Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

6 Steps to a Real Food Diabetes Diet {GUEST POST}

August 24th, 2011 · 65 Comments · Science of Nutrition, Special Situations

There are now 25.8 million people in the United States alone who have diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. This number does not include the countless people who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, gestational diabetes, or the many who live with the symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed.

Diabetes is becoming a household norm in our country and as the numbers continue to rise, the results will continue to be devastating…unless we become educated about what really causes many cases of this disease and how it can be managed effectively or even reversed.

roasted winter vegetables (7)

This is a guest post from Brandy of Living Water Health and Wellness.

My family and I know personally how diabetes can affect the person diagnosed as well as those around them. And I also know that if empowered with the RIGHT information regarding food, exercise, and lifestyle, it is completely and totally possible to live an abundantly healthy life!

My Story: The Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile Onset) diabetes when I was only 2 years old. Now that I am the mother of two young boys, I cannot imagine what must have been going through my parents’ minds when they received that news. At that time (1984), diabetes was not the norm, and the only thing my mom and dad knew of the disease involved kidney failure, amputation, and premature death, so to see their baby girl lying in a hospital bed with what they believed to be a guarantee of lifelong complications was nothing short of traumatizing.

Thankfully, we were referred to a wonderful endocrinologist who was ahead of his time in the treatment of diabetes. He helped restore me back to health, taught my parents how to cope with and manage my blood sugars and injections, and showed them that a diabetes diagnosis was not simply an early death sentence.

We returned home and began learning a new way of life, full of needles and finger pricks, scheduled blood sugar tests and shots, and the ever present worry (for my parents) of highs and lows. I am so thankful to have had a mother and father who did the very best they could, no expense spared, to help me grow up healthy and happy, in spite of what statistics said.

Living with Diabetes

Overall, my childhood and youth was pretty normal. However, my family was not terribly educated about what nutrition really was. The only dietary advice we had been given was according to the American Diabetes and American Dietetic Associations, which was based on the old food pyramid.

I grew up eating lots of carbs (a meat and potatoes kind of diet) because that is what my parents had been raised on. Even if my mom prepared vegetables, I would not eat them, except for the occasional canned corn or green beans.

As I grew into a teenager, I began to struggle with my weight and the only remedy I knew then was low fat and fat free foods, sugar laden snacks and desserts. After all, as long as there was no fat, it had to be good for me, right? This battle continued into my college years and I wasn’t winning it. I ate the typical college diet – pizza and soda, fast food, cereals, microwave dinners, etc. and didn’t really know how to change….until…

Starting a Family

Shortly after I married my wonderful husband of 7 years, we decided we wanted to have a baby. We had difficulty conceiving and the doctors found cysts on my left ovary. They told me that the only remedy was hormonal birth control, which the Lord had lead us not to use when we married. I knew there had to be another solution, so I began my search.

I stumbled upon a book called Hormone Deception by D. Lindsey Berkson. That book launched me on a journey that I have been traveling ever since and opened my eyes to the truth about our food supply, environmental toxins, etc. To put it simply, I was hooked!

I began to read, and read, and read, and read…anything I could get my hands on. The Makers Diet, Never Be Sick Again, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, Eat Fat Lose Fat, The Coconut Oil Miracle, and the list goes on… I knew that God had sent me on this journey and that He had a mission for me to share what I had learned with others, which is why I began my blog.

Controlling Diabetes the Natural Way

I have learned how to control diabetes by eating REAL foods, staying active, and using whole food supplements. I learned that our loving Father and Creator designed certain things for food for us because He loves us and wants us to live in divine health. It has now been almost 27 years since my diagnosis and I am perfectly healthy, have had two amazingly perfect pregnancies/deliveries, and have absolutely NO signs of diabetes complications. The success of my discoveries is what I want to share with you here. Editor’s note: Brandy still uses insulin, as all Type 1 diabetics must, but she hasn’t shown any of the physical degenerative complications of diabetes.

Diabetes Background

There are two types of diabetes: type 1, which is generally juvenile onset (most people who get it are children) and type 2, which used to be considered adult onset. Now though, we are seeing more and more children diagnosed with type 2.

In type 1, something basically attacks the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas and shuts them down, so the body no longer produces insulin. Type 1 is considered incurable, although because I believe in divine healing through the power of God’s Word, the word “incurable” is not in my vocabulary.

In type 2 the body still produces insulin, but because of diet, lack of exercise, and lifestyle it becomes insulin resistant, no longer able to utilize the insulin that is there. Why? Because the Standard American Diet (appropriately abbreviated SAD) is, for the most part, lacking any real nutritive value, is loaded with sugars and artificial ingredients, and pretty much doesn’t even resemble REAL food.

