Inherited Diabetes?

Are we creating a legacy of bad eating habits?

I’m always gleaning from other online diabetes groups and pages for information that I could share with you on the blog on my own social media pages. I figured that if the information I’ve found resonated with me, then I know that someone else can benefit and take heed.

Yesterday I was doing just that when I came across a meme that really made me stop and think. A simple quote that stated, “Disease runs in families because eating habits runs in families.”

Wait, what?

Have you ever read something or heard someone say something that riles you up inside and then you automatically get offended inside?

Yep, that was me.

Seriously? I’ve tried my best to eat healthy for years. I’m not obese, I was actually underweight when I was diagnosed. So this is the result of my family not teaching me good eating habits. Just a history of bad habits. Yay, me!

Then I’ve stopped to think about this quote and what it really meant. I’ve started to think about several quotes that I’ve been hearing from numerous books, documentaries and groups in the nutritional industry:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”- Hippocrates

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“One should eat to live, not live to eat”- Socrates

“The first health is wealth”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Earlier last year, my cousin and I did a brief ancestry search to find out about our great-great grandparents and beyond. We were able to find birth and death certificates from as early as 1848. We’ve found that many of our family members, especially around 1917 to more recently, have passed away from complications from heart disease and diabetes. This included my great and great-great grandmothers. In addition, both of my grandmothers also suffered from diabetes. The total number of diabetic family members is mind blowing and too many to count. This put many of my cousins and my own children at risk of diabetes.

Would I say that this was due to a lack of being taught good eating habits?

Not exactly. My ancestors were slaves. Nobody taught them how to eat. In fact, our ancestors were given leftover parts of animals and vegetables that the slave masters and their families wouldn’t eat. They had to learn to survive with what they were given. This is valid.

Despite this circumstance, I can only imagine that the food that our ancestors did eat was not processed with the harmful ingredients that are in our foods today.

According to the Advances in Nutrition Article, “The History and Future of Dietary Guidance in America,” the first federal diet recommendations were issued to the general public in the mid-1890s. Between the time this was issued until the early 1900s, USDA Agricultural Chemist Wilbert O. Atwater described classes of essential nutrients, it’s nutritional value, how food was used in the body and to select the foods for the needs of the body.

Unfortunately, many of my family ancestors did not know how to read. Therefore, information like this would have been foreign to them. In addition, it was very difficult for many to get the proper medical care needed. (This is an entire post by itself.).

So how were my ancestors able to teach a legacy of good eating habits where there was no one teaching them?

For that, I cannot blame them for something they were not able to do because of circumstances beyond their control.

What legacy am I leaving my children?

It’s devastating to know that 80% of packaged foods in America are possibly laced with chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and puts us at risk of many diseases, including diabetes. That is 8 out of 10 products. Let that marinate……

Born in the 80’s, we grew up eating cereals of all kinds, TV dinners and fast food. We drank sodas, Kool Aid and tea with EXTRA sugar. Many of us still serve our kids this, mainly because we’re so busy working, transporting kids to activities or taking care of errands that we’re too exhausted to cook. Maybe we’re serving this to our kids as a treat for doing well in school or just enjoying a day out with family.

A little treat once in awhile is harmless, right?

Maybe, but it can add up over time. Many of us are unaware of the impact that sugar can have on our bodies. Besides diabetes, sugar is the culprit of inflammation of the body, obesity, heart disease, fatty liver disease and certain cancers, to name a few.

Diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes, is not something that happens overnight- it happens over time. It’s the same with other chronic illnesses. But also, keep in mind that Diabetes can happen at any age.

But we can change the narrative!

Like me, maybe your ancestors couldn’t leave the legacy of good eating habits to us, but we can leave a legacy for our families. It is true that genetic factors put us at a greater risk of diabetes, but we can eliminate some or most of that risk by learning how to eat smart. We do that by throwing away everything we think we know about nutrition and start from scratch.

Start by learning about the body and what it takes to keep our bodies operating at an optimal level. Then learn about the foods that heal our body and ones that we need to avoid. This will be different for each person.

There’s so much information that we can obtain through books, videos, online and community. We no longer have an excuse for not learning how our bodies work, learning about the foods that we put into our bodies and teaching our children and each other the same.

Today, decide that bad eating habits will no longer destroy your family blood line. Make today the first day of creating a family legacy of health for your future generations. Take better care of the temple that God has given you. Don’t make creating a healthy legacy an idol, but make it a priority to learn how to properly care for it so you will be able to physically do what God has called you to do.

Until Next Time,

The Genetic Diabetic

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