Type II diabetes is blood sugar and insulin dysglycemia, or abnormal glucose metabolism. We are all in danger of abnormal glucose metabolism as long as we continue to eat the standard American diet, take hyperglycemia producing medications, and resist both stress management and regular activity.
Diabetes, predominantly type 2, now effects 6% of the world’s adult population, with almost 80 percent of the cases in developing countries. Almost 9% of the population of the United States has it. Put another way, 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes. It is estimated that over 3.8 million deaths a year can be attributed to diabetes. That is 8700 deaths every day, or 6 deaths every minute.
That said, many people are learning how to reverse type II diabetes, and decrease their insulin dosage for type I, without drugs. Right now there are dozens of books and hundreds of talks and summits being offered that all agree–you can get better! Diabetes does not have to be a life sentence or a degenerative disease condition. There are lifestyle changes and foods that can actually heal your body. If you are ready I can help you make these changes and start feeling better immediately. In 1-3 months, depending on how imbalanced things have become, you can turn things around for good.
Getting better begins with an in-depth health history. Next we get the diet as supportive and, usually that includes getting, as anti-inflammatory as possible. For some, getting well also begins with clearing an infection like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or candida yeast overgrowth. If there is leaky gut we repair the gut lining and restore the microbiome. If there is neuropathy we support healing with things like Alpha Lipoic Acid. I teach you how to exercise in a way that improves insulin sensitivity and creates energy rather than exhausting the body. We work on adrenal and hormonal health. You learn relaxation techniques and how to hydrate optimally.
If you do nothing else to help yourself, just follow these best practices and you will see progress . . .
- What to Eat: Vegetables–make veggies the main course of every meal so that vegetables become 60-80% of your diet. Fruits–limit fresh fruits to 1-2 pieces a day in the beginning. Protein–eat the cleanest sources of protein possible and don’t worry, the body needs only about 40-60 grams of protein/day depending on body size.
- How to Hydrate: Drink half your weight in ounces of good clean water everyday. Start the morning with a 16-20 ounce glass to jump start your hydration. Add a squeeze of lemon. Try to drink all water before 8:00pm so that it doesn’t affect your sleep. (Herbal tea and broth count toward total intake.)
- How to Move: Move naturally. Create a life that has physical activity built into it—garden, walk, lift things, dance . . . Or, if you enjoy going to the gym or other facility, exercise at something you enjoy for about 30 minutes, 4x/week. If you are healthy and strong try High Intensity Interval Training or the 7-minute Workout to gain more fitness.
- What to Avoid: avoid all fake sugars except pure stevia. And avoid other sugars–reduce your intake of processed dairy and grain products by 50%, and your intake of highly processed carbs— cookies, cakes, crackers, pastas, baked goods, and desserts by 90% (Stop drinking soda and sweetened fruit juices entirely.)
- Consume Healthy Fats: Increase your intake of healthy fats—avocados, raw nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, pasture raised organic eggs (if not allergic/reactive), while eliminating seed oils, hydrogenated and trans-fats.
- Inactivity: According to the CDC, 37.7% of diabetics report being physically inactive. Inactivity promotes Type II diabetes and even increases insulin needs in Type I by not accessing the benefit of special proteins that transport glucose into the cells. These special proteins, called GLUT-4 transporters usher glucose into the muscle cells. Exercise causes the GLUT-4 to rise to the surface of the cell membrane, where it can shuttle circulating glucose into the cell. Exercise works like taking an insulin shot because it reduces blood glucose levels. Increasing insulin sensitivity puts less stress on the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.
- Obesity: According to the CDC, 82.1% of diabetics are overweight or obese. “Obesity is now such a significant risk factor that it is larger than the negative effect of all accidental deaths combined (e.g. accidents, homicides, and suicide), and there is reason to believe that it will rapidly approach and could exceed the negative effect that ischemic heart disease or cancer has on life expectancy.” _New England Journal of Medicine, 2005
- Highly processed grain, dairy, and meat products: According to Adam Drewnowski, an obesity researcher at the University of Washington, shopping in the center aisles of almost any supermarket (where the processed foods are) can create diabetes. These are foods where the fiber content and nutritional value, (65% of the original vitamins and minerals, and up to 95% of the phytonutrients) have been destroyed. These are the foods with the highest levels of indigestible fats and proteins–in the case of processed meats and hydrogenated oils in chips and desserts with an almost endless shelf-life. These are the foods highest in sugars. These foods act like toxins in the body, forcing organs like the liver and pancreas to work overtime.These foods also are the highest in empty calories.
