Be fabulite this summer for World Diabetes Day 

With this year’s theme for World Diabetes Day being diabetes and the family, we, at Parmalat, make life a little easier with Parmalat Fabulite range of yoghurt so the whole family can enjoy.

Parmalat Fabulite is a delicious fat-free yoghurt with no added sugar. It’s ideal to include in your family’s meal plan as one of the suggested three daily servings of dairy adults should consume.

You don’t have to miss out on filling treats in your meal plan. With fewer kilojoules than regular yoghurt, Fabulite yoghurt is a guilt-free and delightful snack that can be enjoyed by health-conscious consumers.

Fabulite has been part of the Parmalat family, known for its focus on quality, since its launch almost 10 years ago (in 2008). We are very excited to be endorsed by the GI Foundation of South Africa (GIFSA) and Diabetes SA.

The Parmalat Fabulite range is available in 175g and 1kg packs (Fruit: Black Cherry and Strawberry, and Smooth: Plain and Vanilla). The 6x100g variety packs are available in the following variants: Fruit – Strawberry, Black Cherry and Kiwi, and Smooth – Grapefruit, Vanilla and Strawberry.


The 2017 statistics, from the International Diabetes Federation, the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control, paint a gloomy picture. Worldwide, there were 425 million adults with diabetes and it is estimated to be 629 million by 2045. 

For this reason, a smoothie made from the Parmalat Fabulite range is ideal for people living with diabetes, and is one step of managing your diabetes.

Fabulite Breakfast Smoothie

Start the day right with a special treat, packed full nutrients and good for your waistline.

½ cup Fabulite plain yoghurt
1 large frozen banana
6 large frozen strawberries
1 slice fresh ginger root
1 cup skim milk
¼ cup wheat germ

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.

Recipe tip

Wholegrains could be a great addition to a smoothie to make it crunchier and up the nutrition stakes. Just ensure that what you add contains no hidden sugars that will contribute to increased blood sugar. And always remember to control the serving size! 

You can consider using oats or bran when making a smoothie, but keep an eye on the product’s nutritional info, sugar and carbohydrate content; when added up it should all still be within your daily allowed totals.

Another option for a fabulous Fabulite smoothie is adding some fresh blueberries and sliced almonds to a tub of Fabulite yoghurt of your choice.

World Diabetes Day

Don’t forget to be Fabulite this summer for World Diabetes Day – 14 November! Parmalat Fabulite can be bought from any of the major retailers.

For more information please visits

What have you gained this year through your diabetes?

As you reflect on the management of your diabetes in the year 2017, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Has it been a difficult year where things have gone wrong? Has it been a better year than last year? Have you benefitted from your diabetes in any way?

Hopefully there have not been too many difficulties for you, but if there were, why not try to reframe those difficulties. What have you gained from them? If you don’t believe that you could gain from having diabetes, let me share some ideas of what you probably did gain, over and above all the knowledge you learned as you managed your diabetes.

What you might have gained

  • You developed a greater appreciation of life itself. Diabetes is one chronic condition where you can continue living a healthy life if you follow your treatment well.
  • Your sense of self-worth increased as you realised you really want to live and will do what you have to do to keep living.
  • You developed more resilience – the courage to come back – as you tackled your diabetes each day, even if you did not always succeed.
  • You strengthened your resistance to the tough times and that allowed you to cope better when the tough times came.
  • You learned more perseverance because diabetes is ongoing and requires your input daily.
  • You gained confidence as you coped with the ups and downs and gained experience of what was happening.
  • You developed the capacity to be adaptable and flexible since diabetes is never an exact science and often does the unexpected.
  • You developed the ability to learn from your experiences.
  • You increased your level of tolerance of negative emotions and failures.
  • You have greater compassion and empathy for others who have struggles, especially those who have diabetes.
  • You have developed the ability to maintain courage, hope and informed optimism in the face of diabetes.

Personal growth

So, although negative consequences are usually associated with diabetes, there is positive personal growth too. How many of these qualities do you think you have gained? I am sure if you think about it, there will be at least a little of each. If it is just a little, keep working at your diabetes in the best way you can and you will come to the end of next year with more days of adjustment, inner peace and positive self-worth. At best you will be a stronger person, who is well able to continue managing your diabetes effectively for now and in the future. May 2018 be a year like that for you.


Rosemary Flynn
Rosemary Flynn is a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Diabetes in Johannesburg. She has worked with children, families and adults with diabetes for 24 years, enabling them to overcome their anxieties about their condition and to deal with the difficult events in their lives.

