Last week’s post on Diabetes support, we discussed how different foods can contribute to imbalance in the blood-sugar handling system in our body. We also looked at how we’re all born with different levels of energy reserves and how that effects what we’re able to do and not do during our lives. Additionally, we looked at some food choice changes that can support our overall healthy body balance. To look back at that post and the interview with Dr. Japa Khalsa, click here.
This week, we’ve got another fun talk with Japa Khalsa, DOM and Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer. We go into the emotional/mental component of Diabetes, some techniques you can try to help with calming stress levels (which contribute to inflammation and blood sugar imbalance). We also dive into the role that movement and exercise plays in keeping blood sugar levels manageable.
I’m adding in a few of my own tips and tools, in addition to the interview, that I find to be helpful with healing and nourishing our body, mind and spirit. Because Diabetes is a whole body issue, rather than just the spleen and pancreas dysfunction, I like to give you a holistic approach. You can find lots of good general information by doing a google search, and we’ve covered much of that in the past couple of emails. I’m wrapping up today with some ‘not-so-commonly-used-techniques’ for those of you who’ve kept up this long. This is your little ‘added-bonus-A-plus-student-add-on’.
I’d like to address each of these areas. As I go through this, I’m not placing any judgement anywhere and hope that you aren’t going to self-judge or negatively judge someone you know who has been diagnosed with Diabetes. We’re all learning, growing, and doing our best as humans and we’re here to support and uplift each other through listening, educating and compassion. This can also be considered a ‘health challenge’ to help each of us grow physically, mentally, spiritually. I find that, if we can look at our health as a barometer of how we’ve lived our life, we can use it as a tool of growth for us to heal and move into our better, higher selves.
We’ve all got history, some good, some bad. Culturally, food is given as rewards and withheld as punishment.We enjoy cozy mornings together with family enjoying breakfast, feasts to celebrate life’s milestones, and relax with friends over the weekend enjoying dinner. If I had a conversation with each of you and got to the root of where you are with your food and eating habits, every single one of you would have a different story.
I’ll tell you my story and you can start thinking about yours:
When I was younger, my mom, who was sort of in the ‘health nut’ category for her time (think ’80’s before Wholefoods and almond milk). We had very little sugar on a daily or weekly basis. Our treats were periodic tapioca or rice pudding, homemade sugar cookies for Christmas and Valentine’s Day, birthday cakes…. that was pretty much it, as far as our sugar intake. Our meals were solid and square: a meat and a vegetable. We sat down to dinner at the dining room table 6 nights out of the week with serving dishes. Food was made by my mother. My sister and I fought over who had to set the table. My parents played Backgammon every single night at the dinner table while my sister and I had to clear the table and do dishes. I remember this with great relish. Things were organized, simple, quiet, and safe. When I turned 14, my parents divorced. No more evening dinners, no more after-school snacks at the kitchen table with my mom home. My life turned upside down, as far as food, safety and coziness went. We lived with my Dad, whose idea of a taco salad was lettuce with some Pace salsa and ground up tortilla chips on it. Dinner was irregular and up to each individual in my house. I didn’t have lunches at school and either didn’t eat at all or took leftovers from my friends’ lunches.
Fast forward to age 24. At this point, I’m a sugar addict. I eat sweets all the time (homemade, of course, but nonetheless, still simple carbs, sugar and butter). I’m addicted to food: Always thinking about when I’m going to eat, over eating to make sure that I’ll have enough to last me to the next meal, I over-shop to make sure we always have enough food in the fridge. I’m constantly thinking about the next meal.
Fortunately, I never had a weight issue, so all of this wasn’t affecting my weight. However, over the years, I realized how neurotic I became about food. I’m still in the process of working all of this out. Understanding why my relationship with food became so obsessive helped in the healing of it. While I continue to work on my habits, and I think this is probably a life-long healing, it helps me to stay conscious and mindful about what I put into my body, how I eat it and where (I really try not to eat while driving or walking around). All of these practices help me with loving myself and caring for my body.
I’m sharing this with all of you in the hopes that it encourages you to take some time to write down your story in relationship to food. If we can gain understanding about where we came from, it can help with healing our present and future. Food is a HUGE issue in our culture. If we’re to find healing in ourselves, finding out how we got to where we are now, requires taking a look at our past.
