thoughts on diabetes prevention

Crash by Images by John 'K', on Flickr
Diabetes: Protect our Future,
by International Diabetes Foundation

November 14 is World Diabetes Day.

The overall theme for the years 2009-2013 is "Diabetes Education and Prevention" with this year's slogan being "Diabetes: Protect our Future."

diabetes education

I see no point in educating directly, as I know of two outstanding sources.

Jennifer's advice to the newly diagnosed
If you only read one page about blood glucose control, this should be it, even if you are not yet diabetic. Jennifer discusses how to use a blood glucose meter to learn about managing your bG.
Blood Sugar 101
If you want to learn about diabetes and controlling blood glucose, but don't want to get a biochemistry degree, Jenny Ruhl's site is for you as she translates what is known for laymen very comprehensively.

diabetes prevention

my adrenal history

Vertical section of kidney, from Grey's Anatomy, on Wikimedia
Vertical section of kidney,
from Grey's Anatomy,
on Wikimedia

This is an image from Grey's Anatomy showing a sliced kidney; the adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney. So if you've ever had a kidney infection, that spot in your mid-lower back where you felt pain is pretty close to where your adrenals are located.

When I had adrenal issues, I drove the moderators of the Adrenals Yahoo! group half nuts with my demands for explanations for every recommendation they made. Val was pretty patient about providing me references when she had time, but one thing it never occurred to me to ask was why she said people should not try to do any sort of detox while healing their adrenals; she just said detox was hard on adrenals. Since I had absolutely no plans to do any detoxing at that time, I never asked, and don't have references. I will likely look them up at some later time, but for the purpose of this post, I am just accepting this as a very true statement.

This will be a very long post as I need to cover my previous health history, which is a bit of a long story.

But before I begin with that, I need to point out that I am not a doctor of any sort. The labcoat on my avatar is because I used to be a biochemist. Furthermore, you ought not take avatars seriously anyways, even if I add a stethoscope! ;)

patronizing scientists - part 2

Right 2Know March (GMO Labeling) by Daquella manera, on Flickr
Right 2Know March (GMO Labeling) by Daquella manera, on Flickr

These people aren't clever enough to know what kind of food they want to eat.

This is the "scientific" reason why we don't want to label GMOs, because these people don't know what's best for them. We don't want to start a consumer panic, where people decide not to eat GMOs by mistake!

Funny, it looks to me like they have an opinion!

In patronizing scientists - part 1, I covered how those of us who do completely understand the pros and cons of recombinant DNA can still be opposed to GMOs.

In this part, I'm just going to explain how lazy these scientists are.

vintage post: boeuf bourguignon

vintage post

The point of "vintage" posts is to highlight older posts than in my monthly favorite post feature.

I don't want to ignore really kewl stuff just cause it was posted before I began blogging!

But this is REALLY vintage, in that it is from a time before blogging... before the Internet... before BBSs... before home PCs... before even electronic calculators...

It's ALMOST before me, as I was a year old when the show started, from a time when food shows were live with mistakes and all and actually intended to teach the viewer to cook. Before there were any foodies, there was Julia Child.

patronizing scientists - part 1

Recombinant DNA, by Tinastella, via Wikimedia Commons
Recombinant DNA, by Tinastella, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the things that pisses me off about all this opposition to proposition 37 is the notion that real scientists are opposed to GMO labeling because regular people don't understand about genetically-modified organisms. Basically, we shouldn't label because people are too stupid to judge for themselves whether they want to eat GMO foods.

I took a course in recombinant DNA in graduate school, so I have actually made GMOs. I understand it just fine.

pico de gallo & guacamole

Pico de gallo by nonelvis, on Flickr
Pico de gallo by nonelvis, on Flickr

I was on the phone with my daughter recently and promised to get this recipe to her.

Using guacamole as a sandwich topping has been one of the most useful ways for me to get a bunch of veggies in my husband nearly daily.

I make pico de gallo once a week, then daily mix up some fresh guacamole to put in his lunch.

basic good steak

2006-04-12-19-04-41zoomed by WmJR, on Flickr
2006-04-12-19-04-41zoomed by WmJR, on Flickr

Like most of you, given the high price of pastured meats, we tend to eat a lot of cheap cuts around here. Still, once in a blue moon, I splurge and get a good steak, especially if I run across a sale. To me, a really good steak is a strip steak, a club steak, a delmonico, a ribeye, a T-bone or a filet mignon. I buy one when we're relatively flush and stick it in the freezer. Then when Steve is tired or had a particularly bad day, I can spoil him a little. And spoil me too!

