Category: Diabetes

Rest in Peace Laverne

Early Tuesday morning as I was enjoying my first cup of coffee and watching our local news and weather, I was saddened to learn about the death of Penny Marshall as a result of complications from diabetes. Ms. Marshall was a television and Hollywood icon, in the seventies I always loved watching her playing the role of Laverne on the Happy Days spin off Laverne and Shirley. She was a talented and funny lady who went on to become a highly successful movie director. Ms Marshall made history when she became the first woman to ever gross more than $100 million for directing a film. The film was the 1988 hit “Big” starring Tom Hanks.

I do not want to jump into too many conclusions about Ms. Marshall’s death, except that in my experience with people whom I have known who also died of complications from diabetes, it has been exclusively because they did not control their disease by eating a diabetes friendly diet, nor did they attempt to control their weight in any fashion. Diabetes is a disease which can be managed, this disease does not have to cause your early death. The ravages of Type 2 Diabetes can actally be reversed through proper diet and exercise. Yet, too many people settle to monitor their blood sugar and take chances with their health by continuing to eat poorly. Too many have the thought they can carry on their lives as they did pre-diabetes because they can simply take a pill or a shot of insulin in order to keep them “healthy”. The reality though, it matters little how much money you have, nor your access to the best doctors and medicines, if you do not manage your disease through diet and exercise, you will eventually suffer possible amputations of extremities and or death at some point.

Why is it so hard for so many diabetics to give up foods they know are destructive to their health?

To be successful in achieving optimal health and permenent weight loss, the nature of human complexity needs to be considered. Most foods we consume today as a part of the Standard American Diet are full of sugar and can be addicting physically and emotionally. Sadly, there are many people who would rather face death than to change their way of eating. It is as if the subconscious mind quits caring about logic and science. As a species, we humans are physical, emotional and social beings. Many folks will flat reject learning about healthy eating and living, with a good many even rationalizing or making excuses why they can not change their ways.

It is not uncommon that folks will give reasons and excuses to continue down their path to dietary suicide. Yes, suicide is the word. If you refuse to change your dietary habits after a diabetes diagnosis, then you are committing a slow suicide and your family will have to pick up the broken pieces. This being the case, remember, it is never just about you in these situations. Your actions, or lack there of, impacts your loved ones too. You may not have a conscious thought of wanting to die, you likely do not want to. Our brains are designed to dim awareness to information that causes us distress and anxiety.. For many folks, the very thought of changing the way they eat is a huge source of distress and anxiety. So many can not fathom a life without sweet treats and such. Unhealthy, sugar laden foods are a slow working poison, but the human mind can fear change more so than it fears a unhealthy diet.

If you are the type who has an addictive mind, you likely will always be able to dream up a solid reason to justify the continuation of your addiction to unhealthy sugar laden foods. Many food addicts will resort to using the line “If you had a life like mine, you would binge too”. Sorry, but that kind of thinking is a lame cop out, please refrain from getting into a self defeating cycle of of self pity and gloom if you have a diagnosis of diabetes and a weight issue. You can live a healthy life, if you make the choice to do so. Many people with addictive personalities will lose total control once the addiction to their food choices takes hold. Often the food addict will lose control of their own descision making. Over eating, eating poorly and remaining obese in spite of health consequences are prime examples the power a sugar addiction has over the individual.

Over eating is also too often the result of a low self esteem. If you read social media from weight loss apps such as Weight Watchers, you can see this every day, multiple times. This makes people vulnerable to negative peer pressure, addictions and emotional binging. Have you ever feared appearing different than others and believe that changing the way you eat will result in a loss of social status? People will also over eat to raise dopamine and serotonin activity in the brain so that they can dull the frustration, disappointment and pain of life. Is this you? If so, all negativity can be turned around. Changing your diet can go hand in hand with a new attitude about yourself, life and the many possibilities ahead of you. Know that a healthy diet goes hand in hand with a healthy attitude about life and a love of life.

If you are obese and or have been diagnosed with diabetes, please acknowledge the problem. Ackolwedge the difficulties of getting through it, and just do it. You have to face facts, accept your discomforts and then work your way through them. Your mind may not like the changes you have to make to accomodate a new healthier life, but you have to stick with it until the changes begin to just feel natural instead of foreign. No one can cure an addiction unless they are willing and have made the personal choice to fight through it. The key to getting through a food addiction is to make the commitment to stick through dietary changes that will make you healthier. Go forth with the knowledge and comfort that every day spent working to a heathier life will become easier and more pleasurable.

