Author Archive: Chris - The Organic Diabetic

As a type 1 diabetic, I made the switch to an organic lifestyle several years ago after being diagnosed with Diabetes in 2006. Living with diabetes is hard enough, why make it more difficult by consuming products with chemicals, toxins and other harmful, unhealthy ingredients. To me, the choice was easy and just made sense. We hope you enjoy our blog! Feel free to look around and check out all of our products by clicking through the tabs above! Thanks for stopping by and also please be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter by liking our pages below! You never know what freebies we will be giving away!! Don't forget to check out the website as well at www.theorganicdiabetic.org

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Jul

20

Looking For Some Added Protein? Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds!

Looking For Some Added Protein? Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds!I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately in regards to the health benefits of chia seeds and more importantly what are chia seeds?  Well, if your looking for a great way to boost your energy and add some protein to your diet, or boost your omega 3 intake, look no further.

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names.

Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.  These gems are fantastic in so many ways, what makes chia seeds so powerful?  Lets take a closer look!

Skip The Coffee And Boost Energy:

Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Usually protein from items like peanut butter and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.

Chia Seeds And Weight Loss:

Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber in chia absorbs water and expands to form a gel that fills you up faster, so you consume fewer calories, hence weight loss. Fiber and protein slow the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as with sugars, starches and other simple carbohydrates. The insoluble fiber, which does not digest, aids in preventing constipation and digestive disorders by cleaning the colon.
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Jul

17

The Cost Of Fast Acting Insulin, Are There Cheaper Alternatives?

Fast Acting Insulin Side Effects As diabetics, we are all well aware of fast acting insulin and the vital role it plays when it comes to keeping us alive and upright, but for those newly diagnosed diabetics (type 1 and type 2), Insulin is secreted by the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, a small organ between the stomach and liver. This hormone regulates the sugar levels in the human body. When the pancreas stops secreting insulin, it results in hyperglycemia which is a common and lethal symptom of diabetes.

There are several rapid acting insulin brands, and  as a type 1 diabetic, I am extremely reliant upon fast acting insulin, Novolog in particular. When discussing a topic over on The Organic Diabetic Facebook page, we got onto the subject of all the negative side effects associated with insulin and blood sugar regulation.  So for all you newly diagnosed type 1’s, lets take a peek at some of the most dangerous side effects associated with fast acting insulin.  Also, what drives the cost of insulin and are there programs to help defer the costs?  Lets take a closer look! 

Diabetes And Insulin:

Less common, but potentially more serious, is generalized allergy to fast acting insulin, which may cause rash (including pruritus) over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, rapid pulse, or sweating. Severe cases of generalized allergy, including anaphylactic reaction, may be life threatening. Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with the use of cresol as an injectable excipient (preservative to keep insulin potent).

Fast Acting And Hyperglycemia:

Hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma may develop if the patient takes less fast acting insulin than needed to control blood glucose levels. This could be due to insulin demand during illness or infection, neglect of diet, omission or improper administration of prescribed fast acting insulin doses.

A developing ketoacidosis will be revealed by urine tests which show large amounts of sugar and acetone. The symptoms of polydipsia, polyurea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry skin and deep and rapid breathing come on gradually, usually over a period of some hours or days. Severe sustained hyperglycemia may result in diabetic coma or death.

Fast Acting Insulin And Lipodystrophy

Long-term use of fast acting insulin, can cause lipodystrophy at the site of repeated insulin injections or infusion. Lipodystrophy includes lipohypertrophy (thickening of adipose tissue) and lipoatrophy (thinning of adipose tissue), and may affect insulin absorption. Its extremely important to rotate insulin injection or infusion sites within the same region to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy.
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Jul

13

Diabetes And The Glycemic Index, Is It Really Accurate?

