Diabetes Types – Blurring The Lines

I ran across this great article recently called “What Is In A Name?” from my awesome truth-telling friend, Steve Cooksey, the Diabetes Warrior (HERE).

The article talks about how, at one time, diabetes was classified differently and how/why that has changed.

When I went to nursing school, diabetes was classified as follows:
IDDM: Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
NIDDM: Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

And that classification worked for a long time because those with Type 1 were the ones who had an absolute NEED for insulin, while those with Type 2, as we know, typically OVER produce insulin for many many years.

So why did the classification need to change? As the article pointed out, primarily as a result of decades of poor dietary advice, the majority of those with Type 2 were becoming insulin dependent!!

Why would someone who over-produces insulin, NEED insulin? For two reasons:

  1. The poor lifestyle advice that leads to the need for huge insulin production, leads to insulin resistance, leading to the need for even more insulin to do the same job. And,
  2. After years of this insulin over-production, the pancreas “wears out,” insulin producing cells are destroyed. Therefore, insulin may need to be injected.

BOTTOM LINE…DUE TO POOR DIETARY ADVICE, THOSE WITH TYPE 2 BECOME INSULIN DEPENDENT (LIKE A PERSON WITH TYPE 1).

That is not all that is happening. People with Type 1 are often told from childhood to “eat like every other child and just cover with enough insulin.” Here’s the thing…the diet for the average child in America is leading to obesity and Type 2 (previously never seen in children). So it’s not good for ANY child!! After years of following this poor dietary advice and using large doses of injectable insulin, those with Type 1 will begin to become overweight and insulin resistant.

BOTTOM LINE…DUE TO POOR DIETARY ADVICE, THOSE WITH TYPE 1 BECOME INSULIN RESISTANT (LIKE A PERSON WITH TYPE 2).

No wonder the lines are becoming so blurred!!

What is at the heart of it?? Poor dietary advice!! The right dietary advice (if applied early enough) can often keep those with Type 2 from becoming insulin dependent. In fact, when adopting a healthy lifestyle, many people with Type 2 are able to manage their diabetes WITHOUT medication. The right dietary advice will also keep those with Type 1 from becoming insulin resistant. It can help both Types to maintain a healthy weight.

I think there needs to be a reclassification of diabetes Types as well, but with emphasis on cause. If we identify diabetes Types by cause, the focus on treatment will be clear.

  • Type 1 diabetes should be classified as “autoimmune” diabetes (not reversible, yet), insulin needed.
  • Type 2 diabetes should be classified as a “lifestyle” diabetes (preventable AND reversible).  In fact, the esteemed Dr. Robert Lustig, world renowned Pediatric Endocrinologist and obesity specialist, recently quipped that Type 2 should be called a “processed food disease.”  If we classify Type 2 in this way, it would put the focus on using lifestyle to treat and reverse Type 2 diabetes. The majority of lifestyle management would be directed toward diet, with the other factors being things such as exercise, proper sleep, stress control and balancing hormones.

Some might balk at calling Type 2 a “lifestyle” disorder, saying that it is strongly genetic. I feel your pain. Almost everyone in the last several generations in my family is Type 2. I DO find that I must work much harder than many of my healthy eating friends to keep my blood sugar and weight regulated. But as the saying goes, “genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger.” In other words, we can’t change what we have inherited. But we CAN do our best with what we have been handed…it doesn’t have to rule us or be our destiny. Through great effort, and by adopting a healthy lifestyle immediately upon diagnosis, I have been able to achieve non-diabetic health markers for several years. As a result, my doctor has removed diabetes from my diagnosis list.

So why is the right dietary advice so elusive?? As I have said before…diabetes is big business. And there are a lot of organizations and people in the BUSINESS of diabetes. Unfortunately, there is much money to be made when people are sick.  One of my friend’s has begun writing diabetes like this: DIABETE$.

Please, don’t line the pockets of organizations who are increasing their bank accounts on the very advice that increases your drug dependence and your waistline.

Wishing you health and happiness.

Suggested Reading…

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For more reading suggestions, see my recommended reading list  HERE

Asking For Your Kind Support

My Dear Friends,

As the creator of this site, and it’s companion social media page, I have gotten thousands of requests for information and help.  And I am so so happy to do it.  It is why this page was created.

Now, for an unfortunate reason, it is I who need to reach out to you for help.  I am hoping so much that I can count on anyone who is able to help.

As some of you may know, my brother is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer.   It has been an extremely difficult ordeal for both him, and his family, as well as all who love him, who are seeing him go through this.  As you can imagine, with both the pain associated with a cancer diagnosis and the harshness of the treatments, he is nearly unable to work or even perform many of his daily activities.  This, along with the huge medical costs associated with cancer treatments has caused an extreme financial burden for his family.

In order to assist him with this hardship, we have begun a fund raising campaign.  We have developed both a website where family, friends and any who wish to support this effort can go and make secure donations by nearly any means, including credit card.   We have also begun a Facebook page to make this campaign public.  The website and Facebook page will post regular updates to his condition, as well as include other family photos and memories.

I am reaching out to ask all who are able, to help in any way possible.  If you have ever benefited by this page in any way and wish to support this effort or just want to “pay it forward”, we would so greatly appreciate your giving of anything you are able to.  All donations will be so greatly appreciated.  Our family wishes to sincerely thank you in advance for your kind support.

To go to his secure funding website, please click HERE

To visit his fundraising Facebook page, please click HERE

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness.

Wishing you all health and happiness!

Does Anyone Hate Memes as Much As I Do?

When I teach low carb to folks to help them regain their health, my goal is only to educate so that people can make THEIR OWN, informed, decisions, NOT to coerce, or force them into this way of living.  And, if they try this way of life and don’t like it, or it doesn’t work for them, well, then I would want them to find the way that is best for them.  Just because this way of living works AMAZINGLY for ME, doesn’t mean that it will work for all people, or that everyone will be happy doing this.  I feel NO need to shame or guilt people into this way of living.

However, there are some folks out there that do just that.  And their #1 tool, RIDICULOUS MEMES! Memes that are insulting, belittling, narrow minded, ones that often quote studies with unsupported, biased claims (in the hopes that people will just believe what is on the meme instead of actually doing the research for themselves AND knowing that there are probably dozens of studies that came to an OPPOSITE conclusion of the one they are quoting).  (My article HERE “Why I Don’t Quote a Lot of Nutritional Studies”)

Why do people feel the need to insult or shame people into their way of thinking?  And if that way of living was SO GREAT, why do they need to SELL IT SO HARD by guilting people into it?  Really, no one is influenced by silly memes.  In fact, people usually just roll their eyes and take the person that posted the meme LESS seriously.  When I see a dumb meme, it just makes me think that the person cannot have an intelligent conversation on a topic so they just repost things that others have posted.

So, if you really want people to listen, give them something SUBSTANTIAL.

Instead of spending all this time making ridiculous memes, why don’t people truly educate others on all of the health benefits of the way of living they are proposing?  And not just by saying “I’ve never felt better.”  I have patients with diabetes who feel great when their blood sugar is 200.   Doesn’t mean that is healthy.

I know what way of living is best for me and I can back it up with proof that it has done some astounding things for my health.   That is why I have shared my lab results on this page from before and after my low carb journey.  In fact, I know MANY in the low carb community who do this.  The proof is in the pudding.  I think that is much more compelling than a dumb meme.

Memes are a way to get people to make decisions based on the conscience or beliefs of the one that posted them, NOT on evidence or proof (actually, they are are often designed to try to get people to ignore evidence and make a decision based on emotion instead.)

In regards to the meme above, I support 100% people’s right to make informed choices about their health based on their OWN beliefs and conscience, whatever that means to them, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, I don’t care, as long as the person made the decision after being well informed.  I DO NOT wish people to make UNINFORMED choices because they were shamed into a decision based on someone ELSE’S beliefs or conscience, posted on a meme.

On that note, I guess I’ll end with a meme of my own, lol!

What is the Problem? All Carbs? Or PROCESSED Carbs?

One of the arguments we hear against the low carb lifestyle is that there have been (and are) many cultures that have eaten a relatively high percentage of carbohydrates in their diets with relatively little disease. So that is used as an example of how the low carb lifestyle is supposedly an unnecessary fad.

Even proponents of the low carb lifestyle at times will say that it is not necessarily the carbs that are the problem, per se, but the processing that causes the problem. Dr. Jason Fung discusses both on his website and his book that “Mother Nature” packages the “antidote” with the “poison.” In other words, while, say, fruit is high in sugar (the “poison”), it also contains other nutrients, like fiber (the “antidote”) that have somewhat of a neutralizing effect.

I can agree with these arguments with some exceptions, which I will get to in a minute. I DO believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with whole foods that are higher in carbs. I DO believe there are people who can eat more whole food carbs in their diet and avoid disease (although avoidance of disease does not necessarily equal good health). I DO believe the bigger problem is all the processed carbs, not necessarily the whole food carbs.

If you go back 100 or 150 years, before heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes were household words, what did the diet primarily consist of? Whole foods. Meat, eggs and full fat dairy, vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy) and fruit. No Pop Tarts for breakfast, no soda, no dwarf wheat, no chain restaurant food or fast food, no super sized portions.

If we look closer at this time period, people also worked physically hard. They lived in a less toxic environment. One with fresh air and sunshine, not air conditioning and electronic devices. So in the context of a people who ate a diet without processed, refined carbs, very little if any sugar, a people that worked physically demanding jobs, people that didn’t overeat, got plenty of sunshine and rest, then yes, I agree that some whole foods that are higher in carbs probably didn’t pose much of a problem.

