Now you must know, I did not have anything to do with Rosemary getting her health back…she was determined to make herself well and so she did. She brings new meaning to the term, “TAKE IT BY FORCE!” She is my hero.
Blessing in Disguise
By Rosemary F. Lumsden
“Rosemary, you don’t just have insulin resistance. You have type 2 diabetes!”
I’ll never forget that day in May, 2007, when my doctor spoke those words to me! I didn’t have a clue about what type 2 diabetes involved, but he explained the seriousness and the reasons I did NOT want to allow it to intrude on my health, which was/is remarkably good. He recommended I read the book, Living the GI Diet, (Glycemic Index diet), and he went on to say, “I want you to control it with diet and exercise rather medication, and I KNOW you can do this!”
At the time I thought the sky was falling, but I look back on that diagnosis as truly a blessing in disguise. My doctor’s words certainly grabbed my attention, and when I researched type 2 diabetes, I knew I was embarking on lifestyle changes that would give new meaning to “healthy living.” I thought I was already following a healthy lifestyle, but compared to my way of life today, I was barely on square one. I can tell you, it has been an exciting and very rewarding adventure!
I read everything I could find on the implications of diabetes, and how to control it. I’ve added to my list of nutritional supplements and since 2007, I’ve refined my food program far beyond the guidelines in Living the GI Diet. My reading reconfirmed what I already knew: Eating refined sugar, flour and other processed food is like eating rat poison. These pollutants don’t kill you on the spot, but they bring about slow deterioration of the human body. My motivation has been preserving my good health and my enthusiasm has thrived on the results of improved nutrition: weight-loss and feeling good. In 2007 I was 73 years old and in excellent health, other than the diabetes and hypertension. At that age I figured it was a bit late in life to deal with kidney disease, blindness or any of the numerous ailments related to diabetes.
My research lead me to become interested in “live food,” i.e., eating my fruit and vegetables raw and soaking nuts and seeds to start the sprouting process so that they are in a growing state when I eat them. This requires a bit of attitude adjustment, since we are programmed to cook most food, and of course, season and adorn lavishly. I have found that live food offers greater satiety value and promotes a healthy state of well-being. It requires a lot more chewing, and consequently I just don’t eat as much.
One of my most astonishing discoveries has been that raw cabbage helps to keep my blood glucose level well within the normal range. In simple layman’s terms, the digestion of raw food slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream. For many years I’ve read of the health benefits of raw cabbage, and have included it in my diet. When I began monitoring my blood glucose level, I discovered that when I eat raw cabbage with my meal, my glucose level runs about 10 — 15 points lower than if I do not. I make a variety of cabbage salads and eat half a cup with each and every meal. In November 2008, I tried combining raw cranberries with cabbage to make my salads. To my surprise, the addition of cranberries to my cabbage salads lowered my glucose level another 8 — 10 points, giving me a fasting glucose level averaging 75 — 85. By following a well balanced diet of mostly live food, including raw cabbage almost every meal, I have maintained an A1C of 6.2 — 5.7 since 2007. For those of you unfamiliar with diabetes jargon, this means that I have my diabetes under control, and without meds.
As I studied nutrition and lifestyle habits to control diabetes, I found that the strict food program I follow to control diabetes is also beneficial in reducing hypertension. My food program consists primarily of raw (or very lightly steamed) fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, soaked seeds and nuts, and I eat very lean beef, chicken and fish broiled or boiled. I eat almost no processed foods. (I make my own bread and crackers in a food dehydrator which does not kill the live enzymes.) I absolutely love what I eat and do not consider it a “sacrifice” to give up sugar, fat and simple carbohydrates in exchange for my own healthy creations and the feeling of well-being that is my reward.
The lifestyle I choose does require a lot of food preparation time, mainly because I do everything from scratch. I grow my own garden, freeze or dehydrate my garden produce and raise chickens so that I have free-range eggs. One could maintain this lifestyle by shopping at the local Farmers’ Market, but my pioneer spirit dictates that I grow my own food as long as I’m able. I do shop at the Farmers’ Market during growing season to supplement my home-grown veggies. That is where I find fresh blueberries, peaches, apples and pears, as well as a few vegetables I don’t grow myself.
I have researched nutritional supplements extensively, including supplements to help restore the body and overcome hypertension. I felt I was on target with the supplements I was taking, but I wanted to make sure my nutritional levels were in balance. I learned about a Cardio/ION panel (Individual Optimal Nutritional Profile) of blood tests which reveals if one is deficient in any particular nutrient. Dr. Poppy Daniels ordered this test for me in February 2010, and I had the blood work done. This is a valuable panel of tests which gives a very thorough profile, and I was pleased to learn that with the exception of deficiencies in Magnesium and gamma-Tocopherol, my nutritional profile was within suggested guidelines. Needless to say, I added these supplements to my regimen immediately. In May 2010, after approximately 35 — 40 years on various blood pressure medications, my doctor spoke words that were music to my ears, “You don’t need blood pressure medication anymore!” Improved nutrition and weight loss has freed me from all prescription medications!
At the age of 76, I have been playing the Game of Life long enough to gain some wisdom along the way. Health and nutrition have always been foremost in my focus. This has not prevented me from excessive weight gain in my life, but nutrition has played a major role in my weight loss.
At age 44 I weighed 285 pounds. I knew this weight put my health at risk. I made up my mind to take off the weight and the best way I know to describe my mental focus is that I “saw it from the end.” It was almost like self-hypnosis. I saw myself looking good in blue jeans, and believed it in. I lost more than a hundred pounds. As the case with so many of us, however, as years passed I lost focus and the weight slowly began to creep back, which is certainly a detriment to health!
I see in my health notes that at age 64 I weighed 226 pounds. WOW! Did I ever allow the weight to creep back! At age 73 (in 2007) my weight was around 206 when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. By following the Living The GI Diet food plan, I took off 16 pounds with relative ease. The awareness shock brought on by my diabetes diagnosis has prompted me to stay focused on nutrition, and by following my live food program, I was down to 152 pounds in November 2010. But then came the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays! With a few bites of “traditional holiday food” I lost my balance!
In analyzing what makes me tick, I find that when I am strictly following the live food program which I find totally satisfying, I have no problem losing weight and staying on program. As stated, this consists of mostly raw fruit and vegetables, complex carbs, low fat meat and fish, almost no processed food and no sugar-type sweets (fruits are my choice of sweets). A huge bonus is how good I feel when I follow this program. BUT when traditional holiday food comes on the scene and I am in a position to interact with other people where foods laced with sugar, fat and simple carbs are on the table, I lose it! And I don’t mean pounds! Some well-meaning souls proclaim “moderation is the key.” That may work for some folks, but not for me. I have to wonder why we celebrate the holiday (holy day) season with rich food and sugary sweets that desecrate our bodies.
In one of the books I’ve read on my quest for health, I read that by our choice of foods, we choose to follow either the Culture of Life (which restores our body) or the Culture of Death (which causes deterioration of our body). I do believe this is a great truth! It is for me, at any rate. I’m learning to look beneath the surface to see what I’m doing to my body by my choices. The learning process is a life-long endeavor and I have learned that my taste buds are easily led astray by Culture of Death foods. It’s far more than weight gain or loss. These are merely surface indications of what’s going on within my body.
I have forgiven myself for polluting my body and reminded myself of the blessings of good health. Early in January 2011 I did a 5-day detox flush to rid my body of holiday food pollution. I am currently in the process of mentally reprogramming my taste buds to remember that I choose to follow the Culture of Life!
For me, the criterion is more serious than life and death. I’ve enjoyed a fulfilling life and would be satisfied to “go home” at any time. BUT I may be around for a while, in which case quality of life is my very highest priority! And for me, sweets and processed foods are not the essence of what makes my life worth living! I want to be mentally alert and feel good! I dominantly intend to maintain my health and well being until it’s time for me to depart this life! So be it!