Defeating Diabetes is more than a podcast/blog. It is a community of information, encouragement and hope. Our host, David Fell, is a diabetic. He has been able to overcome diabetes and is committed to learning and doing all that is possible to defeat diabetes (Type 2) throughout the world.
In this episode we will discuss 5 tips for staying healthy at holiday parties. There are many more. Let us know what you do to help yourself stay healthy during celebrations. Here are 5 things I like to “bring” to parties…
- Bring a full stomach
Do not go to the party hungry. It is hard enough to not eat tasty, addictive things when we are full. There is no reason to try and resist on an empty stomach.
- Bring a healthy alternative.
Some may think you are a little crazy for waling with a plate of cut of vegetables and hummus. But, who cares? You are not only doing yourself a favor there are others wanting to at least add in a little something healthy.
- Bring some nut butter.
Vegies and a healthy hummus may not be enough to satisfy your desires. An individual package of nut butter can do the trick. Artisana is a brand I enjoy. Here are some options:
Hemp Seed Butter
Be careful not to buy a nut butter that has added sugar and oils. Some brands mix add sugar, salt and additional oils.
- Bring Herbal or Green Tea
Sweet drinks are a huge source of extra, and potentially hurtful, calories.
- Bring the Right Attitude and Mindset
Do we have the mindset that we CAN withstand temptation? Are we ready to withstand peer pressure to eat/drink things that will ultimately hurt our bodies?
If we do eat unhealthy, are we prepared to pick ourselves up and start fresh? Don’t beat yourself up if you falter. It is not about perfection.
All these things deal with our mindset and our attitude.
Please share your thoughts. Together we can come up with some great ideas!
How do you deal with all the tasty “stuff” from the holiday parties? How do you prepare yourself? What do you bring? What do you do to get your mind and attitude ready?
Photo courtesy of nuchylee on freedigitalphoto.net
In today’s episode I share part of my story. Information, facts, and data are an important part of any plan. Testimonies of success are also important. I love information. Without it I would not be where I am today. I also need encouraging stories from real people.
Today, I hope to encourage you along your journey by sharing the ups, downs, struggles and success I have encountered along the way.
In episode 1, I shared a little about the source of my lung damage and the beginnings of having diabetes. Today, I want to share the personal side of my journey. You will hear some of the “how” I have achieved my current success. But mostly I will share my experiences. The thinking behind my journey, as well as some of the struggles I faced.
In December of 2013 I experienced a heart attack. That got my attention.
A year and a half earlier, I read and followed Dr. Bernstein’s book, “Diabetes Solution”. He takes a high animal protein, very, very, low carb, medication and exercise approach. I experienced some success. My fasting blood sugars dropped from 130+ t0 around the upper 115+.
I lost about 20 lbs. over a few months—to about 165 lbs. But I was still not in the blood sugar range that Dr. Bernstein recommends—even with medication. Just as important, I was not feeling any better.
Fast forward a year: My weight was now about 175 lbs. I was still eating a moderately low carb diet and I still usually did not feel well.
On top of the diabetes, I was still experiencing many serious lung infections. Ugh! I was a bit down.
Despite following my doctor’s recommendations and staying away from sweets, I was still experiencing diabetic complications. My doctors told me I was doing well. They said my diabetes was “under good control”. And by the ADA standards, I was. But by the real world of my human body, it was not!
When my A1C (a way of measuring blood sugar over about a three month period) was 7.9 my VA doctor said, “I would not worry about it. If it was 8.0 then we would need to take more action. Besides, I have seen patients with much higher A1Cs.” [I will get into what the numbers mean in another episode.]
Of course he “wouldn’t worry about it”. It is not his foot, eye, heart, kidneys, that could suffer damage. What did he have to worry about? Nothing!
I, on the other hand, was the one experiencing neuropathy in my feet, atypical cataracts in my eyes and eventually, at the ripe old age of 44, a heart attack. Yes, what did he have to worry about? He had already been transferred. He had already moved on to “not worrying about” other patients diabetic complications.
So you can see that I was a bit frustrated. All the docs wanted to do was to keep adding medications. Not one of them told me that in a relatively short time I could be healthy. They all told me that I would keep getting worse. The best I could hope for was to slow the process a bit.
Well, enough was enough! Living this way was not very enjoyable. Feeling sick from the lung problem was bad enough. Throwing on top of that, fluctuating blood sugars and all of the side effects of the medication, that was too much.
Time to Try Again
I decided to try a different approach. The last approach, based on Dr. Bernstein’s book, focused on animal meat, cheese and other low carb animal products. So, I decided to go in a different direction. A moderately low carb, moderate protein, moderate fat (plant based) experiment.
On Valentine’s Day 2014 I decided to start making changes. I had been reading and studying, but I was not ready to go all in. So I started to make some cutbacks. These cutbacks lead to the first 5 steps outlined in episodes 2-5.
On February 14 my fasting blood glucose (FBG) was 149 mg/dl and I weighed 177 lbs. Over the next three weeks I started to eat healthier.
Here are my numbers during that time:
- FBG average 131 (range 116-154)
- Morning Blood Pressure 128/88
- Resting Heart Rate 79
These were my numbers on a restricted diet, with medications. My medications during that time were:
- Lantus [insulin] (blood sugar)
- Metformin (blood sugar)
- Micardis (blood pressure)
- Atorvastatin (Cholesterol)
- Clopidogrel [beta-blocker] blood pressure, heart rate
- Aspirin (blood thinner)
- Plavix (help prevent blood clots)
- Omeprazole (heart burn)
- Nitrostat [Nitroglycerin] for angina
For my respiratory problems:
- Codeine (cough suppressant)
And on an as-needed (but regular) basis:
- Prednisone (steroid)
- Over the counter decongestant
- Over the counter pain and fever reducers
- Polyethylene Glycol (a laxative to handle some of the side-effects of the combination of medications)
Can anyone say, “Wow!” That is a lot of medication.
