I’m not Diabetic. So why Do I Care?
Tai Chi for Diabetes from the international Tai Chi for Health Institute was my first tai chi instructor certification. My mother and father personally taught me about how diabetes impacts every one of us, even if we’re not diabetic. You see, my mother had lifestyle/trauma induced type II diabetes and eventually had to have a leg amputated because of it. It was the beginning of her downward spiral from vibrant community leader and outgoing university professor to depressed dependent. Diabetes and the many side-effects of it played a big part in her early death at 59 years old.
When I first got certified to teach TCD, I thought, “This is great! Now I can teach my diabetic father and he won’t succumb to the same awful fate.” My father is an insulin dependent type II diabetic and willingly admits it’s due to eating too many sweets. He admits that eating Skittles and Reeces Cups every day for lunch was sickeningly sweet. Unfortunatley he found out he was diabetic like a lot of people do: he woke up from a 3 day diabetic induced coma.
You can imagine that the topic of diabetes is important to me, even though I have no signs of diabetes due in part to my daily tai chi practic. Since becoming a TCD teacher, I decided to put the entire TCD course in the public domain on YouTube for free so anyone can have access to this powerful moving medicine. That’s right. If you didn’t know it, the entire Tai Chi for Diabetes routine is available step by step on my YouTube channel. Here’s the link to the entire TCD playlist to get started and share with others: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlawGPHypZNVIQr3wUtdCCtiM7kEFQYkA
This version of TCD has (since being recorded) been updated to increase its benefits based on more evidence-based research. I will be updating my website video library (accessed here: https://www.beachsideqigong.com/memberplans ) from the live classes beginning in November.
As a Diabetes Awareness advocate, here are some of the things I’ve learned through the years. Unless you’re born with it (Type I), most people become diabetic because their sugar intake is way too high and/or they don’t move their bodies very much. Some people become Type II Diabetic due to trauma. That’s right. Emotional upset can cause your pancreas to stop doing what it’s supposed to: regulate the amount of sugar in the blood through the production of insulin.
My mother never ate well or took care of herself so she wasn’t the healthiest to begin with but it was the trauma of a back surgery (because she didn’t exercise) that sent her into full blown diabetes. Surgery, no matter how necessary, is trauma to the mind and body and I wouldn’t trust any MD that tries to convince me otherwise.
While I’m not diabetic, I have had my share of blood sugar issues, before I realized what they were. I used to get extremely “hangry” when I exerted a lot of effort and hadn’t had enough to eat-low blood sugar. I was not pleasant to be around until I ate again to balance my sugar out. Thank goodness for a dear friend who pointed this imbalance out to me one day on a long desert hike in New Mexico. I love friends that care enough to tell you lovingly that you have issues.
Since then, I’ve come to recognize that the body gets addicted to constant low doses is sugar. Sugars are found in virtually all processed ”foods” and often disguised. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars by the body so they add to sugar intake even though packed don’t say that. By simply eating packed/processed foods, even organic foods and not eating any sweets, our bodies slowly become sugar craving monsters, unwittingly convincing us that we truly love pound cake when really we’re just being controlled by a chemical sugar addiction. Of course there’s much more to diabetes and blood sugar than that. In fact, trying to manage Diabetes can be very confusing as its different for everyone. Some diabetes do just fine eating sugary fruits, for others that’s a huge no-no. The best way to manage it is through prevention.
Like many people I’ve met, my father doesn’t manage his diabetes, he chooses to take costly pharmaceuticals instead and meanwhile his liver, kidneys and eyes are all deteriorating rapidly-just some of the side-effects diabetics have to suffer through. If you suspect you have a blood sugar issue, get tested for diabetes sooner than later. When it goes untreated and undiagnosed the effects can be suddenly fatal. Unlike my father, many undiagnosed diabetics eat a bunch of cake, go into diabetic coma and never wake up. If you want to prevent this costly and life-depeleting dis-ease, eat well and get enough exercise. It doesn’t have to be tai chi, but you do have to move your body only 20-90 minutes a week to help prevent blood sugar issues, especially if you don’t eat very well.
I believe in Tai Chi for Diabetes as an effective and affordable preventative measure because when we’re active, rarely does diabetes sneak into the picture. A lot of diabetes is developed because people don’t want to move and research on TDD show it inspires participants to move more even outside of classes. TCD works on several levels. Physically it gets people moving in safe ways that are stress free and activate the inner healing mechanisms of the mindbody. Mentally participants start to feel better about themselves and want to take better care of themselves. Emotionally TCD helps foster self-awareness and improved hormonal balance. If you’d like to see the full run down TCD research, visit the Tai Chi for Health Institute website.
Most of the people in my family are typical Americans: overweight and out of shape. I am the exception. I love living. I enjoy being able to move with ease through the world and experience all that I can here. At 53 years old now I surf, paddle board, bike hundreds of miles in one outing and I look younger than my mother did when she was in her late 30s and 40s. We are not the victims of our genetics unless we choose to follow blindly in the footsteps of our past, our ancestors. I am living proof that our genes do not control our fate; and medical science has now proven that as well. We are what we choose to live as. If you have blood sugar issues and want to adapt a healthy chi lifestyle, I’d love to chat with you and share the many resources beyond Tai Chi for Diabetes that my decades of chi and food healing have taught me. Please reach out via BeachsideQi@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.