Category: Diabetes

Is Counting Carbs Enough For a Diabetic

When you are diabetic, is it enough to simply count your carbohydrates out for each meal and snack you consume during the course of your day?

For some diabetics, yes this may be enough. But for others, there is far more to carbohydrates you need to concern yourself with than just the net total.

What is happening when you are not consuming more total carbohydrates than your doctor allows, yet your blood glucose continues to go up anyhow?

First, I advise you to work closely with your doctor on this issue. You may very well require a change to your medications. But, there is also a good chance that you need to adjust your diet too. It could be that despite your carbs being within their allowable limits as a total, you could be consuming foods that are too high on the Glycemic Index. When it comes to some fruits and melons, you might as well be eating spoonfuls of straight table sugar because of the manner in which the natural sugars just dump straight into your bloodstream. Some fruits and melons are low in fiber content which will causes your blood sugar to sky rocket when you consume them.

What is the Glycemic Index? 

Simply put, the glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. For optimum blood sugar control, those who are pre-diabetic or have full-blown diabetes, no matter the type, need to concentrate on consuming low GI foods . People with type 1 diabetes can’t produce sufficient quantities of insulin and those with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin. With both types of diabetes, faster glucose release from high GI foods will result in  spikes in blood glucose levels. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods helps maintain good glucose control.

Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100. The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it may affect your blood glucose levels.

Here are the three GI ratings:

Low: 55 or less

Medium: 56–69

High: 70 or above

Foods which are high in refined carbs and sugar are digested quickly and will have a high number on the Glycemic Index, Foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low number on the Glycemic Index, while foods that contain no carbs are not even assigned a number on the Glycemic Index. These foods that have no assigned “GI” number include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.

If you are diabetic, you also need to keep in mind that there are other factors that affect the GI of a food. These factors include the ripeness, cooking method, type of sugar it contains, and amount of processing it has undergone. When you consume a lot of high GI foods, you may very well find yourself having a difficult time in controlling your blood glucose, even with insulin and diabetes medications. By paying attention to the GI of the foods you consume, you will have a way to determine slower-acting “good carbs” from the faster “bad carbs.” You can use it to fine-tune your carb-counting and help keep your blood glucose more steady as it should be.

The natural control of blood glucose is very complex and can become unbalanced when you have diabetes. It is important to understand what is supposed to happen in your body, and what is different when you have diabetes.

Glucose is a type of sugar you get from the  foods in your diet,  your body uses it for energy. As it travels through your bloodstream to your cells, it’s called blood glucose or blood sugar.

Insulin is the hormone which transfers glucose from your blood into your cells for energy and storage. People with diabetes have higher-than-normal levels of glucose in their blood. Either they don’t have enough insulin to move it through or their cells don’t respond to insulin as well as they should. Either way, having high blood glucose for a long period of time can damage your kidneys, eyes, and other organs.

Glucose mainly comes from the foods you eat which are rich in carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, fruit and desserts. When you eat, food travels down to your stomach where acids and enzymes break it down into tiny pieces. During this digestive process, glucose is released. This glucose then enters your intestines where it’s absorbed. From there, it passes into your bloodstream. Once in the blood, your insulin, which is produced by your pancreas, helps this glucose get into your cells.

Our bodies are designed to keep the blood glucose level constant, it is not meant to fluctuate from high to low and all over the map at all. Beta cells in your pancreas monitor your blood glucose level continuously,  therefore when your glucose level rises after you eat, these beta cells release insulin into your bloodstream. Your insulin acts like a key that unlocks muscle, fat, and liver cells in order for glucose to get inside of them. As damaging as too much glucose in the blood can be, most of the cells in your body use glucose along with amino acids and fats for energy. It is the primary source of fuel for our brains. Nerve cells and chemical messengers there need it to help them process information. Without glucose, your brain wouldn’t be able to work.

Once your body has used all the energy it needs, the leftover glucose is stored in little bundles called glycogen in the liver and muscles. Your body can store enough of this glycogen to fuel you for about a day. Once you have not eaten for a few hours, your blood glucose level drops and your pancreas stops churning out insulin. At this time, Alpha cells in the pancreas begin to produce a different hormone called glucagon which signals the liver to break down stored glycogen and turn it back into glucose which travels to your bloodstream  in order to replenish your supply until you’re able to eat again. This is a continuous loop cycle that must be kept in balance through good nutrition for optimal health, especially if you are diabetic.

There are two types of diabetes:

In type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, your body doesn’t have enough insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys cells of the pancreas, where insulin is made. Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults .Despite world wide, active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.

In type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells don’t respond to insulin as they should. Therefore the pancreas needs to make more and more insulin in order to move the glucose from your blood into your cells. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is eventually damaged and can’t make enough insulin to meet your body’s needs. Without enough insulin, glucose can’t move into the cells. The blood glucose level stays high which is a condition called hyperglycemia.

Too much glucose in your bloodstream for extended periods of time can damage the vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your organs. High blood sugar can increase your risk for:

Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

Kidney disease

Nerve damage

Eye disease called retinopathy

People with diabetes need to test their blood sugar often. Exercise, diet, and medicine can help keep blood glucose in a healthy range and prevent these complications. It is a sad fact, there are many people who are either ignorant, or apathetic in how to manage their diabetes and blood glucose levels. I personally know more than a couple whose idea of managing blood glucose is a matter of checking their level and then eating what ever they want, and then adjusting their medicine or insulin to adjust instead of  just eating the right foods to adjust their blood glucose in the first place. These people are fools gambling with their health!

Even if you are not diabetic, you are smart to still take your nutrition seriously in order to not become one sometime in the future. Once you have become diabetic, life takes a turn where you must become knowledgeable of your body and diet. It is not enough to think you can just manage your diabetes through medications, that is simply a method of hacking your way to still eating all kinds of carbohydrate laden crap you do not need. Simply counting carbs is not enough when your blood sugar is still rising despite your exercise and medications. You have to analyse everything you eat in order to avoid the condition in the pictures below,or even worse:

 

Diabetic foot ulcer
Diabetic retinopathy
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Obesity and Insulin

We are often asked the question by people professing to want to lose weight how they can best go about it. It seems at times, that most are looking for some type of hack, or gimmick, which comes as no surprise when it appears that weight loss hacks and gimmicks are more prevalent than legitimate weight loss plans.

Hacks and gimmicks may work in the short term, but they will always lead you to failure in maintaining weight loss. They fail you because they are not nutritionally sound. They fail you exactly because hacks and gimmicks are for the short term fix, when what you need is a life long solution! There are no short cuts to having a fit and trim body with a healthy percentage of body fat. Nutritional habits need to be a permanent lifestyle, and not something you just want to get through. It is a sad state of affairs when so many people either do not care what is making them fat, or simply just do not know the cause of their obesity. I blame this largely on our education system where nutrition and health are not subjects taught as they used to be when I was in school. This ignorance of basic nutrition is causing a significant rise not only in obesity, but Type 2 Diabetes too. Sadly, we now have children with Type 2 Diabetes when it used to be that you only heard of adults getting it.  More and more people are developing type 2 diabetes during youth. This trend is growing across all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes.

88 million American adults—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes.

Nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents are obese, a percentage than has more than tripled since the 1970’s. The recent rise in type 2 diabetes is directly related to the rise in obesity rates in the United States.

Our message is SIMPLE!

Quit eating refined sugar, foods with added sugars, and simple carbohydrates except for fruit.  Cut out processed foods as much as you can, and when you cannot avoid a processed food, be sure to make choices that do not have added sugars, unhealthy fats and preservatives. By doing this and only eating whole foods that are nutritionally dense, you will manage to lose weight down to a healthy level of body fat as long as you are not consuming in excess of your daily needs in calories.

The main obstacle we encounter when telling people to quit eating sugar and simple carbs is society’s ignorance of sugar’s effects and their tendency to ignore what it is they do not want to hear. It is not rare that a person who is obese will also be addicted to sugar and simple carbohydrates. They do not want to hear they need to give up that which is making them fat. The addiction to sugar is really no different than the alcoholics addiction to alcohol. Putting it bluntly, if you are not in the frame of mind to give up sugar in order to improve your weight and health, a half hearted effort at weight loss will only result in failure, more obesity, and at some point a poor nutrition related ailment such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome to name a few.

Insulin

Insulin is created and secreted by the pancreas which stores about 200 units of the hormone. People of a healthy weight and good dietary habits will secrete about 25 to 30 units of insulin per day. You might think of insulin as being like a broom, as it sweeps glucose, amino acids and free fatty acids into cells where they are stored as fat and glucose to be used later.

For those at a healthy body fat percentage, blood sugar levels  do not vary much because of the harmonious and compensating actions of insulin and glucagon which is also created by the pancreas. Insulin keeps blood sugar from rising too high, while glucagon prevents blood sugar from falling too low. A healthy and nutritious diet keeps these hormones in harmony with each other. Humans can actually survive without glucagon, but must have insulin on order to survive. For the diabetic, what they need to know and understand is insulin given by injections is not nearly as efficient as the pancreas in supplying a steady stream of insulin for your body’s needs. When you become obese, you stand the risk of becoming insulin deficient or your body becomes insulin resistant. Either way, you are jeopardizing your health and well being. I want to emphasize,

“YOU ARE JEOPARDIZING YOUR HEALTH”.

No one is doing it to you!

After you have consumed carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the food. The blood in your intestines will absorb the digested food and as a result your blood sugar will rise. This action stimulates the release of insulin from you pancreas which causes glucose to be stored as fat. Once the blood sugar, or glucose has dropped too low, glucagon is secreted which converts the stored fat into glucose and restores your blood sugar to a normal level. When these two hormones get out of balance, people tend to become obese. Obesity causes increased insulin production as a result of excessive stimulation of the pancreas through over eating. Over eating most often occurs through an over consumption of sugar and simple carbs which only serve to make foods calorie dense and low in nutrition.

Increased insulin levels promote the storage of sugar as glycogen in both the liver and muscle. After proteins and fats are ingested, insulin promotes the storage of protein in muscle and fat in fat cells as triglycerides. Because insulin also prevents the breakdown of glycogen and triglycerides, it becomes almost impossible to lose body fat when your insulin levels are elevated.

Insulin also activates the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase that promotes the removal of triglycerides from the bloodstream and their position in fat cells. Insulin also inhibits hormone sensitive lipase that breaks down stored fats. The net result of these two activities is an increase in stored fat that results in your increased weight and obesity. Insulin is a major hindrance to fat breakdown and is a major facilitator of fat storage. When you are munching away on those cupcakes with icing piled sky high, you are causing your pancreas to pump excessive amounts of insulin. Over time, you may quit producing insulin, or you may become insulin resistant which is a condition where your body has a decreased response to insulin and your fat cells, liver cells, and muscle cells are now insensitive to the circulating insulin in your system.

Obesity is the most common cause of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Whether you want to admit it or not, the power is in your control to not be afflicted with either condition. Yet many refuse to give up their sweet treats in exchange for good health. Obese people without diabetes usually have elevated insulin levels with normal blood sugar levels. However, the obese person with high insulin levels may be well on their way to becoming diabetic. What occurs is their pancreas becomes exhausted from constant stimulation by glucose and will eventually fail which results in diabetes. Obese individuals will also often have elevated insulin levels in both the fasting and fed states. These people will also often have elevated lipoprotein lipase levels which is important in the storage of fat. The result of which is the obese individuals are metabolically ready at all times to store fat from everything they consume. It is not rocket science why an obese individual with an elevated insulin level can not lose weight. But, there is something that can be done about this through first making the personal choice to stand with a strong resolve to do so.

What can be done?

  1.  Get more sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for your health. Several studies have also linked poor sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity. For example, one study in nine healthy volunteers found that getting just four hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared to getting eight and a half hours of sleep.
  2. Exercise more. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity. It helps move sugar into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise. A study of overweight men with and without diabetes found that when participants performed resistance training over a three-month period, their insulin sensitivity increased, independent of other factors like weight loss.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. It encourages the body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode, which stimulates the production of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon. These hormones break down glycogen into glucose, which enters your bloodstream for your body to use as a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, ongoing stress keeps your stress hormone levels high, stimulating nutrient breakdown while increasing blood sugar. Stress hormones make the body more insulin resistant.
  4. Lose weight. Excess weight, especially in the belly area, reduces insulin sensitivity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes who lost 5–7% of their total weight over six months reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 54% for the next three years.
  5. Eat more fiber. Fiber can be divided into two broad categories — soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber mostly acts as a bulking agent to help stool move through the bowels. Meanwhile, soluble fiber is responsible for many of fiber’s associated benefits, like lowering cholesterol and reducing appetite. Several studies have found a link between high soluble fiber intake and increased insulin sensitivity. For example, a study in 264 women found that those who ate more soluble fiber had significantly lower levels of insulin resistance. Soluble fiber also helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which have been linked to increased insulin sensitivity. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include legumes, oatmeal, flax seeds, vegetables like Brussels sprouts and fruits like oranges.
  6. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in plant compounds that help increase insulin sensitivity. But be careful not to eat too much fruit in a single sitting, as some types are high in sugar.
  7. Watch your intake of carbohydrates. Carbs are the main stimulus that causes insulin blood levels to rise. Reducing your carb intake will help increase insulin sensitivity. That’s because high-carb diets tend to lead to spikes in blood sugar, which put more pressure on the pancreas to remove sugar from the blood. Spreading your carb intake evenly throughout the day is another way to increase insulin sensitivity. Eating smaller portions of carbs regularly throughout the day provides the body with less sugar at each meal, making insulin’s job easier. This is also supported with research showing that eating regularly benefits insulin sensitivity. The type of carbs you choose is also important. Low-glycemic index (GI) carbs are best, since they slow the release of sugar into the blood, giving insulin more time to work efficiently. Carb sources that are low-GI include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and some varieties of oatmeal.
  8. Quit eating sugar and or foods with added sugars! There’s a big difference between added sugars and natural sugars. Natural sugars are found in sources like plants and vegetables, both of which provide lots of other nutrients. Conversely, added sugars are found in more highly processed foods. The two main types of sugar added during the production process are high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar, also known as sucrose. Both contain approximately 50% fructose. Many studies have found that higher intakes of fructose can increase insulin resistance among people with diabetes. The effects of fructose on insulin resistance also appear to affect people who don’t have diabetes, as reported in an analysis of 29 studies including a total of 1,005 normal and overweight or obese participants. The findings showed that consuming a lot of fructose over less than 60 days increased liver insulin resistance, independent of total calorie intake. Foods that contain lots of added sugar are also high in fructose. This includes candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, cakes, cookies and pastries.

Obesity and insulin levels are within your control if you make the choice to do something about both. We know that insulin is an important hormone that has many roles in the body, and that when your insulin sensitivity is low, it puts pressure on your pancreas to increase insulin production to clear sugar from your blood. Low insulin sensitivity will result in chronically high blood sugar levels, which are known to increase your risk of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to naturally increase your insulin sensitivity.

You just have to decide which is more important, a cupcake or your health and well being.

Choose wisely!

Taking Type 2 Diabetes Too Lightly

Besides researching and writing articles for my website while also maintaining corresponce with many of our readers, I am also a full time trucker who transports and delivers industrial and construction supplies for a large nationwide company – got to keep the bills paid and I need the health insurance. As a part of my job, I sometimes have had to operate with a co-driver when my route was going to exceed a 14 hour work day. Running as a team is usually not a problem since  one driver is normally asleep in the bunk while the other works their shift. But then, sometimes running as a team is the real pits. I am happy to say that I am now on a dedicated solo route where my work days are only about 11 to 12 hours. In case you are wondering – yes, I am a very busy man!

A while back I had a new driver going out on the road with me on a route that would have us on the road about 19 hours before returning to our hub. I met the driver on our loading dock, and suggested we stroll down to the break room to get a cup of coffee and get a little acquainted before venturing out on the open road together. As I was filling my coffee cup I watched as my new co-driver strolled over to the vending machines. He then began plopping money into the machines and loading his pockets with several snacks like cookies, powder sugar donuts, chips and a couple of soda pops. My assumption was that he had not brought a lunch box to eat from while on the road. However, once we settled into the my truck, I noticed he had brought food for the road. “What a chow hound” I could not help to think. Of course this was not really a surprise since he was a considerably obese driver.

Now, you might be thinking it is none of my business how another eats. I would respectfully disagree if so!

Being as this was my assigned route at the time, I had it already mapped out to where my co-driver and I would switch our duty statuses. I would drive and deliver freight through the first 8 hours, about 450 miles, and unload our freight at the biggest of our stops. After all, this was my designated route and responsibility. At the end of my eight hours on duty, we switched.

Once my new co-driver got behind the wheel, he immediately began eating the contents of his lunch box. His snacks were already gone – this should be none of my business how he eats…

I told him where on the map he could get us to in 8 hours in order for us to switch status once again, and I would finish driving us back for the final leg of the route. All he had to do was drive and make two very short stops.  There should be nothing difficult about getting to the destination as I had already run over 100,000 miles on this route. This was a routine run for me. I climbed into the sleeper berth, set my alarm to get up in 7.5 hours, pulled the curtains closed to block out all light, laid down and went fast asleep. To my dismay, when I got up we were not anywhere close to the destination I wanted him to reach and there was fast food trash on the floor of my cab. To my dismay is actually not an accurate word for how I felt. I was actually pretty pissed, This guy had consumed all of his snacks, he had eaten all the food in his lunch box, and then parked our semi with a 53 foot trailer somewhere where he could run into a fast food joint to buy more food, and we were about  one and a half hours behind where we should have been. I directed him to pull into a roadside service area where we could use the restroom and switch up our duty statuses. I was out of the cab for maybe 5 minutes at best, and sat and waited about another 15 minutes before he climbed into the passenger seat with another bag full of fast food. Two quarter pound cheese burgers, large fries, large Coke and a chocolate chip cookie to be exact. As I turned to read him the riot act for putting us so far behind, I watched as he pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and passed his smart phone over a device attached to his arm. I asked him what he was doing and he informed me that was how he tracks his blood sugar levels in order to manage his diabetes! The problem with this is instead of truly managing his diabetes, he has learned to hack his way through in order to continue eating all the high carbohydrate junk food he wants. The effects of diabetes can be mitigated through a diet where the intake of carbohydrates is controlled. You should never try to control it through eating all the carbs you want with the thought that all you have to do is take a pill or two or three to keep you straight. A huge part of managing type 2 diabetes is developing a healthy diet. You need to eat nutritionally sound foods that help you be healthy instead of calorie dense, low nutrition foods. You cannot just take as much Metformin as you want to justify eating like crap. In fact, under certain conditions, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and quick to appear, and usually occur when other health problems not related to the medicine are present and are very severe, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast or shallow breathing, a general feeling of discomfort, severe muscle pain or cramping, and unusual sleepiness, tiredness, or weakness. Why would any thinking person believe they can take large doses of this medication in a day and then get behind the wheel of a semi truck is beyond me. They are not only risking their own lives, but that of others on the road.

Metformin can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Low blood sugar must be treated before it causes you to pass out.  It can also cause Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise much. High and low blood sugar can be very serious conditions. Low blood sugar must be treated right away.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can have quite detrimental effects on your health and well being. You cannot be cavalier in managing it as a hack to continue eating too many carbohydrates.  In the worst cases, diabetes can kill you. Each week diabetes causes thousands of complications like stroke, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and heart failure. Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes will die from cardiovascular-related episodes, such as a heart attack or stroke.

It is not enough to think you can just control your diabetes through medication, you must get your nutritional habits under control too. People with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when they’re first diagnosed. The insulin just isn’t working properly. This means the insulin doesn’t cause their cells to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need injections.

In America, about 25 % of our population are now prediabetic.

Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body are resistant to it. This means the sugar can’t move from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. This can cause you to progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, yet many will not take this condition serious until they have to. Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. The long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, and they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Eventually, you may lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs.Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
  • Kidney damage. Diabetes can sometimes lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
  • Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. Treating sleep apnea may lower your blood pressure and make you feel more rested, but it’s not clear whether it helps improve blood sugar control.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, though it’s not clear why. The worse your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and that’s true even if you have diabetes in your family. If you’ve already received a diagnosis of diabetes, you can use healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent complications. If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Getting active. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity — or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — on most days. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread your activity throughout the day.
  • Losing weight. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Avoiding being sedentary for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

Take your type 2 diabetes serious, your kids are watching you!

There’s a growing type 2 diabetes problem in our young people. But parents can help turn the tide with healthy changes that are good for the whole family. Until recently, young children and teens almost never got type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Now, about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old.

Let’s do our part in turning this around…

State of Mind

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Do you have a running reel of negative thoughts  and possible catastrophic outcomes playing constantly  in  your  head? So many  people  do. When we allow negative thoughts to loop continually we are causing a constant release of cortisol, our major stress hormone to be released. The health implications of this are huge. High cortisol levels cause inflammation which lies at the base of almost all major health problems, including heart disease and even some cancers. Skin problems, gastrointestinal issues and depression are often exacerbated by this one habit that is within our control.

People who display optimism tend to have better immune function which affects all disease processes. Learn to control those inner voices of doom to improve your overall health and enjoy your life so much more.

It’s  necessary  to assess your thoughts. If a large majority  of  your  thoughts tend to be negative then you are probably catastrophizing. Do you focus only on the negative? Do you ignore the possible positive outcomes in a given situation? If so, then it’s necessary  to take action to think in more positive  ways.

Humor is a powerful tool in learning  to  lighten up. I refuse to listen to or watch anything that makes me feel bad. Life can be difficult on the best days so why add negative input from negative people who are bent on creating drama? Avoid those people and control your environment to remove negative input from real life people and media. Seek out funny and enlightening media when you are surfing the net or watching T.V. Leave the sad, violent and scary stuff alone. It won’t do anything good.

Get some exercise, with your doctor’s permission. Vigorous exercise can produce endorphins which not only make you feel  better  in the moment but have a positive impact on the brain that makes you feel more able to cope in the long run. You will develop a better body in the process and that always helps our state of mind.

Negative thoughts can lead to binge eating. Binge eating will almost always  keep you from your weight management goals.

Eat a well balanced, healthy diet with adequate amounts of healthy fats such as those found in salmon or walnuts. Avoid sugar because it is a source of empty, excess calories. Sugar will cause you to crave more sugar and eventually forego healthy foods for junk. Your brain has to have proper nutrition to perform optimally. As you eat more and more sugar, the pounds will pile on which will most likely add to your anxiety and depression. Just say “No!”

If your negative thinking is chronic and debilitating you might consider professional counseling. A licensed  therapist can guide you into a better way of thinking that can benefit both body and mind.

Surround  yourself  with positive people and create a life that you love. With time and deliberation and sometimes professional help, you can pull out of the habit of negativity. Your happiness is worth the work.

Hyperinsulinemia and Your Heart

In the same light as our children can drive us crazy with less than intelligent life decisions and defiance, I bet our doctors must go stark raving mad with many of their patients. Think about this; every doctors office across this vast country gets inundated every day with waiting rooms packed full of patients who are ill with self induced maladies that can be prevented through proper nutrition and a little bit of regular exercise.

Joey Bagofdonuts visits his physician’s office on a regular basis with obesity related health issues, and no matter how much his doctor tries to explain how a healthier lifestyle will help Mr. Bagofdonuts, poor Joey continues on with his poor lifestyle choices, hoping his doctor will always be able to fix his health mistakes for him with medicines. Mr. Bagofdonuts, despite being an adult, is little different than a petulant child who always demands that his mother pick up his broken pieces when the game goes bad for him. Mommy then rewards Little Joey with a sweet treat instead of holding him accountable and he has learned nothing, he will go on making poor choices regarding his health. As long as there is a pill to make him feel better, Joey will never be accountable to himself. Folks, if your doctor informs you with information to straighten out your health, it is incumbent that you take the advice to heart instead of being like that petulant child. Medicines and medical procedures are not sweet treats to make you feel good in the moment only to go on about your normal business. No, they are about getting you better so you can go on with a healthier life.once you get better. As what happens to millions of adults every day, Mr. Bagofdonuts eventually ends up with life threatening heart issues or any of many other ailments tied to poor nutrition. It is a damn shame that with all the information in the world available to us in the palm of our hands, as a nation we are the fattest and least healthy of any of our preceding generations. And this, all despite our advances in medical technology.

What is Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia, is a condition tied to obesity in which there are excess levels of insulin  circulating in the blood relative to the level of glucose. While it is often mistaken for diabetes, hyperinsulinemia can result from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with hypertension, glucose intolerance and dyslipidemia. Collectively, these conditions are   known as Metabolic Syndrome. Treatment is typically achieved via diet and exercise, if only the patient will actually do it. Metformin, a diabetes drug, may be used to reduce insulin  levels in some obese patients (typically where obesity is present). However, a healthy diet that is low in simple sugars and processed carbohydrates, high in fiber, and protein is often recommended. Again, as with exercise, this treatment is only good if the patient is compliant.

Hyperinsulinemia and Heart Disease

There are two different diseases which get called “heart disease”. One is Coronary Artery Disease which involves damage to your arteries which lead out of the chambers of your heart, and that feed the muscle of the walls of your heart. The other condition is Coronary Heart Disease which involves damage to the heart itself. It is also known as Ischemic Heart Disease.

Most of the time, Coronary Artery Disease will occur before Coronary Heart disease. The good news is that Coronary Artery Disease can be halted and reversed before your heart itself becomes diseased.

Coronary Artery Disease 

From Mayoclinic.org

Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.

When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. 

There are methods you can do for yourself to prevent yourself from getting Coronary Artery Disease in the first place. Each of these methods are in your hands at zero cost if only you choose to make the commitment to yourself:

Quit smoking.

Eat healthy foods.

Exercise regularly.

Lose excess weight.

Reduce stress.

If you need to, but choose not to make healthy lifestyle decisions, Coronary Artery Disease will involve three critical changes.

“Change 1” will be the thickening and narrowing of your arteries. Arteriosclerosis will begin when fatty streaks begin to appear on the walls of your arteries. As the artery walls thicken, the inside diameter of your arteries will become reduced which will have a direct impact on the flow of your blood. This thickening of your arteries is a result of an accumulation of cholesterol and other fats that form plaque.

If you believe that because you are not diabetic, therefore you have no worries about insulin, guess again.

