Tag: diabetes

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.

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Halo Top Ice Cream Review

Out of 17 flavors of Halo Top, I have only tried two. Therefore in fairness, I concede there may be some better than others. I first heard about Halo Top products and how wonderful they are through a couple weight loss social media sites. Everything I have ever read about Halo Top from those trying to lose weight is that it is a wonderful product that is healthy as well. As with many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

I found the Chocolate flavor to be far superior in taste and texture over the Lemon Cake favor, but this is not saying much. The ice cream is quite dense and requires a little thawing before you can eat it, which is no big deal unless you are “hangry” when attacking a tub. I found it difficult to spoon out until it had set on the counter for a little while.

Once the ice cream had softened, I found it to be creamy enough. But if I am going to eat ice cream at all, I prefer the creaminess that can only come from a full fat ice cream. Just my opinion, but I find anything else to be lacking in substance and therefore not as enjoyable as a former ice cream connoisseur.

The taste was just alright, kind of mediocre in my book. But, taste is subjective to each individual. The ice cream tasted to me kind of like a fairly bland commercially available chocolate milk you find in any grocery store or convenience store refrigerator shelf. It was not horrible, but it was also nothing to write home about.

I love lemon flavor. I love lemon cake. When I saw this flavor, I just had to try it. I let it sit on the counter to let it soften a bit, and then dug into it with great expectations it would be a blissful flavor. Did I say I like lemon cake?

Hands down, this is the second worse ice cream I have ever consumed in my entire life. The only ice cream I eve enjoyed less, actually refused to eat more than a couple times at best was aboard my first ship in the Navy. That ice cream was made from a powdered mix that was prepared with the ships metallic and jet fuel tasting distilled water.

While the Lemon Cake Halo Top was not as repulsive as ship board ice cream aboard the USS Enterprise, it was still a huge disappointment for me. While I found the chocolate Halo Top to be a little too sweet for my taste, the Lemon Cake did not over power with a sweetness. In fact, I found this ice cream to be almost flavorless. I really could not taste any lemon, no vanilla, there was not much of anything in flavor at all. While it did not taste bad, there just was not much taste at all. It was just a weird flavorless ice cream that also had a strange texture to it. This ice cream was not very creamy, and it also had a bit of a grainy texture that I found odd. The grainy texture was likely caused by the guar gum that some ice cream manufactures are including in their ingredients in order to keep their product from settling too much in case it thaws a little before getting to the customer. Manufacturers are whipping more air into their products as a cost saving, profit enhancing method. The guar gum hides this effect. Guar gum acts as a stabilizer and is normally not a noticeable ingredient as it adds nothing to the flavor, nor does it pose any health risks. Just know that if your ice cream ever has an odd grainy texture, this is why.

Nutrition (Chocolate)

Total Calories per 1 pint container is 280 to 320 (depending on flavor)

Serves 4 ( lets be honest, who only eats a half cup)

Calories: 80 calories from fat: 25

Total fat: 2.5 grams

Saturated fat: 1.5 gram

Trans fat: 0

Cholesterol: 45 mg

Sodium: 110 mg

Total carbohydrates: 13 grams

Dietary fiber: 2 grams

Sugar: 6 grams

Sugar alcohol: 5 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Ingredients

Skim milk, eggs, erythritol, cream, organic cane sugar, milk protein concentrate, high fat cocoa, vegetable glycerin, prebiotic fiber, sea salt, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia leaf extract.

Summary

While I find nothing too much wrong with Halo Top’s ingredients, I will not eat any more of it simply because it contains cane sugar which as I have written extensively about is a huge contributor to our nations obesity epidemic along with all of the health related problems that come from consuming too much of it. The protein content is only 1 gram more than you would get from a serving of Blue Bell ice cream that has 4 grams. Using this low protein amount as a selling point would only appeal to those who might not be nutritionally aware that is an insignificant amount over what you might find in any other ice cream product in your grocery store freezer.

Halo Top is very popular among the Weight Watchers crowd as many think it is a healthier alternative to other ice creams. News flash, it is not any healthier than any other low fat ice cream you can buy. But the others rarely place the calorie content on their labels in such bold lettering. There are better quality products available to you if you take the time to seek them out.

If you are on a weight loss journey, you should really consider skipping this ice cream because the sugar content is going to not allow your cravings for carbohydrates to go away. The sugar in Halo Top is still going to have an impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels as any other ice cream will. The only exception is the fiber component in Halo Top might, (MIGHT) mitigate some of the effects on your blood sugar and insulin. However, this is going to depend largely on your personal discipline to only consume one serving, which is 1/4th of the pint.

Let’s be honest, if you are trying to satisfy a sweet tooth, are you only going to eat 1/4th of the container? Or, are you going to eat from the container and then find yourself just eating a little more, and a little more, as you keep eating the soft stuff around the edges? If we are being truthful to ourselves, odds are that if you are over weight or obese, you likely do not have the personal discipline to just eat the manufacturers recommended serving amount. If you did, you would not have a weight problem in the first place and the need for a healthier ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings would be a moot point.

Beware of Halo Tops marketing gimmick of advertising that their is 20 grams of protein and only 280 to 320 calories per container. This implies that one container is one serving, while the nutrition label clearly states the container is supposed to be 4 servings. If you are on a weight loss journey, you are treading on thin ice by still eating the crap that got you into trouble in the first place, even if the label promotes the product as being healthier.

If you want to still eat sweet treats that are delicious while being sugar free, and diabetic friendly, then go to our recipes menu, then select the subcategory of sweet dessert recipes and then choose any of the sub-categories under that for cakes, cookies, pies and more. We at David’s Way believe that a sweet treat on occasion is perfectly fine as long as it does not derail you from your weight loss efforts. Our recipes, when followed to the letter will fill that bill for you.

Heart Health and Insulin

Often, when we think of heart issues we never consider insulin and it’s role in heart health. Usually, when we think of insulin the first thing that comes to mind is diabetes. And here in lies a huge problem, most people who are over weight or obese will not think of themselves as having a true health issue with their weight when they have not developed diabetes. This thinking is foolhardy and comes from a lack of knowledge. Besides the effect on your body with insulin and whether you have diabetes or not, the powerful role insulin plays in your body has great effects that can lead to high blood pressure, risk-related blood fat levels, weight gain, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease in a great number of overweight or obese individuals who have never been diagnosed as being diabetic.

Insulin and Glucagon must be in balance!

In a healthy body, insulin does not like to be used up. It has been referred to as the “Saver Hormone”  This miserly nature of insulin is no easy task when you consider how some of us eat and live sedentary lifestyles. Insulin must meet multiple demands by the body such as appeals for energy to enable muscles to maintain their health and viability, to fuel our nervous system, and to keep our organs under constant repair to keep our body’s ability to function normally. Insulin will try to make your body store it’s energy stores, by converting carbohydrates into fat which is then stored inside of your cells, it must give up some of it’s food energy in order to get us through our basic daily living functions.

The second part of this equation which must be kept in balance with insulin is glucagon, or what is referred to as your body’s “Spending Hormone”. Most of us have heard of insulin, but I would guess that many, if not most of you, have never heard of glucagon. The balance between these two are just as insulin directs food energy into our cells, glucagon is what brings it back out of the cells in order to repair and fuel your body in between meals. This balance must be maintained and crappy dietary habits makes this task difficult.

A bad diet that does not meet all of our nutritional needs will quite obviously throw our hormonal balance out of whack. Although, as evident by the rampant obesity in our society, many will destroy their own health when there is a better choice to be made in living healthy with a good clean diet. It does not have to be this way, but many will still choose the lame way out with a diet of junk and fast foods and place their hormonal balance into a tail spin and then complain they cannot lose their weight.

