Since I began working for physicians, where I specialized in the disease, diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in this country. It’s also sad to report that more children than ever have this disease. Why?
For one thing, we have become even more of a Fast-Food-Nation with all its tempting, fat-laden, high caloric choices. Sadly, obesity has run rampant in our country.
Surprisingly, fat is more detrimental to the diabetic than sugar! Fat clogs the arteries which stresses the body, which raises insulin levels which creates hunger pangs. It’s a vicious cycle.
But avoid those artificial sugars, especially Splenda which produces dangerous side effect. Use Stevia, less regular sugar or honey instead.
A practical diabetic diet (due to everyone being physiologically different) should consist of 50 -60% complex carbohydrates, 20-25% lean protein and 20–25% beneficial fats like olive or canola oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts. Avoid chemically processed items and select whole foods. Make lean pork, sirloin, chicken, eggs, turkey and fish your preferred meat options.
There are basically only 3 food groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. All carbs produce a form of glucose (which is necessary for brain function!) but simple (sugary) carbohydrates should be consumed only in tiny amounts.
Most diabetics reach for sugar-free items which are high in fat. One patient wrote in her food diary that she consumed 6 cookies at one sitting. When asked why, she answered, “But Ellie they were sugar-free!” Sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie free and these were loaded with fat.
The best habit diabetics can incorporate into their daily routine is consuming 35 – 45 grams of fiber to their daily diet. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon – or approximately 9 – 10 teaspoons of fiber per day, (now you know what it means to you in “dog years.”)
Adding fibrous foods helps one lose weight. Fiber allows insulin to be dispensed more slowly into the blood stream so you won’t feel jittery or hungry and reach for that Snickers bar. Fibrous foods mean fresh fruits with skins, vegetables, whole grains, cereals (with 5+ grams of fiber,) nuts, seeds and herbs. Eat sensibly, your health depends on it! Diabetics however should avoid fruit salads since it’s too much sugar at once.
Establish a routine. A diabetic needs to live a disciplined life. Eat systematically to keep blood sugar levels stable, meaning same time each day, example: 8am, 10am snack, noon, 2pm snack, 6pm and always incorporate a small protein-rich snack before bedtime.
Moderate exercise is also essential on a routine basis to avoid nerve damage and create ways to release life’s stresses which raises insulin levels. The hormone adrenaline, designed for the human “fight or flight” reaction, increases fatty acid production while shutting off insulin while under stress. Constant stress upsets pancreatic balance which solicits diabetes.
Certain nutrients/foods regulate insulin:
Chromium. Chromium is like the doorknob which allows insulin to flow slowly into your system. Some foods containing chromium include mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, turkey, shellfish, garlic, apples and basil. Add garlic to as many foods as you can; pasta sauces, pork loin, chicken, breads . . .
The antioxidant lipoic acid, contained in spinach, potatoes, broccoli, liver and red meat, fights premature aging of the arteries (aging arteries makes the heart pump harder, increasing insulin stress.)
Cinnamon allows your fat cells to recognize and respond to insulin more efficiently. Shake it on cereals, over whole grain toast and fruit. Along with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, I place a few dashes of turmeric in my morning coffee as well. Makes the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted!
“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” (Exodus 23: 25)