So where does one start!!

     I have had lot of questions about how to start this path to good health.  I think the biggest question people have is knowing where to start and developing the mind set you need it to get you through. Case in point: Everyone starts a new diet plan on January 1st.  New Years Revolutions start strong and then peter out.  Ether it's too hard, or they just weren't that committed to it in the first place.  So the weight comes back on and then some.

Image result for how much sugar is in a pepsi     Months before I started this lifestyle I gave up my very first item that was easy for me.  I gave up soda.  I never take anything at face value or believe anyone without verifying what others are trying to tell me.  I always make sure to study it out.  I learned that soda pop is one of the worst things you can consume.  A 12 oz can of coca cola contains 39 grams of sugar.  That is equivalent to 9 1/3 tsp. of sugar!!  As much as 3 servings of frosted flakes!  People who consume 1-2 cans of soda a day are at greater risk for diabetes, 85% greater risk for gout, and because sugar makes us gain weight we are at greater risk of developing heart disease.  Okay, so what about diet soda?  Are they any better?  Not quite.  Sugar substitutes trigger insulin, and then your body stores fat.  It confuses our bodies.  At the University of Texas scientists conducted a study on the effects of diet soda and found that 70% of people who drank Diet Soda had a greater percentage of fat storage in their waist lines.  Participants who slurped down 2 or more diet sodas had a 500% greater increase.  That is a lot!!!  It's not just physical, but psychological because some may think that because they are consuming less calories and sugar, that they can eat more other fattening foods like pizza and burgers.  Artificial sweeteners are also associated with migraine headaches, depression, bad teeth, bad for your bones.  I could go on and on!  If you give up soda and drink more water, you will lose weight!  What do I drink in it's place?  Water, lots and lots of water. At least 5 12 ounce portions a day.  If I have fruit such as strawberries, I infuse it by placing strawberries in a water bottle with water over night.  I also love fizz so I drink Kombucha that you can make yourself or buy it at the health food section in the store.

     The next thing we did as a family was have Meatless Mondays.  I found recipes that I thought my family would enjoy, and gave that a try.  Taco salads with beans and cheese and chips( no meat). Burrito bowls with rice, beans mixed with taco seasoning, tomatoes, rice, onions, stir fry with lots of veggies and rice.  We did this for months, and my family liked doing it because it was something different, and fun!

     As we adjusted to our new routine, I continued to read and study.  My health wasn't great.  I had blood pressure meds x 2, I take an aspirin everyday and probably will have to continue because of the DVT I had in my leg several years ago.  I also have to take a anti depressant, and though I don't suffer from depression it controls my heart from beating out of sync.  It may get better.  I read everything that I could get my hands on concerning nutrition.  For some reason there was just something that told me that I needed to change my diet.  Years ago I thought that people who didn't consume meat were insane and I could never do that,  Never ever ever say never.  LOL  As I read How Not to Die by Michael Greger, and other informative articles I realized what I needed to do.  I also started to read labels on processed foods.  High fructose corn syrup is in everything, salt, chemicals that I couldn't pronounce.

     My children went off to college on New Years Day, and on the way home while talking to my husband in the car we decided we would go cold turkey.  We would give up the processed foods including oils.  We decided to give up meat, dairy and sugar.  Really it wasn't hard for me as I was in the mind set, and had done the research that I needed to do to know that meat was causing diabetes.  It's cell clogging so the insulin cannot work properly in our bodies.  Same with all animal products.  There are those including my family that don't agree and it's because of the way we have been raised that carbs are bad, and meat contains the protein that our bodies needs.  This cannot be farther from the truth.  Read the China Study, and it's explains that people in China ate rice for years and just recently have started to develop diabetes because the SAD (Standard American Diet) has begun in their country.

     It takes a bit to get over the cravings.  That comes in time.  My suggestion is get all the junk out of your house.  Rid your pantries of sugar and processed foods.  If it isn't there you can't eat it.  Save your money for fun things for your house.  A new picture, toys for the kids etc.  Don't go to fast food restaurants.  They contain sugar and salt.  They also trick our brains into wanting more.  It's the pleasure centers of our brains (hipocampus) that is comforting and yummy.  Stay clear, and take your kids to a movie or get out and exercise.  Now we all give in once in a while, but just right back on to healthy eating.  Your palate will change in about 3 weeks.  I had ice cream the other night, and it didn't taste that good.  Probably because I hadn't had it in a very long time.

     Last but not least get a support group.  There are quite a few on facebook.  I belong to a few where I can ask questions and concerns.  The people on these groups all have started somewhere, and it's a great resource.  Also remember that this is not a diet!  It's a lifestyle.  If you keep this in mind, you will continue on.

     My biggest decision to do this was to get healthy again.  I wanted to get off of the pills, drop some weight and reverse my diabetes.  The journey is long, but I know if I'm persistent the health problems will eventually get better, and I will live longer to see my kids and grandchildren grow up.

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Image result for metal roller skates with key     If you are trying to lose weight, and even if you are not trying each of us should be exercising.  It really is not my favorite thing to do, but I know it's important.  I remember as a kid I was always outside doing something that I enjoyed.  I had roller skates that were made of metal and had four wheels.  (Yes I'm old)  If my friends couldn't be outside I would ride down the hill and land on someones lawn to stop.  Bicycle riding was big then too.  Hide and seek, hopscotch, tag, something always associated with moving around.  As I grew I learned how to ski, and at that time it was inexpensive.  I really enjoyed that time of my life. Each of my children played soccer, rode their bikes and enjoyed the outside with hiking and swimming.

     When was the last time you saw children playing outside?  If they are outside a parent is never far away because of all the things that can happen to them, the kids are mostly under watchful eyes.  We also have video games and movies so children are not outside as much.  I think for the most part, the good old days are gone.

     According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation 1 in 3 children ages 2-19 are obese and are at risk of developing diabetes and heart disease!  There are a lot of factors that are making this happen.  Sitting in front of the TV more than they should and snacking unnecessarily.   Advertisements for unhealthy choices are everywhere, and nearly every food isle at the market contains processed foods.  Some children's parents cannot afford healthy foods.  It's sad to me that fresh foods are expensive.

     Why is exercising so important for us and our children?  I was reading today at  .  There are 7 benefits to help us in our daily living.

     1. Exercise helps to control our weight.  If we are trying to lose or maintain our weight exercise can helps us.  Some of us can't get in a whole workout throughout the day, but parking farther away, or taking the stairs is a great way to get in those extra steps.  We just got a treadmill so now I have no excuses.  I would like to try to get on it everyday, but it doesn't always happen.  Remember that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  We should be exercising at least 3 times a week.

     2. Exercise combats diseases.  I have diabetes and I also have neuropathy in my feet.  If I don't exercise, my feet will burn and hurt at night.  Exercise also helps our cholesterol.  It helps lower the bad (LDL) triglycerides and raises the good (HDL)  I never want to go on a statin drug.  There are so many side affects to those.

     3.  Exercise improves your mood.  Have you ever noticed that after a workout you feel so much better?  This is because exercise stimulates a part of your brain that controls our mood.  It also helps us to feel better about ourselves, and boosts self confidence.

     4.  Exercise boosts our energy.  Our muscles become stronger, boosts oxygen to our muscles and tissues.  When your heart and lungs work more efficiently we have more energy to do what we have to do.  I have noticed this as I work as a CNA for a home health company, and if I exercise before I leave, I have a ton more energy to do what needs to be done.  I almost feel younger.  Almost.  lol

     5.  Helps your memory.  People who exercise do better in school, better on tests, and helps to keep us from zoning out.  I know I could use that!

     6.  Who is sleeping well?  Studies show that if you exercise 15 hours a week, your sleeping improves.  You are less sleepy during the day since you have more energy, and sleep better at night.  I have noticed this.  I crash at night.

     7.  As we age, we have bone loss but if we exercise it can help us to maintain healthy bone mass.  Weight bearing exercises actually is one of the most healthy remedies to combat osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercising includes:
     Walking, jogging or running
     Playing tennis or racquetball
     Field hockey
     Jump rope
     Weight lifting

     Don't try to overdue when you first start out.  When I started at the gym, I think I was on the treadmill for 15 minutes and now I'm up to 40 minutes.  Start small and work up to your goal.  I feel so much better when I workout.  I also drink more water as I sweat like a pig so my body needs the extra fluid which helps to flush everything out including weight.

     Exercise is something I will do the rest of my life.  Don't sit too long.  It causes so many problems.  3 years ago, I got a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) that broke off from my leg and went to my lungs.  Those are deadly, and I was very blessed that I made it through, but it was caused by sitting too long.  I had had a kidney stone and felt rotten and sick.  I gained more weight and then the DVT hit.  I have since learned my lesson and have become more active in my life.



     I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was pregnant with my last baby at age 36.  My doctor called it gestational diabetes.  The doctor at that time told me to watch my sugar intake and I would be fine, that they would keep an eye on it.  I ate sugar free everything, and I lost 15 pounds.  Because of the diabetes I also suffered from with high blood pressure and was sentenced to the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy in bed only to be on my left side and only to get up to when I absolutely had to.  Now, mind you I already had a 3 year old and a 20 month old.  It was a big hurdle to do as the doctor commanded.  I made it through with the help of my husband, mom, and my church.  It was a long two months.

     My last child was my biggest baby weighing in at a hefty nine lbs.  Not bad considering most babies are huge when a mother is diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  He was delivered via C-section and two weeks early, so I guess he could have been bigger had he been full term.

     I was warned after our youngest son was born that my body could convert to type ll diabetes if I didn't control my carbs, and didn't keep my weight off.

     I did pretty well for a very long time, but in my late forties I started to convert to being diabetic.  We all know what happens to a body as we age.  We become more sedentary.  Things start tasting really good, and since I knew my husband loved me, why would it matter if I gained weight.  The weight kept creeping up.  However, I controlled the diabetes with weight and exercise.  If I got a bit heavier, I would go on a diet and my weight would go down and so I was able to control it.

     The last visit at the doctors was a bit unsettling.  My blood pressure was up, and so was my A1C.  Now what in the heck is A1C you ask?.  It is a blood test that doctors can run that tells what a person's blood sugar is over a 3 month period.  It's actually a miracle in my book.  At any rate my number was 7.8.  Normal ranges are 4-5.6%.  I knew I had to do something.  These tests were done just 3 weeks after I started eating a whole foods plant based diet.  I knew the diet (lifestyle) would do the job if I just stuck with it.  However, I was eating a ton of carbs!  I'm eating potatoes, rice, whole grains etc.  My sister said her doctor told her to stay away from potatoes as it was like eating a bowl of sugar, and she is on insulin.

     I started do some research on how things that are natural in nature could cause such havoc in our bodies.  I started reading a book by Dr. Neal Barnard entitled Dr. Neal Bernard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.  He has done extensive research on the hows and whys of people that are eating a diet from ADA (American Diabetes Association) and why it wasn't working.  Why doctors were having to prescribe more and more drugs to help people.  Also Michael Greger who wrote How Not to Die.  He refers to The China Study written by T. Collin Cambell.  I'm trying to get through all of them.  All good reads here. Here is a video as well that helps explain what they have found.

     At any rate Neal Barnard states that meat causes blood sugar spikes because the fat in meat clogs the cells much like gum in a lock clogs the lock.  The insulin cannot enter the cells causing issues with blood glucose.

     Diabetes causes heart disease, blood pressure problems, not to mention losing limbs, lose of vision, kidney troubles, neuopathy in your feet of which I have.  It's not fun at all.

     I haven't been back to have my A1C tested, but my blood pressure has come down significantly and was recorded yesterday at 110/72!

     This lifestyle is an adjustment, but why would you want to eat any other way, when you have diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure.  Physicians don't have extensive training in nutrition.  I know because I checked the curriculum of several medical schools.  They touch on it, but unless they do their own study and research they don't know all there is to know about nutrition.  New studies are coming out more and more. After working as a Medical Assistant, I can see why physicians don't have the time to sit down with patients to discuss diet.  New insurances have made it nearly impossible, making it so doctors have to see more patients in a day to make up the money they once did.   I'm not saying to stop your meds, I'm saying do your own research, go to your doctors and ask them what they think. Type ll diabetes can be reversible.

     I feel amazing since giving up ALL animal products, by eating legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables which are natural and not processed.  I should probably go in in the next month or so to have my A1C checked again, and will give you the results.  

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