Part 1 - Warning Signs of Diabetes: All In Your Head?
"Above the Neck" Signs May Help Identify Those at Risk
Approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes and, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one-third of them are unaware they have the disease. Common warning signs of diabetes could be all in your head-literally. Bad breath, bleeding gums, blurred vision, and many other oral or optic ailments can be early indicators of diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body can no longer produce or use insulin properly. Insulin helps convert certain foods into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. Without insulin injections, individuals with diabetes can have a build-up of sugars in their blood.
There are three major types of the diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Ninety to 95 percent of people with diabetes suffer from Type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of the disease is rising in the United States as the population ages and more Americans become obese, according to the National Diabetes Education Foundation.
Diabetes and the Mouth: What's the Link?
Researchers believe diabetes often manifests itself in the mouth, making the dentist a key player in diagnosis. Because of high glucose levels, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth or gums, since increased glucose levels can help bacteria thrive. The increased bacteria combined with a diabetic's inability to resist infection can lead to gum disease.
Oral symptoms related to diabetes include:
- Chronic bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Gingivitis-Sore, swollen and red gums that bleed when you brush
- Periodontitis-gums pulling away from teeth
- Sore or loose teeth
People with diabetes need to take extra care with their teeth since they are more susceptible to oral infections and periodontal disease than those who do not have the disease. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day and getting a new toothbrush at least every three months to cut down on bacteria in the mouth. Flossing daily will help keep gums healthy and prevent gingivitis. People with diabetes should visit the dentist every six months and should schedule visits in accordance with insulin injections or meal times.
Diabetes and the Eyes: What's the Link?
A diabetic's increased blood glucose can also affect their eyesight. An increased amount of sugar in the blood over a long period of time can destroy blood vessels in the back of the eye, preventing the eye from getting the nutrition it needs to maintain vision. This is called diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include:
- Difficulty reading
- Blurred vision
- Seeing rings around lights, dark spots or flashing lights
Early stages of diabetic retinopathy may not have symptoms so an annual eye exam can be a diabetic's first line of defense in preventing loss of vision, yet only 40 to 50 percent of individuals with diabetes are screened annually. According to the AOA, early treatment is crucial because once the eye damage has occurred, whether its blurred vision or blindness, the effects are usually permanent. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends individuals with diabetes and patients at risk for diabetes have their eyes dilated and examined once a year.
In order to prevent and treat diabetes, it is crucial to eat in a way that maintains normal blood glucose levels. A study done by the CDC shows that maintaining a normal blood glucose level can prevent the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Since high blood pressure can also cause eye damage, it is recommended people with diabetes have their blood pressure checked at least four times a year.
Part 2- EnergyFirst Nutrition Program for Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
The key to preventing and treating diabetes and minimizing the side effects of the disease, is to stabilize your blood sugar, reduce body fat, and reduce oxidative damage. To follow is a summary of the EnergyFirst nutritional guidelines that can assist you in achieving these goals. Please refer to The EnergyFirst Practical Guidebook, by Lisa Anne Leslie CCN, for more detailed information.
- Stay hydrated. This will help increase your metabolism, keep your blood sugar stable, detoxify your body and reduce free radical production. Drink at least 10-12 8-ounce glasses of pure water every day. Aim for 1 glass every hour you are awake. Distilled or Reverse Osmosis water is best. Try Trinity, Arrowhead Mills, Aquafina, Smart Water brands. Avoid all high carbohydrate liquids, including fruit juices (even freshly squeezed), coffee, caffeine, and sodas (even diet sodas).
- Eat proactively! Eat 4-6 small meals per day or 3 main meals and two snacks, e.g. breakfast, snack, dinner, snack, lunch, snack. If you are too long without food, your blood sugar will plummet.
- Sugar and other processed carbohydrates increase your blood sugar, resulting in a larger requirement for insulin. Therefore, it is necessary to dramatically reduce consumption of these foods, including processed grain foods and most grain products such as white rice, white pasta, breads, cakes, cookies, candy, sodas, cereals, granola. Also avoid dried fruit, fruit jellies and jams and any sugar substitute like honey, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, etc. Use only Stevia extract as a sweetener. Never use artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose (Splenda), Aspartame (Equal, NutriSweet, Acesulfame K, Acesulfame Potassium, etc.
