French fries, pizza and ice cream are so delicious, but overeating can lead to unbelievable misery. About 65,000 Americans have limbs amputated every year due to a completely curable condition called Type II diabetes. And it doesn’t stop there. Diabetes is the number one cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20 – 74 according to the American Diabetes Association.
This actually begins a couple million years ago when we were hunter-gatherers. Our ancestors experienced periods of feasts and famines, and our bodies create the hormone insulin, which builds fat to be used during periods when food is scarce and we couldn’t walk into a Safeway and get a genetically engineered fish or piece of corn. And this little evolutionary adaptation was quite successful. We survived eons of hard times. But now we are modernized, and there is very little chance of a famine coming any time soon. And we are dying in a sea of food, literally eating until our limbs fall off.
Type I and Type II Diabetes
Type I diabetes is a condition you are born with where your body does not produce insulin. As a Naturopath, I have access to the most sophisticated alternative medicines in the world and if you have diabetes type I, there is no alternative, you need insulin.
Type II diabetes is something completely different. In type II diabetes you were not born with a disease, you have created a condition by eating sugars (in the form of bread, pastas, crackers, cereals, processed foods) that your pancreas, insulin and insulin receptors no longer function properly. True certain cultures have predispositions to type II diabetes but it is by no means, “locked in”.
The worst part about this completely curable disease is that if you go blind or have a limb amputated you should consider yourself lucky.
“Two out of three people with diabetes die from stroke or heart disease,” according to the American Diabetes Association.
Fortunately there is a cure for this completely curable disease and like insulin, which has its basis in our hunter-gatherer ancestry. For millions of years, our bodies became accustomed to natural, real, actual foods. Then something happened very recently - 12,000 years ago to be precise. We started farming and controlling our food source. So, for millions of years we ate natural and real foods, and in just 12,000 years we have ended up with McDonald's and Hot Pockets.
Highly processed foods are primarily based in carbohydrates like pastas, cereals, crackers and cookies. These foods are strangers to the human body and create inflammation.
Over-consumption of carbohydrates and elevated inflammation is a recipe for Type II diabetes. Specifically, let’s follow the timeline explaining how to become diabetic.
- You consume the Standard American Diet (SAD) full of processed carbohydrates.
- You consume what you thought were “healthy” cereals that are unfortunately filled with processed carbohydrates topped with a skim sugary substance called milk.
- You continue to eat breads and pastas and crackers.
- You begin to gain weight.
- Your insulin becomes less effective.
- You are told you are insulin resistant.
- You are told to lose weight.
- You are put on medication for blood sugar control.
- You continue to gain weight.
- Your pancreas gives up and you become insulin dependent.
- Due to Kidney damage you require weekly dialysis.
- You continue to gain weight.
- You begin to lose vision and feeling in your feet.
- Feet are amputated, your are rendered blind.
- You die 15-20 years early of stroke or end stage kidney failure.
People are dying daily in the United States and they don’t have to. The following are tips on how to avoid and reverse type II diabetes.
- Eat healthy protein at each meal. Health protein consists of nuts, seeds, beans, and natural meats. Choose beef that walked in pastures and ate actual grass. Choose fish that swam in native habitats rather than farms. Choose chickens that were allowed to run free and eat what they wanted.
- Eat healthy veggies: Veggies contain phytochemicals and fiber that both keep you regular and prevent disease. Veggies will save your life.
- Eat healthy fruits: Fruit can be seen as the icing on the cake yet it has copious antioxidants that help break down free radicals build from stress or heavy exercise.
- Eat limited grains, especially wheat. Feel free to consume whole grain barley, oats, or any other grain in limited quantities.
- Exercise a minimum of four hours per week, hopefully more.
- Reduce processed foods.
- See a nutrition professional
(This column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.)
Naturopath Chris Ogilvie works at Integrative Health Center of Virginia.