If you choose to make good dietary habits a lifestyle that keeps your hormonal balance on an even keel, insulin and glucagon fully compliment each other and maintain a perfect harmony. Making this harmony occur is fully within your control, it will make you feel so much better. As insulin rises, it makes you want to eat, it helps with fueling your body. What energy is not used gets put away into your fat cells. Later, as your insulin levels fall off, glucagon begins to rise. The glucagon opens the fat cells up and the energy that is released is burned to keep your body running efficiently, as it was designed to do. After a period,  insulin once again begins to rise and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This natural balance is 100% within our control when we make the personal choice to make it so. Do not sell yourself short, ever!

When you make the lame choice for yourself to eat bad every day of your life, no matter your excuses, you are going to put this hormonal balance between insulin and glucagon out of kilter. The reasons why you eat a poor diet are not relevant to this reality. When you manage to get your hormonal balance off, there becomes a battle between the hormones that will put your heart health, or even your life at risk.

Although insulin and glucagon are to be in balance for good health, insulin is a more powerful hormone than it’s counterpart. Insulin will completely take over if you let it. When insulin is released into your blood, glucagon takes a submissive role and diminishes significantly. Glucagon will only rise back up once the insulin levels begin to fall again.

When you subsist on sweet treats and foods with added sugars, you insulin levels will always remain high! You do have control over what you eat! No excuse is going to fix your health. period.

Insulin’s dominance over glucagon is not all bad. In pre-historic times, when our ancestors had a surplus of food, insulin was needed in order to channel as much of the food in the fat cells as possible. Unlike us in the modern world, our ancestors did not always know where their next meal was coming from. And to make matters worse, their foods were not anywhere near as energy rich as our foods of today. Our ancestors had to fatten themselves up because they did not always know where or when their next meal would be coming to them. Insulin would get our ancestors to eat as much as they could so they could get the most out of the foods they were able to consume.

We no longer live in those times folks. Food is now abundant!

Now, on the other hand for our ancestors, food was not always available. In fact, famine can still be rampant in different parts of the world today. When our body requires energy, glucagon opens the fat cells and brings out the energy that has been stored. This energy fuels our muscles, brain and other organs to go out and get more nourishment. For our ancestors, when food was not readily available, insulin’s fat storing ability was not required. Our ancestors were not fat for the most part.

In days past, insulin kept us alive. In our modern world today where we might gorge and junk foods that keep our insulin levels high, this can actually kill us over time or even rapidly. 

Currently, we still have to keep our hormones in balance and we can do this through good dietary habits and exercise. However, many choose to eat bad food choices and to live sedentary lifestyles which causes a tug of war between insulin and glucagon. Insulin is usually winning this battle as we can see by all of the overweight or obese people that surround us. We can make a choice to control the outcome of our health we can choose to live a healthy life. Or we can sell ourselves short and not eat healthy, nor exercise. This can make the difference between a long and healthy life or one plagued by heart problems or cut short by heart disease.

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.

Metabolic Syndrome, The Hard Truth

As the years of our lives pass, it gets easier and easier to become a little over-weight, obese, or even morbidly obese. It may seem that just a few short years ago you were the high school star athlete or cheer leader. You were in top physical condition and a fine specimen to look at.

Then came the responsibilities of life, where you are raising a family and sometimes, no matter how hard you work, keeping the bills paid becomes a stressful focus. Sally has dance lessons, Johnny has his trumpet lessons, while the baby has colic and her constant crying is allowing no peace for anyone in the house.

Yesterday you were the picture of perfect health and fitness, today you look and feel like a busted can of biscuits. Your gut is hanging over your belt, unless you wear those stretchy pants where a belt is not required. You quit tucking in your shirts to hide said gut and you have also begun coordinating your clothing in order to not appear as fat as you have become. And yes, guys can be just as bad about this as the ladies. Well, guess what? You are not fooling anyone. If you are fat, you look fat no matter how you dress. But more importantly than your physical appearance, your health is what matters. Face it, if you continue your path to obesity with poor nutritional habits, your ability to care for your family and even yourself is going to become more difficult over time. You may find yourself making a choice between paying a utility bill this month or a co-pay at the doctors office in order for you to be seen for a condition that is 100% related to your poor dietary choices.

Metabolic Syndrome

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

In short, you are fat, out of shape and no longer a healthy individual.

Or for a longer explanation, you have a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (1)

The term Metabolic Syndrome is a medical diagnosis. What you do about this diagnosis is going to be a matter of personal choice. You can choose to continue with your poor nutritional habits of convenience foods that are packed full of simple sugars, high in fat, sodium and preservatives. This weak choice is going to lead to taking out the time for more doctor visits with blood labs possible each time, along with having to take medications to control the issues you suffer from. Unnecessary money and time being expended away from the larger responsibility of your family and home.

Your other choice is to take personal responsibility for your health and to be proactive in doing something about it. If you are smart, you will clean up your diet and replace processed foods with healthy whole foods. You will eliminate simple sugar from your diet, and you will begin some form of exercise with your doctors approval. By cleaning up your dietary habits, your blood labs will normalize. By quitting refined sugar and other simple carbohydrates, your cravings for foods that contain them will subside. If you think eating healthy foods is too expensive, consider the reduction of monthly expenses when you no longer need to see your doctor regular and all of those monthly prescription refills you may have for blood pressure drug, statins, acid reflux etc… With the cost of medcal care today, you could likely pay for at least a weeks worth of groceries with the medical expense savings alone.

Is exercise necessary to become healthy? What if I am in a condition where my ability to do so has become impaired?

Well. if you either cannot, or simply do not want to exercise, then you had damn well better be much stricter about your diet. That is a simple and plain hard truth my friends. This point is not even arguable on any level. Here is another truth, if you can move your body in any fashion, then you can begin doing something, anything to become more mobile. Even if you cannot walk, you can still do arm. abdominal and back exercises. If you are still capable of walking, then you can do the following:

  1. Walk briskly. Or, briskly for you.
  2. Put on some music and move your body with dance, Move your body around, shift your weight from one leg to another, lift your arms to the beat of the music. Look like a young child again, have fun with it.
  3. If you cannot jump rope, make believe you are by skipping in place.
  4. Get up and down from your chair 50 to 100 times.
  5. If you have stairs in your home, then walk up and down them several times per day.
  6. Try doing jumping jacks.
  7. Hop in a circle around a room in your home. Get your kids involved, the young ones will have a blast. Try hopping on one foot at a time for 30 second intervals.
  8. Rise up and down on your toes to work your calves.
  9. Stand on one leg and hold onto a chair or a wall for balance. Extend your free leg in front of you so the heel stretches out about 12 inches in front of your standing leg. Now bend your standing leg knee so you lower your body about 6 inches, and then come back up. Do this 25 times and then switch legs.
  10. Jog in place, picking your knees up higher each time and also extending the time you do this.
  11. You can pick and choose any of these simple exercises and do them as you watch television and your program is interupted by a commercial.

Now of course if you are overweight and in poor condition, fatigue and soreness are going to be a limiting factor. But, these factors are only short term in nature. The objective is for you to work your way up with increased exercise. You may not be capable of running in a marathon next month, but you may find yourself at least able to walk in a 5k event. You can walk, do a few flights of stairs until you are fatigued. Take a rest and go at it again after a few hours. Build on the amount of time you can do this until you can go for a solid hour. The more out of shape you are, the more important it will be for you to exercise in short periods on a frequent basis. If you can only go at it for 5 minutes at a time, then plan your day to dedicate six five minute time frames to do your exercise. No excuses, just choose to plan and then commit. If you make regular exercise a habit, before you know it, you will find yourself far exceeding your original capabilities.

