Thursday, January 17, 2013

The End of Diabetes: My Thoughts

Dr. Fuhrman (author of Danielle and my nutrition bible Eat to Live) has recently put out another book titled The End of Diabetes. I, of course, purchased it. I love Dr. Fuhrman's work as well as learning everything I can about how diet affects diabetes. The diet described in Dr. Fuhrman's new book is not far off from the one outlined in Eat to Live. As a type 1 diabetic, I was excited that Dr. Fuhrman included a small section in his book specifically addressing type 1 diabetes. With the alarming and ridiculous numbers of type 2 diabetes in America that are steadily on the rise, I can understand why most of the leading diabetic literature out there is geared toward type 2 diabetes, but this can be quite disheartening for the 5% of diabetics that are type 1.

  • Type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. Juvenile diabetes): The body does not produce insulin. The exact cause of this chronic illness is unknown, but it is widely thought to be an autoimmune disorder where a virus or some other infection triggers the body to mistakenly attack its own beta cells (that produce insulin). Type 1 diabetes is hereditary.
  • Type 2 diabetes: The body produces insulin, but it is secreted abnormally or is unable to be used correctly by the body. While genetics definitely play a role in type 2 diabetes, most cases are reversible by way of superior nutrition and exercise.

You might think that hearing "Your diabetes is reversible!" would be some of the most joyous words a diabetic could hear. If they are, why aren't more people searching for ways to overcome the disease? I can think of a few explanations. 1. They think it is too good to be true, their diabetes is heredity, and there is nothing they can do to control it. 2. They are simply uninformed or ignorant to the possibility. I can relate to this scenario. After being diagnosed at age 14, my parents and I were all so shocked that we just utilized the information given to us by doctors, nurses and diabetes educators. The news seemed so detrimental that the possibility of controlling my diabetes any other way seemed daunting and foolish. 3. Everyone wants the "magic pill" or "health in a bottle".
Great health takes great effort. You have to put the work in to be healthy. That is the bottom line.

Back to the book. Dr. Fuhrman presents a solid, evidence-based scientific case similar to his work in Eat to Live that first drew me in to his way of thinking. If you or someone you love has diabetes and would benefit from some cold hard facts that will change your perspective, The End of Diabetes is a must-read. Basically, Fuhrman reiterates the importance of beans in the diet as well as greens. Fill up on greens primarily, then beans, then fruit (up to 5 pieces a day), 1 to 2 ounces of raw nuts/seeds a day and 1 serving of a whole grain (intact) or starchy vegetable. This is just a template. Amounts of raw nuts and seeds, beans and starchy vegetables can be increased if you require more calories. Dr. Fuhrman talks about the importance of resistant starch, fiber and of course phytochemicals.
Some interesting highlights from The End of Diabetes:
  • It is best to soak your oats and eat them raw rather than cook them. This gives the maximum amount of resistant starch. Use old-fashioned, rolled or steel-cut but not quick oats.
  • Mushrooms are best cooked. They contain a mild toxin called agaritine that dissipates with even light cooking. It is unknown whether or not agaritine causes any adverse health issues, so to be safe, cooking is recommended.
  • Fat deficiency can cause a failure to thrive. It can derail weight loss as well as lead to high triglycerides.
  • Fuhrman introduces a new (to me) hormone called IGF-1 or Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reduced IGF-1 is associated with enhanced life span. For many people with diabetes, even a low amount of dietary animal protein can raise IGF-1. This is the main reason Fuhrman recommends no more than 6 ounces/week of animal protein.
I have been doing my best to follow Dr. Fuhrman's plan for a little less than 2 weeks now. When I say "doing my best" I do not mean that I have a cookie every now and then if I want. I mean that I am eating only the recommended foods, but sometimes due to convenience or being unprepared, my ratios are off. However, my fasting blood sugars have been improving with every morning and staying steady throughout the day. I am really excited about this, because I am always looking to decrease my need for insulin. I hope this post reaches at least one other person with diabetes and that they find it helpful. Thanks for reading!

You can purchase The End of Diabetes here.

- Bailey

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