Unfortunately, most of us today, due to decades of poor dietary advice, are very metabolically damaged, are overweight or obese, or are of normal weight but are still very unhealthy (TOFI = thin on the outside, “fat” on the inside). We are a population that eats too much, too often, that grew up on Cap’N Crunch and skim milk for breakfast and pizza for lunch. A people who eat out too often, are sedentary, spend too much time indoors, never lift anything heavy, rarely get fresh air, get so little sunshine that we are vitamin D deficient, don’t get enough sleep because we spend too much time on our electronic devices, are exposed to endless toxins in our air, water and food, and are just so darn stressed out…

So for most of us, the majority of carbs can be a problem, not just the processed ones,

Let’s contrast that to maybe a child today that is raised on a whole food lifestyle that still allows starches and fruit, like paleo. A child that is of normal weight, exercises daily, gets outdoors often, and gets adequate sleep. In this context, I really don’t think an apple or some sweet potato is a huge problem.

The answer is, you have to look at a person’s entire history and lifestyle to determine how carbs will affect them personally. That’s why there is no “one size fits all” approach. Because of my family genetics and many years of unhealthy living, I have a HUGE intolerance for carbs. I personally cannot tolerate fruit or root vegetables without very problematic blood sugar or weight gain issues. So you can’t point to a culture that eats a lot of rice and conclude that if they are healthy doing it, then so should I be.

So yes, when it comes to ALL people, the problem really is in the processing. No one needs processed and refined carbs like EVERYTHING made with flour, sugar and other refined grains. But over and above that, for those people that are metabolically unhealthy (which just happens to be the majority of the American population), then even many of the whole food carbs could likely be a problem. Unfortunately, the “antidote” may not be enough to overcome the “poison” for the majority of us. And no amount of studies comparing us to people with CULTURES THAT ARE NOTHING LIKE OURS, will change that sad fact. The fact that some remote group of people can eat sweet potatoes and thrive has NOTHING to do with whether I can eat a sweet potato and control my blood sugar (unfortunately, I can’t).

That is why in addition to encouraging folks to eat real food, I encourage them to “eat by their meter.” In other words, find out for themselves what their carbohydrate tolerance is and then eat in a way that will allow them to achieve and maintain optimal health markers.

It doesn’t matter who you are, if the foods you are eating (even if they are whole foods) are causing unsafe elevations in your blood sugar, you have two choices: 1. stop eating those foods, a solution that will improve your health, or 2. take medicines that will force your body to be able to more easily tolerate those foods…a process that will worsen your health.

Seems like a no-brainer…

For me, I have discovered that in order for me to achieve my health goals, I have to eliminate ALL sugar (natural or processed) as well as ALL starches. However, as they say, YMMV.

So please stop telling me that the low carb lifestyle that I live, one that helps me maintain near perfect health markers, is a a fad or unnecessary because the ancient Chinese ate 60% of their diet as starchy carbs. I didn’t live in THAT era, in THAT country, with THAT culture and THOSE genetics. I’m a typical American who was raised on the USDA low fat food pyramid which led to obesity, diabetes and a host of other health conditions, ALL of which my low carb lifestyle eliminated.

Once again, for ALL people, processed carbs should be eliminated as much as possible. They are poison (with no antidote, lol). But for me, and probably the majority of the people who follow this page (which is the demographic this page is designed for), our bodies will react to that apple almost as badly as it would to the Pop Tart, and therefore, unfortunately, has to be eliminated too.  For us, all sugar (even natural) and food that turns quickly into sugar (starches) are all…well, still sugar 😦

American Diabetes Association – Giving Conflicting Advice

As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I keep up with reading the published standards from the “leading” diabetes organizations (doesn’t mean I agree with them, but I read them).  In reading the most recent published standards from the American Diabetes Association, I was surprised to find their official position statement on healthy eating is nearly IDENTICAL to mine (yep!)  It is as follows:

“To promote and support healthful eating patterns, emphasizing a variety of nutrient dense foods in appropriate portion sizes, in order to improve overall health and specifically to:

  • Attain individualized glycemic (blood glucose), blood pressure and lipid goals
  • Achieve and maintain body weight goals
  • Delay or prevent complications of diabetes.”

Why was I so surprised to read this?  Because almost nothing that they teach to the public aligns with their OWN position statement! 

I want to analyze this position statement very closely because, as I said, it so closely mimics with what I teach, namely 1. EAT REAL FOOD (without overeating) and 2. EAT TO YOUR METER.  It SEEMS like the ADA is completely on target with this position statement.

So why do I NOT support the ADA?

