Almost 30 million people were diagnosed with Diabetes in America in 2013. Egads! That’s a whole lot of trouble right there. Not only is diabetes debilitating, some of its complications include stroke, heart attack, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and amputations.
When I was a teenager, my grandmother had both of her legs amputated due to complications from diabetes. She wasn’t necessarily overweight, but she didn’t eat well, was sedentary and a smoker. After the operation, she lived the remainder of her life wheelchair bound and bedridden. It was very sad.
Diabetes is a condition where the body either does not produce, or cannot properly use, insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
Here’s one scenario of how insulin works: A person eats food and the pancreas releases insulin to instruct cells to absorb glucose. If blood sugar falls to low, this is called hypoglycemia, and a person’s ability to think becomes impaired because the brain uses glucose for thinking. If a person’s blood sugar stays high, this is called hyperglycemia, or diabetes. In people suffering with diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used by the cells.
The first thing we need to do is start questioning, “why is glucose building up in the blood and not being used by the cells?”
Keep in mind that every day, all day, our blood sugar levels vary depending on what we eat and the amount of movement and exercise we do. As well as our stress levels.
There are two different types of diabetes. Type I is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, destroying the insulin producing cells. According to new scientific studies, compromised digestive health and bacteria, are a major contributor for Type 1 Diabetes. (http://1.usa.gov/1tvIZyV).
Type II Diabetes is much more common: the pancreas produces insulin but not enough to fuel the cells. The cells may also become resistant to insulin (insulin resistance).
Glucose is fuel for the body and mind, and all of our cells use it for energy. The problem may not necessarily be the glucose. We need glucose for cellular energy. One of the problems is that we are overindulging in carbs, sugars and sweets that can exhaust the pancreas. That little hardworking organ CANNOT keep up with the amount of sugary, carbohydrate-laden food we are shoveling into our bodies on a daily basis.
According to researchers, sugar is like a drug and that’s why so many people are addicted to it. Sugar is a highly refined food that resembles heroin, cocaine and other drugs. Our standard American diet of packaged foods and fast foods is dangerously high in this addictive substance. We can’t expect to eat those kinds of sugar-laden foods and remain healthy. Unless of course, along with diabetes, we are suffering from insanity! Which is quite possible.
In Western medicine, the treatment for diabetes is to add more insulin into the body. That’s like telling the drug addict, “Don’t worry… keep using the drugs (sugar) and we’ll keep supporting the addiction.”
One of the ways to heal type II diabetes is by using common sense; either exercise your butt off to burn the glucose that is already circulating in the body, or stop eating excessive carbohydrates and sweets.
For example, the Olympic athlete Michael Phelps, eats a diet consisting of large quantities of sugar and highly refined foods: pasta, pizza, French toast, and sugary sports drinks. But, he also trains five hours per day, six days per week! He burns off that sugar. If he didn’t, he would surely be a ripe candidate for a potential diabetes problem instead of a world-renowned gold medalist.
Type I diabetes on the other hand is an auto-immune disease. With any auto-immune condition we need to look into the gut to see what’s gone awry. Over 70% of our immunity lives in our digestive system. Some researchers believe Type I diabetes is caused by a virus. That makes sense. When immunity is suppressed or compromised in some way, viruses take hold. One of the ways to manage/heal type I diabetes is to heal the gut and support the immune system.
Diet and lifestyle improvements are essential for managing and/or healing diabetic conditions.
Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Avoid highly refined foods sweet foods (cookies, cakes, pastries, candy, soda)
- Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables
- Eat legumes and whole grains that are rich in fiber to help regulate blood sugar
- Eat sweet vegetables to help reduce sweet cravings: onions, carrots, cabbage, parsnip, sweet potato, squash, etc.
- Drink water, not soda or sweetened drinks
- Engage in some form of daily physical exercise (35-40 minute walk)
- Reduce stress (very important!)
- Chew your food, digestion begins in the mouth!
- Do a parasite/pathogen/bacteria cleanse for a few weeks
- Eat fermented and cultured foods to help support and rebuild gut health
- Support your adrenal and kidney health with adaptogenic herbs
Emotionally and spiritually, diabetes can represent that we are lacking internal “sweetness” for life, suppressing anger and/or not processing our emotions healthfully. It could also suggest we are living an unfulfilled life cluttered with unattained goals and dreams.
Start asking your “emotional” body some questions:
- Do I enjoy my daily work?
- Am I enjoying my life?
- Am I doing the things that I say I’m going to do?
- Do I love and honor myself and my body?
- Am I engaged in life, or am I sitting idle watching the world pass me by?
It’s time to get off the sidelines and get into your life in a fun and enjoyable way.
When we are satisfied with ourselves and our life on a deep level the sweet cravings naturally diminish because life is sweet.
Healing diabetes begins by checking in with both the physical and emotional body and incorporating some of the diet and lifestyle suggestions above.
Always remember to love and honor yourself as you go through the process of healing any condition. You are worth better food choices, and more beautiful life.
Now… get up, get moving, and get your gold medal!