Episode 291 – The End of Diabetes a Must Read EpisodePosted on August 7, 2017
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I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done a must read episode and that’s simply because I haven’t read a book that I felt was compelling enough to feature, until now. I got ahold of this book and have been recommending it to many of our clients because it’s that good – The End of Diabetes by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
I know, diabetes is scary, lots of people have it, lots of people are susceptible to it and most people think the only thing you can do about it is take lots of medication. Of course the way things are set up in the medical system doesn’t help, because that’s how most doctors manage it with their patients, they prescribe drugs like metformin and insulin, which in most cases does help someone with Type 2 Diabetes control their blood sugar, but what makes matters worse is this gives someone with diabetes the false sense that everything is okay, because the numbers on their glucometer say everything is okay, but the reality is it’s only a bandaid solution that in the long run makes the situation much, much worse and if you’re a Type 2 diabetic that requires insulin it’s the beginning of the end for you and that’s a harsh reality that most people aren’t willing to face. If you have Type 2 diabetes you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack and getting kidney disease, both of which have the negative side effect of death. There’s also the less deadly, but still severe increased risk of nerve damage which will make it harder to walk and hold things in your hands, as well, amputations and vision loss are also more likely to happen if you have diabetes. That’s how the book starts, well it’s a summary of how it starts, but I think you get the gist of it.
Now before I get into the rest of the book I want to briefly explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is insulin dependant this means your pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and you have to take insulin to survive, this book isn’t about curing that, because that’s not possible at the moment. Type 2 diabetes is where your body still produces the right amount of insulin, but your cells have become desensitized or resistant to it, which means the insulin cannot take the energy from your blood, aka sugar to use in your cells, leading to chronically elevated blood sugar which wreaks havoc on your circulatory system and many organs.
It’s kind of like this, let’s pretend the cells in your body are a bar or a club, where people like to drink and party, these people are the energy or sugar and insulin is the fleet of cab drivers and chaperones that bring people to the door. Of course this bar is a well oiled machine and it likes to have lots of people in there drinking because that’s what gives the bar energy, but not too many people otherwise it could get shut down. In order to control the amount of drinkers in the bar, so the bar doesn’t get over capacity, it hires a whole bunch of bouncers, that are a little bit on the fat side so people listen to them because they’re bigger and they control the flow of people or energy in and out of the bar or in this case your cells.
At first everything is fine, but over the course of time when you eat too much fat or refined carbohydrates, in other words you have too many partiers, these bouncers get confused, because they’re overwhelmed, they start turning partiers away for no apparent reason even though they’ve come with an insulin chaperone, then your pancreas starts putting more and more insulin or chaperones to try and help sneak the partiers or energy in past the bouncers, which works for a while, but eventually the bouncers block all the hidden entrances and turn so many people away your pancreas can’t keep up, so your doctor hires little foreign chaperones to be injected into your body a couple times a day, which at first helps more partiers sneak into the cell/bar, but this only confuses the fat bouncers even more and eventually they say screw it, only a very few select VIP people get in and that’s it.
Unbenounced to these bouncers as they were turning partiers away, these partiers had nowhere to go and the started dying on the sidewalks and sticking there making it harder and harder for the other partiers, chaperones and little oxygen buddies to get by. Eventually the fatty bouncers are so confused they turn almost everyone away, even though more and more partiers keep showing up with more and more chaperones. Eventually leading to 100,000s of thousands of dead partiers on the sidewalk, so many they eventually start blocking the street aka your arteries, creating so much stickiness it becomes almost impossible for anyone or anything to get by causing irreparable damage to the other bars or cells and buildings or organs inside your body.
That little story is not part of the book, but I think it’s a good overview of what Type 2 diabetes is and the damage it can cause. If you got diagnosed with diabetes and you’re over the age of 40 there’s a very good chance your diabetes is Type 2 diabetes and you should definitely read this book, I won’t even be offended if you stop listening right now and go straight to the book. Anyways, once Dr. Furhman has made it abundantly clear that diabetes is dangerous, treating it with medication starts this vicious downward cycle of working well as a band aid in the short term, but ultimately causing long term damage and that we need to take it seriously. He then talks about how you should control it, which if I could sum up in a few lines would be this.
Eat real food
Not too much
Real food is defined as anything that is not processed, in other words steal cut oats or a go, oat flour bread is not even if the bag says, ‘Made with whole grains’. Broccoli, carrots and hummus are a go, crackers and cheese are not, peanuts are a go, skippy peanut butter is not. Basically anything that is not processed is a go except for meat, which brings us into the next line.
Mostly plants – In this book Dr. Fuhrman says to control diabetes you shouldn’t eat more than 6 ounces of meat a week and it should be fish or fowl, fowl are wild bird like turkey, pheasants or partridges and it’s best to eat 2 ounces in a given day 3 times a week not all 6 at once. This means eggs, milk, beef, pork are all out. The main goal of eating your plants is to eat the most micronutrient dense food you can, which means foods like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, avocado, sweet potato, nuts like almonds and walnuts, seeds like hemp, chia and pumpkin and beans and legumes are all good to go which brings us to the final line, not too much.
Not too much – This means you eat only to your resting metabolic rate, which is surprisingly easy to do when you eat only whole foods, provided you stick to eating the recommended amount of meat I previously talked about and eating between 1 and 3 ounces of nuts and seeds a day. This basically means you can eat as many vegetables as you want and several servings of fruit a day. Learn to listen to your body and eat only when you’re hungry. If you’re really looking for numbers it’s between 1200 and 1600 for most women and 1400 to 1800 for most men, if you exercise regularly or are very tall, it will need to be a bit more.
Now all this to be said Dr. Furhman says if you’ve been eating a standard North American diet up until this point, your body is going to reject this new way of eating, you’re going to get severe headaches and hunger pains the first few days and if you’re sticking to this way of eating exactly as recommended you will need to see your doctor because there’s a good chance your medications will have to be adjusted and you’re blood sugar will drop significantly and very quickly.
Quite honestly I don’t think he has said anything all that revolutionary, except that a major cause of diabetes is specifically from the over consumption of animal fat not just processed carbohydrates. Other than that of course we shouldn’t be eating processed food, of course we should be eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible and of course we shouldn’t eat too much overall food. Now I would accept a debate on how much meat is appropriate, because there’s a lot of mixed information about it, but one thing that I think is true, is most people probably eat much more meat than is necessary and because of the way most meat is raised it’s much fattier than it should be and it usually has altered hormones and antibiotics in it. Unless you’re eating wild game, free range or grass fed meat. All this aside, a lot of vegetables have more protein per calorie than meat does, which I’m going to talk about in next week’s episode.
My point is I think everyone is pretty clear on what they’re supposed to be doing the problem is very few people actually do it and in the book Dr. Fuhrman basically says this, once you eat this way for a month you’ll feel so good and notice such a difference you won’t go back to the way you were eating before. In my opinion for some people this may be true, but I think for the vast majority of people this is going to be too extreme and it doesn’t take into consideration the busy lifestyle most people live to try and pick up all these new recipes and ways of preparing radically different food in one shot, it doesn’t take into account the resistance you’re likely going to face from the other people you live with and he really glazes over the fact that for the first week you’re going to feel awful as your body adjusts, which is going to be worse the more radical the changes, in other words the people that need the changes the most are going to hurt the most in these fragile beginning stages, making it even harder to stick to. If you want to try that approach I would never stop you because I think everyone needs to take their own path and some people need to be all or nothing and I definitely respect that, but I think a slightly better approach might be to take a few recipes out of this book’s phenomenal recipe section, buy the groceries required, make the food and see how it tastes, then keep or slightly modify ones that work and get rid of the rest, then the following week try some more recipes continually adjusting to suit your needs as you go until 6 months to a year from now you’ll have totally changed how you’re eating. Or you could focus on one change, eating one big salad every day following the food recommendations he makes in the book or sub out your soft drinks even if they’re diet, for water or flavoured club soda and just do that for a month to see the difference that change alone makes and once you realize and see it’s not as bad in reality as you thought it would be in your mind, stack another change on to it, I personally think it’s more sustainable for the long-term than white knuckling your way through it. It’s just an observation I’ve made about how most people make changes in the real world including most of the people we work with that have in fact been able to make some changes stick.
To summarize The End of Diabetes, I like it so much for a few reasons:
- It’s straight to the point, I would say it’s almost alarmist, but it should be because diabetes is dangerous and more people need to take it more seriously, especially since you can do something about it.
- It’s incredibly educational about specific food choices you should make and why those are good food choices to make. This is a heavily researched book with lots of scientific journal references in it.
- It has a kick ass recipe section that anyone and I mean anyone can cook from, special hat tip to the Easy Bean and Vegetable Chili as well as the Island Black Bean Dip.
I think this is a must read for anyone even if you don’t have diabetes, because as he mentions several times in the book this is also the best way to eat, if you’re trying to prevent a whole host of other diseases especially heart disease and the most common forms of cancer.
If you would like to order the book we do have a link in the show notes. It’s not an affiliate link and I get no compensation of any sort for you buying this book except the satisfaction that at least a few of you are going to start living differently and in a more healthful way.
That’s it for today, thanks for tuning in and stopping by. If you know someone that has diabetes and they need a little nudge, or in this case a kick in the right direction please share this episode with them, it might be enough to get them to at least try and start to change.
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