I don’t know why I wasn’t so enthused about this chapter’s poetry, as I glossed over and not until I read the chapter and went back did I fully appreciate its appropriateness for diabetes. We know that diabetes is a huge problem today, with over 20 million affected. Of course there are two types of diabetes:
- Type 1 is identified as an auto-immune disease, where the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. As a result the individual’s ability to produce insulin diminishes, blood sugar rises, and other consequences (like death) can ensue if insulin is not provided. Unfortunately we do not know what causes this, although there is some finger-pointing at early feeding of pasteurized cow’s milk, soy and grains, or vaccines (which is something I’ve seen a lot of lately- anti-vaccines campaigns).
- Type 2 of course is the most prevalent (and preventable).
Let us now look at blood sugar. Too low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) are levels under 80. When the body nears this level it responds with hormonal reactions (as many as 10), which include: adrenaline (makes more sugar available) and glucagon (increases fat breakdown to raise blood sugar levels and conversion of fat to sugar). High blood sugar (hyperglycemia characterized by levels over 110) only has to ways of dealing with the excessive blood sugar levels: exercise and insulin production. This leads Cowan to two points:
- Controlling insulin produced is essential to controlling obesity
- chronically raised levels of insulin (through food intake) exceeds the actual amount of sugar we need for exercise (the more active=the more sugar needed and if you sit on your ass all the time you need less. Like Cowan points out we eat like marathon runners, when really there is a greater prevalence of sedentary habits)
Look at macro-nutrients: fats provides fatty acids (building blocks for hormones, prostaglandins and cell membranes), proteins become amino acids, and carbohydrates are used for energy generation. You see how the other two are required, but the amount of carbohydrates, need to merely correlate with the amount of energy we expend (more active=more carbs, less active= less carbs). Look at traditional societies like the Inuit (think Eskimo) that lived off hardly any carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are a good culprit and fat doesn’t generally contribute to diabetes, a fat that we created- trans fatty acids (not the natural ones like CLA found in grass fed animals)- can contribute to insulin resistance. It actually provides a double-edged sword as it is often found in processed foods that are also laden with carbohydrates. What fourfold path should we take to approach diabetes:
- Nutrition: eat like the indigenous societies (which we have looked at before). Meaning eating habits that are rich in trace minerals (their deficiencies inhibit insulin production and absorption), animal fat in raw or fermented form (B6 is important for carbohydrate metabolism) and fat-soluble vitamins (D is essential for insulin production and diabetics often are unable to convert carotenes to true vitamin A). This means we need: bone broths, red meats, shell fish, quality olive oil, liver and organ meats, raw dairy or meat or fish, butterfat from grass-fed animals, and fish liver oils. Summary: focus on consuming quality fats and proteins, while restricting carbohydrate intake.
- Therapeutics: you know the drill, check the book for this section.
- Movement: diabetes is associated with inward movement. Therefore movements need to be practiced that spread the body out (creating space for organs), moving limbs up and out. These can include rhythmic out door exercise like walking, gardening and swimming. Levity, is also important for diabetes, so dancing could be a good inclusion for diabetics.
- Meditation: strengthen the will
A lot of the insulin is review, but I think the most important thing about today’s post is to look at carbohydrate intake in comparison to activity. Eat more when you move more and less when you’re not. Seek that balance. Adrenals tomorrow.
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