Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose, either because insulin production is inadequate or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, sometimes both.
The earliest known record of Diabetes can be traced back to the 3rd Dynasty Egyptian papyrus by physician ‘Hesy-Ra’. The Indian physician Sushruta in the 6th century B.C. observed the sweet nature of urine in such patients and termed it as Madhumeha.
In today’s world Diabetes is a major health problem that is approaching epidemic proportions globally. About 18 million people die every year from cardiovascular diseases, for which diabetes and hypertension are major predisposing factors. In addition at least 155 million children worldwide are obese. According to International Diabetic Federation (IDF) atlas (2018), Governments have acknowledged that diabetes is increasing at epidemic rates and is affecting all countries. Diabetes currently affects 62 million Indians, which is more than 7.1% of the adult population. A study by American Diabetes Association reports that India will see the greatest increase in people diagnosed with Diabetes by 2030. Results showed that worldwide, the number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise by more than a fifth from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030. Over half of them would be living in just three countries – China (130 million), India (98 million) and the US (32 million). Alarming, isn’t it?
The Role of Lifestyle:
Studies indicate that the high incidence of Diabetes in the country can be attributed to a sedentary lifestyle, limited physical activities, obesity, stress and most important an unhealthy diet. Although there are increasing decibel levels around the disease, yet awareness level around making the right choices in lifestyle are relatively low.
Chicken in Diabetes:
On the dietary front, diabetic patients need to be extremely careful to limit their carbohydrate and fat consumption and increase their protein and fibre intake instead. Chicken can thus be a great option for diabetic people. All cuts of chicken are high in protein and many are low in fat. When prepared in a healthy way, chicken can be an important ingredient in a healthy diabetic eating plan.
Certain tips that could be borne in mind while preparing chicken for diabetic patients include removing the skin of chicken before cooking and using boneless chicken breast as they are lower in fat.
In comparison 100 gm of chicken drumsticks have 172 calories, 28.3 gm of protein and 5.7 gm of fat.
A 100gm serving of chicken thigh provides 209 calories, 26 gm of proteins and 10.9 gm of fat.
Type of oil to be used:
There is some confusion on what type of oil should be used for people suffering from diabetes. According to studies, Canola oil, Olive oil, Rice bran oil and our very ethnic Mustard oil are believed to help in controlling blood sugar level.
Cooking time: 15-20 min
- Chicken breasts: 2
- Lemon juice: 1 tsp
- Onion: 1 medium cut into 1” piece
- Carrot: 1 medium cut into thin slices
- Beans: 4-5 cut into long pieces
- Green Capsicum: 1/2 cut into thin strips
- Red and yellow capsicum (optional): 1/4 each cut into long thin strips
- Tomato: 1 large, pulp removed and cut into long pieces
- Ginger- garlic: 2 tsp finely chopped
- Curry leaves: 10-12
- Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
- Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
- Kalonji (onion seeds): 1/4 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds: 1/4 tsp
- Tomato puree: 1/2 cup
- Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: to taste
- Olive oil: 3 tbsp
- Boil chicken with 1 tbsp oil, ½ cup water and pinch of salt in pressure cooker for 2 min. Keep the stock aside.
- Cut the chicken into long thin strips. Sprinkle lemon juice.
- Cut beans and capsicum into long strips and carrot into thin slices diagonally. Chop onion.
- In a bowl, mix together tomato puree (home made or store bought), red chilli powder, coriander powder.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non stick pan. When the oil is moderately hot, add beans, carrot and capsicums and sauté on medium heat for few minutes so that they retain their crunchy nature. Set them aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the pan. When the oil is moderate hot, add the 4 seeds (cumin seeds, onion seeds, fenugreek and mustard seeds).
- Add curry leaves, onion and chopped ginger-garlic and sauté on low heat.
- Add the tomato puree mixed with masala and stir on medium heat till oil separates.
- Add chicken, mix well and add the stock. Cover and cook for 5-6 min or till the gravy thicken.
- Add the veggies and gently mix. Add salt. Blend well. Remove from fire.
- This preparation goes well with both rice and naan/roti. But for diabetic people it can be served with a bowl of fresh salad or soup.
I have endeavored to present a diabetic friendly chicken recipe where I have combined chicken with veggies. Even the spices used here have therapeutic value. Fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard, ginger- garlic, onion, curry leaves and coriander purportedly possess potential anti-diabetic agents in varying extents.
Food need not be bland to make it healthy. Slight application of imagination here and there can turn readily available ingredients into great dishes. Being affected by Diabetes should not connote an end to savoring good food. Nor should it signify culmination of all indulgences, hopes and desires. Mild changes in life style and adjustments in food habits and most important acceptance of some limitations are all that is required to lead a meaningful life.