The earliest known written record that
likely referred to diabetes was in 1500 B.C in the Egyptian Ebers
papyrus. It referred to the symptoms of frequent urination.
for Preventing & Managing Diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes
mellitus (DM), or even pre-diabetes, don’t take it lightly. Follow
treatment plans and lifestyle recommendations. Left untreated, diabetes
can lead to many complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney
failure, and lower-extremity amputations. It’s the seventh leading cause
of death in the United States.
Basically, diabetes is a disease in which
the body experiences elevated levels of blood sugar (glucose) due to an
inability to either produce or use insulin. Most of the food we eat is
turned into glucose, which our body needs for energy. In response to the
rise in blood glucose, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, to
help move the glucose into our cells for an ongoing source of energy.
When you have diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin
(Type-1 DM) or can’t use its own insulin efficiently (Type-2 DM). This
causes glucose to build up in the blood, creating a potentially dangerous
Type-1 DM is a chronic health condition in
which the immune system ravages the insulin-producing cells of the
pancreas, causing a loss of the hormone insulin and affecting the way
glucose is metabolized. Because of the loss of insulin, the body cannot
move glucose from the blood into the cells where it is needed. Instead,
glucose levels run high in the blood causing system-wide damage. While
holistic health approaches can support the body, there is no cure;
life-long management REQUIRES insulin.
Type-2 DM develops from lifestyle choices.
A highly preventable disease, it was once most common in middle-aged and
older people. Today, it strikes an alarming number of young adults and
children. It’s directly related to poor eating and exercise habits, which
typically results in being overweight – a risk factor for Type-2 DM. In
this type of diabetes, your body produces insulin but does not recognize
and use it properly. If health is not restored through diet, lifestyle
changes, and holistic approaches, Type-2 DM can progress to a state in
which insulin is required.
Pre-diabetes is your warning sign, a
condition in which your blood glucose level is chronically above normal,
but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Type-2 DM. This is your chance
to stop the onset of diabetes in its tracks by improving your lifestyle
A few simple guidelines can help you
manage diabetes, and even prevent Type-2 DM.
fresh whole foods, drink plenty of water, increase dietary fiber and the
amount of dark fruits and veggies in your daily diet. Avoid processed
foods and added sugars.
30 minutes per day.
with a good multivitamin/mineral, EFA and B-vitamin complex.
with us to learn how to plan and prepare healthy meals.
your practitioner about food allergy testing.
your skin healthy (hydration and whole foods).
natural remedies such as herbal supplements, vitamins, detoxification,
and dietary adjustments under the supervision of a holistic physician.
medications or supplements as directed by your doctor.
particular care of your feet. Carefully monitor wounds, because many
people with DM experience poor circulation and neuropathy.
Food for Thought.
“Your imagination is your preview to
life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
Around the world, people enjoy the health
benefits of lentils, part of a group of proteins known as pulses, which
also includes beans, peas, chickpeas. Naturally gluten-free, lentils are
rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. They
help lower cholesterol and are a great addition to the diet especially
for people diagnosed with blood glucose disorders.
Prior to the use of pharmaceutical
medicines, lentils were used to treat diabetic conditions. When included
with a meal, the high fiber content helps prevent blood glucose from
rising rapidly after eating. Although calorie dense (230 cal/ one cup
serving), lentils are low in fat and very filling – you won’t be hungry
after a lentil meal!
You can find lentils in the bulk bin aisle
or in prepackaged containers. When purchasing in bulk, try to buy organic
and make sure there is no moisture in the bin or in the packaging. Look
for whole, not cracked lentils. Store them in an airtight container in a
cool, dark and dry place. They will keep up to a year. When buying canned
lentils, watch for added salt or other preservatives. Unlike other canned
veggies, lentils do not lose much of their nutritional potency.
Lentils are easy to prepare (no presoaking
required as with other dry beans). Wash and strain lentils under cool
water before cooking. You can boil lentils and store in the fridge for
later use in casseroles, soups, rice or pasta dishes, salads,
spreads/hummus, or soups. Cooked lentils stay fresh in the fridge in a
covered container for about three days.
Wild Salmon with
Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter (Saumon aux Lentilles)
In this entree, salmon’s strong flavor
gets a lemony-pop from mustard-herb butter. The French green lentils add
texture and flavor not found with brown lentils. Combined with tarragon,
leeks and chives, you have a robust healthy meal that looks pretty on
Makes 4 servings
For mustard-herb butter
Tbs unsalted butter, softened
Tbs chopped chives
tsp chopped tarragon
tsp grainy mustard
tsp fresh lemon juice
cup French green lentils
medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
Tbs unsalted butter
to 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
(6-ounce) fillets of skinless wild-caught salmon
Tbs unsalted butter
tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper mixed together
Make mustard-herb butter:
Stir together all ingredients with 1/4 tsp
each of salt and pepper.
