I was diagnosed with adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetes in April 2017. Since that time, I have made radical changes to my diet and lifestyle. First I removed gluten from my diet, then added WAY more vegetables. When that diet needed some tweaking, I dabbled in my first elimination diet and eliminated dairy and all grains. Currently, I am following the Autoimmune Protocol for my diet and slowly reintroducing foods. I recently had my annual endocrinologist appointment, so let’s review how my labs look, my diet, what my doctor thinks of my management, and plans for the future!
My annual check-up involves some lab work. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and if you have one autoimmune disease, it is likely you’ll contract another. I believe this only occurs if you have not found the trigger of the autoimmune response. Once you find the trigger (gluten for me and likely for most others) and remove it from your body and environment, the autoimmune response stops. In the chart below, you’ll find the major areas I and my doctor team are tracking. Some are looking for other autoimmune conditions and others just overall health and monitoring the long term effect of diabetes on the body.
My thyroid levels have lowered and are now in the normal range. This is comforting to me because thyroid disorders are linked to some autoimmune diseases, which I am susceptible to since I have an autoimmune disease. Also, I have a family history of thyroid disorders.
While my current cholesterol levels are perfect, I wish I had a comparison from my time of diagnosis. I suspect my cholesterol (HDL specifically) has improved because I have not rated in the past at the top tier for life insurance because my HDL was too low. I need to quote it again! I think I’d rate better now!
My vitamin D is below normal range. I started taking a vitamin D supplement about two months ago (2000 IUs per day), but per my doctor’s recommendation, I will be doubling that for the next year (4000 IUs per day) to bring that level up into normal range.
I requested my GAD65 levels (presence of elevated levels of this antibody diagnoses Type 1 diabetes) to be checked again merely out of curiosity. I believe I have stopped the autoimmune response in my body, and I wondered if that meant my antibody levels would decrease or if they are still there, just dormant. It looks like I still have a might force of GAD65 in my system! I will continue to request this test though as long as I am insulin-free simply because I’m curious. I’ve seen that the gut takes a long time to heal, so maybe antibody levels change slowly too. I don’t know. Time will tell!
Fantastic improvement in A1c (average blood sugar for the past 2-3 months)! This look is year over year, and you may remember I had significant improvement in A1c immediately with my diet changes (3 month, 6 month, 9 month).
Dramatic weight loss is one of the markers for diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes. Weight loss is common before diagnosis, or even after as carbs are limited, because the body is not using the nutrition it is being fed.
I lost a few pounds prior to diagnosis about 2-4. The dramatic weight loss came after diagnosis. Within 6 weeks, I had dropped 13 pounds. The rapid loss shocked me, and I wondered at first if my diet was sufficient or would I continue to loose weight. Two months after diagnosis, my weight stopped dropping and it has remained the same ±1lb for the rest of the year. That’s incredibly stable for me! I don’t know of a period in my life that I could eat, be full and literally not gain weight. Amazing what real food does for you!
I am following the Autoimmune Protocol for my daily diet. The strict elimination phase began in February 2018, and the reintroduction phase in April 2018. As you can see by my lab results, the diet is working wonderfully to manage my Type 1 diabetes without insulin.
Diet is a huge piece of my management plan, but healthy habits and lifestyle choices are a big factor too. These habits/choices are basic things we all know we should do: get enough sleep, move your body, and manage stress.
So what does my doctor think? They have no idea what to do with me. They are thrilled and yet skeptical. Overjoyed with my numbers and wishing they could have all their patients take control of their health the same way. I’ve had 6 office visits in the last year, and my doctor has had zero recommendations for me. They do their blood work, nerve tests, blood pressure, pulse, etc. and send me on my way. These visits are quick and easy.
Plan for the Future
In the following months/year, I plan to continue working through food reintroductions. One of my goals for this year was to figure out exactly what I can eat. I think it will take the remainder of the year or longer to figure this out. Food reintroductions are slow!
After working so hard this year to figure out my health, the wheels in my head are spinning to think of a way to help others take control of their health. Could I offer classes at my endocrinologist’s office? Online video or ebook courses here on the blog? One-on-one coaching? Become more of a “food blogger.” I don’t have any answers right now, just ideas floating around. Helping other improve their health sounds like a good goal for me down the road.
My insulin free diabetes 1 year review was a smashing success. The doctors and even myself to a certain extent are amazed at my blood sugar control and overall health. There were many points in the last year that I would doubt this insulin free road would continue for very long, but I have been proven wrong over and over again. Food is powerful medicine! Pair it with healthy habits and who knows what you could cure next??
If you are having health issues, where would you look for help? Would you trust a blogger? Would you only seek out medical advice? Do you have an idea for how I could help people??
You’re not using fast acting bolus insulin but do you still use a basal insulin or slow release insulin at bedtime?
Hi, Jan! For 19 months after my diagnosis, I did not use any insulin, not fast acting nor basal. About a month ago, my blood sugar spiked and I had to reintroduce basal insulin. I still do not take fast acting, and in fact, I’ve been lowering my basal dose every few days when it starts sending me low. Currently, I’m taking 9 units of basal per day. I was as high as 14 in December. Thanks for the question!