It’s not the position statement that is the problem.  It is how the ADA’s advice is completely contradictory to it.  Let’s take a closer look at this statement, and then we will see how closely (or should I say NOT closely) the ADA lives up to it’s own position on healthy eating…

“NUTRIENT DENSITY”

Ok, we all remember my #1 rule right?  EAT REAL FOOD.  That is what they seem to be saying here as well.  Choose the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.  Why?  Because if you eat nutrient-poor foods, you will have to eat a LOT more food overall to make sure that you are getting adequate nutrients.  By choosing nutrient-dense foods, you get “more bang for your buck.”  Nutrient density is SO IMPORTANT.  I once read that if a person were to eat by the old USDA food pyramid, (with its base of UP TO 11 SERVINGS of processed, refined, nutrient-devoid foods like: bread, pasta, cereal and crackers), they would have to consume approximately 27,000 calories per day to meet their nutrient needs.  Well, I honestly don’t know how to verify that, but let’s take an average daily intake of 2,000 calories with up to 11 servings of nutrient poor food.   Yes, you would either need to eat MUCH more food to get your nutrients, or pick better quality foods.  (Now I know we don’t use this food pyramid anymore, but the MyPlate is not much better, only in a different format.)  CLEARLY, nutrient density is KEY.

So, how do you translate that?  EAT REAL FOOD.  Eat food that doesn’t sit on the shelf in a box or bag (or even most cans).  Eat food that either has NO label or one that has less than a handful of ingredients, all of which you can identify.

However, contrary to their position statement, the ADA continues to encourage large amounts of sugary and starchy carbohydrates in each meal (3-4 servings of them), along with processed and refined high carb snacks (like baked chips and light popcorn)…and don’t even get me started on their dessert suggestions (see below).  Certainly not nutrient dense foods.

“APPROPRIATE PORTIONS”

So, what about “portion sizes?”   Does anyone HATE the words PORTION CONTROL as much as I do?  How many of you think of this image when you hear “portion control.”

A close cousin to “portion control” is “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.” (My article HERE.)  In other words, it’s ok to have junk, just have “small portions” or eat it in “moderation” (whatever that is.  This guy is eating what HIS definition of “moderation” is (he used to eat two stacks like that, but he cut back…lol.)  You can see how useless the word moderation is.

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Enjoy this comical video on “serving sizes.”  LOL!

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We all know that people are going to occasionally eat things that are bad for them, but this should be left to their personal choice, NOT ENCOURAGED.

To me, a better way of saying portion control is saying: “eat only when you are hungry” and “don’t overeat.”  How can someone figure out a portion size for you if they don’t know what it takes to fill you up?  In other words, eat to YOUR satisfaction level, but don’t eat until you have to loosen your belt.

“GLYCEMIC CONTROL”

Next up, attaining glycemic control.  There is nowhere that the ADA is further away from its own position statement than when it comes to glycemic control.  First of all, the targets set for glycemic control are arbitrary at best, extremely harmful at worst.  With glycemic targets of up to 130 at fasting and up to 180 post meal, the ADA is NOWHERE NEAR helping people attain TRUE glycemic control, since normal fasting blood sugar is <90 and normal post meal blood glucose is below about 110.  You simply cannot state that you care about glycemic control and place targets 2-3 times that of normal blood sugar.  Many, many studies show SIGNIFICANT increased risks of heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, cancer, alzheimer’s, brain shrinkage, blindness and amputations just increasing from an A1c of 5% to 6%.  By the time most people are diagnosed with diabetes (A1c of 6.5%), they already have significant metabolic disease and complications.  So, why promote an A1c of up to 7% as “glycemic control?”

In addition, the diet that is often promoted by the ADA will IN NO WAY help people achieve true glycemic control.  (See some examples below)

Here is a confusing statement on the ADA website “In the past, people with diabetes were told to completely avoid sugar. Experts thought that eating sugar would raise blood glucose levels very high.  Research around this issue has shown that while the type of carbohydrate can affect how quickly blood glucose levels rise, the total amount of carbohydrate you eat affects blood glucose levels more than the type. Now experts agree that you can substitute small amounts of sugar for other carbohydrate containing foods into your meal plan and still keep your blood glucose levels on track.”

(That is similar to the calories in calories out theory where people claim that the TYPE of calorie is not that important, as long as you don’t exceed the NUMBER of calories you should have.  Nothing could be further from the truth.)

So let me get this straight,  30g of carbs from vegetables…

Will raise my blood sugar more than 27g of carbohydrates from, predominantly, sugar…

Anyone beg to differ?

Why is a diabetes organization ASSISTING people in figuring out HOW to replace their healthy foods in their meal plan with sugar?  How about we encourage healthy eating and leave the indiscretions to people’s own personal choice…you know, instead of encouraging it by using words like “portions” and “moderation.”  Why do they never say “use portion control on your broccoli” or “eat your salad in moderation.”  Because “portion” and “moderation” are just code words for junk.

“BLOOD PRESSURE, LIPIDS, WEIGHT CONTROL AND AVOIDING COMPLICATIONS”

Next up, blood pressure, lipid, and weight control, as well as avoidance of complications.  Well, if you don’t promote NORMAL blood glucose targets, you will not achieve ANY of these goals, PERIOD.  No need to comment further.  You must achieve true glycemic control in order to achieve any of these.

