Archive for August, 2008






“Everyone knows someone who needs this information!” (TM)

I salute the participants and Olympic champions from the four “directions” of our planet, and I hope to pass along some of the reasons I am inspired, especially by the veteran Olympians; I believe their Journey has much to help us on our own Life-way, whether we are old or young, healthy or not, although I tailor this post especially for lessons applying to diabetes.









Butch has competed in 5 Olympic Games and survived through 2 successful rounds at the 2008 Games.  He has represented the United States in a 20 year archery career. Johnson’s first match had been an extraordinaryly long one, 4 rounds and shoot-off against Abramov of Russia, yet when the next match, with Korea’s Im started, Johnson shot a perfect 10, then a 9. However, Im bested him and in round 2, continued as Johnson’s tiredness appeared. Johnson lost 115 – 107. No shame there.


On Day 4 of the Beijing Olympics, while her country, Canada, had yet to still win one medal, Susan Nattrass began a journey that resulted in an 11th place finish in Trap-Shooting. She had been one of Canada’s best chances for a medal, and failed to move forward. Heading into the final qualification round, Susan was tied for 4th, but something unusual happened and she failed to score well on 7 of the 25 targets. That explains her 11th place finish.

Susan was so disappointed that she expressed her possible retirement, but friends who know her  well say that won’t happen! Susan says her prep was the same as usual, but because she felt this was going to be her final Olympics, possibly she just began “trying too hard”, rather than just relaxing and let her experience shine.

Susan was the first female shooter in any Olympic Games, and started in Montreal in 1976. At 58, Susan has never won an Olympic Medal, even though she has won 7 World Championships. Definitely, Susan earned her place in herstory/history and whatever she decides, she can look back on a sterling career.


At 56, Libby is the second oldest competitor on the US Olympic team and is the oldest woman on the team. She was the oldest US team member at the Athens 2004 Games. Born in South Carolina, she is a former Washington, DC police officer and is currently a Staff Sergeant in the US Army Reserve. Her sport is women’s pistol shooting and air rifle. 

Libby is a 5 time police champion in this sport, and she is a 4 time Olympian.  Each time, Elizabeth had improved in the Olympic Games; her best had been 19th. But, this time she placed 25th in Beijing (however, the points from 8th place to 25th are a almost a virtual dead-heat). The tiny margins are why Libby said she was frustrated with her performance; she said she just kept making small, mental mistakes that accrued and really cost her. She could very easily have been 8th, or better.

It was the men in the police force and army who saw her special potential and encouraged her to become the athlete she is. Libby is the 2007 US National Champion and she won a bronze medal in the 2005 World Cup. Elizabeth says she may try to compete in the London Olympics in 2012.


___   prepare well and pace yourself; have a strategy and stick to it, otherwise you may not be able to reach your goal as easily as you might have

___   be prepared that you might not succeed; have a back-up plan that still meets your needs; be mentally strong

___   only deal with now / today. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Try not to let your mind force you into worry-mode. Have confidence that your knowledge and proper execution can help you succeed.







Haile is the oldest Olympic caliber marathoner in modern history, and his story is one of high drama – in the most altruistic and also in the most-painful ways.

Just as the transliteration of his name is confusingly inconsistent, Haile’s real age is also confusing. He was born in Ethiopia, which uses a calendar which started 7 years before our usual one.  What is believed to be the proper birthdate on our calendar is is one that Haile says makes him “only 46” rather than the soon-to-be 53 years stated in running records. Either age is phenomenal for a marathoner.

Haile is an Jew who was rescued from Ethiopia in 1991, as part of Israel’s massive re-patriation effort called Operation Solomon. Airlifted by the Israeli government, Haile found freedom and settled near Tel Aviv. All people, proven Jewish, have “the right to return” to their ancient homeland, and Israel has tried to keep her word, bringing tens of thousands of people “home”.

Not all the immigrants are skilled, especially those from African countries. Those often illiterate and destitute people have caused great economic strain for Israeli society, for these immigrants need a great many social service safety nets, which are difficult for Israel to provide, especially when it’s money most still mostly be focused on its very survival.

Consequently, someone like Haile has to do ‘the best he can’, and as Haile’s gift is running, that’s what he has concentrated on, but it does not give him an income. He is supported by a monthly grant,  and it is barely enough for his family of 9 to survive. Friends in the running community also try to help him out financially, and he runs endlessly for “prize money” on tough surfaces that extract a significant toll with extra body stress. The races don’t bring in much financially anyway, but he works with the few opportunities open to him.

Haile is 5 foot 7 inches tall but only weighs only 119 pounds! He trains all the time, adding 120 miles every week (200km) since the Athens Games four years ago. Yes, in the streets of Hadera, near Tel Aviv, Haile’s been running through his impoverished neighborhood, year in and year out, in the hope that Beijing would help him gain attention and sponsors. It has been a lonely battle.

His personal best in the marathon was 2 hrs 14.21 mins in Venice, 2003. In Athens’ Olympics in 2004, he was 20th, and he was 19th in the 2007 World Championship in Osaka, Japan. This year in Beijing, he was 69 and said he had been injured during the race, but insisted he must finish it. That was true grit. Haile is still the oldest runner ever to finish a world-class marathon. At 52, all his hopes for the future were dependent on that race in Beijing.

Haile (also spelled Ayele) had debated as to how much to jeopardize his Health by running in Beijing’s filthy air. It was a serious risk to his long-term health, and as the sole bread-winner for his family, this was no easy choice. After all, the marathon is more than 26 miles.

The international favorite, Haile Gelbrselassie of Ethiopia, and Haile’s friend, decided not to compete for that very reason; Gebrselassie put aside his almost-certain chance for the Olympic gold medal, because Beijing would hurt his Health, but Haile Satayin did not feel he had that choice.

Both Hailes are also pushed harder as marathoners for, usually, most Ethiopeans do best at the middle distances, but right now several Ethiopeans are at the top in marathon; the Kenyans are often the best marathoners from Africa and the Nigerians usually are the best sprinters.

In just his 3rd world-class marathon race, 21 year old Kenyan, Samuel Wanjiru, got Kenya’s first marathon gold medal by winning the 2008 race in Beijing. A 36 year old Morocccan got the silver and an Ethiopean won the bronze. The defending Olympic champion, Stephano Baldini of Italy, running in his final marathon, finished 12th. The Africans definitely had the advantage in the 86F (30C) degree heat.

At least, as it turned out, a blasting rain storm the evening before, cleaned the air and the men’s marathon, which is always the last event of the Olympics, was run in clean air.

This was the 100th anniversary of running the marathon in the Olympic Games.

Where Haile Satayin will go from here, I have not read, but he holds 35 national titles and is the most-gifted, flowing runner, known world-wide as the “cheetah”. Haile began running because of his Health. He found that the richer and more plentiful Israeli food was causing him to gain too much weight. So, a door opened when he found his gift.

Hopefully, this new injury will not be threatening to his future, and maybe someone in the world will notice his courage and help him to craft a better life for his family. I most sincerely hope this happens.

Already having some knowledge of accounting, Haile now wants to study Economics and make a better life for his family. His natural-gift as a runner has cost him and his family dearly, fiscally. Hopefully, now, Haile will have the chance to use his excellent mind, and will be able to give his body a well-deserved rest.  I hope someone will step forward to help him have the resources needed to take time to study, so his family can have financial security.  Maybe it will even be someone who reads this post!