On March 9, three weeks after beginning this journey, it was time to go all in. I did not know what to expect. Honestly, part of me did not want it to succeed. Why? Because it is easier to say, “There is nothing I can do. This is just the way it is. It is not my fault.”
It was Lent. There is a long tradition of fasting during this time of reflection and transformation. I did not know if I could make it all the way through Lent, eating clean and healthy.
I committed to a 7 day juice fast + 14 days of eating a plant based diet. At that point I would evaluate my progress and decide what to do next.
I had met with my doctors. The cardiologist, was like, “Why would you want to do this. These medications will keep you going…” Fortunately my primary care was more supportive.
What were my goals?
I started with a testable hypothesis: “A vegetable based diet free from refined grain and sugars will reverse my diabetes.” My basic standard for “reversing” diabetes would be to have laboratory numbers in the “normal” range. I kept detailed records of my resolutes.
It was important to me that this could be duplicated without expensive equipment, pills, potions, or powders. That included expensive supplements.
My major objective was health! It was not to lose weight. It was not to fit into some of my old clothes. Rather, I wanted to be healthy! Healthy would be defined as, exceeding medical standards listed in table 1 AND by how I felt!
|Marker||December 2013 Heart Attack||Before (March 2014)||Initial Target||Now (with no medication)|
|Fasting Blood Sugar average||140s||131||Below 100||88|
|A1C Blood Sugar Test||7.1||6.4||Below 5.7||5.2*|
|Total Cholesterol||244||103***||Below 200||137**|
|Triglycerides (fat in blood)||250+||121||Below 150||119**|
|Waist Size (measured at the belly button||43+||43+||Below 40||32|
|Weight||175 lbs.||177 lbs.||Below 155 lbs.||130 lbs.|
* September 2014 (5.7 June 2014)
** June 2014 – three months w/o medication
*** Many consider this too low. This was due to the statin. Notice, even with the statin the HDL was not in an acceptable range.
What was I thinking?
All the science facts, stats and testimonies were still not enough to get me moving. I had to psych myself up for this. I had to convince myself that it was worth a try. I did not have a support group and I could not afford to go to a program. I could not afford expensive solutions. It had to be done within our current budget.
I asked myself, “If I had a treatable cancer that required a few months of uncomfortable sacrifice; but offer a high probability of success, would I take it? My answer was, yes! I convinced myself that the risk of failure from trying my new approach was worth the potential success.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the other contributing factors to our top killers are serious. The good news is we can do something about them.
The 7 day Juice/Blended Vegetable Fast Begins
On Sunday, March 9 2014 I started a week long vegetable juice/blended smoothie fast. This was not a sweet fruit juice fast. Rather a juice or blended drink that consisted of cucumbers, celery, greens of many kinds, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and many, many other vegetables.
It was hard. At times it was horrible! Most of the time I felt like garbage. Some report feeling good after about 3 or 4 days. Not me! I had moments of feeling “ok”; but mostly I felt awful. After the first week, I began to start to occasionally have better days.
Not only did I feel bad, I smelled bad. My breath stank. You know it is bad when you are praying with people at Church, and they turn their head in another direction. They are trying to do it suddenly, but you know why.
The two weeks following the juice fast were also hard. But it was worth it!!!
I had to rely on the testimonies of those who had gone before me on this journey. I had to rely on the reported clinical experience of medical doctors that have helped them on their journeys. But for me, that was not enough. I had to rely on the scientific principles behind the concepts.
Living in a house with people eating all the things I used to eat did not make it easier. During my juice fast, my wife baked cookies. My family ate pizza and all the things that I also like. There was ice-cream in the freezer, Pringles and Oreo’s in the pantry. You get the picture.
After a week of the juice/blended drink fast, I started to eat whole, mostly raw, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and progressively some low glycemic fruit.
I also started walking and progressively adding other light physical activities. See episodes 2-5 for details.
I Wanted to Quit
At times I wanted to quit. But my numbers were good. Really good! I had no excuse to quit. The changes had worked better than any combination of medication I had tried over the years.
Day 21 – from the beginning of the juice fast (March 29)
It had been almost three weeks without diabetes medication. My numbers were looking good.
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 93
- Blood Pressure = 100/80
- Resting Heart Rate = 86
- Weight = 162.5 lbs.
- Waist Size = 39 ¾
Not bad for 21 days! So I decided to continue. Besides, I was just starting to feel consistently better.
It was around this time that I watched the documentaries, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, “Forks over Knives” and “Food Inc.” for the first time. They each helped inspire me to keep going.
Day 40 (April 18)
By now I was starting to feel good much more of the time. At this point, I did not want to stop. I would still have some bad days. It seemed like I would be able to tell when I was burning fat, and as a result, releasing all those stored toxins back into my blood.
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 75 (note: It was not always this low, the average at this point was about 86)
- Blood Pressure = 110/75
- Resting Heart Rate = 65
- Weight = 155 lbs.
- Waist Size = 37 1/16
Day 60 (April 28)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 82 (Five day average 83)
- Blood Pressure = 118/81
- Resting Heart Rate = 71
- Weight = 153 lbs.
- Waist Size = 35 ½ (on April 27)
Day 100 (June 17)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 83
- Blood Pressure = 98/73
- Resting Heart Rate = 71
- Weight = 146.5lbs.
