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May 18, 2022

Changing My Diet Was Hard… But Worth it!

Written by Madiha Turshin, Social Media Volunteer

Client story "changing my diet was hard but worth it." -SCHC Diabetes client

“Changing my diet was hard … but worth it.” – SCHC Diabetes Client

Below is an interview between Madiha and one of our clients from our Diabetes education program. Read from her point of view the impact SCHC’s diabetes education has had on her, and how she won’t let type 2 diabetes bring down her positive spirits!

I have been with Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities since 2014, engaging in every workshop and gathering that I heard about. In August 2014, my results detected that I have Type 2 diabetes— displaying borderline health conditions for me at that point. My family physician sent me to Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) to consult with Mariella Fortugno, my dietitian/social worker, to guide me through a routine to achieve my blood sugar and blood pressure targets. Mariella was the main root of teaching me everything about diabetes, and the lifestyle changes, the portioning, and all that came along with it since the beginning of my time with her. My experience at the Markham and Lawrence location and Mariella’s engaging programs and workshops where she gathered people as we learned about vitamins were very informative. At the hub location (Brimley and Eglinton), I was under the care of my nurse, Sharmini, and dietitian, Arshad, who is very accommodating to me with their assistance.

When it comes to my dietary restrictions, I am very conversant with my new lifestyle. As a diabetes patient, I understand what to consume and how to consume it. It was a significant change from my previous diet. My current diet consists of lots of vegetables, and I made sure to have protein in every meal; consuming very less amount of carbs (rice, potatoes, chickpeas) and meat (pork and beef, due to religious dietary restrictions). Consumption of more protein was essential for me as it helped with slow digestion and post-meal blood sugar spikes, increasing the feeling of fullness, keeping blood sugar level intact.

​To discuss the strictness of my diet, I consume my fruits numerically to balance the serving, which includes 11 grapes and 11 cherries in a day, and limited consumption of rich fruits such as bananas (only half of a banana a day) and no mangoes.

Attending the workshops with Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) has helped me understand even the type of oil that I should buy for consumption and how to monitor my blood sugar level every two hours. My overall experience with Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) has been very informative and beneficial for myself and my health. It was hard work to change my diet and lifestyle but it was worth it!

In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades.” (World Health Organization, 2020 Diabetes Report) Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) is dedicated to meeting the diverse, holistic health needs of the communities of Scarborough by addressing the physical, mental, social, financial and environmental aspects of their health.

​In January 2014, The Scarborough Hospital partnered up with Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC). The key stakeholders stated that since partnering with SCHC, The Scarborough Hospital has seen “more greater efficiency in having the right care provided at the right place in a timely manner.” The beneficial aspect of this collaboration has given opportunities to patients with diabetes who come to The Scarborough Hospital and are assessed and then either admitted to the hospital based diabetes program or referred to the SCHC’s Community Diabetes Education Program, depending on their care needs. When patients with diabetes are referred to SCHC, an initial needs assessment is performed by a nurse and a social worker who provides care and connects them with community resources, some of which can be offered on site.

In August 2014, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities’ (SCHC) Diabetes Education Program was granted recognition by the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Standards Recognition Review Committee for successfully meeting the Standards for Diabetes Education in Canada (2015), which allowed the community health centre to continue assisting and treating individuals with Type 1 and Type 1 Diabetes and offered numerous workshops to educate patients who are keen to learn more in a community-based setting.

Learn more about the Diabetes program or watch some of their webinars.

Sources:
W.H.O. diabetes
Central East L.H.I.N.
News Story – Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Diabetes Education Program Receives Formal Recognition