Haile says “My age is old, but my heart is young.” I wish him and his family all the best. He is a real hero.








And, now, even though we are chronologically out-of-synch, I wanted to end this article on a high-note, and show that Haile Satayin’s dreams of winning the men’s Olympic marathon at an advanced age were not far-fetched, for the oldest female runner did indeed win the 2008 Women’s Marathon Olympic Gold Medal. Yes!

After years of leading marathons in world-class events, only to have them snatched away, this time Constantina triumphed. It took courage to constantly overcome years of regrets to place herself in contention one more time.

I watched the race on TV. Luckily NBC carried all of it. The other runners did not realise that Constantina had run away with it, because of the road configuration when the lead-pack shuffling and jockeying worked out. So the African and Chinese runners, in the pack of the second half, thought THEY were the front-runners!

We sat on the edge of our seats wondering whether Constantina, at age 38, could hold onto the lead which she had originally wrested from world champion British runner, Paula Radcliffe who had led the first half of the race, even though Paula was recovering from a stress fracture. She finished 23rd, in 2 hours 32.38 mins  (6 minutes behind); what an effort. Brava!

Maybe Constantina also got-away because the original leaders-of-the-pack at that time, were the only ones to see Constantina “take-off”. The news was not passed on to the “new”, younger runners who took over in the second-half, as the tired original leaders fell back, to a lonely race on the rain-slicked roads.

Constantina often has tried to dominate the last half of a race, usually to find a younger runner zoom-up at the end and deny her the win, so she did not look back at all, and ground along, digging deep, giving it everything she could from a place that even she had not plumbed before. It was the making of a champion happening before our eyes.

She amassed an 80 second lead, which is huge, as it dwindled to only 22 seconds by the end, and there was only one-hundredth of a second between second and third. 80 seconds, over 26 miles — how tremendous!

Only in the last 5km did Dita turn around for the first time. It was a place in the road where we are not sure she could see how far away the runners were. Constantina did look back a few more times, but when the “pack” finally got the chance to see she was there, and therefore “the leader”, even their youth was not enough to make up the ground, in the last 3 kilometers, although they nearly did.

The race was won by Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania in 2 hours 26.44 minutes. She, alone, had adapted well to the flat, humid, rain-slicked course. Kenya’s world-champion Catherine Ndereba won the silver in 2:27:06, China’s Zhou Xianiu the bronze at 2:27:07. 

At the end of the women’s marathon, like the crowd in the stadium, we were jumping up and down for Constantina. It was wonderful to see a veteran runner physically and mentally outwit, overcome and outlast the younger runners. The others had discounted her as a credible contender. Their loss.

Up until now, the oldest male marathon champion was aged 37, and the oldest female winner was aged 30. This Olympic marathon longevity record is owned by Constantina, at 38years old, now best-in-the-world, triumphing over a field of 81 starters and 69 finishers. Brava Dita!

NOTE: Fabulous American marathoner, Deena Kantor, and another one of my Jewish heroines, had to pull out a few miles into the Beijing race, as she felt something pop in her foot, and x-rays showed it was broken. Wise move. Courageous move. Heal well, Deena.


LESSONS LEARNED from Haile and Dita and Deena and Paula:

___   dream big! Never let your Life be ruled by “I can’t”. Figure out how “I can”.

___   work hard, but understand there are no guarantees. The only way to succeed is to be on the field, in the mix, and then you give yourself a chance.  Don’t sit on the sidelines of Life.

___   watch out for physical problems, and react with the attention you need, right away, regardless of where you are. Follow your physician’s recommendations when recovering.

___   always have a plan B, and if you need to change direction, use the same courage on your new course.


There are a few athletes I left out. One, James Tompkins, was on my original list, and I’ll try to slide him in during a revision sometime soon or in another post as an example. We are always looking for role-models. But, because I found other veteran Olympians participating at Beijing, along the way, I may add a Part 5 in the future.


Meanwhile, what I want to do now is dedicate this series to 2 brave Olympic-caliber athletes who died before they could reach Beijing, and to Dara Torres’ coach.


Mike Lohberg, Dara Torres’ coach, could not accompany her to Beijing, as he is fighting for his life, in hospital at the National Institutes of Health, in Washington, DC. Knowing this, makes Dara’s accomplishments even more phenomenal. We wish Mike well.


American marathoner Ryan Shay, age 28, was a famous runner from Notre Dame, who unexpectedly died while trying to qualify for the US Olympic Team in November 2007. He collapsed about 5.5 miles into the race in New York City. Our thoughts are with his wife, Alicia, and the rest of Ryan’s family. Surely, the marathon for them was bittersweet.


And, we remember Gyorgy Kolonics, aged 36, Hungarian canoeist and Olympic Gold Medalist in 1996 and 2000.  He collapsed while training for Beijing and had won the most recent of his 15 world-titles this year. Our thoughts go out to Gyorgy’s family, too.


And, I want to make sure you also know about Aladar Gerevich, Hungarian fencer, who died in 1991. Between 1932 and 1960, Aladar won 7 Olympic Gold Medals in individual (2) and team (5)competition, at least one Gold Medal in each of  6 consecutive Olympics. It is the longest, unbroken winning streak of any athlete, ever, at the Olympics. He also won one silver and 2 bronze Olympic medals, too. His last gold medal was at age 50. Amazing!


And, if you have any doubts that these athletes can be role-models for you, learn more about diabetic American swimmer, Gary Hall and about Sir Steve Redgrave, British rower, from Olympics 1984 – 2000, who in this even more physical endurance sport won 5 Gold Medals in 5 Olympics all while taking 6 insulin shots a day!


And, as the most heroic athlete of all in the 2008 Olympic Games — I nominate Natalie Du Toit, and I will tell you her story in a few weeks (you’ll learn why we have to wait, later).

Meanwhile, in summation:

I believe Life is all about taking your innate Gifts (everyone has some) and using them well.

If they are athletic gifts, great! Artistic gifts, wonderful! Interpersonal strengths are really special, are still seriously needed and seldom fostered. That is why true Humanitarians are so highly-regarded.

I believe in Life that there is no winning and losing. The medal is not the Ideal for a serious-player. Neither is the adulation a worthy goal. What I think is important are the Lessons learned on your Journey, and how they change your life, and then, most importantly, how you Change others’ lives.

And, all of this can be done in any venue. The Olympics is a showcase of the agony and triumph in one arena of Life. Importantly, as we vicariously share their Journey, we can apply what we learn to our own. That is their great and lasting contribution.

I hope you found the articles inspiring, and as diabetics, fighting diabetes requires the same determination as these athletes have.

As diabetics, it’s important to keep perspective and not be affected by what ignorance in others can wreke (but only if you let it happen).

Each of us is a winner, as long as we are doing our very best to particpate fully in creating our Journey through Life. No excuses!

Best to all — Em

You can read more articles by using the Titles Tab on the upper Navigation Bar.

Read the other parts of this series:

Part 1 at:
Part 2 at:
Part 3 at:


The horsemen design of Native American riders is from: Native Spirit Co.

The “Beijing” calligraphy is from Ralph Lauren.

(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you desire to quote from or use my article, please respect my copyright and include the copyright citation and website address in your article’s reference section. Thanks!