- Waist Size = 34 ¾ (below 35, for a man, is considered an important marker)
On July I, started a more formal exercise program – Power 90 by Tony Horton (Not P90x, but his older, easier program). It took me 100 days to complete the first half (level 1-2) of a 90 day program! Progress was slow. Who knows how long, or even if, I will complete level 3-4. Nevertheless, progress is progress!
Day 151 (August 7)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 83
- Blood Pressure = 102/71
- Resting Heart Rate = 75
- Weight = 134 lbs.
Day 255 (November 19)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 90
- Blood Pressure = 109/70
- Resting Heart Rate = 64 (The low 60’s is now normal. One morning it was 58!)
- Weight = 130 lbs. (November 18 and I have been around the same weight for about 10+ weeks)
- Waist Size = 32 1/8
Not only do these numbers look good – as well as the lab numbers mentioned above, but I feel great! Not just OK most of the time, but good almost all of the time and great some of the time.
Improved Respiratory Health
I still have lung problems with some coughing. The obstructive disease has not reversed. This seriously limits my physical capabilities and that is the reason it took 100 days to make it half way through a 90 day program.
The lost weight, decreased inflammation throughout my body, no infections, and increased muscle mass and strength, have all helped extend my physical capabilities by a little bit. Not much; but something is better than nothing.
No lung infections in nine months is a big deal! This is a record since Iraq 2006 when the problem started. Nearly every little cold would turn into a prolonged and nasty lung infection. Each would last for weeks and require a lot of medication. I would cough so hard that it caused a couple of small hernias.
The extra inflammation and mucus would, at times, bring my lung capacity down to around 10%. These times were scary for me and my family. The gurgling and wheezing, together with deep and prolonged coughs, produced disconcerting sounds.
Successfully dealing with my diabetes has increased my quality of life in many areas:
- Increased energy (a lot!)
- Clarity of mind
- Immune system strengthened
- Reduced lung infections (so far elliminated)
- Reduced all major Cardiovascular risk factors
- Increased confidence
How will defeating diabetes help transform your life?
Are you ready?
Are you ready to begin your journey to take your health to the next level? It may not be “easy”. But you can do it!
You do not have to do it alone. I am willing to walk with you through this journey. I am willing to share what worked for me. Working with your healthcare provider is key. It would be foolish to not coordinate your medication and nutrition plan with a healthcare professional. Each of us has unique considerations that need to be taken into account. Medication needs will change as you change your body. This needs to be coordinated and monitored professionally to ensure maximum safety.
I am not a doctor or other health professional. I am an ordinary guy that has wrestled with diabetes. What I have to offer is my experience, information and encouragement.
What worked for me, may not work the same way for you. Each of us is unique. Nevertheless, most of the concepts and principles are applicable to all who call themselves human.
Sign up for my free newsletter at RestoredLifeNow.com, listen to these podcasts, and let me know if you want to talk.
Let’s build a community around helping each other succeed!
- A hormone problem that leads to overeating
- Step 5 Add/Subtract/Add
- Monitoring the transformation
- Is it possible to retrain our taste buds?
Leptin: A key hormone in metabolism
Leptin is involved in hunger, reproduction, inflammation management, fat storage, and more. Among other things, it signals the brain, telling you to eat or that you are full.
If our bodies, especially fat cells, are overexposed to sugars, they release large amounts of leptin. That sound good. This should signal our brain to tell us to stop eating. However, when we over produce leptin, we become resistant to its affects.
It is believed that leptin resistance is a key factor in overeating, obesity (which leads to more leptin resistance), and inflammation. Drug companies are trying to develop drugs to decrease leptin resistance.
However, this is not needed. Our bodies can fix the problem by what we eat, don’t eat, and through our activity (exercise).
How do we become leptin resistant?
By eating a diet rich in sugar, grains (especially wheat), and processed foods.
What can I do to decrease leptin resistance?
- Exercise: Among the many benefits of exercise there may be a transformation of our fat cells from consumers to producers of energy. A study in mice demonstrated that during exercise their muscles release an enzyme (irisin). This enzyme transforms fat cells from consuming energy (sugar) to burning energy.
- Avoid spiking your blood sugar. That is, avoid sugar (and fructose, which does not spike blood sugar but causes all sorts of problems), grains, and processed food.
- Give your digestive system a rest. Fasting for 12 hours a day seems to help rest the hormone. Fasting itself is only part of the solution. We still need to cut out the harmful stuff discussed above.
Step 5 Add – Beans (legumes)
Beans are inexpensive and nutritious. You can buy them dry or in cans. Lentils and mung beans are consider by Dr. Gabriel Cousens to be the best beans for diabetes. Other great beans should not be excluded. Black, navy, pinto, kidney and garbanzo (a.k.a. Chickpeas) are all packed full of protein and important micronutrients.
Why soak dry beans before cooking?
- They need to be cleaned. They are not washed while they are processed, to prevent mold from growing on the beans while they are stored.
- It decreases the cooking time. It also helps them cook evenly, so some beans are not hard while others are falling apart.
- It helps get rid of some of the intestinal gas causing oligosaccharides. More soak, less fumes.
- Pour out the beans onto a sheet or clean towel and sort out any stones or debris.
- Rinse the beans.
- Place beans in a glass or stainless steel contain and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool water.
- Let them soak for about 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain and rinse.
How to soak beans:
For a quick soak you can bring the water and beans to a boil for about 3 minutes. Take it off the heat, cover and let stand for at least an hour. Drain the water and rinse. Refill the pot and cook the beans fully.
