Low Carb or Vegan Diet

I was diagnosed with T2 about 8 years ago. At that time I didn’t take care of myself for about 7 years. My blood sugars were about 425, A1c 14, my Triglycerides 1180, and high Cholesterol levels. Then I went raw vegan after reading Gabriel Cousens book. I’ve also read tons of other vegan diabetic books. My blood sugars came down to the mid to high 120’s, A1c 7.5, Tryglicerides 160’s, so did my Cholesterol, without medication. I did this for about 8months. However, I started feeling weak, and lost some muscle in the process. I felt good though. About 5 months ago, I went to the other extreme, I went on a low carb diet, with medication. In August I went for my A1c test, and my A1c came down to 5.8, Triglycerides stayed about the same, my Cholesterol also stayed the same, and when I exercise my morning readings are in the 70’s, and they stay in the less than 100 range. The thing is I want to return to a vegan diet, I think I know the types of foods and supplements that I need, so I wont feel weak and exhausted. The thing is when I tried to go back to the way I was eating before, my blood sugar readings were in the 140’s and 50’s. Is there anyone out there that’s following a vegan diet, and having good results, and achieving low numbers, and having sucess on a vegan diet. Any suggestion would be appreciated. I hate this vicious beast called diabetes…

Welcome. I think many of us struggle with finding an appropriate diet. In the end, I found that a low carb diet was by far the best diet for me. I have commented on Gabriel Cousen’s before on this site, just search. I consider him a charlatan and a shill for PETA. But diet is a personal choice. You need to research this yourself. A good view from the inside is Denise Minger who spent years with the vegan movement. You can eat a low carb vegetarian diet and be successful, but it is hard. And you can obtain short term success with a raw vegan diet, but the best I can tell it is a short term success, you basically starve yourself, never get really good blood sugars and then you get really sick.

I care about animals. I try to select foods that were produced through a responsible and sustainable food chain, avoiding CAFO sources of meat. I try to make good choices in where I get my food and how I prepare it. I believe the choice to do raw vegan is for many an ethical choice because they believe in animal rights, but I don’t believe eating vegan helps animals and I won’t risk my life and health on what I consider a misguided cause.

Your own description of the results should give you a starting point on how these diets affect you. In the end, you will need to make your own choices.

Rob, I very much agree with bsc. Sorry, I’m not a vegan. I believe my heritage as a human living on this planet means I evolved into a being that was used to some meat, and therefore my body responds better eating some meat. In fact, I know it does. It smooths out the blood glucose from my meals because it is digested slower, after the carbs from the veggies.
I have lots of energy on low carb, my A1c has stayed low, cholesterol low, and BGs about 100. You said, “Any suggestion would be appreciated.” My suggestion is, look forward and know you’ll feel good by having nice, even BGs on a low carb diet!
No need to worry about high numbers, bouncing numbers, feeling weak. It’s not an extreme, it’s a way of life that lowers stress!
Let us know what you do.

Thank you for your feed back guys, I did a little soul searching with my current diet. I looked at my last a1c results, and I’m going to stick to a low carb diet, and my workouts. I’m just trying to put the pieces of the diabetes puzzle together, and find out how to get this monkey (diabetes) off my back… :0)

I followed a vegetarian, low fat, high ‘healthy’ grains diet for many years. That seems to be what got me here. A diabetes diagnosis caused me to rethink all that and arrive at a low carb diet which quickly turned my numbers around. There are many different reasons to choose different diets. Looking at any vegetarian recipe the quickest way to reduce the carbs is to replace some of the vegetables with meat. This is not saying anyone should make a particular choice it’s just a mathematical observation.

I actually started the vegan diet out of desparation. When a doctor saw my first A1c numbers, she freaked out, and put me on so many pills, that I had a terrible buzz pretty much all day. I was literaly feeling half drunk most of the time. So I went on Youtube, and the first thing I watched, was a guy named “Dave the raw food trucker”. He has a great testamony about diabetes, and getting off medication. So I took to it, and it worked for a while, it brought all my numbers down dramatically without medication. The crazy stuff we try when in desparation. GPHX, I’m glad you’ve done the vegan/vegetarian thing…

As Judith mentioned, I was vegetarian for close to 30 years before being diagnosed T1. The only animal protein I ate were eggs every now & then because I had a source from healthy, happy, very well cared for chickens.

I was devastated when I couldn’t maintain any semblance of BG control as a vegetarian. While there are some people who can, I couldn’t. Very difficult to get adequate protein fom vegetable sources without also eating a ton of carbs. I’m now convinced that I may have been protein deficieint eating as I did before. Following low carb is what works for me. I eat a lot of fish.

Your success speaks for itself.

Hi all, great discussion. I’m writing a book about eating right for people with diabetes and including personal stories from those who have found what works for them-whether it’s a low carb or vegan or everything in moderation approach. If any of you are interested and willing in being interviewed and sharing your stories with me I would love to talk to you!

I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes for 26 years and follow a low (ish) carb diet but I’m a big believer that there is no one size fits all when it comes to diabetes.

Please email me at amy.mercer@comcast.net if you are willing to share your story.

Rob and others…

I’m a 59 year old male, vegetarian for 40 years, diagnosed with diabetes 3+ years ago. I am currently doing well on a lacto ovo vegetarian diet + concentrated fish oil supplements. Recent a1c 5.3 . High good fats, very low carbs, moderate protein diet. Absolutely no grains, fruits (cept some berries), sugar, starchy vegetables. Organic, high nutrient, grass fed, locally grown always first choice. I highly regard Gary Taubes and Dr. Richard Bernstein’s work. I created a group on facebook for likeminded folks who also want to manage their diabetes with low carbs and remain vegetarian. See: http://www.facebook.com/groups/veglowcarb to share recipes and exchange more how to info.