Read Full Post »




Before I begin my third post about some amazing veteran Olympic athletes and how their story will help diabetics, I want to say that the 2008 Olympics closing ceremonies are now just a memory in Beijing and what a mixed-bag this Olympic Games has been, for although we try to regard the Olympics as a positive societal endeavor, there always are elements of human and governmental behavior which demean or negate the positivity; this time, the most outstanding of those are the human rights abuses and lack of free speech at the Olympics in China, even though that was one of the criteria accepted by China in being awarded the Games.

The most in depth study of China’s real behavior that I have seen in the 16 days of the Games, so far, came last Friday night on Bill Moyers Journal, a Public Broadcasting program in the USA. Please read and watch renowned Washington Post bureau chief and journalist Philip Pan’s report at: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08222008/profile2.html

Now, in the rest of this post, I will try to highlight as many of the remaining Olympic veteran athletes from my list in Part 1as I have time and space for.  If I don’t finish, then look for a new post (or maybe 2, if I have time) early in the week, even though the Olympics will be over by then. I believe these stories should be told. I never forsaw a role as a sports reporter! These people and their stories are SO compelling and have lessons for every one – healthy or not.

Be sure to also read Part 1 of this series at:
and Part 2 at:






Oksana, a gold medalist in Olympic gymnastics in 1992, on the Soviet team, is now 33 years old – an unheard of feat, as most gymnasts stop in their early 20’s, if they last that long!  But, in addition to winning medals in 8 out of the last 10 World Championships,  Oksana has competed in 5 Olympic Games, a record for any gymnast.

In addition to the Unified Team in Barcelona, after the Soviet Union was dismantled, she competed 3 times for Uzbekistan, where she was born and now, this year, for her new country, Germany.

Why she now competes as a German citizen is a serious and compelling story, and it has a happy ending on all levels. Oksana just won the silver medal for Germany in Beijing, and it’s her first individual Olympic medal, ever. With an excellent vault, she was barely edged-out of the gold medal by a lousy (but more complex) vault from the North Korean competitor, Hong Un Jong. None of her competitors had even been born when Oksana started competing in her first Olympics! Just to be there in Beijing was a triumph, but to win this individual medal was even better.

Five years ago, destitute and desperate in Uzbekistan, Oksana needed medical treatment for her son, Alisher, who was suffering from acute lymphotic leukemia, a rare form. Germany came to her rescue. The doctors at the University of Cologne saved his life, and now at nine years old, he is a healthy child and a budding gymnast.

In gratitude, Oksana became a German citizen and competed with all her heart, even though her 33 year old body knows it is competing with others half her age, usually 14 – 16 year olds! She still is the major bread-winner in her new country, and hopefully, with her silver medal, that will lead to coaching opportunities in the future. She is already a role-model and mentor to young gymnasts all over the globe during her competitions.

Her German coach, Ursula Koch, and her team-mates constantly marvel at Oksana, especially how she runs over everything so well in her mind, that she needs to expend far less energy and has less chance for injury, because after envisioning it perfectly, she does what she is asked physically, correctly, usually the first time. Her team-mate says that Oksana knows “how to focus her power”.  Oksana will not say how she “focuses”; she says that’s her secret, but as she comes from the Steppes, it would not surprise me that she has learned some important energy-healing techniques from Siberian shamans, who are in deed very powerful beings, as George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, Russian seer learned from them.

Valeri Luikin, father and coach of American gold-medalist Nastia Luikin, was a member of the same Soviet team, and says Oksana has always had an incredible work-ethic and has never shied away from anything because it was too difficult; her routines were ‘even harder than the men’s were’!  She is also incredibly precise in her preparation, he says.

In  World Championships, Indianapolis 1991, her debut, she also added three new moves to the Code of Points: the hop full and full-out on uneven bars and a layout full-out on floor exercise. She still competes all three elements today.

So, some of the lessons for us, as diabetics, are:

___   be aware that you are capable of massive change and sacrifice, and sometimes a complete reversal of all you know is the only way to success

___   learn everything that you need to know to succeed and be savvy about your actions and use of energy and resources

___   find Passion and Love in your Life, so when all the struggle Life always has coming-at-you arrives, you will KNOW that Life is “worth it”

Brava, Oksana! And, she says she may still compete in London 2010, if she can stay injury-free. She says “I still love gymnastics, and I still have fun everyday.” and “I don’t feel 33. I feel 18.”  We wish you and your family all the best in your new life!





Veteran 9 time Olympian, Canadian rider, Ian Millar, aged 61, and 6 foot 1 inch, 167 pounds (185cm, 76 kg) along with his horse, In Style, helped to lead the Canadians to the Silver medal in the Equestrian Team Competition at the 2008 Olympics. The American team won the Gold Medal and Norway was third. Ian was not in the final roster for the Individual Medal. Other veteran riders in the Team quest included Nick Skelton, aged 50, on the British Team which came in 7th and Laurie Lever, aged 60, on the Australian team which came in 9th.

After competing in nine Olympic Games, it is Ian’s first Olympic medal, ever! He dedicated it to his wife, Lynne, who died last year, and who had been his coach throughout their 39 year marriage.

Millar will be in London 2010, on a horse he has already chosen named Redefin, when he will surpass Austrian sailor Hubert Rauschdal,  with whom he is now tied for 9 Olympic games’ particpation, the most of any athlete, ever. He would have already achieved that 10th, as he made the 1980 Moscow Games team, but Canada honored the boycott, so he did not get the chance to compete; however, this year, he still equaled Rauschdal’s record.

Ian says the sport has changed greatly since he started and that it is far more complex and sophisticated now, but that it is one that is solidly a mental-game, where experience really counts. So, this time he rode the anchor leg, and led Canada to the medal.

He’s still at it, and intends to own the 10 Olympics honor all on his own, next time. Bravo! His children, Amy and Jonathan, have already qualified at this level, so one or both may join him on the Canadian Equestrian Team in London. Bravo! yet again.


Veteran Japanese dressage rider, Hoketsu Hiroshi, aged 67 is the oldest Olympic competitor on any team in the 2008 Olympics, and is the oldest athlete ever to compete for Japan. At 5 foot 6 inches, 137 pounds (168cm, 62kg) it is marvelous that he can control the raw power of such a huge, 1600 pound animal. Hiroshi is a retired top-level Johnson & Johnson executive who used to continue to ride each morning before he donned his corporate suit and went to work; that meant rising at 5 AM everyday. It was his labor of love. Hiroshi still does 50 sit-ups before breakfast!

Hiroshi is riding his 3rd horse, an 11 year old mare named Whisper, and finally, she seems to have the temperament and rapport to make a great pairing. Originally, Hiroshi competed for Japan in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, as a show-jumper, but he competed admirably, in Dressage this time. Dressage is a  perfectionist, detailed pursuit which fascinates him.

He now resides in Aachen, Germany and his German coach says Hiroshi is very talented, and both hope to return again for the 2010 Games. Hiroshi also qualified as an alternate in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and for the Team in 1988 Olympics in Seoul, but his horse suffered a respiratory problem, so Hiroshi could not ride in Seoul.

He has been riding since he was 12, and says his passion for riding has only increased over the decades. In Beijing, the strong German Team won the Gold Medal; the Japanese Team came in 10th.  Individually, Hiroshi beat his finish in the 1964 Olympics, when he came in 40th. This time, hounded by the Japanese Press, in a new sport on a new horse, he was 35th. Bravo!


The oldest member of the entire Australia contingent in 2008, Laurie was born in Manchester, England 60 years ago, and has been riding since age 10, in order to ‘keep him occupied’ after school.  Laurie is 5 foot 5 inches, 159 pounds (165cm, 72kg) and he has lived in Australia for a long time, but now he is the newest member on the Australian Equestrian Team and is riding Drossel Dan

He helped the Australian Team achieve 9th place. As an individual rider, he came in 23rd in Show Jumping. His four sons are all championship athletes, 3 of whom also ride. Laurie also sustained 2 broken legs in 2002 (with multiple compound fractures!) and a broken left leg in 1998, but Laurie never lost his dream. He says he trains 7 days a week.

Lessons to be learned:

___   it is never too late — to start something new that is very challenging; to find a way to become very disciplined; to strive daily and then see results over time

___   it is important to become part of a team – you learn from each other and grow in ways you cannot fortell, but produce results greater than you probably would have done on your own

___   find the passion that drives you, then harness it to be able to tackle all challenges

___   when you fall off, get back up!





At 58 years old, John Dane III is the oldest member of the Olympic team from the United States of America, and he sails with his son-in-law, Austin Sperry.

The Star Class is the oldest in Olympic sailing, starting in 1932, and now about 2,000 of these boats sail in competition globally. The results of the 2008 Olympic Star Class Sailing was:  GOLD: Switzerland Flavio Marazzi, Enrico De Maria  SILVER: France Xavier Rohart, Pascal Rambeau  BRONZE: Brazil Robert Scheidt, Bruno Prada. John and Austin were 4th. Bravo! 

Australia’s Iain Murray and  Andrew Palfrey were 8th, from a final field of 16. The circuit was called “The Torture Track” at Qingdao, China, and it was anything but smooth sailing. The final was in a tempest. The Star Class boats were built to sail in any conditions, so they were dependent on the skills of their masters and luck.

In the preliminary race, it went back and forth, as the breeze was inconsistent and troublesome, and many boats were becalmed, including the Australians. Many felt the race should have been called off, and they protested but were over-ruled.

At Qingdao, the wind always comes in start-up and drop-off mode, with pockets all over the course. Maybe it should not have been the venue at all. Each tactical decision for 2 men to control these 1,500 pound boats, is therefore relegated to a roll of the dice at Qingdao, instead of just real knowledge and skill.

Lessons for diabetics:

___   you never have control of everything. It’s a useless pursuit, but getting knowledge and experience will aid you toward success

___   understand the risks, and chart your best course, especially if you do not have everything in your favor. Try, no matter what!

___   Life does not have to “be fair” at all.



I have anglecized these two Olympians’ names as both are immigrants from China to the West. Four-time Olympian, Jujie, now aged 50, won China’s only fencing medal; that was in 1984, but afterwards in 1989, she emigrated to Canada, and is competing for the 3rd time as a Canadian. David Zhuang is a 44 year old table-tennis player who lives in New Jersey, and is America’s brightest hope in a sport which Asians have long dominated.


Jujie was buoyed that the Chinese did indeed remember her and welcomed her; she was relieved at that. A large segment of the 4,000 people in the Fencing Arena began chanting her name in Chinese, offering her support. Other fencers, from many nations, bowed to her in respect, as one of fencing’s legends, and were amazed that she was still able to come in at 50 to Olympic matches.  

Her goal was to win at least one bout, and she won her first, against a 19 year old Tunisian 12-5 but was defeated in her second round by a 32 year old Hungarian fencer, who had won 4th place at the Athens 2004 Olympics.  Score 15 – 7.  So Jujie walked away satisfied because she set her goals decently and attained them.  Just to compete at this level, at 50 years old, in a sport requiring such swiftness and accuracy is amazing. Brava!

Jujie is a mother of three and her husband of 24 years, Daijin Gu, took on all the house-hold and child-rearing aspects for the 15 months after Jujie decided to come out of retirement and try to get on the team for 2008, in order to give Jujie this chance. 

The whole family made sacrifices, and her community in Edmonton helped her raise the massive amounts of money needed to train, travel and compete in order to qualify.  Now, Jujie says “Jyah-ho! Let’s go!“. On to a next chapter of excellence.

Jujie ranks 52nd in the world now, and says she will help Chinese fencers, as a coach.  She will divide her time half-and-half with Canada, where she will also coach. It is her way to say “Thank you” to the two countries she loves, and who have enabled her to have such a wonderful life. Within two weeks, she was off to compete in the Canadian Master’s Championships.


At 5 foot 11 inches tall and 165 pounds, David Zhuang entered into Olympic table-tennis in a sport that the Asians have made fiercely competitive. Born in China, but a resident of New Jersey for 17 years, Zhuang is America’s best hope in table-tennis for a long time. 

However, it was not to be, and David did not advance to the final.  He lost the best years of his career, as Chinese officials would not field him, even when he was the best, as he had applied for a visa to emigrate to America, at age 17. The visa took 10 years to materialize. He sacrificed much for this sport he loves.

In America, it is still very hard to get support for this sport which is wildly popular elsewhere, and well financed elsewhere, with phenomenal facilities and coaching. It is a lonely struggle in America, but he is excellent at it, and wants to represent his new country, as well as coach the next generation of players. 

This Olympics was a real David-and-Goliath scenario awaiting him. David was the only man to represent America in table tennis. But he’s a real winner just for trying to compete under these daily difficulties. So, thanks for all your hard work, David!

Lessons to be learned:

___   you have to decide what you value, and tailor your life to accomplish that

___   it is important to have support – whether family, friends, community, or if you are lucky, all 3

___   your journey may be incredibly difficult and lonely, at least in the beginning, but it is important and possible to persist and triumph

___   set reasonable, attainable goals and be happy when you reach them

___   “pay it forward”! Help someone else with all the knowledge and comapssion you have.

OK this is the longest post, and I’m not done with the list! Maybe I never will be, but I’ll try one more post next week. I hope all these stories inspire you, and help you to action!

Best to all — Em

Please use the Titles Archive tab on the upper Navigation Bar to read more articles.

(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

Please respect my copyright, and if you desire to quote from or use my article, make sure you include my copyright citation and website address. Thanks!


If you want official results: http://results.beijing2008.cn


1)  New York Times

2)   Adam Pretty, Getty Images – Traditional Drummers Heralding, Opening Ceremonies 2008 Olymics

3)   Doug Mills, New York Times –  New World of Possibilities, Opening Cermeony 2008 Olympics

4)  a New Year blessing  www.wealthmountains.com – China, it’s time to turn over a “new” leaf!

5)   Offical Olympic Roster site

6) possibly The Star Ledger

7) AP, Kin Cheung

8) http://www.regardinghorses.com

9) lost the reference, sorry

10) AP, Kin Cheung

11) US Sailing Team – official photo – Walter Cooper

12) official Olympic portrait – http://results.beijing2008.cn

13) ditto

14) ditto

Read Full Post »






“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

There’s a great deal that diabetics can learn from the top-notch veteran Olympic athletes, in using and caring for their bodies and steeling their mind for challenges, so along with the world, I watched, rooted for, cheered and applauded 41 year old Dara Torres accomplish miracles at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, regardless of whether she may have wished for even better results, and I applaud veteran time trial Olympic cyclist Jeannie Longo of France and gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of USA as well Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina in Gymnastics and the surprise Olympic gold medalist in Women’s Marathon, Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita. 

