It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

The New York Times: “Is Sugar Toxic?”

May 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment

In 1961 I started to read The New York Times when I went to work in Washington. But its magazine always disappointed me.

Until Sunday. This week’s issue focuses on “Health and Wellness 2011.” All four of the magazine’s main articles are essential reading for everyone.

The cover story by Gary Taubes, “Is Sugar Toxic?,” makes the case against sugar. This isn’t his first time to tilt at the medical establishment in this magazine. Nine years ago his article, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?,” began his crusade to expose the myth that fat was bad and carbohydrates are good.

His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, built on that article so well that it convinced me and thousands of others to follow a very low-carb diet. In “Addicted to Carbs” I wrote here three years ago about how that book changed my life. With his book, Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It, Taubes takes his argument to a wider, non-scientific audience.

[Read more →]

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in: Diabetes Diet, Exercise For Diabetes

Walking Meditation

March 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

As I hiked out of the wilderness all I could think about was how much my feet hurt. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

Wearing a brand new pair of boots on a long backpacking trip into West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness about 35 years ago could have been a big mistake. The new boots gave my feet terrible blisters, and I had forgotten to take any moleskin. Returning to the trailhead after four or five days, I knew I had just one other way to control the pain. Deliberate walking meditation put my entire consciousness into my feet.

I don’t punish my feet any more to get the high that walking meditation brings. But I still hike or walk and meditate at the same time.

A leading exponent of walking meditation is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who is one of the important influences in the development of Western Buddhism. His book with Nguyen Anh-Huong, Walking Meditation (Sounds True: Boulder, Colorado, 2006), says that when we practice walking meditation, “We walk for the sake of walking…We walk slowly, in a relaxed way, keeping a light smile on our lips.”

[Read more →]

Share

Tags: , ,
Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes, Psychosocial

A Stand-Up Guy and His Desk

November 13th, 2010 · 2 Comments

When I tell you that I am a stand-up guy, I wouldn’t blame you for assuming that I was boasting. After all, part of the standard Mafia definition of this term is one who “can be trusted.”

While I do hope that you can trust me, I call myself a stand-up guy because one of my own posts here inspired me to stand up a lot more. So, when I say that I am a stand-up guy, this is a fact, not a boast.

In a post here, “Standing Up for Your Heart,” I reviewed a study by Alpa Patel, Ph.D., and her associates that explored the connection between sitting and mortality. They found that the amount of time people spend sitting is associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease, which happens to be the biggest complication of diabetes.

When I digested the impact of that study, it reinforced my long-standing plan of converting my computer time from sitting to standing. Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, was my original my model. Four years ago I wrote here about how he mounted his computer over a treadmill, and while he works, he walks at the rate of 0.7 miles per hour.

Even before reading the new study led by Dr. Patel, I had told Abhijit Mhapsekar, who programs my mendosa.com website, about walking on a treadmill while he worked. I knew that it would help heal his bad back. And Abhijit actually did get a treadmill with his computer mounted over a desk.

But I dawdled. My apartment doesn’t have enough room for a treadmill and treadmill desk in addition to the wonderful teak desk that I’ve had since 1969.

Instead, I priced stand-up desks on the Internet and a local store for me to use without a treadmill. Those desks run from $1,300 to $,2300. And they weren’t awfully stable.

Instead, I had a handyman make me a stand-up desk. It is as simple as possible: just two tracks screwed into the wall with three brackets that are adjustable (and I have already adjusted them), with a board 24 inches deep by 43 inches wide, large enough for one of my computers and accessories. The new desk ran me about $300 and is very stable. Anyone with more skill than I have could make one for much less.

When I commissioned my new stand-up desk, I expected to use it a small part of the time. In fact, I now use it much more than my old desk.

I also think more clearly when I am standing up. Judge for yourself. I wrote this standing.

As a writer, I have always known that I learn more from my articles than even the most diligent readers do. This is just like teachers learn more than their students because of all the preparation that goes into their lessons.

And as a caring person my goal in life is to help other people who like me have to live with diabetes. The Talmud says that “to save one person is to save the world,” and even if I haven’t moved you yet to stand up more, my review of Dr. Patel’s work already inspired both Abdijit and me to get off our butts more.

That’s not all. After I got my new stand-up desk I told Dr. Patel about it. “Congratulations! I hope to move from sitting on my exercise ball to a stand-up desk soon myself.”

Can I inspire you too?

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

Share

Tags: , ,
Posted in: Diabetes Complications, Exercise For Diabetes

Visualize Yourself

November 4th, 2010 · No Comments

My friend Jay has type 2 diabetes and is a member of the diabetes support group that meets every month in my apartment. But he is also a primary care physician, and almost half his patients have diabetes.

Jay is therefore uniquely qualified to help us. At the most recent meeting of our support group we were already  running overtime. But it was Jay’s turn to speak, and he wanted to share with us the “shock treatment” that he uses with his new patients who have diabetes. I’m glad that he did and that I can share this treatment with you.

Jay starts by explaining that diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are the three main silent killers. Because they usually don’t offer us any advance warning of the hidden damage that they do to our bodies, these diseases are truly insidious.

Then, he suddenly turns off the lights in the windowless office. “Visualize yourself 15 years from now,” he says. “This is what you might be seeing then, if you don’t control your diabetes.”

This is Jay’s shock treatment. But any technique that will get us to open our eyes to the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes is better than none, he says.

Jay asked each of the members of our support group to look in the mirror each morning and visualize ourselves 15 years later. For me this gave me one more piece of encouragement to eat right, stay slim, and exercise so I will still be able to see my face in the mirror 15 years from now when I will be 90. If I’m still around then, I hope to continue seeing a computer monitor so I that I will still be able to write you.

