Monday, June 27, 2011

Greening My Blood Sugars

I'm almost reluctant to post this because I don't want to inspire anyone to tinker in an irresponsible way with their own health, or have anyone mimic what has worked for me without seeking their own medical supervision.   So whatever you read here is simply MY experience, not my recommendation for anyone else.

I am my own guinea pig...that's what I'm saying.

And the second thing I'm saying is that I might never have known that I could SOLVE a very crucial problem as a diabetic with any of these things, were it not for the availability of a wide range of resources via the internet...not all of which are trustworthy, but the bulk of which can be cross-referenced, compared, and gleaned from.  Here are the players God has provided in our own backyard, which have each added up in different ways to bringing my blood sugars down from Very Scary, to normal...TODAY...for the first time in years:

Certain tree leaves made into strong tea
Certain fresh green herbs
Black beans
Certain cooked greens
Certain spices

My sugars had gotten out of control, for reasons I don't fully understand except that the longer I am diabetic, the more stubborn the symptoms seem to be in responding to improvement.   The trick now is keeping the numbers in a good range and eventuall easing off the prescription meds, or at least reducing them.

I still need to lose's my Achilles heel, and my body is so so resistant at this point.  But when my sugars surged to over 450 a couple months ago, the biggest problem was that I was already on the maximum dose of this level of oral medication,and I REALLY don't want to graduate to insulin injections.

In a somewhat more desperate run of Google searching, I have run across so many more anecdotal mentions of common plants useful in different cultures for either lowering, controlling, or stabilizing blood sugars.  Since natural plants don't come with "parental government controls" (thank goodness!) as far as dosage recommendations and a list of contraindications, we are CAUTIOUSLY testing some of these (the ones with the fewest cautionary mentions) on ourselves.  This is just my own personal philosophy, but I believe that if we learn, learn, learn as we go and judiciously ease into the use of some of these natural "remedies," the likelihood of permanent damage and side effects is significantly less than that of most pharaceuticals, most of which are synthetic.   The fact that our backyard plants are pesticide-free, suited to our climate and location, hardy (some are considered weeds), and either free or inexpensive all adds up to encouragement and availability instead of the pricey dollar figure of so many "magic bullets" offered elsewhere.

We don't have this down pat yet...maybe we never will?   But we've eased into more natural eating.  I tried going "mostly raw" for a time, and gained some experience and some benefits.  What I carry with me from that is the determination to eat more greens of all sorts.  Our regular eating had included unbalanced proportions of cooked foods and too few raw the myriad greens that can be paired with almost anything to round out a meal and ramp up the body's energy and nutrients.  The simple act of including a wide variety of greens, raw or cooked, to our daily meals meant a noticeable health difference.

Black beans are now a staple in our household -- we had them quite often before, anyway, since Jack is from Cuba and since both of us seem to digest black beans easier than most other types of beans.  But n ow we have them almost daily.  When I read a while back that black beans in particular significantly help slow down the metabolizing of sugars, helping diabetics sustain a "slow burn" rather than quick spikes, I decided to test it on myself.  And it doesn't hurt that I happen to really like black beans...   A simple blend of spices, after some tinkering around, really does the trick, and we use our new pressure cooker to make them from scratch.  Maybe I'll be tired of them someday, but for now they are a great "side" for so many things and I find myself needing to use very little meat throughout the week because of how "meaty" the black beans are in a meal, even for Jack (which is amazing since he's the meat eater around beans do the trick instead of meat for him now, most times).

The other recent addition to our regimen (read my disclaimer above, don't do as I do...) is the use of loquat tree leaves for fresh tea taken daily.

Loquat leaves have a shiny top side and a slightly fuzzy underside.   When washing to make tea from the leaves, the fuzz of the underside must be rubbed off under running water, or it can slightly irritate the throat.  We take four loquat leaves (just go outside and pick them), clean them under running water (making sure the fuzz is rubbed off), tear them into pieces, cover with a good amount of water, and heat in a stainless steel pan till boiling.  We simmer it, covered, about 10 minutes at a fast simmer (sometimes add a cinnamon stick for extra flavor and extra blood sugar regulation), and then turn the heat down to low and let it stay there till whenever we're ready to drink it.  We pour it out into individual mugs through a small strainer, and the color turns out a rich mahogany brown.  The taste is fresh and fragrant and not heavy or very distinctive.  The cinnamon goes well with the loquat tea.

I try to drink that at least once a day, but we like it so much we usually drink at least two full mugs each, daily.

This is the 7th day I've been drinking the loquat tea, and today is the first day my daytime blood sugar reading was in the FULLY NORMAL range.

I"m VERY pleased and excited!  I credit the black beans AND the loquat tea, as well as the combination of other plants we alternate eating from the backyard (weeds such as Bidens alba, the gynura procumbens, the moringa, etc), almost all of which require almost no fuss or true "gardening skills" to grow.

Color me happy!  I'll keep posting here about my progress, but since this is the first day I saw "Normal," I had to report in with the news :)

Whatever ails us, I am encouraged that there is MUCH information to be further researched simply by beginning with an internet search, a willingness to keep looking for more natural answers, and a determination to not give up...

