Monday, 17 October 2011

dr neal barnard's program for reversing diabetes review

hello! hope you are all well ♥

today, i wanted to do a little review of the book, Dr Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. it's a book that was leant to us by a chef friend of ours - and i'm not sure i would otherwise have picked it up. but it's got some very interesting things to say about diet and also the cause of type 1 diabetes....


the book has a stupid title - let me put this little aggravation to rest - because you can't actually reverse type 1 diabetes (it's impossible), and to so generalize about 'diabetes' as if they were both the same is misleading and rather concerning.

anyway, once, or if, you can get past the frustration of the title, there is quite a lot to learn from this book. dr neal barnard puts forward a very intriguing argument about the link between diabetes and cows milk protein, as well as how a vegan diet can "revolutionise" your lifestyle.

apparently, studies show that:
  1. the body sees cows milk protein as a foreign object.
  2. cows milk protein and insulin producing cells are a biochemical match.
  3. because of the similarity, the body produces antibodies to fight the cows milk protein, and ends up taking a wack at the insulin producing cells too. aka - an auto-immune attack.
no, i don't know about you, but that actually DOES make a lot of sense to me. it was like a light bulb moment, when all the information about nutrition that i've ever read came together and clicked. there's so many studies that say about how the body cannot recognise dairy - we haven't evolved enough yet for most people to assimilate it properly (and 90% of the worlds population are lactose intolerant, or don't produce enough lactase do digest it - see here).

there's the china study and the nurse's health study - two of the biggest and best nutritional studies ever to be done - and they both conclude that animal protein is a major cause of western disease. interesting, huh?

dr barnard fully believes that you can use diet (more than exercise) to acheive great readings and good control. he advocates a low gi, low fat, vegan diet to the point where he would suggest you didn't eat avocadoes or nuts. personally, i think that's a little extreme, but he doesn't think so.

he mentions studies that are going on at the moment to see whether the link between cows milk and diabetes is true. and i do think that in 50 years we'll look back and question how we drank the juice from another animals udder, that was actually meant for a baby cow, and actually advertised it as a 'healthy' thing to do.

his main concern in the book is the heart and blood vessel complications that a type 1 diabetic is at risk of, and that, if anything, it's best to change your diet to aid the perfect functioning of these systems. and i couldn't really agree more.

so as a courtesy to the doctor, i am testing it out. i want to know if i will develop increased insulin senstivity by increasing my intake of pulses and removing animal products. i haven't made the full switch yet. i'm on more of a trial run, whilst i get to grips with cooking beans and lentils in different ways.

the most interesting part of the book is the recipe section at the back! he's got things like wheatberry pancakes, oat waffles, orange date cake, roasted moroccan sweet potato, red lentil soup, etc. they're quite unique, and very tasty! i just wish there were a few more...