Having spent more than we can afford, I'm very picky about making sure it's cooked to absolute perfection.

eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan by joebeone, on Flickr
Eggplant Parmesan by joebeone, on Flickr

While hubby isn't fond of eggplant, this is one of my favorite vegetables. And this is quite a yummy way to prepare it!

I use coconut flour to low-carb this, but any flour you tolerate will work just fine.

vintage post: 12 days of broth

vintage post

Have you seen this yet?

Amanda got 12 days of real broth, broth that actually gels, from the same set of bones.

are mud pies a superfood?

rain, dirt road, mud pies by paloetic, on Flickr
rain, dirt road, mud pies by paloetic, on Flickr

No, not the chocolatey confection, but the ones you made sitting in a pile of mud when you were a three-year-old.

I've noticed that advertising soil bacteria on your probiotics is becoming more and more popular.

It occurred to me that this was a rather stupid thing to buy cause I have dirt in my yard; presumably with soil bacteria in it. I've been composting the heck out of my garden for years and it's full of worms and other slimy things, so I imagine bacteria are happy out there too.

OK, so I wasn't really planning on sitting out there with a spoon and digging into the dirt. I mean, there's WORMS in that dirt after all!

But it occurred to me... healthy microflora has several hundred species of bacteria and most of your probiotics only have a handful. Maybe this is why homemade ferments, like sauerkraut, are so much more health-giving than fermented products from the grocery, sterilized and then inoculated with only a few bacteria.

And then it occurred to me, maybe I should just not wash my vegetables. I mean, they grow in perfectly healthy compost. I've made the jokes in comments in several blogs recently; that we ought to consider eating dirt.

And yesterday, I discovered Dr. Ayers' blog (Cooling Inflammation, linked in the sidebar) and saw that in several posts, he recommended eating unwashed vegetables. So I'm not the only one with this peculiar notion!

Of course, they need to be organic, you don't want to eat pesticide and herbicide coated vegetables without washing them. The veggies in my garden qualify, and I've always eaten them out there without washing, though I usually wash them when I bring them inside.

But maybe I'll stop. Seems cheaper than buying dirt pills.


Yogurt by Mom the Barbarian, on Flickr
Yogurt by Mom the Barbarian, on Flickr

When I went on GAPS, the big difference in making yogurt is that it needs to be cultured for 24 hours to be sure all the lactose is broken down. I expect this also increases the probiotics quite a bit. And I'd expect the yogurt to be more tart.

My "normal" crockpot method didn't work anymore because the milk didn't stay warm enough long enough. But my new method, a thermos, worked better even without being on GAPS.

chicken broth

chicken broth by Muffet, on Flickr
chicken broth by Muffet, on Flickr

Normally, I prefer making broth after roasting a whole chicken, as I'm fond of the flavors that develop from the Maillard reaction. I'm just not crazy about boiled meat.

But a while back, one of my local farmers had a deal going on pastured chicken necks & backs if you bought 20 pounds, so I figured I'd make broth.

Twenty pounds is a lot more than I thought it was.

vitamin A

Retinol or Vitamin A 3D space model (balls model), by YassineMrabet, on Wikimedia Commons
Retinol or Vitamin A 3D space model (balls model), by YassineMrabet, on Wikimedia Commons

There is just so much confusion on this topic that as a chemist, I decided to set the record straight.

Vitamin A comes in a number of forms:

vitamin A; the normal form that is stored in the body; chemically it contains an alcohol functional group
the form actively used by the eye; chemically, a reduced form of retinol containing an aldehyde functional group
retinoic acid
acts as an important hormone-like growth factor; chemically, an oxidized form of retinol containing a carboxylic acid functional group
retinyl palmitate
the form found in animal foods; chemically, an ester function group joins retinol to palmitic acid (the most common saturated fatty acid)
alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene and cryptoxanthin
the provitamin A forms found in plant foods; the thesis of this post is that these are not "real" vitamin A, though useful nutrients on their own

So first, let's take a look at the various forms of vitamin A...

beef broth

Beef Broth by joana hard, on Flickr
Beef Broth by joana hard, on Flickr

The primary nutrition in bone broths or stocks are due to:

  1. cartilage, which contains collagen and breaks down to gelatin (and thus the amino acids glycine and proline)
  2. minerals, especially calcium, phosphorous and magnesium
  3. marrow - with healthy fat containing vitamins A, D3, K2 and the fatty acid CLA)

Grass-fed bones are certainly better than CAFO bones, but I think this difference is much lesser than with meat. In general, I am quite happy buying non-organic bones. If the animal had bones, it has minerals. If it could stand up (a requirement in order to slaughter for food), it has collagen in it's joints. The only serious downside to CAFO bones is that the marrow will have significantly less vitamins A, D3, K2 and the fatty acid CLA. However, since I cook little bone-containing beef cuts and have to buy bones, I usually buy CAFO bones, figuring I get a lot of those nutrients from other foods in my diet.

