Posted on August 03 2020
Estimate Read Time: 10 Minutes
What causes type 2 diabetes- really?
Imagine you eat something (anything). The moment you eat it, the food is broken down into something called 'glucose', or in simple terms, sugar. So when the food reaches from your mouth to your stomach, there are these free flowing 'glucose' molecules in your blood. Your body needs this glucose to perform activity. Anything you do, even the simplest thing like using your eyesight to read this blog requires energy constantly. When your body gets these glucose molecules, it quickly redistributes them to parts in the body where energy is required.
But we never eat exactly how much the body requires at that time. We might eat a little less or a little more (mostly more). So the body makes a decision to store the excess glucose molecules we have not used up in the liver and muscles. They are stored as something called 'glycogen'. This is extremely important because if we do not for some reason eat the next meal, the glycogen will again be converted to glucose to be used for energy. In the case of diabetes though, the body is not able to convert the glucose to glycogen and store it. Thus, there is excess free flowing glucose in the blood at all times and this is very dangerous.
What most people think is that only carbs are broken down into glucose so if we stop consuming carbs, there wont be excess free flowing glucose. Well that is not exactly true. If your body doesn't get enough carbs, it starts breaking down proteins through the process of gluconeogenesis into glucose. Fats also can breakdown in a similar process to be used as energy. Thus, limiting carbs (or sugar) intake alone is not the solution. It is like painting your brown grass green to make it 'look' healthy. You need to understand WHY the body is not storing the excess glucose as glycogen and WHY is the body resisting blood sugar (hormone responsible for this conversion).
Here is where the types of carbs and the effect they have on the body come into play. For now, just know this and adopt the below lifestyle changes to see a difference in blood glucose level's. I have linked a lot of studies down also for you to refer. Though there are no drastic steps mentioned below, do refer to your physician before making any lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes to help reverse diabetes:
1) Optimal weight range: Obesity is linked with diabetes unquestionably. A person with a BMI of 35 and above has a 93 times increased risk of diabetes than someone with a BMI of 25 or under.
You could really lose weight with any meal plan but trying a fad diet to lose weight is like adding fuel to the fire. Read my below blog about fad diets to understand more: Debunking the GM diet and Vegan Keto Diet Fad.
How about adopting a standard diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) then? It does work but a low- carb plant- based diet is more effective.
If you read the above study though, you will see that the plant- based diet is only marginally more effective than a standard ADA diet. However, a plant- based diet has no caloric restrictions and includes more variety. A standard ADA diet requires you to meticulously count calories and macros, with a huge list of things to avoid.
Besides, on long term studies done, it was evident that people who lost weight by switching to a plant- based diet are more likely to stick to their diet and maintain the weight loss vs a calorically restricted diet. Either ways, being in an optimal weight range and achieving the desired results with a healthy diet is important to start reversing diabetes.
2) Eat a minimum of two servings of beans/ pulses per day: Your options are chickpeas, black beans, white beans, lima beans etc. When you look at the blood glucose spike foods give you, make sure to compare the entire dish vs just one single food item.
Eg: Eating white rice alone can cause a blood sugar spike in the body, however, pairing the same rice with beans does not cause as much of a blood glucose spike. 'After examining the blood glucose levels of adults with type 2 diabetes who consumed either pinto beans and white, long grain rice, black beans and white, long grain rice, red kidney beans and white, long grain rice or white, long grain rice alone, researchers found that the pairing of any type of beans with rice can help stop unhealthy blood sugar spikes'
This is because beans contain a compound called amylase that partially blocks our starch digesting enzyme. It does allow some starch selectively to make its way down our colon though where the good gut bacteria can consume this and proliferate.
Consumption of whole grains and beans has also been shown to decrease blood sugar resistance in people.
Beans are fibrous carbs loaded with vitamins. The only thing you will have to keep in mind is adding a source of vitamin C lime 1/2 lemon/ serving of beans for better absorption.
3) Include a teaspoon of black cumin every morning: Sometimes it's simple changes we need to include in our lifestyle for a big difference. This is one such simple change that literally does not require you to even lift a finger or extensively diet.
Over a thousand article have been published about the benefits of black cumin and diabetes reversal. Not only for controlling blood sugar, black cumin is well knows for its benefits in terms of reducing cholesterol and weight loss. Have a look at the meta- analysis below:
The above meta- analysis combined seven different research studies and showed the benefits of consuming just 1/2 teaspoon of black cumin per day. I would suggest you to ideally do this empty stomach and not exceed more than 1 teaspoon. Considering you follow this lifestyle change while also working on the other changes talked about in this article, you should expect to see results within as little as two months! If you are on medication, work closely alongside your physician to tweek your dosage as you get healthier.
