This is the story of how I can manage my Type 1 Diabetes without insulin. We left off my Gluten-Free, Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetic journey in the late summer of 2017. I was managing my diabetes completely without artificial insulin through a gluten-free diet that was high in vegetables. However, in August and September, my fasting blood sugar was getting higher and higher. I was about to discover that other foods can inflame the gut and raise blood sugar. Dairy-free and grain-free were about to be added to my diet description.
Why an Elimination Diet?
In my effort to bring my blood sugar down, I started eating more and more dairy and meat. Zero carbohydrate foods, right? They can’t raise my blood sugar, right? Wrong. They can. I will try to explain what I know…diary is inflammatory. If the gut is inflamed, the villi do not form a tight wall. It becomes very permeable, allowing partially digested food into the blood stream. This can trigger an autoimmune response and raise the blood sugar level.
Jumping back to August/September 2017, I couldn’t figure out how to lower my blood sugar, so I checked out a book from the library that was recommended by a friend, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. This was sort of a last ditch effort. My thought was that my blood sugar levels were getting to the point that I’d need to go on insulin again, but if this book claims it can fix my autoimmune disease, what do I have to lose?
As I jumped into the book, it resonated with me. Yes, this is what I was going through, and I was willing to try anything at this point before going back on insulin. While I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my “use-food-to-heal-my-body” theories, I had just enough gumption to try it.
Blood Glucose and the Elimination Diet
The book has a 30 day elimination diet that is nicely laid out with exactly what to eat each meal along with recipes and shopping list. I followed it to a T. I bought every item and made every meal. Everything that wasn’t allowed (coffee, alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, nuts, nightshades etc.) I stopped eating.
My blood sugar improved dramatically and immediately. As in the first official day of the diet, my fasting blood sugar was 126. (I had stopped coffee a couple days before and basically began eating according to the diet the day prior to officially starting.) That first day’s fasting blood sugar was perfectly in range (less than 130). The next day it was 111, the next 135, 124, 110, 104, 132…my blood sugar was between 100 and 140 every morning.
What in the world? This is the power of eating food that nourishes your body!
I attributed the dramatic blood sugar change primarily to the elimination of dairy. Cottage cheese and brick cheese were my go-to snacks prior to the elimination diet, and I was probably having upwards of 8 servings of dairy every day. Possibly overdosing on dairy. 🙂 Looks like dairy-free is the life for me going forward!
Me and the Elimination Diet
The Meyers Way threw me into the kitchen like I had never been before. I like to cook and enjoy being in the kitchen, but this diet was a whole new level of cooking:
- Zero processed or convenience food
- 100% fresh vegetables, no frozen or canned
- TONS and tons of vegetables at every meal = lots of chopping!
- No easy sides or bases to the meal, i.e. corn tortillas, rice, beans, potatoes
I’d love to tell you I thrived and found joy and purpose in making fresh meals that clearly were healing and nourishing my body. However, that would just not be true. I found the extra hours in the kitchen a huge burden and the results of my effort were lacking in the flavor department. The amazing blood glucose results were the only reason I could hold on for two weeks of this diet.
Yes, I’m sad to report, I only stayed on the diet for two weeks! After two weeks, I was happy with my blood glucose numbers, but I was very unhappy with the tastiness of my meals and time in the kitchen. I started the re-introduction of foods after two weeks, and I now know, this was likely too soon. However, I continued to have good, in-range fasting blood sugar results for six weeks post elimination period.
The book did not mention a reintroduction schedule, so I began withe the food I missed the most. First, I introduced eggs, whole eggs. I did not separate the yolk from the white. I just ate the whole thing. These had no effect on my blood sugar so I continued on with nuts, followed by coffee and chocolate. Last, I introduced alcohol. All of those were fine. My morning blood sugar was still in the 100-140 range, and it stayed that way for six weeks after the diet.
After the Elimination Diet
After my short stint in the Meyers Way diet, I began a strict Paleo diet. Now that I wasn’t eating dairy or grains, the name for my diet was/is Paleo. Now that I had a name for the way I was eating, I could find tons of recipes via Pinterest or blogs I already knew about, Against All Grain for one.
Want a funny story? Dan has been wanting to eat Paleo for years. I always poo-pooed it because of the amount of pressure on me in the kitchen. After our first son was born, we were eating Paleo and using Danielle Walker’s cookbook, Against All Grain, as our primary recipe source. When I finally stopped eating Paleo, I sold the cookbook because I hate keeping things I’m not using. Now, in November 2017, I’m back on the Paleo bandwagon for good, for life, and I needed a cookbook. What’s the first one I buy? Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple, and I’m planning to buy Against All Grain again soon. Ha. Isn’t life ironic?
Even though the Meyers Way diet only lasted for two weeks, I saw dramatic effects on my blood sugar. I also figured out I have an sensitivity to all grains and dairy. Eliminating these from my diet allowed my gut to heal so it wouldn’t leak foreign objects into my bloodstream. With my bloodstream clean, my beat-up pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep my blood sugar within normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic. The taglines for my diet now include gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free; this diet is commonly called Paleo.
Insulin-free, Type 1 Diabetic series: