No, I don’t have hyperglycemia nor diabetes. Hypoglycemia is when you don’t have enough sugar in your blood and you become an untameable beast who craves a sugar or carbohydrate when it happens. When my sugar drops I just want to stuff my face with any cookie, fudge brownie, or sugary substance around. Although this does remedy the consequence of my actions, it does not address the root cause of my problem: having too much sugar at once which drives my pancreas to secrete too much insulin that uses up too much sugar and thus drops my blood sugar level.
I wanted to make a change. But why change? I live in an age where sugary items are all around me and I can more-or-less enjoy my hypoglycemic attacks because I get to over indulge in sugary goodness. Then I thought, what about the zombie apocalypse? What about any apocalypse? I’m not going to be able to be glutenous with sugar when the apocalypse strikes because there won’t be very much food around and I will have to do a lot of running. Running actually drops my blood sugar which makes me want to stop because I’m tired and eat some type of carb. The zombies will definitely get me.
This is not something that has a magic pill. I have to make a lifestyle change. But I look healthy, how did I ever contract this? The answer lies with the federal government. They renditioned me overseas one time at a detention camp and with a syringe put a hypoglycemic bug in me. No, not really. But they did play part. Let me explain.
If you don’t already know, I am American Indian. Muscogee (Creek) and Euchee to be exact. American Indians have the highest rate of diabetes compared to any other racial group. Why is that? It is mostly due to diet and lifestyle. Many other cultures have been exposed to simple sugars and carbohydrates for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years. Rice for example has been a staple of the African as well as Asian diet. It is a simple carbohydrate. Europeans have been making bread since time immemorial. Again, another carbohydrate.
American Indians on the other hand have not had the same type of exposure. The staples of the American Indian diet are corn, beans, squash, potatoes, wild berries, and nuts. This is generally speaking. Obviously up north there is wild rice, a seed not a grain, and several types of fish that are pertinent to the diet of the area. Out west salmon runs are big and also whale hunts. Let’s not forget the buffalo of the plains. Yes, beans, squash and potatoes are carbohydrates when they break down. The difference being they break down slowly compared to white flour and sugar. Corn being the big staple ingredient is a starch, a carb that breaks down slowly.
This typical diet changed drastically since the introduction of the European and hence the American diet. In the process of taking land, destroying cultural norms, and eradicating the indigenous populous, the government gave “handouts” to tribal people in the form of commodities. If you have ever been displaced you would understand it takes a while to build the agriculture and make the environment suitable for a healthy way of life. This has not been the case for Indian people and were thus forced into accepting white flour and sugar into their diets just to survive.
What is equally interesting about the diabetic phenomena in Indian Country is how it has perpetuated itself. If you didn’t know, stress causes the body to secrete sugar into the blood stream. I am assuming the body is acting against the stress to make you feel good, if even for a moment. Just think if you were constantly under stress, either from moving, being displaced, or distraught over losing a family member. Your body would constantly be releasing sugar into the bloodstream. What happens then? Because your body continuously produces sugar to combat the stress you start to crave and want more carbohydrates and sugars. This habit carries over for when you are not stressed because you are use to consuming simple carbs and sugars all the time. Therefore the habit of having large amounts of sugar and carbs in your system has been established and entrenched.
My father has hypoglycemia, my grandmother had diabetes. Both are American Indian. Both grew up on commodities. Both have had to endure the historical trauma of being American Indian in America. What does this have to do with me? My body, through evolution, has adapted to these horrific and difficult changes. My pancreas secretes large amounts of insulin to combat the toxification of sugar in my system. Genetically speaking, my body is actually trying to defend me from a terrible diet and lifestyle. Trying to consume the sugar before it destroys my body.
How do I break this? Can it be broken? The answer is it can be broken. In my case it can be managed. I am on a strict diet of protein and fats. Not fats as in pig fat; fats as in almonds, walnuts, pecans, and avocados. Also I eat a lot of low glycemic vegetables like peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Not ketchup, raw tomatoes. My Dad made a tomato garden this year. The best thing you will ever have is a fresh picked tomato, no lie. Has anything changed? Yes, I can run longer and have better endurance. Those zombies don’t have a chance now.
My body has adjusted too. I get stressed every now and then but my body does not have the sugar to secrete to make me “feel better.” Therefore my pancreas does not need to over secrete insulin. It’s kind of nice not having to stuff my face with a fudge brownie and do it several more times before I am balanced again.
This health issues goes beyond just Indian Country. It affects everybody now. Diabetes is up, obesity is up, poor health in general is the norm. The government may not be handing out diabetes now, but walmart and mcdonalds are making it cheaper. I know, life is stressful. But you can help it, you can make a change. That 44oz Dr. Pepper from 7 Eleven might taste good in the moment, but several generations from now you might give your grandchildren diabetes, hypoglycemia, or hyperglycemia. I’m not telling you what to do. Do whatever you want. I’m just saying. I may have hypoglycemia but I’m working to not give it to my children.