- High-glycemic, low fiber diet: High glycemic means foods that turn to sugar in the body the fastest. These foods include: white sugar, white flour, all grains, but especially processed grains (rice, wheat, oats . . . ), candy, cakes, cookies, honey, maple syrup, alcohol, fruit juices. High insulin index foods include fruits like bananas, figs, grapes, raisins, mangos, melons, and even dairy products. There is a vast difference, however, between eating real fruits and eating a candy bar. To start, the fruit is high in fiber. Fiber is the part of the plant that cannot be digested or absorbed. It is a carbohydrate in plants and nuts and seeds. Water-soluble fiber helps to delay the pace at which food passes through the stomach, which allows for a slower rate of absorption, which allows a slower rate of absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, which improves insulin sensitivity. Plant fibers also play a key role in maintaining a healthy gut flora, which contributes to the immune system and the proper functioning of almost every aspect of the human organism.
- High animal fat: There remains an ongoing debate about both the dangers and benefits of consuming animal fat. It’s clear that animal fat, especially the casein found in dairy products, raises our risk of certain cancers. It’s also clear that the quality of the animal fat makes a difference–for example, the milk and butter from grass fed, pasture-raised cows is much higher in omega 3s than grain fed, feed lot raised cows. The meat of grass fed cows also has a healthier profile. There is another element to add to the discussion, though, and that is whether animal products work in YOUR body. Dairy products and animal meat cause inflammation in many people. For some, it’s a matter of how much per week. For others, dairy and/or meat exacerbates inflammation and auto-immune conditions. There is the question of acid/alkaline balance in the body and the effects of acidosis on muscle wasting and osteoporosis. When it comes to the consumption of animals and animal products there is also the question of the treatment of the animals themselves and the cost to the environment.
- Stress, candida, and environmental toxins, and smoking: These are really four enormous separate topics, but there has been such extensive research and writings on them that most already at least recognize the inherent dangers. We hear a lot about stress and it’s deleterious effects on the body. Stress in and of itself is actually a good thing. It is what motivates us to move and grow and change. It’s when the body is under chronic, prolonged stress that many hormones are released that, among other things, increase insulin excretion (and indirectly cause insulin resistance) to provide fuel for the “flight or flight” response. Chronic stress also increases of adrenal hormones resulting in increased glucose release from the liver. Extreme stress for months at a time, as well as depression, has been known to trigger the onset of diabetes. Candida is also associated with diabetes. Candida feeds on processed starchy sugary foods and higher levels of blood glucose. When it overgrows and becomes systemic it causes a long list of uncomfortable symptoms as it accelerates the rate of fermentation of the system. The key is to minimize or eliminate the toxic conditions that allowed the overgrowth of nature’s “composter”–candida. Environmental toxins and smoking add to the stress on the body and it’s filtration systems. When we are constantly barraged by toxins, the cells of the body have no time to do basic maintenance and repairs. Things begin to break down. Our defenses suffer. With all of the known and unknown toxins in our food, water, soils, and air today, we are the guinea pigs of our own technology. The efforts we make to, say, filter our water, buy organic produce, and minimize direct exposure, are ways we are attempting to give our bodies as much support as possible to function optimally despite an increasingly toxic environment. Smoking is akin to taking a toxin pill directly into your body. It’s counterproductive.
- Genetics/Epigenetics: While having a gene that could one day contribute to the development of diabetes is technically a risk factor, what we know now via the research in epigenetics is that the environment we create with our choices, lifestyle, and thoughts is the deciding factor on whether a particular gene gets expressed and the proteins that would promote a particular disease get made. The medical model that had us all believing that our DNA is our destiny have been disproven. Our genes are just blueprints, maps for potential proteins that could be made. Our lifestyle and the lifestyles of our parents and grandparents affect gene expression. There are many great books on this topic. See the short video I have included from Dr. Bruce Lipton in the “What We Think” section.