glycemic index and diabetes

Understanding Glycemic Index and Diabetes Connection


The glycemic index and diabetes connection affects those with the disease and those at risk. Diabetes disease occurs when your body is unable to utilize the glucose (or sugar) in your blood properly. As a result, your blood glucose level becomes higher than normal. This usually leads to serious complications.

The type of food you eat can determine how fast your blood glucose rises.  Carbohydrate foods like bread or refined sugars convert more easily into glucose for your energy needs, than other slowly digested carbohydrate-containing foods like whole grains or vegetables.  Eating these easily converted carbohydrates makes harder to control your blood sugar level.

What is Glycemic Index?

glycemic index and diabetesThe glycemic index (GI) is a number ascribed to foods to indicate the effect of the individual food on a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level.  A standard value of 100 represents pure glucose.

The glycemic index provides an idea of how fast your body can convert your food carbohydrate into glucose. The higher the number, the more impact the food has on your blood sugar. Likewise, a lower number represents less impact. Generally, a value of  55 or less represents Low (good) carbohydrate in this context; while 56 – 69 is medium and 70 or higher is high (bad).

You can find the glycemic index on the labels of some packaged foods. Also, a list of the glycemic index of common foods exists on this pdf.

Factors Affecting the GI of a Food

A number of factors actually affect the GI of the food you consumed. For instance, the amount of carbohydrate in the food you consume ultimately determines how much glucose becomes available in your blood at a time. This factor calculated by another measurement known as Glycemic Load (GL).  To calculate GL, multiply the Glycemic Index (GI) of any particular food by the carbohydrate amount or content of the consumed food. For example, while watermelon which has a high glycemic index will have a low glycemic load when consumed moderately; fructose, on the other hand, which has a low glycemic index, will have a high glycemic load if consumed in large quantity.


Easy Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics


The following are some examples of factors that can specifically affect the GI of a food:

  • Natural state or processed.
      • Generally, the more processed or cooked a food is, the higher the GI.


  • Ripeness
    • The more a fruit or vegetable ripens, the higher the GI becomes.
  • Fat and fiber
    • Fat and fiber tend to lower the GI of a food. The glycemic index represents only the amount of carbohydrate available (total carbohydrate minus the fiber) in a food. According to Dr. Howard, an American Heart Association (AHA) volunteer, “it’s very clear that if a certain amount of fat is ingested, it will retard the absorption of sugar no matter what the glycemic index is.”


  • Processing
    • affects the GI of foods. For example, whole wheat bread has a higher GI than stone ground whole wheat bread; whole fruit has a lower GI than commercial juice; a whole baked potato has a lower GI than mashed potato.
  • Cooking method
    • the extent of cooking of a food affects its GI. Soft-cooked pasta has a higher GI than al dente pasta.
  •  Variety
  •  brown rice has a lower GI than short-grain white rice but a higher GI than converted long-grain white rice.


  • Combinations
    •  Two or more different foods combined together and consumed will have a different GI from each of the foods consumed alone. The GI of a food is different when eaten alone than it is when combined with other foods. You can combine a high GI food with other low GI foods to have a better effect on the blood glucose level.
  • Nutritional Value
    • Food with little nutritional value has a lower GI than many nutritious foods. For example, Chocolate has a lower GI than oatmeal. Basic nutritional principles of variety have to be considered along with the use of the GI to ensure healthful foods as well as moderation of foods with few nutrients. The glycemic index shouldn’t be the only consideration when you are making choices on what to eat. Low glycemic index foods are not necessarily the best on their own. There is the need for vitamins, minerals, and calories. For example, oatmeal and green peas have more nutrients than potato chips although the latter has a lower glycemic index than oatmeal and about the same GI as green peas.

Making the connection: Glycemic Index and Diabetes

The glycemic load will help you to accommodate both the quality and the quantity of your carbohydrate at the same time. A less than 10 glycemic load is low, while a more than 20 is high. You can still healthily consume foods with a high glycemic index by doing so in smaller portions while balancing them with nutritious, low GI foods.

Studies have revealed that the total amount of carbohydrate in food is generally a stronger determinant of blood glucose response than the GI.  Research has also shown that carbohydrate counting is the first tool for managing blood glucose for most people with diabetes.

Due to the fact that the type of carbohydrate can affect blood glucose level, the use of GI may be helpful and can enhance blood glucose management. That means that GI in combination with carbohydrate counting may be of additional benefit in achieving blood glucose goals for those who want to and can put extra effort into monitoring their choices of food consumption.

You need a balanced diet

The American Heart Association (AHA ) advises that diabetes glycemic index should be used as a means of choosing a healthy carbohydrate. However, this should be used in conjunction with other considerations like nutrition, in planning the diet of diabetics.  Dr. Howard stated that the healthful benefits of complex carbohydrates like whole grains stem from the nutrient content of the food, rather than the glycemic index.  Furthermore, the fact that a food has high glycemic index does not mean it is not beneficial to you. For instance, “fruits tend to have higher glycemic indices, but they’re also good for you and a great to eat for a snack,” as stated by Dr. Howard. However, Dr. Howard cautioned that “just because something is high glycemic, doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you want.” Consequently, managing the issue of glycemic index for diabetics might require the help of your physician or dietician.

Glycemic Index and Diabetes: Weight control

Overweight or obese people constitute about 90% of people with type 2 diabetes. Such people have impaired the ability to make use insulin to adequately control their blood sugar levels. Therefore, they are more likely prone to developing diabetes.

In achieving quick weight loss, saturated fat foods can be replaced by low glycemic index carbohydrate and it is quite desirable; but this is not true of refined, high glycemic index carbohydrate.[1] A Cochrane review has revealed that overweight or obese people can achieve more weight loss and better control of fat by adopting low glycemic foods than by using higher glycemic index/load diets or other strategies.[2] The benefits were even apparent with low glycemic index/load diets where people eat as much as they want.[2] The review authors  concluded that “Lowering the glycemic load of the diet appears to be an effective method of promoting weight loss and improving lipid profiles and can be simply incorporated into a person’s lifestyle.”[2]

Diets based on a low glycemic index/load appear to provide better glycemic and inflammatory control than high glycemic index/load ones. They are therefore possibly more potentially effective in preventing obesity-related diseases.[3]

Glycemic Index and Diabetes: Disease Prevention

Scientific evidence has shown that individuals who adopted a low-GI diet over many years have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration than others.[4] These diseases are promoted by high blood glucose levels or repeated glycemic “spikes” after a meal consumption and also by the direct insulin level increase.[5]

Hyperglycemia following food consumption is also a diabetes-associated risk factor. There is remote evidence to show that it also presents an increased risk for atherosclerosis in the non-diabetic population.[6] Furthermore,  high GI diets, high blood-sugar levels more generally, as well as diabetes[7] are also associated with kidney disease.

Conversely, there are places like in Asia and Peru where people eat high-glycemic index foods such as potatoes and high-GI rice and still have a low level of diabetes or obesity. The high consumption of legumes in South America and fresh fruit and vegetables in Asia is likely responsible for the lowers glycemic effect in individuals from these areas. The mixture of low- and high-GI carbohydrates results in moderate GI values.

A food with a high glycemic index can have a low carbohydrate content or vice versa; this can be taken care of with the glycemic load (GL) where GL= GI% x grams of carbohydrate per serving. Carbohydrate diets with a low glycemic index and calculated carbohydrate intake would result in a stable blood sugar level.


vegan diet for diabetes


  1. Brand-Miller J, Buyken AE (2012). “The glycemic index issue”. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 23 (1): 62–7. PMID 22157060. doi:10.1097/MOL.0b013e32834ec705.
  2. Thomas DE, Elliott EJ, Baur L (2007). “Low glycemic index or low glycemic load diets for overweight and obesity”. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD005105. PMID 17636786. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005105.pub2
  3. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G (2013). “Long-term effects of low glycemic index/load vs. high glycemic index/load diets on parameters of obesity and obesity-associated risks: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 23 (8): 699–706. PMID 23786819. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2013.04.008.
  4. Chiu CJ, Liu S, Willett WC, et al. (April 2011). “Informing food choices and health outcomes by use of the dietary glycemic index”. Nutr. Rev. 69 (4): 231–42. PMC 3070918 Freely accessible. PMID 21457267. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00382.x.
  5. Temelkova-Kurktschiev TS, Koehler C, Henkel E, Leonhardt W, Fuecker K, Hanefeld M (December 2000). “Postchallenge plasma glucose and glycemic spikes are more strongly associated with atherosclerosis than fasting glucose or HbA1c level”. Diabetes Care. 23 (12): 1830–4. PMID 11128361. doi:10.2337/diacare.23.12.1830
  6. Balkau B, Shipley M, Jarrett RJ, et al. (March 1998). “High blood glucose concentration is a risk factor for mortality in middle-aged nondiabetic men. 20-year follow-up in the Whitehall Study, the Paris Prospective Study, and the Helsinki Policemen Study”. Diabetes Care. 21 (3): 360–7. PMID 9540016. doi:10.2337/diacare.21.3.360.