Our bodies were not meant to live off of these imitation food products, and yet, most people in America get almost their entire daily caloric intake from them. If we want to stop and even reverse the diabetes epidemic, we have to get back to the basics and focus on what God created as food. It would take pages and pages of typed material for me to tell you everything you need to know, so I am going to focus on a few key things that can really help to fight this disease.

6 Steps to Controlling Diabetes through Real Food

If you are a regular reader here at Kitchen Stewardship, you already know something about most of the things I am going to talk about. And I hope that you are beginning to see that when the body is provided with the nourishment it needs from the sources it was designed to get it from, it can do amazing things to heal itself.

At our house, we drink raw milk, make our own homemade yogurt, butter and bread (most of the time), eat coconut oil by the bucket full as well as other nutritious fats, and try to buy most things organic/grass fed/free range/pastured, etc.

But hear me when I say that this has been a 6 year journey for us, and I know it’s not possible for everyone to do everything that I recommend. Here are the MOST important things you can do to begin your journey to better health when dealing with diabetes:

Note from Katie: Naturally, these steps also keep anyone in their best health!

1. EAT COCONUT OIL – THE ABSOLUTE BEST FAT FOR DIABETICS

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(photo source)

Number one on my list is to eat coconut oil! Coconut oil is, in my opinion, the healthiest fat choice for anyone, but especially diabetics. Unlike most other fats, coconut oil does not require insulin to get into your cells. Because of this, it can reduce insulin resistance and it provides almost instant energy. It also is considered a “low calorie fat” because it is burned more like a carbohydrate, so it is a perfect choice for those needing to shed some pounds. For more information about why coconut oil is, in my book, considered a super food, go to my post titled The Food You Should NEVER Go Without!

2. STAY AWAY FROM HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

One of the most common sweeteners found in foods and drinks today is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This modified sweetener wreaks havoc on many areas of the body, but particularly on the appetite control system.

HFCS stimulates a hormone in your body called ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for telling your body that it is hungry and needs food. It also suppresses the hormone leptin, which tells the body when you are satisfied and should stop eating.

HFCS is not recognized by the body as food, so it never gets the signal that you have had enough. Its interference with appetite hormones causes you to feel like you can eat, and eat, and eat and never get full. This is obviously not good for anyone, but especially for the diabetic who desperately needs to limit their sugar/carb intake.

Ever wonder why sodas and sugary snacks are so addictive? Now you know…they literally MAKE your body crave more and more and more. HFCS can be found in most processed foods, but is most heavily found in soft drinks, sweetened juices, and sugary snack foods and desserts. Please see this post about the dangers of processed foods for more information.

3. AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS LIKE THE PLAGUE

Yes, you read that right, and yes, we are still talking about diabetes. As you know, I have lived with type 1 diabetes for almost 27 years and I DO NOT consume ANY artificial sweeteners!

The most common artificial sweetener is called aspartame. It is found in pretty much all diet drinks, sugar free desserts and snack foods, and in the little blue packets. Also known as NutraSweet and Equal, aspartame is a toxic poison that should not be consumed by any human.

It is a known neurotoxin or excitotoxin. That means that it causes your nerves to fire over and over and over and eventually wear out. When aspartame is metabolized by the body it is broken down into formaldehyde and ethel alcohol. YUCK!!

It has been linked to all kinds of neurological disorders, seizures, migraines, brain tumors, and a host of other diseases. There is actually a named disease known as “Aspartame Poisoning”. And yet, it is still deemed safe for consumption. NO ONE should EVER eat or drink this stuff if they have any desire to be healthy.

Aspartame has been shown to cause neuropathy and retinopathy too…isn’t it odd that those are two of the most common complications of diabetes, and diabetics are generally some of the most loyal diet food and drink consumers???

For more information about the toxic effects of aspartame and the diseases it is linked to, you can read my post about it here.

Splenda is another common artificial sweetener that is claimed to be safe as well. While it may not be quite as toxic as aspartame, it should still be avoided in my opinion. Stevia (a natural herbal sweetener) is a much safer, and I think tastier, choice.

Note from Katie: The Sweet, Sweet Summer series will include a week (soon!) on stevia, including an interview with Jim May, said to be the first to bring stevia to the U.S., and also a week (later!) on artificial sweeteners.

4. EAT WHOLESOME FATS

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I know, I know…most dieticians would tell you to strictly limit your daily intake of fat, and to try to avoid saturated fats completely. But I assure you, that is not a recipe for health, weight loss or diabetes control. Your body needs good, wholesome, saturated fats to maintain the integrity of cell walls, protect vital organs, maintain hormonal balance, and even to lose weight.

I talked about coconut oil already, which should definitely be a staple in every household, but there are other fats that are beneficial to the body as well. You will not find the words “fat free” or “low fat” in our fridge or pantry.

