March 24th is American Diabetes Alert Day! Sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, Alert Day is a one-day wake-up call to make Americans aware of their personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Nobody is born immune to diabetes. The ADA urges all Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test—found here—to find out your type 2 diabetes risk factor on a scale of 1 to 10. Remember to share this test with your family and friends!
This week, we discuss the solutions: the most feasible, holistic approach you can take to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes—without prescription drugs.
According to the American Diabetes Association’s website, here are some recent statistics on diabetes:
- Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
- Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- About 95% of diabetes cases are type 2, with the other 5% of type 1 cases more commonly found in children and young adults.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels rise higher than normal.
When your body does not use insulin properly, also known as insulin resistance, the pancreas will initially make extra insulin to make up for the inefficiency. Over time, however, the pancreas won’t be able to make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Why? Animal fats are the primary cause. The fat coats the cell receptors so the insulin doesn’t get through. When you cease consuming animal products, the receptors begin to function properly again and the need for additional insulin decreases. Note: While refined and processed foods compounds the problem, the real problem stems from animal fats. The carbs causing the blood sugar to spike is the symptom responding to the clogged receptor cells.
The greatest danger of type 2 diabetes is that it can lead to other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage or kidney and eye issues. The good news is that you can delay or even prevent issues by naturally taking care of your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. All you need to do is feed your body with live enzymes and nutrients to keep it stable.
THE NATURAL SOLUTION TO STAVE OFF DIABETES
Feed your body, feed your health
“Since beginning The Hallelujah Diet, I have lost 35 pounds in weight, and the diet has brought my glucose readings down from the 250-300 range to below 130”
–Doug. “Link Doug”
Equipping your body with the nutrition and energy it needs to maintain healthy blood sugar levels is the best approach to keeping diabetes at bay. In fact, most people who adhere to the Hallelujah Diet—committing to mostly raw, plant-based foods, juicing fresh vegetables and maintaining a healthy lifestyle—see their blood sugar levels revert back to normal within three to four weeks!
One helpful tool for diabetics and those at risk is the Glycemic Index (GI), which measures how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose in the body. Foods are ranked from 1 to 100, with up to 55 being a low GI score, 56-69 a medium score, and 70 and up a high score. Fat and fiber can lower the GI of a food, and generally, the more cooked or processed a food, the higher the GI number. Therefore, we highly recommend eliminating processed foods and those high in sugar from your diet completely.
Plant-based foods, including starchy vegetables that contain carbohydrates, offer micronutrients that are essential at maintaining blood sugar levels and an overall healthy body. Studies show that deficiencies in antioxidant-rich vitamins and carotenoids may lead to type 2 diabetes, and increasing these nutrients by consuming more plant-based foods can reduce the risk of the disease.
Although raw, organic vegetables are all excellent for your health and preventing or managing diabetes, below we’ll highlight a few important nutrients that are especially beneficial for those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Beta-carotene. Part of the carotenoid family, beta-carotene is a group of red, orange and yellow pigments found in fruits and vegetables. It is a fat-soluble compound that can be converted into vitamin A in the body, and studies show that they reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Although carrots are the most well-known source of this nutrient, you can also find an abundance of beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers and squash.
“People with high levels of carotenoids in their blood—found abundantly in yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables—have a lower risk of diabetes.”
–Dr. Michael Donaldson, PhD, Cornell University and The Hallelujah Diet’s Research Director
- Vitamin A. It is well known that vitamin A is essential for the production of insulin-producing cells during fetal development, but a recent study on rats by the Weill Cornell Medical College indicates that a lack of vitamin A could led to the destruction of beta cells in adults. A decreased number of beta cells—which are tasked with metabolizing sugars from food—leads to lower insulin production. Vitamin A can be found in plants with carotenoids such as beta-carotene (see above).
- Vitamin D. This super-vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and maintain bone and muscle health. A recent study suggests that a vitamin D deficiency is more closely associated with diabetes than obesity. The most common intake of vitamin D is from sun exposure, therefore, supplements may be necessary for those with deficiencies who don’t live in sunny climates.
- Calcium. Although mostly recognized for its key role in growing bones and maintaining their health, calcium is also important in controlling blood pressure. Studies also show that if the calcium concentration in the body is out of optimal range, it may contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. You can find high levels of calcium in kale, garlic and turnips.
- Vitamin K. In the body, vitamin K important proteins that help the blood clot and also help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Studies show that vitamin K (K1 and K2) could improve insulin activity and may even reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes in older men. Vitamin K1 is most commonly found in green leafy vegetables.
- Fiber. This nourishing nutrient doesn’t require insulin to digest and can help with portion control since it helps you feel fuller for longer periods. Studies show diets high in quickly absorbed carbohydrates (such as sugary foods) and low in fiber resulted in an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Vegetables and fruits rich in fiber include peas, beans, apples and raspberries.
Other factors that contribute to insulin resistance
Although your diet is one of the biggest contributing factors to diabetes, it’s very important to take care of your mental and physical health as well. When you’re stressed, it can cause blood sugar levels to rise. According to the WebMD, “Stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol kick in since one of their major functions is to raise blood sugar to help boost energy when it’s needed most.”
On the other hand, physical activity actually lowers blood sugar levels. First, insulin activity is increased, so your body’s cells are better at using any available insulin to balance glucose for 24 hours or more after exercise (depending on the time spent and type of workout). In addition, when your muscles contract during activity, another mechanism in your body allows your cells to store glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not. The combination of diet and exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, which further decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The Diabetes Get Started Kit
The Hallelujah Diet promotes a clean, plant-based diet that jumpstarts your body’s innate self-healing properties to reduce and eliminate diabetes symptoms. With careful consideration of what you’re feeding into your body, you can properly manage your blood sugar levels—and even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes altogether. To help round out the nutrition provided by The Hallelujah Diet, you can incorporate the Diabetes Get Started Kit into your overall health plan.
The powerhouse kit features BarleyMax, an organic and pure green juice powder that strengthens the immune system and boosts energy levels, and Fiber Cleanse, a delicious powder that will detoxify your body and help you achieve your weight-loss goals. You’ll also receive the first volume of our Simple Weekly Meal Plans recipe book, which includes 28 days’ worth of quick, easy, and delicious full-course meal recipes, as well as The Hallelujah Diet Refined: Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar to learn everything you need to know about diabetes.
In summary, we recommend you follow these important steps in order to prevent or improve the symptoms of diabetes:
- Eliminate all animal fats.
- Minimize sugars, but eliminate all processed sugar.
- Follow the recommendations in The Hallelujah Diet™ Refined: Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar
- Eat a large salad with every meal. This can be traditional, blended or a smoothie.
- Juice mix of 1/3 carrot and 2/3 greens consumed throughout the day in 8 oz servings.
- Limit fruit to no more than 15% of total dietary intake.
- Water (1/2 oz of liquid per pound of body weight, this includes juices).
Remember: Over 30 million individuals in the U.S. alone suffer from diabetes, but it’s a disruptive condition that can be 100% prevented and even reversed with the help of the natural foods around us. Look to the earth’s plants as your medicine for stable blood sugar, and stable health.
For a broader overview of diabetes, see our November blog post titled “American Diabetes Month: Balance Your Blood Sugar & Balance Your Life.”