Ok ADA, so I agree with your entire position statement…so what’s the problem?

Let’s see if ADA’s advice matches their official position.

Recently, the ADA published a “diabetes friendly” sugar-laden dessert recipe on Facebook.  I will not get into too much detail about this because there are already two excellent articles HERE and HERE.  After the post, hundreds of people protested the recipe being called “diabetes friendly.”  There were so many negative comments that the ADA removed the post, not because they felt anything was wrong with the recipe, but because, as they stated, it “lacked context.”   The real reason is that the post was an utter public embarrassment of their advice.  (In the end, they still could not admit that their advice was bad.)

Let’s see if that “diabetes friendly” recipe measured up to their own standards:

Nutrient dense: the ingredients were rice, sugar, milk and sweetened condensed milk (or, in other words…sugar, sugar, sugar and sugar).  Oh yeah, it had cinnamon!  That will balance out the blood sugar after the 38g of sugar (wink wink).  Fail.

Portion control:  well, I gotta give it to you here.  The portion WAS controlled.  In fact, for 38g of carbs/sugar, only 1/4 cup of rice was split into 10 portions.  Now, I know rice swells, but not that much.  Can you imagine how SMALL the portion was, yet it still had 38g of carbs?  Score 1 point for portion control, lol!

Glycemic targets: Can even a person WITHOUT diabetes eat this recipe and maintain normal blood sugar?  Doubt it.  Fail.

Normal blood pressure, lipids, and weight control, as well as prevention of complications: once again, without glycemic control, these goals are not attainable.  Fail.

Here is another example.  Here is a page out of the American Diabetes Association’s Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating written by Hope Warshaw, a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Medical Science who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management (bet you were wondering what all those acronyms meant…).

Folks, there is almost no one’s advice I would stay FARTHER away from than this woman’s advice.  She is TRULY a wolf in sheep’s clothing…and the worst kind because she is usually at the head of a major diabetes organization and a person in whose position we should rely on for helpful, accurate information.

So, here is one of her “healthy and hearty” choices for eating out (don’t worry about going somewhere and getting real food, like salmon and salad, just go to Dunkin’ Doughnuts)…simply choose TWO glazed cake doughnuts for 70g of carbs (sugar)!  As if one glazed cake doughnut wasn’t bad enough, she recommends two.

One question…what school did she study nutrition in?  To call two glazed cake doughnuts “healthy” is a crime that should be punishable by law for a nutritionist.  Once again, people are going to eat unhealthy foods at times.  But they are going to do it EVEN MORE if someone tells them they can have their doughnut AND good health at the same time (“have your cake and eat it too”, lol!)  How do you get SUPER healthy, eat a whole dozen?

So what is it ADA?  Do you want people to eat nutrient-dense foods that will help them control their blood sugar, weight and health markers and avoid complications?  Or are you going to keep promoting PURE JUNK as diabetes and heart friendly foods…we are getting confused!

What the ADA may not be aware of, is that there IS a small band of dietitians, nutritionists, diabetes educators, physicians and nurses who are actually upholding that position statement, DESPITE the ADA’s continued poor advice to the public.

It’s time that the ADA follows suit.

Make Your Voices Heard With Your Wallet

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I had to record this for you folks.

I love how the newscaster here states “if you are eating breakfast cereal, you are part of a dying breed.”

She has no idea how perfectly she hit the nail on the head. Folks that are consuming bowls full of sugar laden garbage for breakfast are dying earlier. In fact, it has been said that this generation of children will be the first in a long time to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. But the tide is turning. Cereal companies are facing continual record losses as “people are moving away from high carb breakfasts to foods that contain more protein and are fresher.”

Also hitting record low sales is LITE YOGURT!! Yay!! The health “halo” has been removed and people are seeing this junk for what it is, a cup of sugar. In fact, an article I read quoted that this is due to the fact that “yogurt with fat just tastes better” and that declines in “light” and “diet” products “reflect the fact that people are moving away from “calorie counting” in search of “calories that count.”

This just goes to show that our voices are not heard until we speak with our dollars.  The more we spend on whole, fresh, and even organic foods, the increased demand will drive prices down.  I often hear people say they cannot afford organic.  And for so many, that is true (it is often for me as well).  But I’d just like to plant a thought in your mind.  A few years ago, I decided to track how much our family spent on ALL food, both from the grocery store, and from eating out.  I found that in one month, our family spent nearly $450 eating out, as well as about twice that much on groceries.  I discovered that if we didn’t eat out, we had much more available funds for better quality food.  So, that might be something you could determine for yourselves.  Just remember to buy the best quality food you can afford.  This way we can speak with our wallet, letting food manufacturers know that we don’t want their processed junk!

Keep on “speaking!”

Eat real food 🙂

Two Years of Low Carb RN

Hi folks!  Have been so busy over the past month that I almost forgot an important milestone for Low Carb RN, and that is, our two year anniversary (earlier this month)!

