Saturday, 1 April 2017

April 2016: diabetes type 2


Diabetes type 2 is the more common version nowadays, and that’s what we will talk about here. For more info about diabetes 1, see [1].

Whenever we eat carbs - in fruit, veg and grains - the digestive system turns them into glucose. Glucose is the fuel that all your cells need to produce energy: it is essential for life. Even so, it’s not easy for the glucose to enter the cells. For that, insulin is needed, a hormone produced by the pancreas after every meal.
When insulin reaches the cells, it acts like a key that opens a lock for glucose to gain access.
If the digestive system creates glucose slowly, moderate levels of insulin are released. They have time to 'think' about where that glucose is needed most and send it there.
However, if too much glucose is produced, this is bad for us. When lots of it enters the bloodstream, the pancreas releases a huge amount of insulin, which quickly transfers glucose to the fat stores where it can do no harm: only weight gain results.

In the case of type 2 diabetic people, the insulin doesn't work properly anymore: the 'lock' on their cells is jammed. This is called insulin resistance. 
When the cells don't get their fuel, fatigue and dizziness result. Increased nighttime urination, thirst and appetite; weight gain or loss, or blurred vision, are just some of the early symptoms. [4]
The sugar which remains in the bloodstream becomes toxic and causes cell damage [2]. This contributes to aging and furring of the arteries and, eventually, all sorts of dangerous complications. [3]
Because the insulin is not working as it should, the pancreas increases production to the point that the cells become exhausted and stop producing it.
So what can we do? 

omega 3 (in fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.).
fiber (wholegrains, veg, fruit skins, nuts, seeds).
lots of vegetables and fruit.
fat: high-fat dairy is good for you! [5]
whey, see [6] 
chromium, see [7]
virgin coconut oil, apparently: see [8]
cider vinegar [9]
for food and supplements, see also [10]

You will benefit, for instance, from the following:
apple, avocado, barley, beans, berries, broccoli, brussels’, chicory, fenugreek, nuts, onions, garlic, tea, turmeric, quality vinegar, bay leaves, green beans, buckwheat, bulghur, oats, prunes, spinach, kale, cabbage, whole grains, sweet potatoes, Ceylon (true) cinnamon [11].

hydrogenated (in margarines and fat shortenings) and saturated fats. However, fat in whole milk (products) is good. See [12].
“Avoid artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste in your mouth triggers the release of insulin, even though there might not be any sugar that needs to be dealt with. Candies and gum trigger the same reaction.” [13]
monosodium glutamate, the flavour-enhancer MSG or E621. See [14].
For more details in general, see [15].

Be careful with diabetes drugs. For the latest research, and problems/dangers look at [16]. See also an article in the New Scientist (on the right hand side of this page) "Diabetes drugs may sometimes do more harm than good". 

For information about diabetes in older people, and possibly reversing diabetes, see [17] and [18] respectively. 

Type 2 diabetes is a dietary and lifestyle disease. Changing your ways is never easy, but it's worth at least a try. Good luck!

PS if you have the stomach for a long but interesting article which mentions the influence of diet on diabetes 2, click on "FAT versus CARBS" under July 2016.


To eat:
purple sprouting broccoli, chard, cabbage, leeks, spring onions, spinach, watercress, loose-leaved lettuce, radish, sorrel, spring greens.
In this 'hungry gap' month, it might be particularly welcome to know that/how you can eat radish greens: see [19].

To sow:
direct: lettuce, rocket, radish, beet, broad beans, summer cabbage, calabrese, kohlrabi, parsnips, peas, spinach (beet), spring onions, chard, early carrots, autumn cauli, salsify, scorzonera, celeriac, celery. Late April: courgettes, french beans, pumpkins.
Plant: onion sets, potatoes, summer cabbage.
Sow to transplant: leeks, brussels, sprouting broccoli, autumn cauli, kale, tomatoes (indoors).
Garden Organic is an excellent source of information in general; they also sell seeds and whatever else you may need: see 

And - help the bees.
we need bees for pollination and they rely on our gardens for feeding centres. Make sure you have masses of nectar-rich, bee-friendly plants this summer. Every corner of your garden should have a little patch where bees can feed. Buckwheat, Californian poppy, Candytuft, Convolvulus (annual), Corn chamomile, Corn marigold, Cornflower, Dill, French marigold, Golden marguerite, Nemophila, Phacelia, Poached egg plant, Pot marigold, Sunflower and Sweet alyssum are all good. Just make sure you have the plain, traditional form rather than modern fancy varieties.


