Oregano is a Diabetic Friendly Natural Antioxidant

Oregano is more than seasoning for pizza sauce. As a symbol of happiness for the ancient Greeks and Romans, Roman brides wore crowning garlands of the flowering herb on their wedding day.

The ancients discovered the culinary and medicinal uses several thousand years ago.

Rosemary and oregano often pair in recipes and herbal cures. In a previous experiment, I tested a fresh combination in a tea that lowered my blood sugar. I didn’t test the dried herbs as most of the articles I researched suggested fresh leaves were the best.

I’ve had a lifetime of sinus problems. Years ago I learned the trick of steaming oregano in boiling water and inhaling the steam. That clears the lungs and sinuses. Have you noticed the clear complexions of many women with a Mediterranean heritage? Cooking with oregano is the answer. It cleans the pores and gives the skin a silky texture.1450219619277

Oregano has powerful antioxidants. Recent studies have proven it as a powerful therapeutic against cancer especially colon cancer. A lab study in India showed the extract could kill colon cancer cells. Another study in India proved concentrated oregano could promote cell death in metastatic breast cancer in a laboratory setting.

Brew a tea from dried or fresh oregano leaves and you’ll get a cup full of energy producing vitamins and antioxidants.

Oregano oil is more powerful than the tea. It’s good for external as well as internal use. According to many experts the oil is a great topical ointment for arthritis, carpel tunnel and sore muscles.

Dilute with oil or water for internal use. Consult your doctor before using it internally.

There are dangers in using too much of oregano oil concentrate. High doses of the oil have proven to kill cancer cells in lab experiments, but it can build toxic levels of thymol in your liver, kidneys or nervous system. Thymol is the antioxidant that gives oregano its smell.

Research showed many manufacturers use the wild Mediterranean oregano to make the concentrated oil. Most of the wild oregano originates in Greece. In fact, there are over 40 oregano varieties throughout the world.

Mexican oregano grows in my garden. It has a stronger taste than Mediterranean oregano but isn’t a true oregano. When I planted it several years ago, it was a matter of convenience, curiosity and limited selection. It worked in my recent blood sugar experiment. However, in my research for this post, I discovered a 2001 study in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” identifying Mexican, Italian and Greek oregano as the most potent. Mexican oregano, a member of the verbena flower family, was the most potent of the three. It’s also easy to grow.

Growing conditions play a key part in the herb’s strength. My herbs are organic and have a powerful flavor so I’ll experiment with making the oil. I discovered an easy recipe at the Homegrown and Healthy website for infused oregano oil, rather than the concentrated oil. The article also has some great tips for using oregano oil. The article verifies oregano is a diabetic friendly natural antioxidant with many health benefits. This article also has some great tips for using oregano oil.

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Reverse Type 2 Diabetes in Less Than Six Weeks

I’ve just published the third edition of my eBook “Reverse Type 2 Diabetes in Less Than Six Weeks.” This is a great, short read for anyone who wants to take off some weight. You’re sure to find some ideas for preserving your weight during the holidays.

If you are overweight, pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic, there is information to help you lose and keep weight off.

If you’re type 2 diabetic you can get your blood sugar to a normal range in a week. You may have no need to go for another five weeks. From one to six weeks, depending on your weight loss and glucose levels, you may reverse the disease and return to a more comfortable diet and exercise program.

The book traces my progress for the six weeks of the diet including fears, motivation and experiments. diabetes-cover 3rd editionDiscover smoothie “formulas” with plans to build nutritional information for other recipes.

Did you know coffee is an ally for combating type 2 diabetes? You’ll find valuable information in this book on coffee plus other herbs, spices, teas and infused water to help your battle.

One chapter reports a weight loss exercise plan that lasts only 20 minutes three times a week. You’ll learn about a home gym that only costs $50.

We’ve listened to our readers like this five star reviewer. He wrote; “This book says it takes about 1/2 hour to read and it does. It provides a wealth of information in concise terms and outlines a program that an older guy like me can follow to lose weight and lower sugar levels. It has been updated a couple of times and the author has a website where he is willing to accept suggestions and questions about his methods. The only drawback I saw is that he outlines some excellent shakes and while he gives decent detail about the ingredients and how to make them, a short bullet-shopping list would have been helpful. Some lower cost alternative ingredients would have been useful too.

We added less expensive ingredients but the book may now take a little longer than a half hour to read

Want more information? The book offers a suggested reading list of books, and cookbooks.

