The first thing I’m asked after telling someone I’m a writer is, naturally, what I enjoy writing. The answer is many things. I don’t write about one topic or in one genre ALL of the time. In my free time, I really enjoy dreaming up wild creative fiction or dreamtime tales as I like to call them (as they’re often fueled by my sleep state). In my everyday work, I curate profile pieces on interesting humans. I also do a whole host of other online marketing work that involves writing yet isn’t story development but is more focused on an organization’s story and how it’s told on their website, in their social media, etc. Most importantly, I take on work that allows me to dig into a topic I’m intrigued by and feel called to support, and explore further.
So how did I arrive at a piece on Type 2 Diabetes prevention? As a little girl, I grew up struggling with weight issues. It was more than baby fat from not growing fully into my body yet. It was an issue caused by the typical diet that many young people are accustomed to–sugar, saturated fat from processed foods and empty calories. I had two brothers and my mom bought what many moms do–pop tarts and cereals for breakfast,snack bars and Little Debbie cakes for after school and of course at school I was fed a generous amount of dairy products (milk, pizza, creamy mashed potatoes). My mom ended up taking me to a dietitian and my family learned how to eat better together. That is a luxury many can’t afford. It’s a layered issue due to economics, access and education.
I was approached by the Mtn. Xpress to write a story on Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and did my best to offer the facts on the disease and the basics of how best to approach prevention and recovery from this ‘lifestyle disease’. The advice always sounds the same–eat whole foods and make time to move your body. I think it is that simple yet is harder than many know to have both the funds, the time and the support system to make that change. I didn’t come close to being able to really unpack all of those issues yet did find wonderful resources here in western North Carolina to help navigate Type 2 Diabetes and overall wellbeing.
An excerpt rom the article:
Dr. Daniel Stickler of the Apeiron Center for Human Potential in Asheville relates the illness to lifestyle. “Type 2 diabetes is not truly a disease,” he says. “Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle aspect. You can progress to the point where you actually poison your beta cells in the pancreas after years of being Type 2 diabetic, but it really is a lifestyle. We’ve seen plenty of reversals on people that were diabetic or prediabetic that changed their lifestyle and completely reversed the disease without medication.”
Stickler says that a whole-person approach is needed. Apeiron uses that approach, looking closely at a person’s genetics and at about 75 different genomic variations that help predict appetite, hunger and nutrient selection — from fats to carbs and proteins. Apeiron tailors diets specifically around a person’s genomics, goals and experiences to create a program that is individualized, rather than using a diet from a book.
“The problem that you run into is that when you diagnose someone with a disease, they become the disease,” Stickler says. “The title becomes them, and until they can get to the point where they understand they are not Type 2 diabetes, you’re not going to make any progress with them. We’re treating it with these medications that aren’t treating the core cause, which is lifestyle. It’s OK to bridge that to get things under control, but the whole focus needs to be on treating the core cause, which is a lifestyle component that has created an insulin resistance in the body. And it is easily reversible.
In Buncombe County, residents can address stress, exercise and diet through the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program offered by the YWCA, a program designed specifically for adults with or at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Preventive health coordinator Leah Berger-Singer says that participants are given a gym membership, bimonthly personal training, a weekly support group (which discusses health-related topics such as living healthy on a budget) and tips on stress management. “We’re aiming to provide access to people that may not otherwise have access to a gym, cooking classes, swim lessons and other options,” she says. “We also provide monthly dinner lectures or ‘lunch and learns,’ hands-on cooking demos, field trips and other extracurricular activities.”
Chiropractor and yoga instructor J. Anya Harris of Crystalign Chiropractic in Asheville says that stress-reduction techniques coupled with group exercise can be keys to combating many diseases, including diabetes. “Getting out of your routine and your house and away from your cellphone is really important,” she advises. Her approach with patients is to address both spinal health and overall physical health, as well as stress and energy levels. Chiropractic care helps to create a range of motion and mobility, freeing up the body to get patients to the point where they feel good enough to exercise again or continue exercising, she explains. It also opens up the neural pathways that keep the organs, muscles and spine balanced, she adds. “With the energy work, I’m shifting relationships and trauma to give them the spark to get them moving. It’s all about setting up the mind, body and soul to help them feel at ease in their own skin and really define their ‘why.’ If you don’t know your why, then none of it matters, because you won’t stay consistent. The why will give them reframing in their consciousness that will keep them moving toward their goal.”
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