Insulin signals the arterial walls to absorb cholesterol from your blood. When you eat a bunch of sugar laden crap that spikes your insulin and keeps it high all day, every day, you suffer great risk of heart disease and or heart attack. When your blood sugar and insulin levels are out of whack, your body has a more difficult time in healing itself. Sometimes, arteries narrow as a result of your body’s attempt to repair tiny blood vessel injuries. Sometimes, small spontaneous hemorrhages can occur as a result of high insulin. As a result, small fibrous plaques may begin to form. If these become calcified, you then have Hardening of the Arteries, or Arteriosclerosis. To compound this problem, insulin will stimulate cell growth. When your insulin levels are high, the walls of your blood vessels are continually bathed with this excess, the resultant cell growth reduces the inside diameter of your blood vessels where your blood flows through your body. Think of the difference in how well a skinny straw works as opposed to a big straw when trying to drink a thick milkshake. Do you want this happening inside of your blood vessels?

“Change 2” happens when your liver produces more cholesterol as a result of high levels of insulin. Many people do not realize his, but 75% of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver (endogenous cholesterol) and only 25% comes from the foods in your diet (exogenous cholesterol). The type produced by your own liver is much more dangerous to your health than the cholesterol you pick up from eating eggs and such. As insulin prompts your liver to produce an excess of cholesterol extra material for plaque formation within your blood vessels is provided. As this cholesterol produced plaque grows, your arteries continue to become more and more choked off.

“Change 3” The third change which occurs from hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin production, is your body reduces its ability to destroy a cement like substance called fibrin which holds the arterial plaque together in much the same way Portland Cement bonds sand and gravel together to create concrete. When you exercise and consume a healthy diet, your body naturally destroys fibrin. With little to no fibrin, your blood will flow freely throughout your body.

When you eat a nutritionally poor diet and are sedentary, the high levels of insulin present in your body will help create greater levels of fibrin. The result is you will have an increased risk now of your blood forming a clot that will not be able to pass through your narrowed and plaque choked blood vessels. As blood flow becomes reduced to your heart, it will not receive the nourishment and oxygen it requires in order to thrive. At this point, you have now entered into Coronary Heart Disease. Sadly you could have prevented this from ever occurring in the first place if you had only made smarter decisions regarding your dietary habits and made it a point to exercise at least a little bit on a regular basis. Once you have reached this “point of no return” the damage is done and no one is going to be able to pick up the broken pieces for you.

Face it, when we eat a poor diet of calorie dense, low nutrition foods every day, we are doing ourselves harm. Indirectly, we are also causing harm to all of our loved ones too. When we choose to be lazy and to eat foods that are laden with added sugar, simple carbohydrates, preservatives, high levels of sodium and unhealthy fats, we are living in the moment like a child who cannot see past the end of their nose, much less twenty to thirty years into their future, if even that long. When see and hear commercials for this gluttonous lifestyle where portions are constantly growing with our mid sections, we never see the end results often until it is far too late. You can prevent the occurrence of Coronary Artery Disease and even reverse the effects through making a personal choice to be healthy. Once this disease has progressed to Coronary Heart Disease, you are living on borrowed time, where a heart attack can  be likely to occur at an given time. We all know that when a heart attack happens, their will be no need for seeing into tomorrow. There will no longer be a need for medicines or medical procedures. While your family is feeling the pain of grieving and making your funeral plans, you will never have a bad day again to worry about.

Make wise decisions with your health and turn your ship around before it is too late.

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Keep Yourself In Balance

As so many are now days, there is a strong possibility that you are addicted to carbohydrates. You may or may not even know this, but either way, there are a few things you really need to understand about your blood sugar levels and how it can be directly affected by the kinds of food you consume each and every day, and how often during each day you might eat them. You might even think this does not apply to you since you eat a wide variety of foods during the course of your day, but have you ever spent any time reading food labels to know that your variety is indeed a variety? There is a strong possibility that all you consume has the same base ingredients of sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and preservatives.

Every day we do different acts which really require little to no thought. We brush our teeth, shower, dress ourselves and eat our meals while never considering all the combinations of simple thoughts and motor skills which go into these daily tasks. We often just go through our days on auto-pilot and hope that we can make it through to sundown without any calamities. We go through our day without ever thinking about our vital life functions including our control and regulation of our blood sugar. We have numerous basic functions of life that are all on automatic. That is, until we make poor life choices and thereby throw a wrench into the cogs of the precious life we have been blessed with. Then we are seeking medical attention for medicines and treatments which could have been avoided simply through better life choices. You are responsible for your health, your doctor is not.

When life is grand, and we do not have a care in the world, our body still needs to be properly taken care of through good nutrition and exercise in order to keep all of our working parts in fine order. The most basic elements of day to day living depend on this. There are actions happening in our body’s that require no conscious thought, such as what happens when we eat. As we chew our food, saliva is released to help break it down into simple absorbable elements. When we eat sugar laden foods or any type of high carbohydrate foods that tastes sweet our body releases insulin into the blood stream in anticipation of the coming food energy. This energy is broken down into simple sugar (glucose) which is then absorbed into our blood. The more sugary the foods, the more rapidly the sugar is absorbed into our blood. Our blood sugar, insulin and glucagon must be kept in balance, but unfortunately, too many of us never even attempt to maintain any semblance of balance. For this, we have the current obesity epidemic. When you do not maintain a balance with these basic elements, as your blood sugar continues to rise, you will feel weaker, hungrier, moodier, and less motivated unless the motivation involves eating more crap food. This is why we say to only eat complex carbs and zero sugar. Complex carbohydrates (starches and soluble fiber) take longer to be broken down into sugar in your body. The fiber element acts as a braking mechanism to keep your blood sugar and insulin under control.

When you consume a high carbohydrate diet, especially one of simple carbs, your insulin helps to move the blood sugar to different parts of your body, where it is used or stored away. As our blood sugar rises, our insulin opens our individual cells up in order for the blood sugar to bring them energy for growth, repair, and to allow them to accomplish the work they are designed for such as the contraction of our muscles. Our insulin then signals our liver and muscles to store away a small portion of the remaining blood sugar for future use. This remaining blood sugar is converted to first, blood fat, and then it is stored into our body as the fat in our fat cells. Because of the lack of balance which comes from undisciplined eating, we are a now a nation predominately populated by over weight or obese individuals. We must keep our body in balance in order to function as healthy beings. You might believe your gut is posing no problems for you, but aesthetics aside, you and I both know this is a bullshit way of thinking.

You should know there are functions within your body that take place without your control, except for you being able to control what it is you put into your mouth. You have control over the balancing act that must be maintained.