- Focus on unprocessed carbohydrates with a low glycemic index only i.e. high fiber content. Fiber helps slow the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Non-starchy vegetables are best - kale, winter squash, mixed greens, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, eggplant, asparagus, green beans etc. Avoid starchy vegetables such as yams, sweet potato, beets, sweet corn, and carrots. Eat vegetables lightly cooked or raw - cooking raises the glycemic index of vegetables. Buy organic vegetables where possible. Fruit is higher in sugar. Focus on low sugar fruits such as strawberries (which are the lowest sugar fruit) and peaches. Choose small servings of whole grains on occasion. Brown rice, lentils, wild rice, old fashioned oatmeal, and other whole grains are all high in fiber. Limit t ½ cup per meal.
- Limit serving-size of carbohydrates per meal/snack to 12-15 grams of carbohydrates. For example: 2-3 cups non-starchy vegetables, or ½ cup whole grains or legumes, or ½ cup high fiber fruit.
- Avoid eating carbohydrates of any kind alone. Always combine with lean protein and/or good fats/oils. If you are eating a piece of fruit for instance, combine with ¼ cup raw nuts, raw seeds, or raw nut or seed butters.
- The most important nutrient for blood sugar stabilization is lean, complete protein - protein containing all essential amino acids, with low fat. Eat at least 4-6oz. lean protein every meal and most snacks (whey protein isolate, egg whites, eggs, turkey breast, chicken breast, shellfish, tuna, salmon, trout, or white fish of any kind, tempey or tofu. 100% whey protein isolate e.g. EnergyFirst ProEnergy whey isolate powder is the purest, most absorbable and convenient form of protein in existence. Buy organic, free range animal products, and wild caught fish. Non-organic foods contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other toxins that increase risk of disease. High quality, organic, lean protein will keep your blood sugar stable, manage insulin levels, and increase energy.
- Eat organic raw fats and oils containing omega 3 essential fats at least 3 times a day. A raw oil blend or raw seed blend containing raw flax seed oil, sesame seed, sunflower and pumpkin oil is the best. E.g. EnergyFirst Omega Oil blend or EnergyFirst Omega Mix. A pharmaceutical grade fish oil (EPA/DHA) is also recommended.
- Build your meals (and snacks where possible) in the following priority: Start with at least a fist-sized portion of lean protein (E.g. chicken, salmon, turkey, tuna, eggs, egg whites, cottage cheese, shellfish, whey protein). Add 1-2 tblsp or ¼ cup raw fats/oils (raw nuts, raw seeds, raw oil blend, or avocado), and add no more than 2-3 cups of vegetables, 1/2 cup of cooked whole grains or legumes, or 1/2 cup of fruit. Limit your carbohydrates to about 12-15 grams per meal. You can eat lean protein alone e.g. snack on some grilled turkey breast or chicken or a boiled egg. You can eat good fats alone e.g. raw almonds. They do not affect blood sugar. Just do not overeat at any given meal. Eating small meals often is the best for blood sugar stabilization.
Part 3 - Essential Supplementation for Healing and Preventing Diabetes
There are many nutrients that have been proven by research to help control blood sugar and to help prevent the side effects of diabetes.
- Multi Vitamin/Mineral: This is the essential foundation of your supplementation program. Take Energyfirst VitaEnergy Multi + ACE (high quality multi vitamin/mineral + extra antioxidants 2 twice per day (4 per day) In addition to your multi, take the following:
- Vitamin C (water soluble antioxidant - prevents oxidative damage, lowers blood glucose levels, inhibits glycation, prevents accumulation of sorbitol, strengthens capillaries, aids wound healing. A suggested dosage is 1-3 grams daily in divided doses) (3000 mg/day) - 1000 mg with breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Gamma E (reduces oxidative stress, enhances insulin sensitivity and glucose transport, and prevents complications arising from inflammation. Suggested dosage is 200iu's per day.
