Sunday, October 26, 2014

Changes in blood glucose

There was a strange period towards the end of this summer 2014 where my blood sugars began to act in ways they never had before. I was still eating only beef, leafy greens and bone soup. After every breakfast, my BG would go up well above 140 and sometimes even approach 180. It would come down on its own to about 120 by lunchtime, but this was still extremely unusual and very upsetting. I took to running after breakfast in order to bring it down, which it did very effectively. This period lasted about a month.

When I returned to New York City after a summer working at a diabetes camp in Massachusetts, my normal functioning of BG resumed, staying all day under 120, waking up at about 100 and never going below 80.

But my final year of a masters degree here in New York has proven to be one of the most stressful times I have had in any of my schooling, and I have had to revisit many of the problems I thought had been resolved in order to maintain healthy BG without the use of insulin.

After a few weeks of school, I began to get strange numbers jumping outside 140 after breakfast and hanging above 120 for an entire day. I also began to get some strange high numbers in the evening near 170. The situation deteriorated a bit more, with episodes in with my BG would be over 160 for more than 18 hours before coming down. There were even some times that it approached 200 late in the evening after dinner. My daily regimen of yoga had not changed much and my diet was still the same.

I took to running every morning after breakfast for about 20 minutes, perhaps a little less. This is EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE- after a morning run my blood sugars will stay near 110 until about 3 or 4 or in the afternoon. I continue the morning yoga practice and then follow it with the run after eating breakfast. I also find that I must go on a late afternoon run as well in order to avoid high numbers after 4 or 5 pm. This is also EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE, keeping the afternoon numbers below 120.

I have also been getting more acupuncture- about 2 or 3 times per week. It seems that the primary reason for this difficulty with the BG is due to stress. Every practitioner from whom I receive acupuncture tells me that the parasympathetic nervous system isn't activated. If you have read my very first article, you will recall that the parasympathetic nervous system is the branch of the nervous system responsible for digestion and relaxation. When the sympathetic, its foil, is activated, stress hormones most notably Cortisol, are released and elevate BG levels for use in the quick metabolism that would otherwise be required to fight off a threat that the mind perceives. In short, something is going on at this point that is taking me out of an activated parasympathetic state and into the activated, stressed state.

The morning yoga practice is as important as ever. I make sure that I do the important breathing practices that activate parasympathetic function as well as include some of the difficult physical exercises to build muscle mass and metabolize sugar. Running is important on two levels- one, it metabolizes the food from breakfast and uses it and, most importantly, running is a long deep breathing exercise that activates parasympathetic function.

I know that something is wrong with stress related factors, and that the functioning of the pancreas is likely the same as it was before this difficult period. There is a chance of course that it is not, but I do notice that after very good acupuncture, my blood sugars look beautiful no matter how much I eat.

I am not sure to where this period of difficulty will lead, but all I can do for the time being is to try things to address the given situation and see what happens. It is a lot to do 2 hours of yoga and then running every morning, but it works and I feel really good when I do it. If I require an afternoon run, then that is what I will have to do as well. I've had a few moments where I thought that it would just be so much easier to hook up my insulin pump and not worry about it, but then I remember that I STILL don't have to take any insulin. Those number still come down on their own and if I wasn't doing any running or anything they wouldn't look good, but they wouldn't be dangerous either. That all reminds me to keep up and keep trying things to figure it out. Every time I have to get up and do yoga or put on my shoes and go for a run, I learn something important about resiliency and allow the discipline of having to do it work for me. It can be very frustrating, but each time it gives me an opportunity to practice equanimity as well as grit.

End of Beef and Leaf

6 months of the "Beef and Leaf" diet is over. I cheated twice during the 6 month period. One time I ran a 5k and I ate a banana afterwords because I literally felt as if I would pass out, and another time I had broccoli instead of spinach or another leafy green because I decided I would cheat that one moment.

After this six months, I feel stronger than I ever have before. I have also had wonderful digestion and elimination as well as extremely consistent energy during the day from wake up until bed time.

My blood sugars are another story. I still do not require any insulin, but there has been some extreme difficulty about which I will write in a new post.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Anyone to try it...

It seems like many people are interested in this ongoing story- many people with and without diabetes. However, when I meet people and they question me about my situation and what I do to keep myself from taking insulin, I am often met with responses such as "I could never do that" or "I love bread, I couldn't stop eating it" or "I don't have enough self control."

