Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I've been trying out a host of herbals in an attempt to get some of this pesky weight off, caused in part by insulin resistance/ high blood sugar after meals.
Using these herbs doesn't mean I have carte blanche to eat as much and whatever I want.
I still need to keep at the exercise(walking and yoga), make nutritionally sound choices(lower carbs, greens, lean protein), get adequate sleep, and keep my calories low. Problem is that I've done that all before, only gained weight. Had brain fog, felt sleepy after meals. Had vision problems. It was time for a change.
Now I am losing weight, slowly but surely.
And I feel so much better while doing it.
I'd have to say that my post prandial (after meal) blood sugar levels are a lot lower, thanks in part to some of the herbals I've been taking.
I definitely feel a lot warmer this winter, which means my body is using some of my food for thermogenesis, rather than storing it away on my belly, like some sort of Ebeneezer Scrooge fat fairy.
I've been drinking a cuppa of a tea I brew that includes cinnamon and Gynostemma, both known to impact sugar levels.
Most recently I've added Amla fruit to my morning brew.
Amla has been shown to lower fasting glucose to healthy levels, and cholesterol levels as well. Since I have both problems (high glucose/ higher than desirable cholesterol), I'm trying it for a month to see if it makes a difference.
Its a very bitter fruit, also known as the Indian Gooseberry, part of the 3 sisters in Triphala. Its been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of ailments.
I got mine frozen, but its also available fresh and powdered.
If you are thinking about trying this out, I'd suggest the powder unless you're a fan of astringent sour tastes. Its also too early for me to say if this works or not.
Here's a study that my decision to try it was based on:
The other new addition has been mulberry leaf tea.
Mulberry inhibits sucrase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down sucrose (a simple disaccharide sugar otherwise known as table sugar)into its respective fructose and glucose... so that the body can absorb it.
Here's something about this: care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30
In any case you may want to some of these.
If you do, please come back and share!
Be healthy, be happy, play with your food! ha
Friday, November 21, 2014
You may have insulin resistance a condition that precedes type 2 diabetes.
Here's how this goes:
Your doc will tell you to lose weight... like you have a mirror already!
You do everything "right".
You eat healthy foods in the proper amount.
You get adequate sleep.
You reduce stress in your life thru a variety of methods.
You step on the scale... and you're another two pounds heavier.
Bc its possible you have Insulin Resistance.
What does that mean?
It means that cells all over your body have become "deaf" to insulin.
Insulin is our body's way of letting glucose and nutrients into our cells after meals. Glucose... blood sugar... needs to be kept under 120, or it starts causing tissue damage... fat accumulation is the least of it. In response your pancreas ( your insulin factory), keeps pumping out insulin, exhausting itself trying to get glucose out of your blood and into your cells.
Next thing you know, your doctor is talking about Type 2 diabetes and medication to control it.
Unless of course you can lose weight and modify your diet and lifestyle.
Which you've already done yet continued to gain.
Does this sound like you?
If so read on!
Check your BMI. If you've been overweight by your BMI standards, then you have a greater tendency to have this problem that will keep you holding onto your fat.
Don't know what a BMI is?
Here's a link to the formula: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational
Just plug in your numbers, the page will do the math for ya! ( I like when that happens)
Measure your belly. If you tend to collect fat around your belly, if your waistline is pushing 36 inches, that's another indicator.
Do you experience "food comas"?
Especially after a meal that's high in carbs.
Then I would suggest you:
1. Get a fasting glucose number.
This test is usually run with a metabolic panel when you go for your yearly check up. If your numbers are in the 90s or higher, read on.
2. Get an Hb1ac (something you may have to ask for, not done unless your fasting glucose is over 100. And even then they may not run it" because your numbers aren't bad enough"... O don't get me started!).
If your fasting glucose test results are over 90, than you definitely want to ask your doctor for a Hb1ac. Many doctors don't give this test until your fasting glucose is in the triple digits, when damage has already occurred.