Let me be clear though. While you do need much more fat than is generally advised, it HAS to come from the right sources. I would never tell anyone to drink a tall glass of conventional, pasteurized/homogenized whole milk, but whole raw milk from healthy grass fed cows is a nutritional powerhouse. And butter, yogurt, cheese, etc. made from this healthy milk is fantastic too!

For more on the benefits of raw dairy see here and here, and also check out these posts (Part 1 and Part 2) about why you should say goodbye to low fat and fat free foods forever!

Other good sources of nutritious fats include grass fed and organic beef, organic/pastured chicken (including dark meat and skin), free range eggs, coconut and coconut milk, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and organ meats. Try to find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet and you will see such a difference in energy levels, weight loss, blood sugar, and overall wellbeing.

Note: through August 30th, you can win 5 lbs. of almond flour to make recipes with healthy fats and fewer carbs than grain flour, right HERE.

5. AVOID REFINED SUGARS AND GRAINS

Much of America’s health crisis, including the diabetes epidemic, stems from our overconsumption of processed, refined, bleached sugars and grains. These so called foods send your blood sugar through the roof almost immediately after being eaten. Because they have been stripped of the nutrients found in their whole form, refined grains are absorbed super fast and have nothing to balance the effect.

Whole grains, on the other hand, are still intact, in that they contain all the fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc. that God put in them to begin with. This slows down absorption significantly and allows the body to break down the carbohydrate slowly rather than requiring a huge insulin spike.

Look for grain products that say 100% whole wheat/whole grain. (How to Read a Bread Bag) Otherwise they have definitely been processed and have lost a lot of their natural goodness. Better yet, buy sprouted grain breads which are more easily digested and higher in fiber and vitamins than non sprouted grains. Or try baking your own bread. I got my bread recipe here from Katie’s Seeking the Perfect Whole Wheat Bread series.

Note from Katie: you can find sprouted flour for purchase at two KS August sponsors, JoshEWEa’s Garden and Shiloh Farms. Pictured below are sprouted whole wheat rolls.

sprouted whole wheat rolls 2 smaller (475x356)

Anyone with diabetes needs to strictly limit their sugar intake, but we know that it is next to impossible to avoid it entirely. So what sweetener is safe to use? I mentioned stevia already, which is a safe sugar alternative and tastes great.

We also use raw, local honey in our house. While it is a sugar, it takes very little to sweeten things and can be used in moderation. We also occasionally use organic maple syrup, but again, in very small amounts.

6. STAY ACTIVE

We all know that it is important to live an active life if we want to be healthy. This is true for anyone, but those with diabetes in particular can benefit greatly from exercise. When we exercise, our bodies become more efficient at most processes. These processes include metabolism, removal of toxins, proper blood flow, fat burning, proper nerve function, and the list goes on. Just about every organ and cell in your body benefits from exercise.

So what are the best types of exercise and how can we make sure to incorporate it into our everyday lives? As a certified Group Exercise Instructor for LA Fitness, I can say that the most important part of choosing a fitness program is to find something that you enjoy. If you hate it, you won’t do it.

I love going to and teaching different formats of group exercise. Step aerobics, cardio kickboxing, indoor cycle (spinning), aqua aerobics, and group resistance training are FUN to me. That makes me keep going! It also helps when you’re the teacher and you HAVE to be there. Smile But seriously, I have found what works for me and I love it.

I just recently went back to teaching after having my second child almost a year ago, so I know how hard it is to fit in physical fitness when you’re a busy wife and mom who has to take care of everyone, including yourself.

Before going back to the gym, I needed something that I could do at home that wouldn’t take a lot of time. I found that in Peak 8. Peak 8 is a form of interval training where you do a series of eight 30-second sprints with 90-second recovery periods in between. Throw in a warm up and cool down and the whole thing only takes about 20 minutes, three times a week!

And it really works.

Peak 8 can be done on a treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike, or outdoors. Sprinting and interval training really rev up the metabolism and increase lean muscle mass, so it is a fantastic way to shed extra weight and strengthen your body. Ideally, you would want to add in some resistance training too, but there were lots of weeks when I could only fit in the sprints.

Walking, of course, is a great workout and can be done anywhere as well. Like I said, find what works for you. Just make sure you commit to being active no matter what form of exercise you choose!

Bonus: Supplements

I didn’t discuss my favorite whole food supplements, but if you would like to know which ones I use and recommend, you can read this post.

The Tip of the Iceberg

There is so much I could talk about on the subject of diabetes and health in general, but I know I can only say so much in this post. :)

I have given you what I believe are the six most important things you can do to begin taking control of your diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2. These 6 things will allow you to be in control of your blood sugar, give you increased energy, and put you in the driver’s seat concerning your health.

I believe that it is completely possible to reverse type 2 diabetes through proper nutrition and exercise. Knowledge is power. After all, God Himself said, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

Don’t be one of those people. I pray that you have been empowered by what you have read today and that my personal story proves to you that it IS possible to live in abundant health in spite of diabetes. Many blessings to you and your family as you continue on your journey to divine health!

Abundantly Blessed,
Brandy

Beloved I pray above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

brandyMy mission is to share the message of health and wellness according to the Word of God and traditional wisdom.  I am a full time homemaker, have been married to the love of my life for 7 years and am the mommy of two amazing boys, ages 5 and 1.

I feel so blessed to have an opportunity to make people aware of the truth about the foods we eat, and I pray that everyone who reads my blog will see the fruit of health and wellness in their lives. The two most important things in my life are my relationships with God my Father and with my family.

I am living the abundant life with my wonderful husband and sons and am constantly learning how to walk in the fullness of the promises of God.  His Word is our life map, and He is our Source, our Healer, our Provider, our Protector, and our Shield, Whose redemptive power has made all things new in every area of our lives!  My God is the inspiration and the wisdom behind everything that is shared and taught on my blog and I am so grateful for the opportunity to help people live in the divine health and abundance that His Word promises.

www.livingwaterhealthandwellness.blogspot.com
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me on Twitter: @livingwaterhw
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65 Comments so far ↓

  • bugladynora

    Enjoyed the post, as usual with reading Katie’s blog I now have a bunch of research to do. Thanks for the post.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Erin

    Brandy! Thanks so much for this EXCELLENT post! It immediately peaked my interest because my sister has had type 1 diabetes since she was 6 (and I was 8–my childhood was filled with making sure my sister had the right snacks, waking up my parents when she had overnight seizures, etc.). Also, I was diagnosed with borderline gestational diabetes while pregnant with my second child (non insulin dependent and my blood sugar levels were almost always perfect). My only risk factor for gestational diabetes was family history. Do you think the “family history” thing is a myth? I would really like to prevent gestational diabetes when I am pregnant again, but even my midwife said there was no way to prevent gestational diabetes because of the way the placenta causes the pancreas to produce the right amounts of insulin? What do you think about this?

    My diabetes was “borderline” but still worrisome for me. I followed a strict diet–and did learn through it that I believe I was not getting enough protein in my diet before. However, I was appalled when the “nutritionist” whom I had to see gave me a book full of foods to eat–which included artificially-sweetened jello, diet sodas (I don’t drink sodas anyway) and all other sorts of fake food!

    Sadly, my sister and family grew up with these artificial sweeteners. I believe it’s what my sister’s doctors told my parents to have in the house. My sister and my parents still eat all kinds of sugar free foods and diet beverages. It makes me sad, but I don’t know how to really approach my concerns with them because they already think I am a little *strange* because I avoid processed foods and use cloth diapers, etc.!

    My midwife and others have told me that because of my “family history” and the fact that I had gestational diabetes that I am now at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. I really want to fight that! I am still not *overweight* but I can tell that the fat I have held onto after baby #2 is in my belly (a diabetes risk factor?). Also, I really, really need to work more exercise into my life. I exercised more while pregnant than I have in the 10 months since baby #2 came along!

    Do you have any suggestions for working exercise in (I love aerobics videos!) with small children?

    Thanks again for this very informative and well-researched post!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Brandy

    Hi Erin! Thanks for commenting! Lots of great questions! I know it can be a challenge to look out for a diabetic family member. Your sister is blessed to have such a caring and involved family!

    I know that heredity is a risk factor for diabetes, but in my opinion, it is one or the least likely causes. Lifestyle, for Type 2, is the most likely. For type 1, it can be a few things, but whatever the cause, something attacks the insulin producing beta cells. No one in my family (6 generations back) has ever had it that we know of.

    As for the gestational diabetes, it sounds like you have it under great control! I would just recommend trying to get in good shape and choose healthy foods while you aren’t pregnant and then, of course, during your next pregnancy as well. I don’t know whether it sets you up for type 2 diabetes, but following these food and exercise recommendations will definitely lower your risk!

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me!!

