Diabetes is a disease which is growing like a plague. For the year 2014, Diabetes NZ cites 257,776 people affected by this disease. Furthermore, one in three adults and one in ten kids are obese in New Zealand, with disproportionate representation in the low socio-economic population.
This article aims to present diabetes from a different perspective, investigating the possibility that diabetes is not a ‘disease’, and that it’s not necessarily about ‘calories in – calories out’. Perhaps we need to think outside the ‘official’ guidelines to cure diabetes, and do our research before the so-called ‘healthy’ food actually kills us.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I consider myself fortunate. Diabetes is a slow killer and can go undetected for many years. I was given the common professional advice to control diabetes; eat complex carbohydrates, avoid fat, do a bit of exercise, and take the prescribed pills. Accepting that doctors and dieticians know more than me, I followed the advice, but my diabetes got worse. Every doctor visit added one more tablet to my prescription. Eventually I was on nine pills a day and the next step would be insulin injections. I was also losing weight. Exercise was difficult because I was always hungry. I had high and low sugar peaks, eating six times day to keep the sugar level optimum, but was still losing weight, and confidence.
This was a very hard time for me, but at this point I had an epiphany about the human body. If, when software is created to run a machine, the software engineer also creates an anti-virus - an alternate source of power or ‘safe mode’ to protect the system, then why would ‘nature’ create such a complex machine like the human body without an anti-virus or self-healing ability?
This revelation led me to look at alternatives. I tried different diets; eating raw, then Paleo, and finally, a low carbohydrate diet without *wheat. After much online research, books, and YouTube videos (see references online), it occurred to me that the common professional guidelines for diabetes sufferers need to be reviewed.
In 2014 I started eating a low carb, high fat diet (LCHF). Within 60 days my blood sugar results dropped to pre-diabetic levels without any medicine. Today I eat only twice a day, a wheat- and sugar-free diet. I have started to do strenuous exercise, my energy has improved, my slight belly fat has reduced and muscle weight has increased by 1.5kg. This is on a high fat diet, whereas on a complex carbohydrate, moderate-eating diet I was losing weight.
This diet is very helpful for obese people as they lose weight very easily and can maintain satiety for a longer period. However, here I must issue a disclaimer: I am not a qualified health professional. I started this journey out of necessity as my health was declining in spite of following professional recommendations. I urge you to do your own research, and take responsibility for your own health and nutritional education.
This article is not intended to condemn health professionals, it is simply an invitation to think outside the square, challenge the conventional wisdom, go against the flow and get back what you have been deprived off - your health.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything” George Barnard Shaw
The references below are provided as a starting point for your own research. Watch documentaries, read books, look at websites, create your own recipes, calculate your calories and make your own muesli bars to keep you and your family healthy.
Sustainable Landscapes Consultant
The train was due in a few hours. Young Brian sneaked away to lock himself in the outhouse toilet. His parents couldn’t get him to budge so they put the garden hose in the small louvre window and sprayed him with cold water. After an hour, cold and shivering, Brian gave up and came out of the toilet. His parents sent him back to the Auntie they had given him away to. The only one of the five children to be sent away, he couldn’t understand why his parents didn’t seem to want him. He was too young to understand that his mother was suffering post-natal depression with three children aged six and younger.
Brian suffered chronic homesickness for the three years (aged 8 – 11) he was separated from his family. He felt rejected, and cried constantly. As a result he was teased and bullied at school. This became a deep emotional trauma.
Eventually he was reunited with his family and they moved from Te Rapa to Auckland. Brian’s Dad worked in the Air Force and was often absent. As a result Brian never really developed a relationship with his dad. Instead he was resentful and rebellious, not wanting to listen to or obey his parents.
When Brian married and started his own family, the rejection that he felt as a child overshadowed his relationships causing both withdrawal and aggression. In 1980 when Brian was 28 he became a came to faith as a Christian. He describes it as feeling a warm blanket of love around his shoulders. He felt love instead of rejection. From then on it was a process of transformation. Through his new faith he eventually realised that he had an issue to deal with – his relationship with his parents.
