A memory from my childhood that is still distinct in my mind is seeing my grandmother counting out the number of raisins she could eat. She would count out precisely six and even though she would want more, she would stop at six. It used to fascinate me and once when I asked her why she did it like that she simply laughed and gave me six raisins to eat.

It was only when my father was diagnosed with diabetes that I understood what my grandmother was doing. She was trying to control what she termed as indulgences to avoid fluctuations in her blood sugar levels.

It’s been two decades since my father has been living with diabetes. At the time, there wasn’t the internet and information was harder to come by. We now know so much about how best to manage diabetes but then, my grandmother and father had to rely on instinct and their doctor’s advice to control their blood sugar levels.

So today, I want to share with you that age-old wisdom with some of the wisdom that we currently know of.

  1. Be happy: this was my grandmother’s favourite advice to me. Any time I would be upset, she would tell me to be happy. What it translates to now is to manage your stress effectively. My father’s favourite activity to “be happy” is listening to music.
  2. Body is your temple: I don’t think I have seen anyone take care of their body as well as my grandmother. Every morning she would get dressed, scent herself and be ready to tackle the day. She walked everywhere. For my father, yoga and morning walks are how he ensures his body is in shape and his blood sugar levels are controlled.
  3. Home-cooked meals: in this sense, I would say my grandmother was lucky because she didn’t have to worry if she was having a well-balanced and complete nutrition. Home-cooked meals did the job for her. For my father though, I had to do some research. Trying to understand his dietary requirements taught me many things, one of them was glycemic index (GI) and how food items with low GI can help control blood sugar levels. While searching for foods with low GI, I came across ITC’s special atta for a diabetic person which we have recently added to our diets “Aashirvaad sugar release control atta”.It’s almost the same in taste but with low GI that helps diabetics control sugar spikes in their bodies and maintaining blood sugar level becomes easier.
  4. Prayers: something that my grandmother swore by. Me being a teenager, when I asked her who was listening to her prayers, she would tell me that she was doing it for herself, because it gave her peace of mind. It was almost like a hobby for her, sitting on her bed and saying her prayers. For my father, it is tending to the plants. It’s almost meditative for him.
  5. Always take your medicine on time: I remember how my grandma would take her tablets before every meal. It’s the sort of diligence that my father has picked up on as well.
  6. Use your time wisely: my grandmother lived quite a regimented life. She had a specific time she went to sleep and a time for when she would get up. Her meals too were timed to the clock. 1 PM was her lunchtime and she did not compromise on it. At the time I had thought it had something to do with her age. But now, I realize how important it is for diabetics to have a routine that they can follow more or less consistently for a long period of time. It is this routine too that allows them to ensure their blood sugar levels remain in check.
  7. Sleep on time: as a child how I had fought with my mother for sleeping late and getting up late! It’s only as an adult I realize just how important and healing sleep can be. Without proper sleep, you cannot function to the optimum and neither can you body. A good 7-8 hours of sleep is what any diabetic should aim for.
I hope my grandmother’s wisdom helps you as a diabetic or a caregiver to one in helping you/them to live a healthy life. Do you have some tips you think can be added to the above points? Let me know in the comments.


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