East Bay Livabetes

It’s a cloudy day in the East Bay, but the sun is soon to come out to burn off the fog and the carbs. Woke up feeling crummy do to a high BG but excited because today is the first Tuesday of the month.

 West Oakland Program

John, Dexter, Julia and I are greeted at the door by the mile long smile of Jason Madison, The West Oakland Family Resource Center Director. Jason is the type of guy who questions everything and listens. He’s the type of person you want to have as a friend, family member or somebody whom you include in your inner circle and team. His story is amazing.

Growing up in Louisiana, Jason’s diet was high carb, high oil and highly destructive for him. Jason is a big guy, but he was really big when the Doc’s told him he has diabetes. They gave him this pill and that one and this medication and that medication, to do this and do that. Finally Jason said enough, my health starts with me.

Jason is the solution to his diabetes. Through conscious eating for energy, steadily increasing his exercise and reducing his stress load, Jason was able to reduce his blood sugars into the normal range (70-120mg/dl) (fasting/postmeal)

Jason was our door in shinning armor to the West Oakland Community. In the first adult class we had 5 attendees and for the last 6 months these folks have portrayed grit, thoughtful questioning, and they have taught us how to be better educators in the field of diabetes.

Get it in, in 15 is the class motto. Just saying exercise gave some folks a negative thought so we changed the name. A typical class is scheduled for an hour, but sometimes the meditation is so deep we let it run 30 min over. We begin by doing a Blood sugar CHECK (not test because this is not an exam, it’s DATA), and then Get it in, In 15, which entails active stretching, some yoga and stairs. We then cover only 1 topic for 30 min, which is really difficult with diabetes, but then we follow the 1 topic with 10 minutes of free flow discussion. Wait there’s more, after the discussion we meditate with Balinese Gamelan.

Balinese Gamelan in the middle of West Oakland? Yup you bet, having everyone sit on the floor and let their minds relax with thoughtful un-attachment gives folks a quite place to recharge and go about the rest of their day. It has been an absolute pleasure working at the West Oakland Family Resource Center and we look forward to building up the program.

How does it fit in with DASH? The 2014 West Oakland Adult Diabetes Class is a pilot program to build a curriculum specific to the people of West Oakland for Diabetes Education, Empowerment and Self-Efficacy. We believe the folks whom attend the class will then eventually be volunteers at DASH camps and then hopefully one day develop a DASH like program centered on their knowledge from class and their experience at DASH events.

Thanks for the ears,




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