As Jay left my apartment that day, I took him aside and told him that I already could visualize his shock treatment. My ophthalmologist had just told me after my semiannual checkup that I have two small micro-aneurysms in my left eye that he hadn’t seen before.

Jay’s shock treatment worked especially well because I was already shocked. Micro-aneurysms can lead to diabetic retinopathy, which can, of course, lead to blindness, the complication of diabetes that I have always dreaded the most.

Now I have even more incentive to keep my A1C level in the low 5 range, if not down to 4.5, which is my goal. I hope that you don’t need any more incentives to control your own diabetes.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in: Diabetes Complications

Natural Vitality

July 13th, 2010 · No Comments

“Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee,” says Dr. Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, “but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”

He is the lead author of a series of studies that the Journal of Environmental Psychology just published in this June 2010 issue. I asked him to send me a PDF of the full-text of his research report, “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature,” and he did. You can find the abstract online.

Instead of coffee, I restore my energy by going out for a hike. In fact, one of the most popular parts of my website is my blog of photo essays, “Fitness and Photography for Fun.”

Certainly, physical activity makes us feel better. Staying fit is indeed one of the four legs that those of us with diabetes have to keep our blood glucose levels down in the normal range (the other three legs are diet, reducing stress and inflammation, and usually taking oral medication or insulin).

Over the years I have written many articles extolling the benefits of exercise. Some of those articles say how much better I feel after going out for a hike.


Nature This Morning

That’s all true. But these new studies for the first time have teased out the effects of being out in nature alone from the feel-good effects that we get from physical activity and from the socializing that we often get at the same time.

Dr. Ryan and his co-authors were able to separate out the effects of nature alone. To do so they conducted five separate experiments with 537 of the usual suspects — college students.

What they found was so clear, Dr. Ryan says, that “being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels.” The Journal of Environmental Psychology article defines vitality as having physical and mental energy giving us a sense of enthusiasm, aliveness, and energy.

When we have a greater sense of vitality we not only have more energy to do the things that we want to do but were are also more resilient to physical illnesses. “One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings,” he says.

I’m not knocking physical activity. Most of us who have diabetes need to get up and out a lot more. If you aren’t getting out yet, this beautiful late spring weather is a great time to start. I’m saying that getting our physical activity outdoors in nature gives us two for the price of one.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in: Psychosocial

Winter Walking Destinations

February 17th, 2010 · No Comments

This morning I got my exercise by shopping for food. After the weekend I didn’t have anything in my apartment that I wanted to eat for lunch and dinner.

So I walked about four and one-half miles to the nearest natural foods store, which is a Whole Foods Market. I picked up salad greens for lunch, grass-fed ground beef for dinner, and a few other items that I needed. Then, I walked back home with my groceries in my daypack.

This was a winter walking destination for me. During the rest of the year I get my exercise every other day or so with a long hike in the Rocky Mountains that rise just west of here. Now, in the winter, I still get up there, but on my snowshoes and less often than the hikes at other times of the year. [Read more →]

Share

Tags: , ,
Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

David’s New Diabetes Diet

August 3rd, 2009 · 6 Comments

What I eat keeps changing all the time. Since I change regularly everything else that I do, this should be no surprise.

My breakfast starts with two glasses of GreensFirst. This is one breakfast that I can consume immediately after getting up from bed. The experts all tell me that we do better when we eat within an hour of arising, but that’s always been hard for me to get down. GreensFirst solves that problem beautifully.

I absolutely love this way to start the day! Much better than the two cups of coffee I used to start the day with. Now, I drink only decaf, and much less of that (I also stopped drink single malt Scotch whisky). I don’t drink any alcohol now. I stopped drinking regular coffee and alcohol to help control my headaches, which are now gone, but I am staying off of them for my health (and budget). So sometimes bad things can lead to good outcomes!

When I wrote the article about GreensFirst, I hadn’t experimented much with it. But since I keep changing, I now make it with protein powder and refrigerated sparking mineral water and really enjoy the fizz. Of course, I have to mix it up with a little bit of filtered tap water, because cold water doesn’t work as well. [Read more →]

Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Diabetes Diet

Power of Prevention

May 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

The annual convention of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists — those medical specialists who treat diabetes — is underway in Houston. I’m covering the event for The Health Central Network.

The convention took over the George R. Brown Convention Center in the downtown of America’s fourth largest city. The convention center is so big that after Hurricane Katrina 7,000 refugees lived here.

In the mob of today’s convention you might imagine my surprise that the first person I made eye contact with asked if I was David Mendosa. The person who asked was Sarah Senn, who I had sent several photos for an article that she wrote about me. But we had never previously met in person.
[Read more →]

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in: People With Diabetes

Three Thousand Steps in Thirty Minutes

March 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Like most people, I used my pedometer passively to note how many steps I took each day. Now I use it as a prod for better performance and to help control my diabetes.

We can use pedometers to motivate us to get enough of the moderate-intensity physical activity we need. The government’s official 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which I covered here last year, calls for us to get a minimum of 150 minutes of this moderate-intensity exercise each week. That can work out to 30 minutes on five days of the week. We can also get it in shorter bouts, typically of 10 minutes each time.

But many of us can’t figure out what “moderate-intensity” means. Until I read a brand new research report, I certainly didn’t.
[Read more →]

Share

Tags: ,
Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

Fatty Liver and Exercise

September 21st, 2008 · 13 Comments

If you read my articles about diabetes here regularly, you might have noticed that I rarely cover four topics in the news:

1. Knowing the causes of diabetes. This doesn’t help us control it.

2. Learning how to avoid diabetes. This comes too late for most of us.
[Read more →]

Share

Tags: , ,
Posted in: Diabetes Complications

HONcode certification seal.