My first blog for the new year and I want to share on a subject that is close to my heart….having spent some time with family and friends over the festive period, much food was devoured and joyous times were had. Childhood memories triggered whilst drinking HOT HOT chai tea and devouring my mother’s pakora (which are the best) as well as chatting with the ‘aunties’. What I love, is the fact that many of my relatives especially aunties (have plenty of them) do not really know what I do. It makes me a little sad as it was my mother who introduced me to Ayurvedic Medicine and sadly nowadays Western Medicine seems to be the ‘platinum standard’ for most of that generation that came over from India in the 60s eating wholesome food with lots of vibrant energy and tubercular adventure (a term used in homeopathy, ‘tubercular’ people seek adventure, something new, they can get bored easily, even some can have so-called ‘ADHD’ if they stay in one place for too long..I digress…).
Now homeopathy is HUGE in India, so when I have these conversations about homeopathy with my family in relation to Ayurvedic medicine they get it. In Ayurvedic medicine, we have constitutions just like we have in homeopathy and then we have hot foods and the cold foods, the damp foods and the dry foods and so on. In Western medicine, the closest we get is ‘acid’ foods and ‘alkaline’ foods but this really does not even come close to real medicine. However, the conversation with my aunties and family tends to go in the direction of ‘well, Khush I have this ailment and this ailment, what would you recommend?, this joint aches and my head hurts whenever it rains, I have a sensation like ants crawling all over my skin’. Now I would love to venture more into this but I want to stick with the ‘Ladoos do not mix with insulin’ theme today, although we know in homeopathy head hurting when it rains is a thing, sensation as if ‘ants crawling over my skin’ is a thing (keep this for another blog).
Homeopathy and naturopathic nutrition is not about ‘fixing’ ailments per se, but bringing balance to the whole person ALLOWING the body then to do it’s own ‘fixing’. If that does not make sense, then keep reading. Imagine when you cut yourself, your body heals right? It may produce a clot at the sight of the cut or a scar, you donlt have to take meds to get that clot to form right? (unless of course there is a genetic issue that leads to hemophilia) It is the innate wisdom of the body that does this….
Well, in the Indian community diabetes is the number one dis-ease. I know of people who have had to have their limbs amputated due to DIABETES, yes in today’s day and age. So I want to share about diabetes, now you may not have diabetes, but if your aunties, uncles or parents or neighbours have it then here is some information that may just help save a limb from being amputated or even more common, prevent the kidneys from nearly shutting down, which usually ends up with needing dialysis. It saddens to me to so many suffer due to a lack of understanding about how SOLID GOOD nutrition. DIABETES is totally preventable through nutrition alone, TOTALLY.
‘Ladoos do not mix with insulin’…this means desserts laden with sugar do not do well with trying to keep the insulin balanced, if anything they trigger the whole ‘insulin roller coaster ride’. Ladoos are these orange sweet balls, a popular sweet in the Punjab. Whether you have ladoos or not, I am referring to sugar and WHITE REFINED CARBS and even DRIED FRUIT once you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
So diabetes, type 2 diabetes in this case, is a condition that is PREVENTABLE. Now I am not referring to the NHS dietary guidelines for diabetes here in the UK or the Standard American Diet in the USA, I am referring to the ‘no sugar or refined white carbs, or overdosing on fruit smoothies or consuming dried fruit, thinking it is going out of fashion…let me explain why…and then I will explain how you can help yourself in part 2 of ‘ladoos do not mix with insulin’.
- Dr Atkins and et al., were ahead of their times, he and his colleagues showed that it is the carbohydrates that are the cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity etc
- So when you consume carbs like croissants, bagels, cookies, biscuits, ice cream, candy, white bread, brown bread, sugary fruits like bananas, the carbs in these foods turn into sugar by the body and this sugar primarily goes to be stored in the liver and muscles as GLYCOGEN…and this is ok….but guess what? the rest of the sugar gets converted to FAT...so CARBS turn into fat, no matter how low the calorie that white refined carb has gotten you in trouble.
