Every one of us is going to die someday. The people who clicked through to this site because they misspelled something in the search engine results, our friends and families who read these posts diligently and people who might be infuriated by some of the things I am about to say: all will die someday. Obviously that includes me–I have no delusions of immortality…
What we labor in search of every day between our birth and our demise is simply a quality of life for the intervening years. One of the greatest blessings of being diabetic is that I have been forced to encounter my own mortality–and accept it. Perhaps this is yet another crossover into the world of climbing–but I digress.Today I was deeply saddened when I read about the untimely passing of Patrice O’Neal, at the age of 41 as a result of a stroke which was in part caused by type 2 diabetes. This triggered all of this morbidity and reflection.
This was a preventable death. All death is sad, but at such a young age it is tragic.
I have watched type 2 diabetes take my wife’s grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle away from us in the last several years so I am not simply a detached critic. That pain is still fresh for us–it is a sensitive subject. Losing family and losing beloved public figures forces us to look a this condition and make changes in our own lives while we still can–and while the truth of this may offend some people, that is a risk that must be taken in order to try and empower other people to take control of their health and diet.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic condition that is caused by or exacerbated by diet and lifestyle. There is a stereotype that all people with type 2 are overweight–which is not accurate. There are people with type 2 diabetes who have it in part due to genetic triggers that have been tripped by diet. None of our aforementioned relatives that we have lost were obese.
The refusal to acknowledge the dietary and lifestyle correlations associated with this disease is both asinine and dangerous–and furthermore it is ultimately hurtful to the people left behind who deal with the loss of their loved ones. The basis of one’s diet may in fact explain the correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetes–in other words obesity and type 2 are often found together but body fat does not in itself cause diabetes. Hence the occurrence of type 2 in individuals who are not obese.
Consider this study from the University of Saskatchewan from March 2011 which shows that metabolism of carbohydrates produce a chemical bi-product called methylglyoacal or (MG) for short. “They found that high levels of MG produce all the features of Type 2 diabetes, including damage to insulin producing cells in the pancreas, insulin resistance and impairment of body tissue to use glucose properly.”
Most people who are overweight have high carb diets. This is part of the weight gain and part of the cause of diabetes. Now look at the FDA food pyramid. Hmmm….
I am a type1 diabetic–but I am still affected by my bodies metabolic responses and insulin sensitivity. I measure my blood glucose 4-6 times daily and I can tell you that I completely gave up on this suggested diet brought to you by USDA.gov. I have almost entirely eliminated the Bread, Rice, Pasta and the like. I replaced this with fresh greens. Raw. Guess what? My insulin sensitivity increased, along with my energy!
So what am I saying?
There is misinformation out there about the balance of a proper diet.
Following an imbalanced diet is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes as shown by the Univ. of Sas. study.
Continuing with said imbalanced diet once diabetes has been diagnosed leads to untimely (read: unnecessary) death.
There are a lot of complex social and biological issues attached to this condition and I do not pretend to know all of the details. I have SEEN and EXPERIENCED the success of the dietary plan that I follow (my A1c has never been over 7) and I have witnessed the deaths of people who should be alive today if not for type 2 diabetes and the fact that their diets set them up for failure.
I am not trying to blame people with type 2 for being obese or lazy. My late uncle had type 2. That was my Uncle Eddy–and I can tell you after climbing mountains and traveling from coast to coast multiple times, meeting many many people–that he was THE antithesis of lazy and obese. I will tell you his story at another time– but the point is that we are unknowingly (as a society) growing less and less healthy because of the food we are eating. We develop low level chemical addictions to processed carbs and sugars and fats and suddenly we wind up with diseases that we can’t seem to control.
I am not making any claims about “curing” type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I am saying that at least controlling both conditions IS possible through modification of diet and lifestyle. That is why we are spearheading our campaign to “get over” diabetes. This condition does NOT have to limit you, victimize you and ultimately kill you. You may not be able to make it go away but you have the power to hold your own and live.
If this blog post offends–I ask you to put aside your feelings and seriously try opening your mind to the view of a plant-based, whole foods diet. Try it like I have. Live it like I have. See if YOU are not better off for having done so.
I expect this post (and many in the future) to challenge conventional wisdom and that always brings with it some outrage. At the risk of outraging some, I am willing to share what I have experience and what I know to be true if it can open a mind or two.