7 “Diabetes and kidney failure”. Better Health Channel. State Government of Victoria. Retrieved 2012-02-21.

scrambled tofu with veggies

Scrambled Tofu with Veggies

Missing Your Scrambled Eggs? Try our Scrambled Tofu with Veggies!

Scrambled tofu with veggies? What about the eggs?Breakfast often focuses on scrambled eggs. Indeed, whether eating at home or away, most breakfast meals include eggs in some form.

Breakfast often focuses on scrambled eggs. Indeed, whether eating at home or away, most breakfast meals include eggs in some form. However, plant-based foodies know that while eggs might claim high nutrition benefits, they also contain unhealthy cholesterol. In addition, studies show that eggs create more health issues for diabetics.  <Read more about problems with eggs>

But can tofu actually taste good? Absolutely! Tofu itself tastes quite bland. Its flavor relies on what we include in and with it. Properly seasoned, tofu takes on any range of flavor.

Special notes regarding tofu. Look for non-GMO, organic tofu. In addition, sprouted is best. You will notice that tofu comes in a variety of consistencies, from soft to extra firm. Also, silken types differ from those in the refrigerated section. Some recipes work best with silken, for instance, puddings. While others require a firm texture. To create an even chewier firm texture, freeze the firm or extra-firm in its original package. Thaw and drain to use in your favorite recipe.

Scrambled Tofu with Veggies

scrambled tofu with veggiesIngredients:

  • 1 pound block of tofu. We use extra firm, frozen, thawed, drained; but other forms will work)
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby spinach or kale
  • 1 T turmeric
  • 3 T nutritional yeast



  • Using your hands, crumble tofu into scrambled egg like pieces
  • Add turmeric and nutritional yeast and toss to coat well.
  • In a sauté pan, heat oil.
  • Sauté onion until softened. Add garlic and sauté until peppers are softened.
  • Add garlic, broccoli, and peppers. Sauté until peppers are crisp tender.
  • Mix in the tofu crumbles. Sauté until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in spinach or kale. Continue cooking just until greens are wilted.
  • Alternatively, you may mix in the crumbles and greens.
    • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes at 325°


  • Add your favorite vegetables. Try cauliflower and carrots, or peas, green beans, and carrots.
  • Try adding lentils, garbanzo beans, or other favorite beans.
  • Top with fresh tomatoes, chopped.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped herbs of your choice.
  • Top with a delicious vegan cheese sauce.
  • Serve on a tortilla wrap or flatbread.




Easy Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics

Begin Your Day Right: Easy Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics

Many of us face the morning rush and often skip breakfast. However, while breakfast provides a good start for all, diabetics especially need a healthy meal to start the day. Our easy breakfast ideas for diabetics enable you to start the day right.

Diabetics need breakfast

My husband frequently rushes through breakfast or forgoes it all together. Although he works at home, he never feels that he has time to sit down and enjoy a nourishing meal.

When his diabetes diagnosis brought him to reality, he realized he needed to make some changes. One of the first changes resulted in finding easy breakfast ideas for diabetics for him to enjoy.

Overnight oatmeal offers an extremely healthy morning meal that lets you awaken to its enticing aromas. You will find other oat hearty breakfast ideas on our Low Sugar Oatmeal Breakfast Ideas page, too.

But what if you want to expand beyond oats? Surely easy breakfast ideas for diabetics exist that feature other ingredients!

Indeed they do! When dear hubby grows tired of oats, we create other options that ensure he enjoys breakfast each day.

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics, not oat-based (may still contain oats)

easy breakfast ideas for diabeticsClick on each to go to the actual recipe


Each of these presents a wonderfully healthy choice for breakfast. However, don’t stop there. We think that a Parfait or Berry Crisp offers a great choice for dessert, too. Either of the scrambles tucks neatly into a flatbread to become a hearty lunch. Need a snack while running errands? Dry granola offers a healthy crunch!


Easy Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics begins here but doesn’t end


We are constantly expanding our recipes and menus. Choosing to eat vegan and healthy, as well as low glycemic does not imply boring and tasteless. Indeed, we believe your choices increase as you expand your food choices.

