This is Michael Pollan’s summary of how to eat mentioned in his documentary, In Defense of Food. It’s on Netflix. I highly recommend it.
Those statements have been rolling around in my head. This is really how I’ve come to manage my diabetes without insulin:
- Eat Food. Real food. Pollan goes into more detail in his book and documentary but basically, if your food can rot, you should eat it. If it doesn’t rot (hello, processes/shelf-stable items!), don’t eat it. For me, this also means no gluten. This is specifically because gluten is causing my body to create antibodies that kill my pancreas.
- Not too much. I am still a Type 1 diabetic. My pancreas is still 80%-ish dead. I cannot go carb crazy and eat all the cake I like (even if it is gluten-free). I eat moderate meals and snacks, and I do not have trouble with my blood sugar.
- Mostly Plants. This is the biggest change for me. I’ve never eaten enough vegetables. It’s something we all know but rarely do: eat more veggies. Now I do. I try to cover more than half my plate each meal in vegetables. Guess what happens when I do? I am full. I return to normal body weight (bye-bye excess baby weight!). I have stable blood sugar (below 130 before a meal).
Here is my latest addition that has allowed me to stop taking the 1 unit of Toujeo and have a “normal” (again, for a Type 1 diabetic) fasting blood glucose (BG).
Go to bed on time and wake up on time.
Every. Single. Day.
This was hard for me, folks. I had been struggling with the 1 unit of insulin I was taking because it would send me low at lunch and dinner if I was even a little bit late for that meal. It really felt like my body didn’t need it if I could just figure out how to lower my BG overnight. I found the answer in two different places (so it is likely out there in more places!).
I have been going to bed at 10 pm (9:45 when possible!) and getting up at 6 am every day for almost 3 weeks, and my fasting BG has been in the 120s since the first morning I started going to bed/getting up on time.
I’ve been completely off additional insulin for 3 weeks now, and I think I’m off it for good. If I can keep my pancreas from dying more, I’m done with injecting insulin, and I’m a Type 1 diabetic.
Type 1 diabetes can be managed by diet and lifestyle changes, if caught right away before the pancreas dies completely.
What in the world? This goes totally against everything I knew growing up in a family with a Type 1 diabetic (a family that now has 4 Type 1 diabetics!).
I meet with my endocrinologist next Wednesday for a quarterly check-up. I am excited to show them my findings, and also to get an A1C (a blood test that gives a 3 month average of past BG levels). I’m curious to see if my average is still good. It should be, but I only check 4 times a day without testing how quickly my BG returns to normal after a meal.
So here’s my modified mantra: