Learning New Ways of Living

For the past two years, I’ve been considered Pre-Diabetic. My doctor has recommended changes (specifically, wanting me to begin eating a vegan diet).

I confess to not really trying.

The past few months, however, have been an eye-opener as I’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure and my fasting glucose has risen to over 128. Two years ago, I had an A1C of 5.6. Last month, my A1C was 6.3. And though not enough to have my diagnosis changed to Type II Diabetes, it is evidence that unless something changes I will be soon enough. I have family with diabetes as well which indicates genetics is not necessarily in my favor either.

So, I’ve been making changes. Exercising more. Eating whole fruits and veggies, and low sodium, lower sugar foods (though the second one is proving a challenge). Still not losing weight but I also have had hypothyroidism to contend with 7 years so that’s no surprise.

Anyway, I wanted to join this group to learn from people who understand more about diabetes than I do (and who have had to live with it longer). I’m glad to know this group is here. Any wisdom you care to share will be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to tudiabetes
You will get the help you need, here

I was diagnosed with type II last December with an A1c of 6.5 and a FBG of 133. My doctor prescribed metformin (2 x 500 mg). He did not seem excited about either diet or exercise (I suspect he does not believe that in either, because he thinks that most patients don't really follow through for the long run). My diagnosis came as a shock.

For the last 7 years I had been on a heart healthy low fat diet along with the usual dose of statin, beta blocker, and aspirin. For 5 years I was also on plavix and niaspan. So what happened?

After I came home from the doctor's office I knew very little. I had heard that a low glycimic diet was a good choice for people with diabetes. So with my new meter I ate 1/2 of an apple and watched my BG spike to over 200 mg/dl. Well that did not look so promising. Next I had also heard that Atkins induction diet could help to control BG, so I started it (to my wife's objection) and continued to investigate. Shortly there after I found blood sugar 101 and then Dr Bernstein.

I am still learning. What I have learned makes me angry. First, that so called 'heart healthy' diet and prescriptions that I was given after the stents were inserted in 2007 likely contributed to my diagnosis of type II. Second, the ADA is not my friend. And third if you want good advice you are mostly on our own. However, the various diabetes forums are good places to start. You still will likely get conflicting advice, but hopefully with enough rational for you to make your personal decisions. There are also quite a few books that are useful. I recommend Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution because he has a lot of practical advice.

I am now continuing with a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. My last A1c was 4.9 and my FBG is in the 70's mg/dl. I try to keep my postprandial readings under 110 mg/dl and would like them under 100 mg/dl. My target A1c is 4.2 to 4.6. I now eat to my meter and am not really following any diet, but I have learned a lot from a variety of diets.

I will say it was a shock at first to eat very low carb since it meant no grains, no cereals, no breads, no potatoes, no fruits, no sugars, ..., but I was quite motivated. Now that the shock has worn off, I am reasonably satisfied with my meals. I am not hungry and have lost 30 lbs over the last 6 months. I don't even really measure or count carbs now that I have a list of safe meals. I continue to be motivated and I know that I can continue this from here on out. And I have my fingers crossed that I can keep the complications away.

I should add that my blood pressure with the beta blocker has generally been in border line area (130-150/80-90) over the last 7 years. I am now off of the beta blocker and have a blood pressure in the 120's/70's and occasionally in 110's/70's. I credit the normalizing of BG along with the elimination of most carbs.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and the steps you've taken. I will definitely be taking a lot of information in (that's certain)and reading as much material as I can.Sounds like it's a hit or miss for what fits best with you as an individual when dealing with diabetes. This is good to know. Thanks again. I really appreciate your input.

LOL. That's good to know. :)

I agree with SuperSally about being your own science experiment and finding what works for you.

Couldn't tell from the fact that your doctor told you to try vegan whether you liked the idea of being vegan/vegetarian or not. Because a lot of folks here go very low-carb, which works for them. Which doesn't go as well with veganism.

I was already a vegetarian before my diagnosis. Switching to 99% vegan actually helped me even out my numbers quite a bit. If you're researching, I suggest the books by Joel Fuhrman. It has good guidelines for getting the most nutrition per calorie out of your meals. Lots and lots of veggies. (Because processed foods like Fritos are vegan, but it doesn't mean we should be eating them!) My pre-diabetic husband has lost 100 lbs and his labs are amazingly good now. I'm Type 1, but am not having as many highs and lows since switching my diet. Don't feel like I'm trying to talk you into this way of eating. As there don't seem to be as many folks here eating vegan, just giving your my own experience.

Good luck finding what works for you.

Thank you so much for your input. I don't feel like you're trying to talk me into anything and I appreciate learning how going vegan has helped. I ate a vegetarian diet for years but have (in recent years) switched back to more of an omnivore (very little red meat, chicken, eggs, cheese) because my husband has no interest in eating vegetarian and I'm a lazy cook (don't want to have to prepare to main meals, you know?). And I really like cheese and eggs(that's the big one right there). I switched to coconut and soy milk years ago so that's not a big issue. But I see the value of a vegan diet for health and don't have any major objections. So I guess you could say I might ease into it eventually (would make my doctor so happy!).