Complications specifically related to gestational diabetes include
- Having a higher chance of c-section delivery
- Having high blood pressure
- Having diabetes in a future pregnancy
- Developing Diabetes in life
- Giving birth to a child with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life
- Giving birth early
- Having a child with low blood sugar.
Due to these serious, and sometimes deadly, complications, it’s paramount that those with diabetes seek effective treatment as soon as possible.
While most of us naturally assume that Western medicine represents the peak of human advancements in health care, in reality, there are other options that can sometimes be more effective.
For example, although Western medicine thrives when it comes to curing or relieving the symptoms of diseases through pharmaceutical drugs and surgeries, it falters when it comes to preventing illnesses in the first place.
Even though the idea that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can keep one healthy became popular in recent decades, many people are still confused when it comes to what to eat, how to exercise, and how to live in order to be healthy. Adding to the confusion is also how the definition of health has changes from individual to individual. From ketogenic dieters to vegans to paleo-lovers, and high-intensity interval trainers to 8-minute abs-lovers to pilates-followers, many health pundits promise to bring well-being to every subscriber of their unique systems. Although these diets, lifestyles, and exercise regiments may have some benefits, Ayurveda provides insight to what’s best for each individual on a case by case basis, which is why Ayurveda is growing in popularity. Individuals are seeing positive changes in their overall health when they were unsuccessful with other regiments.
Get Personalized Treatment with Ayurveda
The fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to preventative health has been understood for over 7,000 years by India’s ancient system of healthcare known as Ayurveda. From an Ayurvedic point of view, every individual has a unique physical constitution that is comprised of a mixture of three key building blocks, known as doshas. The three doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha.
If one of these doshas become imbalanced in our body, we fall into a state of disease. For that reason, Ayurvedic doctors analyze each patient’s body type and determine the imbalances that they are prone to. After that, the physician provides the patient with lifestyle routines tailored uniquely to them in order to bring about a state of balance. These routines include everything—sleep, diet, herbs, exercise, cleansing and stress reduction techniques.
Because treating diabetes relies so heavily on lifestyle factors, Ayurveda’s holistic approach, which includes superior lifestyle recommendations in comparison to Western medicine, makes it ideal for preventing, and even reversing the condition.
Ayurveda + Diabetes
From an Ayurvedic perspective, diabetes is typically caused by an excess of kapha dosha. Kapha is made up of the elements earth and water—its qualities are heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, and oily. An excess of kapha leads to a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, and eventually, possibly diabetes. For that reason, when treating type 2 diabetes with Ayurveda, bringing kapha dosha into balance is the primary concern.
Ayurveda’s thousands of years of accumulated knowledge offer us all of the tools we need to reinstate this balance in order to help us return to an optimal state of health. Below are some key changes to your diet and lifestyle that you can start now. These will invite greater ease, purity, and spiritual health into your life. You will also find important Ayurvedic treatment options for diabetes.
One thing that prevents many people from making the dietary changes necessary to avoid diabetes is the idea that they will be forced to eat bland and unappetizing food for the rest of their lives; forced to look forward to the occasional “cheat day.”
With Ayurveda, nobody is condemned to a boring diet. In fact, the joy of living is always prioritized above all else. For that reason, this system gives great importance to taste, or rasa, in all of its meals, due to the joy, enthusiasm, and therapeutic effects it brings.
When it comes to managing diabetes, it’s not the case that your food will be flavorless, but you may need to start prioritizing different flavors and foods. For example, rather than indulging in sweet, sour, and salty flavors that can promote diabetes, individuals should enjoy bitter, astringent, and pungent flavors. Instead of prioritizing heavy, oily, and cold foods, it’s better for those with diabetes or prediabetes to opt for light, dry, and warm foods.
Some other dietary recommendations for balancing kapha to treat diabetes are to
- Drink hot ginger tea with your meals to stimulate digestion
- Avoid excessive salt intake
- Favor pungent spices such as pepper, mustard seed, ginger, and cayenne
- Avoid heavy fruits like bananas, pineapples, and figs
- Avoid processed meats
- Regularly eating herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon, and fenugreek seeds
- Eat foods such as
- Bitter gourd
- Legumes (besides soybeans)
- Chinese okra
- Light fruits, such as apples, pears, and pomegranates
- Green leafy vegetables
- Low-fat dairy products (in moderation)
- Neem and curry leaves
- Lean Meats
- Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, winter squash, green peas, corn, and pumpkin
- Non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, and bell peppers
- Pungent spices such as pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger
- Grains such as corn, millet, rye, barley, and buckwheat over oats, rice, and wheat.
If changing your diet to fulfill these guidelines sounds like a challenge, don’t worry; there are many easy Ayurvedic recipes for both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes that will make following these guidelines simple and easy.
In addition to cooking tips for diabetes, we also have guides for meal prepping, suggestions for foods to avoid, recommendations for how to eat more mindfully and practicing intermittent fasting. When eating Ayurvedically it’s important to know about ghee and how you can use it in your healing journey.
In addition to these dietary recommendations, Ayurveda suggests many key lifestyle changes to help patients manage diabetes as well.
From proper hygiene, to regular exercise,and consistent sleeping patterns, treating diabetes involves adopting many important lifestyle adjustments. Here are some important shifts that you can start making now in order to lead a healthier life.
