Browsing Tag



Indigenous Diabetes

Diabetes is the scourge of civilization. A disproportionate number of people living in the most advanced societies suffer from it.

But the people who suffer the most are the original inhabitants of the lands that the Western societies occupied. Whether they are the Native Americans, people of Canada’s First Nations, Australia’s Indigenous population, or other conquered peoples, the result everywhere has been the same — lots of diabetes.

The reason why is no mystery. The conquerors destroyed the indigenous cultures, often intentionally but with what they thought were good intentions. By punishing students in native schools for using their own language, by attacking native religion, and by extolling the wonders of Western food, the victors hoped to integrate the defeated into mainstream culture. Instead, they marginalized the defeated from both their own culture and from that of the West.

Decrying their food choices of the defeated misses the point, as Sousan Abadian elucidates in her Harvard University Ph.D. dissertation. The point is that they suffer what she calls “collective trauma.”

Craig Lambert interviewed her for his brilliant article, “Trails of Tears, and Hopes,” for the March-April 2008 issue of Harvard Magazine. You can read the PDF of the full article online.

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A Good Day to Die

My brother-in-law, George Klotz, died today after a long illness. He and my little sister, Liz, had been married for 55 years.

George died from prostate cancer, and he had been legally blind for years. Liz had to take ever greater responsibility for him. Until today, when everything changed for her.

George fought hard for his life. But on adequate pain medication he died peacefully today. George lived in Chino, California, and as a veteran will be buried in Riverside National Cemetery. I will fly there for the funeral.

The family knew this was coming. And so, all day today I have been thinking about that famous statement, “This is a good day to die.”

Used in numerous books, movies, albums, and song tracks, this statement still raised questions in my mind. Who said it and why? What does it mean?

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Diabetes Diet

Another Nail in the SAD Coffin

The standard American diet that our medical establishment so dearly loves is dying a slow, painful death. And it’s coming not a moment too soon. The diet’s death is arriving after it killed so many of us and crippled millions more with diabetes or obesity.

The Mediterranean diet is that standard American diet. Based on whole grains, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruit, fish, and oils and margarines, this diet fad owes everything to a gentleman named Ancel Keys. His masterpiece was the Seven Countries Study, which he launched in 1956 and published its results beginning in 1970.

The Seven Countries Study was, however, fatally flawed. Keys cherry picked data that fitted his preconceptions, ignoring data from more than a dozen other countries that wouldn’t support what he tried to prove. Our medical establishment believes to this day that he did prove the negative effects of fat on heart health. And thus the Seven Countries Study was the genesis of the Mediterranean diet that so many of us believe in to our detriment.

Fortunately for all of us, Gary Taubes has demolished this myth. His masterpiece is Good Calories, Bad Calories. I think everyone who can read English needs to master this work, which is far too detailed for me to even attempt to summarize here.
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Diabetes Diet

Hot Plates for Slow Eating

When I eat too fast, I eat too much. I knew that, but until now I haven’t been able to help it.

Now Juan Ramirez has come to my help. In March I wrote here about “Eating Too Fast” and some of the strategies I use. After that article, Juan wrote me about his invention to help us slow down at the table.

When we eat slowly, we can avoid overeating and therefore can control our diabetes better. But some of us eat fast because we like our meals to be hot rather than lukewarm. I know that’s my excuse.

Now, however, the great food cool off is no longer inevitable. I know this because I bought one of the “HotSmart Gourmet Plates” that Juan Ramirez invented and wrote me about.

“I am pre-diabetic myself and I am convinced that eating slowly works to avoid overeating, preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes,” Juan emailed me. “My heat-retentive plates keep food warm, need only one minute preheating, and stay hot for more than 30 minutes. The rim stays always cool for safe easy handling with your bare hands.”

This message grabbed my attention. I had to have one, but when Juan wrote me, he had one little problem. He was sold out of them at that time.

Recently he wrote to tell me that he was caught up with demand, and now has them in stock. “All you have to do is type HotSmart in the main page for all departments.” Or you can go to Amazon’s direct link for HotSmart Gourmet Plates.

Two of Juan’s websites explain the HotSmart plate in more detail. They are HotSmart Gourmet Plates and Lose Weight By Eating Slowly.

As soon as I got Juan’s message that Amazon had his plates back in stock I ordered one. Amazon sells them for $18.85 each.

Since then I have made a point of using my HotSmart plate for every hot meal that I eat now. It really works for keeping my food hot and keeping me from gobbling it down.

My guess is that like me you may have the secret little vice of eating too fast. If you do, eating off a HotSmart plate can help. While it won’t force you to slow down, it will take away any excuse you made to yourself to bolt your food down the hatch.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

Diabetes Testing

Comparing Meter Accuracy

Anyone who has been trying to control his or her diabetes for more than a few days often gets disappointed with checking blood glucose levels. Our disappointment is sometimes not how high those levels go but how erratic our meters and test strips seem to be behaving.

Meter accuracy is a pain — an emotional pain that can be more than the physical pain of lancing. Just which meter systems are accuracy?

That’s probably the question that people newly diagnosed with diabetes ask me the most. And now for the first time we have the beginning of an answer.

In my 15 years of following diabetes developments I haven’t seen a single scientific comparison of the blood glucose meters that we have to work with. Until now.
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Diabetes Diet

The Buzz About Kimchi

“What’s all this buzz about kimchi?” a friend asked me the other day. “People are talking about the health benefits of this Korean dish.”

Yes, the recent buzz about kimchi is strange, because Koreans have been eating this fermented vegetable relish for at least three thousand years. It’s not that kimchi is a revolutionary new food straight out of a high-tech laboratory.

In fact, our rediscovered appetite for kimchi is a part of the conservative food movement that careful and thoughtful people have begun to follow. Kimchi is one of the most important fermented foods.

“Fermentation, like cooking with fire, is one of the initial conditions of civilization,” writes Burkhard Bilger in the current issue of The New Yorker. “The alcohol and acids it produces can preserve fruits and grains for months and even years, making sedentary society possible.”

We can date the beginning of the new buzz about kimchi to at least 2003 with the publication of Sandor Katz’s underground best-seller, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Then, in 2005, Korean scientists claimed that 11 of 13 infected chickens started to recover from avian flu after being fed an extract of kimchi.

My personal rediscovery of kimchi was an automatic result of my visit to South Korea last month. With a single exception, the restaurants that I ate in served me kimchi with every meal.

One of the Kimchi dishes on this table is the really red one

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