Diabetes And The Glycemic Index, Is It Really Accurate?As a type 1 diabetic, the glycemic index use to be near and dear to my heart, well, that’s until I found out the glycemic load. How do the two differ?  Last week I posted about the the glycemic load, but what is the glycemic index and how do they differ?  Lets take a closer look!

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level.  A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.

An awareness of foods’ Glycemic Index can help you control your blood sugar levels, and by doing so, may help you prevent heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, prevent certain cancers, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.  A substantial amount of research suggests a low GI diet provides these significant health benefits. So, it’s worth taking a look at the basic principles of a low GI way of eating.

Why The Glycemic Index Is Important?

Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant.  If your blood sugar drops too low, you become lethargic and/or experience increased hunger.  And if it goes too high, your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin.  Insulin brings your blood sugar back down, but primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat.  Also, the greater the rate of increase in your blood sugar, the more chance that your body will release an excess amount of insulin, and drive your blood sugar back down too low.

Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger!  Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem.  Their bodies inability to secrete or process insulin causes their blood sugar to rise too high, leading to a host of additional medical problems.

The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.

High Glycemic Index Foods And Health Problems:

What researchers have learned is that high glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. In addition, people who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods tend to have greater levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI). High BMIs are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Low-fiber cereals
  • Baked goods

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Jul

11

Health Benefits of Pea Protein For Optimal Health

Health Benefits Of Pea Protein For Weight LossSo the other day, I fielded a question in regards to pea protein and if it was really a viable protein source when compared to the almighty whey. Let me just say that even though I am not vegan, I do incorporate a lot of plant based proteins into my diet, and I think you are going to be quite surprised when it comes to all the amazing benefits.

From shedding those unwanted pounds to building lean muscle mass and even stabilizing those pesky blood sugar spikes you definitely need to take a look at pea protein.  Or maybe your looking to cut down on the amount of animal protein in your diet.  Either way, lets take a closer look! 

Pea Protein and BCAAs:

By now, especially if your into working out your pretty familiar with what branched chain amino acids are. If not, here is a little refresher for you.  BCAAs are three essential amino acids.  Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.  They are essential because the body is unable to make them out of other amino acids so they must be consumed via food or in supplement form.  In a nut shell, BCAAs help promote muscle growth and repair and reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

Studies show a diet rich in BCAAs can help keep your body in a muscle building state throughout the day.  Not only that, BCAAs can assist in decreasing belly fat, help keep you fuller longer between meals and energize your workouts. The good news, like whey, pea protein is packed with BCAAs!

Pea protein powder has roughly 5 grams of branched chain amino acids. This is almost as much as whey which has a little more than 6 per serving.  Pretty awesome I must say!

Pea Protein And Weight Loss:

Cravings anyone?  Did you know that this can be contributed to a lack of protein in your diet? 

A common symptom of lack of protein in ones diet is constant cravings. When it comes to dieting, cravings can completely derail you from your ultimate goal…losing weight.  Most people simply don’t know how to get their cravings under control when they are trying to lose those unwanted pounds and set themselves up for complete failure.

A lot of dieters eat far less protein than they need, which ends up being a roadblock in trying to shed those unwatned pounds.

One of the great things about pea protein? Pea protein produces a large number of peptides when ingested and these can actually slow down the emptying of your stomach. Why is this important? Because by slowing down the emptying of the contents of our stomach, we essentially slow down the creation of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. 

Studies have found pea protein to be as effective as dairy-based proteins in helping satiety and feeling fuller for a longer period of time.  You can read about that by clicking here.

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Jul

10

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?So the other day I fielded a question about celiac disease and if there is a direct correlation between having celiac and type 1 diabetes.  A great question as more type 1 diabetics seem to be diagnosed with celiac disease after their type 1 diagnosis.  So what’s the deal with celiac disease?  What is it exactly and what can be done to help alleviate the symptoms?  Lets take a closer look!