You can burn calories and fat with a variety of cardiovascular exercises, but if you want more bang for the buck, you must consider some form of strength training in order to increase your lean muscle mass. Some people will complain that they can not lose weight even when they have cut back on their food intake. Usually the problem is they are still consuming too many calories for their basal metabolic rate, still eating sugar and have very little lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the easier it is going to be for you to burn body fat. The way to address this is to go to our Calorie Calculator in our menu to find out your caloric needs and then consume a sugar free diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, along with performing strength building exercises. Your body needs the protein to not only maintain your lean muscle mass, but more importantly to increase it. As your body fat percentage comes down, you also need for your lean muscle mass percentage to rise. At David’s Way, we actually support working towards a healthy body fat percentage over a random number you might want to see on your bathroom scale.

Invariably, people who complain that their metabolic rate is slow and they have trouble losing weight no matter what they consume week to week have weak muscles and are poorly conditioned. When you perform strength building exercises, you are going to increase the density of your lean muscle mass which is going to raise your metabolism. Increasing your lean muscle mass can be done by anyone who makes the choice to do so. If you want to be healthy, this is imperative. This is why we encourage achieving a healthy body fat percentage over a number on the scale. You might lose 50 to 100 pounds, be thin and yet be what is referred to as “Skinny fat”. Your weight means little if your body fat percentage is still at an unhealthy level. If you are thin and also soft to the touch, then you are no healthier than you were when you were much heavier. You are only thinner, do not fool yourself that being able to wear smaller clothing now means you are in decent shape. Skinny fat is still bad for you.

Many, if not most who go about losing weight, lose lean muscle along with body fat. If you do not maintain what you have or build upon it, you can regain all of the weight you have lost and now have a higher body fat percentage than you had before losing weight. This is going to be detrimental to your metabolism. If you are a yo-yo dieter who does not build muscle too, then your metabolism is going to slow more and more with each weight gain. Exercise is going to facilitate your weight loss and make you healthier. Vigorous exercise is even better. Build up to it gradually, You have the rest of your life if you have made a decision to be healthy for the remainder of your life. Start slow and build yourself up, do not injure yourself. If you have the fortitude to begin living a healthy life, you will find the will to eat healthy and exercise.

Metabolic Syndrome may be a medical diagnosis, or maybe it is actually a politically correct and polite way of saying you are fat and out of shape. Either way, you can do something about it. And what you do, does not have to require expensive doctors visits and medications. If you make an intelligent choice, you will clean up your diet and begin an exercise regimen right away. This truly is a matter of personal choices and then sticking with it. You are likely to have a few saboteurs along the way who will try to derail you by getting you to “just eat a little cake” or what ever. People who will tell you how good you have done and then pester you to join them in poor food choices. When you stick to your decision to only eat healthy and remain committed to making time for exercise, some of the people close to you may get angry when you do not join them in unhealthy habits. Bear in mind, if these kind hearted folks really care about your health and well being, they will not try to sabotage you. Misery loves company and unhealthy people will try to drag you down to their level. Sometimes, being around a crowd that eats a lot of unhealthy foods and do not exercise is like finding yourself in a bucket full of crabs. Where the harder you try to climb out, the harder they are going to try to pull you back in. Do yourself a favor and avoid the crabs.

Life and how we live it is truly a matter of personal choices. Choose wisely, you only have one body and one life.

(1) www.MayoClinic.org

Diabetes, Obesity and Life Choices

In America, in this modern world where we have all the information in the world contained within the phone held in our hand, we as a nation have become nutritionally ignorant. It is now the norm for American citizens to be overweight and almost all adults will eventually have to take prescribed medications for heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, or blood pressure. Today, the number of obese Americans actually outnumber those who smoke, use illegal drugs, or suffer from other ailments.

