Diabetes - a conventional look
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Diabetes is an unnecessary favourite topic of mine; I was diagnosed with diabetes
type 2 in 1987. To this day I refuse to call myself a diabetic ( I dislike labels – they
narrow and limit, and medical people have a habit of seeing the label not the
person...our whole medical system is designed around labels and departments, the
reductionist model of health.)
At first, I toed the (NHS) party line, in other words, I followed blindly the guidance
from medical staff, never once stopping to question how current or informed their
And then one day, intuitively I felt I was being spun a lie, that all I was doing was
being enabled to manage the diabetic conditions till death, nothing was helping me
clear the diabetes, create health; the mantras were all around “this is incurable” it is
“terminal” “there is nothing can be done except give you medication.”
Prophecies of gangrene, amputation and blindness were frequently in the medical lexicon.
Now I know very different, diabetes does not have to be a painful death sentence. It can be reversed. It requires work on the part of the patient, it requires them to tke total responsibility for their condition, and to make fairly radical changes to their lifestyle. And leading a healthy lifestyle can prevent diabetes in the first place.
Diabetes – some facts
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 347 million people currently have diabetes and that diabetes was a direct cause of more than 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone. Many are living with diabetes, but unaware they are doing so.
Globally, 90% of all diabetes diagnoses have type 2 and 100% of type 2 diabetes diagnosed cases (NB we are avoiding saying they are diabetics) are both preventable and reversible!
I am not denying the impact of diabetes Types 1 & 3; it’s just I feel singularly ill-equipped to talk about them with any degree of certainty.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin in the pancreas. It is an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s immune system attacks and kills off its own insulin producing cells. Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in young people.
Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in individuals over 30 years of age, and its incidence increases with advancing age. It is closely linked to obesity, with 85% of cases occurring in people who are obese. It is largely believed that obesity causes the body’s cells to become resistant to insulin as a result, people with either type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes begin to produce more insulin than those without the condition and one of the consequences of this is further weight gain which then reinforces the condition. A vicious circle. Diabetes type 2 is also a metabolic - often used to refer specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy - disorder that hinders your body’s utilisation of blood sugars. Most of the food we eat breaks down into glucose (also known as blood sugar). Every cell in the body requires glucose to function normally. However, glucose cannot enter the cell without insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas. Insulin acts like a key that unlocks the door that allows glucose to go from the blood into the cell. When there is not enough insulin or the body is not responding well to it, glucose (blood sugar) is no longer allowed into cells, thereby increasing concentrations of sugar in the blood.
Type 3 diabetes is a title that has been proposed for Alzheimer's disease which results from resistance to insulin in the brain.
Primary Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
I’ve read that the following are the key risk factors for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes:-
At the point when I was diagnosed I had just spent about six years running my own hotel, daily, in doing customer and table service, walking some 26 miles per day twixt 6am and midnight; a friend made me wear a pedometer for two weeks so the mileage was a confirmed!
During the day at the hotel, I spent about two hours working in our vegetable garden.
So I was not overweight, nor obese, and certainly not lacking physical activity.
I didn’t smoke.
I didn’t have a poor diet (I lived in a hotel didn’t I) but my dietary lifestyle probably was not as healthy as it could have been – I did not have regular eating hours, I snack ate between tasks, I would have what was left-over – sometimes very healthy vegetarian food, other times rich nouvelle cuisine and other times, traditionally Scottish with lots of carbs and root vegetables, and puddings with sugar!
I loved food and so enjoyed eating. I was not a consciously aware eater. And so, years later, problems with weight crept up and demanded my attention. But at the point of diabetic diagnosis – none of the above kre factors were present in my life. Like stress, diabetes creeps up on you.
What was present, though not known to me at the time, was the metaphysical…how our thoughts and emotions impact our health. Of course, like poor eating, their effect takes time for the symptoms to show.
My diagnosis came about eighteen months after the hotel had been let go – under what turned out to be, for me, sad, upsetting, and regretful circumstances. My business partner had done the dirty and overnight I found myself without business, without home, without partner, without friends and associates, a closed bank account, and without future plans. I was devastated. All the sweetness had gone out of life.
Metaphysically diabetes is an illness which is about sweetness, about glucose dysregulation, about inflammation emanating from the gut microbiome, inflammation is about red and anger. To say I was angry at the loss of sweetness was an understatement. So it took me a while to get my life together but in the process I was “led” to healing, and ultimately to the power of mind and emotion over medicine, becoming a Louise L Hay teacher in the process, whose work was the first to get me on track.
I knew something was wrong when eighteen months later I had a problem with my vision; this led to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. But there was no education, there was no internet, and my local library stocked no books on diabetes. Finding information was difficult. But with hindsight I believe this to have been good; had I managed to get loads of conventional information, I may have stayed on the conventional track. Instead, my journey was to be quite different prompted by the earlier arrival of Caroline Myss into my life. See
Diabetes affects every organ, damaging cells and raising your risk of other dis-eases such as coronary heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy (nerve damage), blindness, gangrene, amputation and death.
With diabetes, you’re twice as likely to die as people your age who don’t have it. Many are living with diabetic conditions and are not aware. See later in signs and symptoms.
The major risk factors are lifestyle related. That means type 2 diabetes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices. It also means it can be reversed by changing your unhelpful habits.
And it annoys me that the NHS still ploughs out outdated information, based on an outdated medical paradigm, and nutritional principles that help you stay with diabetes, not reverse it. Living with diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence! All you have to do is start making small, active changes.
What you can do
Nutrition: Avoid refined sugar, refined flour, and simple
carbohydrates found in over-processed foods. Simple
carbohydrates are those carbs broken down quickly by
the body to be used as energy and are found naturally in
foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products, and
processed foods as well as sweets, table sugar, syrups,
and soft drinks. Use only cold-pressed virgin olive oil
or coconut oil. Avoid fast food. Eat preferably organic
fruits and vegetables, grain-fed beef, probiotic yogurt,
and fermented foods. Sensible sized portions.
Replace all junk food with real food!
Weight: As you eat wisely, the pounds should come off, and come off they must. Remember, obesity is to diabetes type 2what poison is to death! Your heart, your digestive system, your brain, and every cell in between will thank you for healthy eating. Do your research and find how being overweight, being obese is linked to so many serious diseases.
Excess weight may increase the risk for many health problems, including
•type 2 diabetes
•high blood pressure
•heart disease and strokes
•certain types of cancer
•fatty liver disease
•pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy,
high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)
Those pounds are killing you in ways you might not realise for another ten or twenty years.
So take heed.
Exercise and movement: I don’t like the gym; it goes back to being bullied by a gym teacher. But that is no excuse. I just had to find other ways to ensure I exercised, moved and was fit. The human body is meant to move. With our ever increasing sedentary lifestyles, it is easy to lessen the amount of movement we get. So start small, make it daily, and don’t stop. Walking, stretching exercises, Qi Gong, swimming, dancing, aerobics, anything. All can make a huge difference.
Sleep: The fastest and most effective method of lowering diabetes triggering inflammation, repairing damaged tissue, producing new cells, and reviving and repairing your brain is by getting eight hours of quality sleep. Until I tackled my sleep deprivation problems, I didn’t realise how much poor sleep and lack of sleep were affecting my health; they raise your risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disease. You can change so much (mentally, emotionally, and physically) just by sorting out your sleep. Even my JGPs didn’t pick for years the fact I was suffering sleep apnea. So it will behoove you to note symptoms and ask your GP to have you checked.
The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person – as you will be asleep!
Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
Smoking: You know the statistics, you know the damage smoking does and stories about “My granny smoked till she was 90 without a problem,” do not cut the mustard. No matter how hard it is to quit, for your health’s sake, your body’s sake, you have to make it happen. My younger sister always “promised” to quit and only did so when it was too late and now, alas, she is no longer with us. Every time you inhale, you lose a little more of your life. Get help to quit if it is so difficult. And ask yourself, if you continue to smoke, why, when you know the statistics, do you continue to poison yourself?
Reduce inflammation, avoid sugar, eat fresh produce, reverse diabetes, and live a longer and healthier life. Living with diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer are not the life you’re meant to live.
Take back control of your health
You can do it.
The time to begin is now – not
We simply have to be sick and tired
of being sick and tired.
The time has come to act.
It's a matter of
ALL refined carbohydrates – ie no pasta, rice or bread (even wholegrain bread, it will spike your insulin)
ALL added sugar.
ALL sweet drinks. Stick to water, tea, coffee.
ALL fizzy drinks especially if mixed with alcohol
Alcohol – except for a glass of red wine per day
Mindless eating eg whilst slouching on the sofa while watching TV, surfing the net, talking on the phone, working etc
Products with Corn, Dairy, Wheat
Wasting your time and energy on things and people that do not support your health.
Make meals a special time, even if on your own.
Make time to eat your meals seated at a table whenever possible – good posture equals good digestion
Introduce a form of regular fasting - eating during a specific window of eight hours during the day, and choosing not to eat food for the rest.
Feed your gut bugs! We all have them. Aim to get five servings of different coloured vegetables each day.
Snack - have some high fat healthy snacks on standby eg olives, nuts, celery bites, or hummus.
Include high quality protein and fat with EVERY single meal.
Eat quality, healthy, natural fat eg avocados, olives, almonds.
Meditate, make time each day just for you
Move – do housekeeping, garden, iron, qi gong, rebounding, swim, walk, yoga
Relax – make time each day
Sleep well – quality sleep for 7 – 8 hours
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Diabetes type 2 may lead to