He felt that he should ask his parents’ forgiveness for the way he had behaved toward them when he was a teenager. But he also still felt angry. Why should he apologise? It was his parents who had wronged him! Eventually he decided to do what had to be done. He drove down south to where they were now living. He walked in and told them that he needed to put things right. He told them how he had felt resentment, bitterness and rejection. For the first time, Brian heard the reason why he had been sent away - that it wasn’t his fault, it was just that his mum was severely depressed and couldn’t cope.
It was the start of a new relationship with his parents. Brian was grateful for the opportunity to put things right before his father passed away.
Follow-up questions to this article available at www.bhb.nz
While campaigning I have really enjoyed seeing the rich and unique character of different communities throughout Auckland. Meeting people right through Blockhouse Bay, Lynfield and New Lynn and have been eye openers as I listen and understand what’s important to locals.
Everyday I see Auckland’s potential to be a world-class city. Unfortunately, we are facing constant congestion, failed transport networks, rising house prices and a disconnection between Council and residents.
That is why I left my job at Xero to champion a council that stands up to provide the necessary services and infrastructure needed for growing towns without the extreme rates rises we have seen.
The recently recommended Unitary Plan is an example of where Council should have been much more in touch with communities. The plan will allow for more intensification and urbanisation. New Lynn is set to become the new metropolitan centre and suburbs including Lynfield, New Windsor, Green Bay and Blockhouse Bay are largely zoned for mixed housing suburban. Council could have done a better job at showing people what their community could look like and reassure them they would have enough facilities to cope.
Council is going to have to use carrots rather than sticks to encourage good neighbourhood design and transport integration. This is definitely possible but only with a change in culture to one of unity, action and putting Aucklanders first.
One thing I’ve heard loud and clear is there’s an unequal access to opportunities and amenities across Auckland. In a recent Auckland Council study it was found that in the central-west areas of Auckland many residents felt isolated, disconnected from their communities and saw the definite potential for service improvements. Employment was also a major concern.
As Mayor, I want to power up local boards. They are better at understanding their communities’ main concern and will be able to decide better on priority spending in their areas. Centralising so much decision-making power to the CBD is ineffective and inefficient.
It is clear Auckland is in need of a transformation. We need a Mayor who has a solid vision and purpose for Auckland, one that produces strong leadership, fresh ideas and real results.
CHURCH OF THE SAVIOUR – “100+18” Years Birthday Party
Church of the Saviour celebrated its “100 plus 18th” birthday last month. Over 100 people came along to enjoy an internationally-themed party which included samba dancing (with Rio in mind), a quiz, and an amazing selection of food from around the globe.
The Chinese Church of the Saviour sang a hymn in Mandarin with trumpet accompaniment, and the evening closed very appropriately by singing God of Nations!
There were around 15 different nationalities represented at the party reflecting the multi-cultural nature of Blockhouse Bay.
In the late 1850s, a Mr. Stark drew up his "East Whau" subdivision in what is now Blockhouse Bay. What we now know as Blockhouse Bay Road from Terry Street down to Donovan Street had two names completely forgotten by the 1880s -- Commercial Road (to the Taylor Street intersection) and Sewell Street (to Donovan Street). Donovan Street itself was then White Swan Road.
The only survivors from Stark’s plan today are: Blockhouse Bay Road, Donovan Street, Whitney Street (Whitaker), Terry Street (Thomas) and Exminster Street (Exeter). The vanished paper roads are: Gore Street, Browne Street, Steward Street, Ayr Street, Railway Road, Wynyard Street, Richmond Street, and Clifford Street.