We’ll discuss Chusovitina and Tomescu in later posts.


American Dara Torres is the oldest Olympic swimmer, ever, and in addition to the silver medal she had already won last week, Saturday she added two more silver medals in back-to-back races!

Throughout, she showed concern for her fellow athletes (and asked for the swimmer whose suit was torn to be allowed time to change, and the 50 meter race was delayed — which interrupts her delicate pre-race regimen — but she’s a top-notch sportswoman for whom sportsmanship [sportswomanship!] is natural).

I think Dara had the best chance in the “splash and dash” 50m race, which she has excelled in even before it was ever on the Olympic roster; she first held the record in it in 1984. Now she’s an experienced veteran Olympian, after all this is Dara’s fifth Olympic Games! 

Unlike Michael Phelps who powered into the wall’s touch-pad the previous evening, winning his 7th Olympic gold medal race by .01 seconds, Dara seemed to lose the 50m race just then, to Steffen of Germany.

The arm-configuration of the last stroke just didn’t get Dara to the wall in a way she could hit the pad (even though she reached the wall first) and so she lost the Gold Medal by .01 seconds to a girl who could be her daughter. No shame there. It was a magnificent accomplishment.

And, moments after the 50m medal ceremony, Dara had to race, against swimmers who were “fresh”. She was the strongest swimmer on the American team in the 4 x 100 Medley relay, and swam the anchor leg freestyle, to give them the silver medal.

Back-stroker Natalie Coughlin had started the American team off well, but the two intervening team members did not add to the lead – they squandered it – so it was Dara Torres who salvaged the American medal, and tore the back of her suit, too, in the herculean effort. Dara was only narrowly edged-out of the gold by a truly young Australian team.

Especially after retiring three times, then each time resuming with Olympic caliber results, Dara Torres is definitely my heroine of the Games, although there are many other wonderful stories, some of which I will share here.

From Dara Torres’ success, lessons I think diabetics can apply to dealing with diabetes are to:

___    never quit, no matter what you are facing

___   plan an educated strategy and execute it – no excuses

___   work on your strategy daily

___    respect your body – put nutrition first, as well as rest, to balance activity

___   prioritize, even if nothing much but family is regularly a part of your life because of your regimen, until you make success happen

___   gather a supportive, knowledgeable team around you

___   always seek new knowledge, test it, and tailor it to ensure your success

___   never limit self or horizons

___   always believe you can succeed, then act

Whether Dara will pop-up again just before the next Olympics remains to be seen, but she does say that she is becoming even more competitive as she ages, rather than her competive urge waning. So, there’s a very good chance that Dara Torres will try to make history, yet again, at London 2010.

Dara says she plans to take one week off, then she will return to training and the pool, as that “miss” by .01 second is really gnawing at her!

Meanwhile, in Health, I hope Dara Torres will continue to lead the way, and create a new view of aging that busts through sterotypes and starts humans to thinking more about the real biological limits of our longevity span, which scientists say should be 150 years, as our mammalian-markers show.

Think about what you can accomplish in the world with double your commonly projected life-span. Understand how you can make a difference when you regain your Health, and yes, I truly believe that it is possible to regain your Health because diabetes IS beatable.






Seven-time Olympian cyclist Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli of France, who is almost 50 years of age, is another athlete worthy of emulation and adulation. On Beijing’s slippery mountainous roads, in the torrential downpours, Jeannie came in 24th in a field of 66 in the road race, but after 78 miles (126km) she was only 23 seconds from a gold medal!

American Kristin Armstrong, age 35, came in 25th behind Jeannie. British cyclist, Nicole Cook, age 25, from Wales, won the gold medal, and collapsed at the finish. Marianne Vos, of the Netherlands, the pre-race favorite finished sixth. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli led on many occasions. Brava! to all.

Then, Kristin Armstrong (no relation to Lance Armstrong) went on to win the gold medal in the Time Trial race, and in that race, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli just missed a medal by less than 2 seconds! Karin Thurig of Switzerland just edged her out. 

Uncharacteristically, Jeannie had been suffering with sciatic nerve pain in her back and leg for the previous 2 days and during the race, and she hates to race in the rain, even though she loves and excels at mountain riding. What could Jeannie Longo have done if she had been completely pain-free? better weather? Personally, given how well she did, I think she would have been unbeatable.

The gold medalist in the Time Trials, American Kristin Armstrong, has been working for 8 years to win, and was not even nominated to the US cycling team in 2004. So, her individual drive and persistence finally paid off in her lonely road to glory.

Jeannie Longo and Kristin Armstrong are excellent women cyclists. Their ages just make the accomplishments even more amazing, as the other winners are 25 at most.

Kristin says “You cannot give up until you cross the finish line!” and that is good advice for diabetics, too, and our Journey is also often a lonely, solitary one with those around us not being empathetic enough or interested enough or tolerant. In the end, it must be our battle though. 

And, Jeannie Longo comes along as an interesting role-model on many levels, for all of us, and especially diabetics. The lessons to learn are in bold text.

Originally from Grenoble, Jeannie Longo had shunned the games in Grenoble, France years ago because of its poor air, so it is ironic that she will have to breathe Beijing’s even more polluted air for the 78 mile road race and yet again for the time trial. The American cyclists were issued masks, and there was criticism about wearing them. Health should come first!

Preserving her Health is the top priority of Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, all 5 foot 4 inches (164cm), 103 pounds (46 kg) of her! We’ll talk about that in a moment, but guarding her Health has helped her win 13 World Championships, 38 world records, 4 Olympic medals in 7 Olympics*,  more than 1,000 other victories, including three Tour de France.

Jeannie started out being trained in boxing and wrestling by her mother, a physical education teacher, she aimed for the French ski team, and although talented, when she did not make that prestigious group, Jeannie was wise in being flexible and changed plans and re-structured her life to succeed; she turned to cycling,

Now, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli is the only woman to have participated in women’s cycling at every Olympics since it was first introduced as a sport in Los Angeles in 1984, when she was 6th.  She won her gold medal in Atlanta in 1996; she has 2 silvers and 1 bronze Olympic medals additionally, from other Games. Her fourth place finish in the Time Trial Beijing 2008 shows how formidable she still is. So Jeannie’s physical and mental strategies work!

What are Jeannie’s other tactics for Health? Jeannie is a perfectionist and a pragmatist. The second attribute helps to reign-in the first.

As she is allergic to chemicals and food additives, she lives high in the Alps, and off the usual beaten-track. She keeps goats and gardens organically. She stays very active all year. Her cycling is done in the mountains, where she rides for fresh food milk and organic food direct from the other farms, daily, and Jeannie eats only organic food. Living in the pristine air, she an out-spoken ecologist, who wants this blessing for all of us.

She trains for big events in the even higher mountains of Colorado, in the clean air. When Jeannie travels elsewhere, she brings her own organic carrots (very portable and necessary for great eyesight), de-ionizer to clean her nearby air and water filters.