I wanted to say again thank you to so many people who have been so instrumental on my own personal health journey and those who are helping so many others to do the same.  This is my last year’s anniversary post (HERE) as well as my “special thanks” post (HERE) and without reiterating the exact same thing, I wanted to thank all of these folks again.  They remain my biggest supporters and dear friends.

Since that time, I have come to know and have grown close to hundreds of folks in the low carb world who are doing so much to help others, such as my friends Amy Berger, Lisa MarcAurele, Dr. Michael Tremba, Dr. Keith Runyan, Sandy Bahr, Bill Rust, Tim Rice, Ivor Cummins, Marty Kendall, Jeremy Fazackerley, Jamie Moskowitz, Jeff Cyr, Mike Julian, Gary Snow, Ron Gillespie and Ken Gordon and so, so, so many others…this is just off the top of my head.  If I missed you it was not intentional.  Just know that if you are in the low carb crusade, I appreciate you and I’m here with you…and proud of it.

And thanks to the readers out there.  Please share the site with others.  It has helped hundreds of thousands of people, although I wish I could say millions, because it is here as a free resource for anyone who needs it.  So feel free to share.

And, if you see anything that needs improving or you would like other topics added, let me know J

Here is to another great year of healthy living!

Why Are You Relying on Your Doctor (or Nurse) for Nutrition Advice?

I would like to perform brain surgery on you.  Would you let me?  No?  Why not?  The answer is obvious.  Although I am a healthcare professional, I have not been trained in brain surgery.  Ok.  Well, I’m not a doctor either, so maybe this is not a fair question.

So, how about your general practitioner or your primary care provider?  That person is a doctor.  Would you let them perform brain surgery on you?  No?  Why not?  The answer is just as obvious.  We do not rely on a healthcare professional to do something OUTSIDE of their training OR to provide us with advice OUTSIDE of what they have been educated in and are experienced in.

Then why are we relying on our doctors (or nurses) to provide us with nutrition education, when they have not been educated to do so?

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Doctors are NOT educated in absolutely everything they need to do to help people achieve good health.  In fact, medical education is geared toward recognizing symptoms and matching disease process with MEDICAL (not nutritional) treatments.  According to the American Medical Association, only 27% of the medical universities in the U.S. offer the recommended 25 hours of nutrition education.  But even for those receiving such education, it does not include extensive advice about healthy eating.

For Registered Nurses, nutrition is not a requirement.  Surprised?  (Some BSN programs do require one nutrition class).  When I took nutrition in nursing school, it wasn’t about how to eat healthy.  It was about how metabolism works, digestion, absorption, etc.  It approached nutrition from a chemistry standpoint, ie, what happens to a carbohydrate (or protein or fat) when it is consumed, how does it break down in the body and what type of processes does the body use to metabolize that nutrient.  If  there was any information about “healthy eating” at all (maybe a chapter or two), it would have been the same standard, outdated, dis-proven low fat, low cholesterol, low calorie mantra.

So, why are we relying on these healthcare professionals for nutrition advice?  A more pointed question is, why are these healthcare professionals OFFERING advice when they really have not been educated to do so, (KNOWING that patient’s treat advice from their healthcare professionals as GOSPEL?)  Isn’t giving advice about something you know nothing about, a form of malpractice?

This really grinds my gears because often when giving nutritional advice to family members or friends, they will say, “well, I will see what my doctor has to say.”   Ugh!!!  OK, while you are at it, please ask them how they would perform brain surgery, because you are likely to get just as accurate an answer.

That is not to say that there aren’t doctors (and nurses) out there who can rightly give nutrition advice.  But is it advice that they learned in school?  No.  Doctors and nurses who are educated in nutrition (specifically to prevent, treat and reverse chronic disease) have taken it upon themselves to receive that education.  I have been pleased to find a few handfuls of these great docs and healthcare professionals around the world who not only challenge the current nutritional status quo, but also to make it their practice of using nutrition as medicine (for a list of such healthcare professionals, see HERE).

As a nurse, I have spent more time in nutrition self-education, and the use of nutrition to prevent, treat and reverse chronic disease, than I did on my original nursing degree, that is to say, THOUSANDS of hours.  And even with this, I don’t have all the answers for all people and every disease process, as our knowledge of nutrition is ever-evolving.

Don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally see my doctor.  She is awesome.  She does just what I expect her to do with how she has been trained to care for me.  I am not against the medical establishment.  In fact, I am a part of it.  But, I use it for what it was designed to be used for.  For example, if I have strep throat, yes, I see my doctor.  If I cut myself with a chain saw, yep, I’m going to the doctor.  But most of what people see their doctors for today is for chronic, lifestyle-related diseases…those that need a nutritional (not a medical) solution.  For that, your doctor most often cannot help because they have not been trained on the nutritional treatment of disease, UNLESS they educated themselves.  (In fact, have come to know SO MANY people that are not even healthcare professionals that have become SO knowledgeable about health and nutrition that I’d be more willing to listen to one of them, than my doctor on this subject.)