4) Ditch Dairy: Read the below blog before we proceed further, Milk- is it slowly poisoning you?
Be it through the process of molecular mimicry as mentioned in the above blog or saturated fats, chemicals, hormones and adulteration of the dairy industry, milk could be your biggest reason for diabetes.
I want to extend this to animal proteins coming in from meat also. It's unclear if its the saturated fats in meat, hema- iron, hormones or excess AGE products (or the combination of all of the above). But consumption of as little as fifty grams a meat per day is associated with an increase in 8% in the occurrence of diabetes (the more the consumption, the higher your chances for diabetes).
In fact, even handling meat is associated with an increased risk for diabetes! Animal protein with other lifestyle factors such as inflammation, chronic stress, lack of recovery and bad nutrition is like inviting diabetes into your home to stay.
5) Ditch oil's: People with diabetes mostly also are susceptible to coronary artery diseases because their blood vessels are clogged with saturated fats coming in from dairy/ meat and oil's. Any type of oil's (including coconut oil) is empty calories with no nutritional benefits which you can otherwise get from different food groups.
But what about all the coconut oil supplements and people raving about its benefits? Well people generally talk about the mono chain fatty acids (MCFA'S) in coconut oil's and its ability to aid with weight loss. While this is true and this study has also been replicated with rats, rats were given the isolated form of MCA's and not really coconut oil.
While it is true that coconut oil's do have some MCFA's its is composed of 90% saturated fats and over half of this amount is not the MCFA. It is like trying to get your vitamin C intake by drinking your urine, just don't do it.
But then which oil to use? None. Just avoid oil's or limit it to fortnight reward meals. Explore oil free cooking and you will be surprised by the variety you can cook. If you are reading this and thinking that it is impossible for you to drop oil's from your diet. Then continue the oil's and don't complain about reversing diabetes.
I personally love cooking in a steamer, pressure cooker, air fryer and oven. Try dry roasting spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, whole dried red chillies etc and add water once they release a beautiful aroma. You can add other veggies at this time with powdered spices. oil- free cooking does take a little bit longer, but its one necessary step you need to take towards healing yourself.
That being said, still make sure to add some fat source to your food such as olives, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds etc.
6) Ditch- flour: Switch to whole grains instead of refined flour's.
When you take a grain of wheat and make it into flour, you are just retaining the starchy endosperm section marked in pink/ purple colour in the above picture. The rest of the grain and all the properties of the grain are discarded. By refining or processing the grain further and further, its nutritional value diminishes but the sugar spike it causes in the body tends to increase.
Just switching from brown rice to white rice makes you 16% more susceptible to diabetes, when in fact, grains are suppose to anti- inflammatory and aids in healing from diabetes.
Switch your roti/ rice to whole grains such as barley, ragi, foxtail millets, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. Avoid anything that is made into flour or polished such as bread's and white rice.
If you think about it, white rice by itself has little flavor. It takes up the flavor of whatever you are cooking it in. Try cooking millets instead and eat the same with sabzi/ daal.
Especially ditch white bread/ maida/ cookies etc. Having bajra phulka's or ragi chappati is still fine.
7) De- stress: You can make as many changes as you want in your nutrition and exercise program, but if you cannot handle emotional stress, the rest is pointless.
When you are stressed, the body releases the 'fight or flight' hormone and this hormone is literally responsible to release more blood sugar into your blood vessels to help you- well fight or flight. But there is nothing to fight or flight about in today's age and time.
Who will you fight will when you have deadlines to reach, loans to pay and relationships to handle? You could flight and run away to the himalaya's though, trust me it would help control your blood sugar level's too, but honestly, you are not going to do that either.
I could write ten ways to handle stress, but reading the same wont help you. It will sound good, but it really will not help you. For your individual case, you will have to work with an expert to help you deal with specific things you are stressed about. This expert could be anyone from a counsellor to a friend to a spiritual guru. Different things help different people. But find someone to help you individually.
Start by simple things atleast such as making a grocery list for the week, planning your menu in advance, automising monthly payments etc. This video might help get you started.
There are so many other herbs like cinnamon, turmeric and bitter melon's that help combat diabetes. What you need to understand is that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed with a little bit of planning and commitment.
I have discussed a lot of 'don't'. If you are not familiar with a whole food plant- based diet low in fat's, this might be confusing. Do not worry though, there are ample of recipes and options available for you to eat and throughly love what is on your plate. Here are some sites to inspire you:
You can alternatively of course reach out to me by filling in the consultation form below. Working alongside your physician, I would love to help you with lifestyle modifications specific to your requirements and start dropping your medications.
Fill up the form below if you want a customised diet plan and lifestyle changes for Type-2 diabetes reversal.