types of bones that can be bought

marrow bones
These bones have the most marrow; they are shank bones. Marrow can be eaten prior to using the bones for broth as a nutritious and gourmet dish, or allowed to disintegrate in the broth to add more nutrition there.

phthalates as a possible cause of T2 diabetes

Poisonous substances, warning sign D-W003 according to German standard DIN 4844-2 by Torsten Henning, on Wikimedia Commons
Poisonous substances, warning sign D-W003 according to German standard DIN 4844-2 by Torsten Henning, on Wikimedia Commons

Honestly, when I started hanging out on TF blogs and forums and read about people going without shampoo and making their own lip balm, I thought they were overreacting a bit. And I continued thinking that until I read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Campbell-McBride, who made the point that pharmaceutical drugs are commonly delivered by patches. This should've been obvious to me as I had been supplementing magnesium for some time by adding epsom salts to my bath and spraying my skin with magnesium oil.

When I thought about the fact that drugs and magnesium can be delivered straight to the bloodstream via the skin, I realized that nothing ought to be placed on the skin unless it's edible. Luckily, I had learned that coconut oil was useful for almost everything, as a deodorant, as a moisturizer, as an antibacterial on wounds, as a leave-in hair product to reduce frizziness, as a treatment to reduce stretch marks, as a lip balm, heck, it even works as a personal lubricant (though I'd not use it as such if relying on condoms).

Up until now, my decisions about things like buying soap and shampoo were primarily based on getting the best deal for my money. I'm "frugal" if you're being nice, or "cheap" if you're a teenage daughter objecting to my choices.

Synchronistically, I happened to run across this article from Diabetes in Control: Chemicals in Nail Polish, Hair Sprays Tied to Increased Diabetes Risk

curried chicken salad

curried chicken and mango salad by deirdren, on Flickr
curried chicken and mango salad by deirdren, on Flickr

I'm afraid I collected this recipe before I decided to blog, so I didn't save the URL and can't credit it properly.

I really thought this was yummy. My HHA liked it so much that after we made it here, she went home and made it herself the next week.

supplements for wusses

Vegetables by Martin Cathrae, on Flickr
Vegetables by Martin Cathrae, on Flickr

I am absolutely certain that the only right thing to do about nutrition is to get the vast majority of it from real, whole foods.

No one can be more convinced than an ex-biochemist who looks into nutrition 20 years after the first go-round; biochemistry knows today what it didn't know then, and thus doesn't know today what it will know twenty years from now.

In my highly-informed opinion (this being diametrically opposed to a humble opinion), half of our diet by volume should be non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits, a quarter should be protein foods of primarily wild or pastured animal origin (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, raw dairy) and all of the above foods should be prepared and served with healthy fats (butter, lard, tallow, schmaltz, coconut oil and palm oils, olive and avocado oils). The remaining quarter of the diet can vary depending on individual needs and wants (starchy vegetables, sugary fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, legumes or just outright junk food to some degree since none of us are perfect).

Nevertheless, sometimes we've been malnourished long enough and become sick enough that we need a bit more help than food can provide. When you start looking at Weston Price's work, you realize the cultures he found so much healthier than ours achieved their health by having their mothers and grandmothers eat a healthy diet. Until we develop a flux capacitor, this method of achieving health is not available!

So depending on our health challenges, we may need some help beyond diet and that may means supplements...

Though I'd read about using dolomite in Nourishing Traditions, for some reason the idea of not swallowing piles of pills didn't really hit me until KerryAnn @ Cooking Traditional Foods discussed adding Concentrace to foods.


Risotto Giallo by micurs, on Flickr
Risotto Giallo by micurs, on Flickr

My husband is not terribly fond of broth generally, when I serve soups and stews, he tends to leave broth in the bowl rather than finishing it. Since he has joint pain, I want to get a big dose of gelatin and minerals in him as often as possible. This recipe fits the bill as it gets a lot of broth down him painlessly. It's also a refreshing summer recipe when you're not in the mood for soups and stews.

Risotto makes a nice side dish, as once you've got the technique down, you can easily change the broth and seasonings to go with your main dish. Alternatively, you can add leftover poultry or cooked beans and make it a meal.

Unfortunately, it doesn't reheat well, so it's better to make the amount you need and plan to do without leftovers. But given that it is a handy clean-out-the-fridge kind of recipe, you make it when you're trying to use up leftovers rather than create them. I tend to halve this recipe since there's just two of us.

the ThreeLac experiment



WARNING: This post may be TMI for some. Sorry, but there's just no way to discuss GI issues without... well, discussing GI issues!


I started ThreeLac in January of 2012.