If you’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes mellitus (DM), or even pre-diabetes, life isn’t over, but you will definitely need to pay closer attention to your health. Always follow treatment plans and lifestyle recommendations prescribed by your physician. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, but can be controlled and managed with the help of a doctor.
Basically, diabetes is a disease in which the body experiences elevated levels of blood sugar (glucose) due to an inability to either produce or use insulin. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, which our body needs for energy. In response to the rise in blood glucose, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, to help move the glucose into our cells for an ongoing source of energy. When you have diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin (Type-1 DM) or can’t use its own insulin efficiently (Type-2 DM). This causes glucose to build up in the blood, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
Type-1 DM is a chronic health condition in which the immune system ravages the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, causing a loss of the hormone insulin and affecting the way glucose is metabolized. Because of the loss of insulin, the body cannot move glucose from the blood into the cells where it is needed. Instead, glucose levels run high in the blood causing system-wide damage. While holistic health approaches can support the body, there is no cure; life-long management REQUIRES insulin. Implementing a low carb diet can reduce the amount of insulin needed for Type 1 diabetics. It is helpful to work with a nutritionist who has experience working with Type 1 diabetics.
Moving to a low carb diet will dramatically improve your blood sugar levels and an addition of just 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as walking or dancing, will help to reactivate the cell’s ability to utilize the insulin being produced by the pancreas. We are all unique individuals so it is very beneficial to work with a knowledgeable nutritionist who will tailor a plan to meet your specific biochemistry.
Type-2 DM develops from lifestyle choices. A highly preventable disease, it was once most common in people middle-aged and older. Today, it strikes an alarming number of young adults and children. Type 2 Diabetes is directly related to poor eating and exercise habits, which typically results in being overweight – a risk factor for Type-2 DM. In this type of diabetes, your body produces insulin but does not recognize and use it properly. If health is not restored through diet, lifestyle changes, and holistic approaches, Type-2 DM can progress to a state in which insulin is required.
Pre-diabetes is your warning sign, a condition in which your blood glucose level is chronically above normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Type-2 DM. This is your chance to stop the onset of diabetes in its tracks by improving your lifestyle choices.
A few simple guidelines from our certified nutritionist, Gwen Krieger, can help you manage diabetes, and even prevent Type-2 DM.
- Eat a low carb diet using whole foods. Gwen recommends eating 5-9 servings of low glycemic/non starchy vegetables every day.
- Eat lots of healthy fats including avocado, olives, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts, wild caught fish such as salmon, halibut, sardines or mackerel, extra virgin coconut oil, MCT oil, pastured eggs, seeds like chia, pumpkin, hemp or flax.
- Reduce fruit to 1-2 servings a day and select low glycemic fruits such as berries.
- Eat clean protein from humanely raised animals not fed antibiotics, growth hormones and preferably pastured and grass finished.
- Avoid all processed foods and drinks.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day. You can break this up into 10-15 segments, if needed.
- Start an organic garden. Not only will it provide lots of good whole foods, but gardening can also serve as your daily exercise.
- Consult with our in house nutritionist, Gwen Krieger, or talk to your Heart of Wellness practitioner.
- Supplement with a good multivitamin/mineral, EFA and B-vitamin complex. Use natural remedies such as herbal supplements, vitamins, detoxification, and dietary adjustments under the supervision of a holistic physician.
- Keep your skin healthy with hydration and whole foods.
- Take particular care of your feet. Carefully monitor wounds, because many people with DM experience poor circulation and neuropathy.
If you would like help managing your diabetes or would like to improve your health to avoid a diagnosis, call us at 360-570-0401 to schedule an appointment. We accept most insurance and offer self pay plans as well.