What is Diabetes?
We here it all the time. Diabetes, diabetes, diabetes. What exactly is it and what can we do to help prevent or heal our bodies?
When we typically consume food our body turns that food into sugar (aka glucose) which triggers our pancreas to release insulin. Insulin, acting like a magic key, sends a signal to our cells to open up and take in the glucose to produce energy. When you have diabetes there is a breakdown in this system and insulin is not able to regulate your blood sugar levels as it is meant to do. In a diabetic body, your blood sugar levels stay constantly elevated due to a breakdown in how glucose is processed in your body.
The most mainstream forms of diabetes today include Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is the insulin dependent form of the disease. Typically this form of diabetes is developed at a young age and thus is referred to as juvenile diabetes. This does not mean that only youth can develop this form of diabetes, in fact you can develop Type 1 at any age. With Type 2 diabetes there is a breakdown in insulin’s ability to regulate your blood sugar. What happens with Type 2 is that the body may not be producing enough insulin to fuel the cells or your cells have become resistant to the effects of insulin.
In the last decade those living with diabetes in the United States has reached 30 million with one sufferer of diabetes dying every three minutes. Worldwide more than 380 million people are living with diabetes and the World Health Organization estimates that these numbers will double by 2030. The good news is that with Type 2 diabetes, which is the most popular form in the United States, is that it is typically lifestyle related, meaning that with proper nutrition and exercise you can work to heal your body.
Below I will share with you health tips on a natural approach to diabetes through nutrition, exercise and supplementation. With attention and determination those with diabetes have the power to begin to heal their bodies.
Type 1 Diabetes
A body with Type 1 diabetes is attacking the pancreas cells (beta cells) because the body is confusing the cells that produce insulin as being foreign. Without these healthy insulin cells, the body is missing the key it needs to open up your cells to let the glucose in. Your healthy cells are like, “Uh-uh no way you’re getting in here. I don’t need you or your glucose energy.” With nowhere to go, the glucose stock piles itself in your blood stream. Your cells which need the insulin begin to starve themselves while the increase levels of glucose in your blood begins to wreak havoc elsewhere. If blood sugar levels stay elevated a diabetic body can develop blindness, kidney failure, edema, nerve and heart damage and potentially even coma or death.
Traditionally, those with Type 1 diabetes take regular insulin injections. This can be tricky as your insulin levels and blood sugar levels change many times throughout the day. Taking too much or to little insulin can cause further complications.
Type 2 Diabetes
Instead of being insulin dependent like a body with Type 1 diabetes, with Type 2 your body is dealing with non dependent insulin. Typically this form of diabetes is developed after the age of 35 yet we are beginning to see more and more cases of early onset of Type 2 diabetes due to rising obesity rates and the Standard American Diet (SAD). Similar to Type 1 diabetes, insulin is not working properly to open up the cells to let the glucose energy in. Your body is producing either not enough insulin or producing insulin that is not working properly to open up the cells to deliver energy.
Excess body weight is a big trigger in developing Type 2 diabetes, the more body fat the more resistant your cells are to insulin. The good news about Type 2 diabetes is that it is mainly lifestyle related, meaning by changing certain aspects of your lifestyle such as diet and exercise, you can work to regain your health. It is one of the most preventable of the major diseases afflicting our society today.
Natural Approach to Diabetes
The first thing and best thing you can do when confronted with diabetes is to take a look at what is going into your body. Losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy diet with proper supplementation can help you take control of your blood sugar issues.
Jamie McManus, M.D., FAAFP is the Chair of Medical Affairs, Health Science, & Education for Shaklee. Jamie recommends the following plan:
- Decreasing Caloric Intake: By decreasing calories you will begin to lose weight. With a good plan in place, you can do this without feeling hungry or like you are starving yourself. Protein and fiber are key to helping you feel satiated after your meals. If you are unsure of what your caloric number each day should be to achieve weight loss, consult with your doctor. A good key to choosing the right foods is to make sure to avoid foods that contain white ingredients. This means sugar, milk, white flour and rice. Eat more of the colorful foods like vegetables and fruits. Not only is fresh produce beautiful and delicious but they are packed with important nutrients and most importantly- they are not processed.
- Low Glycemic Food: A great resource to use to see how different foods affect your blood sugar is to take a peak at the glycemic index. Diabetics want to aim for low-glycemic foods. Watching what you drink is important. One of the worse drinks to put into a diabetic or pre-diabetic body is soda or processed fruit juices. When walking around the grocery story, I found myself surprised to see just how much sugar can be found in a can of coconut water. Always check your labels before you invite these products into your home or body. It has also been shown that beans, high fiber foods and protein can help regulate your blood sugar level but this does not mean you should eat more of these than fresh produce.
- Fiber: Fiber plays two roles in people who are looking to lose weight. The first is that it helps them feel full and the second is it helps to keep blood sugar stable.
- Getting the Right Amount of Protein:Remember that protein is the key to any good weight-loss program as it helps us feel fuller longer and helps us to retain our muscle mass. Unfortunately their are many weight loss plans out there that ignore the importance of protein. It is essential when losing weight to not lose your lean body mass (muscles). When you lose lean body mass, you are slowing your metabolism. So, can you go on a weight-loss program when diabetic? The answer is yes! Just choose wisely.
Healthy Supplementation for a Diabetic Body
- Protein/ Shaklee 180 Turnaround Kit– This is a great Non-GMO soy or whey protein mixture with 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Unique to this protein mixture is leucine which helps you retain muscle while you are losing fat. This tasty mix comes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cafe latte and mango.
- Glucose Regulation Complex – GRC is a unique mixture founded on scientific studies to regulate your blood sugar levels and promote proper glucose utilization.
- B-Complex– With eight essential B vitamins this mix supports nerve health and helps to convert food into energy.
- Alfalfa– Alfalfa is packed with nutrients and can help with water retention.
- Optiflora– A healthy gut, a healthy body. Optiflora is full of digestive enzymes that will help you maintain a healthy digestive balance.
- Vivix– This delicious blend of polyphenols works to decrease insulin resistance of the cell and assists with glucose’s ability to enter into the cells.
- Liver DTX – This will help protect your liver from toxins and assist with bile flow and digestion.
- OmegaGuard / GLA / Lecithin / Flax- Protect your heart with Omega Guards pharmaceutical-grade fish oils.
- CoQHeart– Contains a proprietary blend of CoQ10 and resveratrol, ingredients that help produce energy to power your heart.
- Nutriferon– NutriFeron is an exclusive, patented formula, which provides a proprietary blend of four plant extracts designed to naturally increase levels of interferon and provide immune support at the cellular level.
- Vitamins: C,D &E
- Calcium/Magnesium– Protect your bones by feeding them well.
Before beginning any new regime, consult your medical practitioner for any concerns. Information provided by Shaklee and KernWellness is educational only and offers nutritional support. This information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment from a doctor.