Monday, October 17, 2011

dr neal barnard's program for reversing diabetes review

hello! hope you are all well ♥

today, i wanted to do a little review of the book, Dr Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. it's a book that was leant to us by a chef friend of ours - and i'm not sure i would otherwise have picked it up. but it's got some very interesting things to say about diet and also the cause of type 1 diabetes....


the book has a stupid title - let me put this little aggravation to rest - because you can't actually reverse type 1 diabetes (it's impossible), and to so generalize about 'diabetes' as if they were both the same is misleading and rather concerning.

anyway, once, or if, you can get past the frustration of the title, there is quite a lot to learn from this book. dr neal barnard puts forward a very intriguing argument about the link between diabetes and cows milk protein, as well as how a vegan diet can "revolutionise" your lifestyle.

apparently, studies show that:
  1. the body sees cows milk protein as a foreign object.
  2. cows milk protein and insulin producing cells are a biochemical match.
  3. because of the similarity, the body produces antibodies to fight the cows milk protein, and ends up taking a wack at the insulin producing cells too. aka - an auto-immune attack.
no, i don't know about you, but that actually DOES make a lot of sense to me. it was like a light bulb moment, when all the information about nutrition that i've ever read came together and clicked. there's so many studies that say about how the body cannot recognise dairy - we haven't evolved enough yet for most people to assimilate it properly (and 90% of the worlds population are lactose intolerant, or don't produce enough lactase do digest it - see here).

there's the china study and the nurse's health study - two of the biggest and best nutritional studies ever to be done - and they both conclude that animal protein is a major cause of western disease. interesting, huh?

dr barnard fully believes that you can use diet (more than exercise) to acheive great readings and good control. he advocates a low gi, low fat, vegan diet to the point where he would suggest you didn't eat avocadoes or nuts. personally, i think that's a little extreme, but he doesn't think so.

he mentions studies that are going on at the moment to see whether the link between cows milk and diabetes is true. and i do think that in 50 years we'll look back and question how we drank the juice from another animals udder, that was actually meant for a baby cow, and actually advertised it as a 'healthy' thing to do.

his main concern in the book is the heart and blood vessel complications that a type 1 diabetic is at risk of, and that, if anything, it's best to change your diet to aid the perfect functioning of these systems. and i couldn't really agree more.

so as a courtesy to the doctor, i am testing it out. i want to know if i will develop increased insulin senstivity by increasing my intake of pulses and removing animal products. i haven't made the full switch yet. i'm on more of a trial run, whilst i get to grips with cooking beans and lentils in different ways.

the most interesting part of the book is the recipe section at the back! he's got things like wheatberry pancakes, oat waffles, orange date cake, roasted moroccan sweet potato, red lentil soup, etc. they're quite unique, and very tasty! i just wish there were a few more...

Monday, October 10, 2011

diabetic inflight meals and airport experiences

hello everyone - thanks for tuning in, or logging on, or checking out the blog, or just showing up! it's so awesome to be able to be a part of the DOC and to share my diabetes journey with you all...

today i want to share photos of my diabetic inflight meals with you all - because i would have wished for this sort of post before i left in order to know if it was worth pre-selecting a 'diabetic' meal over a regular one, and because i want to give you my opinion on the food, it's delivery and the whole experience in general.

let's get straight into some photos...

airports are funny things - if you only have a few dollars to spend, you don't have a lot of healthy options. of course much depends on the airport itself - but sydney airport is not much of a foodie central. so i settled with a dodgy muesli cookie from a coffee shop just so i could nestle into a snuggly seat and enjoy reading my book.

security was fine - sydney are really great at security, so i always feel very safe on the plane! this time, (and it really does depend as to who's on guard as to what they do) they closed the metal detecting gate, and stopped the whole queue for ages to wait for a woman to do a manual pat down after i'd walked through the side gate. kinda embarrassing holding up the travellers behind me, but i sort of love the quizzical looks on all their faces - not everyone gets such special treatment! :)

i'm always at the airport super duper early - just in case - and so i spent this time walking - seriously about an hour and a half with awkward heavy backpack and roller case, going in and out of shops and through from terminal to terminal. it's so worth it though, because that meant that i'd had some good exercise before sitting for ridiculous lengths of time.

the actual flight from Sydney to London is a long one. 23 hours 40 mins ish, with British Airways, including a stopover in Singapore for just over an hour - so you're fed quite a few meals. which is all included in the price - which is brilliant. of course, i went standard class, and i found it quite roomy and quiet - and the staff are always very accommodating.

the first meal was AMAZING! really tasty and nutritious and filling - i was a happy bunny. curry with rice (basmati i think? but not brown...), "salad", roll and an apple. pretty yummy really.

the second 'mini meal' on the airplane was not really any different from anyone else, i got a white roll sandwich and a little chocolate - not sure how in any way this can be classed as diabetic, but i was hungry so i ate it of course...the only thing different was probably that there was fake sweetener instead of sugar (but i never have those sweeteners anyway!!)

at Singapore airport i walked around a lot again, i think i did 8 laps of our terminal, which was pretty small. i could've walked further, but there didn't seem much point. by this point i'd polished off the 100g dark chocolate bar i'd brought with me on the flight! yum.

the second proper meal was INCREDIBLE! so much so that i had to compliment the air steward for it's tastiness. salad, roll, and seafood bake - with sweet potato, mushroom, greens, prawns, calamari and fish - it was so tasty. and then fresh papaya to follow. i was muchos impressed!

breakfast before landing was decent - 2 slices of brown-ish bread, plain yogurt, fresh papaya, carrots, 1 tini tomato half (?) and an omelette with mushrooms. not too bad carbs wise, but i didn't eat all the bread, because i'd been doing so much sitting, so i didn't really need it.

i bet you're wondering what i had on the flight over to Oz? well, unfortunately i didn't take any photos, and so all i remember was having chicken and brown rice twice. which was fine, and alright, if a little peppery to make up for the lack of flavour. but it was pretty balanced at least.

throughout the flight there's snacks and water at the back, should you need anything- so handy! i usually keep a full bottle of water by my seat and continue to drink it so i don't get hydrated. it seems to work, and means that you have to get up to go to the bathroom fairly frequently, which keeps you mobile and allows you to stretch.

often the diabetic meal was also labelled as something else too, sometimes gluten free and other times vegetarian. i understand why, but it does mean that there are compromises made, especially with the bread. i could go on and on about the bread - but suffice to say that any bread on a plane is never really any good - it's too dry and too cheaply made to actually have any real substance.

the other concerning thing is how often a sweetener instead of real sugar is the only difference in the meal. i sort of get that, but it seems like flawed nutrition to me, so what's the point of having anything different?

however, i adore getting served first, and everyone getting envious over the delicious smell of my meal. i probably shouldn't say that, but it's so true - it makes you feel a little like a rock-star.

and, i give serious praise to any company that allows you the option of having a meal, and who does it with such class is British Airways did for me this time. thank you BA!

any questions you have, please feel free to ask...