Type 2 diabetes is a illness caused by insulin resistance. When you eat carbohydrates, glucose levels increase in the blood. Insulin hormone is released to help cells absorb the glucose and maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is when the cells of the body are not able to sufficiently absorb the glucose from the blood, leaving blood glucose levels higher than normal. To deal with this, the pancreas release more insulin.
All these reactions chronically over period of time can result in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. These reactions also signal the body and liver to store fat. People with insulin resistance, prediabetes and diabetes, tend to store fat around the waist, love handles and upper back.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be reversed naturally using structured nutrition, supplementation and a smart training program.
Here are the top strategies to reverse type 2 diabetes naturally.
1) Protein and fats for breakfast – I learned this gem from coach Charles Poliquin. Protein and fats regulate blood sugar. They don’t allow insulin to spike too high. As a result it allows you to regulate stress hormone cortisol as well. The combination of proteins and fats effectively reduces cravings for the rest of the day and increases brain energy and focus.
2) Carb bootcamp – The carb bootcamp approach to eating is one of the best ways to make you insulin sensitive and reverse type 2 diabetes. Also, it is very simple to prepare and implement. For the first 14 days, you are focusing on eating good quality of proteins and fats per meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Generally, I give 3-4 oz of protein per meal for women and 4-5 oz to men. Your only carbohydrate sources during the bootcamp are a variety of vegetables (with each meal) and some berries (as a snack). Between meals, you can have snacks that help you maintain stable blood sugar. Example, berries with handful of pumpkin seeds. See here for some other snack options. On the 14th day, you can have a high carb day. The purpose of this day is not to ‘cheat’, but to reset hormones including thyroid, growth hormones and other hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Choose carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, rice, fruits, rice pasta for this day.
From the 15th day, return to your carb bootcamp for another 14 days and repeat the cycle. As your insulin sensitivity improves and you get leaner, you can start introducing some low glycemic carbohydrates (example sweet potatoes) to one meal per day (preferably post workout or dinner). Eventually you can reduce the bootcamp to every 10 days.
3) Fasting – There are different ways to do this but all of them have proven to reduce insulin resistance. Fasting also allows the body to take a break from digesting food and increases cellular repair and detoxification. You can do the intermittent fasting method where you fast for 16 hours and eat within the 8 hour window everyday. Another way, is to fast on any 12 days every week where you don’t eat for 24-48 hours.
4) Sleep deep – Sleep is one of the most powerful healing tools we have. It is during deep states of sleep, that our physical body and nervous system repair. The deeper you sleep, better your system can repair, including reversing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Some easy ways to sleep deeper are – go to bed by 10 pm, turn off all electronics and dim the lights 30 – 60 minutes before bed, meditate and/or journal before bed and supplement with good quality magnesium.
5) Focus on strength training – People with type 2 diabetes who have been told to lose weight will usually start doing a lot of cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, etc at the gym. Those are good activities to stay active and I encourage you to do them outdoors. At the gym, your focus should be on weight training to build muscle, strength and muscular endurance. Adding muscle and strength increases insulin sensitivity which will help reverse type 2 diabetes. In addition to that, you can incorporate sprints, interval training, HIIT for cardiovascular training.
6) Supplements – Basic supplements like fish oil, magnesium and zinc are very effective at regulating insulin, cortisol and sleep hormones. In addition to these, herbs and spices like fenugreek and cinnamon have been shown to help accelerate the process of reversing type 2 diabetes.
Depending on the level of insulin resistance, the process of reversing type 2 diabetes can take anywhere from 3 – 6 months. It is highly recommended you work with a qualified practitioner to customize and monitor the process for you.
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