Do you remember how you developed your relationship with food? Take a few minutes to sit and write. Try to remember your environments: did you feel safe when you ate, was there enough food? Too much? Were you forced to sit at the table if you didn’t finish your food? Were parents or others fighting around you while you were eating? Did you feel cozy and cared for? If you can identify where your relationship with food comes from, it helps bring to light how you’re currently eating and what you’re eating.
Long -term high levels of stress can directly lead to inflammation and high levels of insulin production, which can lead to blood sugar dysregulation. This kind of stress can result from spousal or familial tensions, living with a teenager (my current long term stress-inducer), divorce, unpleasant job situation, long term care of a family member, financial stress…..and many more causes, this is just a short list of the most common stressors.
There is also physical stress that comes from sedentary life style (sitting is now considered the new smoking), repetitive motions such as computer use, factory work, strenuous physical exertion (yes, even too much exercise can cause negative physical stress).
Stress can also come from multi-tasking. As a busy mother, I’m running my own Chiropractic practice, caring for my patients, while also sending out health-tip posts, taking my children to school, shopping, cleaning my house, making sure everyone has clean clothes, signing permission forms, going on field trips, making sure my husband gets a little bit of attention, participating in my community through bake sales, picking up garbage off the roadside, worrying about the environment, making sure my friends feel supported….you get the picture. And, I’m sure your life probably has or is a similar story.
Over the years, I’ve learned that I need to listen to myself and what my body, mind and spirit need to regain balance. I’ve found that, through my own health journey, along with watching hundreds of others, that over-working, over-exerting, over…..anything leads to imbalance. People end up with chronic fatigue, Diabetes, auto-immune disorders, digestive issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia….and the list goes on. What’s important, for this particular topic of Diabetes that we’re focused on in this series, is that stress can lead to imbalance in the liver, adrenal, and spleen system, which can lead to dysfunction in the blood sugar response system.
I’ve covered a few different areas above:
Just to re-cap here…. Some of you may be scratching your head and wondering why I’ve included things like ‘self-love’ and ‘mindfulness’ in a post about how to care for oneself with Diabetes. This might be new information for you, and, as I said above, a lot of this information is unconventional and won’t be taught in your doctor’s office and the pharmaceutical companies are definitely not talking about this in the advertisements. I know that. That’s why you’re here with me…..if you’ve followed me this far, you know that I’m passing along information to you that’s not part of the mainstream media. If health were easy, we’d all be there. Health is a journey and takes time, patience and the unconventional, sometimes, to allow that magic to happen. Let it unfold in you and watch your inner, true you shine.
Thank you for following along with me on this journey. I hope that there’s some enlightening tools for you here to partake of. This series has been a very long process in the making and will only be available for you by email. I’m going to develop this into an online class for purchase in the future. There’s A LOT more that I have to share, but I wanted to get this out to you so that you can start thinking about Diabetes and other disease processes in a different, holistic way.
Take some time to practice, at least, one of the above-mentioned tips or something that Dr. Japa mentions in our interview. It only takes 1 small change to start the healing process. If you take one step toward healing, your body will suck that up with relish and give back to you 100 times that effort. I promise you, it will be SO worth it.
Thank you so, so much for allowing me to be a part of your healing journey. I’d so much appreciate if you’d be so kind as to pass this along to anyone that you think may benefit.
As always, yours in health and healing,
We’ve covered A LOT in these past few posts! I don’t expect you to drop all of your habits and apply all of these new tools into your life tomorrow. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you may have found a pattern with my ‘challenges’. Usually, one of these tips will really resonate with you. If you’re finding that, take that as your intuition’s guide for you to start with that one thing. Take it and run with it for 40 days. I love the ’40 day’ idea because it helps to change old patterns and develop new ones. Something in our psyche shifts and gives us that boost that we need to make real, long-lasting changes.
If adding a 10 minute walk sounds do-able for you, great! Give yourself that gift. If eliminating sugary pastries for breakfast is up your alley, go for it! Start a meditation, or one of the yoga postures we presented this week. Just start something and commit to yourself to follow through for the 40 days.
You’ve got this!!
And….keep us posted…you can post in my Facebook group about what you’ve chosen to improve upon in your life and get the support of our community there. We’ve got a super supportive group there, so join in the fun and support!