The Basics of Cooking Beans:
Once your beans are soaked, they are ready to be cooked. The cooking time varies based on the age, size and kind of bean. It usually takes about 1-2 hours to fully cook beans. They are ready when they are tender and can be mashed or pierced with a fork. [Note: I hear a pressure cooker can greatly shorten this time; but I have never used a pressure cooker to make beans.]
How often should I eat beans?
Some say you should eat a serving of beans every day. A serving is ½ cup cooked beans. At the very least we should eat several servings every week.
Beans and Gas:
Some of the sugars in beans, the oligosaccharides, are not digested by our stomach and small intestine. They make their way to the large intestine, the colon, and are digested by the bacteria. The bacteria produce gas as they digest the sugars. Something we may have all experienced when we eat beans.
Soaking beans can help cut down on these oligosaccharides. Eating beans regularly can also help our system adjust to these sugars and balance the production of gas—at least that is what Dr. Joel Fuhrman says.
Great Ways to Eat Beans:
- As a side dish or main dish. There are so many recipes out there.
- Add beans to salads. Sometimes I take my leftover side or main bean dish and add it to my lunch salad.
- In soups
- A bean salad
- Hummus (made with chick peas)
Step 5 Subtract: Wheat
Yes, at least for now, we need to say goodbye to wheat, flower, pasta, bread, bagels, pastries (even without sugar added). This includes breads labeled, “whole wheat” and Rye.
For some people this may be the most difficult step. Other may have found it more difficult to cut sweet drinks or to add ½ pound of salad vegetables.
These “whole wheat” products are probably not really whole wheat. They may contain some whole wheat, but usually they a large part highly refined carbohydrates that quickly raise our blood sugar. Most of the nutrition is stripped away and then a few vitamins and minerals are added back.
We are aiming for nutrient dense foods to help our bodies heal. Modern manufactured wheat products do not fit that description.
I found each of these steps to be difficult! I loved bread, pasta, wheat, sugar, diet drinks…
Step 5 Add Activity – Push-ups
Our first goal is three sets of 5 push-ups. Only do push-ups if you are healthy enough. If you have a shoulder or arm problem these may not be for you. Push-ups are great for the arms, chest, back and core.
They can be bent-knee push ups or standard push-ups. The form is important. Your head, neck back and legs should form a straight line.
Check out this YouTube video instructional demonstration on how to do a standard push-up.
Monitoring the Transformation
Keeping track of your progress can be a great source of encouragement. Keep a notebook, journal or electronic record of key numbers. Your weight, waist size, blood sugars, blood pressure, lab test results, exercise progress, and whatever key numbers for your specific situation.
As you see these numbers improve, you will be encouraged. If you don’t see them improving it is a signal that maybe a different strategy should be considered. These numbers will also help your doctor get a better picture of what you are doing and the effect it is having on your body and health.
How to retrain your taste buds…
Do you know someone who may add salt even to a canned soup? Their taste buds (and brains) have become so desensitized to salt that they add it in a level that may make other people gag.
The same can be true of sugar. When I was young I would want to put sugar on my strawberries and grapefruit.
As we eat sweets, salt and fat, our taste buds send a signal to our brain that then releases a pleasure neurotransmitter – dopamine. We feel good! Over time, it takes more stuff to produce the pleasure effect. We have to keep eating more and more to get the same level of pleasure.
The solution is simple, but not easy. Stop eating the highly refined junk (sugar, unhealthy fats, salt, and processed food chemicals) that are causing the problem.
Our brains and taste buds will reset fairly quickly. When they do, we will start to enjoy real food much, much more. When I started eating vegetables, I hated most of them. Now I can taste the natural sugars even in things like kale. Natural, real, food does actually taste good. Give it a chance!
Links for further study:
- Dr. Oz’s Leptin fact sheet: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/leptin-resistance-fact-sheet
- Good overview of leptin and what it does in our bodies. However, I do not agree with all of this doctors diet recommendations. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/29/leptin-resistance.aspx
- General Info on the benefits of beans: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beans-protein-rich-superfoods
- Info on soaking beans: http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/howtosoak.html
- More info on soaking and preparing beans: http://www.usdrybeans.com/recipes/beans-pre-prep/
- Beans Every Day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/beans-cholesterol-pulses-legumes-chickpeas-lentils_n_5087050.html
In today’s episode we will:
- Introduce step 3 and 4 (add/subtract/add)
- 10+ words to avoid on a label or in baked goods
- Examine food addiction: fact or fiction
- What we can do to break the cycle
We are walking now!
Our first step/movement was more like a crawl. We added proper hydration—water. We subtracted sweet drinks. Then we crawled a little faster by adding herbal teas and reducing then removing caffeine. Now it is time to get moving a little faster!
This add, #3, is optional. It also depends on how well your sugar is controlled.
Add #3: 1 serving of low glycemic fruit
A serving size is typically ½ to 1 cup or ½ to 1 medium fruit. In general, the more ripe a fruit is, the more sugar it contains. Consider including a serving of fruits:
- Granny Smith Apples (80 g, about a ½ medium apple)
- Cherries (about 10-12 cherries)
- Grapefruit (½ red or pink grapefruit)
- Pears (½ pear – not too ripe)
No sugar added! Fresh is great. Frozen is fine. I like to get a bag of of frozen organic berries, cherries and pomegranate from Costco and just eat them frozen.
Monitor your sugar levels!
