The media have been running two contrasting stories this week relating to diet.
One is a plea for folk to eat less meat, by giving up eating meat for one day on Monday 15 June or whenever you can manage.
The other story is about the rising number of people in Scotland who are being diagnosed or are undiagnosed in Type 2 Diabetes. and that story is connected to Diabetes Week 2015.
Diabetes Type 1 requires insulin to control the symptoms of the disease. Insulin is a hormone produced by the Pancreas that pushes the Glucose into the cells to help the body repair itself . Type 2 Diabetes on the other hand, manifests as we get older, heavier, more sedentary and spare tyres around our waist become a serious indicator of the likelihood of Type 2. Diabetes is a complex and difficult disease to understand but you can learn more about Diabetes and its effects here. If the circulatory system does not repair, then bleeding from those micro–veins, arteries, or veins anywhere in the body ,or the failure of the circulation to deliver oxygenated blood to the extremities– usually feet and legs- will result in vascular problems leading to stroke, blindness, heart problems, leg amputation and colorectal cancers.
To do a check on whether you show any symptoms – go to Diabetes UK who also give the following thumbnail sketch of this very complex disease:
“ In Type 1 diabetes the signs and symptoms are usually very obvious and develop very quickly, typically over a few weeks. The symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated and under control.
“In Type 2 diabetes the signs and symptoms may not be so obvious, as the condition develops slowly over a period of years and may only be picked up in a routine medical checkup. Symptoms are quickly relieved once diabetes is treated and under control. Early diagnosis is very beneficial. “
Why would both of these stories be of any relevance to Aberdeen Action on Disability?
Eating less meat, losing weight and trying to get active is important to help control Type 2 especially. Not always possible if one uses a wheelchair or is physically challenged. However, I have seen groups do low–impact upper body exercise sitting in a chair, which usually results in much hilarity and friendship. Wheelchair users can maybe also consider this advice from the NHS.
Switching to a healthy diet, either vegetarian or as near vegetarian as possible is helpful in reducing cholesterol, losing weight and keeping blood pressure under control too, which is another vital factor in Diabetes control. However if you should consider going fully veggie, take advice from your GP or a qualified nutritionist.
The obvious connection between the two stories is the eating of meat, fast food, and our lifestyle. Quite apart from the damage to the environment as vast areas of forest are cut down or burnt in order that Soya or Soy Bean is grown to feed cattle, or put into savoury and desirable foods.
Awareness of how food production, lifestyle and nutrition affect our lives and our environment, and ultimately all the other species we share this blue jewel in the Galaxy with, then maybe just taking care of ourselves and watching what we eat, will help the Planet in so many other ways.