Jeannie is always aware of the System, and if it is going to be less than beneficial to her, she is brave enough to speak out, no matter who she is talking to. Diabetics can learn from her about that, too. The status quo is not something you want to automatically accept.

And, she’s out-spoken that the Olympic Games should not have been awarded to China — because of China’s civil rights abuses in Tibet as well as the severely detrimental air, water and anything grown there with lax or non-existent regulations (which impacts all of us directly, too, as so many countries now import massive amounts of food from China!).

As an aside, by the way, the record for highest number of Olympics participated in as an athlete belongs to Austrian sailor, Hubert Raudaschl, at nine Olympic Games, but Jeannie has said that barring injury, she is on her way to the London Olympics 2012, as her eighth! She said she felt good training all this year and sees no reason to stop.

If you have any doubts that these lessons can apply to diabetics, then read about the long, illustrious career of Gary Hall, Jr. famed American Olympic swimmer and a Type 1 diabetic.

I think it is important to know that role models can be found in many places and that it is imperative to keep an open mind about everything in your life, including Diabetes. In my opinion, mainstream medicine does not have all the answers, and may not even be looking for them.

The fact is that Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD’s pH Miracle plan,  Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MD’s vegan Raw For 30 Days regimen, The People’s Chemist – Shane Ellison, MA’s  60 day protocol and Barry Sears, PhD’s Zone Diet clinical trial protocol all cured diabetes or vastly improved it in all who adhere to the systems. This shows me that we are NOT being served or treated properly or well by regular medicine.

You need to think outside-the-box like these programs just mentioned already do, and also include energy medicine to rebalance your body-mind as well as to support its return to Health, too, via: acupunture, acupressure, esogetic color-puncture, Chi Gung, Bowen Technique, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tai Chi, Yoga or a few more.

As these Olympic athletes know, you only have one body – protect it, use it, hone it – and steel your mind to your Life’s challlenges. Everyone is going to have road-blocks, disappointments and regrets. We are here to learn universal Lessons and help others learn more easily from our hard-won experience. So, bootstrap onto the exceptional wisdom contained here and become very disciplined, as well as being very positive that you can return to Health.

Read Part 1 at:


Best to all — Em

* (other 7 time Olympians are: Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, at age 44 [now she’s 48], and Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm)

Be sure to use the Title Archive tab on the upper Navigation Bar to read and learn lots more!












1) Statistics – NY Times

2) NY Times

3) NY Times – Adam Pretty, Getty Images


5) Brynn Lennon, Getty Images

6) AFP

(c)2008 Em (https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you decide to quote from or use my article, please include my copyright citation and website address in your article. Thanks!

Read Full Post »

For all the wonder of the Olympic Games in Beijing, China for the next few weeks, little of it will trump the stories, accomplishment and participation of the athletes highlighted below, as Oldest Active Olympians. How can there be these elite athletes whose personal skills and Health are so amazing that they can still compete in regular, major sport instead of at the still-accomplished “masters” level? What is the lesson from these Oldest Active Olympians? Over the next few articles, we’ll tell their stories and in the process hope to learn lessons we can apply for our own long-term Health, as well as be inspired.We will be highlighting the following Oldest Active Olympians (OAOs) in varying degrees, mostly depending on how well their effort will be covered in the media:
Dara Torres, 41 – American swimmer
Jeannie Longo-Ciparelli, 49 – French cyclist

Haile Satayan, 53 – Israeli-Ethiopian marathoner

Hiroshi Hoketsu, 67 – Japanese equestrian

Oksana Chusovitina, 33 – gymnast Germany (formerly Uzbekistan + Russia) (ancient for a gymnast!)

David Zhuang, 44 – American, table tennis

Luan Jujie, 50 – Canadian fencer (formerly, China)

James Tompkins, 43 – Australian rower

John Dane, III – 58 – American, sailing veteran

Iain Murray, 50 – Australian sailor making his Olympic debut

Ian Millar, 61 – Canadian equestrian

Laurie Lever, 60 – Australian equestrian

Richard Johnson, 52 – American archer

Susan Nattrass, 57 – Canadian shooter

Libby Callahan, 56 – American shooter

and we will seek to adapt some of the healthy tactics to help us on our diabetes diet plan. So, let’s start with the first athlete and possibly the best known.


Even though we are only in the first days of the games, one of the members of this group has already earned a silver Olympic medal in her 5th  Olympic Games. Her name is Dara Torres and she is 41 years old, as well as being the oldest swimmer who has ever competed in the Olympics.

She first swam for the American team in the Los Angeles Games of 1984.  The previous oldest swimmer was silver-medalist, William Robinson, who competed in the 1908 Games, at age 38, in breast-stroke.

As swimming is far more physically rigorous than some of the other sports that these OAO’s are involved in, I decided to give Dara Torres top rank.

Dara has already won 10 Olympic medals (4 of them gold medals).

She broke the first of her swimming records at age 14, and she’s still a force to be reckoned with at 41. In fact, Dara just swam the grueling “anchor leg” of the 4 x 100 meter relay a few days ago — her team trusted her — no just-token position for her!

In November 2007, she broke the American record for the 50 meter freestyle short-course swim. Yes, she’s still making real record-breaking swims!

In her college career, she earned 28 NCAA (National College Athletics Association) titles, the maximum possible. But, Dara’s coaches’ approach to training in those years at the University of Florida, caused her to become bulimic in order to “make weight” and avoid extra practice sessions attached to not “making weight”.

Overcoming this induced eating disorder is still factoring in Dara Torres’ mental focus, as she knows she must eat, and must eat well to keep up her body’s Health. The ‘right food’ is a priority for her now.

She’s 6 feet tall, 149 pounds of muscle and determination.

Finally, all this hard work paid off and in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Dara began winning individual medals, as well as team medals. She earned 3, and decided to retire, for the second time. At 33. She felt she had nothing left to prove. She got on with her life, marrying a second time.

As Dara Torres is the daughter of a Sefardic Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, she officially had to convert to Judaism before she married an Israeli surgeon (Judaism acknowledges the children of all Jewish mothers, but if only the father is Jewish, the children must convert). So, after retiring, she spent time in that pursuit.

The marriage did not last. But now Dar’s dream of becoming a mother is also fulfilled, even late in life. Dara and her new partner, Dr. David Hoffman, MD, have a child together.

She started swimming again while pregnant, in order to help with morning-sickness, and she found herself racing every middle-aged guy in the pool at the time. 

So, Dara knew she wanted to swim in this Olympics as the oldest Olympic swimmer ever and she started training again immediately after Tessa’s delivery! Three months later she medaled in the Masters Games with times that were fast enough to qualify her for the Olympics! And, that’s while breast-feeding!!!

She says she’s SO competitive, she needs an outlet for that in her life.

Dara was able to return to world-class sport so quickly, as explained below, which definitely have lessons for each of us.

Dr. Michael Joyner, MD an anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic says “that the physical capacity of most people is diminished at a rate of about 10 percent per decade after 30 years of age, while that of the extremely fit decreases at a rate of about 3 to 4 percent.So, remaining active, even if it is just at moderate levels will bring definite benefit.

She regained her edge that quickly because she had that lifetime of physical activity which built a body slow to decline.

