7 Holistic Steps For Diabetics & The Health Conscious by Dena Ventrudo

I’ve been a Type 1 Diabetic for about two years. During those two years I’ve been lucky enough to work for an establishment that provided holistic information for me to access and use for my own personal education.

Just like adjusting to my insulin and a new lifestyle that is based on trial and error most of the time, I have found some things to help manage my blood sugars the same way. Of course I still need to take my insulin and eat healthy meals, but sometimes these tips and tricks allow me to take less insulin than I normally would and on a good day, I can substitute some of these for smaller doses of insulin (i.e. 1-3 units).

Please note that this works for me personally and may not work for all diabetics out there. Remember to always continue your medical treatments, but while you’re doing so, it wouldn’t hurt to give these ideas a try!

Cinnamon pills- They sell these dietary supplements almost everywhere vitamins are sold. They are commonly very tiny, however if you take one after every major meal, you might notice a more stable blood sugar. For me it had an accumulative effect, in that the more regularly I took them after meals, the better my blood sugar was. It wasn’t a dramatic curve, and I still needed insulin shot, but after a few weeks I noticed a 5-10 point drop in my after meal blood sugar level. Let them drink tea! There are many teas out there that lower my blood sugar so readily, I have to adjust the amount of insulin intake just so that I won’t have a low! I think part of it can be attributed to the caffeine in the teas: Green Tea Green Tea with Ginger Oolong Tea Morning Breakfast Tea (with a spoonful of cinnamon mixed in.)

If you can’t have caffeine, there is another tea I want to tell you about that works even better than the caffeinated stuff. It’s called Bitter Melon Tea, or Charantea. It’s made from ampalaya melons which actually naturally produce something similar to animal insulin. The website that sells this tea (as well as capsules and other products) iswww.charanteausa.com.

This tea dropped my blood sugar from 192 to 102 in an hour- without taking any insulin. The instructions on how to take it are on the website, and I strongly recommend you check it out!!

There are many juices out there that claim to have miracle cures. If you’re anything like me and my diabetic friends, this makes you feel very angry. Because you know there is no cure yet, and to suggest to abandon your medical treatments and pursue a magical juice is absurd and insulting.

However if you take goji berry juice as a dietary supplement, just like the cinnamon pills, it can help lower your blood sugar over time. The trick is this: all diabetics know that juice has sugar in it and it’s not safe to just start pounding back glass after glass. So this is what you do. You take 4 oz of goji berry juice and 4 oz of water and mix the two. Yes you’re diluting the juice, which doesn’t seem practical, but it is now half the sugar it was and still retains its nutritional value. They also make the extract in capsules. You will still have to take your insulin, but over time you may be able to reduce how much you need.

Add some spice to your life! Unfortunately, I can’t eat spicy food regularly because I have a very sensitive stomach. But when I do have anything from Tabasco sauce to chili peppers in my meal, my blood sugar seems to do alright! Ironically enough, the cure they found for diabetes in mice over in Toronto, shared a chemical naturally produced in chili peppers. Coincidence? I think not. Wine and dine yourself! I come from an Italian-American family whose tradition was to have a big pasta dinner every Sunday afternoon. This became very frustrating for me because whole grain pasta and low carb pasta tasted like cardboard compared the white flour pasta I spent my whole life eating. But I found that every time I had a glass or two of red wine, I would need hardly any to very little insulin with my meal! Red wine lowered my blood sugar but not dramatically enough that I had to worry about bottoming out and chugging orange juice.

I started having a glass of red wine with various other meals and found it had the same consistent effect. Aside from the fact the red wine is good for your heart, I heard on the new not too long ago that the skin from red grapes has glucose lowering qualities in it.

Not much of a wine drinker? I wasn’t always either. The wine I usually drink with dinner is Yellow Tail Merlot or Shiraz, and the largest bottle only cost 11.99. Not a bad deal for a decent bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner and manage your health! Always remember to drink responsibly, pace yourself and check your blood sugar periodically. And remember, don’t drink and drive!

Its ten pm, do you know where your snack cupboard is? I do because it’s always when I’m getting ready for bed that I get hungry again. Here are two ideas: Drink a glass of water or two. Most of the time that we think we’re hungry after we’ve eaten is because we’re dehydrated! Drink up that H20 and wait a few minutes to see if you’re satisfied. Not satisfied? Still starving? I will introduce you to the amazing snack that got me through my late night carb cravings — Mr. Peanut butter. Not only is peanut butter high in protein, its filling as heck, and a few spoonfuls will more than likely subside those hankerings. Not only is it yummy and filling, Skippy now makes it in low carb! Need something to wash it down? How about a small glass of Soy or Almond milk? Another low carb, high protein goody. Make sure you take into account any potential nut allergies!

7. Lastly….exercise. I know, I know- who has the time? I know I don’t and I hear about it at every endocrinologist appointment I go to. But exercise doesn’t always have to be an aerobics class at the gym. Steps simple as going for a walk after a meal (you can bring your puppy!), swimming a few laps in a pool, vigorously cleaning the house, or even taking a yoga class can do wonders for your blood circulation. It doesn’t have to be everyday. But if you can do something, three to four times a week, it would infinitely improve your overall health and you will feel better. Trust me! I have a very clean house!

I hope that these tips and tricks help you along your way and remember that everything is trial and error. Be safe, document your success or lack there of, and don’t forget to enjoy!!

Much Love,

Dena Ventrudo


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by Dena Ventrudo
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She has a BA in Liberal Studies. Dena is also a type 1 diabetic.