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Low Glycemic Index Foods

 

screenshot_20181115-113045~2393868930185126298..jpgTo make easy low glycemic index food choices, you will need to stock the right foods. Here are ideas for what to keep in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. These foods have optimum flavor and nutritional value and work well, in moderation, in a low glycemic index diet.

What to keep in your pantry:

 

  • Asian sauces. Hoisin, oyster, soy, and fish sauces are a good basic range. Also jarred or canned Thai curry pastes, Chinese garlic chili paste, and mirin (sweet rice wine) for genuine flavors.
  • Barley. One of the oldest cultivated cereals, barley is very nutritious and high in soluble fiber. Look for products such as Pearl Barley to use in soups, stews and pilafs.
  • Black pepper. Buy fresh ground pepper or grind your own peppercorns.
  • Bread. Low-GI options include whole grain, 100% stone-ground whole wheat, pumpernickel, sourdough, English muffins, flat bread, and pita.
  • Breakfast cereals. These include traditional rolled oats, natural muesli, and low-GI packaged breakfast cereals.
  • Broth. Make your own or buy prepared products, which are available in cans and aseptic containers, or in cubes or granules Look for low salt options.
  • Bulgar wheat. Use it to make tabbouleh, or add to vegetable burgers, stuffings, soups, and stews.
  • Canned evaporated fat free milk. This makes an excellent substitution for cream in pasta sauces.
  • Canned fish. Keep a good stock of canned tuna packed in spring water, and canned sardines and salmon. Fish canned in oil contains about 10 times more fat than fish canned in water. If you prefer to buy tuna in oil, check the ingredient list closely for the type of oil used; canola, olive or soybean is best.
  • Canned fruit. Have a variety of canned fruit on hand, including peaches, pears, apples, and nectarines. Choose brands labeled with “No added sugar” and packed in juice.
  • Canned vegetables. Sweet corn and tomatoes can hep to boost the vegetable content of a meal. Tomatoes in particular, can be used freely because they are rich in anti-oxidants, as well as having a low-GI. Recipe-ready diced tomatoes are ultra-convenient for pasta sauces and other dishes.
  • Cornmeal. 100% stone-ground dried corn, either white or yellow, retains the most nutrients. It can be used for polenta, baking, and breading foods for oven frying.
  • Couscous. Nutritious whole wheat couscous is now sold in many supermarkets. It only takes minutes to soak it in hot broth or water as an ingredient in casseroles or an accompaniment to braised dishes.
  • Curry pastes. A tablespoon or so of jarred or canned Thai-style curry paste makes a delicious sauce base.
  • Dried fruit. These include apricots, raisins, prunes and apples.
  • Dried herbs. Oregano, basil, ground coriander, thyme, and rosemary can be useful to have on standby in the pantry.
  • Honey. Those with the lowest-GI include the floral honeys, not the commercially blended types.
  • Jam. A dollop of good quality all fruit (with no added sugar) on toast contains fewer calories than butter or margarine.
  • Legumes. Stock a variety of legumes (dried or canned) including lentils, spli peas, and beans. Incorporating them in a recipe, perhaps as a substitution for meat, will lower the fat content of the finished dish.
  • Mustard. Whole grain mustard is useful as a sandwich spread, in salad dressings, and in sauces. Dijon style mustard is a wonderful addition to sauces.
  • Noodles. Many Asian noodles, such as udon and rice vermicelli, have low to intermediate GI values because of their dense texture, whether they are made from wheat or rice flour.
  • Nuts. Try a handful of almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or pecans (about an ounce) every other day. Try them sprinkled over your breakfast cereal, salad, or dessert, and enjoy unsalted nuts as a snack as well. Seeds such as sesame, sunflower, and flax seed are delicious in both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Oils. Try olive oil or canola oil for general use; some extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, marinades, and dishes that benefit from its flavor; and toasted sesame oil as a condiment for Asian style stir fries. Canola and olive oil cooking sprays are handy too.
  • Pasta. A great source of carbohydrates and B vitamins. Fresh or dried, the preparation is easy. Simply cook in boiling water until just tender, or al dente, drain, and top with your favorite sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Quinoa. This whole grain cooks in about 10 to 15 minutes and has a slightly chewy texture. It can be used as a substitute for rice, couscous, or bulgar wheat. It is very important to rinse the grains thoroughly before cooking.
  • Rice. Basmati, brown, wild, short grain white, and Uncle Ben’s converted rice varieties have a much lower GI than, for example, jasmine rice.
  • Rolled oats. Besides their use in oatmeal oats can be added to cakes, muffins, brads and desserts.
  • Salt. Use in moderation.
  • Spices and seasoning blends. Most spices and seasoning blends, including ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, and chili powder, should be bought in small quantities and stored in a cool dark place.
  • Tomato pasta sauce. The classic meatless Italian tomato sauce is typically seasoned with onion, garlic, and oregano. Look for brands without high fructose corn syrup to avoid unwanted calories and sugar. It can be used in pastas, pizzas, or braised meats and poultry.
  • Tomato paste. Use in soups, sauces and casseroles.
  • Vinegar. White or red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are excellent in vinaigrette dressings in salads.

