Wednesday, 3 May 2017
SWEET HONEY FROM THE COMB
I'm rather excited this morning!
My very first jar of raw unpasteurised golden honey from British bees has just been delivered to my door!
I avoid all sorts of sugar as a rule, but I still sometimes make dairy-free, gluten-free cake with 85% chocolate icing, using cocoa, coconut flour, ground almond and coconut oil, sweetened with honey so I can satisfy my inner chocoholic (and a growing number of friends who are eager to get their fix too!) with a treat from time to time that has almost no impact on my blood sugar or any worsening of neurological symptoms.
Mass-produced commercially pasteurised "funny" honey, found in squeezy bottles and convenience stores, which I currently use in my baking, is a far cry from raw honey fresh from the hive like this. Supermarket-bought processed honeys are too often adulterated with corn syrup and manufacturers sometimes allow abusive unethical treatment of the bees who labour to make the trickle of real honey that's in there!
So I've taken the plunge and sent for this raw honey, straight from the beekeeper.
I'm even more excited now I've tried it!
I've tasted nothing like this since I was a child!
Full of flavour, dripping with living beneficial enzymes like digestion-supportive amylase, natural vitamins, shot through with bee pollen, propolis and honeycomb. Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and all the precious life-enhancing golden goodness humanity has celebrated for thousands of years. Now more than ever, with bees under threat worldwide, I'm keen to embrace honey from happy, healthy, protected bees.
Raw honey has 82 g of nutritious carbohydrate for every 100 g weight, for all of us diabetic carb counters and insulin pumpers. There is some encouraging evidence that raw honey is beneficial to support health, including for diabetics, when consumed judiciously in small amounts, in terms of blood glucose control and lowered cholesterol. Of course, it's possible for studies to be biased, so we have to use our brains and experience to find out what's right for us!
You can read the bit in italics below after the asterisk (*) if you're interested in why I'm changing the way I eat and my personal food journey. If not, I'll just end here by saying that on flavour and service alone, I can highly recommend this honey from Local Honey Man (other raw honey is available!)
*I'm no health evangelist. That's why this bit's just added here out of interest for anybody who wants to know. I'm not recommending my food choices to anyone else, or suggesting my diet has in any way "cured" my lifelong autoimmune conditions. The improvements I've noticed in myself this past year are incomplete, but enough to persuade me to continue to eat in a way that supports my own health. Each person has to find out what's best for them, as we all do.
I'm fortunate that I shop and cook mainly for myself and my elderly mum, who has also seen improvements in IBS symptoms, heartburn and reduction of a constant cough from mucus overproduction. I don't have the additional concern of catering for other tastes within the family circle as many do, or coping with limited choices in work canteens. I rarely eat out, so this is achievable for me, even on a very limited budget.
Sick of 33 years of less-than-optimum type 1 diabetes control, even while following the traditional NHS party line advice on nutrition, carb counting, insulin pumping etc and even sicker of horribly disabling symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E. aka CFS) for which I get no treatment from the establishment after their earlier intervention with CBT/GET at one of their UK 'fatigue clinics' which ended up making me much worse, I decided to make changes to my already low-GI, low-carb eating pattern.
So, for over a year now, I've been eating a delicious, varied diet free from eggs (which I can get away with eating if very well cooked or in baked goods, but not otherwise), dairy-free (cow's milk makes my stomach ache for hours afterwards these days), gluten-free (saying goodbye to other digestive woes!), nightshade-free (white potatoes, peppers, tomatoes) and avoiding other foods like onions and garlic that stimulate my already compromised central nervous system.
Alcohol, too, along with most stimulants and opiate-based medicines, isn't well-tolerated by my hyper-reactive damaged CNS. No fun in that! Instead I drink home-brewed Kefir as a natural pro-biotic (usually in the form of delicious ginger beer!). Raw honey with all its natural benefits as nature's sweetener is the latest addition to my pantry!
There is ongoing research suggesting that leaky gut and the intestinal microbiota play a role in the pathophysiology of M.E. In simple terms, it may be that M.E. patients' bodies deal with certain foods poorly, allowing common triggers through into the bloodstream and brain that cause the body to attack itself in typically autoimmune ways.
By eliminating such foods, I've had some better periods of resilience, energy and relief from pain than for many years, and my latest full diabetic check-up last month had the experts doing a double-take at the near-perfect results I had for my HbA1c, weight, liver function etc. I've even had to come off my medicine for high blood pressure (I'd been on 10 mg Ramipril for years)in consultation with my GP.
For me, this radical change came from my decision last Spring to commit for a trial period to following the excellent wise advice of UK-based Dr Sarah Myhill. Her website can be found here and her books Diagnosis & Treatment of CFS & ME: It's mitochondria, not hypchondria and Prevent & Cure Diabetes: Delicious Diets not Dangerous Drugs (aimed at Type 2s but also helpful to Type 1s) are available on Amazon. Dr Myhill's good sense and experience with patients leads her to recommend a mineral and vitamin supplemented elimination diet that overlaps in some aspects with the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP)that developed independently in the US to alleviate other autoimmune conditions like Multiple Sclerosis.
I'm not one for bandwagons or fads. I'm a magpie gathering the brightest insights I can find to signpost my own journey. These approaches were the springboard and support for my own explorations of ways to cope with what can't be cured at this time.
I can only wish you well with your own health. I understand from the inside all the daily struggles these autoimmune illnesses can involve, for patients and their loved ones.
I hope one day biomedical research and, at last, a cure, will be found for all. Meanwhile, I hope you find the right signposts to point you on the best path forward for you!