Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Dynamic Life has Relocated

 

Photo by Kevin Dooley

Don’t miss this train!  I’ve graduated to my very own domain and a new design for the blog.  I’m still working on the design and some of the features, but it’s never going to be perfect, so I figured I’d make the move now and adjust on the fly.

I appreciate all of my readers and look forward to interacting and learning from one another at TheDynamicLife.com.  To start things off with some great momentum, my first post on the new domain is my humble review of blogger and globetrotter Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Art of Non-Conformity:  Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World.

(I’m not positive whether email subscriptions are transferable.  It will be a trial and error type thing, so please let me know how it works for you and if you have any problems.)

Click HERE to go to the new Dynamic Life.

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Six Steps to Avoid Diabetes

In Monday’s post, I provided an overview of the prevalent diabetes disease.  My aim there was to offer a synopsis, a one-pager that outlines the disease which has unfortunately become a household term these days.  But of what value am I if I describe a problem without proposing a solution, or at least a way to avoid the problem altogether (which happens to be an order of magnitude easier than curing the disease)?

Telling someone how to avoid diabetes is as simple as telling someone how to avoid getting hit by a car while crossing the street – just use common sense.  Diabetes, as we know it today (Type II Diabetes), is a relatively new disease.  Well, at least the prevalence of it is new.  Forty years ago it was virtually unknown.  Today, one in ten Americans has the disease.  And, a new Center for Disease Control report says that, by the year 2050, one out of every three Americans will be diabetic if we continue on our current path to destruction.

Sure, people are living longer and people are being diagnosed earlier, which both lead to higher statistical rates.  But the most significant change we’ve seen in the past forty years is our diets.  We Americans, as well as many other parts of the world, have grown accustomed to the Western Diet, a diet rich in processed foods, refined grains, corn, and gigantic portions.   So, if a change in our eating habits was the cause, then a change in our eating habits is also the solution.

  1. Portion Control – As a rule of thumb, the average adult should eat about 2,000 calories per day, give or take a couple hundred.  If you have no idea, check out a site like Nutrition Data for calorie info.  Eat only when you are hungry and stop eating when you are not hungry.  It’s simple.  How do you do this?  Plan your meals, eat slowly, think about your food, enjoy your food, and stop before you’re full.
  2. Eat Whole Grains Instead of Processed Refined Carbs – Think whole grain bread instead of the classic white bread, brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley.  To keep it simple, go for the brown and avoid the white.
  3. Avoid Soda and Other Sugary Beverages -There are 40 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola.  That’s 10 teaspoons of sugar!  Think you’re avoiding this by drinking Gatorade and other fruity or iced tea beverages?  Think again.  Look at the nutrition facts – those drinks are nothing more than non-carbonated soda.  Drink more water.
  4. Focus on Fiber and Whole Foods – Fiber and whole foods will fill you up and keep you full longer.  You’ll have fewer cravings for sweets and other junk foods.  Winter vegetables and hearty greens such as kale and collard greens are loaded with fiber, so eat up!
  5. Shop the Perimeter of Your Supermarket – You’ve probably heard this advice before, but it’s worth repeating.  The perimeter is where all the good-for-you foods are – bread, eggs, meats, and produce.  Avoid the middle of the market, which is where thousands of modified corn products reside.
  6. Make Exercise a Part of Your Life – As always, exercise will only help you become a healthier person.  But beware – it’s not a panacea.  You can exercise all day, but if you still overload your body with sugar and refined carbs, you’re still susceptible to diabetes and other problems.  A good friend of mine trains 3-4 days a week and has run a few marathons, but last year he was diagnosed with pre-diabetes because he eats like garbage.  Strive for balance in all areas.

So there you go – six solid tips for avoiding diabetes.  See?  I told you it’s common sense.  If you ask me, you really have to work hard to get diabetes.  You really have to throw caution to the wind and have a wanton disregard for your body and your health.  Don’t make it hard on yourself.  Make it easy on yourself and develop healthy habits now.

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Diabetes is a Consequence, Not a Disease

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Type 2 Diabetes has become one of the major new afflictions affecting people everywhere.  We fight diabetes, there are diabetes walks every weekend, we search high and low for a cure to this pernicious demon.

But what are we really fighting?  What is this so-called disease that has taken so many peoples’ lives and affected countless others?

Answer:  We’re fighting ourselves.  Type 2 Diabetes is a modern, “Western,” unnecessary “disease” that we as human beings have brought upon ourselves.  That’s the bad part. The good part is that, since we’ve brought it upon ourselves, we can also banish it just as easily.  Let me explain…

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of related diseases in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells become resistant to insulin.  The consequence of either state is high blood sugar, due to excess glucose in the blood that isn’t delivered to the body’s cells.  So what does all of this mean, in English?  Our bodies use food for energy.  When we eat, our bodies break down food into glucose, which is a simple sugar that our cells use for energy.  However, by itself, glucose is useless.  It needs a method of transportation to get to the cells.  The method of transportation is a hormone called insulin.  Insulin is produced naturally in our pancreas and hooks up with glucose in the blood stream to deliver glucose safely to our cells.  The cells are then able to use the glucose for energy.  And when cells have no fuel, things really start to go downhill.

Type I Diabetes is a natural condition (usually inherited) in which the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells.  The result is that the body doesn’t produce insulin and, consequently, the body’s cells don’t receive energy and there is an overwhelming amount of glucose floating around in the bloodstream.  The solution is constant blood sugar monitoring and daily manual insulin injections.  This is usually a lifelong affliction and usually happens during childhood, which is why Type I is also known as juvenile or child-onset diabetes.

Type II Diabetes, on the other hand, is not a natural condition, but rather one that we bring upon ourselves as a result of atrocious diets, lack of exercise, and overall unhealthy lifestyles.  Here’s what happens:  We eat way too much food and way too many refined carbohydrates.  These refined carbs are immediately converted to glucose in our blood.  The glucose calls upon the pancreas to produce a lot of insulin to carry all of that glucose to the cells.  Together, the insulin and the glucose travel to the cells and completely overwhelm the cells with their volume.  This isn’t horrible in isolation, but when it becomes the body’s default way of operating, that’s when we get into trouble.  We do this too many times to our pancreas and eventually the pancreas becomes so overwhelmed that it either stops producing insulin or gets so beat up that it can only produce small amounts of insulin.  At the same time, the cells are sick of getting bombarded with so much glucose and insulin that the cells themselves become resistant to it (insulin-resistance).  Type II represents 90% of all diabetes cases.  Type II used to be called adult-onset diabetes because it was more common for adults to get in middle age, due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.  However, sadly, it’s no longer known as adult-onset because now our children are so fat and unhealthy that they now bring Type II diabetes upon themselves at a very young age.

Realize that the current rates of diabetes are unprecedented in human history.  Currently, one in ten Americans has diabetes.  A new CDC Study notes that in 2050, one in three will have diabetes if we continue on the current trajectory of unhealthy eating and not taking care of ourselves.

What’s astonishing is that Type II diabetes is (almost) completely avoidable!  We have the power to change this.  This is why I don’t have sympathy for people with Type II (except young kids who don’t yet know better).  It’s also why I’ll never participate in an event to raise money to find a “cure” for Type II.  Guess what?  I already know a cure – take care of yourself and stop being such a fat slob.

I should wrap this post up before I get too fired up.  But the reason I get fired up is that I want to help people live healthier lives so they avoid this “non-reversible” affliction.  So in my follow-up post tomorrow, I’ll tell you how, not to fight diabetes, but to avoid diabetes.  Big difference.

 

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