"What's the trick" someone asked today when they heard James Baker and I both have A1c readings of 5.7 and we are doing this with diet and exercise, and without medication. I'd like to share my response. Perhaps James, Kevin, and others will also share their lifestyle comments in similar postings.
"What's the trick" was a simple sounding question, with a not so simple answer. It really is a lifestyle, not a trick. It can be hard work, but the payoff is incredible. Here are some of the pieces that brought my glucose reading from 396 to normal:
1. Food choices: primarily low glycemic index fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, cheese, mostly almond milk, olive oil and other MUFAs (avocado, almonds, etc.), quinoa and lentils. Lots of fiber in the fruit and veggies. Lots of water and some tea and coffee. (no soda). Seasonings are pepper, turmeric, garlic, onion, ginger, cinnamon, french herb mixtures, curry, primarily, but have lots of others I use occasionally.
2. Food selection & preparation: cook from clean, natural, whole foods. I use organic because I have allergies to many chemicals that are in our food supply. I use filtered water for the same reason. I do not use prepackaged, precooked, prepared foods. I cook like my grandmother used to, starting with raw, not boxed.
3. Cooking: use raw, when possible; I also do many stir fry and omelets in olive oil in a cast iron skillet; I also bake, broil, and grill.
4. Supplementation: D3-2,000-4,000IU; alpha lipoic acid-600mg 2X daily; biotin-5000 mcg; CoQ10-capful (mine is an easily absorbable fluid); Mega Red-1 capsule; and Vitamin code raw vitamins per package instructions. From time-to-time, I use other supplements as need arises.
NOTE: I am glucose intolerant, so have damage to villi of the intestine which affects digestion/absorption of nutrients, so I do add in vitamins I might not need otherwise. It is also why you will not find wheat, rye, barley, or oats in my meal plans, but you will find quinoa and some lentils and corn.
5. Sleep: 8 hours/night.
6. Exercise: walk 3 miles most days; also swim, play tennis, jog while pushing my 220 pound husband in a 40 pound wheelchair (that is aerobic, let me tell you!), use a cardio-fit or treadmill when its raining, have an assortment of bands, tubes, medicine ball, and weights for specific exercises when I need a change.
7. I do not use medications. My A1c is now 5.7.
8. Increase your self awareness. Listen to what your body is telling you and act on it. Care for and about yourself.
9. Practice stress reduction and positive mental health. This is, I think, one of the main reasons I am successful. I have major stressors (husband has Alzheimer's and is dying; I've been out of work for a year so I could care for him; may have to sell and move because of our finances being tight because I am caring for him—-these are big issues and decisions that will affect the rest of my life and are not to be made lightly), but am able to maintain a calm and rational attitude despite the stress.
I meditate, pray, focus on the good things in my life. I simplify what I can. I bask in the natural beauty of Hawaii and drink in the serenity from any source I can find in my life. One of my mottoes is: if it isn't life threatening, it is negotiable. This helps me keep peace with my husband despite his failing mind. I look at the big picture and evaluate my choices rather than doing what I have always done.
My son (in TX), friends (Hawaii and on d.c.), and pets are also sources of support. I reach out to others (even strangers) with a ready smile, friendly comment, and laughter. I try to share my joy with others. The sharing is also healing for me, because it helps me focus on what I have, not what I have lost or am losing. When I need to, I grieve, and then I move on with life. Life, after all, is for living and we only get one chance.
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