That’s wonderful & encouraging! Are eggs & dairy your protein source? Anything else? Sorry, not on FB to see your info.

Hi Gerri,

Other proteins include some nuts in moderation, walnuts, almonds, macadamias, pecans, but never peanuts or cashews! Seeds like chia and flax, organic raw cheeses, homemade yogurt and kefir only from raw grass fed organic milk from a local dairy; but no milk!, some soy in the forms of natto, miso, tempeh and some tofu and very occasionally black soy beans; all organic, and some proteins from organic local green leafy and other vegetables… yes, there’s some protein in veggies also.

Are you able to get raw milk from your local dairy? Seems this is non-existent any longer. I used to be able to buy raw milk to make yogurt & cottage cheese. I also had a friend with goats, who gave me raw goat’s milk. Glad to see soy is mostly in the form of fermented food because many vegetarians eat highly processed soy products. After reading troubling research about flax, I only eat chia seeds.

If you don’t mind my asking, how grams of carbs & protein do you usually eat?

Thanks! Happy you posted this.

Ooh great, will join the group :slight_smile: I’m a low-carbing type 1 diabetic vegetarian :slight_smile:

Hi Gerri,

In Colorado, one can legally join a cow share program and receive raw milk from cows we own, so theoretically, I pay the dairy monthly to maintain my cow, and they deliver the milk from her to cow share participants like me.

I don’t count carbs per se, but use Dr. Richard Bernstein’s guidelines, 6 breakfast, 12 for lunch/dinner, 12 for snack… so 30- 42 a day.

Can you refer me to the troubling research about flax you are referring to? Thanks.

I follow Dr. Bernstein’s recommendations also.

How many grams of protein do you eat? If you’re not counting carbs, how do you dose?

Flaxseeds have phytoestrogen effects & can effect Vit Bs. Chia seeds are a better alternative. They don’t have to be ground to be digestible, so they also don’t go rancid quickly like flax. I also don’t care of the taste of flaxseeds.

http://equinexia.jimdo.com/chia_seed_versus_flaxseed.php (this company sells chia seeds, but I checked his research)

From the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/NS_patient-flaxseed/DSECT

"One study reports that the menstrual period may be altered in women who take flaxseed powder by mouth daily. Due to the possible estrogen-like effects of flaxseed ( not flaxseed oil), it should be used cautiously in women with hormone sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine fibroids, or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovary. Some natural medicine textbooks advise caution in patients with hypothyroidism, although little scientific information is available in this area. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil may increase the risk of bleeding, based on early studies that show decreased clotting of blood. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders, in people taking drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, and in people planning to undergo medical, surgical, or dental procedures. Dosing of blood-thinning medications may need to be adjusted. In animal studies, flaxseed has increased the number of red blood cells.

Several studies in humans report an increased risk of prostate cancer in men taking alpha-linolenic acid (which is present in flaxseed) by mouth. One small study of men with prostate cancer reports that flaxseed supplements do not increase prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. Until more information is available, men with prostate cancer or at risk for prostate cancer should avoid flaxseed and alpha-linolenic acid supplements."

Gerri, thanks for those flax links. Hadn’t seen that before. I’ve also seen some concerns about chia seeds by Loren Cordain of the Paieo diet. So flax can be added to the list as with soy for acting like a hormone. Good thing the taste and fiber effect of flax auto controls for not eating large doses! I’ll still for with the benefits and of flax and chia outweighing the risks for now.

As for protein, I don’t count how much I’m eating, but am mindful to add a whey protein shake regularly if I’ve skimped on the cheese and nuts for few meal cycles. I’d prefer to stick to eating things I know are low carbs, rather than attempt to count and measure. If I do become insulin dependent, I’m sure I’ll have to change my strategy. How do you keep count?

Since you don’t know how much protein you’re eating, how do you know it’s adequate? I was dismayed learning how low protein my former vegetarian diet was. This brings me back to the original dilemma. How to get enough protein without exceeding 30-35 carbs?

Sorry. Don’t know why I assumed you were on insulin.

Eating low carb veggies is wonderful, of course, as is eliminating the foods you mentioned. Carbs add up. Without tallying, you don’t really know. Clearly, you’re doing well from your A1c.

I bought an EatSmart scale soon after diagnosis. It calculates carbs, protein, fat, sodium, etc. in 999 preprogrammed cooked & raw food. Love it. Anything not in the program, I look up on-line. I also use on-line nutritional sites to plug in recipe ingredients. After a while, I got good at guesstimating meals I don’t cook myself.

Do you recall the issues with chia seeds? Every low carb site I’ve seen extols the virtues of flaxseeds. It’s quite the low carb workhorse & in tons of recipes as flaxseed meal, so appears that quite a bit is being consumed by low carbers.

@ Lowcarbveghead, what was your A1c when you first got diagnosed? I’m interested in what you have to say. I’m still doing more research on diabetes, and a vegan/raw vegan diet. I’m going to read Gabriel Cousens book again, because I missed alot of steps. I’m interested to hear what other vegans/raw vegans before and after A1c and FBS stories.

@ Gerri, thank you for the Flax and Chia seed info. Wow!! I’ve been reading several online articles, and I’ll never use flax seed again

If you guys have a chance, check this video out. Hope it loads


it’s a great movie. I’ve seen it before. Thanks for posting the link. Had no idea it was online now. It’s a small sample of diabetics who mostly improve their numbers. The movie does a great job at showing the personal side of the struggles and joys of self disciplined raw foods veggie diet. Unfortunately, it does not show the reduced carbohydrates and improved lifestyle changes that most went through during their stay. To my mind, it’s still the low/lower carb intake and increased exercise that makes the difference. Veggies or meat bases diets alike.