The Hb1ac t measures how much sugar has been "glycated" ie permanently attached to your red blood cells... which indicates how well your blood glucose is controlled for the last 2-3 months.
For the record, glycation is NOT a good thing.
It causes all sorts of problems, blurry vision, cataracts, hardening of the arteries, undesirable skin changes, poor circulation (feet falling asleep, no hair on lower legs), neuropathy (tingling limbs).
You want you Hb1ac to be under 5.7.
If you want to skip the doctor visit and test it on your own, you can purchase these tests online or at your local Walmart in most states. You will, however, be required to prick your finger with a pre-loaded lancet and drip your blood onto a blotter.
You will have your results back in less than 2 weeks with most tests.
So if you're doing everything right, not losing, and are outside your BMI range, your waist line is expanding, you experience food comas after meals... my advice is to get the fasting glucose as well as Hb1ac test run.
BC Insulin Resistance might be your problem.
If it is, then there's things that can help, that don't require medication.
My last blog addresses one of them.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
HI fellow Sparkers@
I started a new team, along with my Sparkfriend 1CrazyDog, as I've become "IR"... insulin resistant.
Insulin resistance will not only make it very difficult for you to lose weight, but it can have some unfortunate side effects like blurry vision, retinal hematomas, hardening of the arteries, cataracts, feeling super sleepy after meals.
I've been looking for natural remedies, in an attempt to get my BG (blood glucose) under control. I bought a Relion Glucose meter at Walmart, since it was reasonably priced and more importantly had the least expensive glucose strips which are a recurring expense.
Reason for this purchase was that I wanted some hard numbers( data), on my postprandial (after meal) BG numbers.
I wanted to know what my fasting glucose was every morning. Both so that I knew I was making some sort of progress with my IR.
"In god we trust, all else bring data"
I'm going to be posting some remedies I've personally experimented with, in an attempt to control this, to avoid going on prescription drugs. I'm already on thyroid medication, that's plenty!
My thoughts about IR is that anyone who is doing "everything right", and still not losing weight, has been overweight according to their BMI for some time, has some degree of insulin resistance. Especially if your fasting glucose is in the high 90s, or under 120, and your HbA1c comes back with a number higher than 5.7.
If you don't know what those things are, next time you go to your doctor, ask him or her to test you.
Anywho... Today's about Gynostemma.
Gynostemma is a vine that grows in Thailand and in areas of South West Asia.
Years ago it was noticed that a population of Hill County Thais had a higher than usual population of centenarians. Investigation showed that this group of people, regularly drank a tea made from Gynostemma.
Gynostemma is an adaptogen, meaning it helps normalize functions that are awry in your body. One of its benefits is lowering blood sugar.
I have been drinking it for a couple of weeks now, and have had encouraging results when I test after meals where I have drunk a cup of it beforehand.
I would like to emphasize that I eat healthy, meaning low carb, basically fish, dairy and vegetables... occasionally blackstrap molasses (for iron and minerals), honey and dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. No soda, alcohol perhaps once or twice a month, usually used in cooking, no junk food, no deep fried stuff, no heavy starches, wheat and other grains.
Even so my BG numbers after meals without the Gynostemma was causing problems... it was way too high!
The added benefit of drinking a cup of this tea, is that if fills me up, so I tend not to eat as much during the meal.
I take it without milk, bc milk has the unfortunate tendency to bind beneficial compounds. Sometimes I add a bit of coconut water to it for a touch of sweetness and flavor, or I combine it with other teas or herbs (rooibos, honeybush, tulsi, black or green tea).
You may want to add this herb to your daily routine and see if it makes a difference.
Many of you have asked where I get it?
Its sold in the Asian markets here as Jiaogulan tea.
The plant itself looks a lot like woodbine, if any of you are familiar with that, its got 5 leaves coming out of a central point. I'm telling you this, bc sometimes they have the plant printed on the box.
I wanted an organic source of it, so I ordered a big bag off the internet, from a source I trust called Mountain Rose Herbs.
They do charge a hefty fee for shipping and handling. I bought the one pound bag, bc I'm going to be using it a lot
If you can't get in that way, got to Mountain Rose Herbs, and type "gynostemma" into the search window which is at the top of the page, on the right.
Its comes loose, I put it in a tea ball if I'm making a large pot of tea.
I've also put it in soups, as an ingredient... its in today's tilapia soup along with spinach, so that any leaves will just blend right in with the spinach.
I was so impressed I actually ordered gynostemma PLANTS, bc eventually I want to grow my own for my own use. Apparently they grow well indoors, that's where mine are now in the kitchen window. This spring I will move one of them outdoors.
Some people are having problems getting to the Mountain Rose site. the links don't work for my server either.
You can just put Mountain Rose Herbs in your google search engine. its not the only game in town, though, you can get Gynostemma on Amazon or from other vendors.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I'm writing a bit more today about tomato hornworms, since Henry's Mom expressed concern that I'd gobbled a few of them down, which... I did not. Promise! YET! ha
I'd like to point out that there's a difference between CONSIDERING a recipe and actually trying it.
In my case, Hornworms and Green Tomatoes never made it past my palate, but here's a link to the recipe in case you'd like to try it:
I think its a pretty safe bet to guess that anyone who has grown tomatoes, has run across these phantoms of the garden, whether they knew it or not.
More often than not, you will see their damage before you see them. Reason being these guys are masters of disguise, they are mostly nocturnal eaters, staying frozen in position during the day so as not to attract bird's attention.
Or mabbe its just to digest the prodiguous amount of leaves they just consumed like a reveller after a Thanks Giving meal.
Judge for yourself!
Yes, Sparkers, there really IS a tomato hornworm in that photo!
This ability to merge into their environment allowed 35+ of them to defoliate the nicely flowered, leafy new branches of my 'maters in plain sight.
It took 3 tries, one in the morning, another in the early evening and a third with the help of an ultraviolet flashlight (they glow in UV light) under the full moon to remove them all.
At least that's what they want me to believe.
I'm not fully convinced another won't turn up!
No hornworms were injured.
I don't believe in killing things unless absolutely necessary.
Particularly since these catepillars morph into equally fascinating hummingbird moths. Check out these moths doing their thing on a night blooming Datura!
They were put in a jar and dumped on the other side of the bike path in the forest where they had plenty to munch. A few of the larger ones didn't appreciate being moved and reached back to give me a good nip with their jaws as I was pulling them from their perch.
Have fun, winter is coming and with it an end to all things growing and green!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I'm always on the outlook for new healthy taste experiences.
Especially those that are gluten free.
Case in point, I briefly entertained the thought of making an online recipe I found for tomato hookworms, after I plucked a lovely plumb one, intent on eating my tomato plants to the ground. For all the world it resembled a green bean... well if you could get past the legs.
But I digress...
So when I ran into Teff flour, I knew I had to try it and concocted a delicious porridge from it... no hornworms included. You can find my recipe in my last blog.
Previously I'd had Teff at a local Ethiopian Restaurant, in the form of injera, a spongy, sourdough pancake that is used both as a utensil to pick up food and a plate to serve the food on.
More recently, I bought the grain, which is as small as... well the period of this font!
The problem with the grain versus flour, is that if you're in a rush, and texture isn't an issue in the recipe you are making, it takes about the same time as it does to cook rice... which is to say 20 minutes once you get the water up to a boil.
Whereas the flour cooks almost immediately.
Speaking from experience.... failure to fully cook Teff grain the full 20 minutes, may result in um.... a musical performance later on in the day?
So why Teff? Teff is high in fiber, iron, B vitamins and a host of other trace minerals.
But rather than go on about it in my own words, I found this article : gluten.lovetoknow.com/Teff_Seed
That blabs on about every fact known about it. Which is what I usually do but there's no sense in reinventing the wheel here, especially when my chores aren't done and the day's half over.
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