Sunday, October 26, 2008

Advice on diabetes control, and, the supplements I take


Last weekend I had a friend of a friend ask me to send him information of all the supplements I take to help control my type 2 diabetes; he’d been given a rundown of my golden report card from our mutual friend. Instead of emailing you, Wayne, I’m blogging this episode (as I’d had in mind to for some months now), so hello to you!

First things first, diet and exercise are the key determinants to maintaining satisfactory blood sugar levels. Your unswerving determination in maintaining a regular diet and exercise plan is crucial to reversing diabetes and to preserve your overall long-term health. You must remain resolute and steadfast at all times. You don’t have to be conscious of your condition as something that takes over your every waking hour, instead you keep your background awareness locked in to the pursuit of diabetes management at all times. This will guide you to the right foods, the right exercise, the right supplements, etc.

Diet:

"The closer you are to nature the better off you'll be...hunters & gatherers is what we are". These are the words from a blunt dietician I visited at the D-clinic when I was first diagnosed. This takes you to what you should eat, you're intake should consist largely of free vegetables with about half of that comprising of raw salads. By "free" you keep your intake of starch-rich veges like potatoes to an absolute minimum. (Sweet potatoes, the orange ones, are fine though.) You must acquaint your taste-buds to the vibrancy and delicacy of fresh, enzyme-rich salads and vegetables. This is an absolute MUST if you wish to have any success with this venture.

If you eat meat or chicken then keep that to a reasonable minimum and make sure you serve yourself lean cuts only. Nonetheless the intake protein is important with every meal. I prefer tuna and vegetarian options such as chick peas, soy etc.

For breakfast I eat raw muesli in soy milk and add dark berries & yoghurt.

Snacks - here's the killer! You MUST get out of the habit of craving & consuming junk foods. These include biscuits, cakes, chocolate etc. This is not to say that these foods are absolutely forbidden, but to maintain diabetes control these foods must stay clear out of your daily habitual intake. Reserve cake for special events only, and only have a very fine sliver. Or have a full-piece if the cake is low fat & low sugar. Chocolate is very high in saturated fat and should only be consumed rarely and minusculey. My advice is to go for the dark, cocoa-rich varieties.

I recommend you get into the habit of snacking on fruit. The sugars in fruit are blended with dietary fibre and are rich in nutrients. Most fruits are low-glycaemic, meaning that it takes an extended about of time for the glucose to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore 2-3 pieces of fruit per day are fine. Apples and other cool-climate fruits remain the best option although citrus is good. You just need to be a little careful of tropical fruits as these are relatively sugary and high-glycaemic.

Other snacks I like to nibble on are goji-berries (these are antioxidant-intensive), and raw nibble mixes. Raw nibble mixes include raw nuts, raw sunflower seeds and some sultanas and are available at health-food shops. ALWAYS choose the "raw" option. Remember, the closer you are to nature the better off you'll be.
There are biscuits available that are low-glycaemic and with that (and most pertinently) are low in fats and refined sugars. If you eat biscuits, hunt these ones out at your store.

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrate-rich foods are fine in moderation. Remember that veges & salad should make up the bulk - roughly half - of your intake. Always choose low or mid-glycaemic options of bread, rice & pasta. Avoid white bread if you can, particularly the sliced loaf variety. (Italian style bread is a little better - in moderation this is ok). Ideally go for low glycaemic breads with the seeds etc. Most breads have labels on their packets, always go for the low-GI variety. Remember to keep your bread intake moderate.

The same applies to rice. Most strands of rice are glucose-intensive and like potatoes, these travel into your bloodstream as glucose faster than table-sugar! That they are a little more nutritional that table-sugar make them the more viable option however. With rice try and stick to Basmati or Doongara at all times. And do not eat any more rice than you absolutely need to.

Table sugar and sugars in general - keep to an absolute minimum although it's not the end of the world if you swallow a bit of the stuff. Train your taste buds to do away with sugar and sugar-substitutes in your coffee and tea. I'd only recommend natural sugar-substitutes such as stevia & xylitol. By and large your tastebuds will become sensitive to sugar when you begin to avoid it and you won't be craving sugar in your drinks any longer.

Avoid soft-drink!

Alcohol - a double-edged sword here. Alcohol has the short-term effect of lowering your blood sugar because, in a nutshell, the liver is too busy dealing with the turps to have to deal with its other functions such as converting glycogen into glucose. For those who take medication or insulin, care needs to be taken when consuming alcohol as the frequent risk is going hypo, ie, going too low in blood sugar levels. The problem is that alcohol is high in calories and converts to fat very easily. Overweightness with diabetes is anathema as overweightness blunts insulin sensitivity and therefore creates higher blood-sugar. Alcohol is also damaging to the body and particularly the endocrine system, and as diabetes is a form of compromised endocrine function, you don't want to exacerbate this by boozing. Remember too that the liver plays a highly important role in diabetes management, second only to the pancreas in fact.

Nonetheless alcohol is fine in moderation if you have every other aspect of diabetes control in check. The better options are red wine & beer as these have some nutritional and therapeutic value. They also contain chromium too which is an important mineral for blood sugar regulation.

Fats:

Avoid crappy fats like you'd avoid the plague, particularly man-made trans-fats. Trans-fats are often cited as causal to glucose-resistance which is a major track leading to diabetes. Evidence shows that trans-fats harden the lining of the cells. With diabetes you need to keep your cells as open and supple as possible. Therefore - avoid take-away foods that include pastries, margarines etc. Check the labels on foods you buy. You don't go where trans-fats are, as much as you can help it.