When your blood sugar levels begin to drop over time or from activity, your liver makes a small reserve available for your body’s use. As the liver’s stores begin to be depleted, rising levels of the hormone glucagon begin to signal fat cells to open and contribute to your energy needs. This action is what burns off your body fat. If your blood sugar level seems to never drop because of the sweet treats you eat continuously during the day, your glucagon never gets the opportunity to open your fat cells for energy, therefore you will continue to remain obese. It matters not who or what you are, this is very basic human biology that you cannot ignore without health consequences at some point in your life. Sadly, these consequences that used to only be seen in adults, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are now being seen in children.

When you eat an excess of simple carbs and sugar laden foods you will continuously have high insulin levels which lead to intense cravings for more sweet foods. The more you give in to this, the more imbalanced your body will be. If you continue to give in to the cravings, you will likely find yourself with type 2 diabetes.

While we recommend you to still consume complex carbohydrates, we are adamant that you should quit eating sugar and simple carbs all together. The only caveat to this is fruit. Fruit is a simple carb, but as there is a fiber component to it, fruit does not pose the same problems as simple carbs without fiber. Know that as with any type addiction, an addiction to carbohydrates will take about ten days, give or take a few, to get past. Once you get past the cravings which come from simple carbohydrates, it becomes much easier to control your appetite. If you maintain a diet during weight loss that is higher in protein while still consuming complex carbohydrate foods, you will find yourself staying satiated much longer through out the day than you would when eating sugary foods. While you will still get hungry, the hunger will be more of a mild annoyance than a bothersome craving.

Suffering obesity and all the ailments which accompany it are a matter of your personal life choices. You, and you alone are responsible to maintain the balance that your body requires for optimal health. It is not anyone else’s fault when you contract type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome. It is all on you and the responsibility to get well if you have fallen to these conditions are not your doctors responsibility to repair. It will only be your own blood on your own hands when your health goes south on you.

Live well, keep yourself in balance.

The “Generational Curse”, What Is It?

The What?

I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea about what it was supposed to be. Turns out that there were people around me who believed that bad traits passed from one generation to another by some mystical means other than just genetics. True, there are some tendencies that are familial and some outright inherited maladies, but they are few and far between. Almost all of the negative health and life issues that we have are a direct result of the choices that we make, not genetics, and certainly not some mystical, spiritual curse. Believing this falsehood is simply an excuse to under achieve and fail at life. Believing this is an excuse to abandon all effort to be responsible for the health choices that you make. Mom became diabetic at age 40? If that’s the case, it’s Mom’s choices that caused it. Make different choices. I had an Aunt who died a terrible death from throat cancer. I loved her. She was my favorite Aunt. She smoked, a  lot, and never quit. Do her children have a similar risk? Possibly, they also smoke and the genetics are secondary compared to that decision.

Is It Learned?

There is a state of mind called “Learned Helplessness” that is believed to occur when someone is exposed to traumatic events that they cannot control. Over time, the individual “learns” that he cannot control events around himself and simply doesn’t try. Feeling that we can’t control traumatic events leads to loss of motivation to the extent that even when we are presented with the opportunity to change the course of our lives, we may not take advantage of the opportunity. This “loser” state of mind cripples the individual in decision making because he feels that his decisions won’t make a difference. Feeling helpless in the face of trauma and unable or unwilling to change the course of action by deciding to take control, leads to depression in most people with learned helplessness. This is a deadly personality trait when we are faced with decisions concerning our health.

                                                                               Is It A Decision?

In the original experiments on this topic, it was discovered that dogs who did not try to avoid negative stimuli had not, however, learned helplessness. They had not learned control. (1) The difference is profound. In order to “learn” helplessness, or the lack of control, we must first decide to take control and then be unable to do so. If an individual is afraid of failure simply because that’s all they have ever seen or been exposed to, then they have not made a decision to break that consecutive chain of failure, dysfunction and sickness that may have existed in their family for generations. They have not learned helplessness, they simply have not learned control. Therein is the problem.

Lovely Ladies

I remember when I actually believed that “skinny” girls were just genetically gifted. Never mind that my Mother, who was 5’7″ and about 110 pounds, ate very little and almost never sat down. For some strange reason, I ignored the obvious. Truth be known, it was easier to believe that she had great genes, that were somehow vastly different from mine, than to see the truth of the matter. While I would binge on brownies at every chance, she might eat one, maybe not even one. While I preferred the life of a sloth, she was a busy bee. I have mentioned “Janice” a few times. She was a lovely girl, close to my age in my 20’s who had a rock star body. While I struggled to fit into a size 12 or 14, Janice was a lithe size 5 or 7. Guess what. I finally ask her what she ate. She showed me a tray of freshly cut vegetables in her fridge and she told me that she ate those veggies all the time and seldom got hungry between meals. I was at her house for meals. They were healthy meals of grilled lean meats and veggies, fruit for dessert and no munchies at the parties unless you wanted the fresh veggies. She did not deviate and was not swayed by the negative comments of those around her concerning her diet.  She was in control. So was my Mom. Both Janice and my Mom had obese Mothers. They had made a conscious choice to take control, to do better than their upbringing. Genetics be damned.

Your Choice

What would your life be like if you decide, right now, to take control over the things that you have refused to exercise control over until this moment in time? Would you be different tomorrow? What about this time next year? Would you still eat the same things, smoke, drink alcohol and hang out with the same people? Remember, if someone doesn’t encourage you to be healthy, they are not your friend and do not have your best interest at heart. I challenge you. Exercise your ability to create your life and take control today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

(1) medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325355.php

Childhood Obesity, Do Something About It!

All who have followed this blog know that I am not even remotely apologetic in my attitude regarding our responsibility to ensuring our children do not become obese. Whether they realize it or not, our children look towards us to lead them down the path towards a well nurtured and healthy life. When we allow our children to eat themselves into obesity while living a sedentary life sitting in front of a television, this is negligence at best, abuse at the worse. You, the parent and responsible adult in their life, must be the example your children want to emulate in life. If you are fit and healthy, your children are more likely to be fit and healthy. If you are obese, lazy and out of shape, do I need to say more?

Did that last line offend you? You might check your parenting if it did.

How big a problem is childhood obesity?

From the (CDC) Center for DIsease Control and Prevention

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.

For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years:

  • The prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
  • Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22.0%) had higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
  • Non-Hispanic Asians (11.0%) had lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

Nearly one in five American children have a problem with being either obese or overweight. This number is far too high!

Complications your obese child will face in life!

From Mayo Clinic:

Childhood obesity can have complications for your child’s physical, social and emotional well-being.

Physical complications

  • Type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition affects the way your child’s body uses sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome. This cluster of conditions can put your child at risk of heart disease, diabetes or other health problems. Conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure. A poor diet can cause your child to develop one or both of these conditions. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries, which can cause arteries to narrow and harden, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  • Asthma. Children who are overweight or obese might be more likely to have asthma.
  • Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which a child’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage.
  • Bone fractures. Obese children are more likely to break bones than are children of normal weight.