Subtract #3: Sugar (processed sugar)
Eliminate any packaged, baked or processed food that contains sugar. Look for the following or similar words on the labels:
- High fructose corn syrup (or HFCS)
- Corn Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Dextrose (many other words ending in –ose)
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and others, are not good alternatives. Many artificial sweeteners have harmful metabolites. Also, they do not help us break the sweet addiction.
Add Activity #3
Walk an extra 5 to 10 minutes. Working your way up to 30 minutes.
Add #4: A half pound of fresh salad vegetables every day.
Organic is great. However, conventional is still good. Get whatever you can find and afford.
Here are a few ideas to get at the store or farmers market:
Green Leafy Goodness:
- Bok Choy
- Swiss Chard (or other chard)
- Spring Mix
- Butter lettuce
- Red lettuce
- Red Cabbage
- Green Cabbage
Other Vegetables to consider adding:
- Bell Peppers (green, yellow, red, purple)
The next three are technically considered fruits. For our purpose, they are more like vegetables.
A half-pound may sound like a lot. But it may not be as much as you think. Consider the pictures below:
It is important to eat some healthy fats with the salad. The fat greatly increases the absorption of some of the micronutrients. Nuts, seeds and avocados are good ways of getting healthy fats and adding additional nutrients at the same time. Oils can also add the needed fats. But they are not a rich source of many micronutrients.
Currently I usually eat about 1 lb. of fresh salad vegetables for lunch.
Dressing Up the Salad.
This is where a lot of people get into trouble. One tablespoon of an oil based dressing has at least 120 Calories. That is more than the veritable. And who only uses 1 tbsp.? So be careful.
If you must use a dressing, pick one without sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the author of Eat to Live, recommends making your own dressing from nuts, seeds, and fruits. He has some awesome dressing recipes. This is not difficult to get done on a regular basis.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- A handful (about ¼ cup) Seeds and Nuts. I like the “Savory Trail Mix” by Lydia’s Organics.
- Dried (or fresh) herbs (dill, parsley, oregano, or Italian seasoning)
If you must have the oil consider the following:
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (40 to 80 Calories) extra virgin, cold pressed, olive oil (flax or hemp oil are also good choices)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Dried herbs
Add Activity #4
Once you reach 30 minutes of walking, try and pick up the pace. Try to walk farther in the same amount of time. [Provided your healthcare provider says you are ok for increased activity.]
Food addiction: Fact or Fiction
Do you keep eating even when you are full? Do you crave sweets, fats, or salt? Are you consumed by thinking about food? Do you ever eat until the point of feeling ill?
It is not only an over eating problem. It can also be under eating.
What happens when we extract and concentrate one part of a plant? Consider cocaine… Consider table sugar….
The brain reacts to sugar, alcohol and cocaine in a very similar way. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, is released when we ingest sugar, cocaine, or alcohol. The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we need for the same level of dopamine release. In other words, we need more sugar to get the same amount of pleasure.
The natural sweetness of whole foods stops being enough. We end up chasing the pleasure by eating more and sweeter stuff.
Yale University researchers have developed a food addiction questionnaire. However, most of us do not need a questionnaire to recognize the problem.
CBS News, 60 Minutes, had a show on sugar which included a small part on addiction. Jump to 9:45 to go the the part on addiction.
What can I do break the addiction?
Reprogram your brain to think differently. This takes time and effort. Read books and blogs on healthy eating and living. Listen to podcasts or other recorded series. Start to fill your mind with positive life-giving truth.
Consider cutting out the addictive substances. You can do it all at once. Or you can do it in a step-wise approach.
Get support: friends, coworkers, family members, support groups can help provide the positive pressure we may need from day to day. Some may need the help of a counselor or therapist. Others may find the additional help from a 12 step based support group such as…
Pray: Ask God for help. Then accept the help that is offered. Some churches offer support groups. Perhaps it time for you to start one in your church.
You can overcome! If at first you fail, so what? Keep getting up. Keep trying. Keep adding new resources.
- What we have accomplished this far.
- Step-by-step or all at once…
- Why I love medical professionals.
- The Second Add/Subtract/Add
- The affect caffeine has on insulin and blood sugar
- Discover some tasty hot/cold drink options
Exercise: Talk with your health care provider. Some things to consider: kind of medication, blood sugar levels,
What have we accomplished this far?
We have ensured we are well hydrated by adding water. We have also decreased the amount of sugar intake by eliminating sweet drinks. And we have slightly increased our activity by standing 10-30 min. per day.
Step-by-step and all at once…the decision is yours…
Some may be ready to jump right to a full vegetable juice fast. This is a way to get things moving quickly. However, I do not recommend that people jump straight to a juice fast. We must be physically and mentally ready to handle the radical bodily changes. We should also be educated on how to handle the changes in relation to any medications and diabetic reactions. That information is highly individualized and your healthcare provider should be involved.
As with all that we say and do here, the choice is ultimately yours. I am sharing my experience as a diabetic and one who enjoys seeing both diabetics and non-diabetics gain healthy lifestyle habits. The ideas presented here have worked for me. They are presented in this order to help minimize the normal effects of cutting out sugar, caffeine and other common substances in the standard modern diet.
Why I love medical professionals:
Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioner and other licensed healthcare professionals play (or can play) a vital role in our health and recovery. In modern times they are particularly good at urgent care. It is likely that doctors and medicine saved my life during a heart attack. It is also likely that standard practices and care helped put me in the condition to need the emergency intervention.
Doctors and other health care professionals are a valuable resource for us. Seek out those interested in you maximizing your health and not simply managing your disease. There seems to be an increasing number out there interested in working with you for your health.
Develop a relationship with your provider. Express you desire to regain and take control of your health. Many are willing to work with you.
