Preventing & Healing Gestational Diabetes
Hearing the word "diabetes" is frightening today, especially if linked with pregnancy. We know the dangers and concerns related to this disorder. Understanding the cause of this disorder will give you the confidence that you can reverse it while keeping mom and baby healthy in the process.
Health issues that seem to "pop up" during pregnancy are a result of a weakness already present in the mother, and pregnancy merely exposes it. This applies to pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), cholestasis (liver problems) and gestational diabetes (blood sugar, insulin, and pancreas weakness). This is an excellent opportunity to heal your body and bring forth a healthier child. Choosing the medical drug therapy route does not deal with the underlying health issue or weakness which continues to get worse, on top of the dangerous side effects that come with all man-made chemical drugs. We are thankful to God that He would create our bodies in such a way that shows us imbalances in need of correction. Understanding this concept, and wisely choosing appropriate nutrition, supplement and lifestyle choices, can be the difference between becoming healthy, or deepening the health problem.
In general, diabetes is not a blood sugar problem. It is an insulin problem. In other words, taking Metformin and insulin shots that make your blood sugar numbers look "normal" will never get you healthy. In fact, it makes you sicker. What we need to understand is how to heal the pancreas and how to lessen the load or need of insulin to be produced in the body to maintain sugar regulation and balance. To summarize quickly, it is mainly about YOUR DIET.
Monosaccharides (Simple) vs. Poly or Disaccharides (Complex Sugars) and Carbohydrates.
The largest reason pregnant women, or anyone for that matter, has diabetes (outside of Type I diabetes) is from the over-consumption of too many complex carbohydrates that weaken and damage digestion, the pancreas, and the cells. The cells become "resistant" to the constant intake of sugar which is far beyond the needs of the body for its actual energy needs. We are told misinformation about food related to diabetes. If you follow the recommendations of the ADA (American Diabetes Association), you will remain on drugs and diabetic your entire life. Here is the crucial lesson to learn...
These are the simplest form of a carbohydrate, known as “simple sugars.” It is important to know that the body does not treat all simple sugars the same. The main simple sugar that raises blood sugar and requires insulin use is glucose. Another commonly consumed monosaccharide is fructose, or “fruit sugar.” Amazingly, fructose DOES NOT require insulin to be used by the body, nor a complex enzyme process. Fructose is quick energy for the body. Therefore, fruit is the superior form of sugar and fuel for anyone with diabetes as it does not require an insulin response. That said, we do not encourage eating bananas, dates, dried fruit or fruit juices in large amounts as these contain higher amounts of glucose than fructose. We encourage high water content whole fruits such as apples, oranges, melons, grapefruit, lemons, limes, all berries, pineapple, etc. Yes, fruit does raise blood sugar, but when consumed correctly, it does NOT stress digestion, the pancreas or require insulin response. This makes fruit superior to all other sugar sources for fueling the body.
Poly or Disaccharides
These are more complex forms of carbohydrates, made up of simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates may be a combination of one type or multiple types of simple sugars, but most often they are made up of glucose. For the body to utilize complex carbohydrates, it must break it down into the simple sugar form, and in this case, release the glucose into the body requiring an insulin response. This includes all grain, cereal, bread and pasta, starchy food and especially refined foods and white sugar. This is why sugar-filled sodas and processed foods are so dangerous to the body as they release high amounts of glucose into the body at one time, placing a high-stress load on the pancreas and digestion. Although this may make many of you sad, understand you have the power to choose wisely and reverse the imbalance in your body. In general, all complex sugars will require insulin to escort the sugar into the cells of the body, resulting in substantial amounts of acidic waste needing to be removed by the kidneys and forcing the body to produce large amounts of cortisol. This leads to higher stress, irregular heartbeats, and fat storage from the excessive consumption of starchy, complex sugars. Not to mention the potential danger of feeding candida, yeast or other infections in the body with ample sugar to thrive on.
A short list (not fully complete) of complex sugars, starches and high glucose containing foods to avoid would be:
- All concentrated sugars (honey, maple syrup, dried fruit, cane sugar, coconut sugar, candy, sweets, white sugar, soda, etc.)
