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Monthly Archives: April 2016


Home cooking


Busy lifestyles and a wide variety of takeaway /ready-meal options have made it very easy for many of us to give less priority to cooking meals “from scratch”. Research shows many health benefits for those who cook the majority of their meals at home. As a community, we are beginning to realise the huge impacts for future health when young adults leave home with little idea about how to cook and instead rely on ready-made foods in one form or another.

The advantages of home cooked meals include:


Home cooking allows you to avoid the high amounts of calories, unhealthy fat, sodium and sugars often present in food purchased outside the home.

Increased knowledge of food:

Preparing your own helps you understand more about ingredients and cooking methods – which ones are necessary for certain products and which ones aren’t!


You will develop a new-found appreciation of your food when you have invested time and energy into preparing it. Match this with slowing down and savouring your food, rather than mindlessly consuming more than you need.

Serving sizes matched to your needs:

Commercially prepared foods are often presented in serving sizes that are much bigger than we need.  Our instinct to “get our money’s worth” means we often eat all of these “larger than necessary” servings.  Preparing at home means you can start with the right amount to provide an appropriate serving.

Serving food on to a plate (in the recommended proportions) rather than from serving dishes on the table is another benefit. Provided a plate is full and colourful (half a plate of noon-starchy vegetables), many family members will be content with smaller amounts of protein (quarter of a plate or a palm –sized serving) and carbohydrate-rich starchy foods (up to1/4 of a plate or a fist-sized serve) than they would serve for themselves!

Getting started:

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” applies here. Plan your meals for a week at a time; one to two home cooked meals for starters if they haven’t been a big part of your life up until now. Choose recipes from helpful sources – past Living Life Well Magazines, Healthy Food Guide (look for their “diabetes friendly” tag) etc. Plan some short cuts into your menu, e.g. something similar, finished differently from the same starting dish, e.g. a mince base in wraps one night and over noodles the next.


Happy & Healthy Cooking!




Health Minister Jonathan Coleman launched the annual influenza immunisation campaign at a community diabetes clinic in Porirua, Wellington on the 6th of April, 2016.

“More than one million New Zealanders get immunised against influenza each year,” says Dr Coleman.

“This year the influenza vaccine has two new strains to ensure New Zealanders are better protected this winter from the strains of influenza circulating around the world.”

Those with diabetes are at risk of serious complications when they get the flu which includes being admitted to hospital and death. 

The flu can make chronic health problems, like diabetes, even harder to control. People living with diabetes will need to check their blood sugar levels more frequently. Illnesses like the flu can interfere with this as  you may not feel like eating when sick which can lower your blood sugar levels.  

People with diabetes should talk with their health care provider to talk about prevention and how best to manage winter illnesses.  People with the flu can pass it on to others before symptoms appear.  That’s why it is important to make sure the people around you talk to their health care provider about winter illnesses and the flu vaccine.

  • Continue taking your regular medication and/or insulin.  Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat.  Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness.
  • Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results.
  • Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.

The flu immunisation is free for New Zealanders with high risk of complications, through their GP which includes those over 65 and including those under 65 who have certain medical conditions. 

These medical conditions include those with long term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer, as well as pregnant women.

Until the end of July the flu vaccine will be free. “A total of 1.2 million doses are expected to be distributed.”

The influenza vaccine for the 2016 season includes two new strains based on recommendations from the World Health Organization:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) – like virus (new)
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008 – like virus (new)

 More information can be found at or 




2016 has been declared “International year of Pulses” by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN has particular responsibility for overseeing International Year of Pulses (IYP).  IYP 2016 aims to raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition.

What are pulses and why are they important?

Pulse crops include lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas.  They provide a valuable source of plant-based proteins for people around the world, particularly in developing countries where they may be the main source of protein.

Pulses are part of a healthy, balanced diet and have been shown to have an important role in preventing illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Pulses are a low fat source of protein, with a high fibre content and low glycemic index. Additionally, they are high in both soluble and insoluble forms of fibre. Soluble fibre helps decrease blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels while insoluble fibre helps with digestion and regularity. Pulses provide important amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some of the key minerals in pulses include: iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also particularly rich in B vitamins; including folate, thiamin and niacin.

In addition to contributing to a healthy, balanced diet, the nutritional qualities of pulses make them particularly helpful in the fight against some non-communicable diseases. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating risk factors, such as unhealthy diets and promoting better eating habits, of which pulses are an essential component.