- To get that sugar OUT OF THE BLOODSTREAM (which is very important) the body uses INSULIN. If there is too much sugar in the bloodstream then the blood becomes like ‘treacle’ (now I am using simple analogies but hopefully you get the gist), and the sugar starts to stick to places where it should not, such as blood vessel walls, red blood cells, smaller blood vessels (found in the extremities), remember I mentioned amputating limbs, this is because the blood cannot reach these places in the limbs anymore..BINGO! GANGRENE.
- The pancreas produces the insulin to get that sugar INSIDE the cells and not floating around ‘willy nilly’ in the blood, creating trouble aka dis-ease. The insulin has to actually connect with the insulin receptors (like a lock and key) to get the sugar from the blood into the cells (out of harm’s way but also to produce energy). Over time, as sugar is consumed daily for some time, from months to years to decades, the receptors no longer can connect with the insulin, the reecptors start to ‘block out’ the insulin.
- WHY can the receoptors no longer connect with the insulin? This is called insulin resistance (IR) or syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome depending on what type of a practitioner you speak with. This IR is the precursory stage to diabetes. The insulin receptors, just have become oversaturated with so much insulin floating around due to so much sugar whizzing about that they have decided to ‘rebel’. Imagine, a young child being asked to put something away and they do not do it, you ask again, and again, and again …then you start raising your voice and it may work the first few times, this raising the voice is like the body releasing more insulin (raising the insulin in response to, too much sugar)…BUT then this smart young child, no longer puts away what he/she is being asked to put away, and now you are yelling and the SMART child puts his/her fingers in his/her ears because he/she has had enough of the ‘abuse’. This may be frustrating for the parent but it is more damaging for the child. The insulin receptor is like the child with the fingers in the years (aka insulin resistance), and you shouting is like the pancreas throwing out more and more insulin-like there is going to be no tomorrow. At this point, in a blood test (even fasting) your blood sugars can still show up as within the ‘normal’ range, although you are actually pre-diabetic.
- So as this goes on, the insulin receptors become more and more resistant that the blood sugar levels are now toxic high. You visit your doctor because, you are feeling tired, more thirsty than usual, urinating more that you have stopped drinking liquids after 3pm to avoid nightly vists to the bathroom/rest room. You may now also be sweating at night too and generally feeling ‘foggy headed’ and out of breath easily. The doctor may detect sugar in your urine and book you in for a fasting blood test AS WELL AS A GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST. At this point, if he/she does not offer a GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST then don’t leave the surgery until you get one
- What is a glucose tolerance test? It basically involves spending some time hanging around the hospital/surgery whilst a fasted blood test is done, then you will be give some sugar solution to consume (enjoy it as it may be your last, unless you love Ladoos) and then several blood tests are done over the next few hours TO TEST FOR SUGAR LEVELS, what is actually more helpful is to have the INSULIN levels tested too.
- Now diabetes is usually diagnosed if the blood sugar remains high several hours post consuming the sugar solution, NOW if insulin was tested too, then insulin would show up high too. If both sugar and insulin is high then that means the insulin and the insulin receptors are ‘not on talking terms’, so some sort of negotiations have to be made, that relationship has to be repaired for ‘peace and harmony’.
- At this point the dietary advise given on the NHS in the UK and SAD in USA is a recipe for long-term chronic ill health progression, other options may be METFORMIN like medications that make the insulin receptors listen to the insulin (by taking their fingers out of their ears). However, this method is NOT a negotiation, it is a ‘BULLY TACTIC’. In some cases INSULIN is given which is JUST LUDICROUS, as one really wants to become insulin SENSITIVE AGAIN NOT MORE INSULIN RESISTANT by giving insulin…it is like screaming at the child not even yelling anymore, this method just does not work..leads to long term chronic issues. This relationship has no chance of being repaired, if only it is damaged even further, leading to ‘hurt and pain’ this can come in the form of a limb amputation, high blood pressure kidney disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s etc.
In Part 2, I will share how you can ‘reconcile’ this relationship between insulin and the insulin receptor….aka diabetes type 2