Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Diabetes, Diet, and Determination
More of us than we realize are victims of hypoglycemia, or pre-diabetic symptoms, with a great portion of the population suffering unnecessarily from diabetes itself. Allopathic doctors will proscribe a prohibitive regimen that often includes a necessary dose of insulin on a daily basis. But my research along with that of many others shows that diabetes can be controlled through a joyful re-assessment of permissible foods that can help the body rebuild its insulin requirements naturally.
What is diabetes?
When we eat, the body’s job is to convert food into a substance that provides us with energy and helps us grow. Food is thus broken down into glucose, which is a form of sugar that provides this essential fuel. Glucose is carried to the bloodstream by a hormone produced by the pancreas called insulin, and it is insulin that permits our cells to absorb glucose properly. It is also through insulin that blood sugar levels are reduced, as our cells feed upon it to generate energy. When we have too much glucose in our systems, a condition called hypoglycemia occurs, which overwhelms the pancreas and prevents it from producing enough insulin.
Without sufficient insulin, our cells won’t get enough energy. All the excess blood sugar we are producing then passes out of the body through the urine instead of being sent to the cells where it belongs. This causes disorder in the metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity. The pancreas becomes overstressed as it tries to make enough insulin to cover the increase in glucose, which is generally the result of a diet too high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Diabetes Type 1 is where no insulin is produced whatsoever, and is a very serious condition. Diabetes Type 2 is where not enough insulin is produced, and is more common and easier to treat. A pre-diabetic condition is when we first feel the signs of our cells not responding to increased blood sugar, causing symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and cravings for more sweets.
Weight Gain/Weight Loss/Breathing/Exercise
Tune in to the process, not simply the result.
People prone to weight gain are also prone to diabetes. When the body begins to accumulate fat, insulin levels become less sensitive to glucose levels, which leads to blood sugar increase and ultimately diabetes. Losing weight can help bring insulin levels back to normal, allowing tissues and cells to become properly fed once again.
Losing weight should be respected as a process, rather than an emphasis on merely the result. Result-oriented thinking can be frustrating if your goal isn’t met in what is often set as an unrealistic amount of time. Thinking of the result rather than enjoying the process and its benefits can lead to excessive low esteem if your weight doesn’t come off “fast enough”. Like anything, results are much longer lasting if the process is consistent and manageable, rather than engaging in for example, a crash diet. Quick weight loss also stresses the body in unnecessary ways, releasing trapped toxins faster than the body’s waste processing system can handle them, creating physical discomfort and mental distress. Usually something quick to come off is quick to come on once again, once the “diet” is over.
Colonics and Steam Baths
Professionally conducted colonics are an excellent way to purge the organs and thus cleanse the liver, pancreas, and spleen of toxins that aggravate diabetic conditions. I will be writing more about colonics in the future, so stay tuned. Steam baths and regular massage also stimulate the body to secrete waste products. When the body can eliminate toxins through healthful protocols it has a better chance of absorbing nutrients that help produce natural insulin while building greater glucose tolerance.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, which is an ancient traditional medicine study from India dedicated to detoxifying and purifying the body through natural methods, diabetics must incorporate complex carbohydrates such as whole grains into the diet. By eliminating sugar and fat, which tax pancreatic enzymes, along with limiting certain types of protein such as red meat, which also places a burden on the digestive system, diabetes can be controlled and substantially reduced .
Changing our habits comes first with information and then with determination.
Creating life-long healthy habits is the best way to engage in weight loss and overcoming diabetes. Eliminating fat-producing foods, engaging in frequent exercise such as walking, swimming, dancing, or anything that gets your body moving, and incorporating deep breathing exercises is a sure way to reducing fat and getting your body back to a weight that is healthy for you. When hunger hits, before running to the refrigerator or cupboard, sit down and do ten slow and deep breaths and see if you are really as hungry as you thought you were! There are many breathing protocols that are easy to follow, most of which can be learned in a yoga class. One online reference that has excellent information is: http://www.yogapranayama.net/
Fast, enriched, and processed foods; carbonated sodas loaded with refined white sugar; snacks full of corn syrup and dextrose; and denatured products that jump out at us because of expert packaging and marketing tricks are quick ways to get us on track for life as a pre or full-fledged diabetic. Attracted first by the advertising and then by the addiction of taste, it is easy to get hooked on foods that fill us up without giving us much in the way of real nutrition.
If you suffer from any diabetic symptoms, or want to avoid getting them, look at the labels and run away fast from anything that contains: refined white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, white flour, and processed carbohydrates.
Fruits to avoid if you are diabetic include bananas, grapes, watermelon, oranges, and dates. Canned fruits in syrup as well as most commercial fruit juices shouldn’t be ingested either as they tend to be high in sugar.