What to keep in your refrigerator:

 

  • Bacon. Bacon is a valuable ingredient in many dishes because of the flavor it offers. You can make a little bacon go a long way by trimming off all fat and chopping it finely. Ham is oftena more economical and leaner way to go. In casseroles an soups, bacon or a ham bone imparts a fine flavor, with less fat.
  • Capers, olives and anchovies. These can be bought in jars and kept in the refrigerator. They are a tasty addition to pasta dishes, pizzas and salads.
  • Cheese. Reduced-fat cheddar cheese, or other favorite reduced-fat types, are great to keep handy in the fridge. A block of Parmesan is indispensable and will keep for up to 1 month. Reduced -fat cottage and ricotta cheeses have a short life so are best bought as needed The can be a good alternative to butter or margarine spread in a sandwich.
  • Condiments. Keep jars of minced garlic, chile, or fresh ginger in the refrigerator to spice up your cooking in an instant. Ready-diced onions and bell peppers, sold in most supermarket produce sections, also speed healthy meal preparation.
  • Cream and sour cream. Keep to very small amounts, as these are high in saturated fat. Substitute fat-free sour cream, which tastes very similar to the full fat variety. A 16 ounce container of heavy cream can be poured into ice cube trays and frozen, providing small servings of cream easily when you need it. Adding one ice-cube block o cream to a dish adds only 5 1/2 gram of fat.
  • Eggs. To enhance your intake of omega-3 fats, use omega-3 enriched eggs. The fat in eggs is predominantly monounsaturated, and therefore considered a “good fat”.
  • Fish. Try a variety of fresh fish.
  • Fresh fruit. Almost all fruit makes an excellent low-GI snack. When in season, try apples, oranges, pears, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, apricots, strawberries and mangoes.
  • Fresh herbs. These are available in most supermarkets, and there really is no substitute for the flavor they impart For variety, try parsley, basil, mint, chives and cilantro.
  • Jarred vegetables. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and roasted egg plant and peppers are handy to keep as flavorsome additions to to pasta and sandwiches.
  • Lemons. A lemon is one of the most versatile ingredients in the low-GI kitchen. Try a squeeze along with ground black pepper on vegetables instead of a pat of butter. Lemon juice provides acidity that slows gastric emptying and lowers the GI value. Convenient frozen 100% pure lemon juice is sold in most supermarkets.
  • Mayonnaise. Select brands prepared with canola or olive oil.
  • Meat and poultry. Lean varieties are better. Try lean beef, lamb, pork chicken and turkey.
  • Milk. Fat free or low fat milk is best, or try low fat calcium enriched soy milk.
  • Tofu. Add to stir fries and casseroles.
  • Vegetables. Keep a variety of seasonal vegetables on hand such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Asian greens, zucchini and mushrooms Bell peppers and scallions and sprouts are great to bulk up a salad. Sweet corn and sweet potato are essential to your low-GI food stores.
  • Yogurt. Low-fat natural yogurt provides the most calcium for the fewest calories. It also provides “friendly bacteria”, protein, and riboflavin, and unlike milk, is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. Low fat yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream. Have vanilla or fruit versions as a dessert, or use natural plain yogurt as a condiment in savory dishes However, if using yogurt in a hot meal, make sure you add it at the last minute, and do not let it boil or curdle.