Social and emotional complications

  • Low self-esteem and being bullied. Children often tease or bully their overweight peers, who suffer a loss of self-esteem and an increased risk of depression as a result.
  • Behavior and learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children do. These problems might lead children who are overweight either to act out and disrupt their classrooms or to withdraw socially.
  • Depression. Low self-esteem can create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, which can lead to depression in some children who are overweight.

Now that you have read that troubling list of complications your innocent child will encounter through a life of obesity, look upon that sweet child and think about your role in preventing them from experiencing an unnecessary struggle. You know you do not want their lives to be cut short because of obesity. I cannot imagine anyone wants a bad life for their child, but if you allow them to be sedentary and feed them an unhealthy diet, you are responsible for their future misery.

You are the responsible party for your child’s health and well being!

Many factors — usually working in combination — increase your child’s risk of becoming overweight. From Mayo Clinic

  • Diet. Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy and desserts also can cause weight gain, and more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity in some people.
  • Lack of exercise. Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem.
  • Family factors. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on weight. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.
  • Psychological factors. Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies.

Diet and family factors. You are the responsible adult who does the grocery shopping. You control what your children consume every day at home. You have a choice when you go to your local grocery store to either fill your cart with healthy food choices to feed your children, or you can load that cart with highly processed sugar and unhealthy fat laden junk foods. You are the one who allows them to sit on their butts in front of a television or other electronic device all day while getting very little to no exercise at all. You are the one who should see a problem when your child becomes over weight and you are the one who must do something about it. Your child did not ask to be brought into the world. No, it was your choice to bring them into the world, therefore it will always be your responsibility to take proper care to ensure your child is healthy and well, even if it is an inconvenience to the manner in which you might want to live your life.

Whether your child is at risk of becoming overweight or is currently at a healthy weight, you can take measures to get or keep things on the right track.

  • Limit your child’s consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or avoid them all together. There is no reason for your child to drink sugar sweetened drinks every day. Many children grow up drinking soda pops all day instead of water. I have a nephew who grew up like this and he now requires dialysis for kidney failure because of this foolishness. His kidneys are shot because he grew up drinking Coke all day, every day. His mother is responsible for this as she let this habit begin in his early childhood.
  • Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables. Some children are going to be picky eaters. Lord knows I was picky as a child, yet my mother never gave up. What ever you do, you must ensure that your child is getting enough their needed macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to live a healthy life. You know there is nothing nutritional about feeding your children sugar sweetened cereals and pop tarts. You know that soda pop and cookies are not nutritionally sound. You should know that while macaroni and cheese with hot dogs might be alright to serve your child occasionally for lunch, it is not nutritionally sound to feed them like this every day.
  • Eat meals as a family as often as possible. One of the healthiest things you can do as a family is to have dinner together at the dining room or kitchen table away from all other distractions such as television and other electronic devices. This is a great time to talk to your children and learn what is going on in their young lives. Your children need this kind of emotional support from you. You need this time to know what is happening in their young minds. You cannot get this when you allow them to play video games all day as an escape. If you are not interacting with your child, you might find yourself totally blindsided by their suicide one day.
  • Children and teens who are depressed have a higher risk of suicide. Symptoms of depression sometimes are obvious, such as appearing sad, hopeless, bored, overwhelmed, anxious, or irritable all the time. But some kids are good at hiding their feelings or don’t know how to share them. Since as many as 1 in every 5 teens experience depression at some point during adolescence, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children over age 12 be screened for depression at their yearly checkups.
  • In addition to depression, mood disorders, eating disorders and other psychiatric conditions can increase the risk of suicide with your child. A sedentary lifestyle combined with obesity and poor nutritional habits greatly affects your child’s mood and how they view their own self worth. As a parent, you are responsible to help them sort all of this out before they decide to just end their own life before it has even begun.
  • Limit eating out, especially at fast-food restaurants, and when you do eat out, teach your child how to make healthier choices. Go to our Recipe Category for an abundance of healthy recipes that are easy on a family budget, and that are also as healthy as they are easy to prepare. Fast food drive through’s might be alright on occasion as a treat, but it truly is cheaper and quicker to feed your family nutritious meals at home.
  • Adjust portion sizes appropriately for age. You know, if your child is 5, they do not need a portion your 15 year old will want to consume. If you have teens in the house, you can still control the portion sizes by the amount of food that you prepare. Even if they raise hell with you, you are the parent. Stand your ground and manage your home instead of letting your child rule it as is so common now days.
  • Limit TV and other “screen time” to less than 2 hours a day for children older than 2, and don’t allow television for children younger than 2. If your child is not old enough to work a part time job to buy a television or electronic device for themselves, you have the control. You do not need to buy them their own television so they can sit and lounge about in front of it anytime they please. You set the rules of the house!
  • Be sure your child gets enough sleep.

Get your child outside and teach them to use their imagination!

I am a firm believer that one of the best things a parent can do for their child is to get them outside and teach them about nature. Take them out on a good hiking trail and have some fun with them by exercising your imagination as well.

Explore a trail and turn it into a great adventure they will want to do again. A make shift bridge could be crossing a roaring river. The woods could be anywhere in the world you want it to be. You can teach your children about the different plants and animal life you might encounter such as deer, raccoons and opossums. Those animal tracks you in the mud might be from a large wild cat you are trying to avoid. They can be anything you want them to be.

You could pack healthy snacks for your hike along with a pair of binoculars for bird watching. You can lay out your food and enjoy your snack while sitting on a large rock and observing the “dangers” or adventures you might encounter over the next hill. Let your imagination run wild with your child’s while out on a hiking trail. You can teach your child about edible plants you might find while pointing out those that are highly toxic such as Death Caps and any that are red on the cap. You never know where a wicked witch or evil troll might be lurking out in those woods when you use your imagination with the children.


There are many lessons of life you can impart onto your child while out in the woods. You can speak of the hard lessons of life we must all come to learn at some point which will only serve to make them be well adjusted adults. And you can, and must, also teach them to seek out the beauty that is the gift of life. Every where we may venture, there can be found something of beauty to behold. Get your children excited about life and all that it has to offer. Get them excited about outdoors activities that capture the imagination. As a parent, you are responsible for giving your child as great a life as you possibly can.

Let’s keep our children healthy, it is not an impossible task if only you will.

Why Do I Even Care About Your Obesity? Our Children and Our Future as a Nation

Why in the hell do I care about you?

Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?

Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.

Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.

Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.

Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.

You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.

Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.

About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.

Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.

If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.

From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:

Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.

Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.

Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:

I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.

I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.

I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.

I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.

This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.

You’re Pre-Diabetic, Now What?

