Green Smoothies For Diabetics
So, to follow up a little on our initial discussion about healthy juices, and juicing vs blending, what do some of the “green smoothie” experts have to say about this with regards to chronic illness? I know that this site is targeting helping to overcome the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes in this country (that is, the US), but there are plenty of OTHER “lifestyle” illnesses that are equally treatable with improvements and conscious changes to our dietary and personal choices.
For example, obesity commonly goes hand in hand with Type 2 Diabetes, does it not? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1/3 of US adults are considered obese! (source: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html/)
This is SERIOUS!! Think of it! 35.7% of our population! Now, let’s say we have 400,000,000 in this country. That means more than 140,000,000 people are obese!
According to the same source cited above, when you are overweight to the point of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and stroke are potentially related.
But Wait! There’s More!
So, with heart disease and stroke, I suppose we could add “high blood pressure” as well. The CDC site also mentioned that certain types of cancer may be related.
It’s an interesting post at the CDC website – you can see the estimated medical costs associated with these disorders (here I have to keep in mind my own, very personal opinion that the big pharmaceuticals probably aren’t too bummed out about making all this money on treating illnesses… but again, that’s just me.).
But back to the topic at hand.
So, what about the value of green smoothies for diabetics or people facing other health challenges? Or IS there really any value? Is it just another hyped up trend that will disappear once everyone buys their Vita Mixes, Blend Techs, Juicers or what have you, makes smoothies or juices for a few days and then puts the machine back into the box for the next yard sale?
I’m of the mind that this is not a passing trend.
As more and more people decide to take more responsibility for their own health, I’m noticing more and more websites and testimonials popping up about how good people are feeling.
Again, I haven’t been diagnosed with Type 2 – right now, I’m going to operate on the possibility that I’m a candidate if I don’t change my ways. So, after a few weeks drinking – or, “eating” really – fresh juice and smoothies, I honestly DO have to report that I feel:
1) More energetic (less inclined to need a “little nap” in the afternoon)
2) More focused (less “hyper” at the computer – less distracted)
3) Happier (I’m not sure I can figure this one out! I’m just… well… cheerier! Maybe it’s because I’m FEELING better)
4) A little *ahem* “lighter” (and about an inch smaller so far!)
5) A tad less achy (coincidence that my chronically aching feet are feeling 100% better?)
In general, I have a little more zest for life!
Let me share with you what a few other folks have to say about green drinks or “smoothies” (kind of a silly word, but there it is… call it “blended drinks” if you like!).
I also want to mention that when I say “green smoothies” I’m referring to more VEGGIE greens (kale, wheatgrass, etc) versus fruits.
Yes, people with diabetes really do need to understand how the types of carbohydrates they consume affect their condition. And, if you are diabetic, PLEASE DO NOT ever reduce or discontinue your insulin without your doctor’s guidance! It’s critical!
But, getting back to the carbohydrate issue, as my favorite “Green Smoothie Girl,” Robyn Openshaw discusses in her blog – where you’ll also read an example of a Type ONE diabetic who has decreased his insulin to a very small amount – “There is an enormous difference between the carbs in Hostess cupcakes, and the carbs in vegetables. Too few people understand this.” (source: Green Smoothie Girl Blog – Diabetes Post).
Here is a very interesting video clip with Robyn interviewing a Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Kirt Tyson, N.D. who is a Type 1 Diabetic. His story is remarkable! Dr. Tyson went through Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ 30 day program to heal diabetes. Prepare to be amazed! It’s only a couple of minutes, so please watch it… Then join me again below the video.
Ok. So you watched this video. What do we take away from this short 3 minute video?
If you’re like me, you may have taken away the idea that, “Hmmm… what if I simply blend up my veggies? I don’t need any bananas or mangoes in it! It’s a GREEN smoothie!”
I DO have fruit in some of my smoothies – but I’m leaning more and more toward LOW-GLYCEMIC fruits as mentioned in our post about what diabetics can eat (I’ve always loved berries anyway!) – that is, when I put fruit in at all.
My PRIMARY green smoothie is as follows – and I have been having this nearly every day:
Into the blender: Kale greens – I literally PACK this blender with the kale leaves (I remove the tough fibrous stem – it doesn’t “smoothie” very well!) – there are probably 2-3 packed cups of kale in this.
Then, into my juicer: 2 Tomatoes, 3 carrots, 3 stalks celery (check with your doctor to be sure that the carrots aren’t too much for you)
I juice the tomatoes, carrots and celery, and then add that liquid to my blender with the kale. I whip it up and there you have it! My breakfast! This is a drink that I “chew” – that is, I keep it in my mouth to allow my saliva to interact with it and get the digestive process going before I swallow it. I follow it with some sprouted almonds.
Consider how many vegetables that one drink alone has! Let me ask you something: Would you EAT that many veggies in a whole day if they were sitting on your plate?
If I had a masticating juicer like the Omega or Champion, I would be doing some REAL serious greens – I would be juicing wheatgrass for certain. I’d probably juice some of the kale, too (but I would also keep some in the blender in order to get the whole plant).
Allow me to share with you another interesting take – this from a Naturopathic Doctor by the name of Ariel Policano who agrees that green smoothies are a great way to increase your mineral intake – a very good thing! She definitely cautions against adding fruit to the green smoothie – with the exception of some berries (she advises only up to 1 cup). Read her discussion here at Tera Warner’s blog.
I find myself in agreement with Dr. Policano, because I have noticed that if I have fruit in my smoothie, I get “jittery.” I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing it’s a blood sugar spike. For me, it’s veggies that feel best.
So, at the end of the day, here are my thoughts – knowing that we need to work with competent health care professionals as we work to heal ourselves:
Americans typically eat way too much meat and dairy anyway, and far too few vegetables and plant-based proteins. So, if we switch out at least some of that meat and dairy, and replace it with a green – non-fruit; all veggie smoothie, blended up so that we get all the goodness of the veggie – how can that be a bad thing?