Part 7—What are some reasons why these methods worked…

My Mother’s Journey of Healing From Diabetes

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional of any sort—I just wanted my momma to live longer and what I write shows how desperate I was to figure it out so we could make good choices.

During my learning phase, after my mom came to live with us, I discovered that insulin (necessary to break down sugar) needed to hold hands with the cell wall in a very specific place. This same place is where the cell wall also held extra fat. If insulin could not hold hands with the cell wall because fat was in the way, it could not break down sugar and thus sugar roamed freely in the blood, causing damage in all sorts of places, like capillaries in the feet and the eyes leading to the conditions diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy.

The extra fat she carried created a medical crisis for my mother. With a reduction in her weight we hoped her body would process sugar with the insulin it made naturally instead of needing injectable insulin.

I figured this out because I learned that people with type 2 diabetes produce enough insulin, but the insulin produced is not used correctly by the body because of two reasons—extra fat and lack of exercise which reduced blood circulation.

Even the five minutes per day she walked made a drastic difference because she went from a sedentary lifestyle to a mobile one. Of course we had to daily care for her diabetic sore on her foot or the walking would make it worse.

The above description is my simplified version of the bio-chemistry. I understood a lot of what I read because I took bio-chemistry courses in graduate school. But really—if using non-technical terms allows us to understand concepts these simple terms are good.

With the walking underway, we addressed the diet. And that meant the artificial sweeteners. It’s standard belief among dietitians that chemicals like Nutrasweet, Splenda, Aspartame, and Saccharine are fine for diabetics because they are not broken down by the body and thus although they taste sweet to the tongue, they don’t need insulin. Well—Not So Much! What these artificial sweeteners do instead is cause the body to crave more sweets and that causes what I call the “insulin response.” When the body thinks it will get sugar because the taste buds in the mouth taste sweet the body releases insulin. This insulin flows into the blood stream looking for sugar to break down. When the body does not find any new sugar to break down, it begins breaking down what sugar it can find, resulting in sugar depletion and tiredness.

I watched my mother experience this phenomenon where she would eat sugar substitutes and then thirty minutes later feel tired. Her diabetes was severe enough she would actually experience down time where she would stare off into space.

That is why we got rid of all artificial sweeteners. Believe me, it was hard on both of us.

As to high protein and lower carb diets—these worked for my mother. Protein makes you full longer. The carbohydrates we did include in her diet were those which took longer to digest and break down, like broccoli and green beans. That meant we eliminated from her diet the following foods: potatoes, all breads except sprouted Ezekiel bread (which is more of a vegetable than a simple starch), most rice, and other simple starches like corn or green peas.

I always thought that a diabetic got the disease from eating candy bars, cake, milk-shakes, sweet sodas, and the like. What I discovered was that any kind of simple starchy food can cause the body to have an almost instant overload of simple sugars requiring lots of insulin to break them down and this causes a swing up and then down of blood sugar. Because protein and low carbohydrate vegetables don’t need as much insulin for breakdown, the blood sugar is more stable.

Complex thoughts to be sure, but these were some of the reasons we cut so many foods from mom’s diet.

What we added to the diet were foods which were rich in anti-oxidants like green tea, and berries (in limited diabetic prescribed amounts). We also tried to eliminate processed foods which have limited nutrition, but lots of bad extras that make the body work hard to process such as preservatives, extra salt, MSG, and trans-fats. Processed foods also are addictive and make you want more than you need.

Since I designed the diet for my mother, GMO foods have become more prevalent and the research I’m acquainted with show these foods very bad for the human body.

Throughout this learning I became an avid label reader. I don’t trust the word “Natural” in most labels because it’s not a regulated word. But I do trust USDA Organic.

As the weight came off, the need for medication came down. Frequently a doctor visit would result in a little less injectable insulin needed, and brought reductions in blood pressure medications, and in her need for diuretics (drugs to remove water bloating).

Of course it took time. She lost less than two pounds per week for over a three-year time period. I know—I charted the weight loss.

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