I was diagnosed with diabetes last year after being "prediabetic" for about 5 years. Sure, over the past 5 years, I tried to eat less white flour treats like bread, pasta, and my favorite bagels. I thought I was doing all I could to avoid going over the magic 117 glucose number. Nicole, my daughter who is an Emergency Medicine doctor, told me about her many obese patients who suffered from diabetes and their awful prognoses, which was a huge wake up call! Obviously, I didn't want to go blind or have my feet amputated (how would I play croquet?). So when my glucose hit 140 last year, I realized that I would need to do something drastic -- anything -- to fix this.
As you may (or may not) know, I'm a firm believer in Eastern and alternative medicine. So I went to see Dr. Randy Baker, a Stanford MD who practices naturopathy. He recommended I read his colleague's book "There is a Cure for Diabetes" and go on a strict, raw vegan diet for 3 weeks. But, the notion that "I" would be able to go 3 weeks without my favorite grilled salmon, fresh eggs from our chickens, or my favorite cheeses seemed impossible to me. I felt doomed. DOOOOMED!
But my husband got on board and agreed to do the raw vegan diet with me. And my youngest daughter Jaclyn was doing a similar diet so we commiserated together. So I rid my fridge and pantry of the things I couldn't eat, and I filled them with organic and raw veggies, nuts, and oils. I eliminated all fruit, soy products (including soy sauce!), processed foods (all grain flours except nut flours), dairy, meat and seafood, and sugars (honey, blue agave nectar, syrups). This almost broke me, but I knew it was just a test. I wanted to see if I COULD cure myself of diabetes via my diet. Because I couldn't cure myself using my other techniques or even with the meds my western doctor prescribed, I decided to go for it.
I learned how to make vegan pate, pesto hummus, and nut protein bars. Every Sunday, I made my little treats of nuts, pates, dressings, and salads. I think the hardest part was not being able to steam veggies or make stir fries - no cooking allowed! What happened next surprised me.
I felt better almost immediately. By eating whatever I wanted (as long as it was raw vegan) with no restrictions, I felt super-charged. I ate a whole avocado with a spoon! I'd never tried that before -- always thought it needed to be between 2 slices of bread with mayo and cheese! I seemed to eat less quantities of food yet felt comfortably full. I did, however, stay away from restaurants that served tempting foods. Our friends still seemed to enjoy healthier meals with us -- or at least they didn't complain! To my surprise, the 3 weeks zipped by quickly.
This morning -- exactly 3 weeks later -- I pulled out my glucose meter, the device that checks your glucose readings and the lancing device (I really don't like its name! Sounds like a sword sharp enough to lop off the top of your finger!) that pricks your finger to get a drop of blood. I was excited to see if my glucose levels dropped below the diabetic level, but was terribly fearful of the NEEDLE. Have I mentioned that I don't like needles? Feeling clever, I decided to use my big toe as a guinea pig. Or guinea toe, I suppose. If I had an appendage that was 20 feet away, I would have chosen that. When I pressed the button (that shot what I thought would be a sword into my toe), nothing happened. I realized that it wasn't going to be as painful as I had anticipated so I sat down and decided to try my finger. Surprisingly, I didn't feel it but noticed there was a little blood. I grabbed the test strip and blotched up the job. In a panic, I grabbed the container of test strips and emptied them out on the table (another no-no). I was determined to get every drop of blood from this one stick.
When I read the glucose monitor, I was shocked. I knew I wanted my 140 reading to be below 117, but when I read that it was 55, I was thrilled. I read the small print on the monitor instruction sheet and found that 55 was actually on the low side. I am going to start introducing my favorite foods back into my diet one at a time. I want to understand what foods actually do to my blood glucose. Knowing what I can and cannot eat will give me the will power I need to stay free of diabetes. Oh, and while I was stressing out about my blood glucose levels, changing my diet led to losing 6 pounds, almost by accident! You see, if I can do this, you can too!