    God bless you!!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    By the way, as for exercise, I teach aerobics classes at LA Fitness and they have child care. If you have access to a gym like that, it makes it easier to fit in fitness with kiddos! If not, there is a great workout called Peak 8. I linked to it in the post above if you want to check it out. For workout videos I like a program called slim n six, and pilots videos are a good choice too! Walking (with kids in the stroller) is always a good workout too! Hope this helps! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker Reply:

    Thank you so much for all the great info!! This is a post I will go back to again and again! Do you have FB for your blog? I just checked out your site and would love to join your FB page if you have one! (If you don’t, you should get one!) :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Yes I do! Go to http://m.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=183555081702759&refid=5
    And you can like my page! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    You can also follow and subscribe to my blog and follow me on twitter @ livigwaterhw.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • JillR

    Thank you for all of your suggestions. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 in 2004. And I am still trying to adjust our food to help him but my greatest challenge is time. I work full-time and he work double full-time and we have 2 little kids so that leaves no time to figure it all out. And my husband says that stevia tastes like a drug he used to use (when he was an addict!) So i need lots of prayer! :) Thanks again.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Well I will definitely pray for your family! I know eating well takes time, but it is definitely worth it! Of course there will be times when you have to take a few short cuts but as long as you are taking steps to better health, that is what’s important. I am not usually a “planner” type personality, but if I can plan ahead (what days I will bake bread, make yogurt, etc) and use meal planning it makes it much easier! Thanks for your comment! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Also, I have found that the band NuStevia is th best tasting as far as the ones I’ve tried! It is the least bitter, and really does taste great!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jill,
    Different brands of stevia are very, very different. Truvia, for example, hardly has any stevia in it and does have an awful aftertaste. Liquid stevia extract is pretty awesome, though, and just tastes sweet. 4 drops sweetens a cup of yogurt! Sweetleaf is my personal favorite brand, and the only white powder I’ve tried with zero aftertaste.

    God bless!
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    JillR Reply:

    Thank you. I will try again! Can’t wait till your post on it. I need all the help, I can get. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • CW

    Katie, I’m looking forward to your post on stevia. I have a big, beautiful stevia plant and don’t know how to use it. Will you be addressing that kind of how to? Thanks.
    P.S. We’re praying that all is well in your home as you adjust to your new blessing. It does take time to “find your groove” again after having a baby.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    CW,
    That’s a good question. I’m not exactly sure how to use the whole plant…I’ll have to see if that turns up in my research! :) katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Nanasknoll Reply:

    STEVIA-here is a site I found on the plant
    http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/2010/08/how-to-make-your-own-stevia-sweetener.html

    I replied in the wrong place so did it again.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Melissa

    From the things that I have read on your site and ones that are like-minded I have stopped using many processed foods and moved to a lot of whole foods instead. I have come to understand that it’s better for our health to spend the money, either spend it in food or in medical bills makes sense to me.
    Reading this post raised a question for me though. In regards to whole milk. My family use to drink skim milk, and then I read that it was too processed so I switched to whole milk. I understand that raw would be best but when that isn’t an option what would you recommend?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Great question! I do not recommend drinking whole pasteurized/homogenized milk unless it’s raw. Raw milk has SO many health benefits, and if you can find a way to get it, do it!

    If not, I recommend making your own coconut milk. You can buy organic canned whole coconut milk and then mix 1 3/4 cup water, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp dolomite powder(source of calcium). Mix it over med heat until dolomite dissolves. It has the same calcium content as raw milk and the goodness of coconut too! Hope this helps! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melissa Reply:

    Thanks so much for that recommendation. I’ll give it a try.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    That coconut milk tonic recipe is from Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. If yo haven’t read it, I recommend it! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Melissa,
    First, keep in mind that this is a guest post and not from me (Katie). :) Here are my thoughts on the best milk to buy: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/22/what-kind-of-milk-should-i-buy/ ;) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melissa Reply:

    Ah! Yes. I did read that before. I now understand why I felt confused. (it was a guest post) Sincere thanks for all of the research you do and share.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lori

    For some reason, it won’t let you go to her blog with the link you supplied. I typed it into google and was able to find it. I just thought you should know. GREAT article!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Thanks so much Lori! I’m so glad you were able to find the blog! Not sure why it wouldn’t work. :/ I hope everyone else isn’t having that problem. Thanks for your comment!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Stacy

    Thanks for this article. I found it fascinating since I come from a family full of late-onset type 1 diabetics (brother, a few cousins, an aunt). Average age of onset for most of them was late teens or early twenties (my brother was 15) but it is type 1.
    I do want to add in a note that type 2 diabetics can often go off of many medications with doctor’s supervision, proper diet and exercise (and weight loss usually), but type 1 diabetics at least with current medical technology are always “insulin dependent” (barring miracles of course). For type 2′s their body doesn’t process insulin effectively. For type 1′s their body doesn’t make insulin AT ALL. Of course taking care of yourself and eating properly helps to minimize the damage that both types of diabetes can do to your body.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Yes, of course! I wear an insulin pump AND rely on whole foods and exercise to keep me healthy. Type 1′s definitely need to stay on their insulin!

    In Type 2, the body still produces insulin but is resistant to it. It is possible to increase insulin sensitivity with proper diet and exercise and eventually be able to maintain healthy blood sugars without medication! But it does take dedication!

