Monthly Archives: September 2017

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.

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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