Your guide to healthy living ...

Diabetes ... 1 out of 3 at Risk!

January 29, 2012

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that's becoming more of an epidemic. According to the American Diabetes Association, it's estimated that as of 2011 over 25 million of the U.S. population are diabetic. Another 79 million are in the prediabetes stage. Those numbers are staggering; that means 1 out of 3 of us will develop diabetes in our lifetime. True, we have power over these statistics. We can pass that piece of cake to our least favorite co-worker so they're the 3rd person who gets it. Let's see if they wizen up also.

Type 2 diabetes is not hereditary. If your parents have it, you may get it too if family meals involve an inherited recipe for chicken fried steak from grandma. To be clear, diabetes is a disease of lifestyle. You won't develop diabetes if you're exercising and eating right. Something such as staying in the sun too long is easier to grasp, because it has immediate consequences ... you will get a sunburn. But it's difficult for us to visualize how eating that cake or deep fried butter will take 2.7 days off your lifespan - adding up over time and leading to a shortened and debilitating life as a senior citizen. Speaking of deep fried butter, celebrity chef Paula Deen is in the news because that's her recipe. She has come out publicly to say she developed diabetes (and has been for several years now, but us knowing that would be bad for business). Most had to see that coming, but is nevertheless tragic and 100% avoidable. She was also quoted as saying she would not change how she cooks. Sure, it can be tough to summon the willpower to eat healthy most of the time. However I personally don't see a lot of appeal to eating her doughnut burger. Is it just me???

And if you already have diabetes, guess what - it's reversible! ... IF you can commit to a strict healthy lifestyle. My own retired mother was diagnosed with diabetes. That really was rock bottom for her. She was frustrated with her symptoms, and it had an effect on the whole family. But I worked with her to change a few basic things. She has seen many improvements including glucose levels in the healthy range. The plan was simple. Vegetables, not rice and potatoes. Baked fish, not bacon. Natural supplements, not prescription medications (under doctor's supervision). Daily aerobics, not bingo. You get the point. And yes, she still enjoys her life. There's a lot to experience out there, and it's about finding enjoyable foods and activities to replace those that are detrimental to your health. As much as possible try to stick to lean meats, healthy fats especially omega-3's, lots of veggies, some fruits, and limited grains. I prefer to get calcium from veggies, meats, and a small dose via supplementation. But if you must have dairy, keep it limited. Don't believe me? Burt Baskin (owner of Baskin-Robbins) was just as stubborn as Paula Deen with his ice cream. He died at the age of 54.

Being overweight, advanced age, and sedentary lifestyle are some of the things that increase your chances for developing diabetes. Be familiar with the risk factors, and see your doctor if you suspect you might be at risk. A simple blood test every few years can shed great insight on your health. If you hate needles, imagine being diabetic and having to check your blood daily for the rest of your life.

Look at every healthy meal, every workout, as a personal victory for you and your body. We already have that inner strength ... we put Hostess Twinkies out of business!