- All grains (wheat, rye, oats, etc. which includes bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, cereals, muffins, cookies, baked goods, tortillas and similar items, especially grains in flour form)
- All complex starchy foods (potatoes, chickpeas including hummus, etc.)
Nutrition to overcome gestational diabetes
During pregnancy the change in a mother's hormones causes an increase in insulin resistance in the mother, making it harder to take in glucose to the cells. Why? So that more glucose is available for the growing fetus. Isn't God an amazing designer! However, for someone who is already struggling with blood sugars and overeating carbohydrates this scenario can quickly lead to gestational diabetes where too much sugar is found in the blood stream, even for mom and baby.
So, keep it simple. Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats (olives, olive oil, avocado, etc.) and lean meats. It isn't hard to eat these foods, we just like all the other stuff! If you are working to reverse gestational diabetes, it is best to avoid all complex carbohydrates. If you are in good health, it would be wise to consider caution with overdoing complex carbohydrates and sugary foods, especially during pregnancy. Keep them minimal and always in whole food form; never boxed, refined or processed in any way.
Although this may seem overwhelming, and likely contrary to what you have heard related to what is best for a healthy diet, it is true, and it does work. Try it. Yes, it is possible. My wife, after three children, avoids anything on the above list outside of small amounts of gluten-free ancient grains, the occasional potato, hummus or rare sweet treat.
Top 10 List to Reversing Gestational Diabetes
Besides diet (which is the most important) there are many other lifestyle factors to bring your body back into a healthy state. We have created a top 10 list to make it simpler. You can be guaranteed to reverse this issue WITHOUT any drugs or medical interventions. Why? Because we know God is a good designer, and cooperating with the body restores health. We are thankful that He would love us enough to expose this issue in our body so that we could correct it for the health of mommy and baby!
1. Avoid complex starches and sugars as mentioned above. You don't necessarily need to be 100%, but make any of these a rare treat, not a part of your daily routine.
2. Eat fruits vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and lean meats for 90% of your diet. Without bombarding your body with complex sugars, your digestion, pancreas, and cells will catch up and bye bye diabetes!
3. Make fruit your sweet. But stick to whole fruit that is high in water content such as oranges, grapefruit, melons, grapes, lemons, limes, pineapple, apples, berries, etc. Avoid excessive bananas, dates, dried fruit and commercial fruit juices.
4. Exercise. One of the best ways to burn up sugar and increase energy is to move your body. Just walking is great. Try adding in a prenatal Pilates routine or other forms of strengthening that will also encourage the utilization of sugar. Watch our video on how to properly exercise during pregnancy.
5. Eat fats and healthy proteins throughout the day for blood sugar balance and energy. If you stay balanced, you will not feel the need or cravings for sugars and starches.
6. Take Metabolic Vibrance by Vibrant Health or at least take more chromium, like Supernatural Chromium by Vibrant Health. Chromium helps the cells to metabolize sugar properly. Metabolic Vibrance has vitamins, minerals and herbs that heal the pancreas, balance blood sugars, reduce cravings, help insulin to work more efficiently and help metabolize sugars optimally.
7. Black seed oil has been known to help restore beta cell function of the pancreas, a key indicator of diabetes. It has also been proven to help with proper metabolism. Try the Black Seed Oil by North American Herb & Spice or Amazing Herbs. Consult your healthcare practitioner to see if black seed oil is right for you, especially as an alternative to synthetic drugs.
8. Try the Gentle Liver Cleanse Tea by Spirit of Health. This formula was designed with pregnancy in mind. Not only do these herbs support liver function, but milk thistle, dandelion, nettle, turmeric, schisandra berries and yellow dock also help with blood sugar control.
9. Get an accountability partner, ideally, your spouse. If you have gestational diabetes and your spouse still wants to eat bread, pasta, pizza and cookies that spells trouble. These foods aren't healthy for anyone, so team up and do it together. There is strength in unity! Your spouse will feel better too.
10. Love life, love God, love yourself and love this beautiful new child in the womb more than you love your pleasures and desires. Unfortunately, so many of our health issues come from our cravings and desire for self-satisfaction. We must get a higher vision beyond this to be able to restore health in body, soul, and spirit. Remember one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control!
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5