Friday, April 18, 2008


As you know, I’ve managed to back off Diabetes 2 since January, 2006, when my blood glucose was 11.2. By January, 2007, I was at 6.7 (6 is the goal -- under 7 is okay to the more generous experts). July, 2007, was 6.2. November, 2007, was 6.1 and this doctor said the goal was 6.5. (I'd lost fifty pounds.) As folks with experience know, the problem with Diabetes 2 is that no two doctors agree, neither about goals nor about causes, and they will give you all sorts of advice that doesn’t fit and doesn’t work. And get mad if you say so. Yet this is a condition that requires the person (as opposed to the patient, since most of the time I’m pretty IMpatient!) to feel as though they are in control -- NOT helpless.

The April issue of Vogue is quite interesting. First of all, the cover was controversial since it “embodied” (nearly literally) a story pairing athletes with models. A HUGE LeBron James is roaring and dribbling while Giselle Bundchen (nearly as tall but maybe a fourth the circumference) in a fab green gown is swept along under his arm. The objection was that LeBron looks like King Kong and encourages the racist/sexist notion of a gorilla attacking a white victim. But Giselle doesn’t look like a victim to me. What do critics want? Clarence Thomas looking respectful? The contrasting interior photo was Daria Werbowy towering over the little squirt Shaun White who happens to be an Olympic Gold Medal snowboarder. They both have lots of hair.

Is Vogue trying to make a point about physical identity or what? Are you kidding? I typed Vogue-April-controversy and got 152,000 hits! I just watched “The Devil Wore Prada” and I can ASSURE you that the Wintour/Streep character knew EXACTLY what she was doing. Then Jeffrey Steingarten says, “Frankly, my dear, it’s your genes.” But, honey, when it comes to diabetes 2, it might not be that at all.

In fact, the theory I believe is this one from : (Tuesday, January 29, 2008)
“Environmental Pollutants May Up Risk For Diabetes
“The buzz at work this week is that pesticides could increase the risk for diabetes, and insulin resistance - big time. This week's Lancet came out with a commentary highlighting the work of Dr. Duk-Hee Lee, et al. Dr. Lee's group found the odds of having diabetes were 38 times higher! for people with high blood levels of toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs, such as dioxin and PCBs) than for people with low levels. And the association was dose dependant - the higher your levels, the higher your risk.

“And this - He found no link with obesity. If you were overweight or obese but had low levels of POPS, you had a lower risk of diabetes than if you were lean but had high levels.”

The trouble is that it takes hundreds of dollars to have the tests for “toxic persistent organic pollutants.” Medicare won’t pay, I think. So I jumped into another controversial camp: “fat is okay, but dump all white sugar, white flour, corn syrup, and processing.” Part of the reason I went this way is that John Kyle, who was the dietician for the Browning Public Schools in the 1970’s, used to say they were like lead in paint -- poison with the invidious effect of making you crave more. He was pretty persuasive. Not that he persuaded many Indians.

I did keep my Oregon hazelnut bread but I vary it with muffins I make from the All-Bran package and augment with chopped walnuts and some kind of fruit. NO sugar but a bit of Splenda. Other than that, my breakfast is either the hazelnut toasted (ONE slice) with cream cheese or avocado or sugarless jam; or old-fashioned oatmeal with a handful of unsweetened raspberries, or cottage cheese or ricotta sprinkled with lemon or orange zest. Maybe two poached eggs on toast.

Lunch is a melange (I’d say a “mess” but it sounds better in French!) starting with a can of beans (NOT the kind with sugar -- check the label) often black beans, then corn niblets, chopped green pepper, olives, green beans, peas, any other veggies lying around loose or in cans, maybe chopped tomatoes, carrots cooked or not, chopped mild green chilies, and then a can of something like guacamole or enchilada sauce. Sometimes I throw in cheese buttons (cut off string cheese) or half-inch lunch meat squares. NO pasta, NO bread cubes, NO potato. But seriously, folks, experiment. Find the combos you like, eat ‘em and see if your glucose meter reads under 140 two hours later -- if it does, GREAT! If not, bzzzzt. NOT. I can get away with corn beef hash, one of my all-time winter favs IF I only eat a half can and mix it with a fried-up chop of green peppers and onions. Is this eating like a gorilla in the jungle? YES. Except they don’t do much cooking.

For supper I keep remembering a great meal I had at Papa Hayden’s in Portland, a very elegant place. It was fresh tender lettuce with a beautifully broiled thick steak cut into strips and piled on top. Never woulda thought of it, but it was wonderful. Supper is my big “lettuce” (by which I just mean leafy mostly) and protein meal. Maybe eggs or shrimp or just tuna fish. My thinking is that the roughage keeps my stomach full and the protein is there for repairs while-you-sleep. (Gorillas make a new bed every night, too. One of the Harvard Indian’s rules is to always sleep in a clean bed. But the cats and I like a bed that smells like us. We have no intention of remaking the bed every day.)

By now maybe you’ve noticed an artifact: I once had a book about a “one bowl diet,” which suggested that you could eat whatever you could get into that bowl, but no more. (They didn’t say what SIZE bowl! Presumably, about the same size as your stomach.) For one person, who tends to wander around while eating, one bowl is good. Sometimes I cut up a strip or two of bacon, fry it to make liquid fat, then fry chunks of meat in it, then dump in a whole package of fresh spinach. (You need a big pot to start with, but it ends up fitting in the bowl.) I like a bit of honey-mustard dressing.

String and strip cheese are great snacks and I eat peanuts -- a few TOO MANY peanuts. My latest idea is that I will snack on peanuts roasted (no salt) in the shells and save the shells for garden mulch, a two-fer. This means I eat far fewer nuts. But they don’t make my blood glucose go up much anyway. That’s the key. It’s fun to think up strategy. This is not a trivial pursuit. As Vogue knows.


Bitterroot said...

Congrats on your good outcome, Mary! It's interesting to read about your strategy for achieving it.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you have progressed so far in your battle with Type II. Congratulations!
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