Avoiding Type II Diabetes

The Pre-diabetes diet

Chapter 4 of this on-going saga. The entries keep getting shorter but the battle remains.

Note: You can read the first three posts below if interested. While I don’t want to use scare tactics, remember that 30% of you have pre-diabetes and don’t know it. It can cause increased heart attacks, strokes, blindness, Alzheimer’s (which is often called type 3 diabetes) and more. Sigh.

How I Keep My Glucose Level Stable

I am now in month five of the extreme self-described “avoid diabetes” plan. Over the months I have found a few things that send my blood sugar soaring. So I continue to avoid most of them, leading to a pretty boring diet. All the items you would expect are on the list, along with some you wouldn’t expect. If you are having trouble regulating your glucose level, some of these items may be affecting you too.

(Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and not meant to be medical advice. Since I am not a medical professional I cannot give medical advice. However, if you are suffering from any of the same issues you may want to mention them to your doctor!)

Weird Foods I Cannot Eat

Or – things I at least have to limit:

  • Beans: Considered one of the best foods to keep your blood sugar under control, I can’t eat beans. This is a problem since I am a vegetarian and (previously) get most of my protein from beans.
  • Tomatoes: Right now I am looking at the 50 tomato plants I started from seed this year. I love tomatoes and always grow several (or more than several!) different types. But I can only eat tomatoes in limited amounts and red sauce, even homemade, is a real no-no.
  • Falafels: I guess it’s the beans (falafels are made from chick peas) but I can’t eat more than one.
  • Bread: Doesn’t matter if it’s homemade, whole grain, low-carb, wraps, thin-sliced, etc. I can’t even be in the same room. This is a really tough one because I love to bake. The family is suffering, haha.

Weird Foods I Can Eat

That you wouldn’t expect:

  • Lentils: Yes, I cannot eat beans but I can eat lentils with no problems.
  • Ice Cream: In moderation yes, but I can eat small amounts of ice cream without it adversely affecting my glucose. I love the Dove minis.
  • Grapefruit: Most of the extreme blood sugar diets say to stay away from citrus, but I can eat grapefruit.
  • Ezekial Bread: Made from sprouted grains, not flour, Ezekial bread fills my bread cravings. I eat 3-4 slices a week.
  • Kind Bars: Especially the Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt, and the Caramel Almond and Sea Salt varieties.

Other than these items I stick pretty much to broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, nuts, a little popcorn, plain goat milk yogurt, tofu, and pickled vegetables.

To lose weight I still am staying under 1000 calories a day, with the occasional fasting day having only green juices – which are not delicious but take weight off quickly and keep it off.

Good luck on your own journey. Would love to hear how you are doing.

Pre-diabetes Update: Trying to Kill the Sugar Dragon

Chapter 3 of this on-going saga. I hope your quest to slay the pre-diabetes dragon is going better than mine!

Note: You can read the first two posts below if interested. While I don’t want to use scare tactics, remember that 30% of you have pre-diabetes and don’t know it. Rampant diabetes tears up your personal countryside just like a dragon! It can cause increased heart attacks, strokes, blindness, Alzheimer’s (which is often called type 3 diabetes) and more. Sigh.

First the good news: After two solid months of living on the broccoli-and-walnuts diet my Hba1c dropped to below pre-diabetes level! It was exciting. In that two months I had also lost 15 pounds. So, again against my doctor’s better judgement, I stopped taking metformin. Why? Because I was tired of being nauseous all the time.

(Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and not meant to be medical advice. Since I am not a medical professional I cannot give medical advice. However, if you are suffering from any of the same issues you may want to mention them to your doctor!)

Now the bad news: My weight loss came to a screeching halt. I have lost and gained the same two pounds several times over the last month. Now that I am not sick all the time, I am hungry all the time! And despite my best intentions every morning, by late afternoon I am straying from my strict diet. So eating more, plus eating the occasional slice of pizza, more beans, and a couple of pieces of chocolate every week has led to my blood sugar levels creeping back up too.

At this point I am resisting going back on the metformin but may change my mind by the end of the month. Guess we will see.

How is your diabetes control going?

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Figuring Out Pre-Diabetes Causes

Look around you. One out of every 10 people has diabetes. Almost 30% of them don’t know it.

One out of every three people (that’s 30%!) is pre-diabetic. Ninety percent of them don’t know it.

It could be you. Even if you diligently have an annual physical and bloodwork. So how do you get diagnosed?

First; ask for a Hba1c test in addition to a fasting blood sugar. Then look at your test results yourself, don’t rely on the doctor’s office. Then take action; eat a better diet, lose weight, get moving. If that still doesn’t work, you may need to do more – thus my story.

 

Last month I shared a bit of my pre-diabetes story. You can review it below this post if interested. If you are struggling with pre-diabetes or type II diabetes you may find my story helpful. If diabetes isn’t on your radar, you may find this to be a cautionary tale!

Pre-Diabetes Treatment Plan

When I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes I was put on the standard treatment, metformin. Which made me horribly sick all the time. And didn’t lower either my glucose levels or my Hba1c level.

I continued to cut back on carbs, ate lots of fresh veggies from the garden (it was summer), and was walking about 13,000 steps per day and swimming every day. It didn’t make sense. Luckily, I have a good memory and thought back to the year my fasting sugars went from 80 to 98. What else was going on around that time?

Do You Take Statin Drugs?

Then I remembered. After years of trying various statins, and suffering every side effect known to man, I started taking generic Lipitor on a regular basis. Eight months later my blood sugars started to rise. There couldn’t be a connection, right? Wrong! Apparently, it has been known for at least 10 years that statins cause increased blood sugars!

Here’s the conundrum; statins protect us against strokes and heart attacks (supposedly but that’s an argument for another day). Statins also raise blood sugar. Increased blood sugar puts us at risk for strokes and heart attacks. So, the very medication that should protect us also causes a condition that increases the risk. It’s hard to wrap your head around.

Medical Disclaimer

This is a good place for my disclaimer because what I did next isn’t recommended by the medical community, including my own doctor who disagrees with my decision. (Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and not meant to be medical advice. Since I am not a medical professional I cannot give medical advice. However, if you are suffering from any of the same issues you may want to mention them to your doctor!)

I stopped taking my statin. Yes, my cholesterol level has gone up. No, my blood sugar has not come down (yet). No, my Hba1C has not decreased either (yet). No one really knows how long it will take. All this is based on the assumption that the statin caused my pre-diabetes. It may be some rare, other factor that we haven’t explored yet.

Extreme Diabetes Diet

In the meantime, I am taking drastic measures. My metformin dosage was doubled, which led to two weeks of not being able to eat hardly at all due to nausea. Didn’t help my glucose levels but did help me start to lose weight. Since January 1st I have been on a super-low carbohydrate (less than 50 grams/day), low-calorie (about 1000 cal/day), diet with at least one fasting day/week. I have managed to lose 10 pounds so my BMI is down to 23. Blood sugars are lower too, as long as I keep individual meals to less than 20 grams of carbs. I have even lost a little bit of my belly which is the biggest bonus, because a big belly increases blood sugar even if we are skinny otherwise. I hope to lose another 10 pounds which would get my BMI down to 21.5 and hopefully radically decrease my Hba1c.

I won’t lie. The diet is brutal with very little variety. As you might expect, no bread, no pasta, no rice, no whole grains, in fact – no grains at all. Very limited amount of beans, and the occasional piece of fruit. No sweets. Basically, I am eating raw nuts, a few eggs each week, and lots of vegetables, especially broccoli. I have found that fiber is the key. If I want to keep my blood sugar stable during the day I eat small amounts of food with lots of fiber, and supplement with PGX (a fiber supplement to support blood sugar). Here is the diet in bulleted form:

  • No more than 50 grams of carbs per day (net grams)
  • No more than 1000 calories per day
  • No grains, no sweets
  • Small meals; don’t eat all 1000 at one time
  • Few beans, few eggs, light on dairy, light on fruit, almost no starchy vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, peas, corn
  • Plenty of vegetables; especially broccoli
  • Nuts are good, seeds too
  • Occasional glass of red wine is ok, no other alcohol
  • Lots of water and tea
  • Tofu, avocado, olive oil, olives all work well too
  • Non-vegetarians can also include lean poultry and fish

I didn’t just dream this diet up all by myself. It is a combination of suggested diabetes diets by Dr. Gabriel Cousens (There is a Cure for Diabetes), Dr. Mark Hyman (The Blood Sugar Solution, this book is a little outdated), and Dr. Mona Morstein (Master Your Diabetes).

Next month I will share my latest results, and whether or not I can finally eat something other than walnuts and broccoli! Also why I chose to follow this route instead of depending entirely on standard diabetes medications. In the meantime, are you suffering from any of the above “issues?” Have you been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type II diabetes? How do you manage your blood sugar? What works best for you? I would love to hear your experience.

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What I Know About Pre-Diabetes

Last year I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. This was a surprise to both me and my doctor because:

  • I have followed a heart-healthy, vegetarian, diabetes-friendly diet for decades.
  • No one in my immediate family has, or has ever had, diabetes.
  • While I could stand to lose weight, I am not overweight.

Since the doctor was at a loss, she prescribed metformin. Thus, started a journey I hope to keep you from! We all like excitement but trust me, avoid the type II diabetes tour if at all possible.

I won’t bore you with the details but here is what I have learned in my obsessive quest to figure out just what is going on with my body. (Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and not meant to be medical advice. Since I am not a medical professional I cannot give medical advice. However, if you are suffering from any of the same issues you may want to mention them to your doctor!)

Subtle Signs of Diabetes

Big Belly: Is your belly getting bigger even though you eat a healthy diet? Even though you really aren’t gaining weight? Mine was, I had to keep buying new pants in larger and larger sizes just to get them around my belly. My doctor thought it was just my age, after all – I am over 50. It wasn’t my age – it was increasing insulin resistance.

Can’t Lose Weight: Although I wasn’t overweight, my weight did keep creeping up over time. And I could not lose any to save my soul. As someone who had never dieted in my life until about age 50 it was a humbling experience. I tried Ideal Protein, a super-low-calorie diet out of the UK, fasting for 16 hours daily, and even ate increased calories at my doctor’s suggestion. Result – 0 pounds lost. Once again, I was told it was my age, nothing could be done. It wasn’t my age – it was increasing insulin resistance.

Infections: I won’t get too personal here but if you find you are suffering from yeast infections and/or skin fungal infections it could be increased insulin resistance.

Increasing Fasting Glucose: For decades my fasting blood sugar was around 80. Then suddenly it was 98. No problem the doctor said. But now I know it was a problem – at least for me! It was a sign (and a rather sudden sign) of increasing insulin resistance.

Next month I will tell you how I figured out what was causing my pre-diabetes, and how I am attempting to tame it. In the meantime, are you suffering from any of the above “issues?” Have you been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type II diabetes? How do you manage your blood sugar? What works best for you? I would love to hear your experience. Contact Me

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