In honor of national diabetes month I thought I would share an article I was asked to write up by another website over at curejoy.com. In the world of wellness we place a huge focus on prevention of disease rather than ignoring the issue or masking symptoms until it's too late and becomes a full blown disease.
In my experience of more than 10 years in practice I have seen diabetes to be in MOST cases completely preventable or reversible under the right circumstances and with simple lifestyle changes.
Managing diabetes is more than just balancing your blood sugar and insulin levels. It's about balancing the body as a whole. It takes work, I'm not gonna lie to you. But that work results in an amazing new life. Managing and reversing diabetes takes a lifestyle change not a diet.
There are a myriad of health conditions that can lead a person to diabetes. Overlooking these conditions and ignoring the root cause will not only prevent you from reversing diabetes but will lead to other long term health conditions.
The following tips are simple changes you can make to your lifestyle for lasting diabetes management or reversal.
Exercise helps increase your muscle's ability to use insulin. Over time this can help you lose weight and lessen insulin resistance. Any exercise will help and its ok to start slow and increase your duration and intensity as your body begins to increase stamina and endurance. The ultimate goal is to get to a fitness level that will allow for high intensity workouts a few times a week as this has been shown to be most effective at managing diabetes.
Reduce and manage stress-
Did you know that when you stress your body's level of stress hormone rises and this causes glucose to be released for energy and raises your blood sugar levels? Not only does your blood sugar increase but it often takes hours for it to return to normal. To make problems worse, many individuals use food as a coping mechanism for stress and often reach for sugary, carb loaded foods, and alcohol to call them down.
Effective ways to help manage stress are activities such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Even a simple walk outdoors for even 10 minutes can calm down stress levels and help balance you. Or perhaps a long soak in a nice warm bath or some quiet time with some relaxing music does the trick for you.
Heal your gut-
Recently there have been multiple reports that leaky gut can lead to auto immune diseases including diabetes. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that involves small holes in the intestines allowing undigested particles from food to enter the blood stream. When these undigested proteins, food particles, and toxins enter the blood stream they can set of an inflammatory response in your body increasing food allergies and auto immune diseases.
To prevent this the gut MUST be healed! To heal a leaky gut one must follow these 4 steps:
- Remove and foods or stressors that may be damaging the gut.
- Replace current diet with healing foods.
- Repair the gut and reduce inflammation with specific supplements
- Rebalance intestinal environment with probiotics and other PH balancing live foods
Some suggested healing supplements are:
- Probiotics from live cultures such as kimchi, kombucha, kefir, raw sauerkraut, plain raw cultured dairy.
- L-glutamine powder
- Digestive enzymes
- Healing homemade bone broth
Get plenty of sleep-
Too little sleep has been shown to raise the risk of diabetes. Lack of sleep has been associated with higher blood sugar levels and just as people often reach for sugar in times of stress they often do the same to try to give themselves energy from lack of sleep. Lack of sleep also disturbs cortisol levels which can lead to weight gain and further the risk of diabetes.
Try to keep to a circadian rhythm by going to bed between 10:00-11:00pm and waking between 6:00-8:00am. If you struggle to fall asleep give some of the stress reduction tips a try before bed such as taking a relaxing bath, an evening yoga class, not watching TV in bed, avoid food after 6:00pm, spray your pillow with lavender, drink some chamomile or lemon balm tea before bed, or practice mindful breathing.
Clean up your diet-
In my practice I have seen that most cases of type 2 diabetes are completely controllable or preventable through proper diet. Eating a diet of low glycemic whole foods in digestible portions provides the proper fuel for your body all day long without unwanted spikes and lows in blood sugar.
What to eat:
- Grass fed free range lean animal protein
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil
- Whole grains such as brown rice, steel cut oats, and buckwheat
- High fiber whole foods such as beans and lentils
- Leafy green vegetables to fill half your plate at each meal.
- Small amounts of fresh whole fruits such as apples and berries
- Raw soaked nuts and seeds
- Herbal tea
What to eliminate:
- Processed sugary junk foods
- White flour, pasta, and rice
- ALL soda and sugary drinks even fruit juice
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Processed meats such as lunch meat, hot dogs, sausages, and bacon.
- Candy, cookies, cakes, etc.
- artificial sweeteners such as splenda, sweet and low, etc.
Eat Every few hours-
Eat several small meals throughout the day to maintain stable blood sugar rather than 3 large meals. Make sure each meal or snack has a balance of lean protein, healthy fat, and high fiber carbohydrate to avoid blood sugar spikes at meal time. Aim to keep your carbohydrate level in each meal below 15 grams.
Dehydration can increase blood sugar levels. As less fluid is circulating sugar levels become concentrated in blood. High blood sugar levels can also cause more frequent urination resulting in an even more dehydrated state.
Wondering how much water you need on a daily basis? The rule of thumb is 1/2 an ounce of water per pound of body weight. If you weigh 120 LBS then 60 ounces of water would be needed daily to prevent dehydration. I myself do not follow this rule as I have seen the health benefits from drinking larger amounts of water. I recommend to my clients to try to get in 3 Liters each day of fresh filtered water to help not only stay hydrated but to keep kidneys and blood stream efficiently filtering out extra toxins.
Limit exposure to toxins-
It is reported that the average person has over 80 different toxic chemicals in their body from the air, water, soil, and products in our home! These environmental toxins have been shown to interfere with glucose metabolism and contribute to insulin resistance, cause inflammation in the body, cause oxidative stress, and alter hormone production and metabolism just to name a few.
So you are surrounded by toxins.....what can you do about it? Although we can never fully escape the exposure to toxins in our world today we can ensure that we limit them in our immediate environment. Here are a few tips to help you avoid excess toxins.
- Drink clean filtered water not from plastic bottles
- Eat organic foods
- Use all natural cleaning and self care products made from botanicals and natural ingredients
- Change air filters in your home often or even better invest in an air purifier
- Install inexpensive shower filters to filter out chemicals and metals in the city water
- Use natural fiber clothing
There are many supplements that have been proven to be of benefit for controlling and reversing diabetes. Many of these are found right in your kitchen cabinets. Some of the supplements I use with my clients are:
- B complex
- Gymnema Sylvestre
- CoEnzyme Q10
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Omega 3 oils
Remember that supplements are exactly that.....they are meant to supplement a healthy lifestyle. No supplement in the world is going to take the place of a well rounded healthy lifestyle. When proper supplementation is used in place with a great diet, proper rest, stress reduction techniques, and exercise program amazing result can be seen.
These tips are meant to be a starting ground for changing lifestyle and getting blood sugar and diabetes under control but some may need additional therapies, testing, and healing. Please follow up with your Natural health care provider or see our website on how we can work with you to resolve your particular case.
And remember to share this post with the people in your life that you know can gain from reading this or any other article I put up on the site. You just might be saving the life of someone you love. Sharing is caring! Help us spread the word that diabetes is controllable and manageable!!!!!
As always....in good health and happiness,
Brandy Augustine PhD