Some have just become cynical and actually do not believe that you are capable of following through on a healthy lifestyle. If they are not truly supportive of your healthy decisions, it may be time to look for a new provider.
Crawling a little faster… The second Add/Subtract/Add
Add: Herbal Teas
(Note: some herbal teas can have impact on medication. Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask a dietitian or pharmacist)
There are many to choose from. I recommend organic whenever possible. I suggest no sweeteners of any kind at this point in the process. Nevertheless, pure stevia extract may be a safe, if not beneficial, option.
Many teas contain powerful anti-oxidants, small amounts of minerals and other micro-nutrients. Even with the goodness they contain they should still be used in moderation.
Here is a list of favorite herbal teas:
(The teas are linked below to my Amazon affiliate account. If you want to buy them from Amazon I would appreciate you using these links. If you can find a better deal elsewhere, go for it! Note: price/teabag as of original publication)
- Northwest Blackberry by Choice Organic, 20 Count Box ($0.22/teabag) – This hibiscus tea is full of anti-oxidants and a slightly sweet berry taste. I enjoy this tea any time of day. Or you can pay $0.19/teabag when you by 6 boxes Northwest Blackberry, 20-Count Box (Pack of 6)
- Tulsi, Original by Organic India 18-Count Boxes (Pack of 2)
(Holy Basil) – A strong tea and a good way to start the day. It has may touted benefits.
- Tulsi Lemon Ginger by Organic India, 18-count teabags (Pack of 6)
($0.14/teabag – one of my favorites)
- Rooibos Organic, by Twinings 20-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6 ) (Red Tea) ($0.24 per tea bag)
- Longevity Tea by Dragon Herbs Spring Dragon — 20 Tea Bags
(Gynostermma ($0.52/teabag) This has a great taste and many potential benefits. It is more expensive than the other teas I drink. But keep in mind each bag makes three cups.)
- Chamomile tea
- Chamomile, mint, lemon by Twinings
There are many more! These are just a few that I enjoy. Warm, hot, or cold, these are a good way to start or end your day.
Caffeine is a moderately addictive stimulant. It is also considered the most wildly consumed drug. It can temporarily boost our thinking abilities and make us more alert. That is not all bad.
According to a 2009 National Coffee Association report U.S. adults coffee drinkers consumed an average of 374.4 mg of caffeine daily. More than two-thirds from coffee.
What is considered a safe amount?
For healthy, non-pregnant, adults 400 mg per day is generally consider safe for healthy individuals. However, this amount was used in the studies referenced below and caused decreased insulin sensitivity in healthy people. Diabetics seeking to regain control over their health should consider eliminating caffeine at least until it is under control.
Most of our caffeine comes from coffee, tea and about 20% comes from carbonated beverages. Chocolate is a food source of caffeine.
How does it affect diabetics?
Caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity from 15% to up to 35%. The effects of daily caffeine consumption in insulin sensitivity can last for at least a week. In other words, it magnifies insulin resistance. Something we do not want.
Science Geek Minute:
Caffeine stimulates the production of catecholamines. The three most abundant in humans are: epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and dopamine. Our body makes them by combining phenylalanine and tyrosine (two amino acids – the building blocks of protein). These are essential hormones.
Caffeine has been found to increase levels of epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These are involved in the fight-flight response. These hormones are made in our adrenal glands. Some believe that the artificial over stimulation of the adrenal glands can lead to these important glands becoming fatigued.
Reducing and eliminating caffeine:
Caffeine elimination does not have to be a lifelong situation. However, as we are getting healthy, we do not need anything to get in the way of our progress.
Caffeine is addictive and many who quit, experience withdrawals. Headaches, fatigue, and irritability are commonly reported. Some report flu-like symptoms such of muscle pain, nausea and even vomiting.
The withdrawal symptoms typically last 12-24 hours. However, they can last several days for heavy caffeine consumers.
If you drink a lot of coffee or other sources of caffeine you may consider a step-wise decrease in consumption. Perhaps cutting intake by ¼ to ½ for a couple of days then taking it down another ¼. Those who only drink a cup or two may consider going cold turkey.
Whatever path you choose, remember to add in some healthy herbal teas.
Add: 10 Minute Walk
Please check with you healthcare provider. I know I have said it before. This is important. Schedule a physical and discuss your plans. Remember, they are there to support you. They also may have some insights into some complex factors.
Take a short walk at whatever pace you can safely sustain. When I started, it was about a 5 to 10 minute stroll.
Some may have difficulty, or not feel safe, venturing away from the house. Perhaps starting with 10 minutes of pacing or walking throughout the house is a good place to start.
Some may already be ready for a 30 minute brisk walk. Go for it!
Question: What herbal teas do you like the best?
 Information on the herb Gynostermma, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gynostemma_pentaphyllum
 Keijzers, G, “Caffeine Can Decrease Insulin Sensitivity in Humans”, Diabetes Care, February 2002 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/2/364.short#
 Juliano, LM, “A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity, and associated features.”, Psychopharmacology, October, 2004, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1544897
Small changes can lead to big results. Setting our focus on accomplishing a progression of small performance goals will help us keep our eyes on what is important…
In this Episode we will discuss:
- Good news for our friend Jerry and diabetic foot pain
- Small Changes Big Results (the Crawl/Walk/Run principle)
- Add/Subtract, Add
- The first crawls toward Defeating Diabetes (including a few tips on how to make water a little more palatable.
Good news report from a member of the community:
Jerry is a type 2 diabetic. By age he is considered a senior citizen. But by activity level he is 20+ years younger.
Jerry wants to get his diabetes under control. He started to make some of the small changes we will be discussing over the next few weeks. Then he noticed that his feet were not hurting nearly as much. This is good news for him. He is on his feet a lot. Being active is part of his personality. Less, and perhaps one day soon, foot pain will help keep him active. Good job Jerry. Keep up the good work.
Small Changes can Equal Big Results:
It may not seem like there is a lot to the baby steps or the crawling part of recovery. Some people may be able to speed right through to the walking phase. I do not recommend this approach. Time (with effort) is an important part of regaining health. Our bodies need time to adjust and heal. Our minds also need time to change.
One small change by itself will not likely make the difference in your health. But this one change leads to being able to do another change and before you know it…your body is transforming.
Performance Based Goals:
We may have our big goal (objective) in mind—like no more medication. However that goal is only reached by setting small, obtainable, measurable performance goals. Our big goals are built upon the small task oriented goals. The Add/Subtract/Add below are good examples.
Write down your goals (big and small). Keep track of your progress. Measure your blood sugar, weight, waist size. The last two are not our main target. But they are indicators of some kind of progress.
Most of the steps we will consider are comprised of three small parts: Add (or Increase), Subtract (or Eliminate), and Add Activity (Add/Subtract/Add).
The First Crawl
Add – Water: This is not some miracle cure as some circulating E-mails or Facebook messages claim. Yet it is an important macronutrient. We cannot live, let alone thrive, without adequate water.
How much water? You may have head it recommended that we should drink 8 glasses of water each day. I have not found the science behind that statement. There are also many myths about water circulating around the internet.[i] The amount depends on your body, the kinds of food you eat, your activity level, and climate. Our bodies are good at eliminating excess water. Nevertheless, it is possible to drink too much water.
We usually do well to listen to our bodies in this regard. Some may need four glasses of water. Others may need ten or more.
If you are already drinking enough water there you are a head of the game and ready for the second half of the first step.
Subtract/Eliminate: Sugar/Sweet Beverages
This includes soft drinks (soda, pop, cola, etc.) energy drinks and processed fruit juice. Just one 12 Oz can of cola has about 10 teaspoons of sugar! Canned, bottled or boxed fruit juice is not much better. An 8 oz. glass of processed orange juice has about 6 teaspoons of sugar.
“Diet” drinks are not a healthy alternative. At the very best they appear to lead to eating of more calories.[ii] We are not likely to regain our health if we rely on unhealthy substitutes in an attempted to satisfy our sweet tooth. In fact, artificial sweeteners have been linked to a significant increase in waist size.
A BIG Problem — Researchers at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX followed over 474 people for about 10 years. They found that the waist circumference of diet soda drinkers increase 70% more than non-diet soda drinkers. A whopping 500% increase was observed in people who drank 2 or more diet drinks per day over non-users.[iii]
But…I don’t like water!
Is it possible to make water more palatable without adding sugars or a lot of calories?
I thinks it is possible. Here are three suggestions:
- Lemon/Lime Water
- Slice a lemon and/or lime into quarters or smaller wedges
- Squeeze some fresh juice into a class of water – that simple
- To enjoy it on the go place a wedge in a zip-lock bag and take it with you.
- Cucumber Water
- Fill a carafe with water
- Slice about 4-6 inches of a cucumber with peal into 1/8 to ¼ inch thick slices
- Place sliced cucumber in water
- Place carafe in the refrigerator for a couple hours
- Enjoy this cool and refreshing beverage
- Mint Water
- ¼ cup of mint leaves loosely packed per 32-48 Oz of water
- Let leaves soak in water in for a couple of hours and then enjoy
If you are really daring you can mix any of the above.
Add Activity/Take Action: Stand for 15 min. At a time you would be sitting, stand. It only burns a few more calories. It won’t make you thin, but it is a start.
For those a little farther along, provided you are healthy enough, take a short stroll. It does not have to be fast or long. Just take a stroll during a time you would normally be sitting at a computer or in front of a TV.
This is how I started to increase my physical activity. For me, it has been a long and slow process. I am getting stronger a little bit at a time.
Alternative Action: If walking is too hard on your joints, consider walking in a pool. This can help reduce the strain on your joints.
Check with your healthcare provider before implementing any exercise regimen!
Questions: What is your favorite way to enjoy healthy water?
[i] “Water Works” http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp
[ii] “Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings” Yale J Biol Med. Jun 2010; 83(2): 101–10 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/
[iii] “Waistline in people, glucose levels in mice hint at sweeteners’ effect” UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, June 2011 http://uthscsa.edu/hscnews/singleformat2.asp?newID=3861
This is my goal and the goal of RestoredLifeNow.com: To help 1,000,000 people defeat diabetes! That sounds like a lot of people. Well, it is. This can be accomplished if we band together. I cannot make this happen by myself. Together we can transform a million lives for the better.
The problem is huge!
In the United States nearly half of all adults 20 and older are either a pre-diabetic or diabetic. That is over 115 million adults. Only about 10% of the 86+ million US adults with pre-diabetes know they have it. Pre-diabetes is not pre-dangerous. Pre-diabetics can suffer the same complications as diabetes. This problem is not limited to the U.S. It is truly a worldwide epidemic.
In 2012 the World Health Organization reported 347 million diabetics. A 2013 report from the International Diabetes Foundation estimates that there 382 million people around the world with diabetes. That does not include the pre-diabetics.
Most, 90-95% of diabetes is Type 2—the kind produced largely from lifestyle choices. The good news is that healthy choices will benefit both Type 1 and 2. Type 2 diabetics can, in most cases, obtain complete victory over this devastating disease. May doctors believe that Type1 one diabetics can eliminate the complications and greatly reduce their need for insulin.
What can you do to help transforms a million lives?
- Make healthy changes in our own lives. Even if you do not have the common risk factors. Your lives (life style) can encourage, instruct and inspire others.
- Encourage our friends, neighbors, loved ones and coworkers to go for screening. Especially if they are even a little over weight, carrying a little too much in the midsection or have a family history of diabetic problems.
- Learn all we can for ourselves. The more we know the more we can guide people toward solutions.
- Let them know that there is hope and help!!!!
- Share all the free resources available on the web. There are many blogs, podcasts, sites and videos that can help people beyond our own capacity and knowledge.
This is why I am developing these free resources. This blog, podcast, and community exist to help you and your loved ones defeat diabetes. Let’s build this community together and defeat diabetes one life at a time.
Be sure to sing up for our newsletter, “Restoration Nation”, to stay informed and connected. Oh, and don’t forget to share our podcast and website.
A study of type 2 diabetics found that those reporting poor sleep duration and quality were linked to poor blood sugar control[i]. Similar results were observed in healthy individuals limited to 4 hours of sleep for 6 days.[ii]
Some of the impacts from the lack of sleep:
- Decrease lepton (a hormone important in appetite suppression)
- Increased ghrelin (a hormone involved in stimulating our appetite)
- Possible increase in cortisol (stress hormone)
- Reduction in glucose tolerance
- Reduction in insulin sensitivity
What a combination! From my own experience, the hunger that is created results in looking for sweet, salty and/or fatty foods—not vegetables.
When we are tired we look for quick energy. The carbs we seek provide a quick short-term boost. Simple carbs not only provide energy but they trigger a dopamine (the feel good brain chemical) response. Both of these boost are short lived. If they did not come with all the nutrients we need then we quickly seek out another boost.
These tired eating binges not only spike our blood sugar, but they also add to our waist line. This further complicates the insulin resistance problem diabetic’s face.
On top of this add the decreased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. All this combined is not good for healthy people, much less diabetics.
In a recent podcast episode of “Healing the Wounds of War” I discuss 10 Tips for Better Sleep. The information is also applicable to those dealing with diabetes.
Here are some additional web resources (besides the journals listed below)
- http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/1999/19991021-sleepdebt.html (a good summery of The Lancet article)
Illustration courtesy of Iosphere on freedigitalphoto.net
[i] Knutson, K, JAMA Internal Medicine “Role of Sleep Duration and Quality in Risk and Severity of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus” September, 2006 http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410883
[ii] Spiegel, K, The Lancet, “Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function”, October 1999 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(99)01376-8/fulltext
It starts with hope. Hope that you can do something to deal with diabetes. It can be a sliver of hope. Hope can grow.
If you dealing with diabetes you are not alone. According to the CDC, In the United States alone there are more than 115 million people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. That is about 1 and 3 adults over the age of 20!
Over 90 percent of diabetics have Type 2. Type 2 is closely linked to choices we make on a daily basis. This is good news. That means that we can do something about it.
This show is primarily focused on type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the healthy choices discussed can also benefit type 1 diabetics.
Why a podcast on Defeating Diabetes
I am a diabetic.
In 2008 I was medevac’d from Iraq for damage sustained to my lungs. While I received treatment they discover that I was a diabetic. I was within the US Army height/weight standards. Yet, I admit, I had too much belly fat. Not so much that most would think me “fat”—at least not by modern norms.
Once diagnosed treatment was moderately aggressive. I also made some lifestyle changes. The doctors told me my diabetes was under “good enough” control.
However, treatment did little to prevent the progression of the disease and complication. My feet started to hurt and go numb at the same time (neuropathy). My eyes were being affected by “atypical” cataracts. Then…
In December of 2013 I suffered a heart attack.
The cardiac care unit at Madigan Army Hospital did a fine job. However, the closest they got to long term help was an additional handful of daily pills. Eight (8) different medications—just for diabetes and its friends (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood thinners, etc.) When you throw in the medication for my lung problems the number can rise up to as many as 14!
My passion for science: I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology for Texas A&M – Commerce. I have always had a love for science and teaching.
My passion for teaching: After graduating college (a long time ago) I taught Pathology (the study of disease), Anatomy and Physiology, and AP Biology at the School of Health Profession in Dallas.
My passion for helping people: After teaching for several years I returned to school and graduated seminary to become a priest/pastor and Army chaplain.
After being injured in Iraq I did not want to quit pursuing my passions. Physical limitations greatly impacted my ability to do, well, just about everything. I am not one to quit. So I went on a quest for knowledge.
I started asking three questions:
- How can I accomplish my passions within my limitations?
- How can I maximize my strengths to accomplish my passions?
- Is there a way to improve other aspects of my health that can help me overcome my limitations?
In October 2013 I started a blog and podcast, “Healing the Wounds of War: Hope and Restoration for PTSD”. That blog and podcast were able to help people around the world. This showed me that combining two of my passions (science and teaching) with modern technology could go a long way toward fulfilling the third, helping people.
What will we do in this series?
- Encourage each other: without courage and hope we will not experience the restored life we desire.
- Explore practical applications: the what, when, where and how to defeat diabetes. There is not one simple answer that fits every situation—sorry.
- Examine different claims, results and research. What does the science say in a way we can understand and apply it to our lives?
[Disclaimer: This show is not a medical advice show. The information presented here is for educational purposes. I am not a medical doctor or licensed healthcare provider. Always work with a qualified healthcare provided when implementing lifestyle changes.]