Sign up for our mailing list and receive new recipes and information!



vegan sweet potato veggie casserole

Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole

Breakfast or Lunch, Enjoy Your Veggies!

Sweet potatoes find their way onto your breakfast plate with this Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole. Starting your day with a hearty meal might help more than your good mood. Indeed, this low glycemic meal might help stabilize your blood sugar. Additionally, it provides a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Why sweet potatoes instead of white? <nutrition facts> Of course, you may choose to use white potatoes of your choice. However sweet potatoes offer a healthier choice for diabetics. In fact, they boast high nutrition in a low-glycemic package. And most vegetables and greens fall on the low glycemic index, as well.

Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics

As with our other recipes, please follow your own preferences. Recipes should be viewed as guidelines, a template for your own creativity. Of course, you need to consider the nutrition levels as you add, subtract, or replace ingredients. However, creating your unique meal using our Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole Recipe offers fun and flavors!

And now, our recipe!

Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole

If planning to bake, please preheat oven to 325°

vegan sweet potato veggie casseroleIngredients:

  • 2 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T vegan beef flavored powder
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 T each:
    • thyme
    • oregano
    • rosemary
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, red or green or a mixture
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 3 cups total vegetables, your choice of
    • green beans, cut
    • green peas
    • broccoli, diced
    • cauliflower, diced
  • 16 ounces baby spinach or kale (leaves, not kale stems)

To Prepare in oven:

Time-saving tip: prepare the ingredients the night before. In the morning, assemble the casserole and bake. Your breakfast bakes while you get yourself ready for the day!

  • Blend the powder and water together
  • Add thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
  • In a large glass baking pan, add remaining ingredients except spinach or kale.
  • Pour broth mixture over vegetables.
  • Bake about 25 minutes at 325°, until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Stir in spinach or kale.
  • Bake an additional 5-10 minutes to lightly cook greens.

Slow Cooker variation:

Probably the easiest way to enjoy our Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole!  In fact, you might decide to put everything except the greens in your slow cooker at night. Set it on low. Then, in the morning, add the greens and cook for a few more minutes. Easy, delicious, and full of nutrition!

  • Prepare as in oven directions.
  • Cook on high for 1 hour or low for 3-4 hours.
  • Again, add greens for last few minutes only.


Skillet Procedure:

We recommend using your oven or slow cooker for easiest and healthiest preparation of our Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole. However, you may choose to use a skillet. For this method, follow this procedure:

  • Mix broth powder with seasonings, as in oven directions.
  • Sauté potatoes, onions, and garlic in the broth until potatoes are nearly tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except for greens.
  • Saut é until vegetables are crisp tender.
  • Add greens and continue cooking until greens are wilted. However, do not overcook the greens as they become bitter and lose nutritional value.


As always, we encourage you to use vegetables currently in season in your area. Also, choose your favorites. However, you might include nutritious vegetables not normally eaten in your home for extra variety.


More Recipes at: Vegan Globetrotter


berry crisp recipe

Berry Crisp Recipe for Diabetics

 Love Berries? Try our Berry Crisp Recipe, Created for Diabetics!

Why a berry crisp recipe? Our family loves apple crisp, peach crisp, and yes, berry crisp. However, most recipes use a hefty amount of sugar as well as bleached flour. Of course, diabetics cannot safely eat these sugary treats.

Our solution? Create a diabetic friendly recipe that our entire family loves. We include this under breakfast, as we enjoy it on leisurely weekends and holidays. However, it also serves as an incredible dessert.

berry crisp recipeAlthough for our family breakfasts we bake in a glass baking pan, try making single servings in glass custard cups. Also, this berry crisp recipe bakes nicely in a slow cooker for more convenience.

Substitutions? Absolutely! Sliced apples replace berries quite neatly.  Additionally, you might try other fruit. Just adjust your seasonings to suit.


Filling Ingredients:

4 cups unsweetened berries (such as raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, etc; we like mixed)

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

3 T coconut flour

2 Medjool dates or 1 T date sugar


Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup granola for diabetics (or just double other ingredients)
  • 1 T  cinnamon
  • 2 tsp date sugar
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 2 T coconut oil, melted.



Preheat oven to 350

If using frozen berries, thaw and drain well.

If using dates, grind to a paste in a processor or blender.

Mix filling flour and sugar together.

Mix in applesauce and berries, turning to coat well.

