, canola, corn, sunflower or colza, with a teaspoon of sesame or walnut oil; 2) Vinegars: balsamic, white or red wine, rice, pear, raspberry, etc. You’ll tend to use two parts oil for one part vinegar, but that proportion can vary depending on the products used. Add a bit of mustard (Dijon or Meaux) and honey or maple syrup to balance the texture and flavours. You can also add chopped herbs and a tiny pinch of salt or pepper to enhance the taste. And for dessert? Fresh fruits are in season! (Note, however, that fruits have a high carbohydrate content and should be eaten in moderation.) The Sunniest Salad Combine the following ingredients in more or less equal parts (approximately 400 ml each): Corn kernels (You can scrape them off ears of corn yourself or buy frozen or canned corn. In the latter case, rinse and drain the grains before use.) Black beans, rinsed and drained Cucumber, diced Red or orange pepper, diced Add green onion and chopped herbs to taste (chives, parsley, oregano, cilantro, etc.). You can also toss in cherry tomatoes, avocado and even mango. This salad goes well with a dressing made from olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. Drink to that! As always, remember to stay hydrated! Bring water instead of lemonade or juice, which contain a lot of sugar. Consider substitutes instead, such as sparkling water, homemade iced tea or water flavoured with fruits or herbs. (Try combining strawberries and basil, or peach and mint!) Pay attention to your alcohol consumption, too. When you’re outdoors, chatting and having fun in good company, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget how many times you’ve filled your glass. Stay alert!

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Girl drinking water on a sunny day

Hot Stuff

If you’re suffering from the heat, so is your equipment! Temperature can alter the results of blood glucose tests in a variety of ways—watch out for that! Loss of reliability Strips, insulin, insulin pumps and the like are sensitive to heat. That’s why it’s important to read storage temperature and usage condition instructions carefully. If necessary, ask your pharmacist for more information. If, for example, test strips or the glucose meter are not in proper working order and your test results are inaccurate, you won’t be able to calculate the amount of insulin you really need. Whether you’re insulin-dependent or not, you may not realize you’re slipping into hypo- or hyperglycemia before it’s too late. Insulin stays in the fridge! Insulin can be kept at room temperature—meaning, under 30°C—for a few days or even close to a month. (In any case, unless otherwise stated on the package, you should never use a product that’s been open for more than 28 days.) It’s better to keep it in a cool place before use so it doesn’t lose its effectiveness. Note that it mustn’t be frozen, either. When keeping a supply of insulin in the refrigerator, make sure the temperature remains between 2 and 8°C. If you inject a dose of insulin that meets your needs but your blood glucose remains high, it could be because the medication isn’t working as it should. In that case, don’t take any chances: change the vial or cartridge. Also, inspect your product before each use. If it appears to have changed colour or texture, replace it. What about insulin pumps? Don’t expose your pump to direct sunlight or heat; it might become obstructed, among other risks. Plus, the insulin in it might be denatured. Consider replacing it more often. A few tips Keep your blood glucose meter and all your equipment in a dark, cool and dry place. Don’t leave them in your car or in direct sunlight when going to the beach or the pool, for example. If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, keep your equipment and medication in a cooler. Careful, though: insulin should never be in direct contact with ice or an ice pack. Another great solution: insulated pouches. Various carrying bags, containers and other accessories are also available to keep your equipment at the right temperature. If you’re travelling by plane, keep all your necessities in your carry-on luggage. They would get too cold in the hold. It’s especially important to keep your equipment with you in hot weather, since heat causes blood glucose levels to fluctuate. Remember to test it more often!

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A woman at work

Managing Your Diabetes At Work

We all have days when we’re just overwhelmed. No matter what field you work in, you’re always asked to produce more, faster and with fewer resources. What happens to managing diabetes, then? Stress, emergencies and blood glucose It’s a familiar refrain: stress increases cortisol and causes blood glucose fluctuations. And when your days at the office are a never-ending sprint, eating well, being active and testing your blood glucose can become secondary concerns… which threatens your health—and, ironically, that sacrosanct productivity by the same token! Jumping everyday hurdles Every day is a miniature obstacle course. If you want to overcome it, you need a good plan. Don’t forget! Set reminders (for snacks, breaks, blood glucose tests, insulin injections, etc.) on your computer or smartphone. Have all your equipment easily accessible. Keep healthy snacks with you along with something to fight off hypoglycemia: juice, glucose tablets, etc. Get up and walk! Take short pauses during the day to walk around a bit, do some stretches and look at something other than your screen. Outside of 9 to 5 If you work night shifts, or if your schedule changes from one week to another, it can affect your circadian rhythm, which will have a domino effect on your tiredness and hunger, and thus on your blood glucose. In other words, better test it more frequently. Do your best to be regular with your meal and snack times and to keep up a good exercise routine. A matter of rights Unless you have a high-risk occupation (police officer, firefighter, commercial pilot, heavy equipment operator, etc.), you’re under no obligation to disclose any kind of confidential information about your health to your employer. Be aware that a potential employer cannot refuse to hire you simply because you live with diabetes, nor can your current employer discriminate against you for that reason. The law also entitles you to reasonable accommodation measures, such as breaks to measure your blood glucose or inject insulin, and a suitable place to do so. Choosing to speak up It may be a good idea to give your colleagues a basic explanation of what diabetes is and what managing it involves on a daily basis. If you equip them properly, they can become your allies and will be able to detect the signs of hypoglycemia and act accordingly. Listen to your body at all times. Don’t hesitate to say you’re not feeling well or to ask for help. Get over the barriers of embarrassment, the fear of being annoying or the wish to be like everyone else! In short, whatever happens, never lose sight of the fact that your health is the most important thing. Besides, eating well, taking breaks, staying active and managing stress are things that improve everyone’s productivity. Your colleagues—and even your bosses—would be well advised to copy you!

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