Friday, May 25, 2012

Let the Whole Food Experiments Begin!

Chromium. I've said it before: This is something I believe all diabetics should be taking--Type 1 or 2. For Type 2s, it is an obvious supplement to add to the daily routine. Chromium is necessary for proper glucose metabolism and is important for proper insulin utilization. In other words, it can be seriously beneficial to people with insulin resistance. If you are a Type 2 and your doctor has never mentioned chromium, odds are pretty good that they have been bought and paid for by the prescription companies. If you're a Type 1, odds are good that no doctor has ever mentioned anything about supplements to you.

When I was diagnosed, all anyone ever told was how to use my insulin and change my diet. I never thought about supplements being able to help. My body doesn't make insulin, so of course the solution is simple and singular: take insulin. But what about all those supplements out there that make insulin use more efficient within your body. I have to pay for the stuff, I might as well get my money's worth. Even beyond that, there are supplements out there with the potential to help the pancreas and beta-cells to stay healthier longer, and supplements to help control sugar absorption in the gut. Even some that curb sugar cravings, which is important when you are headed off the deep end at the end of a long work week (but I want cake now! There is no time to count all these carbs!).

But supplements can be expensive. There have been multiple occasions when I have put myself on a regimen of this supplement or that, and seen great results from it. But then I run out at the worst time, or the store is suddenly out of stock, or the prices go up, or whatever. And I go off the regimen for a while. My insulin needs start to crawl back up and I wonder if it is worth it to start again, knowing the same thing will happen at the end of the month, when I'll be too broke to buy more, again.

But my friend Andrea recently gave me an idea. Why not skip the supplements and go right for the foods that are rich in that mineral or vitamin. Supplement critics have always said that taking a vitamin or mineral or amino acid in a pill all by itself is a waste of time. Our bodies weren't meant to ingest singular nutrients at a time, they were meant to take in a whole slew of them along with fats and proteins and sugars. Our bodies need that stuff in order to properly absorb everything else.

Now, I'm not quite that skeptical about the worth of supplements, but I do believe absorption is best when in a natural, whole food form. So I am taking my friend up on her suggestion and I am going to do some research into the various nutrients that can potentially help diabetes, and I am going to find out the best foods to find these illusive vitamins and minerals in. And of course, I am going to share my findings with you!

Disclaimer (because this is America): I am not a dietitian or a physician. I am a diabetic armed with a giant book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, 2010) and access to a whole slew of nutritional websites. I experiment on myself constantly, but that does not mean you should. Unless, of course, your doctor says its ok.

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