For a few years I coasted along, only checking my blood glucose levels twice a year at a doctor visit.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past September, I had a near brush with death when I allowed my glucose levels to reach well over 600 and was a walking time bomb. As luck would have it, my excellent health care physician caught it in time for some hospital care, and in no time was back on my feet. That was a turning point for me, in that I discovered my pancreas had not been producing enough insulin to naturally regulate my blood sugar. The upshot was that I had to start taking insulin injections every night. I went on a crash course to refine my diet. It was back to a strict regimen, checking my blood glucose levels three times a day.
|image from Healthy Diet Advisor|
I decided to do a lot of research and consult with experts, nutritionists and of course my own doctor. The obvious and most critical points for people with type two diabetes are to moderate the amount of food per meal, avoid anything white (rice, pasta, bread, sugar), eat a balance of lean protein, lots of green vegetables and a small portion of a complex carbohydrate. Skip desserts and sweets, or just limit to a small bite, when you have a meal to help absorb it. Portion control is a key factor, and of course, limit alcohol consumption.
The other big learning along the way was about the importance of the gut, and how by increasing your fiber intake can have a huge overall health benefit. There are numerous studies and articles out there about this topic. The general topic of probiotics and prebiotics is more widely discussed, and there is no shortage of products on the market to help add healthy bacteria to your digestive system. What few people talk about however is the importance of eating more fiber and vegetables. As it turns out fiber is extremely important not only for digestion but to help improve your overall health and well being.
|image from Care 2|
I've learned that I can make a big difference in my own health, and also in controlling my own diabetes by eating more fiber in my diet in conjunction with the other factors I mentioned. Taking a probiotic supplement or eating yogurt is fine, but that alone isn't enough unless your gut has been continually "fed" fibers to help maintain the presence of the good gut bacteria. In fact I take a probiotic called Trinity by Natren that is refrigerated so the bacteria strains stay alive and are actually useful to the gut. (Don't waste your money on those probiotics that are sitting on some shelf in a store at room temperature, the good bacteria often dies off when exposed to heat and is useless by the time you buy it). I think probiotic supplements are great but I know that I also need to increase my fiber intake to truly benefit my health.
|My kids "Miss Ellie" and "Mr Sheldon"|
Some day I'll write about some of the interesting new research about keeping pets healthy, but for now I wanted to share my own new year's commitment about staying healthy and managing my diabetes. If you are diabetic, take responsibility for your own health. Ask your doctor lots of questions and take control of your diet and exercise. If you are lucky enough not to have any health issues now, you can still make a big difference in your life my eating more fiber along with a healthy diet. One day I'll write about all that in greater detail. Here is to your health!