Characterized by hyperglycemia, Diabetes Mellitus is a syndrome caused by faulty or ineffective secretion of insulin by the body. Diabetes can lead to several complications such as nephropathy, retinopathy, peripheral arterial and atherosclerotic coronary disease as well as autonomic and peripheral neuropathies. Diabetes can be divided into two types: (Insulin Dependent) and Non insulin dependent (NIDDM).
Diabetes is known as Xiao Ke in Tarzana Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM which believes that three important organs are responsible for this disease. They are the kidney, abdomen, and lungs. TCM has classified the three patterns or types of diabetes based on the symptomatic manifestations of the patient through diagnostic tongue and pulse examinations.
From a TCM standpoint, what exactly causes diabetes?
According to TCM, people who live a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle and frequently consume greasy and/or sweet foods are at risk of developing diabetes. This lifestyle and dietary habit easily exhausts and obstructs the energy of the body. Stagnation occurs once the energy of the body becomes obstructed eventually leading to a buildup of toxic heat. The toxic heat will eventually use up all the fluids of the vital organ causing organ disharmony and dysfunction. The kidney, spleen, and lung organs haven’t been in harmony for a long time before diabetes sets in the body.
In preventing or treating diabetes, the first step in TCM is to begin practicing a form of Chinese nutritional therapy called Yao Shan and exercise on a regular basis. Recent studies show that during muscle exercise, our muscles distribute blood glucose to the cells to reduce the level of blood sugar without using insulin. This is why exercise is so vital in helping regulate blood sugar and in preventing diabetes. The improved blood flow helps and prevents the acceleration of neuropathy and other degenerating conditions.
In Chinese nutritional therapy, there are several ways to prevent or treat/cure diabetes.
If you’re confirmed of suffering from diabetes:
1. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables.
2. Eat lots of multi-whole grains such as barley, corn, black or brown, and buckwheat and try to stay away from processed carbohydrates.
3. As a rule, patients with diabetes ought to avoid spicy hot food that damage more yin body fluid. They also need to stay away from greasy and sweet foods and refrain from drinking alcohol. They should more bland food instead. According to TCM, smoking can damage even more lung yin fluid which can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes.
4. Regular drinking of green tea can also help stave off diabetes. Make sure though that you don’t drink highly concentrated or too strong green tea, the consequence of which is the impairment of calcium absorption by your body. Some foods can help lower blood sugar. These are onion, bitter melon, kelp, shitake mushroom, bean sprout, white and black mushroom, bamboo, seaweed, and seafood.
5. Reduce consumption of fresh sweet fruits as they carry a high amount of sugar.
While TCM divides diabetes into three types based on their clinical symptoms, the human body in turn has three primary organ patterns based on the affected imbalanced organ; therefore, nutritional therapy should be directed toward the organ involved.
I. Pattern of Abdominal Heat Type of Diabetes
Scientifically, in this form of diabetes, the main symptom of the person is a savage appetite and extreme constant hunger. He may suffer from weight loss, experience constant thirst and frequently feel constipated and urinating. He may also suffer from blurred vision, dizziness and tinnitus. The objective of Chinese nutritional therapy is to expel heat in the abdominal organ.
Tofu Soup, Tomato and Fish:
250 g Tofu (slice into pieces)
250g Tomatoes (slice into pieces)
250g Fish meat (cover with wet starch and slice into pieces)
One stalk green onions and slice into tiny pieces
How to Cook: First use water to boil the tofu. Then a couple of minutes after, place all the tomatoes into the boiling soup. Then afterwards, throw in to the soup the fish coated with starch into soup until the fish is cooked. Finally, throw in the spices and green onions for flavor.
Eat the soup along with your meal.
II. Deficient Kidney and Liver yin pattern
This form of diabetes presents itself with the primary complaint of excess and frequent urination coupled with lingering illness. The urine may appear milky in color, look turbid, or smell sweet. Majority of patients may suffer from bilateral knee weakness (weakness in the two knees) and lower back soreness. Some patients may show other symptoms and signs like dry lips, itchy and dry skin, tinnitus, and dizziness.
Water chestnut carrot, soup:
250g Water chest nut, slice to half
250g Carrot, cut into square
500g Lean pork sliced into small cubes
How to Cook: place all the ingredients in a cerement pot along with water. Cook for hours at low temperature after first bringing to boil. Include the desired species before serving.
Eat as soup once a day. Take it warm.
III. Damaged body fluid with Lung Heat pattern
The major complaint of this pattern of disharmony is extreme thirst and after drinking a lot of water, the patient will still have a dry mouth and throat with pain or sensitivity in the throat. Signs and symptoms are dry stool and yellow urine. The tongue will appear red and have a light yellow fur due to excess heat in the organ.
Rice Mung Bean Soup
20g Mung bean
One dried or fresh Lotus leaf
How to Cook: to make rice soup, cook the mung bean and rice in water, and add then add the lotus leaf as a cover and lid. Cover the soup while cooking. Eat with your meal
Soy Bean Milk Soup:
20g spring rice
150ml Soy bean milk
How to Cook: First cook all the rice in water until it becomes soft. Afterwards include the soy bean milk into the water. Do not add sugar. Add another two minutes of cooking until the dish appears starchy.
Eat the soup with meal or for breakfast.
Mussel Soup with Bitter Melon:
100g Fresh mussel
250g Bitter melon (Remove seeds and slice into pieces)
To eliminate the muddy taste, dip fresh mussels in fresh water for a couple of days
How to Cook: To make soup, cook all ingredients in water. Then before serving, few drops sesame seed oil and a pinch of salt.
Eat with meal.