PURPLE-SPROUTING BROCCOLI (broccoli rabe, or rapini, in the US) is one of the few properly fresh vegetables you can eat this time of year. See or for ideas. Though personally, we just cook them as they are, stalks and all, apart from the hardest bottom bit. 
This is how I like them best. Caramelize some onions [20]; add your just cooked broccoli to the pan, stir so they are nicely oiled/buttered. 

A colander full of rocket leaves, some potatoes, 2 small sliced onions, (cream or milk).
Put potatoes and onions in a pan with just enough boiling water to cover. Simmer until soft. Chop rocket fairly coarsely and add to soup: they don’t need as much cooking as the potato and onion. Liquidise and serve. Add cream or milk if you like.

60g fresh young nettle tops (4 big handfuls), 400g cooked white beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, 750ml water, paprika powder and/or other spices, salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil. 
Wash nettle tops, put into a pan along with the water clinging to them, and cook very slowly until wilted - ab. 5 mins. Drain, keep the drained juice and add to soup later, chop. Heat oil, add garlic and cook very gently for 1-2 mins, taking care it doesn't colour. Add beans and water, simmer for 5 mins. Mash with potato masher, stir in the nettles. Taste, season generously, simmer. This is meant to be a thick, coarse soup. Spoon into bowls, swirl oil over the top. Serve with good bread.

3 large cooked starchy pots, 4 tblsp butter, 240g cottage cheese, 1/2 diced onion, salt, pepper, paprika powder.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mash the potatoes with 2 tblsp of the butter. Add cottage cheese, onion, season. Stir gently, and put in a greased casserole. Dot with remaining butter, sprinkle with paprika powder. Bake uncovered for 30 mins.

2 tins of sardines, 2 potatoes, 240ml chopped spring onions, 2 tblsp flour, fresh dill, 2 tblsp grated lemon peel, 240ml breadcrumbs, 2 garlic cloves, 1 egg, seasoning (lemon slices).
Coarsely chop and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain, mash. Add the drained and chopped sardines, spring onions, dill, flour, crushed garlic cloves, lemon peel and breadcrumbs. Season, then mix in the beaten egg. Shape the mixture into 6 (7-8cm) cakes. Coat with breadcrumbs. Sauté the fish cakes in the oil from the tin (or olive oil), about 3 at a time. Turn them over until they're golden brown and crispy. You might like to serve it with lemon slices or tartare sauce.

45 g butter, small cabbage, 230 ml sour cream, 1 egg yolk, 2 tblsp lemon juice, salt, pepper (coriander).
Melt the butter slowly. Add the cabbage, stir. Cover, let simmer for 15 mins. Don't let it brown. Whisk sour cream, yolk, lemon, salt pepper; add to cabbage. Bring to simmering point: don't let boil. Serve immediately.

ROASTED SEA BASS (or whiting or grey mullet) with LEMON FENNEL OIL, serves 2.
Two 140-170g fillets of sea bass or other firm-fleshed white fish with skin4 tsp olive oil2 tsp fresh lemon juice1/4 tsp finely chopped fennel seeds.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Pat fillets dry, season. Heat 1 tsp oil until hot but not smoking: sear fillets skin side down, pressing flat to prevent curling, for 2 mins. Put in a dish in the oven and roast the fillets for 5 mins, or until just cooked through. You can also, more simply, continue frying them on top.
While the fish is roasting, whisk together remaining 3 tsp oil, lemon, seeds, salt and pepper and heat until hot but not smoking. Serve the fillets skin side up, with the sauce on top.

450g cubed lamb’s heart, 60ml extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 small onion, chopped, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp ground allspice, ab. 6 sprigs of parsley.
Marinade the heart in all the rest, ideally for 12 hours. Grill 6 mins, turning a few times.

Next month: No more ice cream? Emulsifiers. 

[5] for the latest research about fat in meat or dairy, see
[7] the best way to ingest chromium is apparently in brewers’ yeast, as this makes it more available than straight chromium supplements:
[20] Carefully heat 2 tbsp oil or butter. Add onions, spread in a thin layer. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened and then lightly browned. If the onions start to dry out at all, lower the heat (you can add a little water to them too.) They should brown, but not dry out.