All across America people are eating more and more sugar laden meals while also getting significantly more lazy. The end result is we have a majority of our citizens who are either over weight at a minimum, or straight up obese. Many of these people will visit their physician who might order a blood glucose screening, and then find themselves receiving a diagnosis of being prediabetic. If this scenario applies to you, you are being given a stern warning that you had better get your act together in regards to your dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. Having a diagnosis of prediabetes is akin to full blown type 2 diabetes giving you a shot across the bow to warn that you need to cease and desist in your current lifestyle. You had better get it together like right now as prediabetes can be reversed through proper diet and exercise. This is your chance to defend yourself against type 2 diabetes, do not be a fool and just give in to getting it. If you think life might be tough by turning prediabetes around, you are only setting yourself up to learn some hard life lessons if you let the shit go.

You can control it, you are not helpless.

What is prediabetes?

Being prediabetic means that your dietary habits have resulted in your blood sugar levels becoming higher than normal, yet not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. If you do not change your ways, without serious dietary changes, at this point you are quite likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. Listen up, if your ass has been diagnosed as being prediabetic, the long term damage from diabetes to your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys may already be starting.

Damage to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys is nothing to take lightly. Of course, there are many who will not take this seriously until the problems have begun to make their lives difficult. And then, when the proverbial crap hits the fan, they will expect their doctor to just fix them with a medication or something. If you are this individual who would rather have a doctor prescribe you a medication over just unfucking yourself, you are a fool.

If, however, you are half way intelligent you will understand that type 2 diabetes does not have to be inevitable and you will make the personal choice to do something about your diagnosis of being prediabetic by beginning to eat a healthy diet and incorporating physical fitness activities into your daily routine. By doing these simple lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage, you can bring your blood sugar levels back to a normal level. You have a choice between eating healthy and exercising, or you can continue on your merry way with an obese body while cramming cookies and cake down your gullet and washing it all down with sugary soft drinks. This may appear to be an extreme way of putting it, but I am intentionally not sparing your feelings simply because I want you to fix yourself before it gets worse, If my words make you a bit uncomfortable or irritated, you will remember them far longer than if I was sugar coating them for you.

Sadly, children are being affected by prediabetes and full blown type 2 diabetes the same as adults. If you give a damn about the children in your life, then be the role model they require in order to live a healthy life. Make the choice that your unhealthy dietary habits are not more important to you than helping your children. If you have brought children into this world, you damn sure owe it to them to ensure they grow up healthy and fit. Anything less is a serious shortcoming on your part as a parent and is no better than anything else which can be considered child neglect. Children can have their blood sugar levels brought back down in the same way as adults, with a little exercise and a healthy diet.

Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms.

You may not have any symtoms at all that you are prediabetic other than the fact you are over weight and out of shape. One possible sign that you might be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin at the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.

If you have moved from being prediabetic to full blown type 2 diabetes, here are signs and symptoms that you have done so:

  • You will experience increased thirst.
  • You will need to urinate more frequently than normal.
  • You will feel fatigued.
  • Blurred vision will also become a problem.

If you begin experiencing these symptoms, get your tail end to your doctor and ask for a blood glucose screening, especially if you already have any of the risk factors.

Causes

While family history and genetics do play an important role in people developing prediabetes, factors that are also important are being lazy and or inactive and excess body fat, with an emphasis on belly fat. People with prediabetes no longer process blood sugar (glucose) as they should when healthy. As a result, sugar accumulates in the blood stream instead of doing it’s normal job of fueling the cells that make up muscle and other tissues, The majority of the glucose in your body comes from the foods that you consume. When food is digested, sugar enters your bloodstream. Getting this sugar from your bloodstream into your cells requires insulin which comes from your pancreas.

Every time that you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. As insulin enters your bloodstream, it causes sugar to enter your cells, thereby lowering your blood sugar. As your blood sugar levels drop, the pancreas backs off on secreting insulin. This is how it is supposed to be, however, when you are prediabetic this process begins to malfunction. Instead of fueling your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar occurs when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or your cells become resistant to insulin, or both conditions.

The same factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases your risk of prediabetes.

  • Weight. If you are carrying too much body fat, know that this is your primary risk factor for developing prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your gut, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Waist size. If you are big around the waist, it is an indication that you are insulin resistant. The risk of insulin resistance goes up fo men with waists larger than 40 inches and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
  • Dietary patterns. Eating processed foods and meats, eating foods with added sugars and drinking sugar sweetened beverages places you at higher risk for prediabetes.
  • Inactivity. The less you move your body the greater your risk of prediabetes. Get your ass and move it with a purpose. Make that purpose be one of improving your life. Physical activity not only helps you to drop body fat, it uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Age. Although diabetes can develop at any age, you are at a higher risk after the age of 45. Of course this could largely be because folks over 45 tend to exercise less lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. Do not let age be a lame excuse for not being physically active. Get up and move your body damn it. Even if you have to begin a little at a time, just do it as a part of your daily routine, You can build up to longer durations of activity over time.
  • Family history. If you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, your risk of prediabetes is increased. Type 2 diabetes runs on both my paternal and maternal sides of my family, which means I am at a higher risk, yet I refuse to live my life in a manner in which I make myself susceptible.
  • Race. It is unclear why, but Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop prediabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you develop gestational diabetes while pregnat, you and your child are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes. Knowing this, you owe it to your child to ensure they grow up eating healthy and getting plenty of physical exercise in their lives. Also, if you gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds, you are also at risk for prediabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. This common condition increases womens risks of prediabetes.
  • Sleep. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of insulin resistance. People who work changing shifts or night shifts which can cause sleep pattern interuptions, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Other conditions associated with prediabetes include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low levels of high densiy lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or, the good kind.
  • High levels of triglycerides which is atype of fat in your blood.

When these conditions occur with obesity, the are associated with insulin resistance. The combination of three or more of these conditions is often referred to as metabolic syndrome.

The most serious consequences of prediabetes is progression to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness
  • Amputations

Research has indicated that prediabetes is often associated with unrecognized heart attacks and can damage your kidneys, even if you have not progressed to type 2 diabetes.

By making a personal choice to get physically active, and to get healthier by losing bady fat, you can keep yourself from ever becoming prediabetic even if diabetes runs in your family. Eat a good healthy diet, move your body, lose weight and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. All of this can be done by making a personal choice to do so and then making it happen through dietary changes and exercise. You do not need medications to rid yourself of prediabetes or the risk of acquiring it. Nope, all that is required is a commitment on your part. Just do it. Get it done today. Follow us at David’s Way, we have almost 500 nutrition and fitness articles with tons of healthy recipes to help you along your way. Any topic you are interested in, can be entered into our blog search bar and everywhere we have written on it wil come up for your reading pleasure.