So please, unless you have a physician or nurse who has taken it upon themselves to become educated in the use of nutrition to prevent, treat and reverse disease, I suggest that you educate yourselves.  I would NEVER ask my doc a nutrition question.  In fact, when I go to see her (once or twice a year for labs), I TEACH HER.

Your best bet is to become your own nutrition and health expert.  It’s ok to be the most knowledgeable person in the room (about preventative health and nutrition) when you are sitting in your doctor’s office, lol!!  No one will be a bigger advocate for your health and wellness than YOU!  And no one will know what advice best suits you, except YOU.  When you try nutrition advice out on yourself and you see how it affects your health markers, you become the expert of YOU.

So please, don’t rely on life saving advice from a person who is not in a position to give it.

Be happy and healthy!

Taking a Break From Social Media

So folks I have come to a difficult decision that has been on my mind for nearly a year. But I think this decision is actually going to benefit all of you in the end.

I’m going to step back from social media for a bit. This in no way means that I’m going away. In fact, I plan on using some of that time to improve, update and add new content to the website. Here’s why I have made this decision.

For those of you that don’t know, I am a wife and mother to two school-aged children and step mom to three adult children (from whom I have three beautiful grandchildren). I homeschool both of my school-aged children, I run my own business providing diabetes education and training services and I am also actually employed by a medical clinic for whom I provide diabetes education as well. So with all of that, I work about 50-60 hours per week. In addition, I have developed and solely manage 3 nutrition, health and wellness websites, run a social media page and manage 5 online support groups, serving over 10,000 people. In my “spare” time, lol, I participate in volunteer work, typically every week, with my family in my community. Finally, in my efforts to keep my family healthy, I try to cook the majority of everything that my family eats from scratch.

Last year, some events happened (my husband’s heart surgery, the death of my grandson) that caused me to start thinking about the value of my time. I have two children that will soon begin entering the teen years. They need more of my time. I have a patient husband of 17 years that deserves more of my time. I have a brother with a recent diagnosis of metastatic cancer. He deserves more of my time. I have parents in their 70’s. They deserve more of my time.

So what is it about social media that takes so much time? Every month, I answer probably 100 or more requests for information and help. While I’m very happy to do this, about 95% of the questions posed are already answered on my website. I have spent thousands of hours in research and development of this website, and I would love to increase its use to manage the number of information requests I get.

Next, when I post to social media, I actively participate in the discussions that ensue. I read every comment and respond to many of them, at the very least, “liking” comments to show my appreciation for folks participating in the discussion. I diligently monitor my page and all 5 of my support groups for inappropriate comments, posts, or spam. I also review the profile, likes and groups of every person who requests to join my support groups to see if they appear legitimate to try to keep spammers and trolls out of the groups. Finally, I spend a great deal of time reviewing new information from my colleagues in the low carb world in order to share updated relevant information, as well as looking for new recipes to test and share.

I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now. I do not sell books, or cookbooks, or meal plans. I do this in my own “free” (lol) time strictly because of my passion to help people. And I will CONTINUE to help people free of charge. But I feel that social media is not the best place to do that.  I find that time spent on social media is less productive than time spent elsewhere.

So I will be significantly reducing my social media activity. I will leave my social media page up, as it will contain valuable and helpful links to my website. I will check in on social media, but only infrequently. In return, I’m going to make better use of my time. First and foremost, I will give more to my family.

However, after that, I have lots of new plans for expansion of this website. I think the topics of low carb and diabetes are well covered here. I will continue to review that content and update it as needed. But I want to expand the site in the areas of:

  • Diabetes in children
  • Therapeutic use of the ketogenic diet (ie. for cancer)
  • Natural health solutions and the therapeutic use of essential oils
  • Women’s (hormonal) health, and
  • Functional medicine.

So I’m not going anywhere. This website has been paid in advance for many years to come! Lol!! I just want to prioritize my time so that people (particularly my family), get my best.

I HIGHLY recommend that you follow this website so that you will be kept informed of new content, as I will probably not share it through social media. To follow this site, simply type your email in the “follow” box and hit enter. If you get an email to confirm your request, confirm it. Your email address will remain private.

Then, make good use of the site. Use the search box or the table of contents to search for answers to your questions. And if you can’t find them, feel free to contact me through the contact page (HERE).

While I have loved getting into lively discussions on social media, or sharing my random thoughts (or rants, lol), I have discovered that it is not the most productive thing I can be doing. Thanks so much for participating with me and stay tuned for great things to come!

Wishing you health and happiness.

What Ever Happened To Exercise?

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I find it strange that when I write posts about exercise, I actually get more criticism than support. It truly baffles me.

I think what has happened is that, just as people are (rightfully) rebelling against the age old advice not to eat fat, they are rebelling against the adage “eat less and move more.” And they should. Eat less and move more is not a solution. It’s not about eating LESS, it’s about eating the RIGHT KINDS of foods. No matter how little processed, sugar-laden food you eat, it’s still bad for you. It’s not about eating bad foods less, it’s about eating good foods 95% (or more) of the time, and eating what your body needs to be nourished and healthy. “Eat less” is a ridiculous oversimplification of what the body really needs. And “move more” is NOT a solution when you have a poor diet. So I understand the backlash against that lousy advice.

But, once you have cleaned up your diet, ridding yourself of processed foods, sugar, grains and carbs that spike blood glucose, then what is wrong with “moving more?”

I’m not saying use exercise to try to cover a bad diet.

I’m not saying use exercise as an excuse to splurge.

I’m not even saying to count on exercise as your means of weight loss.

I’m saying, once your diet is right, why NOT move more? (barring any physical limitations). Can someone please tell me one thing WRONG with getting MORE exercise, or even SOME exercise? (Now, I’m also not talking about excessive exercise. Just your basic 1/2 hour of vigorous movement daily.)

The benefits of exercise are just to numerous to mention.

I’m going to steal a great list from Dr. Mark Hyman:

  • “It makes your cells and muscles more sensitive to insulin so that you don’t need as much. Less insulin = less belly fat.
  • It reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol and you become insulin resistant and store belly fat. Too much cortisol also makes you crave sugar and carbs and seek comfort food.
  • If you do interval training (going fast, then slow), you can speed up your metabolism and burn more calories all day long, even while you sleep.
  • Strength training builds muscle, and muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat.
  • Exercise improves memory, learning and concentration.
  • Vigorous exercise is a better anti-depressant than Prozac.
  • Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Exercise reduces inflammation (the cause of almost every disease of aging).
  • Exercise boosts detoxification of environmental chemicals.
  • Exercise balances hormones and reduces breast and other common cancers.
  • Exercise improves sexual function.”

So where is the downside?

I’m going to tell you an interesting tidbit about me. Every time in my life where I instituted an exercise regimen, I lost weight. But, in the past, my diet was poor, so my overall health did not improve much. Exercise NEVER covers a poor diet. When I went low carb, I lost 80 lbs with absolutely NO exercise. My body responded extremely well to getting carbs very low because my diet prior was VERY VERY heavy in carbs. That initially made me think that exercise wasn’t really necessary.  (Maybe many of you are at that point).

But that was about five years ago. I found out later, for me anyways, that MAINTAINING weight loss over a long period of time, is MUCH HARDER than losing it to begin with. So I had to pull out all the stops and get active to maintain what I had achieved. I have now found that as I approach middle age, there are even more challenges to maintaining weight loss. I have to also get enough sleep, manage my stress, and keep hormones balanced (things I’m not always able to do. But that is a subject for another day, lol!)

“I don’t like exercise” you say? Have you ever heard the expression that you only do “something enough to hate it?” That is extremely applicable to exercise. If you don’t do it regularly enough to experience the benefits, you won’t like it. It will always seem like work and you won’t have much to show for it. I know, you’re tired and have no energy. But if you make exercise a REGULAR part of your routine, YOU WILL like it, you WILL have enough energy for it. And the excuse “I don’t have time.” I don’t even address that. The average person watches 5-6 hours of television daily. Just 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening may be all you need to get going. There is time. You know the old saying “If it is important to you, you will make time. If it is not important to you, you will make excuses.”

So, what type of exercise should you do? Well, that is up to you. But I find the most beneficial exercises for me are interval training and strength training. I do cardio interval exercise for 1/2 hour almost every day. Most recently, I have been splitting this up into two 15 minute segments after meals daily, most days. It’s quick and very effective. Then 3 times per week, I do strength training. I try to work at the max intensity I am able to, but I keep my movements very simple. As I have gotten older, my coordination, balance and flexibility are not as good as they once were. But my regularity in doing the exercise is helping me improve in all of these areas.

If you have physical limitations, tailor your exercise regimen to fit your abilities. Most people can walk for exercise. If you can do that, start there. Then change it to interval style, increasing intensity, then maybe add weights. Try to continually challenge yourself. When your routine gets too easy, increase intensity or resistance.

And it’s not just structured exercise that is beneficial. Adding more activity every day can help as well. While being sedentary IN ITSELF is not the CAUSE of the obesity epidemic, is there anyone out there who wouldn’t agree that being sedentary is just not good for us? So take the dog for a walk (your pets need exercise too), use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the farthest parking spot away from your destination and walk in, get up and move during commercial breaks of your favorite television show, etc. Find ways to be less sedentary. Your body will thank you 😉

So while exercise is not the ANSWER to weight loss and good health, it is certainly ONE of the KEY elements. Maybe 2017 will be the year that we can renew interest in this great health boosting activity.

Wishing you health and happiness!