Establish a Yoga Routine
Just like Western medicine, Ayurveda recommends an active lifestyle to anyone who is suffering from diabetes or prediabetes. It is well known that exercise increases insulin sensitivity, allowing our muscles to take in sufficient glucose during and after activity, thus reducing the effect of diabetes.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, yoga is the best form of exercise due to its emphasis on mindfulness, breathing, and gentle movement. Studies have revealed that a regular yoga practice yields significantly lower blood glucose levels both when fasting and after eating. Some other benefits of yoga for those treating diabetes include
- Lower drug requirements
- Lower incidence of acute complications like infection and ketosis
- Significant changes in cortisol levels
- A decrease in free fatty acids
- Increase in lean body mass
- Decrease in body fat percentage
- Increase in insulin receptors
- Improvement in insulin sensitivity
- Decrease in insulin resistance.
In addition to helping to treat diabetes in general, there are many specific yoga poses that work specifically to fight diabetes. Some of these postures include
- Shoulder stand
- Plow pose
- Bridge pose
- Fish pose
- Seated forward bend
- Bow pose
- Wheel pose
- Child’s pose
- Tree pose.
During our diabetes retreat, we’ll teach you many yoga sequences that you’ll be able to practice at home to help you establish your own yoga practice.
While improving your physical health is important, bolstering your mental health is paramount to treating diabetes.
Destress, Relax, and Find Bliss with Meditation and Breathing
Diabetes and stress are intimately linked; in fact, long-term stress can cause high glucose levels. In addition to stress, anxiety and depression are also closely tied to diabetes.
Ayurveda’s main goal is to lead patients towards holistically healthier lives, which includes improving mental health. This system of medicine stems from the same Vedic tradition that brings us many of the meditation and breathing techniquesthat are so popular for stress-reduction today. As such, Ayurveda is well equipped to help its patients find inner peace.
In fact, mindfulness based techniques have been shown to both reduce emotional distress and increase health-related quality of life in those diabetic patients who had lower levels of emotional well-being.
Yogic breathing exercises, also called pranayama, have a healing effect on those with diabetes due to their ability to remove stress from the system.
At our diabetes retreat,you’ll have the opportunity to explore both of these powerful tools for improving your mental health as you learn our special system of meditation and yogic breathing, known as the Sudarshan Kriya. Our practice is proven to
- Reduce stress levels
- Decrease the stress hormone (cortisol) by 50%
- Support the immune system
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- Promote feelings of well-being
- Improving physical, psychological, and social health
- Improve overall quality of life.
In addition to helping you de-stress and relax, these techniques carry a spiritual dimension with themthat will help you find the peace of mind necessary to carry you through your healing journey with ease.
This feeling of inner peace can be further established through regular self-care routines.
Self-Care Routines for Diabetes
Healthy habits that help keep excess kapha at bay can be great aids in diabetes treatment. One great way to take care of yourself in this way is establishing a regular, restorative sleep routine. Ayurvedic medicine recommends going to bed before 10:00 pm every night and waking up before 6:00 am.
Although waking up so early can seem like a challenge, you’ll probably be surprised to find that you feel better rested. This is because between 6:00 am–10:00 pm, kapha predominates in the atmosphere, making us excessively sluggish and groggy for the rest of the day if we’re sleeping at that time.
In addition to an organized sleep schedule, eating at the same time each day is also essential for cleansing kapha. Eating regular meals and avoiding snacking helps to promote strong digestion, which is the key to preventing disease and increasing longevity from an Ayurvedic perspective. To cleanse kapha, eat two to three small meals per day consistently at the same times, and avoid eating after 7:00 pm.
After eating, practicing good oral hygiene is another excellent way to prevent excess kapha buildup because it removes toxins from the body.
One of Ayurveda’s main techniques for maintaining good oral hygiene is tongue scraping. This process removes dead skin and excessive bacteria from the mouth, gently stimulates the internal organs, and enhances the sense of taste, which makes you less prone to overeating.
After establishing strong self-care routines such as these that prevent diabetes from worsening, the treatment modalities that follow will be all the more effective.
Ayurveda’s earliest written reference to diabetes dates back to between 1500 and 1000 BC, so the system has had plenty of time to discover many important complementary and alternative therapies for the treatment of diabetes.
One of the most important treatments prescribed by Ayurveda is a holistic Ayurvedic detox, where your body will be purified of toxins and brought back into a state of balance. One key step in this purification process is taking amapachan with khichdi and langana with herbsto purify your digestive tract and heal your body.
Another important step in restoring proper insulin function in the body is taking snehapana with mahatikta ghrita, which is gheetriphala oil that is medicated with herbs. In addition, ayurvedic practices such as virechana, which cleanses the small intestine, and samsarjana karma, which tests for food allergies, are also used to restore health.
Other key Ayurvedic treatments for diabetes include fasting, Ayurvedic massage, and a treatment therapy called marma. These all work to mobilize toxins and improve energy flow in the body.
Our Sudarshan Kriya program technique should be experienced in order to bolster genetic health and improve the immune system.
These treatment options, preventative measures, and more will be explored during our upcoming, world-class diabetes retreat. We recommend this retreat to anybody who is not only hoping to cure the symptoms of their diabetes but to lead a holistically healthier life as well. If this is a goal of yours, then we hope to see you at our retreat center soon!
It’s important to remember that Ayurvedic treatments are not meant to replace any current treatment plans prescribed by your doctor.
If you would like to learn more about managing diabetes with Ayurveda, we have a Diabetes and Weight Loss Wellness Program and Retreat. During our program and retreat, you will meet individually with both an Ayurvedic doctor and a western medical doctor in order to determine which treatments are right for you. Please don’t try these treatments at home or use them as a replacement for your care. Our trained professionals will give you proper guidance that is tailored exactly to your needs.
We wish you all the best on your healing journey!