DIABETES IS NOT GENETIC
i swear my mother made me fat
During my younger years I was a chubby little kid. My mother made all kinds of good things to eat and there were always sweets at my disposal. She was a great cook. Our meals were always on the healthy side, well rounded as the saying goes. You must eat everything on your plate too!
I believed that everything that I became in life was passed on to me through the genes of my parents. But diabetes is not genetic; so they say.
When I was still quite young, we moved into a home that had a corner store right down the street and since I had to walk the dog every day, I used to stop in at the store and fill my pockets with candy. I had the Sunday Oregonian paper route, which gave me my own money.
Stopping to fill my pockets with candy wasn’t one of those genes that my mom passed on to me though. Any kid who had money and the temptation would have done the same thing I was doing. So the diabetes is not genetic. It’s just something that happened to me because of the way I allowed myself to become later in life.
A couple of years later, I learned how to forge a note from my mom that said I could buy her cigarettes at that same corner store and they would sell them to me. So I started smoking then too. Was this genetic?
From a young age, I was predestined to loving sugar, but also predestined to becoming somewhat of a troubled teen who also became an alcoholic and drug addict. This of course totally destroyed any chance I had of living a “normal” life. (Both of my parents were alcoholic; we just didn’t know it until about three years later).
I always had a weight problem, or so I thought. I was just one of those girls teetering on the just perfect body (according to all the little 8th grade boys chasing me) and I matured really early in life. I hated it. It left me really clumsy and unable to keep up in sports activities at school. And so I became the cheer leader type. I hated that too.
But even worse, forty years later, I was also predestined to becoming diabetic! Diabetes is not genetic you know. But depending upon how you grew up and depending on the dynamics of your childhood relationships with food; this did have a great deal to do with the outcome of your health in later years.
I never thought that I had to worry about diseases such as diabetes though. No one in my family ever was diabetic. Grandpa died of heart disease. Grandmother died from a lonely heart. My mother died of lung cancer. My father died of heart disease. So if anything, I was quite sure this would be my fate too.
Until I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way and I quit doing everything that could possibly cause heart disease. Ha, or so I thought. Diabetes is one of the best ways to insure there is a heart disease diagnosis.
Mom is the one person who taught me how to eat, from a young age but food today isn’t what it was when I was growing up either. Foods back in those younger years was all home grown and as organic as you could possibly get them. We didn’t eat anything that we did not grow, including chicken and beef. No pork. We even caught turkey for Thanksgiving.
I don’t think there was such a thing as diabetes in those days. The only diseases I heard of were cancer and maybe a heart attack once in a while. The obese ratio in the early 80s was only one out of seven people.
It was in the 80s and 90s that foods were becoming more and more processed. The first McDonalds in Portland was right down the street from my grade school and yes, we would sneak down at lunch for the .25 cent cheeseburger and .10 french fries. Amazing prices huh? Now you are lucky if two people can eat there for twenty bucks at dinner time. Not that you would even want to today.
The point of this little bit of history is that my pre-diabetes began as early for me as my childhood and I didn’t have a clue. My taste buds were all too happy after years of eating correctly. But after high school, foods changed for me.
I no longer ate foods prepared by a mother who had only healthy foods in her freezer and gardens. Society was changing. Women were going to work to help sustain the family expenses. Foods were filled with additives to keep them fresh, chemicals to make their shelf life long, and lots of salt and sugar. But until I had children, I simply didn’t cook meals at home either. And after I turned 21, I went out drinking and dancing a whole lot too.
Don’t get me wrong, there were summers filled with stuff that we did like swimming, hiking, and camping or canoeing but I was a girly girl. I wasn’t a strong muscle type person. I never could climb that rope in gym class. I never learned to water ski or snow ski; I lacked the confidence that most had.
When I went to grade school and high school, we still had classes that were called home economics. Between my parents and school, I did learn to cook and sew. Even though I did cook a great deal after my kids were born, I didn’t do any sewing.
I was also very short sighted about who I was and how accomplished I was in this world. I had low self esteem. I lacked the quality of being able to look at myself in the mirror with confidence. I was always worried about what others thought of me. But I could eat to make myself feel better, and that is what I did.
It was these things that I saw instead of how great I was at the many things I did accomplish. I ate food to comfort myself. I learned to put a recipe together and cook so that I could make great foods and be able to eat them too. Back then there weren’t a whole lot of junk foods found in the grocery stores for us to get addicted to; which would have put us on the path to dying earlier in life.
In the late 80s, corporations began developing fake foods filled with additives and chemicals, engineering foods that lasted for months if not longer, on the shelves. Dinner in the box so that mom could come home from work and add some water to the box and viola; dinner was served.
After decades of eating these kinds of foods, we have a society that has become obese; fat. The diabetes disease has become an epidemic and today it is killing us at break neck speed. Finally, people are beginning to sit up and take notice. I do not know these girls and I would bet that they are shut in most of the time wherever they live. But very real, very sad situations where death is the end result.
Hopefully we are not too late. If you have recently been diagnosed as diabetic type 2, or someone with prediabetes, you have a huge fighting chance. Diabetes has nothing to do with genetics. But the way that you grew up and the values you were taught at home about what you ate certainly has a whole lot to do with where you are today.
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