“It runs in my family.” Think about how many times you heard this seemingly proud announcement, especially relating to an illness. What is truly sad, is that most of the time we are referring to lifestyle illnesses and we are not making the connection that we were taught to eat and behave in a given way. Yes, we then buy the view that we have a family history of diabetes.
Today, we will spend some time looking at our family history. Every family has a history and undoubtedly, some of us are blessed with rich family histories, which makes us proud to belong to these units/groups. I love to mention that the Allison family that I belong to love to drink coffee. I also attribute my being feisty to both the Allison and the Crawford sides of my family.
The Family as the First Teacher
I, however, will take some time to let you understand that most of us were taught to get and keep diabetes. Look at it this way. “The family that prays together stays together” and the family that eats a diet of mainly junk, processed foods and lacks exercise will also have diabetes together. You see, we learn to eat in a family unit.
Before we continue, please take a look below and to understand a bit more about how and why our blood sugar rises and falls.
When I was growing up, we ate vegetables, but when I look back now, I see that we ate it as a side and not the main part of the meal. I am not blaming my parents for diabetes. I am pretty sure they did the best they could under the circumstances and with limited information. So, we had vegetables on our plates and we were told that we would not leave the table until we ate all our vegetables.
Too Much Carbs
The problem, however, was that we had more rice and other carbs such as yam, green bananas, and white flour dumplings than we had vegetables. Look at what I was taught to eat: white flour, white rice, plenty yam, lots of green bananas and a little vegetable.
Again, my parents were not privy to the wealth of information I have today. And, given the circumstances, I know my mother got a part of it right because the eating of rice was not a constant in our home. We ate a lot of ground provisions, which today we know are better for us than the rice and the dumplings.
Vegetables for Breakfast
I am also thankful that my parents constantly served callaloo and cabbage for breakfast. This meant that many days we started off by eating a portion, or maybe it was really two portions of vegetable. I still practice this with my son, but I make sure to include some protein in the morning to keep him full for longer and to help to stabilize his blood sugar.
Time for your Fruits
For me when I was growing up, we were given a fruit in the morning and unless we had ripe bananas, which we ate any time of the day, we mostly had one fruit for the day. Now, I see this as an error and so I understand why there are more diabetics in my family and this includes my extended family as well.
I grew up thinking it was ok to snack on biscuits, and “cheese trix.” I now see that these highly processed snacks can be poison to our bodies over a period of time. I now understand that fruits, nuts and seeds are healthier snacks.
The Perfect Environment
Yes, in my family unit, I learned to snack on junk foods rather than nuts, seeds, and fruits. No doubt, we were innocently learning to create the perfect environment in our bodies to attract and to keep diabetes close to our hearts.
Yes, as a family we were unknowingly creating our family history of diabetes. We were making ourselves ill without knowing that we were doing so. “Without knowledge, the people perish.”
The Truth Shall Set you Free
I am sharing this article with you today so that if you are a parent or even a child in a family unit, you can be more aware of why diabetes oftentimes run in a family. Yes, I need for you to take responsibility and to eat whole foods.
Now you have the opportunity to change the family’s history for your children. It is time to hold dear to your hearts that health and long life runs in your family.
Is it Too Late?
I found out that it is never too late to make the change. Less than a year ago, I made the switch to whole foods and of course, my son made the switch with me. Ok, yes, he had to make the change, because we do one cooking and I do not buy highly processed snacks.
Yes, we snack on fruits, seeds, and nuts. And yes, the change was not easy, but we have been doing it and both of us are better off for doing so.
Plant-Based, or Not?
I can’t say it often enough. A diet rich in plant-based foods is the answer to be diabetic-free. Yes, I serve animal protein at home, but we stick with the 3 ozs. guideline. We use butter and not margarine and we avoid sodas and other drink mixes. We like smoothies using a nice blend of fruits and vegetables.
We eat sweet potatoes, yam, green bananas, but we load up on cabbage, callaloo, pak choy, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and just about any other seasonal vegetable. We also eat a lot of fruits and beans. Nuts and seeds are the norms for us to snack on and also to use in our smoothies.
Please see the poster below which shows you how to eat as a family to avoid diabetes. It clearly states that a lifestyle change is needed in our homes, and please note that this change involves exercising.
Action, Not a Bag of Words
It is my prayer that you will see it fitting to make the necessary moves to change your family history. It is time to change to a life of eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and some lean animal proteins. Yes, it is time to be more active.
I encourage you to find creative ways to spend more quality time with your family making smoothies, decorating a salad plate and playing in the yard. Your family is worth the effort. Yes, we can have health and long life running into our families. Yes, we can change the history of our family.
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Until next time, make the change, your family history is written by you.