U (really) R wat U eat!

You really are what you eat!

The human body is constantly working to repair and replace cells and tissues, its building blocks.  So where do the building blocks come from?  From what we eat, of course!  There is no other way to obtain the needed building materials.  So what are you going to build with?  And how many kinds of  materials will you use?  If you were going to build a house, would you start with all nails and wire?  Would you pour the concrete, but neglect the lumber?  The prettiest paint colors will do no good without the drywall.  And how about the quality of your materials?  How would you like asbestos insulation and lead paint?

It’s the same with our bodies.  The end result is no better than the materials we use.

There are loads of excellent books published that will tell you what to eat.  There are also loads of fad diets.  There are loads of “experts,” and I will not pretend to be one of them.  What I will do is recommend some books that have helped me to add nutrition to our family diet, and have taught me WHY certain choices are better than others.

My favorite book on nutrition is Eat Right For Life, by Dr. Ann Kulze, available here: http://www.drannwellness.com/, or here: http://www.welcoa.org/store/product-landing/eat-right-for-life/

I love this book because it is a quick read, and it has lots of pictures!  In short, it’s easy! It keeps my attention!  It is laid out much like a magazine, with text and tip boxes, attractive pictures, and best of all, it doesn’t just tell me what to eat…it tells me why!  I need to know why!  The “why” is my motive!

When our daughter Katy was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes last year (see post entitled “Our Diabetes Story”) this book was my primary guide in bettering our family diet.  The book is inexpensive as well, so at Christmas I gave a copy to each of my coworkers and patients.  I think the message is that helpful.

With that said, I will add that Dr. Ann does not discuss food intolerances, which I believe are an important topic to address with anyone…especially if they have digestive problems, or inflammatory diseases (see posts under inflammation and disease).  Gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy are four common foods that cause reactions, but each individual can have his or her own irritants.  I will plan to post more on that topic another time.  For now, I would like to highly recommend Eat Right For Life for your kitchen library.

Osteoarthritis, or Rheumatoid?

Today I had an interesting encounter with a new patient.  He was referred for therapy for two sore knees.  The patient, let’s call him Steve, was pretty certain he had Rheumatoid Arthritis because his pain has been severe in both his knees, and he had heard that Rheumatoid Arthritis is the “bad kind.”

There are two major types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Osteoarthritis is inflammation in the joint, usually caused by wear and tear.  It’s more common with age, and occurs in joints that have seen some use and abuse in their time.  Steve is on his feet working on concrete all day long.  He has severe pain in both knees by the end of the day.  This is a common scenario leading to Osteoarthritis of the knees.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, on the other hand, is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE.   Autoimmune diseases occur when the body turns on itself and begins to target and destroy certain types of tissues.  The immune reaction may target the pancreas, causing Type I Diabetes, or the thyroid, causing Hashimoto’s Disease, or the joints, causing Rheumatoid Arthritis. A few others you’ve probably heard of are Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, and there is even evidence that severe morning sickness is caused by an autoimmune response.  There are too many to list here, but if you google it, you may be surprised.

Back to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):  RA is a disease that attacks joint tissue without regard to wear and tear.  Young people, even children, can get RA.  Certainly wear and tear can worsen RA, but it does not cause it.  Typically a person with RA has multiple joints, in multiple areas of the body, which are painful, swollen, and can eventually become deformed.  Steve’s scenario did not fit RA because the only joints affected were the load bearing, impact absorbing, knees that have seen almost 30 years of standing and walking in Steve’s profession.

**Until recently, there seemed to be very few leads as to what caused autoimmune responses. There is growing research now however, that food intolerance, such as gluten or dairy intolerance may be behind autoimmune responses.  This happened in our own family.  If you haven’t read it, please refer to “Our Diabetes Story” posted under the Diabetes and Gluten Free categories.

Glycemic Index

I promised a post about glycemic index.  This is it!

Every food has a GLYCEMIC INDEX.  This term refers to how fast the carbohydrates in a food break down into sugar in the digestive system.  The higher the index value, the faster the food turns to sugar.  Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the past few years, you’ve probably heard many times over that starchy foods such as white bread, white potatoes, pasta, and white rice break down into sugar in the digestive system.  True.

But the more complete information is that every carbohydrate turns into sugar.  It’s just that some turn to sugar very quickly, causing spikes and then sudden drops in blood sugar. These are the foods with a high glycemic index.  Cakes, cookies, and other sweets fall into this category.  Other foods that are in this category include fruit juice, sweetened breakfast cereals, and of course, regular pop.

What you should eat are foods with a lower glycemic index.  These foods raise blood sugar more slowly, and keep blood sugar levels from spiking.  Generally, foods with a lower glycemic index have more fiber than those with a high index, and often contain proteins, which further help to stabilize blood sugar levels, because they are digested more slowly.

Examples of foods with low glycemic index include the following: Fruit, especially with peels (for fiber), beans, most vegetables, dairy products, and whole grain foods such as oatmeal. 

There are many books and websites that can help you with choosing lower glycemic foods.  Here are a few:

Websites:

http://www.glycemicindex.com/

http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

http://diabetes.webmd.com/glycemic-index-good-versus-bad-carbs

Book that helped me:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1581568.The_New_Glucose_Revolution

If you live in the Fort Wayne area, I can recommend a good nutrition counselor who can help with your individualized nutrition needs.  Her name is Lou Ann Binkley.  She and her partner, Debby Raftree have a website: www.yourlifestylematters.com .

Finally, I want to add that there are many diets out there.  Some  of them use the glycemic index toward weight loss, and while that is an entirely possible outcome, I’ve tried not to post those.  Glycemic index is a tool to help us to eat healthfully, and to make permanent changes in eating patterns.  A host of health benefits will follow. I encourage you to begin to choose lower glycemic index foods as a lifestyle, and not as a diet. 