Here is a hard truth for you, obesity is a personal choice made by the individual. We choose what we consume. We choose to eat high carbohydrate foods full of sugar and preservatives. We choose fast foods of convenience rather than preparing a healthy meal at home. We choose to mindlessly eat in front of the television over sitting as a family at the dining room table. The choices we make with food creates diseases and fuels out of control medical costs. This is a scientific fact that can not be argued with any intelligence. Are you aware that even just being five extra pounds of body fat on a normal size body frame can lead to type 2 diabetes? Sadly, diabetes is now beginning to explode worldwide as populations in all corners of the globe are now being exposed to processed foods in the worlds food supply,

Around the world, most physicians are attempting to solve obesity related ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood pressure with medications and invasive medical procedures. The absurdity of this is, these maladies come from the choices we make with food. It is a fact that people who choose to eat healthy and exercise in order to keep their body fat down to healthy levels almost never get diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or the related ailments that come from these conditions. If you make the choice to eat healthy and exercise your body, you are much more likely to live a healthy life, physically, mentally and financially. Diabetes and obesity is taking a huge financial toll on America. Our choices to eat food products that are high in calories and low in nutrition may eventually bankrupt us as a nation. The average type 2 diabetic incurs about $6,650 a year in health care expenses directly related to diabetes. More than half of Americans can expect to be diabetic or prediabetic by the year 2020 which is soon to be here. Oddly, a lot of folks, despite their poor nutrition habits and obesity are totally unaware that they are either prediabetic or have it fully.

With our poor choices of nutrition, eating what is quick, cheap and makes us feel good, we as a nation are eating ourselves into premature graves. Our lack of good nutritional habits are at the core of our health care crisis If you or someone you love is obese and or diabetic these medical complications can and should be expected if you never take the initiative to clean up your diet and to begin exercising your body:

  • Heart disease-Death from heart disease and risk for stroke is three times higher for diabetics.
  • High blood pressure-75% of diabetics have high blood pressure (130/180 or higher)
  • Blindness-Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
  • Kidney disease-Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Nervous system disease-The majority of diabetics develop nervous system impairment such as reduced feeling in the feet, impaired digestion, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Amputations-Diabetes is the leading cause of limb amputations.
  • Cancer-Diabetes increases the risk of cancer, including a 30% increase in colorectal cancer.

If you are obese and are neither diabetic or prediabetic, do not get a false sense of confidence that you can continue to live with an unhealthy diet. You really are not any safer from health risks than the diabetic and here is why. If you are significantly overweight, with an excess of fifty pounds of body fat, your body is going to require huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, up to ten times more that of people of a healthy body fat percentage. Some folks have a large pancreas beta cell capacity, so they can produce insulin levels high enough to not become diabetic. These people have insulin levels high enough to be a strong predictor of heart attack risk and a shorter life span. Whether obese folks are diabetic or not, their high insulin levels are dangerous. You physician can better predict a heart attack from your insulin levels than they can from your cholesterol levels. It is not uncommon for people to end up on a gurney in a hospital emergency room fighting for their very life as a result of a heart attack when they learn their blood sugar levels are elevated. These heart attack victims never had any idea they were diabetic as their first indication came from a heart attack as a result of having high insulin levels for far too many years.

Every day you can begin the day by making the personal choice to live healthy by consuming a diet that is conducive to low body fat levels and by beginning some form of exercise with your doctor’s approval. You can make this choice. Choosing a healthy life may seem difficult at first, but it will become easier as you develop a new and improved lifestyle.

You can also wake up and make the choice to eat poorly and to not move your body except to get your butt up off the couch to waddle into the kitchen for another jelly donut. You can make the choice to live easy in the moment, but here is a dose of reality for you. This choice to live easy in the moment is going to cost you dearly later in life when you suffer the hardships which arise from unhealthy life habits.

It is your life and your choice to make in how you are going to live it. Choose your path intelligently. If you choose to take the path of least resistance, be prepared for the hardships which are sure to come. Choose wisely.

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.