 

What Is Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease is a digestive illness that occurs due to the ingestion of gluten. If you have celiac disease, your intestines cannot tolerate the presence of gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats foods with gluten, such as bread or cereal, their immune system inappropriately reacts to the ingested gluten and causes inflammation and injury to the small intestine. This results in symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and weight loss, as well as an inability to absorb important food nutrients.

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes:

So what’s the deal when it comes to type 1 diabetes and a celiac disease diagnosis?  While there doesn’t appear to be a direct link between type 2 diabetes and celiac that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to type 1. 

Per the celiac disease foundation:

“The link between type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease was first established in the 1960s. The estimated prevalence of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes is approximately 8%, and about 1% in the general population. Most patients with both conditions have asymptomatic celiac disease, or symptoms that may be confused for symptoms of their diabetes. For this reason, and the significantly higher prevalence rate of celiac disease in diabetes patients, many doctors recommend getting screened for celiac disease after a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, as well as celiac patients getting screened for type 1 diabetes.

A recent study in 2013, contributed to by Dr. Peter Green, a member of Celiac Disease Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board found that there were no standard uniform practices for screening type 1 diabetes patients for celiac disease. Of the facilities in the study that did screen for celiac disease, 60% of them only did so if there were symptoms present. The authors of the study suggested that a uniform protocol for screening should be in place, as well as a need for further education on the gluten-free diet in patients with type 1 diabetes for dietitians.”(1)

The unfortunate part of this is that once you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes, you become prone to developing others.  As for the signs, symptoms and treatment options, lets take a look.

Symptoms Of Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease symptoms typically involve the intestines and digestive system. They can also affect other parts of the body and children as well as adults tend to have a different set of symptoms.  Those symptoms are as follows:

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children:

Children with celiac disease can feel tired and irritable. They may also be smaller than normal and have delayed puberty. Other common symptoms include:

      • weight loss
      • vomiting
      • abdominal bloating
      • abdominal pain
      • persistent diarrhea or constipation
      • pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools

How To Diagnose Celiac Disease In Adults

Adults with celiac disease may experience digestive symptoms. In most cases, however, symptoms also affect other areas of the body. These symptoms may include:

      • iron-deficiency anemia
      • joint pain and stiffness
      • weak, brittle bones
      • fatigue
      • seizures
      • skin disorders
      • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
      • tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
      • pale sores inside the mouth
      • irregular menstrual periods
      • infertility and miscarriage

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Jul

5

Micronutrients vs Macronutrients, How Can They Effect Your Blood Sugar?

Micronutrients vs Macronutrients, How Can They Effect Your Blood Sugar?So check this out, your body has the amazing ability to take the foods you eat and literally turn them into you.  Pretty cool don’t you think! Whether you eat an apple, a steak or a kale salad, your body is able to break that food down into its chemical parts and reassemble those parts into your cells and the energy you use all day. This is flat out awesome considering outside the plant and animal kingdom, nothing else can do that!

Here is the deal though, your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with, like a fine tuned machine, the quality of the food you put into your amazing body has a huge impact on your overall health.  An apple is not just an apple, nor is a steak just a steak.  As stated above, your body is able to break those foods down into their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients.  So what makes these nutrients so important, lets take a closer look!

What Are Macronutrients:

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Derived from the prefix makro (Greek), which means big or large, used because macronutrients are required in large amounts. There are three broad classes of macro-nutrients which make up your primary food sources know as proteins,carbohydrates and fats.

The main function of macronutrients is to provide energy, counted as calories. While each of the macronutrients provides calories, the amount provided by each varies. Carbohydrates provides four calories per gram (I think we are all pretty well versed here),proteins;also four, while fats provides nine calories per gram.

Macronutrients also have specific roles in maintaining the body and contribute to the taste, texture and appearance of foods, which helps to make the diet more varied and enjoyable.

