I’m munching on carrot and celery sticks while I key in my thoughts for today’s column. A pot of lima beans are bubbling on the stove and the wonderful aroma lets me know the rest of my lunch will soon be ready.
I just got off the phone with another person calling to pre-register for the Reversing Diabetes Seminar that started last week in Monteagle. They have been to see their doctor as their sugars keep going up. Now their blood pressure is going up as well as their weight! Their doctor referred them to the seminar.
This week we’ll have a brief review of last week’s lesson to catch the newcomers up a bit. Since it’s a good lesson for all of us, here’s a very simple version of the presentation.
We eat a meal. The food begins to digest or break down into nutrients or the little parts that our bodies need. Sugar, or glucose, enters the bloodstream. Little sensors in the pancreas test the sweetness of the blood. After the meal as that blood sugar starts to rise, the sensors tell the pancreas that the blood is getting sweet.
The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. This hormone works like a key for getting the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells through thousands of what we call little doors. The blood sugar then returns to normal as it’s supposed to do. The cells use the sugar as energy.
When we exercise and use up that energy, the cell has room for more. But if we eat more than what we use up, the cells get stuffed full of sugar. Then they begin to gum up the locks. When insulin comes along to open the little door and toss in more sugar, it has trouble with the gummed up lock. This is called “Insulin Resistance.” As a result, the blood sugar level begins to rise. When this has happened long enough your doctor will say, “You’ve got sugar.”
What we are going to identify in this seminar is what the gum is and how to get it out of the locks. But without having all that knowledge yet, there are a couple of things you can do to help.
First, eat more fiber and eat it first. Thus my carrot and celery sticks while I waited for the beans to finish simmering. Getting additional fiber in our diet will come easily if we will eat our food in a more natural form. Put some fresh or frozen berries on our oatmeal. Eat an apple instead of drinking apple juice. Eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Eat lots of fresh veggies.
Secondly, take a little walk immediately after you finish eating. This does not mean vigorous exercise but rather moderate exercise. By walking we are using up that sugar rather than allowing insulin to store it as fat. After about 20 minutes, the insulin level drops and we can come back to wash the dishes. Using these two tips can help reduce your blood sugar levels.