Keep saturated-fats to a minimum. Keep processed foods that are high in saturated-fat to the absolute minimum, in fact avoid these altogether. Some saturated fat will be found in animal foods. Other poly or monounsaturated fats will be found in natural foods such as avocados, nuts, fish etc. These are ok, as are natural oils such as olive oil, uncooked. Keep frying to a minimum. Just avoid the processed junk-fats and you're halfway there to overcoming the big D2.

If you like pizza choose the vegetarian options (or tandoori chicken if you like that), with minimal cheese and a flat base. No pan-fried options!!!! (full of crap fats).
Cheese is perfectly acceptable in moderation.
Fats do not raise blood-sugar levels in themselves. Excess, refined fats however cause cellular resistance to insulin. With diabetes you need to hone your body to be as insulin sensitive as can possibly be.

Exercise:

You must exercise. At least 45 minutes a day preferably. If you enjoy brisk walking try and make sure you walk some inclines, hills etc. This will stimulate your muscle mass in your legs more. Muscle is very sensitive to glucose and when stimulated will take in blood sugar faster than when you are sedentary. Do push-ups, swim, get your blood pumping, circulation racing. You’ll sensitise your body to insulin in the long run and you’ll be burning off excess blood sugar in the process.

If you’ve done everything I’ve said you’ll have done much to reverse diabetes. Diabetes type 2 is reversible, meaning, that it’s a relative form of cure, but in my opinion it is not absolutely curable. No matter how well you’re doing, if you go to watch a game one afternoon and eat a hot dog, hot chips and sink a few beers, you’ll have ruined it. You can never go back there again, to the crap-eating days, if you were there to begin with (I wasn’t).
Be determined, be purposeful, be happy, be forward, love life, love your body. Enjoy your body in action as it walks, swims, makes love, delights in the sunlight. Meditation and yoga can be highly beneficial. Drink lots of water, avoid stress, and most of all, remain grateful for your life.

Ok, here’s my regimen of supplements. There are others worthy to explore such as Ginko, American Ginseng etc. Consult your naturopath and formulate a plan with them. In my opinion, CoEnzyme Q10, Chromium, and Gymnema & Bitter Melon are the primary supplemental necessities for diabetes control….and then you have magnesium, zinc etc. I wish you well on your journey!

Morning, upon awakening.

Glass of sparkling mineral water mixed in a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder, a half-teaspoon of calcium ascorbate, and a pinch of oj to taste.

Breakfast: usually raw muesli with sprikles of psyllium & amaranth, blueberries & yoghurt. Coffee. Dandelion tea. Ceylon tea.

Glass of sparkling mineral water with 1 heaped teaspoon of Olive Leaf Extract (immunity & well-being), & half a teaspoon of Bitter Melon powder (blood sugar), some Tumeric powder sprinkled on top, taken with:
- - 1 capsule of Astragalus (immunity)
- - 1 capsule of Ginger (immunity & well-being)
- - 1 capsule of Gymnema (blood sugar), 4grams
- - 1 capsule of CoEnzyme Q10 (cellular energy production & well-being), 50mg
o o I take Blooms brand of CoEnzyme…it includes Salmon oil & Vitamin E for effective assimilation.
- - 1 capsule of Liver Tonic, containing St Marys Thistle etal, usually ‘Natures Own’ brand.

after Lunch:
- - 1 capsule of full dose Men’s Ultivite Swisse brand, multi-vitamin/mineral/herb compound
- - 1 capsule of CoEnzyme Q10, 50mg (this substance is supplementary to that which is naturally occuring in the body).

after Dinner:
Glass of sparkling mineral water with a heaped teaspoon of Olive Leaf Extract, taken with:
- - 1 SucroBalance tab, ‘Natures Own’ brand although there are viable equivalents. This contains:
o o 50mcg of Chromium (blood sugar)
o o 2g of Gymnema
o o 1g of Grapeseed extract (?...something good!)
o o Magnesium
o o Zinc
o o Etal
- - 2 capsules of Pao D’Arco (immunity & well-being)
- - 2 capsules of Fenugreek (immunity, colds & flu, blood sugar)
- - 2 capsules of Lecithin (liver)
- - 1 capsule of odourless Arizona Garlic (immunity, colds & flu, blood sugar)
- - 1 capsule of Gymnema (*optional extra*)
- - ½ teaspoon of Bitter Melon mixed with the mineral water (*optional extra*)
Finally, sprinkle CINNAMON on your coffee!!! Cinnamon regulates blood glucose very well. Cinnamon cappucinos for you, from here on.

6 comments:

The Knitting Songbird said...

This post isn't advice just for people with diabetes, this is advice for all of us! If we all lived by it, there'd be a lot less diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc, etc, etc...

"Be determined, be purposeful, be happy, be forward, love life, love your body. Enjoy your body in action as it walks, swims, makes love, delights in the sunlight."

That's the key, Ross. Because you can't just change yourself physically to be in good health, you have to change yourself metaphysically as well.

Great read Ross, take care!

ross b said...

It won't do
to dream of caramel,
to think of cinnamon
and long for you.

So goodbye,
sweet appetite,
no single bite
could satisfy...

familiar?

The Knitting Songbird said...

Ha, ha! Will have to do a post about that song one of these days...just love it...and ain't it bloody true!!!

Joe Barrett said...

For more information about Dandelion Tea please go to www.dandeliontea.org.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ross,

Wow I must say I'm completely overwhelmed by the amount of information and time you have so kindly put into this, there is a lot things you have mentioned that I was not aware of! At present I am only taking 2 daily supplements. I take one multi vitamin and some vitamin D and that's it, so I will go though your suggested daily routine of supplements, exercise and dietary
measures and see if I can't improve my life style by 1,000 percent.

Thanks so very much Ross I hope Anna and I get a chance to catch up with you in the immediate future.

health care assistant training said...

Very very useful information.I will recommend my friends to read this.Thanks for sharing!

Al-Anon

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