Diabetes is something we hear about often these days. Over 20 million Americans have diabetes.
When the world went fat-free, sugar took over to add taste to otherwise lame tasting foods. Unfortunately there is sugar in most packaged and fast food. You have to really study the labels to see if sugar is added to even seemingly non-sugar needing foods. Take packaged smoked salmon for example. Why do I need sugar in my salmon, or my tomato sauce? In my sushi? Or salad dressing?
Is it only the sugar ? Omitting the processed sugary snacks, cookies, and foods with sugar added is not the only thing to do for prevention of a potential sugar overload lurking around the corner. Whether you already have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or just want to bring more awareness around sugar into your life, this hopefully will help you out. Most people think that diabetes is only about getting the sugar and simple carbs out of the diet. It is NOT. Meat and dairy plays a role as well. Surprise to most of you?
A new study that just came out says that a low-fat vegan diet treats type 2 diabetes more effectively than a standard diabetes diet, according to a study in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association. Study participants on the low-fat vegan diet showed dramatic improvement in four disease markers: blood sugar control, cholesterol reduction, weight control, and kidney function.
This is not surprising news to the macrobiotic world though. Michio Kushi has for years recommended wholegrain, especially millet, round sweet vegetable, especially pumpkin, and beans, especially adzuki beans, for diabetes. These are foods that help strengthen the pancreas.
In her book What to Eat, Marion Nestle talks about how children with type 1 diabetes often have antibodies against cow-milk proteins, which might have cross-reacted and destroyed the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
In another study, just one egg per day added to the diet of diabetics doubled their risk of heart disease.
And how does meat fit in? Excess meat not only makes you highly acidic, it also affects your pancreas, which then can affect insulin production. Animal fat and saturated fat is actually linked to insulin resistance.
Where does the sweetness in life come from? Replace sugary substances with naturally sweet foods; omit cookies and candy. But also remember the fruit juices, sport drinks, and all those so-called naturally sweetened ice-teas. Watch out for granola bars and other health fakes that promise energy. They are normally loaded with sugar, which indeed gives you energy, here and now. But increased health? No. Instead blend fruit juices with water, put some fresh lemon in water, have chilled peppermint tea or unsweetened green tea. Choose fresh fruit and nuts instead of granola bars.
Replace refined grain and flour with wholegrain. People who eat wholegrain have a lower risk of diabetes, say researchers at the University of Minnesota. Wholegrain, fiber from grains, and the magnesium found in wholegrain seem to have a positive effect on diabetes, the study concluded.
Refined grain converts to sugar too fast as it does not have the same fiber content as wholegrain. This means omit or at least limit, all refined flour, wheat, tropical fruit, most cold cereals (normally coated in a sweetener), regular refined wheatflour pasta and white rice.
It is also best to omit bread because of the yeast. Yeast can cause bacteria overgrowth and increase mycotoxins, which are linked to diabetes. You can get bread from sprouted grain instead that are actually quite delicious. As for the yeast, this also includes beer, wine, and all other baked goods.
Add more fiber rich food: -Wholegrain (millet, oats, rye, bran, brown rice, quinoa, barley and buckwheat) - Legumes; beans, lentils, peas. - Have lots of most vegetables. For some root vegetables are fine, for others, be careful with the glycemic index. The more fiber in the vegetables, the slower the sugar is absorbed. Pumpkin is also recommended. - Fresh fruit (dried fruit has a higher glycemic index). - Alkalize with a lot of green food and chlorophyll. Dark leafy greens such as kale, fiber rich green food such as broccoli, brusselssprouts, string beans, asparagus; and green drinks from cereal grasses such as wheatgrass, if you are on a health track. - Limit saturated and animal fats. This means meat and dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk. There are also mycotoxins found in meat, again linked to diabetes. - Instead, get your healthy fats from foods rich in omega 3. Nuts, seeds, avocado, flaxseed, olive and flaxseed oil. Some fish can be implemented especially those higher in omega 3 fatty acids. (Wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines). - And of course, do not forget to exercise, move, breathe, de-stress (stress causes acidity in the body as well)
In his book, The Healing Power of Illness, Thorwald Dethlefsen draws the parallel between the pancreas (the organ weakened in diabetes) and our longing for love. Is that why we crave the sweet stuff?
SO: Since I always come from the perspective of Self-Nourishment, consider where your sweetness in life is coming from. Don't let it be the substitute of sugar, let it be the real stuff as in good healthy food, nature, love, community, laughter, and some nice ME-time.
In a nutshell:
1. A carefully balanced diet based on whole foods; wholegrain, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit, plus low in saturated and animal fat.
2. A pure, positive, and creative mind. -Try some meditation. And a loving, open heart. -Especially when it comes to loving yourself.
3. An active lifestyle, which includes work, physical movement, and breathing exercises. Yoga works well, so does nice walks or bicycle rides.