The Low Carb Diabetes Association
Mona Morstein, ND
The Low Carb Diabetes Association (LCDA)
The Low Carb Diabetes Association (LCDA) is a non-profit organization committed to educating diabetic patients, caregivers, medical practitioners, businesses and the worldwide community about using comprehensive integrative medicine to prevent and successfully treat all types of diabetes.
We focus on teaching The Eight Essentials™—a low-carb, whole foods diet, optimal exercise, sleep, stress management, healing the gut and microbiome, environmental detoxification, supplementation, and medications. Learning about these categories of treatment will help empower people to overcome the worldwide diabetes crisis and be victors, not victims, of diabetes.
What’s in a Name
We named it the Low Carb Diabetes Association, as “low carb” is a catch-phrase that is gaining significant recognition in our country and around the world, to help draw in people interested in regulating their blood glucose in an unconventional manner. However, all of our Essentials are equally important, and we plan on educating people as fully as possible in all of the different categories.
I am the founder and Executive Director of the LCDA, a tax-exempt non-profit organization. Our website can be found at www.lowcarbdiabetes.org
Our strategic plan for this first foundational year is to gain general and physician memberships, seek sponsorships, and develop our educational programs. As our organization grows, we hope to spread our message worldwide.
We are now building a robust, vibrant website, sending out newsletters twice a month, and posting many various lecture presentations at our website. Our efforts also include:
- Community outreach programs, such as bringing important movie screenings (eg, “Fixing Dad”) to communities
- Developing cardiorespiratory evaluation tools for physicians to use with patients in their offices
- Creating an LCDA Victory Program that engages members in a 16-week course utilizing The Eight Essentials
- Recording interviews with specialists and those who have lived fulfilling lives with diabetes to inspire and motivate others
- Creating a webinar
- Networking with others on-line and at conference
As Executive Director I am mostly responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the LCDA, but I am getting great help from our board of directors. We have a diverse board that include an MD with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), an ND with type 1 diabetes (T1DM), 2 additional NDs, a DO, and a woman with T1DM who used to be a soloist with the New York ballet. We are working well together to achieve our strategic goals.
All non-profit organizations seek sponsorship income. With our 8 categories of education and treatment, we have many ways for businesses to find value in supporting the LCDA: from supplement companies, to gym companies, mattress companies, and so forth. It takes a lot of time to approach companies seeking sponsorship and it is a skill level I hope to get better at day by day.
- Finding the right direction
After a few changes, LCDA currently has a friendly, stable, passionate, and committed board of directors. There are loads of great ideas, different people having different skills, and everyone has a lot of energy to spend on growing the LCDA.
- There is a lot to do
The day-to-day activities of running a non-profit organization fall on the shoulders of the Executive Director. Right now, I am a full-time physician at the medical clinic I own and run in Tempe, AZ. So, it’s a pretty busy life, and it can be exhausting to also spend hours each day/night nearly every day of the week in my role as Executive Director. However, I feel very supported by my Board, and that, combined with my drive and excitement to spread our information worldwide, gives me the energy to keep plugging along. Although I have not been formally trained in working in a non-profit organization, I am reading up on it and putting my heart and mind into excelling at it.
The “Big Picture” Goal
I would like the LCDA to be considered a huge resource worldwide for helping to prevent and treat diabetes in ways that go beyond a standard high-carb diet plus medications, which is, unfortunately, the mainstay of conventional care. That is why a majority of diabetic patients are not well controlled and why those poorly controlled patients develop serious complications and frequently die prematurely, usually of cardiovascular disease.
The statistics are frightening: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently 29 million Americans with diabetes and 86 million with prediabetes. In 2010, 27% of people over 65 years old had diabetes. The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 people will develop diabetes. Furthermore, CDC reported that the financial cost to the US in 2012 was 245 billion dollars, and the cost is growing each year.
If the LCDA can bring to the forefront ways to reduce diabetes onset, and also help diabetic patients become much better controlled, we can help millions of people.
Support from the Naturopathic Community
We are getting some NDs signed up as medical practitioners, and also a growing pool of NDs have done the LCDA diabetes certification program through MedicineTalkPro.org. When they do that course and join the LCDA on our website, they get the LCDA logo by their name, showing they are indeed specialists in treating prediabetes and diabetes using comprehensive integrative care. Having physicians commit to doing the entire diabetes certification course and becoming experts in comprehensive, integrative diabetes care is very exciting to the LCDA.
We have also had positive feedback from NDs about what we are doing and feel encouraged that they consider the LCDA a great idea whose time has come. Joseph Pizzorno, ND, will be a speaker at our first webinar later in the year. I hope to have success getting other ND speakers. ND students are also expressing interest in helping LCDA, which is very exciting.
Our first region is North America, and, as we know with the exciting new licenses in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, naturopathic medicine is still a growing field in the US and Canada. This is very encouraging! However, as you can see from our Board, we welcome diversity in medical practitioners, and we wish to connect with medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and all medical practitioners interested in naturopathic, integrative, functional medicine who want to work with prediabetic and diabetic patients.
I would love to connect with the World Naturopathic Federation, as well. There are 300 million diabetic patients throughout the world, so, having a friendly venue to connect with overseas physicians with a naturopathic mindset is certainly a huge goal for the LCDA.
Visibility and Social Outreach
We are doing publicity through social media, including Facebook organizations, Twitter, NaturopathicChat, and Functional Medicine University. We have been interviewed by Jewish News, and are having formal press releases this week.
My book, Mastering Diabetes: The Comprehensive Approach to Successfully Treating Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes, is being published by Chelsea Green Publishers this spring, and I plan to use the marketing of that book to promote LCDA.
We are working to be part of Low Carb Expos and The Diabetes Summit. I am working toward increasing our visibility with both print and TV news shows. Lastly, we are working to connect with a variety of other organizations, non-profit or otherwise, who focus on 1 of our 8 areas of focus or with diabetes as a whole. We just received a mutual sharing of links with Rachel Zinman, a yoga expert in South Africa with T1DM, who I interviewed for LCDA, and who has the website: yogafordiabetesblog.com. We hope to continue making these types of wonderful connections.
Board Member Highlight/Spotlight
Zippora Karz, the author of a very interesting book called The Sugarless Plum, is one of our board members. The book details her story of perseverance after being diagnosed with T1DM when she was a full-time ballerina in the New York City Ballet. She found our website by chance and connected with me. She has been a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Taking Care of Your Diabetes. She came across the LCDA and found that it was consistent with all the ideas she had formulated for herself over her years as a diabetes patient. We connected so well that she decided to join our board and be a spokesperson for the LCDA. As a new non-profit organization, connecting with amazing individuals like that is just what we are looking to do!
Mona Morstein, ND, is a naturopathic physician at Arizona Integrative Medical Solutions in Tempe, AZ and an expert on pre-diabetes and diabetes. Dr Morstein is a frequent lecturer at medical conferences, and produced an 11-week diabetes webinar through MedicalTalkPro.com. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Low Carb Diabetes Association, www.lowcarbdiabetes.org, a non-profit designed to educate patients, care-givers, medical practitioners, businesses, and the worldwide community about using integrative care to prevent and treat diabetes. Her book, Mastering Diabetes: The Comprehensive Approach to Successfully Treating Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, will be published in the spring of 2017.