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  BirthWorks is a comprehensive program that works to improve birth and health for the whole person. We address many issues that help keep a woman in the perinatal period healthy so she has a better chances of growing  a healthy baby, having a transformative birth,  and being of sound mind, body, and spirit during the early years of parenting. Here, we are addressing the national/global concerns of obesity and Type 2 diabetes brought on by a diet high in fats and highly processed foods that bear little resemblance to the whole foods that they came from.  This is adversely impacting the health of both mother and babies and the process of birth today. Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes have become major health issues in the USA and most countries around the world.  They are a large health cost to the global population and are also contributing to complications for pregnant and birthing women.  We used to think that once a person has Type 2 Diabetes, he/she has it for life.  The good news is that the latest research shows this is not necessarily true.  Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed with a lifestyle program of eating a whole foods plant based diet, regular exercise, and managing stress.  It can also prevent development of diabetes in the many people who have prediabetes or have had gestational diabetes. Normally, the pancreas secretes insulin which allows us to store and use glucose (sugar) from the food we eat.  In type 2 diabetes, the problem starts when our cells become resistant to the insulin and do not allow glucose to be transported into the cells of muscle, liver, brain, and other organs for energy, metabolism, storage, and overall function. Exciting new research!  Decrease your fat intake. Research has now shown that the main culprit is the fats that are deposited in the cells of muscle, liver, and other vital organs which  interfere with the transport of glucose into the cells.  Like a lock and key mechanism, insulin attaching to the receptors on the outside of the cell, acts as a key to facilitate the glucose coming from the blood into the cell. When fats are deposited into cells, they inhibit the effect of insulin which is to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cell.  Inside the cell, glucose is used to produce energy and carry out  other functions of the cell depending on the organ or tissue that these cells are within. If there is an inadequate supply of glucose in the cell, there will not be enough energy or power for the cell and organ that the cell is a part of, to do its job.  If the cell is in a muscle, it will not be able to move or contract the muscle it is a part of.  If the cell is in the brain and does not get enough glucose, you have impaired cerebral function and can eventually go into a coma. The solution is to start with the root cause of the disease which is to prevent or remove fat buildup in cells  Where are the fats coming from?  They are coming from a variety of sources and include any added fats or oils to your foods.  Examples are salad dressings containing fat, saturated fats in baked goods, pastries and butter and margarines in recipes, fats added to foods or foods cooked in fat such as French fries and chicken nuggets, and especially any deep fat fried foods.  To avoid oils, I saute my vegetables in water or vegetable stock and it works just fine! The most effective way to improve or reverse your diabetes, is to decide now to begin eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet.  All a person with prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes has to do, is to eat only whole plant foods that are minimally processed and avoid all fats and oils which are mostly highly processed.  You can get all the fats that you need by eating whole foods such as corn, seeds and nuts (especially flax seed meal and chia seeds), instead of processed corn oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, etc. Since the body is always trying to heal itself, you will be surprised how quickly you will see results. However, if you are on medications, especially insulin for diabetes, work closely with your doctor to adjust medicines according to what your blood sugars are running and also blood pressure meds to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar from going too low from these lifestyle changes in combination with medications.  Also speak to your doctor about supplementing with Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D to prevent deficiencies of these vitamins on a plant-based diet. Here is a picture of a lunch served at the recent conference I attended in Washington DC called the ICNM (International Committee of Nutritional Medicine).  Start now eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts being sure you have a rainbow plate of many colors.  It is delicious and you will begin feeling healthier and having more energy.  If pregnant, your baby will also be having the best start in life.