I truly believe God gave us the green herb (plural) for healing.  Not as a magic bullet, but for vitality and longevity and a closer eye to elements so taken for granted, such as the soil beneath our feet, and the plants we've come to think of as weeds.  I laugh to keep finding that I can make a meal from the weeds I pass by everyday, and that our mower chews right up, and that the goodness contained within those plants exceeds so many bottles I could pay an arm and a leg for at the health food store.  (Don't get me wrong, we still frequent the health food store and take some supplements)   I discover another "weed" that was sitting beside my house all along and learn of its benefits...and laugh at my own ignorance...and begin to feel really really RICH.  How blessed we are by our Creator that food and medicine are so abundant, they frequently are chopped back and considered pests!

SO glad God has a sense of humor!  And I'm so glad He uses the humble things in ways much mightier than we were conditioned to understand.

What are some of your favorite "humble" plants with big nutritional and medicinal punch?


Sande said...

Congratulations on getting your blood sugars down into a good range. I like your thoughts on
God, creation, and the plants He has given us. Nice.

Grace said...

I applaud your initiative in finding more wholesome ways to deal with diabetes. It's a daily struggle for me. I have "brittle" diabetes, which translates to something like my body refuses to respond to carbs the way doctors expect it to. I don't work like the charts they give you - x# of carbs should =Y glucose level. They had me taking so much insulin I gained 40 lbs. I finally had to take charge myself, and it is improving. I now cook almost all of the food I eat, no more pre-packaged crap. I cut way back on the insulin (and lost 20 lbs in a few weeks!)but I do encourage you to take the step to SOME insulin injection. There is evidence that the longer we avoid doing that, the more we damage our pancreas. Some (a little) insulin will help preserve that pancreas function longer, allowing us to live a little longer. I know taking that step is almost like admitting some kind of failure, but if I (a needle-phobe) can do it, you can, too. Keep up the good work!

Irma said...

GLAD to hear you are seeing some success with your sugar levels and just generally feeling better. I understand your point completely regarding "this is what is working for YOU" and is not an appeal for people to leave their modern-day treatments.

Still, is encouraging to know that you are seeing results from Nature....what is that quote, I know I will murder it: "Every illness is cured by a plant. If only we could figure out which plant goes with which illness."

R said...

Sande, thanks...taking it nice and easy and one day at a time. I sure hope we're finding solutions for the long term :)

Grace, congratulations on cooking your meals at home, which is always so much healthier (and delicious)..and also congratulations with your weight loss, which is NOT easy. I totally agree with you that if the doc recommends insulin at my next visit, I'll have to go that route to avoid any damage. But if my A1C is in a really good range, he may opt to keep things as they are, and I hope that means progress will continue to creep towards normality a point at a time...thanks for the encouragement, and stay healthy!


Granny Sue said...

Robbyn, this is interesting. My hubby is diabetic and getting him to eat right is a major pain--he just won't do it unless I fix the food. But he LOVES black beans :) I think I've got to give it a try.

I recently heard a report that if people ate a 600-calorie a day diet, their insulin production returned to normal within 2 weeks, and stayed there. Have you heard about that?

JoyceP said...

Good for you, Robbyn! I came across a "superfood" recently called Azomite powder. The Westin A. Price Foundation calls it a superfood. Azomite is a type of green clay that is mined here in the US. One teaspoon daily in a glass of juice or water provides a wealth of minerals AND attracts positively charged "bad guys" like radioactive particles and draws them out of your system. It's pretty cheap, too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that everything we do to take back our health from BigPharma is a step in the right direction. Keep on!

outdoor products said...

I may be wrong, but isn't Moringa supposed to be some miracle tree or something? I noticed you had a post with a Moringa tree somewhere. Maybe you can brew your tea out of that.

R said...

Granny Sue, I visited your site and left you a comment...sorry it took me so long! I"m not sure about that 600 calorie a day sounds like a fast to me, but I'll look it up. At any rate, those black beans are keepers around here. I cook with them a lot. I'm looking to incorporate other high fiber things from outdoors, and the most recent has been to begin experimenting with Nopal cactus. Shall keep you posted :)

Joyce, I've heard of it but never looked into it..I'll have something new now to research...thank you for passing this along! Do you use it yourself?

Outdoor, yes, and you are onto something that Jack and I are trying to do...we are looking to fill our yard with those miracle plants...there are SO many with so many benefits, and moringa is at the head of our list. A few years back I inundated the blog here with so many moringa posts (or at least it seems that way to me) that it might have become boring and redundant to everyone else. MOringa IS a magnificent plant and we do use it for tea. Currently I am making tincture of its leaves so that I have something for the winter months. The actual taste of the moringa leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to eating it raw or even cooked, in my opinion. It's not awful, and is better cooked than raw (to me). So I'll have to get past that. I made capsules from powdered moringa powder and was using that for a while. The trick is utilizing what we have on hand in a way that is consistent and beneficial. some plants like moringa have SO many good uses, I'm still trying to catch up with using them!

:) Robbyn/thebackforty

Joanie said...

Hi, Robbyn -
Thank you so much for your information (and posting the comments that followed) on 'Gynura procumbens' for blood sugar issues. I am going to make tinctures of it - one with glycerine and one with alcohol - and take them to see how each might help my blood sugar issues.
I agree with you that folks should do the research and be cautious before ingesting any Herb purported to be health-giving. I SO trust Herbs more than pharmaceuticals, though I acknowledge there is a need for prescription drugs.
On my website I use information from the trusted sources in my herbal reference library. I also use many Herbs at various times for various ailments. Some of those Herbs have been used for thousands of years, and the information is tried-and-true.
I am also thankful to find another gardener/herbalist who acknowledges God's loving creation of the plants we need to survive and thrive.
God bless you and your work.