Place in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

Prepare topping:  Mix all topping ingredients together.

Sprinkle on top of berry filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Makes 8  large servings.


Want a vegan whipped cream to top your berry crisp recipe?

Then try this vegan-friendly whipped cream recipe


** Note: Date Sugar and Coconut Sugar are both considered low glycemic index ingredients. However, white processed sugar and other alternatives list as high on the glycemic index scale. Additionally, both date sugar and coconut sugar offer considerable nutritional benefits, making them suitable sugar substitutes.

Date Sugar Nutritional Information                      Coconut Sugar Nutritional Information

vegan parfait recipe

Vegan Parfait Recipe for Diabetics


Diabetics Now Can Enjoy Our Vegan Parfait Recipe


Fruit and nuts, nestled in a creamy parfait custard allowing diabetics to enjoy with our vegan parfait recipe. Can it be true?

Absolutely! Not only safe for diabetics, but also using ingredients that boost health. Traditional parfait uses sugars and fats and might best be consumed infrequently. However, our vegan parfait recipe boasts a full flavored dish that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, it hosts a healthy dose of protein.

However, a parfait for breakfast? Yes! Indeed, parfaits often make their way onto breakfast buffets and formal breakfasts. In addition to breakfast, these little nutritional powerhouses offer a chance at a healthy dessert.

easy breakfast ideas for diabetics vegan parfait recipe

Our vegan parfait recipe is indeed delicious. However, we encourage you to spike your creativity. Experiment with any mix of nuts, seeds, and fruits you have on hand. Choose your favorites. Set these as gorgeous edible centerpieces on your brunch table, or enjoy as a colorful healthy dessert or snack.

Cashew Cream:

Nut and Seed Mix:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup each:
    • raw pumpkin seeds
    •  raw sunflower seeds
    •  shelled hemp seeds
    •  unsweetened dried shredded coconut

OR use 3 cups of our Vegan Granola for Diabetics


  • 2 cups of your favorite berries or a mix of berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc


To make the cashew cream:

  • Drain cashews and discard the soaking water.
  • Pour the water or almond milk into a blender.
  • Add the cashews, syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  • Blend on high for 60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer to a glass canning jar, add a lid, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours, until thickened.
  • If using nuts and seeds, put all in a food processor and pulse just until all are chopped but still quite chunky. For granola mix, put into food processor and pulse slightly to break into a chunky mixture.

vegan parfait recipeAssemble:

  • Using parfait glasses or other similar, put a layer of berries into the bottom of each glass. Add a layer of the granola mixture.
  • Add a layer of the granola mixture.
  • Spoon a layer of cashew cream on top of the granola.
  • Finish with a layer of granola
  • Top with fruit.
  • Alternatively, create double the layers using less of each.
  • Serve immediately.

Variation:  If you prefer to chill these overnight to serve for breakfast, or save for a dessert, layer the cashew cream and fruit and chill until ready to serve. Top with a layer of granola and a few fruit pieces to garnish just before serving.


Want more healthy vegan recipes? VeganGlobetrotter Website
granola for diabetics

Granola for Diabetics

An Easy Recipe: Granola for Diabetics

Granola for diabetics, it makes a great breakfast food or snack. Store bought granola often  contains excess sugar. However, this recipe offers you a delicious blend with no added sugars. Diabetics may enjoy this granola every day. Indeed, granola shines in many recipes, though many enjoy it by itself.

granola for diabeticsYou will notice that we exclude dried fruit from this recipe. A good granola for diabetics should be low on the glycemic index and ours is. However, adding dried fruit would increase the rating. We suggest adding fresh fruit in moderation when you would like it in your granola.

As with any recipe, our granola for diabetics offers a basic plan. You should adjust the ingredients to your preferences. For instance, while ginger and nutmeg add dimension to the flavors, you might choose to include extra cinnamon instead. You might also choose other seeds. Create your own versions of our granola for diabetics!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 6 cups rolled grains. Use a mix of your favorites, maybe oats, rye, barley
  • 2 cups raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts or other favorites
  • 1/4 cup each:
    • raw pumpkin seeds 
    • sunflower seeds
    • sesame seeds
    • flax seeds, ground
    • wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract



  • 3 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg



  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add the seasonings and mix well.
  • Mix the wet ingredients together,  then add to the dry.
  • Stir to mix well.
  • Line two baking dishes with parchment paper.
  • Spread the mixture the dishes.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure even browning.


We store in glass canning jars in the refrigerator. This recipe makes about 15 cups, which allows for 30 half cup servings.

This recipe makes about 15 cups, which allows for 30 half cup servings.


Serving Ideas:

Looking for more healthy vegan recipes? Try

granola for diabetics

oatmeal breakfast ideas

Low Sugar Oatmeal Breakfast Ideas

Eating oats everyday helps reduce blood sugar

Diabetics and pre-diabetics continue searching for healthy, low-sugar foods to enjoy throughout the day. Our low sugar oatmeal breakfast ideas offer suggestions on managing the first meal of the day.

What You Will Find in this Article

  1. Why oats offer some of the best nutrition for blood glucose control
  2. Pros of eating oats every day
  3. Cons of eating oats every day
  4. Our Low sugar oatmeal breakfast ideas and recipes

Why Oats offer great nutrition

Oats contain a hefty dose of nutrients. In addition, with a glycemic index of 45-55 (steel cut and whole varieties) they offer tremendous benefits to stabilizing blood sugar in everyone, including diabetics. Further, this benefit aids both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.oatmeal breakfast ideas oats for diabetics

Additionally, the low fat, high fiber profile aids in maintaining a healthy weight. With no cholesterol, the benefits continue to shine.


For Best Nutrition

Choose either steel cut oats or whole oats for lowest glycemic index. Scottish oats and old-fashioned rolled oats provide the next best choice. Avoid quick oats and flavored, pre-packaged oats. While they have a mid-range glycemic index, or GI, the slightly higher GI value works against you. Further, pre-packaged oats usually contain added sugars and other additives.

When looking at the glycemic index, remember that generally, the more processed a food, the higher the GI. Opt for foods as close to their natural state as possible.


Types of Oats: What’s the Difference?


Benefits of Eating Oats Every Day


  • Contains high fiber combined with low glycemic index to help regulate blood sugar.
  • The fiber with no cholesterol benefits your heart.
  • Provides a quick, easy meal.
  • The high fiber helps maintain a healthy weight by making you feel full longer
  • Provides a good source of long-term energy.
  • The fiber helps maintain a healthy digestion
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Good source of protein, fiber, and low fat.
  • Oats are quite versatile. Use them in a variety of ways!


Cons of Eating Oats Every Day


  • Oats can present a problem for people with gastroparesis.  Therefore, we suggest you discuss this with your doctor.
  • Bloating or flatulence may occur due to high fiber. Eating smaller amounts and building up a tolerance seems to help.



Oatmeal Breakfast Ideas


Our first recipe offers a simple approach that can take on so many variations. Customize it to your personal favorites. Also, change it up for different flavor combinations! Although

Although our large family usually needs two large slow cookers for dinners, we use a smaller version for this oatmeal. We like this  Elite Gourmet 1.5 quart slow cooker   which makes a perfect 4 servings.

***Note the difference in amounts, depending on the type of oats you are using.

oatmeal breakfast ideasEasy Overnight Oatmeal

(serves 4)
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
4 3/4 cups water

(serves 2)
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water

Mix oats and water in slow cooker.

Add 1 T or more, your choice of:

  •  cinnamon (We prefer Ceylon Cinnamon) See Notes Below
  •  chopped nuts- our favorites are walnuts and almonds.
  • seeds such as sesame, sunflower or pumpkin

and 1/2 cup or more of your favorite

  • Berries provide antioxidants, other nutrients. In addition, they act as a natural sweetener.
  • Chopped Apple sweetens and boosts nutrition. Cinnamon and apple trigger a calming effect in most people

and set for 8-9 hours. Double or half the amounts, depending on the size of your cooker. 


Cinnamon contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the risk of heart disease. Also, health professionals believe it improves sensitivity to insulin and helps lower blood sugar levels.

Stove Top Version

Follow package directions to make a stove top version, if you prefer. We think it helps start our morning with a bit of calming peace when we awaken to cinnamon and fruit aromas.



Next on Oatmeal Breakfast Ideas, a terrific smoothie! Smoothies make easy, quick meals or mid-day snacks.  However, we suggest you use this recipe as a template. Change the berries, add a banana or protein powder, or even a little cacao powder. Make it uniquely yours!