Speaking of lost paper roads: the oddest mystery still unsolved in Avondale's and Blockhouse Bay’s history continues -- why, in early references, does it seem that Taylor Street and St Georges Road were the same and linked together as one, even as late as 1931, when discussion was held regarding the renaming of our streets? The Ambulance Station (misnamed New Lynn Station, although it is really in Avondale) sits right where the paper road part of Taylor Street once extended. Ulster Street also extended over present day Wolverton Street, meeting Taylor Street at an angle. Neither of them joined up with the line of St Georges Road, but there is a suggestion that old walking tracks between them, the most direct way between Blockhouse Bay and Avondale until the late 19th century, may have led people to think there was a connection. What I do know is when you visit Olympic Park today you're also visiting some of the now unseen paper roads of our past.
Timespanner See more online
Note: Lisa Trutman, aka Timespanner, will be at BHB Library on 5 October 5th. See What’s on at the Library for details. Ed
With the aid of a special walker designed by David Hart, children throughout NZ and the world gain the ability to stand and walk. This in turn helps the child’s development with their organs settling into a natural position, opens up the lungs and stimulates mental development.
“[I] Was wondering what others on here from Blockhouse Bay Primary thought about the notice that we got today saying that they school want Year 5 and 6 students to bring $400 Chromebooks to school?” – Susanne
This started a lively thread on Facebook that intrigued us. What is going on at BHB Primary?
Mary weighed in: “Really? First I've heard about it and not happy. The expense, the possibility of damage or theft. I've been expecting BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] for high school but not primary.”
Several comments were positive and this one from Leanne was educational for us “Our daughter had dyslexia and it has helped her learning style.” That got us interested, as dyslexia is an issue that affects our family. Then one of our children joined the debate: “I was in primary school only five years ago and even then (with desktop computers, not iPads) you could easily go off task behind the teacher's back. Making sure 30 children are doing what they are supposed to on devices is like herding cats.”
So what is really going on? We contacted Neil Robinson, Principal of BHB Primary. He sent some background info and invited us to a parents meeting about the introduction of Chromebooks (Google based notebooks). We went along on a miserable rainy night expecting a boring meeting with a handful of parents. We were wrong. It was a vibrant meeting with participation from many families and even hardware vendors.
What we quickly realised is that primary teachers are facing the first wave of “digital natives” – kids who have been born into a high tech world and are as comfortable in it as fish in water.
In a presentation by two Year 6 students, Janae said “Our world is changing fast and we as kids are not afraid of this change it excites us and being able to be connected to the world prepares us for our future.” Ailis commented “Us kids today live in a digital world and it is our future. Lots of us will be in jobs that haven't even been invented yet. Setting ourselves up for this ever changing technological world sooner rather than later is definitely beneficial and essential.”
They spoke about their experience “On Chromebooks, which is a source of digital learning, you can share your work to as many people as you want, with the choice of being able to edit, comment or view our work. This lets our teachers and peers give us immediate feedback.
Another great thing about Google and Chromebooks is that there is an online classroom where our teachers can invite students to collaborate on work and also create assignments for us to complete as individuals or together with others.”
The parents were then invited to move around some of the many workstations so that the students could demonstrate how the technology works and benefits them. The evening wrapped up with a Q&A which showed that some parents were struggling to keep up with the kids.
We got schooled. Here is what we learnt:
Twelve years ago our own boys were involved with digital learning at Roskill South Kindergarten, with access to a MacBook, video and still cameras. When you look at the way technology is moving, one would have to ask, not “why are schools going BYOD?” but “what is still stopping some schools from making the switch?” How will that handicap their students?
On our first-ever visit to BHB Primary, we were impressed with the ethos of the school and the calibre of the staff. They are an asset to our community. It is hardly surprising that the school does not need to take in out of zone students.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a residential care home in the area to experience first-hand a different approach to elder care that was being trialled, based on a concept similar to the Eden Alternative. While the facility I visited is not affiliated to Eden Alternative, it functions under a similar ethos.
The Eden Alternative is a global non-profit organisation that aims to deinstitutionalise long term care facilities by changing the culture of the typical rest home. It embraces guiding principles which address the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom which accounts for the bulk of suffering among our elders.
