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Managing Diabetes with Real Food

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If this picture is a familiar activity for you and you have been following conventional health rhetoric about managing your diabetes, the following information may be of interest.

Medical “experts” recommend being under the care of a physician to take care of your disease. But are doctors really getting to the root cause of the disease? Is it just some unknown thing going on in your body that needs continual doses of insulin and other medications?

Common medical advice tells diabetes patients to eat a diet high in fiber and low in fat, with lots of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Patients are advised to watch portion control, carbohydrates, and calories that “result in excess fat and excess weight”. The philosophy is that avoiding sugar is just not possible and that calories from sugar are no different than calories from any other carbohydrate.

And apparently, eating more protein and fats is not advisable. You can continue eating your favorite desserts and other processed carbs as long as you “monitor your calories, carbs, and other key dietary components” and keep a regular check on blood glucose levels through blood glucose testing.

Here are the guidelines (source, Web M.D.):

  • Total fat consumption should be 25%-35% or less of total calories eaten per day.
  • Saturated fats should be less than 7% of total calories eaten in a day.
  • Polyunsaturated fats (from liquid vegetable oils and margarines low in trans fats) should be up to 10% of the total calories per day consumed.
  • Monounsaturated fats (derived from vegetable sources like plant oils and nuts) should be up to 20% of total calories per day eaten.
  • Carbohydrates should be 50%-60% of total calories per day eaten
  • We should eat 20-30 grams of fiber per day. These can be derived from oats, barley, psyllium, and beans.
  • The amounts of protein in the diet should equal about 15%-20% of total calories eaten per day.
  • Cholesterol content of the diet should be less than 200 milligrams per day

The claim is that saturated fats increase insulin sensitivity in the body, and therefore a reduction in fat intake is necessary.  But following these directives are not only keeping your insulin levels in a haywire state, but they are ruining your health. When you eat carbohydrates without protein and fat, and especially refined and processed variety, your blood sugar will  spike unnaturally high.

Here’s some evidence as to just how saturated fats are not bad for your insulin levels or diabetes, from Whole Health Source citing 5 studies conducted in 2008 that are “high-quality trials that used reliable methods of determining insulin sensitivity”.

Solutions for diabetes

Since not enough emphasis is placed on removal of processed foods, which greatly contribute to the Diabetic condition in the first place, we must return the focus back to eating real, whole foods. This is why people with diabetes, in general, continue to struggle and struggle with their weight and health.

There are some natural alternatives to taking care of your health and your diabetes. As diabetes is largely a modern disease that is caused by a combination of inactivity and consumption of processed, industrial foods, a return to eating a healthy diet should enable you to overcome your disease and lead a healthy life.

Here are the foods you should consider eliminating from your diet:

  • crackers
  • bread
  • pasta
  • bagels
  • rice cakes
  • packaged cereals
  • most breads
  • alternative grain products that are processed such as the above
  • industrial pasteurized/homogenized dairy products – especially low-fat and non-fat
  • processed (roasted, salted, coated) nuts and seeds
  • refined, vegetable oils like canola, soy, safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, and other vegetable oils
  • soy products of all kinds (except those that are fermented like miso and tempeh)
  • industrial meats which contain antibiotic, hormones, GMOs, pesticide and herbicide residues, and other chemicals
  • conventionally-produced fruits and vegetables

Basically, anything packaged, canned, or in a box should be suspect and probably eliminated from your kitchen and diet.

Here’s what you should include in your diet:

  • grass-fed, naturally and organically raised meats, pasture-raised poultry
  • raw milk and dairy (cheese, cream, butter) from organic or sustainable-raised, pasture-raised cattle
  • healthy seafood choices – wild caught salmon, farmed tilapia, mollusks like clams, mussels, oysters, squid, shrimp, octopus
  • organically-produced fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
  • raw nuts and seeds that have been soaked and/or sprouted
  • organically or sustainable-produced nut butters (avoid peanut butter)
  • natural, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil, real butter from grass-fed cattle, tallow and lard from healthy beef and chicken (see above)

Obtaining regular stretching, movement, and exercise is important too. Here are some guidelines:

  • Focus on regular activity rather than length of time spent doing the activity. Intense physical activity will burn out your adrenal glands. If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, it’s certain that you are experiencing adrenal exhaustion. Start slow and work your way up gradually to more intense activity. Walking is the best thing for people who are healing from insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Do something you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle and interests
  • The best type of activity is something you can do outside. It allows you to get fresh air and sunshine (natural Vitamin D is very important for health), and gets you out of your everyday environment of the home or office.
  • Don’t focus on calories or fat intake as a method of losing weight. If you do, you will continue to struggle with weight issues. If you eat whole, healthy foods and obtaining regular activity in your schedule, your normal weight should be easy to maintain.

How do I know any of this is true?

Almost 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with insulin-resistance. I had a broad panel blood test done to determine what was causing my health to be in such a poor state. One of the main problems discovered was that my blood-sugar levels were really out of whack. Insulin-resistance is a precursor to Diabetes. Yes, there are people in my family with Diabetes. All of them are on medication. I didn’t want to end up on medication too.

So I followed the advice of my practitioner and eliminated processed foods from my diet. I started eating a lot more proteins with real saturated fats and a lot of vegetables as well. Now whenever I do have anything refined it is few and far between. I’ve eliminated grains from my diet. Grains are inflammatory and can contribute greatly to insulin resistance and blood sugar issues, as well as other health issues such as weight gain, heart disease.

Did you know that even soaking and sprouting grains doesn’t eliminate all the phytic acid present in grains? That’s right, minerals can still be leached from your body when you eat sprouted/soaked or fermented grains. If you’ve had digestive issues, this is an even bigger problem. Also, grains are not the same as they used to be in the historical past. They’ve been hybridized and contaminated by GMOs. For more information read The truth about wheat and grains – are they good for your health? And, listen to my interview on Liberation Wellness with Kevin Brown on this important topic.

Last fall I had another blood screening done…and my blood sugar levels have returned to normal. No more insulin resistance!

Want to see what kind of foods I keep in my kitchen? Read my Kitchen Staples post.

For more insight about being nutritionally fit, and putting more emphasis on eating well to maintain your health and your weight, read Are You Nutritionally Fit?

For more information on types of healthy foods, read How Well Do Know Your Food? Find Out!

For more information on fats and health, read The Importance of Dietary Fats.