Eating pulses as a replacement to some animal protein also helps limit the intake of saturated fats and increases the intake of fibres. Further, some traditional eating patterns include pulses and are associated with higher rates of long life e.g. the Japanese (soy, tofu, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans).

4-5 serves of legumes a week are recommended for people with Type 2 diabetes and their nutritional benefits are great  for people with type 1 diabetes also.

If you are not familiar with pulses then using canned ready to use forms are an easy way to start. It is also wise to start with small amounts so that your body has time to adjust to the higher fibre content. Some of the easiest ways to use pulses involve using them as part-replacement for meat. They can be combined with mince in rissoles/meat patties or meat loaves, or used to extend casserole/stew type mixtures.

For great recipes see: “Full o’ Beans”.


Insulin for Life


Many people in most countries of the world who need life-saving insulin cannot obtain it.

Insulin for Life Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that collects and distributes insulin and other diabetes supplies that would otherwise be wasted. These are donated to recognised organisations in many countries, with agreed monitoring systems, on an ongoing, sustainable basis, and following emergencies. Recipient organisations include children’s diabetes camps, programs involving Australian medical students, Diabetes Associations and clinics.

As for the list of products IFL can take:

Insulin all types – no longer needed, unopened, in-date, with at least 5 months expiry date left on it.

Syringes – no longer needed, in-date, unopened packets with at least 5 months expiry date left on them

Test Strips all types – no longer needed, unopened, in-date with at least 5 months expiry date left on them.

Lancets – no longer needed, unopened, in-date with at least 4-5 months expiry date left on them.
Things they do not need at the moment are meters as below advised, and Pen needles

At this stage the only meters they are accepting are new unused ones not older than 2 years, there seems to be a safety issue regarding used meters, there could be some type of infection risk if they are not cleaned or been used correctly. So at this stage it may be best to dispose them safely. Please note all needles and lancets should be disposed  in appropriate sharps container.
Please bring your supplies to our office in Onehunga at 92-94 Beachcroft Avenue.

Please note we do not recommend sending needles or lancets in the mail.

IFL are currently sending supplies to Fiji

Visit the Insulin for Life website for more information on the programme.


Living Life Well


Diabetes NZ Auckland Branch have the following education events coming up as part of our Living Life Well campaign


Living Life Well with Diabetes long term


We have added one final Living Life Well session for 2016, which will take place on Saturday, September 10th, in Takapuna.







Diabetes NZ Auckland Branch and friends celebrate World Health Day at One Tree Hill

April 7th marks the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Health Day, which this year focuses on diabetes. To celebrate the day and to raise awareness of what is a significant health issue in Auckland, Diabetes NZ Auckland Branch staff and members of our network met at One Tree Hill to welcome in the day with a #Dawn4Diabetes photograph.

There are nearly 100,000 people living with diabetes in Auckland, with an 8% increase in diagnosis every year. Whether it’s type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, Diabetes NZ Auckland Branch is working hard to raise awareness of diabetes and to help support those living with it.

To read more about World Health Day, you can visit the WHO’s website by clicking here.

If you’d like to get involved with us in raising awareness of diabetes, why not join our team for the Auckland Marathon on October 30th? Places are filling up fast, so click here to get started!


Ministry of Health logo


Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says updated guidance for screening people at risk of diabetic eye disease will help to reduce the number of preventable cases of blindness.

“More than 257,000 people in New Zealand live with diabetes, and around a quarter will develop some form of diabetic eye disease,” says Dr Coleman.

“Diabetics can reduce their risk of developing diabetic eye disease by managing their diabetes and having regular eye checks which can help to detect the disease in its early stages.

“This updated guidance aims to reduce variation in services across the country and it also provides a national benchmark.

“One of the key guidance recommendations focuses on getting high quality screening services out into the community through optometrists, with oversight from ophthalmologists.

“This model is already working successfully in Wellington, Hutt and Wairarapa, and is freeing up specialists’ time, allowing ophthalmologists to focus on treatment rather than screening and monitoring.”

The updated guidance recommends that people with diabetes are screened at least every two to three years, and that pregnant women with diabetes have their eyes checked early in their pregnancy.

The guidance was developed after extensive consultation with the sector. The Ministry of Health will work with DHBs to implement the guidance which is accompanied by a range of resources for the public, general practice teams and midwives.

The updated Diabetic Retinal Screening, Grading, Monitoring and Referral Guidance is available on the Ministry of Health’s website,

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