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Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes | How I Became Dairy-Free

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

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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

Paleo AIP Food Prep

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:

  1. Gluten-free Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Eat More Vegetables

Dairy-Free Grain-Free Diabetes

Status

Cinnamon Apples | Paleo, AIP Recipe

As my diet is currently limited under the Autoimmune Protocol, so sweets are few and far between. I originally made Cinnamon Apples as a breakfast side back when I ate a Paleo diet, but I’ve found it to be so much more versatile than just a breakfast item. It even passes for a dessert in my book. The natural sweetness of the apples is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth!

How to Make Cinnamon Apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. I eat them just about every lunch. With a little extra effort, you can jazz up ordinary apples by just tossing them in cinnamon and cooking on the stove-top with a little water. These apples have no sugar added and make a great topping or stand-alone side dish!

No Sugar Added

There is no added sugar in this recipe for several reasons:

  1. I am a Type 1 Diabetic so I try not to add carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar, if I can help it.
  2. Sugar does bad things to your brain. Everyone’s brain, whether or not you have an autoimmune disease or are as fit as a fiddle. In recipes like this, I try to rely on the natural sugar in the fruit without supplementing.
  3. Refined sugar is prohibited in the Autoimmune Protocol.
  4. It is just plain delicious without more sugar!

Cinnamon Apples Raw

Toppings are Everything

Do you want to take a meal up a notch? Go through the extra effort to add toppings. If you’ve made potato soup, fry up bacon and chop some green onions. It takes the soup from good to great. If you’ve made pudding for dessert, toast some coconut and throw some fresh berries on top. It’s really the extras that take an ordinary meal to the next level.

Cinnamon apples are very versatile as a topping. For breakfast, put them on oatmeal, grain-free porridge (from flax seed or spaghetti squash), or sausage patties. For lunch, toss the cinnamon apples on top a salad, yogurt, or cottage cheese (if dairy is in your diet). For dinner, apples and pork go together swimmingly. Top grilled pork chops with a scoop of cinnamon apples or even mix into pulled pork.

Cinnamon Apples with Pork

Simple Sides Improve the Meal

Making more dishes is more work, but a couple simple sides really help to balance out the meal, making it more satisfying. These cinnamon apples only take 25 minutes from start to finish and can cook on the stove while you work on the rest of the meal.

Some meal suggestions:

  1. At breakfast, serve cinnamon apples alongside breakfast sausage patties and sliced avocado.
  2. For a kid-friendly lunch, serve cinnamon apples in place of applesauce or apple slices. A helping of these next to Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups would be delicious!
  3. Cinnamon apples could be a side for dinner with any pork main dish, meatloaf, or hamburgers.
  4. Dessert – serve cinnamon apples topped with coconut whipped cream or toss the apples on top of pudding or ice cream!

Cooked AIP Cinnamon Apples

Recipe Notes

My favorite apples are pink lady, so that is what I used in this recipe. Pink lady apples are crisp and sweet with a slight tartness. It isn’t necessary to only this variety, use whatever type of apple you enjoy most!

Make sure to watch the apples as they cook. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, it needs more water or less heat. Add only a little more water at a time, about 1 tablespoon, or turn down the heat to low. Then continue cooking.

Enjoy this simple, tasty addition to your recipe box!

What super simple recipes are you enjoying lately? Have any recipes with less than 5 ingredients to share?

Cinnamon Apples

The perfect side dish or topping to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Cinnamon apples are Paleo, AIP, Dairy-free, and Grain-free. Enjoy them today!

Course Dessert, Side Dish, Topping
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 74 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Pink Lady Apples Peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Slice fairly thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. Thicker is ok too as long as it is consistent. All the slices should be the same thickness.

  2. Place apples, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan. Stir to cover apples with cinnamon.

  3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Cook time will depend on thickness of the apples. Continue to cook until very soft and flexible.

  4. Serve hot as a side dish or topping. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe contains 16 net carbs (19g carbohydrates and 3g fiber).

Cinnamon Apples