If you’ve been diagnosed with type II diabetes or told you are at risk of developing the disease, it’s time to take action. You can do a lot to retain control over your lifestyle and minimize the impact diabetes is going to have. Switching to a diet that is entirely or mostly plant-based will do you a lot of good.

Working With Your Doctor

While taking the initiative and educating yourself about positive diabetes-related dietary changes is a great step, don’t try and solve your problems alone. Consult with your doctor about the best way to alter your diet and stay healthy. It’s possible to slow the progression of diabetes significantly and even minimize your need for medication, but getting professional medical guidance is vital.

Changes Involved In A Plant-Based Diet

In order to make it sustainable, you need to make your shift away from meats and towards vegetables a gradual process. You will also want to pay greater attention to your carbohydrate intake, avoiding foods with a high glycemic index. These are basically processed grains (white bread, cereals), potatoes, and a few notable fruits like watermelons and pineapples. Low glycemic index carbs, which include dark whole grains, pasta, beans, and most starchy vegetables are much better.

Beans and other high-protein vegetables are going to be very important to replace the nutrients you are giving up by ditching meat. You should also be on the lookout for high-fiber foods. These have multiple benefits for treating diabetes (see below). If you are looking for a general rule of thumb, try volumetrics. This will point you towards foods that are filling but low in calories. Just read nutrition labels and look for foods whose serving sizes in grams exceed their calorie counts. A cup of raw carrots, for instance, weighs about 100 grams but contains only 50 calories.

Why Plant-Based Diets Work

When you minimize the amount of meat in your diet, you are cutting way back on saturated fats, which are known to be one of the biggest problem ingredients for diabetics and those at risk of diabetes. By reducing your saturated fat intake (as well as your intake of all fats), you will reduce your overall caloric intake. Over time, this will both bring your weight down and improve your insulin sensitivity.

The great news is that once you become physically habituated to eating a mainly or entirely vegetarian diet, your body’s insulin regulation processes become more efficient. You are less sensitive to blood sugar swings caused by carbohydrates and you can start enjoying safe carbohydrates (those with a low glycemic index) pretty much at will. Even carbs with a high glycemic index are okay in limited amounts.

Advantages Compared To Other Diet Modification Plans

Dietary changes are virtually impossible to avoid if you want to adapt your lifestyle to cope with diabetes. Opting to use a plant-based diet has some significant advantages. For one thing, unlike other plans, going vegetarian does not require strict portion control. For another, the overall boost in fiber you will get from switching to plant-based foods will do a better job of filling you up than other diabetes-friendly diets. This makes one of the hardest parts of the process – reducing your calorie intake – a lot easier.

This overview is really just an introduction to the idea of a diabetes-friendly plant-based diet. Keep educating yourself to uncover more useful information and to collect additional details. Don’t forget to work with your doctor. By paying attention to professional advice and committing yourself to a healthier diet you can keep your diabetes under strict control.

Martyn Williams is a record-holding extreme explorer, author and successful entrepreneur. He is a yoga teacher and practices natural and Ayurveda healing. To learn more, check out his site, Haritaki.org.