What to keep in your freezer:

 

  • Frozen berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries can make any dessert special, and with frozen ones, you do not have to wait until berry season to indulge. They are also a great addition to breakfasts and snacks.
  • Frozen meat, poultry and seafood. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloins and loose pack shrimp are widely available. Take out just the amount you need to thaw for your recipe.
  • Frozen vegetables. Keep a package of peas, beans, corn, spinach, or mixed vegetables in the freezer. These are handy to add to a quick meal.

Child Neglect/Abuse Related to Obesity

Hard Truth

As much as I love to be a cheerleader, there are some hard truths associated with our struggles with weight, one of the gravest being the fact that obese parents tend to produce obese children. What better reason is there to get healthy than to spare our children the misery and ill health, both physical and mental, of carrying excess pounds? I enjoy writing encouraging, uplifting articles but sometimes a splash of cold water in our faces will wake us up when all the soothing words in the world never will. There is massive evidence that our habits can have catastrophic effects on our innocent children, setting them up for an unhealthy life. The link is so strong that in some states, the government has intervened on behalf of the children, considering the allowing of a child to become obese as a crime that can affect parental rights.

Removal From Home

In 2011 a 218 pound third grader was taken from his parents due, in part, to the level of obesity in his home.[1] In recent years a handful of influential doctors have come forth to advocate removal of children from the home if the environment is deemed dangerous for the child.

Parental Obesity

In a prospective study of children aged birth to 9.5 years, parental obesity was found to be the most influential factor affecting childhood obesity. [2] What we fail to realize when we allow our children to become obese is that they can develop diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems and die by age 30 if they are allowed to become obese early in their lives. Children are developing Type 2 Diabetes at an alarming rate. The complications of Diabetes are dreadful and include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin conditions, Alzheimer’s Disease and amputations. If we do not give our children a healthy start in life, they will likely fall victim to this dreaded disease. The psychiatric stress of obesity is also of consideration for development of various mental illnesses in children including anxiety, depression and aggression.

Responsibility

There is a free style poem about children learning what they live. We owe it to them to live a healthy life before them. They mimic our behavior. Let’s make it good. ;-*

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obese-third-grader-taken-from-family-did-state-go-too-far/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878572/

Why Gamble with Diabetes?

Are you a gambler? Do you love the thrill of placing a Vegas bet on the craps or card tables? How much are you willing to gamble at a time? Would you be willing to bet your home on a sure bet? Or are you more of a small time gambler who see’s no harm in the benign scratcher tickets and occasional Powerball game. You know, nothing harmful ever comes from scratching tickets at the local convenience store. Heck that $20 purchase of tickets is going to actually pay off big time one day, right?

How about gambling with your life and or your health? We see this every day when smokers walk out to smoking areas and light up their cigarettes. To a non-smoker, those types are a special fucking kind of stupid aren’t they? After all, we are only gifted with one set of lungs when we are born. How many roll the dice with alcohol by taking their first drink while knowing that it affects some to the point of losing everything. You have likely seen hobo’s panhandling on street corners for enough scratch to purchase a bottle of Wild Irish Rose to swill down under the bridge with Ol Smokey and thier pal affectionately refered to as Zoo Breath. Yeah, those bums gambled and lost with that one didn’t they? Of course, we are all better than those stew bums, right?

We can all take relatively safe gambles with our lives, and not have to pay the Piper for several years. Hell, most of us live for today and cannot fathom the future 30 years later when we can not see past the ends of our own noses. It’s not like we are playing Russian Roulette with a .357 Magnum when we bite into a Snickers Bar. Or are we……

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family. Family members on both sides have suffered it, therefore it is only prudent that I do everything I can in order to avoid it myself. Knowing that it runs in my family, it would be a dick move if I throw caution to the wind and gamble on my life that I can eat tons of sugar and carbs and never get it myself. For all my reasons “Why” for losing weight and committing myself to a life style of health and wellness, avoiding Type 2 Diabetes ranks right there at the top of the list for living the way I do. It is why I promote a diet high in protein and low in carbs. Complex carbs only. No sugar or processed foods. Avoiding those foods are now just a part of my lifestyle which has been given the title David’s Way by my friend.

WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.(1)

You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. (1)

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • feeling tired
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart disease.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including

  • overweight and obesity
  • not being physically active
  • insulin resistance
  • genes

(1) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

On Weight Watcher’s social media Connect, I have responded to people who have trouble with losing weight by telling them they should quit sugar all together. It is unbelievable how pissed some of them get when I make this suggestion despite the fact it will work for them if only they try. Hell, their panties can get in such a twist, you would think I had barged into their home and removed every source of their sugar. Because sugar is seen as a food source which is added to just about everything now days, many can not see how harmful it can be for some folks. Not just in the problems which stem from obesity, but the even uglier problems which can be prevented just by not eating sugar and by watching your intake of even complex carbohydrates.

If you look at the top causes of Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that being over weight, obese and not being physically active are the top causes. Fixing the third item will help to fix the first two, but is not enough by itself if you still like to indulge in sweet treats on a regular basis. You can not outrun or out work a bad diet as a permanent fix to being over weight or obese. You have to fix your diet and mind set first and foremost. If you need a reason, just look at those feet afflicted with diabetic ulcers with the understanding that your diet can either cause the same for you, or it could correct this course before you get there by simply eating whole and healthy foods and cutting out sugar and processed foods from your diet. Every time you stick a spoonful of sugary crap in your mouth, you are gambling that you will never be stricken with that horrible condition.

Besides ugly ulcers on your extremities which can often lead to amputations, are pints of your favorite ice cream or Little Debby Cakes, worth your eye sight? Do you value your vision enough to clean up your diet? The above pictures are eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy. When your child or grandchild looks into your eyes, do you care if these eyes are what they peer into? Would you ever want to gaze into your child or grand children’s eyes and see these looking back at you? Probably not, but if you do not fix your diet, quit or at least greatly reduce your sugar intake, and increase your physical activity, those eyes might just become your reality. Bad things happen to all of us, not just the other guy.

The costs of Type 2 Diabetes to us personally and financially are devastating to our lives and causes preventable heart ache and stress. Nobody need suffer from Type 2 Diabetes if only they eat healthy whole foods and incorporate vigorous exercise into their lives.

According to American Diabetes Association:

The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (30% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (30%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (15%), and
  • physician office visits (13%).

People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year, of which about $9,601is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.3 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

Diabetes Costs in Specific Populations

  • Most of the cost for diabetes care in the U.S., 66%, is provided by government insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the military). The rest is paid for by private insurance (60%) or by the uninsured (2%).
  • People with diabetes who do not have health insurance have 60% fewer physician office visits and are prescribed 52% fewer medications than people with insurance coverage—but they also have 168% more emergency department visits than people who have insurance.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among men than women ($10,060 vs. $9,110).
  • Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($8,050) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($10,470) and among non-Hispanic whites ($9,800).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, per capita hospital inpatient costs are 23% higher among non-Hispanic blacks and 29% lower among Hispanics. Non-Hispanic blacks also have 65% more emergency department visits than the population with diabetes as a whole.
  • Among states, California has the largest population with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $39.47 billion. Texas ($25.60 billion), Florida ($24.80 billion), and New York ($21.23 billion) round out the top four states in terms of total annual cost.

(2) American Diabetes Association

I can not imagine any caring individual wanting to burden their family with these problems, nor can I see anyone truly wanting to risk this for themselves. Yet, every time we indulge in unhealthy eating practices, we take a huge gamble that at some point this will be our lives and not just the life of the other guy. When you take your little girl down to the Dairy Queen on a hot summer day, it is inconceivable that anyone would want this for their sweet child, yet as a society, our children are being lead down this path every day when we feed them sugary foods that might taste really good but have zero nutritional value to man kind.

Friends reading this,know that if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life. Quit eating sugar, and or drinking alcohol. Get on a proven weight loss program through Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal, and commit yourself to not losing weight so much as just living a healthy life style. The weight loss will come if you make this commitment. Next, get your ass moving with some kind of exercise. Create a plan for exercise and stick to it. Create a long term goal with as many short term goals as you need to get to the long term one. Be specific in what you are going to do. Do not say I will walk more, or I will try to lose weight. That is too vague to be of any good. Say I will walk briskly 15 minutes a day, or I will walk briskly 2 miles per day 4 days a week. With weight loss, I will lose how ever many pounds you need to lose. Lets say 50 for the long term. But in the short term, break that down to 5 pound incremental short term goals and only concentrate on those until you get to your long term goal. Learn to make your world small in order to reduce stress which leads to binge eating. The less mental clutter in your life, the less stress you will have in order to fully commit yourself to a life style of health and wellness.