Macronutrients broken down:

  • Carbohydrates – are required for energy. As diabetics we all have varying opinions on carbohydrates and the amounts that we like to ingest , but glucose, which is a monosaccharide, is the most essential source of energy in the body. The brain works entirely on glucose alone. When an immediate source of energy is required, glucose is converted into glycogen which is stored in the liver. When energy is needed it is converted into glucose again and used to release energy. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy per gram.
  • Fats – have the highest caloric content. This means they provide the largest amount of energy when burnt. When measured by a calorimeter, fats provide about 9 calories per gram, making them twice as energy-rich than protein and carbohydrates. Extra fat is stored in adipose tissue and is burnt when the body has run out of carbohydrates. Fat is also needed to take up fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Proteins–  are the third and last source of energy. They are the last to be used of all macronutrients. In cases of extreme starvation, the muscles in the body, that are made up of proteins, are used to provide energy. This is called muscle wasting. Proteins also provide 4 calories per gram.

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Jul

3

Skin Conditions And Type 1 Diabetes, What Is Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum?

The Organic Diabetic As diabetics we all know how important it is to stay on top of our heath, especially when it comes to keeping an eye on our skin.  Things such as cracks, blisters, and rashes can very easily escalate into troublesome situation.  

I fielded a question the other day about a condition called Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD) which is a skin condition that can effect both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.  Never hearing about this particular skin condition before, I thought it would be a great topic to discuss, so lets take a closer look! 

 

What Is Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum:

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum is a rash that typically occurs on the lower legs.  It happens to be more common in women, and upon examination, there are usually several spots. They are slightly raised shiny red-brown patches and the centers are often yellowish and may develop open sores that are slow to heal.  

NLD typically develops when when collagen breaks down, deposits of fat build up and the blood vessel walls thicken. As a chronic condition, NLD might progress slowly and might sometimes scar the skin. The condition might not bother you for a while, while at other times, might flare up.

Causes Of Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum:

The underlying cause of NLD is unknown, but the latest understanding tends to focus on microangiopathy – which occurs when blood vessels become damaged.  As diabetics, we know this is a risk factor that occurs with high blood sugar readings, and usually associated with poor glycemic control. Improved management of blood glucose levels can improve or prevent the disorder all together so this is another factor in a very long list of reasons why its so important for us to maintain proper control.

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Jun

29

What Is Diabetic Hand Syndrome? Signs And Symptoms

handI fielded a question earlier this week on my Facebook page in regards to a fellow type 1 diabetic having diabetic hand pain and issues with their hands being stiff and they seemed harder to move.  

Immediately carpal tunnel syndrome popped into my head, but after she brought this up to her doctor and they ruled out carpal tunnel, they moved on to another diagnosis.  A condition called diabetic hand syndrome (DHS).  Honestly, I’ve never heard of DHS but like most things that grab my attention and not knowing much about something, I decided to see what this was all about.  So what is DHS?  Lets take a closer look! 

What Is Diabetic Stiff Hand Syndrome?

So here we are, diabetic hand syndrome or as its more formerly know as, stiff hand syndrome or cheiroarthropathy. Stiff hand syndrome is one of the most common hand disorders for people with diabetes. Another common nerve and joint problem is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Granted carpal tunnel is not caused by diabetes, but happens more often to people with diabetes, especially those who have diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic Hand Syndrome Symptoms:

Stiff Hand Syndrome is painless and can effect both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. It usually begins in your little finger. Then it spreads over time to your thumb. This stiffness then keeps you from being able to straighten your fingers fully.

In addition, the skin on the back of your hand may also become thick, tight and waxy-looking. One way to tell if you have Stiff Hand Syndrome is to hold the palms of your hands together as if you are praying. If all of the skin and joints of your palms and fingers don’t touch, there is the possibility that you may have stiff hand Syndrome.

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Jun

28

Morning Highs? What Is The Somogyi Effect?