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Natural Antibiotics Can Control Blood Sugar

My recent antibiotic prescription made me curious about the safety of antibiotics in general. I’ve always had a suspicion of prescription medicine. I avoid it when I can as I seek natural cures. Since my diabetes diagnosis I’ve sought natural herbs and spices rich in antioxidants. That includes both diet and herbal supplements.

Until my recent prescription I hadn’t researched the topic of antibiotics thoroughly. In my work as a media researcher and analyst, I’ve researched medical issues helped develop a broad perspective of the healthcare industry. The work made me skeptical of both the large pharmaceutical companies and government controls that don’t always to protect us from harm.

Recently, several articles I read claimed that today’s generation of antibiotics do more harm than good. In fact, many of them can destroy gut bacteria that create natural antibodies that prevent disease and infection. After the antibiotic dosage it takes time for your body to recover. Our dependence on antibiotics causes antibiotic resistant diseases according to well documented research.

Most prescription antibiotics raise blood sugar according to articleBatmans I read. During my recent antibiotic use, I had one day of high blood sugar. Then, I cut back food, increased exercise and took natural doses of bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre. Once prescription treatment begins it must continue for the prescription period or there is potential harm.

My research revealed that many natural antibiotics also lower blood sugar. Natural antibiotics usually come in the form of oils but most can be brewed as tea. I have an herb garden over run with oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil and mint. All have antibiotic as well as diabetic prevention properties. I’ve written blog posts on ginger, turmeric, garlic and cinnamon but discovered a vast natural pharmacy of homegrown seasoning that can help lower blood sugar.

Oregano and Rosemary are a great combination for blood sugar control according to many health experts. This news inspired me to increase amounts in meat and Italian dishes prepared at home. However, the full effect is best with fresh rather than dried herbs.

Recently, I brewed a large cup of tea using fresh leaves of these herbs. It lowered my blood sugar after an hour. WebMD cautions on both herbs. It’s wise to research before using them. For example, Rosemary is not for nursing or pregnant mothers.

Natural antibiotics can control blood sugar. We’ll explore some in the coming weeks including tips on making teas and oils.

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Antibiotic Warning for Diabetics

I’ve had few health problems as a direct result of my type 2 diabetes. I don’t have many colds but when I do my blood sugar goes up. What I discovered is that any infection can prolong healing.

I had tenderness in a front tooth that had a root canal and a cap about a year ago. I had that tooth almost knocked out in junior high school when I was playing football. I wasn’t wearing the expensive face mask my parents bought me and the other kid wasn’t wearing a helmet as we dove for a loose ball in a practice exercise. I was wearing braces and plowed a furrow in his head that needed six stitches. The skillful dentist I had could re-set the tooth and there it sat…slightly discolored…for the next 59 years.

A couple of weeks ago, I noted some tenderness around the tooth but paid no mind. I had a dental cleaning appointment in a couple of weeks and would let my dentist deal with it then. Tuesday I noted an abscess and called for an emergency appointment.

I take care of my teeth and try to go beyond what the dentists suggests for a diabetic. This not only includes flossing, electric brushing and water pick but also using a dental pick to get under my gums.

The dentist did a deep cleaning of the tooth which took as long as the last cleaning I had for my whole mouth. Then, she prescribed an antibiotic and gave me a needle-like syringe to pump prescription mouthwash in the gum area before bed time.

She prescribed Cephalexin 500. I usually avoid prescription medication but this was an emergency. I didn’t want to walk around looking like Mortimer Snerd or a retired hockey goalie. According to my dentist, I may still have to see a specialist. mortimer-snerdShe knew I was diabetic but it didn’t occur to me to do my usual vetting of strange medicine until after I took the first dose and learned there was no turning back.

Cephalexin 500 and antibiotics in general are not diabetic friendly. They all have similar side effects for people without diabetes…like bloating, gas, diarrhea etc. This med also had a warning for diabetics though my early research didn’t specify why there was a warning. Did it lower or raise blood sugar? After much searching, I learned this antibiotic and others can raise blood sugar. In fact, I stumbled over a couple of discussion groups where patients reported increases of 100mg above their normal readings.

When I woke up this morning my reading was about twenty points more than usual. At this point I’m not going to waste an opportunity for experimentation and whine to the dentist. I will ask her why she prescribed this to a diabetic. If my readings soar out of control and I’ll call soon instead of waiting for my next appointment.

Meanwhile I will increase my dosage of natural herbs and teas exercise a little more and eat more protein for the week I am on the antibiotic. Though my morning reading was higher than usual, I tested every hour after the supplements, tea and exercise. By noon, I was in an acceptable range but still about ten points above my average.

After a couple of days of extra herbs and exercise my readings are where they were before the antibiotic

Anyone have a similar experience? I would love to hear from you and how you handled it. I believe there are so many medical products on the market doctors don’t have time to “read all the labels.” The antibiotic warning for diabetics is there doesn’t appear to be any prescription antibiotics friendly to diabetics. My research showed that most raised blood sugar. I didn’t come across any that lowered blood sugar. If anyone has more information please post.

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Control Diabetes with Barley

Every pantry especially the diabetic pantry should stock barley in its several forms. I love its versatility as well as its nutrients. You can choose pearl barley, quick barley and barley flour.

Recent studies show you can control diabetes with barley because of its high fiber content and low glycemic index. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition a Dutch study of ten men showed men had a 30 percent better insulin sensitivity after eating barley than refined wheat bread.

There is no comparison between barley kernels and rice. A cup of cooked pearl barley has 44 carbs and 6 grams of fiber. A cup of cooked rice has about the same amount of carbs but less than a gram of fiber. Barley is often used as a rice substitute as we do at the Plumsugarfree home. Research also proves it lowers cholesterol, slows digestion and helps fill you up better than other whole grains. You can also add a little instant pearl barley to your favorite low carb soup or canned soup.barley picBeer lovers will be pleased to know that in Germany the heavy dark beers were once known as liquid bread. During the middle ages monks brewed a heavy beer for Lent they fasted on for 40 days. I drank this doppelbock when I lived in Germany. It’s potent stuff. It’s heavy, dark and tastes like someone poured a shot of smooth bourbon in it. The monks must have staggered through Lent but had no hunger pain or any other pain. I know I would get a major eye roll from my wife Li if I suggested I needed a beer diet for Lent.

Barley is not gluten free though it has much less gluten than wheat. If you bake bread, the bread won’t rise if you use barley alone. I’ve discovered using equal amounts of barley flour, whole wheat and bread flour makes great bread. You may have to add a bit more liquid as barley absorbs liquid more than whole wheat or bread flour. Barley flour also makes excellent pie crust according to those who have the talent to make a pie crust. Mine are usually failures.

You can substitute barley flour for any baked goodie that doesn’t rise, so you may want to pull out some of your old cookie recipes and give it a try.

I started making barley sugar cookies over the holidays a couple of years ago. I even eat some for breakfast. Three of them filled me up more than a bowl of cereal with skim milk which usually has at least 60 more calories and six or seven more carbs.

Here’s the recipe the picture is from my holiday goodies book.

barley sugar cookies

1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1 cup powdered erithrytol (powder it yourself in a food processor)
1 teaspoon powdered stevia
2 eggs large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups barley flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Splenda to sprinkle on cookies before baking
4 tablespoons organic skim milk
Heat Oven to 350° Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray
Beat butter and Equal in medium-sized bowl on medium speed of mixer until well combined.
Mix in egg and vanilla until blended. Add combined barley flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until blended.
Barley flour absorbs moisture add 2 to 4 tablespoons of liquid like organic skim milk to smooth and moisten the mixture
Measure a teaspoon of the cookie dough, roll into a ball, place on the cookie sheet and flatten with a spoon until the dough is abut 1/4 inch thick
Sprinkle with Splenda from a wide hole salt shaker.
Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven 10-12 minutes.
Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely on wire rack.
Makes about 24 cookies

Nutrition information: Per cookie: Calories 66, Fat 5 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Carbohydrate 6g, Dietary fiber 1g, Protein 1 g

Almond or coconut milk will reduce the calories.

Be sure to go to my blog menu and check out items in the pantry, gym, kitchen and library. I’ll be adding new items on a regular basis.

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Bouncing Down Your Blood Sugar Part 2

When I was a ten-year old, my favorite baseball player was Satchel Paige who then played for the St. Louis Browns. Paige was an incredible pitcher in the old Negro Leagues but because baseball was segregated, he didn’t enter the major leagues until he was 42 years old in 1948. To this day, he may have been the oldest rookie to ever play in the major leagues. There was some talk then of naming him rookie of the year. 200px-Satchel_PaigeThe age alone caught my attention showing perseverance; a quality I’ve always admired in others. I was especially intrigued by Paige’s outlook on life. In the 1960s there were many articles about his principles of life. I latched on to one and it’s been a lifetime beacon since I read it in an early 1960s Saturday Evening Post.
“Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”
I took that to mean to stay focused on your own goals and compete against your own achievements rather than someone else’s.
After I started rebounding on my trampoline, two of Paige’s life principles popped into my mind. “Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.” The other was, “Avoid running all the time.”

