NADA Envisions Diabetes Free People

Healthy Living

People that live with diabetes work to manage or control the disease through a variety of methods such as:

  • Eating a healthy, well balanced diet that is low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates
  • Exercising and staying active
  • Coping with and reducing stress
  • Testing their blood sugar regularly
  • The purpose of managing diabetes is to maintain consistent good health and wellness.

You can continue to enjoy all aspects of life and still live life to its fullest.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is very important because it:

  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Helps insulin to work better
  • Uses up extra fat in the body to a healthy state
  • Improves the health of our bodies
    • Relieves tension and stress
    • Improves digestion
    • Improves circulation of blood
    • Gives you more energy
    • Generally feel better
  • Keeps our hearts in shape
    • Lowers high blood pressure
    • Lowers high cholesterol
  • Burns off calories (energy from food) and helps to manage body weight
    • Decreases excessive appetites
  • Improves sleep and sexual energy

Ask your health care provide to assist you with bringing more physical activity into your life. NADA’s Pathway to Wellness Handbook has tips on how to get started.


Meet and talk with a dietitian or nutritionist in your community for information on nutrition and a balanced meal plan.

A healthy balanced way of eating leads to a healthy body. It is healthy for you, your family and relatives.

You can help your body use insulin easier if you:

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise
  • Stop eating foods that raise blood sugar, such as simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates break down quickly into sugar or glucose, but they lack bulk and do not signal our brains when we have had enough. This leads to over eating of these items and the production of too much sugar in our blood.

Some examples of simple carbohydrates are:

  • Jam
  • Raw Sugar
  • Jelly
  • Soda pop
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit sweeteners

Complex carbohydrates are more health promoting and satisfying. Because they are bulky and fibrous, complex carbohydrates are filling without being fattening and have proven to be important in the digestion of fats and proteins. They are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates are:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Split peas

What types of foods are best for me?

  • Vegetables – Fresh, Frozen or Canned
    • Carrots
    • Turnips
    • Tomatoes
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Beans
    • Peas
    • Unsweetened vegetable juices
    • Lettuce or any leafy green vegetable
  • Fruits – Fresh, Frozen or Canned
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Grapefruit
    • Berries; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries
    • Fruits in unsweetened juice
    • Unsweetened fruit juices
  • Meats and Alternatives – Lean Meat
    If lean meat is hard to find then after cooking, rinse your meat with boiling water and it should remove a lot of the fat.

    • Skinless, boneless chicken
    • Ground lean meats
    • Game meat
    • Fish – fresh, or canned fish in water
    • Skim milk and skim milk cheeses
  • Grains or Cereals
    • Whole wheat flour or breads
    • Oats
    • Porridge
    • Bran
    • Barley
    • Lentils

What types of food are unhealthy for me?

  • Potato chips
  • Bologna
  • Hot dogs
  • Butter or margarine
  • Lard and oil
  • Chocolate bars

What are the best ways to cook food?

Try to use as little fat or oil as possible.

  • Steam your vegetables – cook in a pot above boiling water until tender
  • Boil your vegetables – cook in the boiling water until soft
  • Roast your vegetables or meat – cook vegetables inside the oven or wrapped in aluminum foil over a fire or barbeque. If you are roasting meat or fish, have a pan under the meat to catch the fat, do not let the meat cook in the fat of the animal.
  • Barbeque
  • Poached – cooked in water, for example: eggs, vegetables
  • Broiled – very hot and quick to melt cheese, open sandwiches, fish or meat.

Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or Hypertension – is the pressure of the blood flowing from the heart into the body through the arteries. “Hyper” means “too much pressure”.

Here are a few ways to lower blood pressure:

  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Stop eating lots of salt

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a wax like fat that is produced in small amounts by our body. We can also get it from fatty foods. It can cause a build-up on the walls of the arteries. This can make the blood slow down and even stop flowing causing a heart attack. The following are a few suggestions to lowering Cholesterol levels in the blood:

  • Eat foods with low levels of fat
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss

There is no need to buy or cook special diet food. A healthy balanced way of eating is the same for people living without diabetes.


“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”
-Dakota Proverb

Take care of your feet.  Diabetes can change the way your feet feel.


  • Inspect your feet daily for scratches and cuts;
  • Use a mirror to see the bottoms of your feet;
  • Wash your feet daily;
  • Apply moisturizer daily but not between toes;
  • Trim your toenails straight across;
  • Wear good fitting shoes;
  • Wear seamless socks;
  • Check your footwear for foreign objects.

Do Not:

  • Soak your feet; avoid extreme temperatures;
  • Walk barefoot;
  • Wear shoes without socks.

See your health care provider if:

  • You experience numbness or pain in your feet;
  • You develop corns or callouses;
  • You notice any changes in the look of your feet.