    Thanks for emphasizing that Stacy!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stacy Reply:

    Definitely! I just wanted to clarify that so people didn’t think type 1′s could go without insulin- I was afraid people would take this
    “In type 1, something basically attacks the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas and shuts them down, so the body no longer produces insulin. Type 1 is considered incurable, although because I believe in divine healing through the power of God’s Word, the word “incurable” is not in my vocabulary. ”
    to mean that type 1′s could go off of insulin with proper diet/exercise.
    Great article overall!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Thanks Stacy! I didn’t realize that I left room for any misunderstanding, and certainly would never want to! So glad you helped clear things up!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Pavil, the Uber Noob

    My sister has type 1 diabetes, diagnosed about 50 years ago. I had no idea there were alternatives to insulin injection. Actually, I am stunned. I am still trying to process this.

    My wife & I have been doing WAPF for almost a year – Its not something that happens overnight. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recently & maple syrup throws me for a loop. So, I use a homemade chutney with pancakes instead of maple syrup.

    This has been one of your bests posts. I do have a question. If someone were a type 1, insulin injecting diabetic, and they migrated their diet to Real Food. I suppose easing off of the insulin injections would be a little trial and error, but gradually, the need for injections could cease. Can you provide any insight.

    Again, thanks for the posting.

    Ciao, Pavil

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stacy Reply:

    No, with current medical technology, type 1 diabetics will always need to get artificial insulin in some way. Their bodies simply do not make any insulin on their own. There are insulin pumps on the market that can keep a steady stream of insulin in the body without the person needing to inject it, but that is something your sister would need to discuss with her doctor.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    NO!! Type 1′s cannot go off insulin. Unless they are miraculously healed by the power of God, they will always need to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. But eating healthy, whole foods and incorporating exercise can help them control blood sugar and need less insulin. But you would only want to decrease insulin dosages under a doctor’s supervision.

    Type 2′s however, can increase insulin sensitivity by using these tips, since their bodies still produce insulin, and eventually (and under medical supervision) decrease or even get rid of their meds. Please DO NOT tell a type 1 to stop taking insulin! I hope I cleared up any misunderstanding! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Melanie

    Hi Brandy!
    Thanks so much for this post. Very encouraging. My 8 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 J-Diabetes in June 2011. We were shocked. There is NO family history of it. It made no sense. The Children’s Hospital has a great support program but was of no help in answering the WHY or how do we fix it, if we can. They were also no help in finding a diet regime that worked with ours. We don’t eat processed foods or chemical sugars etc. and all of that was their recommended foods for his meal plan… just dose the insulin accordingly. We were rather astonished at this approach. No consideration for low GI foods or complex carbs. We followed their basic guidelines while getting a handle on everything and getting his numbers under control while figuring out how to work with a healthy diet. We decided to see a Naturopath instead. She immediately recommended an allergy blood test, which we did as a family. As a result we discovered he was highly intolerant of dairy, eggs, gluten/wheats, almond, soy, and some other things. She says he has leaky gut syndrome and toxins are going through his intestinal wall and causing chaos in his blood stream and organs. The leaking gut combined with dairy and gluten intolerance are potential factors in causing diabetes. We are now a dairy, egg, gluten/wheat, soy, almond free family. (The rest of us showed issues with several of those as well.) She is treating him with supplements for leaky gut and other steps will be taken as treatment progresses. She has him on green tea, fish oil, vitamin E, greens, niacin, and some basic C, D, and multi vitamins to work with the diabetes and restoring his general health. He’s responding fantastically. His weight is up, his numbers are consistently in the 3-7 range, and his insulin doses are decreasing. We are learning how to dose according to what we eat rather than eating to match his dose. I’m sorry this is so long… it’s rare to find someone who understands. We question everything doctors say – especially when it comes to our kids. A lot of people we are close to don’t understand why we don’t just follow the ‘program’, it’s made by professionals it must be good. We are so glad we questioned and followed our hearts. Perhaps he may have to live with it his whole life but at least he’ll know a healthy way to manage it.

    I was wondering it you have any recommendations for sources of recipes and information on food that is low-GI, dairy/egg/almond/soy/gluten free?? I am having a hard time finding recipes that fit our necessary diet AND his diabetes.

    Thanks so much for your time and for sharing your story and information! What a source of encouragement for me as I navigate the diabetes and allergy-free cooking challenges.

    Take care,
    Melanie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Hi Melanie! I’m so sorry to hear about your sons diagnosis, but what a difference it makes when the child has Parents who challenge the status quo and dont just accept their doctors recommendations!

    It’s so wonderful that you were able to find which foods were a part of the problem and allow his body to heal without the irritating foods! And what great results as well! It is hard to find the balance between standard medical care and holistic health when it comes to diabetes. So few medical professionals are educated in nutrition.