Turn instead to those foods which, for time immemorial, serve as true companions for a healthy lifestyle: fresh organic foods, healthy herbs, and potent spices that help to energize and revitalize the body by bringing back a natural and proportionate ratio between glucose and insulin.
Foods To Have On Hand
First, you need to toss out all the unhealthy foods you may have collected in your cupboards and fridge. This means cookies, candies, pastries, sugary cereals, deli foods, chips, fried foods, sodas, and sugared juices. If they’re not around, you won’t be tempted to dip in. Keep a stock of healthful foods ready to eat, such as already cut carrots and celery in a jar of water, ready to take out of the fridge for snacking. Instead of cheese, chips, and crackers, chew on almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Fruits rich in fiber such as apples, pears, apricots, blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, guavas, and pomegranates.
Vegetables should be plentiful. Brown rice, millet, quinoa, and pearled barley should be staples in your pantry. Whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas are great to have on hand as complex carbohydrates.
Use olive oil as a dressing for salads. Cook with coconut oil, which is not heat sensitive, meaning it will retain its incredible nourishing factors regardless.
Eat fish instead of red meat.
Add avocado to your sandwiches instead of cheese. Avocados are high fiber fruits that are rich in monounsaturated fat, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular problems so common to diabetics. The American Diabetes Association recommends monounsaturated fat for this reason, as well as the fact that it helps control blood sugar levels.
Steam, grill, broil, bake, stir-fry. Never fry.
Barley is one of the best foods for lowering symptoms of diabetes as it is a known healer for urinary diseases.
Oats help to stabilize blood sugar levels, while also providing anti-oxidant activity and enough roughage to assist in healthy elimination.
Organic green apples are filled with pectin, which detoxify the body by eliminating harmful substances, fight bacteria and viruses, and decrease the need for excess insulin. Green apples are also very rich in potassium.
Grapefruit helps to control blood sugar levels while decreasing appetite, especially if eaten before meals. If eaten regularly, they are excellent for helping prevent diabetes for those people who may be at risk.
Artichokes contain large amounts of insulin, along with potassium, calcium, iron, and sulphur, making them an important addition to the diet.
Broccoli helps to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels due to its chromium content. It also helps reduce cholesterol and is a strong anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-ulcer food that does its best work when eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Garlic lowers blood sugar levels and helps to increase free insulin. Full of flavenoids, garlic is a mighty anti-oxidant and anti-viral that helps to lower lipid levels and boost cardio vascular performance.
Onions are powerful anti-oxidants that reduce blood sugar levels in either raw or cooked form.
Beans are high in fiber and vegetable protein and are very good for lowering cholesterol levels. They also help to regulate blood sugar levels, with soybeans being especially efficient in this regard.
Eating organic yogurt is an excellent way to introduce essential bacteria into the digestive system, whereby the pancreas can become stimulated and cleansed of waste products and excess acids. Yogurt helps the body produce its own insulin while helping to boost the immune system. Because of its high calcium content, it also strengthens bones and teeth.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices that cleanse the organs are especially powerful for detoxifying the body and thus reducing blood sugar levels.
Milk thistle is one of the best herbs for cleansing the liver, acting as an antioxidant as it lowers glucose levels. According to a double blind clinical trial done on patients with Type 2 diabetes, a huge reduction in blood sugar levels was noted after milk thistle was taken on a regular basis for four months. In other trials, cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also noticeably reduced. Milk thistle’s ability to cleanse the liver of toxins is well known, and milk thistle tea, tincture, or capsules taken on a regular basis can make an enormous difference in health for not only diabetics, but for all of us who wish to stay on balance.
Turmeric is one of the staple spices used in Indian cooking. An anti-carcinogenic supreme, turmeric has cleansing and purifying properties that directly affect all areas of the body and that help reduce insulin dependence in those that suffer from high blood glucose levels.
Fenugreek, coriander, cardamom, and ginger powder are other spices that help regulate blood sugar and can be liberally added to recipes such as stews, curries, soups, and other foods.
A Happy and Balanced Future
Once you get in the swing of your new habits, you will begin to naturally gravitate towards the foods and protocols mentioned above. The body wants to be well. It wants to take in deliciously prepared, organically grown foods that offer the most nourishment. The body, mind, and spirit delights in exercise and good breathing habits. Once you’re well on your way, all that other stuff will seem like poison and you will wonder how you ever deigned to pollute yourself with it. As you gain health and a more robust feeling about life, you will take on a happy and balanced present and future as your given right, which it is. You are in control so get started and enjoy the process!