Now first, I didn’t say I am offering a “cure.” Let’s get that very clear. I do not have a magic pill or miracle cure - I don’t really believe those exist. However, with the latest stats showing that 1 in 11 Americans have Type II Diabetes and the prediction that 1 in 3 kids will develop the disease, it is time to stop ignoring the facts. If you don’t think you are at risk, then consider that 75,000,000 Americans currently have insulin resistance - the thing that happens in our bodies before we get diabetes, and then consider again. Maybe it isn’t you. Maybe it is someone you love. What I want to make very clear is there is something you can do to make it better.
Diabetes happens when our bodies are exposed to too much sugar. We all know that too much of a good thing is bad, right? Over the past 30-40 years we have been virtually bathing our innards in the sweet stuff and our bodies haven’t figured out how to deal with all of that sugar. Sugar we eat or drink causes the sugar in our blood stream to go up. That sugar in the blood is like water on a piece of steel, only instead of rust it causes inflammation and irritation to our blood vessels and nerves. Our bodies know what to do. We secrete a hormone called insulin into the blood stream to take all that sugar out and turn it into fat to use later. Our bodies know how to store fat for a rainy day, but they don’t know how to store sugar without turning it to fat, first.
When we eat more sugar than our bodies know what to do with (more than about 5 teaspoons or 25 grams total in a whole day), over time our cells develop insulin resistance. This means our bodies have so much insulin floating around that the cells sort of forget what to do with it. So we make extra insulin. When the insulin finally makes all that sugar floating around into fat, extra insulin is left behind. The problem with the extra insulin is that it sends a message to the brain that says, “I’m STARVING!” So we eat more, and the sweeter it is, the better it sounds. This becomes a vicious cycle of eating, fat storage, hunger, eating, and well, I think you get the picture. In addition to weight gain in the form of fat, other signs of insulin resistance include stretch marks, dark skin in the arm pits, the back of the neck, under breasts, and groin, as well as hair growth where there shouldn't be hair growing.
For far too long we have been told that the problem was calories, lack of exercise, or too much fat. Only it wasn’t true. Exercise can help in many ways, but it isn't enough to use exercise alone to decrease excess weight or reverse diabetes. I tell patients to focus on food Calories are not all created equally and the only thing our body can use to make fat is sugar. It seems counter-intuitive, but anyone who has paid attention to human biochemistry can tell you this is true. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, but eating sugar, does. Same goes for risk of diabetes. Sugar is the bad guy, fat is your friend (especially healthy fats).
So, back to diabetes. How to reverse it? Well, if you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed, you are in luck. This means you have time to recover and reverse the insulin resistance that has happened in your body. The answer to how to do that is quite simple: stop eating sugar. All sugar. This includes other foods that cause your blood sugar to rise, such as rice, wheat, most grain, potatoes, and sometimes beans. If you want to really pay attention to how your body reacts to sugar, then check your blood sugar before and again 2 hours after your meals. If it goes up quite a lot, then what you ate is causing you to release extra insulin. Don’t eat that food. If your blood sugar stays within normal range before and after a meal, good job.
There are all kinds of low carb diets out there, so I am not going to go into detail here. The bottom line is to make a list of foods that are good for you and low in sugar, and start shopping and cooking from that list. This includes whole fruits and vegetables (shop from the clean 15 list in the regular produce aisle, and choose organic or skip the dirty dozen), nuts, seeds, eggs, butter, coconut oil, nut milks, full-fat dairy (unsweetened, and organic is best), meat (pastured/grass fed is best), cheese, poultry (pastured), fish (fatty fish is especially good). Look at those categories and make lists of your favorite foods on the list. Then find recipes that include them. Eating a low-sugar diet with foods you like is not difficult if you take it from the perspective that you look at what you CAN have, rather than what you CAN’T have.
If you follow these steps, you can drastically reduce your risk for developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, you can lower your medications (with the help of your doctor) and you can greatly reduce your risk of complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and painful hands and feet.
Talk about your natural therapy, eh? Food is our friend, when we choose the right foods. Questions? Please ask. I’m here, and I want to help you in your Next Chapter.
*Always consult your doctor before changing prescription medication doses or stopping medication.
I am glad to be along for the Next Chapter in Your Health.
Spinach Avocado Salad
4 Roma Tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Ripe Avocados, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 Fresh Red Onion, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
4 cups fresh baby spinach
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Toss and enjoy!
This tasty salad can be served with your favorite steak, roasted chicken, or grilled seafood. If you cut the sugar, you do not need to worry about being hungry or losing out on delicious flavors. Eat and be healthy!