For anyone seeking out advice and tips for managing or controlling your diabetes, I've got over a decade's worth of experience managing my own pre-diabetes as well as helping countless clients with their own diabetic struggles. In this article I'm going to tell you exactly what I would tell my diabetic full-time clients.
November is National Diabetes Month. Choosing November as National Diabetes Month seems both fitting and ironic. November marks the start of our American holiday pastime of gorging on sweets and treats. Nothing reminds us more of the holidays than cookies, cakes, and pies. Starting with pre-Halloween candy and ending with party leftovers in the New Year, Americans are all about the festive foods.
Our love of sweets is the number one reason we have the highest incidence of diabetes in the world. The question has been posed before, but I will ask it again: "Why does the wealthiest nation in the world have the poorest health and highest risk of diabetes?"
1 in every 11 people have some form of diabetes. Each American consumes 94 grams of sugar per day, which is the equivalent of putting 7.8 tablespoons of sugar directly into your mouth.
There are genetics factors involved in diabetes, but Type 2 Diabetes is now recognized as a "lifestyle disease." So do sweets and treats cause diabetes or is it just genetic? Both! Your genes can make you more susceptible to developing diabetes, but your lifestyle is what determines whether you get diabetes or not.
No one in my immediate or extended family has diabetes, but when I was about 23 years old I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. My blood sugar was running high and my Hemoglobin A1(c) was elevated but not so high that I had diabetes. My lifestyle was terrible. I was a sugar and carbohydrate addict and didn't exercise much at all. My favorite lunch was a Snickers bar, Lays potato chips, and a Snapple fruit drink.
When I received the news that I had pre-diabetes, I was scared straight. I was ready to make any changes necessary in order to fix the issue. I was actually relieved to find a name for the blood sugar, energy, and mood fluctuations I was experiencing.
I started following a mostly-Paleo diet which not only controlled my blood sugar, but gave me more energy and less anxiety. The Paleo diet was a winning solution for me and is a simple solution for managing diabetes and other inflammatory conditions.
After a decade of eating to manage pre-diabetes I have some simple solutions for you. Yes, this is the advice I give my diabetic clients, but you don't need to have diabetes in order to benefit from applying these easy solutions.
1. Eat more fat. Yes, I said eat fat. Healthy fats fill you up and decrease your appetite. If you have high HA1c then high blood sugar is your enemy. High blood sugar happens when you eat too many carbohydrates. So instead of filling your stomach with carbohydrates, eat healthy fats as part of every meal. MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) is the most versatile and palatable oil to add to our meals.
2. Eat more protein. The same principle applies here: if you need to decrease the amount of carbohydrates you eat, then you have to eat more foods from other foods groups. Protein consists of amino acids that are needed for liver function and every muscle in your body. I prefer proteins that are easy to digest, like those found in bone broth and collagen peptide powder.
3. Eat more vegetables. Are you noticing a pattern here? Eat less carbohydrates and more of every other kind of food. Vegetables provide fiber which, along with fat, keeps you full and your bowel movements regular. Vegetables also provide magical substances called "phytonutrients." These unique nutrients are only found in plants so if you want the benefits, then eat your vegetables. If you don't eat 7-9 servings of vegetables per day, then consider supplementing with a green powder.
4. Control inflammation. High blood sugar causes inflammation which can lead to diabetic complications. Inflammation is a major component of most diseases including cancer and diabetes. To learn about inflammation and how it may be affecting you, read my blog post "Inflammation: Everything You Need to Know."
Curcumin and fish oil are the most studied and most potent anti-inflammatory supplements available.
5. Smile at the sun and take a Vitamin D supplement. Over 5 years ago, the traditional medical community finally realized that most people don't get enough Vitamin D. In fact, it is estimated over 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D. Some researchers believe that up to 80% of the population is low in Vitamin D. A new study shows that people with low Vitamin D levels are at increased risk of diabetes, even if they aren't overweight. Vitamin D also plays a role in depression, dementia, and osteoporosis.
These 5 solutions are the basis of a successful lifestyle for managing diabetes. While your genetics may make you more prone to developing diabetes, what you put in your mouth is your choice. Choose to change your habits and claim your health. Diabetes is a national and international epidemic, but you aren't destined to be a victim.
For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!
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