When Barbara was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the early spring of 2004, she was in a three-day coma with a blood glucose level of 350-450. Her doctor was very sympathetic, and said that he personally would rather have cancer, because then he could simply have the tumor cut out and get on with his life. He told her that she could expect the diabetes to require a total and very radical change in her entire life-style, and to grow progressively more severe over time.
He also told her that in our four local hospitals they perform an average of one leg amputation every day due to complications from diabetes, and that it was extremely important to learn and practice good foot care as well as blood glucose control. He provided her with a diabetic diet and prescriptions for oral medications plus insulin, syringes, and diabetic testing supplies, and referred her to the Diabetes Education Specialist at the local hospital.
In her Diabetes Education class she was taught things like: “It's OK once in a while for a diabetic to have a little bit of sugar on special occasions.” The problem is that nobody could provide a working definition of three very important terms:
• How often is “once in a while”? Once a day, once a week, once a month?
• How much is “a little bit”? A teaspoon, a tablespoon, 10 grams, 35 grams? A small bowl of ice cream for a small slice of pie or cake? How big is “small”?
• What is a “special occasion”? The great "feast days" of Passover, Hanukkah, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries; or whenever my blood glucose is below 150?
What Barbara wanted to know — and what nobody in the medical community seemed to be able to answer — was, “How do I eat so that I can maintain optimum health, manage my blood glucose levels, and keep from being one of those people who loses their legs due to ‘complications from diabetes’”?
She works part-time as a clerk in a local fabric and craft store, and many of her regular customers are physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. So every time she had an opportunity, she would ask her “medical” customers about diabetes treatment methods. And for the most part she got the same standard answer: “It's OK once in a while for a diabetic to have a little bit of sugar on special occasions.”
What she did find out from her customers who worked in the local hospitals, though, was that her doctor’s estimate of the number of diabetic amputations was very low — by about half. It seems that in our little community of about 85,000 — spread over five cities and four hospitals — the actual number of diabetic amputations is actually an average of nearly two diabetic amputations per hospital per day! Nearly one diabetic amputation per day per 10,000 people!
Since that number of amputations was the apparent result of those diabetics having “a little bit of sugar once in a while on special occasions” she felt it was simply not worth the risk of losing her legs to follow that “advice.” Her own logic and her natural health training told her that virtually nobody anywhere would ever tell an alcoholic that “it's OK once in a while to have a few drinks on special occasions.”
So she decided that for her, the safest route to follow was the route of greatest caution, so she determined that she would consider herself a “sugarholic” and take “the pledge.” Since the end of summer in 2004 she has removed all forms of refined sugar from her diet, and has been able to maintain her blood glucose levels well below 120, on average, without the aid of insulin.
In this section of our website we will be sharing with you the secrets of her great success.
What is Diabetes? There are many types of diabetes, including gestational diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, which may be caused by a virus, genetics, or other stimuli, as well as Type 2 diabetes, which is the focus of the information on this website.
Debunking Diabetes Myths Diabetes affects millions of American, and although we know more about it than ever before, there are still many misconceptions. To set the record straight, we're clearing up a few common myths on how diabetes impacts diet, blood sugar, and exercise.
Diabetes Library Books and periodicals that you can use to educate yourself about effectively managing diabetes.
Diabetes Products Products to help you manage diabetes effectively.
Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for all occasions.