What Is The Dawn Phenomenon?Ok, so what’s up with this term that people keep throwing around called the dawn phenomenon?  As type 1 diabetics we’ve all been there, up at 1:30 in the morning testing our blood sugars and come back with a perfect reading of 100 mg/dl only to wake up a couple of hours later with a glucose level of 400 mg/dl!  Why is this?  

What’s happening to our bodies during that 2 1/2 hour period that sends sends our blood sugars into the stratosphere!  Welcome to what is called, the dawn phenomenon.  Lets take a closer look at what this is all about and what we can do to try and stabilize our blood sugars. 

What Causes The Dawn Phenomenon:

The body prepares for waking up by secreting several different hormones.  First, between 4:00 and 6:30 a.m. it secretes cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrin.  You may recognize these as they are the hormones involved in the “fight or flight response.”  In this case, their job is more benign, to give you the energy to get up and moving.

Besides giving you a burst of energy, these hormones raise blood sugar.  You aren’t going to be able to make any kind of energetic response if you don’t have fuel, and after a long night’s sleep, the fuel your body turns to in order to get you going is the glucose stored in the liver.

So once these hormones are secreted, typically around 5:30 am, plasma glucose and insulin can start to rise.

Though a non diabetic will automatically get a rise in insulin to help cells use this morning glucose, as type 1’s, we know that’s not always the case and instead of giving our cells a dose of morning energy, all we get is a rise in our blood sugars.

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Jun

27

What Is Red Dye And How Can It Negatively Impact Your Health:

What Is Red Dye And Why Is It Dangerous!I fielded a question the other day pertaining to artificial dyes, red dye  particularly and why they were so dangerous. I knew it was bad but after doing some further research I was quite shocked at what I found out, lets take a closer look!

Artificial dyes can be found in more than just food products that you might expect. It is easy to see brightly colored candies and drinks and know instantly that they contain artificial dyes.  You need to be extremely careful and read the ingredient labels which reveals artificial dyes in many potentially surprising products.

The three most widely used culprits—Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40—contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research shows has linked with Cancer! Why is this though? Lets look deeper into these dyes and check on how they are derived.

Where Does Red Dye 40 Come From:

Contrary to popular belief, red dye is not only found in food.  The truth is, red dye allergy can come from just about anything.  Food, personal care,  make up,  and even the toothpaste you’re using.  Artificial dyes are derived mostly from Pertroleum, or red dye is extracted from a beetle and then used for various purposes.  This dye has NO benefits to the body whatsoever, but lets take a good look at what this is linked to once assimilated (absorbed ) into the human body and blood stream.

Skin Reactions:

Just like other types of allergies, common skin symptoms can be attributed to red dye allergy.  Itchiness, redness and slight swelling of the skin are some of these symptoms. Appearance of hives, rashes and thick bumps which contain fluid are also dermal signs of red dye allergy.  Angioedema is a more severe skin reaction caused by red dye allergy.  It’s characterized by the swelling of the deeper layers of the skin.  This might look like raised welt’s on the skin’s surface.  Angioedema can also be seen in the tongue, eyelids and the area surrounding the face.  Sounds fun, right?  Lets examine further.

Gastrointestinal Problems:

Anyone who is allergic to a particular kind of food will have some type of gastrointestinal problem.  In this case, red dye can cause diarrhea, bloating or give you a gassy feeling.  It will usually start as a simple stomach ache.  Then it can progress to a more serious digestive problem, such as vomiting and persistent excretions.  Once the food with red dye has been excreted, the gastrointestinal stress will also cease.  This is why most people are wheezing, coughing or appear to have a general whistling in the chest.

Flu & Respiratory Problems:

Red dye allergy can cause certain parts of the respiratory system to swell.  It’s hard to diagnose people with red dye allergy, because most of the symptoms exhibited are too common.  The best example of which is fever and flu.  Itchiness of the throat, eyes and nose, as well as constant sneezing are also caused by red dye allergy.  While these symptoms can easily be treated with antibiotics and antihistamines, the allergy can go undetected for years.
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