Instead of the 65,000 meters she swam weekly in her youth, Dara swims about 25,000 meters a week now, in normal practice sessions. Then she goes for innovative workouts in the Gym, for at least 2 more hours, which are designed to keep her nervous system integrated in a holistic way, and teach it to “fire” in the right sequences. This may forge new therapies for others in need. Then, a 90 minute weight-training session follows about every other day.

All of this emphasis on Health and integration has resulted in ‘Dara Torres’ ability to recover about 10 times faster than other athletes’, says Andy O’Brien, her coach and that of the Florida Panthers hockey team.

Before swimming, Dara Torres goes through a 20 minute warm-up resistance stretching routine with her 2 “stretchers” to elongate her muscles and make them most flexible and capable of more complete bursts-of-speed, in the system designed by Bob Cooley in 1999. She is forging new ground in biomechanics and aging, for all of us.

There’s a video of her demonstrating her resistance-stretching technique, alone, so at least some of it can be done solo. This approach helps protect her muscles from injury, and everyone, regardless of age, should learn to do this before participating in physical activity. Dara does this 5 times a day, at her level.


Dara’s got incredible mental and physical discipline. She persists even though she was diagnosed with asthma in 1992.  And as a child of privilege from Beverley Hills, as well as a sought-after spokesperson now, she can afford a retinue which includes a head coach, sprint coach, two “stretchers”, 2 masseuses, a nanny and a chiropractor. Much has been made of Dara’s strict regimen, and the fact that it costs her $100,000 a year to employ the staff who helps her keep her body fit, as they travel with her all over the world. But, she’s actually helping all of us as she helps herself.

I think many of these same techniques are available to us without the high price tag, and with her example, maybe insurance health plans will think more about including these processes and paying for Prevention, instead of paying for Sickness.

Her team-mate on the 1984 gold-medal relay team, Nancy Hogshead-Makar says, “”I think Dara has done a service to all of sports. She’s taken the best of what academic knowledge exists on technique, recovery and nutrition and applied it to herself.” She added, “She deserves credit for staying in an inquiry that the rest of us left.” “

Those who study this topic say Dara Torres is exceptional but not unusual. Even pregnancy does not have to be a barrier to fitness, as 13 Olympians showed in a 1964 study of the Olympic Games new mothers published in the American Medical Association’s Journal in 1972.

As we see, in this crop of OAOs. Instead of just giving-in to the usual time-stealers of job and family (especially when young children are there to care for), life-choices that then prevent a return in Health in mid-age, people will see they can make other choices.

So learning to mark-time by innovative, time-saving, body-sparing physical regimens in the mid-twenties to mid-thirties will be the new goal. Then, when time frees up, in late thirties to late-forties, you can continue being active in middle-age and beyond, at a much better physical level than if you had stopped exercising, like most of us did.

The statistics of the Fair Model show how little physical deterioration there is for active people, until about 70 years old, when it begins, at a much slower pace, than for those who did not remain active.

We’ll speak about these 15 Oldest Active Olympians [OAOs], with great admiration and respect, for they are pushing the boundaries and changing our view of ourselves, as to what is possible. And, just as Baby Boomers are not wandering around in black head-scarves and black, laced-up shoes as of yesteryear, each of us has to find our Path to Health that we hope will lead to personal longevity filled with quality and accomplishment and contribution.

Best to all — Em


Olympics Event TRACKER:




You can read more articles by using the Titles Tab on the upper Navigation Bar. Enjoy!
Read Part 2 at:

(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

Please respect my copyright and include the copyright citation and website address in anything you use from my article. Thanks!

Read Full Post »


I have written an unexpected posting this week.

Thank you, Sarbit, for the question about complex carbohydrates and vegetable choice, which you raised at:

You will find more interactive food charts for diabetics there, too.

I will try to answer your question more fully in this major posting, but as you do not tell me where you live, that makes things harder.

I know Sikhs live all over the world, but India has a seriously magnifying, multiplying problem with diabetes, where it is reaching epidemic levels on a mind-boggling scale (see Reference to this in a New York Times article and others at links below). China also has a tremendous increase in diabetes, and the government there is taking more steps than the Indian government is, so far, to start real change towards Health.

Because of the enormity of this epidemic, especially for wealthy, well-educated, urban Indians, who are likely to have internet access, I will do my best to answer the question as if you are an Indian diabetic, living in India. And, then I hope they will make sure this information will trickle down quickly to those serving less affluent populations, who need helpful information and medical care even more desparately there.

As sobering quote:

From a report from Diabetes Research Centre, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Education and Training in Diabetes, Royapuram, Chennai, India

“… Insulin resistance is a characteristic feature of Asian Indians despite low BMI (Body Mass Index) [37]. Asian Indians require higher levels of plasma insulin to maintain normoglycemia; they also have other characteristic features of insulin resistance such as high central adiposity and high percentage body fat in comparison with many other populations. Insulin resistance worsens with small increments in weight and also with lack of physical activity, both of which are encouraged by modern living. ”

So, the research that is being done shows that Indians have a predisposition toward acquiring diabetes. No real scientific reason for this has been found in the studies so far, just that it exists. In my opinion, it may well be linked to the fact that:

1)   Indians have the largest prevalence of the newest blood-type (Type B), which is only about 500 years old. Their requirements and possibly susceptabilities are different from the vast majority of humans, and although Type B foods are quite wide-ranging and omniverous, their immune systems are more problematical, Dr. D’Adamo finds. Traditional life-styles may or may not incorporate the needed changes for such a wide-ranging biochemical evolution, well yet or even at all. Read more in Dr. D’Adamo’s books. www.dadamo.com

2)   Indians picked up some bad, Western dietary habits through the British occupation, so the erosion of their own healthier, traditional ways has been ongoing for a couple of hundred years, and with the explosion of sedentary, high-stress jobs in current India, the triggers are set, just like in the Western countries, but with India’s massive populations, the results will be disastrous.

3) Many of India’s traditional foods and Ayurvedic health practices kept this situation balanced. Western drug companies see BIG new markets, so I worry about the “research” that will be done. I encourage Indians to return to the herbs and treatments Ayurvedic Medicine has used successfully for thousands of years, as well as learning more appropriate diet, as explained below, but not necessarily in the Big Pharmacy Company // Big Medicine view.

___   My first advice is to stay away from sweets and their simple carbohydrates, completely. As I understand it from recent articles, too many Indians are over-indulging in sweets and this is propelling the diabetes epidemic, as well as obesity.  Sugar is highly acidic and produces a very pH acidic metabolic environment for your cells. At the end of each day, for Health to happen, you need to try to be neutral pH or alkaline pH. If you are cellulary acidic, then changing diet, proper detoxification, stress reduction / meditation are all helpful.

If you do sweeten something, do not use artificial sweeteners, and do use as unprocessed products as possible e.g. use molasses or jaggery (gur) (and try to buy agave or stevia plants, if you can in Western stores or use the internet).

___   Secondly, as far as complex carbohydrates go, for everyone but especially if vegetarian, then it is not only the simple sugars that you must be aware of; complex carbohydrates are the “starches“. 

Dal flours and grain flours (even moreso) are acidic pH foods. Besan will probably be a better choice than atta flour, but both are likely to impact pH opposite to what you need for alkaline, as almost all beans and grains are acidic pH to some degree.

The most alkaline legumes likely to be available in India are: green beans, fresh limas (pavta), the lentil dals, lobhia / chawli (black-eye peas).