Mixed Berry Smoothie


oatmeal breakfast ideasIngredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk 
  • 1/4 cup steel cut or old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries or berries of your choice
  • tsp of Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cacao powder  or 1 scoop Protein or meal powder (we like Orgain)
  • seeds, nuts, or nut butter (try almond butter)


    • Either soak oats overnight in the milk or blend in a grinder before starting
    • Put all ingredients in a blender
    • Pulse to desired consistency. Add ice, if needed
    • Enjoy fresh!
    • Makes 1 serving



Muffins, freshly baked, create an irresistible snack or breakfast treat. This oatmeal breakfast idea may also find its way to the dessert tray. As with our other recipes, feel free to change out the berries for your favorites. By altering these flavors, you create a new taste!


Berry-Good Muffins


oatmeal breakfast ideasIngredients

  • 1.5 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (white wheat works well, too or just add more oat flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1.5 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup raspberries or strawberries
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped


  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • Mix the wet ingredients in another smaller bowl
  • Combine the wet and the dry and mix until combined
  • Fold in berries and nuts
  • Use muffin paper cups to avoid using any spray or oil
  • Use a tablespoon to drop level spoonfuls into a muffin pan
  • Fill each cup at least ¾ full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min




Try our oatmeal breakfast ideas!

We hope you find these recipes as healthy and delicious as we do!  Additionally, we invite you to submit your best breakfast ideas, too.

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Read How to Find Hidden Sugars


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diabetes-inflammation connection

Diabetes-Inflammation Connection

Diabetes or Inflammation?

Research shows a diabetes-inflammation connection, but what is that relationship?

diabetes-inflammation connection


Some studies indicate that inflammation within the body might occur before diabetes. Does inflammation cause diabetes?

First, What is Inflammation?

According to Wikipedia:

Inflammation (from Latininflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants,[1]and is a protective response involving immune cellsblood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair.

The classical signs of inflammation are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen.[2]

Inflammation may occur anywhere in the body, including within.

People diagnosed with diabetes typically have chronic inflammation before diabetes. This inflammation correlates to being overweight or obese. Many doctors believe that obesity leads to inflammation which then allows diabetes to develop in many individuals. However, not all developing diabetes are overweight.

Backing up another step, the standard American diet, SAD, contributes to the increasing rate of obesity in America and elsewhere. Diet drinks and sugar substitutes build on this health issue.


Health professionals encourage people to develop healthier lifestyles.

Chronic inflammation from lifestyle choices develops at any age and may start in early childhood in some people. To avoid the diabetes-inflammation connection, it’s important to build a healthy attitude. Some factors to consider are:

  • Regular exercise that is both aerobic and anaerobic. A combination of weight lifting and aerobics helps keep the body toned and healthy. For those with a normally active lifestyle, a gym membership might not be necessary. Daily gardening, for instance, provides good exercise while enjoying fresh air.
  • Proper rest includes at least 7 hours of peaceful sleep and perhaps a short power-nap when needed. Need some tips for better sleep? See this article from Dr. Mercola.
  • Very nutritious foods, as close to their natural state provide the nutrients your body needs. Research continues to show the need for a diet that features plant-based foods as the center.
  • Avoiding sugars and artificial sweeteners, as well as simple carbs, is essential. These provide the food for inflammation. Avoiding them helps starve inflammatory issues and allows the body to return to a healthy, balanced state. Remember to watch for hidden sugars, too!

How can we avoid developing the diabetes-inflammation connection?

Developing a lifestyle that encompasses whole foods, close to their natural state provides a strong dietary base. In addition, omit all sugars, artificial sweeteners, and simple carbohydrates. Further, enjoy your foods raw or lightly cooked whenever possible.


Interested in recipes? See those at


diabetes-inflammation connection


hidden sugars in food

How to Find Hidden Sugars In Food

Healthy? Find the Hidden Sugar in Your Food

Finding the hidden sugars in food helps your journey to better health. You avoid any sugars to your food. However, what about those hidden sugars?

hidden sugars in food

According to Forbes, Americans consume a very unhealthy three pounds of sugar a week, amounting to 500 calories a day. ‘

Sodas account for about a third and other sweetened drink, candy, cakes, and cereals comprise about a quarter of this consumption.

However, that leaves about 1.25 pounds per week in other sugars. Where do we find these hidden sugars in food?


Sugar is addictive

hidden sugars in food

Scientists have discovered that sugar is as addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. When we consume sugar, we feel a surge of energy or a high. Unfortunately, that surge does not last for long and we find ourselves feeling worse than before.

Food manufacturers use this fact to ensure we continue enjoying their products. Additionally, sugar helps with the color and texture of processed foods. It also extends the shelf life of many products.