Despite the fact that many are interested in what has occurred and certainly can't deny the reality of the situation once they meet me, I have never had anyone tell me they want to try it. I have no doubt that many of these methods would work for a lot of people. Folks remain doubtful, even resentful of the fact that they probably would work, or, they are so attached to the idea that their pancreas has been completely destroyed and will never come back. Remember when the common knowledge was that after a certain age the brain stopped growing? Well, neuroplasticity has been a proven phenomenon all the way from birth to death. The entrenchment of the unchangeable nature of our condition of Type 1 Diabetes is keeping everyone I meet from even entertaining the fact of trying something.

I remain confident that a host of different things would probably work for many people. But at the same time, if they don't, it doesn't matter. The only truly upsetting part about it is that I have yet met anyone who will really try something else full force and see if it works.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bone Broth Recipe

In the previous post, I mentioned a home made bone broth I am eating as part of the "Beef and Leaf" diet. Here is the recipe if you are interested in making it for yourself. It is wonderfully nourishing and healing for the stomach and digestion.


-4 to 5 pounds of beef shank or knuckle bone with the tendons attached if possible
-6 to 8 quarts of water (spring water or filtered)
- 1 tablespoon salt
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (absolutely necessary)
- the white parts a bunch of scallions
-1 onion seared in a pan
-3 to 4 slices of ginger 3mm thick each

1. Bring large stock pot of water enough to cover bones to a boil
2. Boil bones for 10 minutes to clean them off
3. Drain water and fill pot with 6-8 quarts water and bones
4. Combine rest of ingredients and bring to a boil
5. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours
6. Let cool and skim off layer of fat that rises to the top.
7. Store by freezing in various containers to be accessible when needed.

Many people ask where to buy bones. You will notice that even run of the mill grocery stores like Shaw's, Albertsons, Shop Rite, Food Lion, etc. will have beef marrow bones in the meat section. You just didn't notice them because you weren't looking for them! You can also go to a butcher and ask directly. Even whole foods has them frozen. Grass feed beef bones are the preference, though I realize that your regular supermarket will not be too likely to have those.

This recipe is taken from Chris Chen. 

Beef and Leaf

I had for almost the entire existence of this blog, been eating a vegetarian diet that did not include any sort of grains whatsoever and no simple sugars even from fruit. Such a diet did wonders in helping to keep me from taking insulin, but over time, something did not feel quite as vital as it could. I began seeing an amazing healer/ acupuncturist who practices traditional Daoist medicine, and soon found myself on a new journey.

His treatment plan to keep me off of insulin, repair my digestive system and give the pancreas what it needs to heal- beef and leaf. For 6 months I am to eat nothing except for lean beef (preferably grass fed), dark leafy green vegetables and drink a broth made of the shank bones from beef. Eggs are the only other food permitted. Absolutely nothing else. The goal is to make the digestive system outrageously strong. By the end, I should be able to eat and maintain a normally balanced diet. We shall see if this will be the case.

The logic behind it from our western perspective is simply that my digestive system had been abused from day one of my life by all of the processed foods we've bombarded ourselves with and things went wrong. This is an entirely whole food diet. The protein from the beef to supply all of the power, leafy greens to keep the intestines full and the bone soup to supply the minerals, enzymes and vitamins needed to repair the damage. Why beef and not chicken or pork? I was also anemic, and beef is blood. As you'll see in the next part, beef also has perhaps the strongest digestive element you can find in food, and my digestion and assimilation is what needs to heal.
      From the eastern medicine perspective, a bit more complicated. Extremely briefly, in the 5 element theory present in this kind of medicine, there are 5 elements- metal, water, earth, fire and wood. Each element controls one of the other. Diabetes is seen as a disorder of the earth element where the wood element is overacting on it and throwing it out of balance. Each element is associated with a color, mood, emotion, organ system, season etc. The color of the wood element is green- hence, eat tons and tons of green leafy vegetables to calm the wood element and keep it from overacting on Earth. Earth on the other hand, when weak, needs to be healed with Earth. Earth is the stomach/ spleen/ pancreas element. Beef is earth. Beef has 4 stomachs- it has an outrageously strong digestive quality, provides blood is weighty and powerful like planet earth. In this logic, I eat these two foods to balance wood and earth. Other food are different elements and will throw out the balance agin and not allow the healing we are looking for to take place.

This is by far the most radical thing I have ever undertaken. Fanatic even. However, my healer says that if it works, it will be the last fanatical thing I'll ever have to do about this. It certainly seems like a concerning diet from a typical health perspective. What about cholesterol? Are you getting enough vitamins? I have seen a nutritionist and my endocrinologist. The nutritionist concluded that I am indeed getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals except for possibly vitamin D. I can either supplement for that or go outside a bit every day. Labs have been drawn and the cholesterol is decidedly approaching the upper side. However, it is important to remember that this diet is only temporary for 6 months. The things I see people do for years on end including drugs, alcohol and the host of other things we can guess we shouldn't eat cannot be a better situation, and they live for incredible lengths of time. Beside that point, this diet is healing. Comparing it to something that is "worse" is actually an argument that I don't like to make. It is simply radical, unfamiliar and extreme to most people.

Do you get tired of eating the same foods? On rare occasion. The food I am eating feels so nourishing and powerful, that I have had less cravings for other foods during the past two months of this diet than I have ever had. I noticed the cravings disappear as soon as I started drinking the bone broth (which I began to ween myself into eating beef after being a vegetarian). Additionally, I am so absolutely curious to see if this will work that my curiosity and commitment to experiment and see what happens overrides a desire to eat any certain type of food. Can you believe what it would mean if this actually works? I can't wait to find out.

Is there any scientific evidence? To that I say, is there any scientific evidence to the "cure" for cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression or ebola virus? The answer of course is no, as these "cures" are as yet undiscovered and as yet, untried, untested and unproven. However, the fact that we do not know what they are does not mean they do not exist. To scientifically prove something is actually just to become aware of a fact that already existed where we were unaware before. Is this scientifically proven? In that sense, no. However, there is a logic of ancient medicine behind it. Has it been tried on others? Yes, I have heard from my healer of it being tried on others. Have I met them? No, but that does not concern me.

As I press forward for 4 more months of this- October 20th, 2014 will the end, I get more and more curious to see what will happen. I don't need scientific evidence to convince me to try something. There is nothing to loose. If it doesn't work, I will readily admit it does not, and try something else. I will know and be able to feel if it is not putting me into better health. Intuitively, I will know if I need to stop. Until that time, my doctors and healers are behind me and come October an even more interesting experiment will commence when I attempt again to eat a normally balanced diet without the need for insluin.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

An excerpt about Yoga

I want to slowly over the course of future posts, delve more into why Yoga is so powerful, and what exactly it is. We in the west have an extremely body oriented view- as I've heard it put "oh yes, Yoga is wonderful exercise." However, it is far more than that. As it pertains to this blog, I present the healing properties of a yoga practice in a very much body oriented fashion- "how can this help us to improve our blood sugar?" I offer this excerpt from Kirpal Singh's book Crown of Life 1970, Sant Bani Press as food for thought:

Many modern scholars, more so those with Western modes of thought, have, when first confronted by yoga, tended to dismiss it as no more than an elaborate means of self-hypnotism. Such an attitude is quite unscientific even though it often parades under the garb of science. It is generally the result of prejudice born of ignorance or a superficial knowledge of the subject. It is natural for us to attempt to relegate to the realm of superstition, phenomena with which we are unfamiliar and which defy our habitual ways of thought about life, for to study them, to understand them, to test and accept them, would require effort and perseverance of which most of us are incapable. It is not unlikely that some so-called yogin may justify the label of "self-hypnotists." But those few who genuinely merit the name of yogins are too humble to court publicity and have nothing about them to suggest the neurotic escapist. They invariably display a remarkably sensitive awareness to life in all its complexity and variety, and this awareness coupled with their humility makes all talk of self-delusion quite inapt, irrelevant and even ridiculous. For, to seek the Unchanging behind the changing, the Real behind the phenomenal, is certainly not to "hypnotize" onself. If anything, it displays a spirit of enquiry that is exceptional in its honesty and integrity, that is content with nothing less than the absolute truth, and the kind of renunciation it demands is most difficult to practice. Hence it is, that as time passes, as knowledge is gradually undermining the former philistinism is steadily wearing away. the new developments of the physical sciences have had no small share in furthering this process, for by revealin that everything in this physical universe is relative and that matter is not matter perse but ultimately a form of energy, it has confirmed, at the lower level of the yogic concept at least, the conception of the world inherent in the yogic system, giving it a scienfic validity which was earlier doubted. 

My favorite portion of this excerpt is the description of modern physical science viewing matter not as matter, but as simply energy. Such a reality breaks down all of our footing on reality, reducing everything to simply an illusion. When it comes to healing our Type 1 Diabetes, the disease itself is really an illusion. It has practical everyday implication, but as it comes to searching for healing, Yoga as a way of breaking down that barrier and controlling that energy exists as something that is not simply a "self-hypnotism" but grounded in science. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Beta Cell regeneration

Here's a little article about some recent research looking into Beta cell regeneration.