Tag Archives: Diabetes

Diabetes… a modern plague

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day – blue sky and sunshine and warm temperatures.

blue skies

I also woke up to the radio news full of the latest medical opinion saying that Diabetes is causing the National Health Service too much money and that up to 750 people per day in the UK are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.   I would provide a link to the news if I could find one, but I can’t seem to find it on the BBC website.  I find this interesting bearing in mind how often it was on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.  However, moving on to the subject of this blog post.

 

There is no denying that more people are being diagnosed with this serious condition.  I suspect there are more than the obvious “It’s all about Obesity” issues in play here though.

diabetes

First, I fear that people believe that diabetes isn’t actually that serious.  Wrong.  It is very serious.  People can die from the complications resulting from diabetes.  You can go blind from diabetic glaucoma.  You can lose a limb from the circulation issues surrounding diabetes.  This is serious stuff people.  Not to mention when you have to inject yourself every time you eat with insulin.  That thought alone makes me shudder.  The fact that some people brush off diabetes as “not that serious” means that when the doctor tells their patient that their blood sugar levels are putting them at risk, people just ignore them and carry on regardless.

 

Second, I have seen from my own medical appointments that the doctors are reducing the blood sugar threshold’s so that more people are being diagnosed with diabetes because their blood sugar numbers are over the new limits.  I know this because when my Father was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the required number for his blood sugar to be considered under control was 8.  By the time he died, two years ago it was 6.  That is quite a big difference.

from fabulouscampaign.blogspot.com

from fabulouscampaign.blogspot.com

Then we have the lifestyle issues.  Obesity is probably the first target for most people.  You probably all know that I am overweight.  According to the stupid BMI calculations (which are total garbage, but that is another ranty blog post entirely) I am morbidly obese.  The medical establishment therefore tell me I am going to be diabetic and I am going to die early.  I personally think this is a pile of horse hocky.  My weight is higher than I would like it to be, yes, but I am healthy as a horse, I have tonnes of energy and the side of the family I take after are all phenomenally long lived.  I have also been pre-diabetic (you may know it as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X) for 21 years.  According to the medical textbooks, I should have been diabetic after 7 years.  Well, suck on that Doctors… because I am not.  I am still fine.  Every single fasting glucose test I have ever had comes up with normal numbers.

 

I personally think that the biggest issue for the upsurge in diabetes is our society’s reliance on convenience foods.  In any convenience food there is a huge amount of hidden fat, sugar and salt.  All three of these ingredients effect your health.  I am lucky; I am a capable cook, but I know a lot of people who simply cannot cook anything.  At all.  They may not even have an oven or a hob, just a microwave.  How on earth can you have a healthy diet when you don’t eat food that you prepare yourself?  It is terrible to think of a generation of children not being able to make scrambled egg on toast.

ggrandmother food

Another problem is the fact that the convenience food is so much less expensive than proper food.  Just go to your local supermarket and do a cost comparison.  It is a frightening concept that junk is cheap and good food is expensive.  I know a lot of people who are suffering from hard economic times and they are trying to find cheaper ways to eat.  Luckily, I have found http://www.mortgagefreeinthree.com, which is an amazing source of fabulous recipes for greatly reduced costs.  www.agirlcalledjack.com is another great resource as well.

 

As for me, I am going to continue with what I am doing.  I am losing weight (frustratingly slowly) and I am going to continue to keep on the right side of the diabetes diagnosis.  Partly because I want to live a long and healthy life, but mostly to prove the doctors completely and utterly WRONG.

 

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Please… pass the Gin!

Okay, so 8 in the morning is a bit early, but the spice I am going to write about today is what gives Gin its very distinctive flavour.  All hail the juniper berry.

juniper berries

I am not a huge fan of Gin.  I had a very bad  time with Gin nearly 20 years ago and I never wish to repeat it thank you very much indeed, but I do have some juniper berries lying about.  I use them when I make a game stew, or roast Venison, but even so, I want to see what else juniper berries can do.  I have to tell you, I didn’t think they would be up to much.

 

I was wrong!  What an interesting little berry.  Juniper is grown on a bush, common in Europe and North America and it has a very distinctive smell.  Apparently you can make medicinal preparations from the extract of juniper berries as well as essential oil.

dried juniper berries

Traditionally juniper has been used for digestive problems including upset stomach and intestinal gas as well as heartburn, bloating and loss of appetite.  It stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, so it can help to manage diabetes, and can help to regulate appetite.    It is useful in treating Gastro Intestinal infections as it is anti bacterial as well as potentially being anti-inflammatory.  Apparently it also sees off intestinal worms.  Juniper has also been used to treat snakebites as it is useful for numbing localised pain.  It has also been used as a diuretic.

 

How you take juniper needs to be considered carefully.  As Gin it is not ideal.  And do not use for longer then 4 weeks in any case as it can cause issues.    Personally I think I shall continue to use it in cooking.

 

 

Going back. Again.

Today, I start back at the gym.  I gave up going to the gym back in November when I got ill, with that we think was glandular fever.  I am heading back to the gym, like lots of other people, after the post-Christmas New Year’s Resolution rush to get fit.  My plan is to use the combination of exercise and portion control to get fighting fit in preparation for becoming a Mum via adoption.

50 reasons

On the basis that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got, I am searching for Motivation to help me when I get the inevitable attack of the CBAs (Can’t be Asked).  Where do I go for short sharp inspiration?  My favourite Pinterest of course!  It came up with the goods.  50 reasons to exercise.  I won’t trail through the whole 50, because otherwise I will spend all my day at the computer, and not go to the gym!  Here, instead, are the edited highlights.

 

Exercise makes you feel happier through the release of endorphins.  It improves your self esteem, because you are achieving something as well as making yourself look better.  If you are studying and want to boost you learning, then get with your books and get on the stationary bike!  Exercise lifts your mood, keeps your brain fit, reduces stress and boosts your immune system.

exercise advice

It also apparently has anti-ageing effects and boosts your creative thinking.  It improves sleeping patterns, helps to control addictions, improves your eating habits and improves your posture.  Exercise can also keep you focussed in life and strengthens your bones.

 

If you exercise regularly, your cholesterol levels improve, you lower your risk of certain cancers, you can lower high blood pressure without resorting to drugs, it reduces your risk of diabetes, can fight the onset of dementia, eases back pain and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

exercise

Some obvious ones now.  Exercise increases your energy and endurance, improves sport performance, improves pain resistance and lessens fatigue.  Also, aerobic exercise improves oxygen supply to blood cells.

 

Do I think that these reasons will help motivate me?  Well, hopefully.  I also need to keep my eye on the prize;  I want to feel like I have the energy to keep up with a small person (or people) when they come into my life.  I also want to feel better about myself.  But the main thing I have to remember is to break the habit of a lifetime and not do too much, too soon and burn up or burn out.

pool

So, on that note, I am off to try out the exercise bikes (slowly), maybe the treadmills (for some walking) and get in the pool and do some lengths.  After all that, I am going to treat myself to a sit in the steam room!

 

 

 

Just a spoonful of sugar…

Well, it would be okay if it was JUST a spoonful of sugar, but according to today’s media, it isn’t.  In fact, a contributing factor in the rise of obesity is that sugar is hidden everywhere, in lots of the things we eat and drink, thinking they are healthy for us or they are an acceptable occasional treat.  Here is a link to one article, but to be fair, it is EVERYWHERE today.  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/09/obesity-campaign-cut-sugar-processed-foods  They are even saying it is as dangerous and as addictive tobacco.

from the Daily Mail

from the Daily Mail

There is a new group of high profile of scientists and doctors who have launched a group called Action on Sugar.  They are campaigning for the food companies to reduce the amount of sugar that is in everyday products, like the soup, like cereals, like soft drinks.  A similar group had great success with the campaign to reduce salt in food.  Apparently, if the food manufacturers reduce the sugar slowly, then people won’t notice.  Our taste buds will adapt themselves.

Sugar causes more problems than just extra calories, leading to excess weight.  We all know that sugar causes tooth decay, but eating a lot of sugar in childhood increases the risk of those children developing fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes later on in life.  In fact, some of the scare stories in the tabloids have stated that there are more children developing these before adolescence.  If you take in a lot of sugar, in any form, you can build insulin resistance and that means you are on the path to getting type 2 Diabetes, unless you change your diet.  It is sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X.  Insulin Resistance means losing weight is INCREDIBLY difficult, among other things.

from Ocado.com website

from Ocado.com website

I was horrified to learn that there is the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar in Heinz Tomato Soup.  Good grief.  When I make tomato soup from scratch, no sugar enters the mix.  No wonder my soup tastes different, despite my best efforts.  Needless to say, sugar will NOT feature in my recipe going forward.  I do not need to eat any more calories!

So sugar is scary, and addictive, and the fact there is so much sugar in manufactured foods means that they need to reduce the amount they use.  Okay.  I can understand that argument.  I have a slightly more radical suggestion though.  Why don’t we eat food which hasn’t been manufactured?

ggrandmother food

If you eat food which your Great Grandmother would have recognised as food, then chances are you will be eating well.  You will probably also be eating fewer calories. Fewer calories in (and more calories out when you are chopping stuff up and moving around the kitchen) means you will lose weight, or at least not put more weight on. Eating fresh fruit instead of milk chocolate, eating salads instead of chips/French fries, eating butter instead of margarines and other manufactured spreads  – it has got to be better for you.  I am not saying you can’t eat chips.  You can.  Just make them yourself and bake them in the oven.  Delicious!

I know, from personal experience, it is not as easy as that.  I have struggled for years with obesity, and at the moment, I am considered by the medical community to be morbidly obese.  That is down to my Body Mass Index calculation, and that is another argument for another blog post, but still, I know I am overweight and I need to lose a significant amount of it.  The way I am doing it, is to cook from fresh, reduce my portions, increase my exercise and count my calories.   It will be a long road, but the destination will be worth it.

What one change can you make to your diet to reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming?