Diabetes is a very serious condition that is rapidly increasing and if the situation doesn’t change, present-day projections are pointing towards a large scale diabetes crisis. Current statistics show that diabetes has increased more than 500% during the last generation alone. An eye-opening study recently published by the Harvard TH Chan Public School of Health estimates there are 422 million adults with diabetes world wide, at a whopping cost of $825 billion per year. And the number of diabetes cases is increasing at an alarming rate every year. In the USA, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has projected that one-third of the children born after the year 2000 will become diabetic! A very high percentage of diabetes cases can be completely avoided or reversed before reaching full-blown diabetes. A diabetes crisis can be avoided!
It has been repeatedly said by many health care professionals and medical researchers that diabetes is largely a ‘lifestyle disease’ – caused by choosing lifestyle habits that promote diabetes. If diabetes is caused by certain lifestyle habits then, logically, it can be stopped or avoided by changing those lifestyle habits! That means, as individuals, you and I have a certain degree of control over whether or not we are headed towards a personal diabetes crisis.
Diabetes does not always shows up suddenly. Often there is a span of months or possibly even years between consistently healthy blood sugar levels (no sign of diabetes) and the body’s blood glucose/blood sugar system completely breaking down (full-on diabetes). This span of time is called pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes. It is a period of time that is the golden opportunity to change lifestyle habits and stop the runaway diabetes crisis train.
First of all, what exactly is diabetes?
Let’s take a brief look of what diabetes is. Diabetes is the result of the body’s insulin system not working properly and being unable to regulate the level of blood glucose (sugar in the blood). There are two scenarios that can cause this:
- The body produces insulin, yet it is unable to use the insulin it produces
- The body does not produce enough insulin, or has no insulin production
How do lifestyle choices affect this? The insulin system can become unbalanced and possibly even damaged permanently by continuously choosing the wrong foods to eat and having a sedentary lifestyle. The wrong foods are highly refined foods and sugar, which force the body to continuously produce excess amounts of insulin in order to deal with excess blood sugar levels. Excess insulin production causes many physical health issues, including a condition called insulin resistance where the body no longer recognizes and uses the insulin that is produced. The pancreas can be damaged or it can even wear out by being forced to constantly produce large amounts of insulin.
What are the complications of diabetes?
The complications that most often accompany diabetes are very severe and can even be life threatening – heart disease, stroke and kidney disease are the biggest health issues. There are also other horrible problems that can seriously impact a person’s life such as circulatory issues, damage to the nerves, amputations, obesity, and eye issues or blindness. These are negative, life-altering events at best, and on the extreme end of the spectrum (as previously mentioned), they can even be fatal!
3 ways to avoid a diabetes crisis – all lifestyle related:
1. Choose a dietary lifestyle of whole foods – foods that really feed your body, support your insulin system and give you energy.
- Eliminate sugar and refined foods from your daily dietary lifestyle. Refined foods and sugar have very little or no nutrition – they fill up your tummy but leave you nutritionally starving! They deprive your body of energy and they cause undue stress and harm to your insulin system – a huge factor in causing diabetes.
- Eat whole foods that contain the nutritional components your body needs in order to thrive – vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, protein and good quality fats. This will help keep your insulin system balanced and help you avoid diabetes.
- Maintain a balanced diet by having the right level of nutritional elements in every meal and snack. Aim for having 3 balanced meals / day and either 2 or 3 balanced snacks / day.
- Drink plenty of pure water every day. All of your body’s systems need water in order to function properly.
- If you need to buy prepared or packaged foods, read and understand the labels so you know exactly what you are buying and consuming
- Be a smart grocery shopper – buy mostly fresh foods, not highly refined foods. The healthiest foods are found around the perimeter of the store and the highly refined foods are generally in the center aisles of the store.
2. Take steps to slow down the hectic pace of your life – it is worth the time and effort for many reasons – stress being a big one.
- Take the time to prepare all your own healthy meals instead of having pre-made, instant, or fast food / take out meals.
- Spend time in the kitchen with your family, cooking your own meals. Make it a time to connect with family members as everyone helps prepare the meals.
- You will have complete control over the ingredients in your meals. You will be able to cater to specific dietary needs such as sensitivities or allergies, and you will be able to reduce or eliminate items like salt, sugar and refined ingredients.
- Reducing stress is important for three reasons:
- Stress is one of the major causes of cravings and consuming comfort (sugary and/or junk) foods. Uncontrolled cravings can keep you in the negative cycle that pushes you toward diabetes.
- Stress can interfere with healthy sleep, which will affect your immune system and cognitive functioning.
- Stress can cause your body to gain weight due to excess hormone production.
- Take the time to really listen to what your body is telling you by connecting to your body and feeling what is happening physically and/or mentally regarding the foods you eat.
- This way you will learn how various foods affect you.
- You can do this by ‘embracing the experiment’ – approach eating as a sort of science experiment. When you consume food and beverages, make note of how you feel – before you consume them, while you are consuming them, and after you consume them.
- Example: eating a large portion of ice cream – do you feel headachy afterwards? Does it upset your tummy? Does it make you feel lethargic or sluggish? Do you feel super energetic, then suddenly (30 minutes to 1 hour later) do you feel unbelievably fatigued, cranky or brain foggy?
- Make notes so you learn how it affects your body and your mental state.
- Use those notes and make dietary changes that benefit your health in the future by eliminating the foods that are negative and harmful for you and keeping the foods that are positive and nourishing for you.
3. Get the physical movement or exercise your body needs every day. Your body requires exercise to stay healthy. Here are just a few reasons why exercise is beneficial:
- Daily exercise will help your body regulate blood sugar, so your body will naturally produce less insulin and utilize the insulin better. This is an important factor in avoiding diabetes.
- Your muscles and joints need to be worked so they stay strong.
- Your heart and lungs require exercise to stay healthy and keep your body’s circulatory system working properly. Your organs obtain nourishment via the blood.
- All your major organs are all neatly contained in a relatively small area of your body – your torso. Daily physical movement or exercise helps give all those organs an internal ‘massage’ so they work at peak level.
- Regular exercise promotes digestive health and can help your body eliminate toxins.
Has your physician told you that you are on the borderline for diabetes, or have you been diagnosed as pre-diabetic? Have you been feeling lethargic lately, particularly after you eat? In the middle of the day do you feel exhaustion, headaches, jitters, brain fog, lack of concentration, irritability or unrelenting sugar cravings? If you are nodding your head in agreement with any of this – I can help you. Please contact me. All of the above are signs that you could be headed for a personal diabetes crisis. This situation can most likely be completely reversed so that you experience the great health you were meant to have and avoid the horrors of diabetes altogether. My Health Coaching Program (The Sugar Switch™ ONE) is based on holistic principles of healthy lifestyle and is designed to prevent diabetes. Don’t wait until a diabetes crisis happens to you – be proactive and stop pre-diabetes!
Copyright © 2016 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved