With careful choices, you can have your cake and eat it

Diabetes is a disease that is close to my heart, as it runs in my family ("Wanted: Feedback for war on diabetes"; Sept 25).

I have been actively controlling my risk factors since my mid-20s. I watch my daily saturated fat intake and added-sugar intake to stay within health guidelines most of the time.

There has been much misconception that eating healthily equates to eating "rabbit food". This need not be so. Recipes, such as those by Israeli-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, can be vibrant and flavourful yet wholesome.

From my experience, it is still possible to "have one's cake and eat it", by minimising total sugar intake and keeping mostly to a whole-food diet.

I usually eat basmati rice, buckwheat noodles, pasta and quinoa, which generally have a lower glycaemic index than white rice. I also make my own almond butter. My beverages of choice are plain water and unsweetened soy milk.

I admit to a weakness for French pastries and dark chocolate. I just try not to overindulge and pick only the best so as not to waste elevated glucose level and fat on sub-standard desserts.

To overcome my exercise inertia, I set my alarm clock three times a week so I can hit the gym for a 20-minute brisk walk on an inclined treadmill. Housework and regular walking make up the rest of my weekly exercise quota.

My recent results from the Stop Diabetes screening programme proved that a dessert and chocolate lover who makes careful food choices can still maintain a normal body mass index and normal blood glucose, cholesterol and pressure levels in middle age, despite her family history.

The day may yet come when diabetes finally finds me, as I am fighting against my genes, but I am determined to delay its onset for as long as possible.

Liu I-Chun (Ms)