Sugar’s Chagrin

“Mom, not everybody eats as healthy as we do!”

Wow! Did those words just come from one of my children? And did she mean it as a complaint, while I took it as a compliment?  YES!!!

We really do eat our share of junk food.  Frosted sugar cookies are my #1 favorite food, followed closely by DeBrand Chocolate’s Connoisseur Collection http://www.debrand.com/chocolate_guide/index.cfm?id=8  mmm…If you’re not from the Fort Wayne area, they are worth shipping to wherever you are!

But back to my topic…

There’s nothing wrong with a little sugar now and then.  The problem is, our diets are loaded with sugar in many forms.  By now you’ve probably heard that white flour, pasta and other starchy foods turn to sugar as they digest, so just like gluten (previous post), we get more than our share in the American diet.  Many, many processed foods have hidden sugar, even if it is not a food considered a “sweet.”  While I’m not ready to boycott, There are many good reasons to be cognizant of sugar intake:

Following are just a few ill effects of sugar:

promotes tooth decay

raises adrenalin in kids

increases insulin resistance in diabetes

elevates blood glucose levels

suppresses the immune system

contributes to arthritis

speeds the aging process

decreases growth hormone

can cause depression

increases bacterial function in the colon

can cause hormonal imbalance

increases risk of Alzheimer’s

can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity

can exacerbate Multiple Sclerosis

can cause a yeast infection

contributes significantly to obesity

ok,ok, you get it…you knew it…just reminding you…and me…

Moderation!

Our Diabetes Story

My daughter Katy was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes in April 2011.

This was huge adjustment to us as we learned how to dose insulin, count carbohydrates, and accept what we were told, which was that my daughter would take insulin injections, or wear an insulin pump for the rest of her life.
No one wants to hear such news, especially not about her 15 year old daughter. Naturally we began to learn all we could. On the advice of a friend, I immediately began reading about GLYCEMIC INDEX vales of foods, and changing our diet to foods with lower glycemic index values (more about that another time).
Because a strong faith in God leads my decisions, a Bible verse from the Book of James was also on my mind: “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…James 5:13-15.” [I want to take a minute to clarify that I do not believe that the people with ‘the most’ faith are the only ones healed, nor do I believe that prayer is a ticket to whatever we want. Rather, I believe that God’s will is to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, and if something in my life, or the life of my family can be used to glorify Christ, we should offer it to Him to use. If He uses our lives to glorify His Son, then we are blessed!]  And so I prayed like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup (diabetes) from me (my daughter); yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
My daughter began to improve over the next few months, and I was regularly on the phone with the doctor’s office asking to decrease her insulin doses. The office was hesitant to let us decrease her insulin, rather wanting her to eat more to cover the insulin they wanted her to take. But, over time it became clear that she no longer needed the insulin, and in October 2011, she was allowed to give up insulin altogether! One doctor said that she was in remission, and another said that it was a miracle!!! ~I believe that!

So the question remained: What set this off? How do we prevent another occurrence like this? There were a few other medical questions unanswered.
Enter Dr. LaSalle:   DR. ANGELA LASALLE is a physician practicing in an up-and-coming specialty area: Integrative Medicine. I heard Dr. LaSalle speak on the radio about how food intolerances can trigger or fuel autoimmune disease. They do so because they contribute greatly to an ENVIRONMENT OF INFLAMMATION within the body. When the body is in a state of inflammation, it begins to destroy itself!  Wow! the natural thing to do then, is to find out what is irritating it, and get rid of it!

So where do we start, and what do we eliminate? Do we have to give up our favorite foods?  Long story short, we found that my daughter does not tolerate GLUTEN. That’s a common problem these days, so I will talk about it more in another post. But Katy is now eating gluten free, and is feeling better than ever!  I have adjusted to cooking gluten free, and it is no longer stressful. In fact, we are experimenting with all kinds of new recipes, and I will plan to post some on this site.
I am so thankful for all the knowledge we have gained on this subject over the last year, and I cannot help sharing this story with others!

Leaving you with a paraphrase of the scripture I shared above:
Spread out your petition before God, and then say, “Thy will, not mine, be done.” The sweetest lesson I have learned in God’s school is to let the Lord choose for me.” –D.L. Moody

Diabetes Types

There are two types of Diabetes, Type I and Type 2.
 
Type 2 Diabetes, or Insulin Resistant Diabetes Mellitus, is the Diabetes that is epidemic in America. It is characterized by a pancreas that makes insulin, but the body cannot use the insulin as it needs to because the cells RESIST the insulin (insulin resistance). While a person may be predisposed to Type 2 through his or her family tree, most can prevent it from occurring by managing diet, weight, and by exercising regularly.
 
Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, quite a different bird. An autoimmune disease is one where a person’s own body is destroying itself. In Type I diabetes (formerly known s Juvenile Diabetes), a portion of the person’s pancreas that makes insulin is destroyed, and no the person no longer makes his/her own insulin. As a result, blood sugar levels skyrocket, and the person’s body begins to starve because cells need insulin to receive their nourishment.
 
As of my writing this post, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF, is funding research on the complex causes of Type I Diabetes, but the official position of most doctors on the subject is that “We don’t know” what sets it off. Certain substances in the blood called auto-antibodies are found to be the agents that destroy the area of the pancreas that makes insulin, but no one has nailed down how these autoantibodies get started working. One thing that is known is that once the insulin-secreting cells have been destroyed, The Type I diabetic will have to take artificial insulin for the rest of his/her life. Or will she??? Please read our Diabetes Story