November is National Diabetes Month. A common and life-threatening disease, diabetes affects masses of people in the U.S., yet it's a condition that can be prevented with proper, diligent care for your body. According to the American Diabetes Foundation, "Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes." To understand diabetes, you first need to understand insulin and glucose. Insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas and helps glucose enter the bloodstream. Insulin is essential in helping to convert sugar, starches and other substances into energy. Glucose, which comes from both food and the liver, is a sugar that provides energy for the cells in your muscles and other tissues. When glucose levels are low, the liver produces more glucose.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is when your glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is also known as insulin resistance and occurs when your body does produce insulin but is unable to manage it properly-to the point where your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to normalize glucose levels. The good news is that Type 2 diabetes is totally curable.
What is the cause of diabetes?
While there isn't a single, isolated trigger that causes diabetes, eating foods that are sugary, high in unhealthy fats (e.g. saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats) as well as red meat have all been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Note that those with diabetes are also at higher risk for other conditions, such as heart disease, so preventing and effectively managing diabetes is crucial.
Animal fats especially are known to be a major cause of Type 2 diabetes. These unhealthy fats cause a higher production of cholesterol in your body, compromising your heart and blood vessels, while at the same time increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks.
Michael Donaldson, PhD, Cornell University, pinpoints the dangers of sugar and its mechanisms: "Sugary drinks are leading to an increase in the number of young people with fatty livers (hepatic steatosis). The liver becomes resistant to the action of insulin and doesn't slow down its production of sugar, just pouring it into the bloodstream. Insulin should be shutting off the production of sugar in the liver, but the prediabetic liver has quit listening to the insulin signal."
Prevent and manage diabetes:
Commit to a mostly raw, plant-based diet
Exercise and sleep well
Avoid alcohol and smoking
Dr. Donaldson expands: "Blood sugar readings are directly related to the food we are eating today.” People who have adopted a plant based diet tell me that their blood sugar readings get much closer to normal very quickly, sometimes within just a week, and they even have to reduce their medications. "Focus on building liver health. Antioxidant-rich foods, which promote the production of glutathione in the body, is a good start. Also, while high-protein diets may seem appealing, as they promote the secretion of insulin without raising blood sugar, they also raise the IGF-1 growth factor, which increases the risk of cancer. So, it isn't a risk-free method of dealing with diabetes either.
Diabetes is disease that has affected many people in the USA and is growing in numbers in other countries that have adopted our SAD diet. SAD diet is a Standard American Diet that people consume at least three times a day. It consists of animal protein, unhealthy saturated, hydrogenated, trans-fats and processed foods. Since that is the case, most don't get enough fiber, complex carbohydrates or plant based foods. However, this is a health crisis we can overcome. With a clean, plant-based diet, proper supplementation and healthy living, we can fight this disease and live vibrantly for as long as we can.
Contact Larisa Belote, CHHC, AADP, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, who has worked with numerous clients that were pre-diabetic and in as little as 3 months were able to normalize fasting blood sugar as well as A1C level. Call 732-490-5770 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.stepbystep-wellness.com
Larisa's Hearty Lentil Soup
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot diced
2 bell peppers diced (use colorful peppers to make it prettier)
7-8 cups of boiling water (depending on desired consistency)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4-5 garlic cloves chopped (optional)
6-7 grape/cherry tomatoes (optional)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Sauté 1 onion for 5 min in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add one tablespoon of paprika. Mix well and sauté until onions are tender. Add water if onions begin to brown. Add 1carrot and 2 bell peepers and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add boiling water, salt, pepper to taste. 1 teaspoon of cumin and cook on med flame for 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add 6-7 whole grape/cherry tomatoes(optional), 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. Let cook for another 5 min. Cover and let stand in the pot for a couple of minutes. Enjoy!