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Nova Scotia Seniors – Prescribed Diets, Ugh!!

Posted Aug 24, 2016

Diets. It may sound like a scary word – but it doesn’t have to be, and dieting certainly doesn’t have to mean mean depriving yourself of something you love.

The first thing to realize is that implementing a diet is a change in lifestyle. It should be done in increments and you should never totally give up anything that you love and should not feel guilty when you give in to a craving, as long as you are doing the healthy thing most of the time.

You will find that after a while, you will get used to your new way of enjoying food and can’t imagine how you could ever have eaten so much sweet, fatty, salty, cholesterol & gluten filled foods before. If done correctly, you will change your eating habits and still truly enjoy eating.

Often a doctor will prescribe necessary dietary changes to help improve overall health and to work with certain medications. change, depending on your specific health issue. If your doctor prescribes a diet for you it is best to follow it as best you can – here are some tips and resources for helping your figure out commonly prescribed diets.

Two of the more commonly prescribed diets are:


Gluten Free Diet:

This is a diet that can make an immediate difference in the way you feel. Gluten is in most grains and, in the case of Celiac Disease, causes damage to the lining of the small intestines, creating pain and difficulty in digesting food.

Love pasta? Say hello to rice noodles – made with rice (on the “allowed” list) and water. You will end up liking them better than the original and… they won’t hurt.

Also on the allowed list: Beans, seeds and nuts (in their natural, unprocessed form), fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated), fruits and vegetables, and most dairy products. Make sure that they are not processed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. When in doubt, read the label!

Many grains and starches are safe on a gluten-free diet, such as: Amaranth, Arrowroot, Buckwheat (pancakes… yum) Corn and cornmeal, Flax, Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), Hominy (corn), Millet, Quinoa, rice, Sorghum, Soy, Tapioca & Teff.

Avoid: Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley), Rye, Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), Wheat (tricky because it goes under many names, Durham, Semolina, Kamut and others).

Unless labelled Gluten free, Avoid:  Beer, Breads, Cakes and pies, Candies, Cereals, Communion wafers, Cookies and crackers, Croutons, French fries, Gravies, Imitation meat or seafood, Matzo, Pastas, Processed luncheon meats, Salad dressings, Sauces, including soy sauce, Seasoned rice mixes, Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips, Self-basting poultry, Soups and soup bases, Vegetables in sauce.

The good news is that gluten-free foods are much more readily available because it has come to light that a gluten free diet is not only helpful to those who suffer Celiac Disease but to many others who suffer the effects of gluten on a lighter scale (many of us are unaware).


The Diabetic Diet:

These diets have been around for a long time and are much easier to follow because of all the products that are out there made with it in mind

The basics are:  

Eat three meals per day at regular intervals – no more than 6 hours apart (Eating at regular meals helps your body control blood glucose).

Limit (not give up entirely) sugars and sweets (The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood glucose will be. Artificial sweeteners are useful).

Limit the amount of high-fat food you eat such as fried foods, chips and pastries (These can cause weight gain and that in turn, makes it difficult to control blood glucose levels)

Eat more high-fibre foods such as whole grain breads (at least 3 gms of fibre per slice) and cereals, lentils, dried beans and peas, brown rice, vegetables and fruits (These help lower blood sugar and cholesterol)

If you are thirsty, drink water and sugar-free drinks.

Squeeze a little activity into your schedule – quite simply, it helps control blood sugars. You don’t have to run a marathon – do something you enjoy on a regular basis – go for a walk , a bike ride, play badminton – whatever you would enjoy the most – get up and out regularly.

Now remember… you are changing your lifestyle – some of it, you will find easy immediately, for the others, start small and build – hone your diet so that you can adjust to it over time. Soon enough you will be feeling a whole lot healthier and wondering how you got there.

Here are a few great resources for finding the diet that is right for you: