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Over 29 million Americans suffer from some form of diabetes (1) and this number is on the rise. The age of onset is also becoming younger, which is a significant public health concern as so many children are being deprived of their precious childhood by a preventable illness(2)

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to control insulin naturally. Insulin is a hormone crucial to blood glucose level (BGL) control.  It dictates whether the glucose from the food you consume is used for energy immediately or stored for later use. It keeps BGL’s within a normal range where the body can function optimally and prevents them from either getting too high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia), both of which can pose serious health risks. There are three main types of diabetes - type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, which all have slightly different causes and characteristics. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes generally occurs at a younger age and is characterized by a lack of insulin production within the body. Those who are diagnosed with this form of diabetes require daily insulin injections to regulate the amount of glucose in their blood; without this they would not survive. The cause of type 1 diabetes is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors(3)

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes generally occurs later in life and is characterized by the body’s inability to make use of the insulin that it produces. The risk of developing this type of diabetes is significantly enhanced by obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and smoking(4)

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition which can occur during pregnancy. If diagnosed, it increases the risk of complications at birth and promotes the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Risk factors for developing this form of diabetes include mature conception, excess weight gain during pregnancy, family history of the disease and excess glucose in urine(5).   

The good news is that natural approaches can minimize the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. In the case of type 2 diabetes, natural therapies can even reverse the illness entirely. 

Causes

There are three main types of diabetes - type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, which all have slightly different causes and characteristics. 

Type 1 Diabetes

The cause of type 1 diabetes is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors(6)

Type 2 Diabetes

The risk of developing this type of diabetes is significantly enhanced by obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and smoking(7)

Gestational Diabetes

Risk factors for developing this form of diabetes include mature conception, excess weight gain during pregnancy, family history of the disease and excess glucose in the urine(8).  

Symptoms

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger, sugar cravings
  • Extreme fatigue and irritability
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands or feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
  • Poor wound healing
  • Kidney pain

Treatment

Nutritional Guidelines for Healing

Balancing blood glucose levels (BGLs) naturally using simple dietary strategies will help to reduce your reliance on insulin. This could mean reducing from injectable to oral medications, or better yet, not requiring medication at all. Make sure to work with your doctor as you go through this process. Here are the best ways to balance your blood glucose levels naturally:

  • Proper food combining - Consume a form of quality protein, fat and fiber with each meal. These compounds slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing a large influx of glucose which would normally require a large amount of insulin to be released to counteract its effect and the storage of excess glucose. Here are a few examples of food sources that contain these compounds:

    - Quality protein sources such as tempeh, free-range eggs, grass-fed poultry, nuts and plant-based protein powders.
    - Good fat sources such as avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and grass-fed butter.
    - High fiber food sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
    If this seems a bit overwhelming and you’re unsure how to get started, let us guide you with our 21 Day Food Matters Program.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates - These foods will cause a high spike in BGLs which requires large doses of insulin to counteract its effect. Replace refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread and pasta with things like zucchini noodles, brown rice or whole grain sourdough. Replace sugar with stevia extract. This is derived from an incredible natural herb which is 200 times sweeter than sugar. The best part is that it has zero calories and zero impact on BGLs!
  • Cinnamon - Add 1 tsp of cinnamon to your meals daily. Cinnamon has been found to lower BGLs and improve insulin sensitivity in diabetes patients(9). Be sure to purchase authentic cinnamon & not cassia bark to reap the full therapeutic benefits. Cinnamon is such a diverse spice.  Here are some of our favorite ways to use it - eggplant curry, sweet potato chips and raisin loaf!
  • Turmeric - Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder to your meals each day. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, can lower inflammation, blood sugar levels and also boost kidney health - which is important for diabetics(10).  To boost the absorption of the curcumin, consume turmeric with a form of quality fat like coconut oil & black pepper. We recommend trying it in our turmeric milk, spiced banana cake, ginger turmeric shot or our green gratitude bowl.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - Take 2 tsp of ACV in water when you wake up and again before you go to sleep. ACV helps to balance BGLs and improve insulin sensitivity as the active ingredient, acetic acid, has an antiglycemic effect as it reduces starch digestion &/or delays gastric emptying(11). Read more about the other benefits of consuming ACV here
  • Stay Hydrated - Drink at least 2 L of filtered water or spring water each day. Dehydration can increase BGLs, impact kidney functioning and promote the risk of nerve damage(12)

Herbal, Superfood and Supplement Therapy

  • Chromium Picolinate - Take 200 mcg of Chromium Polynicotinate, 2-3 times daily with meals. We require chromium, an essential dietary mineral, for insulin to function in the body. As it can often be lacking in our modern diet, supplementation is recommended. Chromium Polynicotinate, also called chromium-nicotinate, is the preferred form. It is the most easily absorbed and supplementation with it has been found to reduce the prevalence of high BGLs (hyperglycemia) & risk of complications (13) 
  • Magnesium Chelate - Take 400 mg of magnesium chelate daily. Inadequate dietary intake of magnesium plus the increase in excretion in urine commonly seen in type 2 diabetes creates a deficit of this essential mineral at a cellular level. This is a huge issue as it plays a role in the sensitivity of insulin receptors, so when deficient, insulin activity is impaired and insulin resistance is worsened(14). Supplementing magnesium has been found to help improve insulin resistance and reduce inflammation in the body(15).
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) - Take 300 mg of ALA twice daily on an empty stomach. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in every cell in the body where it helps turn glucose into energy. Supplementation has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and support energy production(16). It also has a powerful antioxidant capacity, so may help those who have pain, burning or numbness in their arms and legs from nerve damage. (17) 
  • Berberine - Take 500 mg Berberine, 2 times daily with meals. Berberine is a naturally occurring plant extract that treats diabetes and other health ailments. It has a long history of medicinal use in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Berberine is found in a wide variety of traditional herbs including, goldenseal and Oregon grape. It has been shown in research to support lowering of blood sugars. (18)

Mind/Body

  • Daily Exercise - Choose an exercise that you love to do, whether it be walking in nature, riding a bike or engaging in a social sport! When you exercise, insulin sensitivity is increased so that your cells can use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after the activity. Studies have found that regular exercise helps your insulin to work more efficiently and balances BGLs(19). Remember, start slowly & break up your workouts into 10-minute blocks throughout the day.
  • Yoga for Diabetes - Regularly practicing yoga helps to reduce the symptoms of diabetes(20). Try this class on FMTV specifically for diabetes. The poses will help to stimulate the pancreas, which is important for diabetics. Join the class here.

Guided Program

Ready to make a change but not sure where to start? Take your pick from a range of inspiring programs tailored to your specific goals. Our guided programs on Food Matters TV including everything from meal plans, guided meditations, sleep, cleansing and more. They'll support and empower you to improve your health and be the best you can be!

Heal Yourself Masterclass

Heal Yourself Masterclass is the culmination of the Food Matters healing philosophy aimed at helping you learn the key principles to good health and natural healing so you can take control of your health.

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21-Day Food Matters Program

Transform your health & life with this guided online mind & body program. You’ll get daily gluten-free, dairy free and sugar-free meal plans and shopping lists plus yoga and mindset exercises to help you make a true transformation in 21 days.

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Detox & Cleanse Workshop

Learn how to increase your energy, lose excess weight & feel incredible in your body again with inspiring documentaries & educational interviews.

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7 Day Food Matters Cleanse

Are you ready for 7 days of juices, smoothies & soups? We provide you with the 7 day meal plan & shopping list and optional light exercise and yoga classes. 100% plant-based nutritionally balanced meals!

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Resources

At Food Matters we believe that education is an essential aspect to any healing process. The more we know, the more we are empowered to make change and understand how to decode the messages our bodies are telling us. Here are some suggested resources for you to check out to support you on this journey.

Films

Hungry For Change

Hungry For Change

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE, the latest 'Food Matters' film, exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don't want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?

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Simply Raw

Simply Raw

It's clear that we are in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. Nearly 20 million people in the US have type 2 diabetes and another 45 million are pre-diabetic. More than 50% are not even aware that they have this disease that can rob them of some of the most enjoyable years of their life.

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Super Juice Me!

Super Juice Me!

8 people… 22 diseases… 28 days… 1 answer? Could these different diseases with their many different prescribed drugs be improved and even cured by one thing? It’s time to get Super Juiced!

Read More

Beating Diabetes

Beating Diabetes

Discover the basics to beating diabetes naturally and effectively.

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Carb-Loaded

Carb-Loaded

Ever wondered why healthy people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Writer and director, Lathe Poland, sought to find out exactly why he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Lathe didn't fit the classic picture of an adult onset diabetes sufferer, and it just didn't make any sense. He quickly learned that much of what he knew about healthy eating was based on myths or fifty-year-old science. In this film, he searches to find out why America's modern food culture is killing us.

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The Cure Is

The Cure Is

THE CURE IS is a groundbreaking film that will forever change the way you look at your health. It explores the relationship of our emotions to our health and clearly demonstrates how our thoughts not only contribute to the disease process but may be the most powerful factors in determining whether we experience disease in our lifetime.

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Sugar Blues

Sugar Blues

Sugar can kill! Andrea, is diagnosed with gestational diabetes. She must avoid any form of refined sugar. That soon proves impossible, though, because she finds sugar everywhere and in everything. A tragicomic, vibrant and emotional story that is informative and inspiring... A film that will set you free from the SUGAR BLUES!

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Books

Hungry For Change Book

Hungry For Change Book

A how-to guide for breaking free from the diet trap, Hungry for Change is based on the indisputable premise that 'Food Matters,' as it exposes the truth about the diet industry and the dangers of food addictions and enables you to take charge of your health and strengthen your mind and body.

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References


This article is provided for your general information only and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional advice, particularly medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek medical advice from a qualified health practitioner which takes into account your personal circumstances, general health and medical conditions.

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