Thursday, July 31, 2014

Treating Gestational Diabetes Naturally

Treating Gestational Diabetes Naturally

Guest Post, By: Leslie Vandever

You’re around halfway through your pregnancy when your doctor informs you that your most recent blood tests show that you have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

“How will this affect my baby?” you wonder after you’ve recovered from the initial shock. “Will I have to take medicine for it?” Which makes you question “how will that affect my baby?” And “how can I keep both of us healthy?”

Like other forms of diabetes, GDM causes insulin resistance. Insulin is the substance that unlocks the cells so they can take in blood sugar (glucose) for energy. In GDM, the placenta, the living membrane that transfers nutrients, blood, and water from the mother to the infant, produces certain hormones that interfere with how insulin works. The result is that the cells can’t get the vital fuel they need to function properly.

To counteract this, during pregnancy the mother’s body naturally produces about three times as much insulin as normal to keep her blood sugar—and her baby’s—under control.

But in about 5 percent of all pregnant women, even that isn’t enough. The unused glucose builds up in the bloodstream, and eventually, it can threaten the health of the mother and her baby. Doctors usually test for GDM around the 24th week of pregnancy, when the unused blood glucose builds up to a detectible level.

The good news? Up to 90 percent of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are able to control it simply and naturally by eating well and getting regular exercise.

How Diet Combats GDM
Your body converts the foods you eat into glucose for use as fuel. Different foods convert in different ways. Simple carbohydrates convert quickly: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, foods made from white flour such as white bread, pastas, and cereals, and white rice. When you eat these foods, there’s a rapid surge of glucose throughout the body for use as quick, short-term energy.

That glucose surge can, however, quickly overwhelm the body’s ability to produce enough insulin to take care of it. Some of it is stored for later use in the liver, and some of it in the form of fat. A lot of glucose stays in the bloodstream, too, eventually causing serious damage.

Fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain foods are complex carbohydrates. They also convert into glucose, but they contain a lot of fiber, which slows the digestion process down considerably. This allows only a gradual trickle of glucose into the bloodstream. Your body is much better able to use all of it efficiently.

So, a healthy GDM diet is balanced, rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grain breads, pastas and cereals; proteins like eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese; brown rice, beans and legumes; and lean meats such as chicken, and in limited amounts, fish.

Reserve sugary drinks, snacks, and desserts as very rare treats.

And What About That Exercise?
Every move you make requires fuel in the form of glucose. Your body burns more of it, faster, when you exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. A jaunty 30-minute walk, four days a week, will work just fine (though you can do more if you want). You can even break it into two, 15-minute walks each day if you like. You can also go to the gym, swim, do water exercises, dance, hike, or ride a bike. Do what you enjoy so it’ll be easier to stick to and turn into a habit.

Combining a healthy, low-carb diet with daily or near-daily exercise may be all you need to keep your blood glucose under control—and both you and your developing baby healthy—in spite of GDM.

For more health-related information, click here.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Food Addiction: It IS a Spiritual Battle

I realize it's been 15-months since my last post. And you have my deepest apologies. Hopefully, I haven't lost all of my readers, as you're the inspiration for my blog.

The past 15-months have been a roller coaster.

I have been completely overwhelmed with all that life groups, kids activities, homeschooling, play dates, homeschool co-op, health management, maintaining relationships, baptisms, birthdays, holidays, date nights, All Things New ministry obligations, etc. WHEW!

But, the biggest things have, quiet honestly, knocked me down for quite some time. It's no secret that my youngest has been a challenge from the day she was born. She's nearing her 3rd birthday and is still my strong-willed, challenging child. In April 2013 I had a 5th surgery for endometriosis, in which endometriosis was now found on my bladder and other "new" areas. This surgery brought me very little relief, so I tried out pelvic floor physical therapy. That didn't help, either. So, after many different Dr's opinions, it's been suspected that I have adenomyosis and a partial hysterectomy is schedule at the CEC in Atlanta, GA for next month. Emotionally, I've been completely drained. To top this off, our dog (almost 10-years old) got sick this past August and within 36 hours passed away. My oldest daughter (who is 7) had a horrible time with it. We dealt with anxiety and depression from her and sought out professional help for her. She is doing much better now, thankfully.

All of this to say, I lost myself...for a long time. And to cope with everything, I turned to what I So, I've also been battling my food addictions once again.

However, I've been meeting with two amazing women from my homeschool co-op and we've been going through the book, "Made to Crave." Between the book and my friends, I feel like I'm FINALLY getting back to who I was meant to be, who God says that I am... Healed, Healthy and Whole. They helped me see that food addiction is not all about me and my choices and lack of self-control, which I had been believing. Food addiction IS a spiritual battle! Check out some of these verses that I found today and will be standing on:

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

2 Peter 2:9 - ...the Lord knows how to rescue the godly men from trials...

Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Hebrews 2:18 - For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

See??? It's a spiritual battle! I have written each of these verses on notecards and I will be carrying them around with me, as my "armor." Below are the verses that really spoke deeply to me. I'll comment after each one, so you can see why.

Luke 4:13 - When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time

Doesn't that just get you fired up??? It makes me so MAD!!! The devil waits around to tempt us at an opportune time. When we're at our weakest, he pounces, like a roaring lion! What a coward! I don't know about you, but this is enough to make me NOT want to eat that donut, cookie, or anything else I shouldn't be putting in my body!

James 1:13 - When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived.

The thing that stood out to me in this verse, is that it's first our own evil desires that the enemy uses to tempt us. (But, I WANT that cupcake!) The enemy then drags us away and entices us. What can happen here is this...we can stop! We still have power! We can call upon God and Jesus to "succor" us and to "rescue" us from this! However, once desire has planted itself, it gives birth to sin. We eat the darned cupcake. We give into the lie. And once we do that, it only leads to death. Death being weight gain, health problems, self-esteem issues, body image issues, or perhaps death itself if we give into our unhealthy desires too many times for too many years. "DON'T BE DECEIVED!"

James 1:12 - Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.

I love this. Here's our number one reason to resist the temptation...God's promises. There's a reward. You will receive the crown of LIFE! Amen!

James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you

Here's your game plan, people. RESIST. Resisting = the devil fleeing. Resisting = the craving fleeing. Resisting = success. Resisting = strength. Resisting = victory!

So, what am I eating?

I recalled the prayer cabin years ago, when I asked God what I was supposed to eat. His response was this:

"I provided everything to physically nourish you - tea, spices, fruits, vegetables, etc. in nature. When man starts messing with stuff and tries to create things better, it causes problems. Just like the story of Adam and Eve. The humans were deceived into thinking they knew better. Stick with me and my creations and you'll be fine."

I'm still formulating what exactly that means, when it comes to things like meat, grains and dairy. But, for now, I'm going to be sticking to non-processed foods as much as possible. I am also keeping a food journal so I can see how my body is reacting to certain foods, so I know which ones to avoid since every person's body is different.

So, what's your game plan? Do you struggle with food addiction and temptation? What works for you to succeed against them?