Bring lentils, water, and 3/4 tsp salt to
a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer,
uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from
heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain
While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash
thoroughly. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over
medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid
to leeks along with 3 Tbs mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until
lentils are heated through and butter is melted. Add lemon juice and salt
and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.
Sauté salmon while leeks cook:
Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with salt and
pepper mixture; distribute evenly between fillets.
Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet
over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning
once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb
butter, over lentils.
Cook’s notes: Mustard-herb butter can be
made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften at room temperature before
using (1 hour)
Lentils can be cooked (but not drained) 1
day ahead and chilled in cooking liquid, covered (once cool).
against Diabetes: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Chromium & Vanadium
If you have diabetes, you know there are
multiple approaches to managing your health and improving how your body
uses insulin. Talk with your holistic physician about employing nature’s
own “triple threat” to diabetes – the supplements Alpha-lipoic
acid, chromium, and vanadium.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Within the body, Alpha-lipoic acid is
found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. People with
Type-2 diabetes take ALA supplements to help their body use insulin more
efficiently, as well as protect against cell damage and diabetic
neuropathy. Food sources include liver, lean red meat, spinach, broccoli,
Chromium helps cells make efficient use of
glucose. Without chromium, insulin’s action is blocked and glucose levels
increase. Chromium deficiency may be a factor in the number of Americans
who have diabetes. A chromium supplement can lower fasting blood glucose
levels, improve glucose tolerance, decrease insulin resistance, and
decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing
HDL-cholesterol levels. Food sources include meat, fish and fruits.
Vanadium supports the body’s use of
carbohydrates by improving how cells respond to insulin. Prior to the
discovery of insulin in 1922, vanadium was used to control blood glucose.
While modern conventional medicine does not recognize vanadium as an
essential element in diabetes treatment, available studies suggest that
the supplement does have a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
Holistic practitioners carefully monitor their patients who supplement
with vanadium. Food sources include mushrooms, shellfish, parsley, dill
weed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, and grain products.
Bitter Melon (Momordica
A cousin of watermelon, cucumber and
pumpkin, Bitter Melon is shaped like a cucumber, only larger with lighter
green and more gourd-like skin. In tropical cultures, where it’s
cultivated, bitter melon is used to support digestion because of its
ability to break down carbohydrates. When using for medicinal purposes,
the entire plant can be used, dried or fresh, from leaves and stems to
the actual juice.
Holistic physicians and researchers are
interested in Bitter Melon for its effect on blood glucose levels in
patients with diabetes mellitus. Chemicals in the extract act similar to
insulin. A number of studies have found that bitter melon juice, fruit
and dried powder have a moderate effect on lowering blood glucose. In
other studies, a “plant insulin” injection given to patients
with Type-1 diabetes showed a decrease in blood glucose. The decrease was
not as significant for patients with Type-2 diabetes, but there was a
decline in blood glucose levels compared to a control group. It seems
that source and type of preparation, as well as individual patient
factors, may play a role in the effect of bitter melon on diabetes, which
will inspire further research.
Blend bitter melon into various foods and
enjoy it several times a week when in season. Although considered
relatively safe, consult your holistic practitioner to determine the
appropriate type and amount to use for your particular needs. If you are
pregnant or nursing, only use the supplement under the care of a
Warm Feet, Cold
Feet: Health Benefits of Contrast Hydrotherapy
A contrast hydrotherapy foot bath (CHFB)
is an excellent way to strengthen your immune system, alleviate
congestion, soothe sore muscles, and improve circulation. It’s also
beneficial for individuals with diabetes, as they are prone to a foot
problem known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes unrelenting
burning, stabbing pains, numbness and aching in one or both feet.
Contrast hydrotherapy involves alternating
applications of cold and warm compresses or immersion in cold and warm
water for specified times. You’re probably familiar with using it for
muscle injuries such as a sprain. For individuals with diabetes, it can reduce
swelling and pain and improve blood flow circulation. Additionally, when
under medical observation, if a change in blood flow to the feet is not
achieved, it can signal an impairment in circulation that requires
further assessment. Adding Epsom Salts to the warm water may help
increase circulation and ease pain or discomfort.
Indulge in a Contrast Foot Bath:
two basins and keep them for your foot baths, each one large enough for
both feet and sufficient water to cover them.
up a pair of cozy socks and a supply of towels (water will splash when
you move from one basin to another).
one basin with ice water, and another with warm water. (Test water with
your hand to make sure it’s not too hot).
with the warm water, from 3-5 minutes.
switch to the cold water for 30 seconds to one minute.
the process about 3-5 times
end with the cold water.
dry legs and feet and put on warm socks.
for 20 minutes
Important: if you have inflammation or
open wounds on the legs or feet, varicose veins, thrombosis or phlebitis,
consult with your health practitioner before using a foot bath.