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Extreme Diabetes Management: Healing My Body with Food and Exercise

Seafarer Mama (Karen) loves to lose herself in the culinary arts by mixing her storytelling with sharing recipes.

Green is Good for Humans, Inside and Out

Waterfall at the entrance to the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in the Berkshires (MA)   A healthy dose of greens to eat and spending time in nature are both good for body and soul!

Waterfall at the entrance to the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in the Berkshires (MA) A healthy dose of greens to eat and spending time in nature are both good for body and soul!

Why Eat Junk When You Can Eat Real Food?

Last month, my chiropractor gave me a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid for a full thirty days. The goal was detoxification. He was aware that I had been working on finding an effective means of reversing diabetes, but I had not yet developed a rhythm around eating and moving that worked for me. The one item that I had successfully avoided when grocery shopping was high fructose corn syrup, but I had gone no further than that.

When the good doctor handed me the sheet of paper, I almost fainted. I wanted to cry. But I chose to give it a try. If I could avoid all (convenient, grab-and-go) processed foods and everyday foods that are immediately turned into sugar, I was on my way to successful detoxification. I became intent on removing from my bloodstream all of the junk contained in the quick-and-easy-to-prepare foods that busy people eat on-the-go. My eating habits included too much of that stuff. I am as busy as a writer, artist and home-schooling parent could be, but I needed to help my body heal.

Good Food Takes Time to Prepare

One of the challenging aspects of this eating style is its time-consuming nature. Most of the foods, other than nuts and seeds that can be eaten a handful at a time, take time to prepare. The good news is that they can be prepared in batches of several servings at a time. Poring through cookbooks in my culinary library and researching tasty recipes to use online were enjoyable tasks. So was experimenting with flavors in original ways. I find joy in cooking and feeding people, so the extra time spent in the kitchen was a bonus for me.

Feeding Ourselves Right = Feeding our Souls

Another piece of good news is that taking time to prepare food slows down the eating process. There is a "slow food" movement out there for a good reason. Slowing down to prepare nutritious food well, and taking time to enjoy the food we prepare with friends and family feeds our souls as well as our bodies. The food is tastier because we have given our senses a chance to enjoy them. Our brain works better on whole foods because interacting with those closest to us also feeds those brain cells.

In addition to sharing meals with friends and family, my social interactions with acquaintances were boosted. I enjoyed the freedom of having extra time and energy to engage deeply in conversations with people because my focus shifted away from snacking and toward getting to know new acquaintances better.

The 30-Day Detox Food List

The food list to eat from, given to me by my chiropractor

The food list to eat from, given to me by my chiropractor

Focusing on Abundance: What Can I Say "Yes" to?

As I looked over the list, I made notes and highlighted the foods that were recommended. I knew the only way that I could stay with this detox regimen was to focus on mixing and matching the approved foods. From those notes, I began to write out a grocery list that included the following:

  • Meat as a protein source (beef, chicken, fish)
  • Fresh herbs and seasoning (but making sure they do not contain sugar)
  • Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts)
  • Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds chia seeds)
  • My favorite in-season vegetables
  • Coconut oil to cook with (preferred, but sesame and olive oils are okay)
  • Coconut and almond milks
  • Avocados as the only fruit
  • Lemons to juice for salads, smoothies and garnishing my water
  • Butter and heavy whipping cream as the only dairy
  • Butter for my vegetables
  • Whipping cream to make lattes with

I Began to Play with My Food

Spaghetti squash spitting out its pulp

Spaghetti squash spitting out its pulp

Having Fun with the Challenge

Focusing on the foods that I could eat for the month, I began to have fun and put them together creatively. Here are some of my favorite creations:

  • Shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic, with a side of asparagus
  • Cucumber and parsley smoothies
  • Beet, carrot and kale salads swimming in lemon juice
  • Sauteed collard greens with tomatoes, garlic, and scrambled eggs

Too Good to Keep to Myself

Dedicated to giving my body a fighting chance to heal from all of the foods with cane sugar and other nefarious junk in them, which I had eaten for many years, I watched as my blood sugar levels dropped each time I tested myself. I was able to progress from taking 2 Metformin daily to none in 10 days, and I lost 7 lbs.

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Though I added back some foods, such as organic fruit and legumes, I am making an effort to keep up the eating habits from the past 30 days. I feel too good to do otherwise. As an extra boost of encouragement, my most recent A1c taken at my doctor's office this month (May 2018) was 6.4, reduced from 7.0! This is my proof that the changes worked and I am determined to maintain them.

Recipe and Video Series

I have had so much fun with this detox "diet" that I want to keep going as long as I can. I'd have trouble eating store-bought baked goods and other prepared food, now. Instead, I have gotten into the habit of reading labels to avoid the junk that kills brain cells and clouds our thinking.

My "Extreme Diabetes Management" Series

I want to share with you some of the fun recipes I've created in the past month, either from scratch or researched and adapted to meet my needs. Following this article will be some recipes with pictures and YouTube videos. I look forward to reading your thoughts and chatting about them.

Exercise is the Other Half of the Equation

When sugar is subtracted from the diet, fat moves in to fill us up. It is longer-lasting than a sugar rush, but our bodies need a way of working off the excess fat that might accumulate. Drinking water and moving our bodies is essential to the success of this detox regimen. We need to exercise to keep all of our organs healthy.

What is Your Favorite Way to Move?

Everyone has their favorite ways to move. Choose some of your favorites to keep yourself going every day. Here are a few of mine:

  • Stretching
  • Qi Gong/Tai Chi
  • Belly Dancing
  • Climbing lighthouses
  • Sailing
  • Walking/Hiking outside on a nature trail
  • Rowing machine in our fitness room

Drink lots of water (fat is water-soluble, so staying hydrated also washes away the fat cells) and exercise every day. Water, exercise, and tasty food will move you toward health and confidence.

Summary of Benefits Enjoyed During My Month of Detox

*Thirty days of detoxification boosted my physical well-being and my social life.




Fresh, tasty food prepared with love

Lower daily blood sugar levels

Less time at the snack table = more free time to socialize

Meals shared with friends and family are enjoyed more fully

Lost weight

More time to socialize boosts bonding with acquaintances

Fresh organic foods have more textural variety

Increased energy

More time to chat with neighbors during community meals; increased feeling of inclusion

Pleasant aromas in the home

Rise in endorphines from engaging in enjoyable exercises

Increased levels of social confidence

Extreme Diabetes Management Series Intro

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Karen A Szklany


Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on May 25, 2018:

Thank you for reading and for your kind words, Dianna. Blessings back to you!

Dianna Mendez on May 24, 2018:

Glad you have found creating good food dishes fun and healthy for you. It is true that we are what we eat. Belly dancing would put me in traction but I do stretch and exercise regularly. Best wishes for continued movement forward on your diabetes management and healing. Blessings!

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