What I found at this rest home was heartening. Age and ability seemed the only difference between staff and residents. The sense of family was real. Institutional lines had been blurred, and natural displays of affection were encouraged. Former necessities such as “shower rosters” had been abandoned for resident-directed choices – after all, not everyone prefers to take a shower first thing in the morning.
I was introduced to Milly, Molly and Marty – half grown kittens from the same litter. These cheeky, entitled residents made sure they got all the pats and snuggles they could coax out of their human slaves, while outside were raised veggie gardens, available to all who wanted to maintain their green thumbs.
Much staff collaboration goes into planning the ‘impromptu’ parties and celebrations that leave little room for boredom in the lives of these elders. Not all in the lounge that day seemed aware of my presence, but that just didn’t matter.
In my editorial on page 2, I stated that as a society we can do better. My visit to one of our local rest homes has sparked a journey of discovery into how the parts of our community that have been institutionalised, can begin to be reintegrated into society.
I believe it’s best for all of us.
Read more at www.bhb.nz, or Google “Eden Alternative”. Be sure to also read the article next month about Jim Battersby, whose courage and initiative has inspired interaction between two more of our social institutions – Ed.
Last month a third public meeting was held to discuss the Roberton Lodge boarding house situation, which has been of ongoing concern to many local Green Bay residents.
The complaints from locals have been around the behaviour of some Lodge tenants, such as uncontrolled drinking, undesirable visitors, verbal abuse of neighbours, etc. Local residents expressed concern about personal safety, the negative effect on the neighbourhood, and the effect on property values.
There has been an undertaking from Corrections not to refer probationers to the lodge, at least until the end of the year.
It was a fairly heated meeting, with demands directed towards lodge owner Peter Wheeler, and lodge manager Robert Moka. Both Wheeler and Moka were calmly forthcoming with assurances and explanations for the current situation, but at times it appeared they were not heard.
There are at least two sides to every story.
In a meeting with Robert Moka a week later, he told me that when he took on the role as manager of the lodge, there were a lot of changes that needed to be made. It has taken time to put into effect the management plan he devised to ensure the tenants accepted will be a suitable fit with the wider Green Bay community.
He mentioned that initially, the most urgent priority was the eviction of several tenants – a tricky process because of tenancy laws, however eight tenants were able to be moved on fairly quickly. Careful screening of applicants is now part of the management process – a key priority, not only to maintain peace with Green Bay residents, but also to maintain a stable environment within the houses themselves.
The events of the past few months, while concerning to the wider Green Bay community, have also impacted the lodge residents themselves. Many are very vulnerable people, and the stability of their home – Roberton Lodge – has a direct effect on their well-being. While at the public meeting, Peter Wheeler received a text from a resident asking if he still had a home. Additionally, meeting organiser Shari Neva reported that she was saddened that one of the lodge residents got such a fright upon seeing her that he ran out onto the road.
As part of his management strategy, Moka maintains close contact with key DHB and mental health personnel to ensure that prospective residents can be properly supported. While the core business of the lodge is to rent rooms, Moka finds immense satisfaction in being able to provide a secure environment that meets the needs of these marginalised people, for belonging, contact and interaction – needs essential for all human beings. He says that in spite of all that has been going on, there have been many success stories.
From the time he took on the role as manager, Moka’s goal has been to shrink the transient tenancies, and grow the long term residents. He and Wheeler share the opinion that while empty rooms are not good economically, it’s preferable to taking on the wrong people – they are too hard to get rid of once they’re in.
This story is symptomatic of a bigger social question – what to do with people who don’t quite fit in the wider community. Few of us are comfortable with people who have mental health issues, or are socially maladjusted. We don’t want them living in our neighbourhood.
But where do they go? In my opinion, lodges such as Roberton serve the public in a vital way – giving a genuine home to some very marginalised and vulnerable people, as well as providing the bulk of social contact. We no longer have institutions for our social misfits. Like it or not, they are part of our community. The degree to which they find their place, depends on the courage of a few to get to know them, build trust, and break down barriers. Not easy, I know.
Some of these residents are only one step away from being homeless. Surely a managed residential situation like this is better than being on the streets?