Also Read: Diabetes-Inflammation Connection


hidden sugars in foodSearching for hidden sugars in food

So how do we find these sugars that lurk in our foods? Let’s start with these hints.


  1. Sucrose sounds simple. And it is. It’s simply table sugar! Also known as cane sugar, sucrose is half glucose and half fructose. While glucose can be metabolized by every organ, the liver alone must break down fructose. Consumption of fructose leads to weight gain and many health issues.
  2. Evaporated cane juice isn’t any better. Derived from sugar cane syrup, it provides the same problems.
  3. Brown rice syrup, often labeled as organic, might sound healthy. After all, brown rice is good for you, right? Unfortunately, it’s still sugar. Additionally, even organic might contain arsenic.
  4. High Fructose Cane Syrup reveals its nature in its very name. Studies confirm its link to diabetes and obesity. Avoid this one!
  5. Fruit Juice, whether from concentrate or not, still contains sugar. Whole fruit is high in fiber which helps slow down the metabolism of the sugar, allowing your body to absorb it slowly. Take away the fiber and you are left with sugar juice. Skip the juice and grab an apple. An added bonus with the whole fruit is that it leaves you feeling full longer.
  6. Other additives ending in –ose, should also be avoided. Like sucrose, glucose and fructose,  galactose, maltose, dextrose and lactose are all sugars. Some occur naturally in foods, such as lactose in dairy products. But sugar is sugar. You will find them in many processed foods. Manufacturers use them as with other sugars. Read labels carefully!
  7. Agave Nectar, considered by some as a natural sugar, frequently finds its way into natural baked goods. But agave nectar is not a health food. Higher in fructose than cane sugar, it doesn’t contain any more antioxidants or minerals than the other sugars. In fact, says Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, agave is 85 percent fructose. “Agave’s probably one of the worst,” Dr. Weil says. However, it does have a lower glycemic load than other sweeteners, so it causes a less drastic spike in blood sugar. Its extra sweet flavor also allows you to use a bit less for the same flavor.
  8. Blackstrap Molasses actually contains a fair amount of nutrients including vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, selenium and a good dose of iron. Unfortunately, it is still sugar and must be treated as such.
  9. Maple Syrup or Sugar is a favorite with vegans. However, maple syrup offers the same sugar spike and health components.

But where are these additives lurking?

Reading labels brings a new appreciation for what you have been eating and drinking! It might even convince you to give up some favorites.

  1. Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce often contain more sugar than they do tomatoes. Additionally, look for a mixture of the worst sugars, including high fructose cane syrup, often abbreviated as HFCS. An attempt to find a healthy condiment leaves you completely frustrated.
  2. Yogurt is a healthy food, right? Well, read the label. Yes, you will usually find a high dose of sugar in all of your favorite brands.
  3. Pasta Sauces, Gravy Mixes contain a surprising amount of sugar and salt. Consider making your own at home. You might even choose to can your own versions for an quick and easy meal.
  4. Salad Dressings, like condiments and sauces, often contain added sugars. Make your own at home for a fresh, custom made flavor addition.
  5. Dried Fruit is a concentrated sugar source. Additionally, some dried fruit has an added sugar coating. Reach for that fresh fruit instead!
  6. Granola Bars and their other health food cousins often have dried fruit and added sugars. Bring the family together to make a homemade version
  7. Instant Oatmeal as well as other breakfast cereals, usually contain a hefty amount of added sugar. Oatmeal is a diabetics best friend. Make it fresh with oats in just minutes, adding a little fresh fruit for flavor. You’ll save money while avoiding all that sugar!
  8. Canned Foods come packed in added sugars. If fresh fruit is not an option, look for frozen or canned without any added sugars, including fruit juice. Failing that, drain and rinse before using.
  9. Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, and other sides usually contain large amounts of sugars in various forms. Make your own at home or opt for a steamed vegetable.
  10. Restaurant foods often contain heavy amounts of sugar, salt, fats, and possibly MSG. While they won’t come with a label, you can often choose food without gravy and sauces. Breads and even breading coating often add sugar. Look for meals prepared fresh and request that such additives be omitted.


Avoiding hidden sugars in food requires reading labels

Read labels, ask what is included, and be prepared to make changes to reduce your overall sugar intake. It is possible avoid hidden sugars in food by being diligent. When in doubt, find recipes to try at home! offers healthy, vegan recipes from all over the world!