Fresh pavta (lima beans) are one of the few alkaline beans, but many people who are Blood Type A may find these not healthy for them, as they can react to the lectins in them

I have little or no information on the pH of sabudana (sago), jowar, bajra or most of India’s vast rice varieties, but Japonica family of rices seem to be alkaline, whereas Basmati seems to be acidic in varying degrees. Some chemists place brown Basmati rice close to neutral pH, but milled rices are not healthy.

Makki Ka Atta (cornmeal) is not recommended as it is quite acidic pH.

___   For vegetarians, beans and dahls are needed for protein, along with nuts. Therefore, use lots of green leafy vegetables to try to “balance” these protein sources,  most of which produce acidic pH except for narial (coconut) and badam (almond) which have alkaline pH. Of course, animal foods produce very high acidic pH levels.

Kadju (cashew) and pista (pistachio) nuts are surprisingly very acidic pH food and these nuts along with moonphali (peanuts, really a legume) are not recommended at all. Akhrot (walnut) should be used infrequently. Pine nuts (chilgoza) are OK to use moderately.

___   The amount of the complex carbohydrate starches (grains, beans, rice etc.) at each meal impact blood sugar levels, as well as the time spent in digestion and nutrient absorption to finally produce that meal’s blood-sugar effects.

Whether the complex carbohydrates are processed faster in your body to cause blood-sugar “spikes” is dependent on there being healthy oils (ghee or coconut oil) and fiber (also known as roughage) in the meal to slow down the complex carbohydrate foods’ blood-sugar effect. You can learn more about the individual Glycemic Index of foods, but they are impacted by the oils, fats and fiber in a meal; you can use this to fine-tune your meals to great advantage. See insulin-reactivity of particular foods at the official research site: www.glycemicindex.com

Vegetables are the healthiest complex-carbohydrates, and you have access to many varieties on the Indian sub-continent that we do not have in the West. Some of them I know from living in Asia and visiting India several times, others I know from those showcased in ethnic markets in the West.

The general guidelines is that they be:
___ nutritious
___ not heavy starches
___ have good amounts of fiber
___ be eaten raw when possible and otherwise lightly cooked.

___   Some foods are amazing in their serious impact on diabetics. The karela bitter melon is a vegetable that has definite impact on blood sugar reduction, and is a potent medicine in itself, as is dalchini (cinnamon).  Gymnema sylvester is also an important Indian herb for diabetes, but I don’t know its Hindi name. Methi (fenugreek) and kadhi patta (fresh kari leaves) are also used to treat diabetes in some way. Utilize these only in the care of an Ayurvedic vaidya or other holistically knowledgeable physician.

Ayurveda is the “Science of Life”, and is Humanity’s first medical system. It is the basis for all of the major medical systems for the past 5,000 years, including Chinese, Egyptian and Greek (which birthed European medicine).

___   Fruits should be limited, and choose only be the most nutritious as well as ones that aid digestion. Other traditionally-used Ayurvedic fruits  e.g. amla (emblica) are also ones to pay attention to. Melon seeds (chor magaz) may be helpful. Kokum looks possible from its herbal references.

We are at a disadvantage here as the ash-tests needed to emulate the burning of the food in our body, as we metabolize it, have not been done on most foods (and especially ethnic, non-European foods) in order to get their real pH information. Dipping litmus paper into a mashed sample to get a pH number is not the correct Chemistry protocol.

For other fruits, it seems wise not to use khubani (apricots) often, as they appear to have acidic pH even though they are nutritious. Kish mish / monuka (raisins) are the same as seem to be too concentrated sugar and make acidic pH in our body. Contrary to what a litmus paper test will tell you, lemons and limes are alkaline in your body, and are very healthful. I do not know how widely available these fruits are in India; grapefruits / pomelos are also alkaline.

___   It is possible that many of the traditional spices may helpfully impact pH, but I don’t have information about many of them. Spices that are thought of as healthy, or which come from plants that have good pH, are likely good candidates. Examples might be: curry powder, til (sesame), podina (mint), adrak (ginger), haldi (turmeric), sowa (dill), ajmud (celery seed), amb halad (zedoary), saunf (fennel), khus khus (poppy seed), subja seeds used in falooda, panch phora and garam masala.

Some LOCAL kala namak (rock salt) may be OK; check with a knowledgeable Ayurvedic physician. Citric acid (limbuphool) is used a lot in India, and citric acid is an important ingredient in the Krebs cycle to produce cellular energy, which is often lacking in diabetics. I do not know if it has the same alkaline pH as fresh lemons do (yes, as I said above, lemons and limes have alkaline pH).

However, jaiphal and javitri (nutmeg and mace) produce acidic pH, along with rai (mustard) or kali mirch (green, pink, white or black peppercorns) and I do not encourage their use.

To make achaar (pickles) use a sirka (vinegar) like apple cider vinegar or a light rice vinegar and balance them out with lots of alkaline foods. These vinegars are the least problematic from a pH point of view.

___   Eating your more traditional diet will likely keep you healthier than starting the “usual” Westernized one, with its factory food and emphasis on poor quality, lots of sugar, too little fresh food and the wrong fats.

___   Eat fresh foods, in their proper growing season.
___   Stay “true” to your Ayurvedic constitutional type – your Prakrti. Each human’s body follows one of 7 constitutional types. Ayurveda is always a personalized, holistic regimen and tries to focus on prevention, as well as cure. Honor Ayurveda’s guidelines for relaxation and exercise choices as some Constitutional types needs lots of physical activity whereas other types need more quiet — both in reflective pursuits and exercise choice (yoga and Pilates might be the best, less rigorous choices along with meditation or quiet time for meditation, arts, poetry or classical music).

And, now to answer your original question more specifically, Sarbit. Here are some vegetables to use because they help maintain a neutral or alkaline tissue pH in your body:

bittermelon (balsam pear), karela
fresh green beans
dasheen (taro root)
garlic (lahsun)
most green leafy vegetables, like:
     saag (spinach), dahnia sabz (coriander), haak (collards)
sweet potatoes (if you can get them)
leeks and onions (piyaz)
baby peas (matar)
eggplant / aubergine / brinjal/ bhaji
imli (tamarind) – small amounts
white potatoes only if skin is included
pippili long pepper
agar-agar (China grass) for jellies

For beverages 1 – 2 cups (only) of green tea, if your prescription medications allow it.

This is not a complete list of the best alkaline foods that may be available to you. It’s just a start and the best I can do from thousands of miles away, at the moment. Hopefully, you will have access to some of the Western foods that more usually have been studied for their impact on internal pH, but be sure to pay attention to each food’s Glycemic Index. That alone will be useful information to help guide you to Health. Some will surprise you, and do remember there are lots of sugars naturally in milks.

I hope this helps, and if anyone else can contribute to this, please do!

Best to all — Em


P.S. Congratulations to Olympian in Air Rifle, Abinhav Bindra, a 25 year old MBA from Chandigarh, India who has just won India’s very first gold medal, ever.     8-11-08





For more intriguing and useful health articles, please click on the Titles Tab on the upper Navigation Bar at the top of this page. Enjoy!

(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you desire to quote from or use my article, please respect my copyright and include it and my website address in the article you write. Thanks!

Read Full Post »