Don’t let glucose levels scare you this Halloween

If your family is planning to go trick-or-treating, Donna van Zyl shares ways to enjoy Halloween without fussing over glucose levels.

Halloween need not only be about the trick-or-treating. Encourage your child to partake in non-food activities, such as carving a pumpkin; make decorations; having fun with friends and family whilst watching a scary movie; dressing up or visiting a ‘haunted’ house. It is, however, important to know what your child is looking forward to on this day, so that you can help meet their diabetes management in the middle.

Plan ahead

Sit down with your family and make Halloween plans in advance so your child knows what to expect. Create boundaries and general rules with your family. Your child will be more likely to be on board with a plan they helped create.

The rules of the plan may include:

  • Make sure your child does not go alone.
  • Ensure your child eats well and smart throughout the day, prior to the trick-or-treating so he/she can start off the evening with normal blood sugar level.
  • Then, make a deal with your child to avoid snacking until you’re both home from trick-or-treating.
  • Your child should take his/her own water or non-sugary drinks along, as they may get thirsty.
  • Your child should keep track of his/her sugar levels throughout the evening. Trick-or-treating may include a lot of excitement, running around or even having a treat out of the extraordinary.
  • Be prepared – test and ensure your child has something appropriate to treat a hypo. It is likely that he/she will have something in their bag to treat a hypo, however, the chocolate containing sweets do not necessarily act rapidly. Ideally, they should choose the sugary option and may need a follow-on snack, like a half of a peanut butter sandwich.
  • Friends and family can be very supportive and have healthy snacks waiting for your child. These options may include nuts, dark chocolate and fruit (strawberries dipped into dark chocolate). If they do have chocolate, encourage them to make sure they’re the snack-size versions.

Returning home

Once both of you have returned home, allow your child to choose his/ her favourite treat and administer an insulin dose accordingly.

The non-chocolate treats could be sorted into 15g carb packets and kept to treat a hypo. Those chocolate coated treats can be exchanged for a desired gift i.e. a toy, TV game, movie ticket, or a trip to the zoo etc. The exchange of sweets for a desired toy or game could apply to all the children of the house. The exchanged treats can also be donated to the less fortunate community groups as a treat they often do not receive.

Diabetic-friendly Halloween recipes

You can also make great Halloween diabetic-friendly recipes that will allow your children with diabetes to enjoy the day, without missing out treats.

Suitable Halloween treats:


Donna van Zyl is a private practicing dietitian for Nutritional Solutions, Bloemfontein. She is growing in the field of paediatrics and plays a key role in individualising nutritional therapy for Type 1 diabetics. She has a special interest in optimising health, managing chronic lifestyle related diseases, and sports nutrition. She lectures part-time at the University of the Free State, which she enjoys thoroughly.

No chilblains this winter

With winter gracing us with his chilly presence, Anette Thompson speaks about chilblains – what they are and what causes them?

Chilblains are small, itchy, painful bumps on the skin caused from an abnormal response to cold temperatures. They usually go away after a week or two if further exposure to cold is avoided, but can be very dangerous to people living with diabetes.

What are chilblains and what causes them?

Chilblains (also called pernio) are small, itchy, painful, red swellings on the skin caused by an abnormal reaction to cold weather. They most frequently occur on exposed toes, fingers, ears and nose; and are usually red in colour but may change to purple. Other areas of skin can also develop painful and tender chilblains if exposed to cold, e.g. heels, lower legs and thighs.

Chilblains are quite common. Small blood vessels, called capillaries, become narrow (constrict) when the skin becomes cold. In addition, the cooled blood will flow slower. When the skin is re-warmed, there is leakage of fluid from the blood vessels into the tissues. This is thought to cause the inflammation, swelling and itching associated with chilblains.

The speed (rate) of temperature change may play a part. Some people develop chilblains if they warm up cold skin too quickly. For example, with a hot water bottle or by sitting very close to a fire, stove or heater. Natural ways of warming the skin better are with warm water (not hot!), real wool or mohair socks and gloves.

