Type 2 diabetes is really sneaky. It creeps up in little bits.The desire to consume more and more sugar is very gradual. It was the summer of 1999, a hot one. My husband was thirsty, very thirsty, drinking mostly soda. Too much, I thought. He thought it was ok. At 43 years of age he thought he was invincible. He did not understand how what he ate could harm him. Sitting at the computer all day for work did not offer much exercise. Ice cream for desert, Candy while watching TV, pizza, pasta, and potatoes, extra servings, he just did not seem to get satisfied with regular meals. I said “you are eating too much sugar.” He did not think so. On the way home one evening we stopped for coffee. I put 2 sugars in my coffee. He put 16 in his. That was when I knew something was really terribly wrong. He did not want to accept that he was a sugar addict, and then reality hit him. His life long sugar addiction finally caught up with him like a runaway freight train on a downhill pass.
He kept going to the bathroom to urinate. He got a terrible headaches, he started having gum problems, and was extremely fatigued and depressed. At that point he agreed to go to the doctor. The doctor said. .”Looks like your sugar is high cut back on the soda see me in two weeks”, my husband quite wisely then asked for a prescription for a blood sugar tester, (a blood glucose meter). The doctor ordered an A1C blood test. In 1999 diabetes had not reached the epidemic proportions it has these days. The results of the A1Cshowed he had a blood sugar level of about 500 over an extended period of time, Not Good. In fact down right dangerous. Keeping record of his daily numbers for those two weeks we saw them come down continually. The doctor said “keep doing what you are doing and maybe you won’t need medication, see me in two weeks.” So began our quest for knowledge about diabetes and the different ways it could be handled. Diabetes was with us for life.
Fast forward to present day. He is 75 pounds lighter. His last A1C tested within the normal range, without medication. At age 57 his overall health and fitness is better than ever .How was this accomplished? It took perseverance, patience and trial and error. The thing to remember is everyone is different. and your strategy has to be developed individual and personal. Certain foods might effect your blood sugar more than others. It takes hard work. Keep records, a diary, or even a blog, so you can track your progress.
It’s about lifestyle, a comprehensive whole person change. Food knowledge will give you power. Giving up sugar in its refined form is essential. Processed foods are suspect, check ALL labels; sometimes even frozen vegetables have added sugar! There is no cheating because it will affect you and be obvious on your A1C and glucose meter.
We went to a nutritionist and got practical advice.See:( http://www.webmd.com) He recommended Bitter Melon for help to stabilize blood sugar levels. (http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/the-best-herbs-and-supplements-for-diabetes/) Make ALL calories and carbs count for your wellness. Lean meat, almond meal, kefir, flax, plenty of cruciferous and other vegetables, salads (watch out for sugar in salad dressings) beans, berries and nuts are all big parts of his diet (he NEVER used to eat vegetables). Lemon water is his beverage of choice. Wheat products were ruled out as it made his numbers soar. Some diabetics can tolerate wheat rice, and oats but he cannot.
He has created his own versions of deserts using Stevia and Lohan. (Both are available on Amazon.com and many local stores). He makes a great almond meal crust pie, lemon meringue, and chocolate meringue pie, (I have included a picture of the latest pie) even ice cream! I think he should write his own cookbook! If you are a big pasta fan, there is mung bean and black bean pasta. Olive oil and Coconut oil have replaced butter. Garlic is a beloved spice that can be freely indulged in. We grow our own basil so pesto is also a staple. Explore the world of spices. Your taste buds will come alive with a new, vibrant excitement. Sugar and fat are not needed for a delightful culinary experience.
Your metabolism needs movement to function efficiently. He found what worked best for him was to exercise at least 3 times a week for 45 minutes. In the last 14 years we have gone through one exercise bike and 3 treadmills. Our dog even has used it. Walking outside in the air and sunshine is low impact and truly enjoyable.
Find what works for you and do it! If it is your partner that has been stricken, be supportive of the changes to lifestyle and habits. The new way for everyone.f eating needs to be continually maintained and fully embraced. Consistency is essential. Spiritual serenity prayer, meditation, yoga practices help with stress reduction and maintain a peace and calmness that lends itself to a healthy and peaceful life and stable blood sugar levels.
I know these changes have benefited our entire family. It’s not easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Keep positive and hope for the future. I am proud of my husband and his dedication and perseverance to achieve his new state of being. He is truly inspirational and has helped others on this same path. You too can choose to escape from “Sugar-land” and be well starting right now!