E-newsletter # 2

I hope you have been behaving yourself with eating foods low in sugar. I know it is not easy to say no to a piece of cake or to a piece of fruit. Alas, there are foods that we can enjoy and this positive thought should keep us going on this seemingly difficult road to continued good health.

Medication should not be your first step to handle Diabetes.
From talking to many Diabetics I have noted that medication seems to be easily accepted as a solution for diabetes. There are many who don’t realize that medication is a short term fix of a symptom and in most cases it is not a cure. You should really consider all the alternatives before you accept medication.

A Change in Lifestyle is essentially the 1st Step
Obviously, if your are a Diabetic Type 2 it is because you have had a particular lifestyle which has put pressure on your body to cause it to become insensitive to insulin. You would think that if we could fool the body with a drug to become sensitive again to insulin the problem would be solved. Alas, drugs need to be increased in potency to be effective in time and most times the increase has contraindications which harm.

A note about my first days as a diabetic
I recall asking my doctor how long before the medication would need to be increased in strength. His answer was simply that the symptom high blood sugar had to be reduced. I checked the internet and found that in the main most medication for Diabetes Type 2 lasted between 6 to 10 years and then insulin injections became a necessity.

Doctors are keen to get your sugar levels down and medication will do this easily and quickly.
I have found many times that a Diabetic has come to me for assistance after taking medication for some 2 to 10 years. Unfortunately, a number of Doctors do not impress the fact that the medication is NOT a cure. Some Doctors simply force medication as a necessity since they are keen to get your sugar levels down.

Medication can fix a symptom but normally not the cause of the symptom.
However, high sugar blood levels is a symptom of a poor working body. That is, a body that has been behaving badly either from eating the wrong foods or by abuse from not managing stress or from not having enough rest.

Taking medication has not solved the problem –you are still a Diabetic.
Many diabetics feel that they have made the necessary step towards improving their diabetes by taking medication . But alas all they have done is controlled their blood sugar levels for the short term . Taking medication has not fixed the real problem . My Doctor did not push for me to take medication when I was diagnosed to be a Type 2 Diabetic . He recommended me to see a Dietician to see if I could reduce my sugar levels with Diet and Exercise.

Alternatives to medication can be confusing and sometimes awfully wrong.
Unfortunately , Dieticians and Doctors alike were quite adamant on the idea that too much fat in one’s diet hinders a diabetics ability to maintain a normal blood sugar level. I was recommended to go on a low fat complex carbohydrate diet and heaps of daily exercise. I did some research using my computer and I realized that my doctor and dietician had the same understanding as the Diabetic Associations around the world. I proceeded with confidence to make sure I did the right thing by carefully considering low fat foods and forcing myself to exercise daily.

Bad memories - pain and sleepless nights.
My doctor was not happy with my 85kg weight – every fortnight he checked my weight and it was not too long before I got down to 68kg. However, I felt awful and weak and I exercised with pain; but, the thing that I remember most was the hunger pains. I was always hungry and I drank huge amounts of water and consequently had very poor sleep at night. I was always waking up to go to the toilet.

Fat idea gave me hope and I have not looked back.
I was near going mad when I met a diabetic who told me that I should be eating fat to feel better. I went back to the computer and found diets that did give fat high priority and I changed my diet to reduce carbohydrates and increase fat and began the road to recovery. Eating fat has changed my life forever. The most noticeable change to one’s body is the fact that hunger pains disappear and that it is possible to go to sleep on an empty tummy.

When to eat is so important.
I have realized that eating or drinking before going to bed is a real no no. If you can refrain from eating or drinking for at least 3 hours before going to bed you will not only have a better sleep but your body will have time to repair itself instead of having to spend the night trying to digest food. If you are little overweight you can shed a few pounds quite easily by not eating after 7pm each night assuming you go to bed at midnight.

Allow time for the body to digest food and you will shed excess weight.
Allowing the body ample time to digest food is the secret to losing weight. Not only will this practice help you lose weight but you will also be able to maintain your sugar levels close to normal easier since you will have better sleep and will be able to physically handle the stress of living a little easier.

Cannot overemphasize the importance of good rest.
This practice is so important for one who also suffers from high blood pressure. It seems that we forget that our body needs rest and if we are going to bed on an empty tummy we will have the kind of rest that is best for the body. I recall years ago when I would give myself a treat after a good nights study. The treat was a glass of wine and invariably a midnight snack followed. I can see now that I was really messing up my life for the body was not only working to digest food but it had to process the alcohol as well.

The secret to a Full Feeling is achieved by eating high fat meals.
Fat in your food enables the body to feel full for longer. Saturated fat is best since it cannot go rancid and is more natural for the body. Unsaturated fat can go rancid in the body and can cause problems. Note the body stores excess sugars as saturated fat not unsaturated fat to be used later.

Eating high fat with high carbohydrates is a NO NO.
The only reason we need to be careful with fat is that if you eat too many carbohydrates with fat you will store all of the fat you eat. The idea is to eat very little carbohydrates and a lot of fat ; the body cannot store fat unless you have carbohydrates present . I have a lot of low carbohydrate vegetables which taste great with fat. I may store a little of the fat but certainly not as much as if I ate bread and pasta .

Eat Fat stay lean
Keep in mind that you cannot fatten a pig if you feed him fat but you can certainly fatten him up easily with bread , potatoes and fruit.

You must work to increase the fat content in every meal .
It is not easy eating a high fat meal and you are quite normal if you feel ill thinking about fat alone. You should work to increase the fat part in every meal especially if you are bent on having an item which will turn to sugar in your body. For example, if you must have a slice of toast in the morning then try and increase the fat content by adding more butter and perhaps topping the toast with cheese and bacon. The Toast by itself with little butter will not be as nutritious and you will more than likely need 2 or 3 to keep you going till lunch time.

Remember your goal is to keep your consumption of carbohydrates low.
Your mind should be set to try and reduce carbohydrates and having 2 or 3 slices of bread is not a good idea. It does not matter whether the bread is white or wholemeal for it still changes to the same amount of sugar within an hour or 2.
Summary of what to do
So there you have it . Until next time I write please
- consider attacking the cause of a symptom instead of taking the easy way and combating the symptom. Reducing blood sugar levels is fine but more important is understanding why the sugar levels are high and perhaps stopping the behavior that caused the sugar blood levels to rise.
- Work to reduce your carbohydrate intake so that you will be eating more nutritious food and hunger pains will cease
- Work to reduce the number of meals you have in a day for if you have very high fat low carbohydrate meals you will need more time to digest these heavy meals.
- Work to recognize that rest is very essential for good health and that the best rest is achieved on an empty tummy so don’t fill up with food or drink before you go to bed.
- Take more time planning your meals – no snacks allowed.
- Consider when to have a meal as not important but if it is too late in the day or close to bedtime then it is best to skip the meal. You will be able to do this easily on a high fat diet since you will never be hungry.
- Try and avoid eating foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates – but, if you must then make sure that you increase the fat in the meal. For example, if you must have strawberries make sure you add a lot of thickened cream and if you must have a potato then cover it with butter and cheese. Please don’t have 20 strawberries or 2 or 3 potatoes and try to contain yourself to 50 grams or less of carbohydrate food a day.

I aim to provide more information on foods to be eaten that will ensure adequate nutrition and help you maintain normal blood sugar levels in the next newsletter.
For all Type 1 Diabetics I hope you are eating to reduce your insulin intake to as little as possible. A type 1 Diabetic will have fewer Lows if a High Fat diet is followed.

Keep fighting
Your Diabetic friend

Ps: Please don’t forget to keep your Doctor informed with any change of diet or medication.