People are more at risk of developing chilblains, if they:

  • have poor circulation and other problems associated with their blood vessels.
  • have a condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • smoke because nicotine constricts blood vessels.
  • have a family history of chilblains.
  • have frequent exposure to cold, draughty or damp weather.
  • have a poor diet or low body weight.
  • wear shoes that create pressure points, e.g. over a bunion or squeezing the toes so that blood flow is constricted.
  • suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon – a condition that affects blood circulation to the extremities.
  • take medications that have the side effect of constricting their blood vessels, e.g. beta blockers.
  • suffer from microangiopathy (damage to small blood vessels) e.g. due to diabetic complications.
  • suffer from peripheral neuropathy (unable to feel their feet) e.g. due to diabetic complications.

How do you prevent chilblains?

  • Keep your hands and feet warm when out in cold weather by using warm gloves and socks. Consider special polar gloves and socks, if chilblains are a recurring problem. Look for real wool, angora or mohair socks as their fibres trap more heat than acrylic wool.
  • Keep your head and ears warm by wearing a hat and scarf or a beanie. Remember that 40% of the heat of your body can be lost through the top of your head if it is exposed to cold.
  • You should keep as warm as possible in the cold. Wearing several loose layers is ideal to trap body heat. You should also keep as dry as possible.
  • Insulate your feet and legs by wearing long johns, long boots, tights, leg warmers or long socks. It’s a good idea to wear a clean pair of warm socks if you get cold feet in bed. 
  • If your skin gets cold, it’s important to warm it up gradually. Heating the skin too quickly, for example, by placing your feet in hot water or near a heater, is one of the main causes of chilblains.
  • Side effects from some medicines may narrow (constrict) tiny blood vessels. This may be enough to make you prone to recurring chilblains. For example, beta-blockers can have this effect. Tell your doctor if you become prone to chilblains following starting any medication.
  • Look after your feet, examine them carefully every day, especially if you have diabetes as people with diabetes may not be able to feel their feet and could have infected chilblains without realising it. Moisturise them regularly – this stops them drying out and the skin from cracking.
  • Take steps to improve your circulation; keep active – this helps improve your circulation.
  • Stop smoking – nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can make chilblains worse.
  • Avoid tight shoes and boots – these can restrict the circulation to your toes and feet.
  • Eat at least one hot meal during the day – this will help warm your whole body, particularly in cold weather.
  • Warm your shoes in front of a heater before you put them on. Make sure damp shoes are completely dry before you wear them; if your feet are already cold, make sure your shoes aren’t too hot. 
  • Warm your hands before going outdoors; place them in warm water (not hot water) for a few minutes and dry thoroughly, and wear cotton-lined waterproof gloves, if necessary. If your hands are already cold, make sure not to warm them up too quickly.
  • Keep your house well heated – try to keep one room in the house warm and avoid drafts.
  • A range of creams and lotions, claiming to be beneficial for chilblains,can be bought from a pharmacy. However, there is no evidence that any of these OTC creams ease chilblains, so therefore not recommended.
  • It may help to use a soothing lotion, such as calamine or witch hazel, to relieve itching.
  • Steroid creams are no longer recommended for the treatment (or prevention) of chilblains as they thin the skin and can be implicated in the breakdown of the skin.
  • Medicines are not usually needed. However, nifedipine can open (dilate) the small blood vessels and may help to treat chilblains, which are not settling within the normal time. Occasionally, it may also be used to prevent chilblains in the winter months in people who have recurring symptoms. A doctor will have to prescribe it.

Complication of chilblains for people living with diabetes

  • Occasionally, the skin breaks down to leave a small ulcer, which is prone to infection.
  • Permanent discolouration of the skin.
  • Scarring of the skin.
  • In some cases, the skin over a chilblain may blister, which may delay healing.
  • It’s important not to scratch the skin as it can break easily and become infected. You can also help reduce your risk of infection by cleaning any breaks in your skin with antiseptic and covering the area with an antiseptic dressing.  The dressing should be changed every day until the skin heals.

 Signs of infection may include:

  • Redness and heat.
  • Swelling and pus forming in the affected area.
  • Feeling generally unwell.
  • Blood glucose levels rise.
  • A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above.
  • Swollen glands.

If the skin does break down and become infected, see your podiatrist or doctor immediately. Diabetic ulcer wound treatment will need to be initiated and antibiotics are likely to be prescribed to treat the infection.

MEET OUR EXPERT - Anette Thompson

Anette Thompson
Anette Thompson (M Tech Podiatry (UJ) B Tech Podiatry (SA)) is the clinical director at Anette Thompson & Associates, Incorporated, a multi podiatrist practice in KwaZulu-Natal. Tel: 031 201 9907. They run a member service for Diabetes SA members at their Musgrave consulting rooms as a service to the community.