    It sounds like you, your son, and your whole family are benefitting greatly by using real food nutrition! Its amazing what the body can do when given the right fuel! Blessings to you and your family!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Melanie,
    You are doing amazing things! I’m always so tickled when I hear of other parents who question everything doctors say. It gets frustrating for sure, at times, but it’s worth it when you see great results like yours!

    You might check my favorite gluten-free blogger: simplysugarandglutenfree.com. Many recipes probably include eggs and almonds, but hopefully you can find some that don’t. That’s an awfully tricky one since many GF recipes use almond flour!

    Heart of Cooking is a site with allergy-free menu planners – I bet you’d like the recipes there, too, although it’s a paid subscription: http://allergyfreemenuplanners.com/dap/a/?a=120

    Keep up the good work! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melanie Reply:

    Thank you so much! I’ll check those out. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Melanie, I did a quick search and found this food blog too. Her recipes are usually either gluten, egg, or dairy free and many are all of those! Hopefully you can find some recipes you could use there!

    http://www.thesensitivepantry.com/about-me/

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melanie Reply:

    Thank you!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stacy Reply:

    ((Melanie))- I watched my parents go through my brother’s diagnosis the summer before my freshman year of college. You’re right- some of the dietary recommendations were very strange. They bought some of the “diabetic food” for a little while too until they got things under control. My brother now uses a pump so he doses according to what he eats rather than the other way around. I’m interested in the naturopath route though- does she ultimately think she will be able to get him off of insulin entirely and get his pancreas functioning again? In my family a virus seems to trigger the diabetes (there is some research to support this).

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melanie Reply:

    Stacy,

    I too have read about viruses as a trigger. There is a lot of amazing information out there.

    The naturopath has not made the claim that she can cure him. We chose her because she specializes in pediatric care and has worked with type 1 children before with “success”. I imagine the term success means something different for each case. We caught the diabetes early, and it appears he is still making some insulin. At this point his body is in obvious chaos and she appears to be treating it step by step as each issue is discovered. Ultimately we just want him to be healthy and armed with knowledge about how to keep his blood sugar as steady as possible through diet, exercise, and supplements, so that he can keep his insulin requirements as low as possible.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker Reply:

    Melanie, I am SO interested in this. Can you please start a blog?! My daughter is experiencing what her doc thinks may be food allergies. We have type 1 diabetes in our family. I am wondering if God is opening up the doors for our family to get a hold of her health before something worse develops. (She is 3.) Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Melanie Reply:

    Wow, I’m not sure about a blog. I’ve never considered doing that before. At this point I would be happy to share what we learn with you by email, if you’d like.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jessica C Reply:

    I know I am replying to this a long time after the post (but this is a post I continually go back and re-read). I am a Type 1 diabetic, and mine was caught early on as well as your sons. I would LOVE to hear how you found your naturopath, and any further updates you may have. I second the idea of you starting a blog, or sharing your experiences in some other way. I think there are actually a lot of people out there who would be interested, but dont know where to start.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Brandy

    You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Skeptic

    Great job implying that Type 1 can be cured. One person has already posted indicating their misunderstanding. How many didn’t post and didn’t make it far enough down the page to see your retraction/correction? How many parents will start cutting back on their kid’s insulin because of your sloppiness? The rest of your information is highly unscientific too, but I’m not going to bother because you’re clearly a bit off…

    [Reply to this comment]

    Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker Reply:

    I think she did a great job! At first I wondered if there could be any way she went off insulin, but when I read the post carefully to the end, I realized she hadn’t. I think she made it clear.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    S,
    For Heaven’s sake. I’m disappointed that someone would be so rude to one of the guests here at Kitchen Stewardship, my home online. I hope you wouldn’t be so offensive in someone’s real home. I edited the post to note Brandy’s use of insulin very early on, not because of your sarcasm, but because it makes sense to clarify the story.

    And it is Brandy’s story here, not a scientific journal article. Sometimes people appreciate anecdotal evidence along with their science.
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Skeptic Reply:

    Anecdotal evidence is fine, but there’s almost no valid science in this post and it’s presented like FACT and not opinion. That’s dangerous and leaves room for misinterpretation.

    For instance, while the primary mechanism of Type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, beta cell fatigue and impaired insulin secretion are also part of the pathophys. And people with diabetes do not have to “severely limit” consumption of sugar or carbohydrates. It’s actually dangerous for them to do so, if they are on insulin therapy. The body needs carbohydrates for optimal metabolism. Finding the right balance is what is important.