I don’t like to run but will occasionally break into an old man wind sprint to increase the oxygen in my lungs. In high school extra laps were punishment for bad behavior and were a chore for my flat feet.

In the Army when I was in officer’s basic, the day ended with a one mile run. I drifted to the back of the class during the first lap. Hid behind a Georgia Palmetto grove and streaked back to the officers’ quarters. No one ever figured out why I was the first in the class to be at the swimming pool sipping a gin and tonic. Escape and evasion was my favorite course.

Rebounding keeps the juices flowing without as much effort as running. Your feet don’t have to leave the trampoline. You just jiggle up and down; walk side to side in a stationary position, or high step. To increase the tempo, you might bounce a little higher but your feet don’t have to go more than a couple inches off the mat. It’s efficient. Walking on the rebounder is similar to walking on sand though there is greater resistance. You’ll feel muscles work in your thighs and calves as well as your lower abdominals. The ab work is critical for erasing belly fat especially around the pancreas.

Want to do some resistance training while you bounce? I bought some Pilates bands and discovered they are versatile. The five bands range in resistance from light to heavy. You can combine them to give more resistance. I got them to wrap around the leg of my office chair so I can do leg extensions. When I bounce on the trampoline I put my wrists through the heaviest one and stretch my arms away from my body and hold for five seconds at a time. During a ten minute session on the trampoline I repeat this exercise several times. I always work up a sweat when I do this. With the Pilates bands and the trampoline you can have a home gym for under $50.
I’ve upgraded my blog Amazon.com product catalog in the “The Pharmacy” as well as the “The Gym and Spa.” Just go to the menu and click on “The Pharmacy” or “The Gym and Spa.” I added many products to help keep us in shape. “The Pharmacy” has many items for blood sugar control and dieting.“The Gym and Spa” has many different exercise tools. I haven’t tried all these products but selected all based on their reviews and price value.

Just in time for the holidays my book Holiday Goodies for Everyone Especially Diabetics goes on sale for a week beginning November 6, 2015. It’s marked down from $2.99 to just $ .99. You won’t find anything like this cookbook as we’ve created treats with the most diabetic friendly ingredients.

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Bouncing Down Your Blood Sugar

My dad loved the circus. When we were small hardly a year went by that we didn’t go to one. Dad led a parade of five kids from the circus train’s arrival to the circus grounds to watch the roustabouts erect the tents. He had books on the circus he read as a boy. One Christmas, I even got a Lionel circus train set, which would probably be worth a small fortune on eBay today. Dad probably enjoyed the train set more than I did. “The movie “Greatest Show on Earth” is still a favorite movie because it always reminds me of circus days with my dad.Lionel trainOne of my favorite circus acts were the trampoline acrobats. I didn’t like heights, so I couldn’t identify with the trapeze artists, but I loved the trampoline acrobats. I could see myself bouncing up and down and doing flips and bouncing on my butt. A trampoline was on my kiddie bucket list. I wanted one before I was a teenager. It was not to be.

Earlier this year, I began looking for an aerobic, low impact exercise machine that didn’t take up space. It had to be easy on my knees and hips. Our townhouse is too small for a StairMaster or treadmill; two cardio machines I used when I had a gym membership.

While undergoing therapy for painful bursitis in my hip, I noticed a small trampoline at my physical therapist’s office. I give it a few minutes of bouncing and liked it. It didn’t allow high bouncing or back flips, but it was low impact. Doing high steps on it was like walking in sand. Five minutes of exercise and I felt like I’d power walked for a half hour. There was a definite cardio benefit.

This could solve the problem of cold winter walks or hot summer jogs that needed heavy doses of mosquito spray. Bouncing was also something I could do while watching TV. I could almost see my wife’s nod of approval while I bounced up and down as I watched Sunday football.

Googling the Web I learned “rebounding,” the term used for a trampoline workout, was not only heart and pancreas friendly it benefited the lymphatic system. According to several sources, the rebounding motion helps squeeze poisons out of the lymphatic system.

I was sold and started shopping. Amazon.com had a large trampoline selection. The prices were better than Wal-Mart and other retailers. The smallest was 36 inches in diameter…a perfect fit for our small TV room between the couch and TV. Some had bars to hang on to while you bounced. Some had meters to count the bounces and elastic bands to exercise your upper body.

0040297_stamina-folding-mini-trampolineI settled on a simple model from Stamina. It had an price under $30, so I hit the one-click button and it arrived a couple of days later.

It assembled easily and I tested it right away. I tested my blood sugar several times after rebounding for about ten minutes. Ten minutes of rebounding drove my blood sugar down more than a half hour of walking.

I’ve used it every day for the last four months though I still walk and spent some time swimming laps this summer. In the next post we’ll discuss some ways to get the most out of your rebounding. But if you can hardly wait to start bouncing down your blood sugar, here is the trampoline I bought.

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Stop Using Artificial Sweeteners and Lower Your Blood Sugar

I’ve been off medication for about three years now. There were times when I struggled and still took herbal remedies like bitter melon, apple cider vinegar, Ceylon cinnamon and gymnema sylvestre. It was a consuming routine I combined with diet and exercise. Often the thought passed through my mind it might be easier to go back to metformin, but I always convinced myself that “natural” was better. Most of the herbs also have powerful antioxidants and help other vital body functions like heart, arteries and joints.

Earlier this year, I suffered pain in my hips and tendonitis in my left ankle. This cut into my exercise program and I got a little sloppy with my diet. The result was rising blood sugar, especially in the morning. Spending hours in front of a computer screen didn’t help. My morning readings went from 130 up to 176 and I had difficulty getting the morning readings to a 150 level. My A1C went to 7.5.

I credited part of the spikes to hip and ankle pain but delayed seeing a doctor fearing a diagnosis of hip replacement. The pain would come and go. I took aspirin, used salve, a hand massager and a small ultrasound unit to relieve the pain. Walking helped loosen the hip but wasn’t great for the ankle.

My weight was also back up to 225 pounds which was only five pounds less than when I went on the milkshake diet three years ago. In the past I knew my waist would lose a half inch for every five pounds I lost and my readings would go down three to five points for every five pounds I lost.

Just as I was planning a strategy of increased exercise and reduced calories, I stumbled on some articles about artificial sweeteners. I hated saccharin and never used it. There was enough evidence that aspartame, which was the chemical name for Equal and NutraSweet, was harmful so I stopped using that years ago.

I still used sucralose in the form of Splenda. At one time I was knocking back a lot of diet soda, Snapple and other Splenda flavored drinks. I had cut back on the drinks but still used Splenda in my homemade teas and morning coffee. I used the same amount of Splenda as I did sugar in my coffee. I’m too embarrassed to say how much, but I like my coffee sweet. I like it sweet enough my wife Li would get a stunned blank look on her face when I added Splenda to my coffee.

About a year ago I cut back on the Splenda and combined it with stevia. I’m not crazy about the aftertaste of stevia so I used the Splenda to balance the stevia bitterness.

Reports on sucralose safety were mixed. Some experts argued it did no harm and some argued it was harmful. My sweet tooth went with the camp that said it was harmless.

I still yearned for more freedom in my diabetes routine. I took supplements twice a day which took time each week to organize the pill boxes. I juiced bitter melon twice a week which meant two trips a week to the local Asian market. I drank four ounces every night before I went to bed. It works better than anything I’ve ever used for natural blood sugar control. My readings would have been worse if I hadn’t used it. I may have become more dependent on it than I should have. To say the least, it’s an acquired taste reminiscent of ear wax. I drank it cold, diluted with water pretending it was an exotic adult beverage. “I wonder if you can ferment bitter melon,” I mused.

I cut back my calories a bit and saw an orthopedist about my hip. It was bursitis which will go away eventually. I had a few weeks of therapy and the hip and ankle are at least manageable. The therapy and exercises began to help my blood sugar as I was just about at the point of asking my doctor to put me back on metformin.

About six weeks ago I came across an article on some research that artificial sweeteners may cause type 2 diabetes. The article suggested those with the disease could have difficulty controlling it if they used these sweeteners.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel performed the research. The sweeteners were tested on both mice and humans. The article appeared in USA Today last September and read in part; “The benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners have been debated for decades. Some studies show no link to diabetes and others suggest there is one. The new research, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, finds that differences in gut microbes may explain why some people can handle artificial sweeteners just fine while in an unknown percentage of others the sweeteners lead to diabetes.”

After reading the article I decided to stop using Splenda and see what that did. The results were dramatic. After two weeks on the diet and without Splenda. I’d already lost five pounds but my morning readings had never been this low at that weight. I stopped using the supplements and halted my evening dose of bitter melon juice. My readings continued to improve. It’s been several weeks and my morning readings have been under 120. In fact, my readings before all meals are within 5 points of each other which has never happened before. Morning readings are now my lowest reading of the day which is also a new development for me.

I’m confident that a few more weeks on the diet will give me morning readings of 95 to 110. The diet is simple. I do smoothies once or twice a day and eat a regular meal at least once a day. I have most of my calories for breakfast. I weigh myself every morning before breakfast. If my reading is under 110 I treat myself to some high fiber, high protein cereal with some fruit or nuts. If my weight stays the same for two days in I row I have three milk shake meals on the third day. I also exercise at least a half hour a day and usually an hour a day. The exercise includes resistance with Pilates bands and dumbbells, power walks, swimming and bouncing on a small trampoline. We’ll be discussing the trampoline in a later post.

I’m not crazy about stevia but did a little research on the best brands. Trader Joe ranked high so I’m using that. It doesn’t have the bitterness of other brands and it’s pure without any binders. If you buy stevia the best bet is powder without inulin or dextrose. Liquid stevia should be alcohol free. The powder is good in cooking and in hot drinks. It can get lumpy in cold drinks unless you stir with gusto. The liquid is better for drinks.

If you buy it from Trader Joe, make sure you get the small organic bottle of powder. The larger bottle is not pure. The Trader Joe stevia is available on Amazon.com if you don’t have a brick and mortar store in your location. Amazon sells a combination of the Trader Joe powder and liquid. It’s actually cheaper than the brick and mortar price. Shipping is free. Check it out here.

I’m also experimenting with stevia in my garden. Some stevia plants at one of our local nurseries surprised me. One stevia leaf is supposed to sweeten a cup of coffee or tea. Three teaspoons equal a cup.

Stop using artificial sweeteners and you may lower your blood sugar.

One of the facts the Weizmann research uncovered was the artificial sweeteners don’t affect everyone the same way. It has to do with the microbe chemistry in the stomach. Just as everyone’s T2 diabetes is unique so is stomach chemistry.

If you have success or have had past success with your readings after stopping artificial sweeteners, I would love to hear from you.


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Alzheimer’s Disease’s Relationship to Type 2 Diabetes

Alzheimer’s disease’s relationship to type 2 diabetes is proven in several scientific reports.  This discovery underlines the need to control blood sugar.Type 2 diabetes can also cause vascular dementia according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms are difficult to distinguish from Alzheimer’s as they both cause cognitive loss. Some medical experts believe one fuels the other.

Reduced blood flow to the brain causes vascular dementia. It’s not a stretch to believe diabetes   circulatory problems that begin in feet and legs causing neuropathy could work their way up to the brain.

Not all memory loss is a symptom of Alzheimer’s. There are several conditions as we age that are absent mindedness rather than Alzheimer’s. These come under that broad heading of “senior moment.”

The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 early warning signs on its website.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life includes forgetting recently learned information or asking for the same information repeatedly. Forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later is an age-related change.
  1. Reduced concentration presents challenges in planning or solving problems in something as simple as following a recipe or keeping track of finances. An age-related change may include making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
  1. Daily tasks may be difficult at home, work or at leisure. Family members and friends should watch for this one. I had a friend who drove eight hours out of his way to get home from a fishing trip. Sadly it was his last fishing trip. He was in his late fifties at the time. If someone just needs help setting controls on a cellphone or home entertainment unit, that’s age related.
  1. Confusion about the day of the week is age related but people with Alzheimer’s lose track of dates, seasons and passage of time according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
  1. Vision problems may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. These may include difficulty reading or judging distance making it difficult to drive. Vision change because of cataracts or age related macular degeneration is something many seniors experience that aren’t related to Alzheimer’s. Diabetic retinopathy is not related to Alzheimer’s but could go with the disease.
  1. Problems speaking or writing is a symptom when the person has difficulty following a conversation, or they repeat themselves. Occasional trouble finding the right word is age-related.
  1. Misplacing belongings and losing the ability to retrace steps to find them can be a symptom, but it’s one I’ve suffered since I can remember. I have attention deficit disorder (ADD) and try to put items like glasses, keys and cellphone in the same place. It’s not unusual for them to wind up on top of the refrigerator or another drawer when distractions arise. The distraction usually blocks retracing.
  1. At some point, most Alzheimer’s sufferers experience serious changes in judgment when dealing with money. This goes beyond making the occasional bad decision. It’s usually a point where there is family intervention which may cause conflict with the patient.
  1. As we age it’s normal to feel weary of work, family and social duties. I don’t know about you, but in my early 70s I love having a weekend where nothing is planned except a beer in my hand when I’m tending my Weber grill. Serious withdrawal from work or social engagements could be a red flag. Often, people with Alzheimer become withdrawn because of the mental challenges they experience. They fear interacting with others.
  1. The last item the Alzheimer’s Association lists is changes in moods and personality. Confusion, suspicion, depression and anxiety could become a part of a daily personality. Most diabetics experience mood changes. I get grouchy when my blood sugar is low and hyper when it’s high.