- Chromium Picolinate (regulates blood glucose levels, fights insulin resistance, lowers HbA1c, aids in weight loss, and inhibits glycation). A suggested dosage is 200-600 mcg daily. increases insulin sensitivity) 200mcg with each meal (3 times a day)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (protects LDL against oxidation and is beneficial in preventing and treating diabetic complications such as neuropathy.) Diabetics usually take 250-500 mg of alpha-lipoic acid 3 times daily. For the last 30 years, German practitioners have used high doses of lipoic acid to improve insulin sensitivity and diabetic conditions.
- B-complex (helps blood sugar metabolism and increases energy production) - Suggested dosage is 1 capsule, 3 times a day with meals
- Vanadyl Sulphate - Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver have shown that oral administration of vanadyl sulfate helps support healthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and proper blood glucose levels. Recommended dosage: 30 to 45 mg daily with meals.
- Gymnema sylvestre - Controls excess blood sugar levels and can lower triglycerides and cholesterol. 400mg per day of extract or 8 grams per day of herb in tablet form - take before meals.
- Carnosine - (interferes with the toxic glycation process, thereby preventing the formation of nonfunctioning structures in the body known as AGEs. Diabetics have greatly accelerated rates of glycation compared to nondiabetics.) A suggested dosage is 1000 mg daily.
- Essential Fatty Acids - protect the plasma membrane insulin receptors and reduce CRP. Type II diabetics should supplement with at least 900 mg of GLA a day from borage oil, along with 500 mg of EPA and 1300 mg of DHA from fish oil. Take 4 EPA/DHA capsules per day and 4 GLA capsules.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine improves blood glucose management and increases insulin sensitivity and glucose storage, essential for fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Deficiencies correlate with diabetic neuropathy. A suggested acetyl-L-carnitine dosage is 500-1000 mg twice daily.
- DHEA deficiency is associated with a higher rate of insulin resistance and diabetes. A suggested dosage is 15-75 mg, taken early in the day (50 mg represents a typical daily dose).
Part 4 - Sample Meal Plans for Diabetics
To get you started quickly, here are three sample meal plans. You can substitute any of the meals/snacks listed here for the recipes described in the EnergyFirst Practical Guidebook. The protein portions here may need to be increased, depending on your size and level of activity.
|Meal||Meal Plan #1||Meal Plan #2||Meal Plan #3|
|Breakfast||EnergyFirst Shake||2 Poached free range eggs + 4oz sliced turkey breast + 1 sliced tomato + ½ avocado||EnergyFirst Shake|
|Snack # 1 (optional)||¼ cup raw almonds or raw nuts of any kind or 1 flax seed crisp spread with avocado||1 cup non-fat plain organic yogurt mixed in a bowl with 1 scoop of whey protein powder + ¼ cup chopped raw almonds||2 T. raw cashew or almond butter spread on ½ cup sliced apple|
|Lunch||6 oz can water packed salmon or tuna, 1-2 cups salad; 2 T. Healthy Dressing*, + 8 chopped walnuts||EnergyFirst Shake||4-6oz grilled peppered chicken breast sliced over 2 cups spinach salad with 1-2 tbs Healthy Dressing*|
|Snack # 2 (optional)||1 cup non-fat cottage cheese mixed in a bowl with ½ cup chopped berries & ¼ cup raw pine nuts||3 celery sticks with raw almond or cashew nut butter||1 flax seed crisp spread with avocado|
|Dinner||4-6oz shrimp and scallops stir-fried with ginger, garlic, onion, and 1 cup fresh snow peas. Serve with 1-2 T. raw sesame oil + 1 T. low sodium soy (added after cooking)||½ pound of Roast turkey (white or dark meat) with 6-8 asparagus spears drizzled with 1-2 T. Healthy Dressing*||4-6 oz Grilled Ahi Tuna with 2 cups steamed/grilled vegetables. Serve with with 1-2 T. Healthy Dressing*|
|Snack #3 (Optional)||½ - 1 Think Thin Low Carb Protein Bar||1 scoop Energyfirst whey protein powder shaken in 1 cup water or non-fat milk.||½ to 1 Think Thin Low Carb Protein bar|
*Healthy Dressing Recipe:
- ½ cup Energyfirst Omega Oil Blend
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 T. mustard
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add ingredients to a glass container with a tight lid. Shake and serve. Keep refrigerated.