    Many things alleged by this post are not rooted in scientific evidence, particulary the sections about HFCS, coconut oil and aspartame.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    I’m sorry you had such problems with my post, and I certainly would never suggest for a diabetic to go off insulin. I thought I made it clear that type 2 can be cured, and type 1 well managed by using the tips given here. Thanks katie for editing it to be more clear. And while it may not be “scientific” I know what has worked for me and for many others and no one can argue that. In one of my blog posts I give my most recent blood work results which were great, and that is all the evidence I need.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Teresa

    Brandy and Katie,
    I loved the post! It was very clear and understandably. Some people need to not be so grumpy. Maybe they have blood sugar issues like I do when I get grumpy and need to eat. Also, I did the Peak 8 today for the first time and WOW I did it and loved it. Thanks for all your wisdom through experiences. I appreciate you both!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Thank you so much Teresa! I’m so glad you liked the Peak 8 exercises! I know when I do it I feel a big difference! And it really will speed up metabolism and keep your body in the “after-burn” state for longer! And the fact that it only takes about 20 min makes it so much more do-able! Thanks for the encouragement! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker Reply:

    Ok–in must try this peak 8! I wanted to let you know i woke up this morning with a renewed interest in getting read of my belly fat left over from my last pregnancy. I can be ok w/ how I look–but it isn’t ok if I am not exercising & therefore increased my already higher risk of diabetes (fam. history & gestational)! Thank you again for an amazing post. Don’t let anyone make you feel like it wasn’t excellent!!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Thank you so much Erin! It is always hard to get such critical feedback on a post that was intended to bless and empower people with knowledge about how to improve their health, so I truly appreciate the encouragement!

    I’m so glad you have a renewed motivation to get active and pursue wellness even further! I am so thankful to be able to share my story and hopefully help others see that they can live in an abundance of health!

    Thank you again for your kind words. May God bless you with the richness of His blessings in every way!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Rebecca Miller

    Excellent post! I was type 2 diabetic for years. I ate a terrible diet. We discovered my son had food allergies and changed our diet. I am no longer type 2 diabetic. Full remission for 2 years with 2 doctors to verify it!!! Yes I am proud and I loved this post because that is basically exactly what I did. No more HFCS or white sugar. Honey as the only sweetner in our home and that in moderation. We can change our lives and our health. I do realize type 1 is different but I am living proof that type 2 is reversible! Thanks again!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Wow, what an amazing testimony Rebecca! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! You are proof that type 2 diabetes can be reversed with the right diet and lifestyle! Praise God for such good reports from the doctors! It’s amazing what the body can do when given the chance! Blessings to you and your family!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jessica C

    I think its like any type of diet. According to my medical record, I am type 1, but probably only that officially since I was 15 when I was diagnosed with diabetes and not officially an adult. I have to take insulin, and have been on oral meds too for a long time. I have symptoms of both, and based some of the research I have done recently, there are numerous types of diabetes classifications now (such as type 1.5, LADA etc). My body doesn’t react like a normal type 1 diabetic, so I am just trying to control it with what works for my body.

    I am very happy you are helping to clarify it to the reader here because so many people do not understand that it wasn’t something I “did” by not eating healthy, or that there are different ways to control it depending on your symptoms.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Brandy Reply:

    Well it sounds like you are looking for answers and listening to your body to see what works. That is one of the most important things you can do when getting healthy. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it made you feel like you aren’t to blame! I hope you continue to find the diet and lifestyle that make you feel your best!

    Brandy

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Carol

    I have read all the info on coconut oil, and have bought a jar. How do you consume large quantities of it? Do you actually just eat it by the spoonful, or do you have other ways of getting large amounts in your diet?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Carol, I tried it once plain, and the gag reflex kicked in! Here’s how I use it: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/03/faqs-on-coconut-oil-and-how-to-use-it/

    If you need to stay low-carb for diabetes, smoothies and cooking eggs, veggies, etc. with it are two places to start.
    Enjoy! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Brandy

    Hi carol, I do most of my cooking with coconut oil and i also use it as a spread for toast, waffles, etc. And I put a couple teaspoons in my coffee and hot tea! And smoothies, like Katie said, are another great way to get it in! Hope you love it and find lots of creative ways to get it in your diet! :)

    Brandy

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Nanasknoll

    I am currently looking into more healthy eating with IC bladder and type 2 diabetes-so my blog sometimes used artificial sweetners-which I must fix.
    AS FOR STEVIA-here is a site I found on the plant
    http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/2010/08/how-to-make-your-own-stevia-sweetener.html
    Hopefully this will help

    [Reply to this comment]

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    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Living with diabetes can certainly be a struggle, but it’s all about maintenance. Monitoring your diet is of #1 importance. I love sharing my diabetic recipes, they’re easy and delicious. Check them out on my blog, hope you enjoy them – http://www.BetterOffHealthy.com

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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