If you, a friend or family member has any one of these symptoms, I urge you to seek a doctor’s help. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “It’s the only cause of death in the top ten in America that cannot be prevented or cured.”  Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

I’ve spent some time as a volunteer in a nursing home and most of the Alzheimer patients were women. In fact the Alzheimer’s Association notes that two-thirds of the Alzheimer’s patients in the USA are women.

Is Alzheimer’s hereditary? According to the Mayo Clinic there are genes that are passed on that indicate the disease. The risk of type 2 diabetes is also genetic but the risk also includes obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. It might be wise to check the medical history on both sides of your family. In my family, none of the men we know of had Alzheimer’s but several women did.

On my Mom’s side of the family, her mother and two of her sisters who were identical twins had the disease. My Louisiana grandma, also known as “Mamoo,” also had Parkinson’s disease. My identical twin aunts were her caretakers. They were single and both were prominent career women long before that was an acceptable term. After retiring, my “aunties” got advanced degrees in sociology and psychology and entered second careers in their seventies.

I visited every year. They could still ride bikes, shoot some hoops, and dispense their wisdom. They managed the family home, raised cattle, supervised timber cutting. During my visits, I got on a tractor and mowed pastures and helped milk the cows just as I’d done as a boy. We groomed the local cemetery. In the evening we sipped bourbon and reminisced about past memories. There was always a lot of laughter and good advice from “Ruth and Bob.”

I lived 1500 miles away and noted when I called they seemed vague about who was on the phone. One twin had to remind the other who was on the phone and repeat parts of my conversation. Eventually they wound up in a nursing home with the stronger twin, Roberta, taking care of the weaker twin, Ruth. Within a few years they both died surrounded by….but not recognizing the friends and family that loved them.

My favorite cousin was their caretaker and executor of their complex estate. She was a bright and beautiful redhead and finalist as Miss Louisiana many years ago. She attended college when my siblings and I were kids, but always had time to take us on many adventures. After she finished her executor duties with all its complexities doctors diagnosed Alzheimer’s. Her mental spiral was fast and unexpected to her husband and seven children.

Longevity and mental alertness were characteristics on my Dad’s side of the family. My grandmother was in her nineties when she died, physically infirm from an automobile accident. She was a cultured and educated woman who reveled in her modest country estate. I remember her setting herself slowly down in her favorite easy chair and commenting, “It’s hell having a young mind in an old body.”

One of my Dad’s uncles lived to be 102 years old. He was still dragging a fishing skiff across the rocks of the Maine coast of the Atlantic Ocean when he was in his nineties. His sister, a retired schoolteacher, lived as long. There was no sign of diabetes or Alzheimer’s on that side of the family.

Both of my grandfathers died of heart related diseases. Were the diseases brought on by diabetes? We don’t know.

Now, Alzheimer’s is not curable though there are medications that can ease the symptoms. There are medications for memory loss and behavior as well as alternative treatments. All the medications have side effects and may interdict diabetes medication.

Science Alert published a report in March of this year about a non-invasive ultrasound treatment that literally shakes off the plaque from the brain that causes memory loss and disease progression. A team at the University of Queensland in Australia developed an ultrasound technique called focused therapeutic ultrasound. So far, mice have been the only test subjects with 75 percent of the treated mice able to improve memory performance tasks. Human trials won’t get underway until 2017.

Many natural aids can help control Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 Diabetes. I’m not a scientist but there is a certain logic behind natural herbs and ingredients that can help control both blood sugar and Alzheimer’s.

