For millions of Americans, a diagnosis of diabetes is not an abstract thing; it is something you are already dealing with. For millions more who have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, a diagnosis looms on the horizon. With any health problem, there is always hope, and there are always actions you can take to improve your situation, your health, and your life. Everyone must make their own choices about how they will handle a diagnosis, but if I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there are a few things I would try before surrendering control of my situation or giving up on better health.
First, it is always important to listen to your doctor. But don’t just listen, work with your doctor. He or she understands your situation better than anyone else, and his or her knowledge is a valuable resource. The steps I would take that are outlined below would likely be met with little suspicion, and might even be encouraged by your doctor. We are simply taking sensible steps to improve our health. If he or she insists on you beginning drugs for diabetes, I would take their advice, hoping that the steps I was now committing to would render those drugs unnecessary in a very short amount of time; I would ask my doctor to help me get off of those drugs forever.
First, I would immediately change my diet. I would eliminate anything with added sugar, but I would go one step further to cut simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and potatoes. My rule of thumb would be, anything with wheat, corn, or sugar is off the table. The Kaufmann Diet is a good outline for how to cut simple carbohydrates and sugar. Even foods like beans and the sweeter varieties of fruits would get cut initially, even though they’re high in healthy fiber.
I would instead focus my diet on lean, fresh cuts of protein, like grass-fed beef, bison, or lamb; wild caught fish (especially salmon); pastured chicken or turkey; and pastured eggs. I would try to avoid processed meats. I would pile on the vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts; I would also add in the leafy veggies like spinach, kale, and romaine. Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, olives, and nuts like walnuts would be on the menu too, the abundance of fiber in the avocado and the walnuts being an added benefit. Fruits like berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons, limes, and grapefruit––the less sweet varieties of fruits––would definitely be in the fridge. I would pile on the fresh herbs and spices for flavor and for their myriad of health benefits. I would round this all out with some limited dairy, like heavy cream or cream cheese, in moderation, just for the flavor. I’d wash it all down with filtered water, and nothing else for a while.
Next, I would start exercising regularly (with my doctor’s clearance). If I was sedentary, I would start walking slowly, just for 30 minutes a day, in 15 minute intervals if I needed to. I would work up to being able to walk for a full 30 minutes every day and then continue to up the intensity as my endurance improved. Exercise is known to increase the sensitivity of our cells to insulin, and as little as 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is all that is needed to glean the benefits.
These steps alone will likely improve a lot of my health metrics, like blood sugar and blood pressure levels while improving my cardiovascular health, all in a reasonable amount of time. These would also facilitate weight loss, which is good for my situation; weight gain is both a side effect and a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
I would also begin a supplement regimen. Fish oil (3 grams per day) and probiotics are a good place to start––most doctors would likely agree with these two in particular, however it is important to alert your doctor before beginning any sort of supplement as they may interact with medicines you are taking. Fish oil has cardiovascular benefits and is highly anti-inflammatory, while probiotics promote the health of the gut and assist with everything from immunity to digestion to many other roles in the body. Additionally, I would look at adding a rotating anti-fungal supplement, such as oregano oil, caprylic acid, olive leaf extract, or aged garlic supplements. Supplemental cinnamon might be good in this scenario, as it has shown some benefit for blood sugar levels. And, I would talk to my doctor about chromium picolinate supplements.
Finally, I’d structure my lifestyle around getting good, regular sleep and reducing stress. I’d take inventory of the important things in my life like family, friends, and I would focus on cultivating things that I enjoy. Mental health is an often overlooked aspect of health, and there is research indicating that when mental health is neglected, we physically suffer.
I would try sticking to this program as closely as possible––while not beating myself up if I slip up––for 4 to 6 weeks. I would test my blood sugar regularly, and keep notes to show my doctor. I would trust that all this work was going to send my diabetes into remission, and I would wait for my lab reports to see the proof of my hard work.
Type 2 diabetes is known as a lifestyle disease; but if lifestyle causes it, the thought is that it can reverse it too. If you are struggling with diabetes or another diesease please check out our available cookbooks and literature on The Fungus Link.
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