Research in India has identified at least two herbs that can reduce the plaque that causes Alzheimer’s. Indian researches have conducted experiments on both ashwagandha and circumin found in turmeric. Both have shown promise for brain health and both can reduce blood sugar. Both are available on the Internet in places like Amazon.com. The low incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s in India led researchers to studies on turmeric, which is a staple of Indian curry. Research showed circumin erased the plaque from the brain that causes Alzheimer’s.

Ginger root, both fresh and dried have shown promise as Alzheimer’s preventive. It’s another herb that can help control Alzheimer’s and diabetes blood sugar.

I take two capsules each day that have both ginger and turmeric. Check with your doctor before taking these. If you’re a younger diabetic it might be a good preventive measure. Be careful, excessive ginger has some side effects and could be unsafe if you’re taking a blood thinner. According to experts, turmeric in moderation causes few side effects, though it could cause stomach upset in some people. Supplements are available online.

Another reason to take ginger and turmeric; it’s an anti-inflammatory and helps ease joint pain. I also take glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM for joint pain. I abandoned the ginger and turmeric for a couple of weeks the pain was outrageous. A Canadian fishing trip was miserable climbing stairs and getting in and out of a boat.

Coconut oil is another ingredient that shows promise for both Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Researchers say ketones found in coconut oil slows  Alzheimer’s disease and could prevent it. Notably, Dr. Mary Newport tried coconut oil on her husband who suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s. She referred to Alzheimer’s as “diabetes of the brain.” He failed his Alzheimer’s test that required he draw a clock. His “clock” wandered all over the page and looked like something a nursery school child would draw. He took the test two weeks after using coconut oil and drew a real clock. A week later, he drew a better clock. Within a few months he regained his personality and appeared almost normal.

We use coconut oil in cooking, smoothies and coffee. I drink decaf coffee in the morning with a tablespoon of organic extra virgin coconut oil. It improves the coffee taste and gives me a better burst of energy than coffee with caffeine. Just make sure the coconut oil is not hydrogenated.

Bitter melon also helps prevent Alzheimer’s. As noted in the previous posts I drink about four ounces of this every day to control my blood sugar.

Of course none of these solutions can work unless you preserve healthy blood sugar levels. We know that drill; diet, low carbs and exercise. However, if you try these natural remedies to help control both Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes you could have a more enjoyable lifestyle. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before you try them!

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Bitter Melon Juicing for Natural Insulin

If you read the previous post, you may have Googled ahead and discovered several different ways of bitter melon juicing to make your natural insulin.

I have some tips for you but first some important warnings. Please check with your doctor before using bitter melon juice. I would be surprised if anyone said they didn’t have lower blood sugar within an hour after drinking it. Asians have used this remedy for years to control diabetes.

WebMD issues some warnings. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding bitter melon is not safe. According to them, there are chemicals in bitter melon that can start menstrual bleeding. Bitter melon has also can cause abortion in animals.

There is also a danger if you have G6PD deficiency. The seeds from bitter melon may produce an illness called favism which is thought to cause anemia, headache, fever, stomach pain and even coma in certain people. I use a juicer and grind everything including the seeds because I’m lazy, but haven’t suffered any ill effects in the few months I’ve used the juice.

Experts also recommend no more than two ounces a day diluted with water as it can cause tummy distress in some people. I take four ounces a day including a dose after breakfast and one after dinner diluted with water. If you’re using a juicer you may add a Granny Smith apple as it’s juice is the most diabetic friendly of all apple brands. I’ve also experimented with adding some raw organic honey to the mix and it does level the taste. For me, it made no difference in the juice’s effect.

You can use either a blender or a juicer to make the juice. The blender method is a little messier as you’ll have to strain the pulp. I use a juicer. I bought a Black and Decker 400 watt fruit and vegetable juice extractor on Amazon.com for $29.99. It was worth the price.

In the previous post we may have mentioned to buy fruit that is firm. It shouldn’t have any soft spots. Keep it in the refrigerator no longer than four days.

Cut the melons in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. I usually just throw everything into the juicer. Be careful with this as I’ve had seeds pop out of the juice before processing and fall into my juice cup. You’ll know when that happens so you should stop the juicer and use a spoon to remove the seed. To remove the seed rake them out with a spoon. I use a grapefruit spoon because it has a serrated tip.

I usually juice about ten of the long bitter melons at a time and keep the juice in a closed bottle container in the refrigerator. That lasts about a week.

Click here more information on bitter melon benefits and juicing.

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