Transitioning from LCHF to HCLF plant-based, follow the journey

Hi everyone,

I’ve been T1D for 16 years. Now on an Omnipod / Freestyle Libre (I have looping set up but am taking a break).

I was a LCHF advocate for five years with excellent HBA1C’s ranging from 41 (5.9%) to 48 (6.5%). I changed my diet to vegan 10 months ago and was trying to stay LCHF but found this really difficult, limiting and needing to use a lot of processed food. My insulin sensitivity also had gotten really bad and my I:C ratio was very blunt at around 1:7g or 1:8g

I want to see if I can transition to HCLF plant-based and improve my insulin sensitivity and open the range of plant foods I can enjoy. I tried this since January but I the sensitivity didn’t improve much and my sugars have regularly been in the 15-20 range after eating (270-360).

I’ve since “fallen off the wagon” and been continuing eating vegan but now am eating high carbs for the first time in years PLUS fats…not a good combo.

By joining the community, I’m hoping to get some support in transitioning in a more methodical way and incorporating exercise which I think was the missing factor.

I will post my results here as I go through this and I hope this might help others also wanting to transition.

Ros

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Ros, when eating no more than 30 daily carbs for 11 yrs, my insulin to carb ratio was about 1 unit for 2 carbs. Now my ratio is 1 unit for 25 carbs. Low fat means that fat can be no more than 10 to 15% of total calories,

I never use any kind of oil. We cook using vegetable broth for browning and I use lemon as a dressing for salads. I rarely eat processed foods.

Most people who eat this eat have no problems with blood pressure or cholesterol. I have problems with both. I am unusual unfortunately. My LDL is too high at 114, but HDL is fairly high and Trigs are very low. I take meds for blood pressure.

When eating very low carb my LDL skyrocketed and I ended up with stents for several reasons. My blood pressure would bottom out and I hit my head way too many times. I also would get migraines.

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I think you can eat whatever you want.
But, you might have to bump up the basal/bolus. And/Or, change the way that meal bolus is delivered. Have you used extended bolus before?

Thanks for the comment and ideas. Yup I know extended boluses very well but I’m going to be following the Mastering Diabetes protocol which is designed specifically to increase insulin sensitivity which is my overall goal: https://www.masteringdiabetes.org/

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I see. That helps clarify.

Here’s where everyone is dscussing it. High-carb low-fat plant-based way of eating

Thank you. I was going to use this chain to track my transition so anyone in future might have it as a reference. I have that link :slight_smile:

Hello,

I had my first day back with HCLF and it went pretty well overall. I’ve made a detailed tracking sheet to track my progress at the beginning. Obviously I don’t want to do this long term but I hope by using it I can share with other people wanting to transition in the future.

The link is open here: https://tinyurl.com/yam9fmmp

Meals
Bkfast: oats, berries, and powdered peanut butter (they take all the fat out so you can have the peanuty taste

Snacks: mushrooms, carrots, salsa

Lunch: big salad dressed with lemon juice. quinoa and some satay mix of butternut squash I had but had to take the sauce off as it was too fatty

Dinner: more salad and “nice cream” which is frozen blended banana and a bit of cocoa. Some red wine.

Total carbs: 208 Total fat: around 32. Total insulin for day: 38.6 units

Noticeable effects
I did a 20 min HIIT workout in the moring which spiked my blood sugar but in the evening I seemed much more sensitive and have woken up a little low today. Next time might take a 0.50 unit of insulin for that.

I haven’t had any huge spikes with the higher carbs…but then this isn’t rice which I’ve had problems with before.

Exercise seems KEY with this diet.

Today is fasting day so I’ll update again in two days :slight_smile: So far, so good

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@rozomon Aerobic easy exercise, like my exercise bike riding stops my Bg’s from going up and lowers it pretty effectively. Exercise like snorkeling, I use a temp reduction in basal and watch for my drop later. Intensive exercise can make it go up and drop later.

Here is a really good explanation of exercise
@maninabag #7/16 and @Eric2 #10/16

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Thanks Marie! I have quite a lot of experience with anaerobic exercise as I lifted heavy weights until around September last year. I used to take 1 unit of insulin beforehand and I found this stopped them spiking too much and helped them stabalise afterwards.

My exercise routine had fallen away so I forgot yeterday that I might have such a spike and it was anaerobic so next time I will take around 0.5 - 1.0 unit and see how that helps.

The key I’ve seen is today my blood sugars have been stable and I’ve been on a 20% decrease in basal! @Marilyn6!!! So this is a good sign my sensitivity going up.

I’m fasting today so we’ll see what happens when I eat again tomorrow and I hope if I get the fat/carb balance right again, I will see more sensitivity. Right now it looks like 1:10 worked ok for the carbs which is already better than my sensitivity was on LCHF.

I really love the diet. My servings were large but that’s because I’m eating every 2nd day right now while I do this intensive fasting routine (not forever) and they are very low in calories without any oils so you end up eating a lot.

Looking forward to updating in a couple of days!

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You are doing a great job rozomon! I am so impressed with the energy you are investing into this program. Your pictures are great. The nice cream looks good. My husband pours a bit of chocolate espresso balsamic vinegar on top of his cocoa flavored nice cream, but I think yours looks better.

Yes, you can really eat a lot and still lose weight if desired. I am rarely hungry eating this way. I cut my fat a bit more to try to bring down my LDL number, and my weight is dropping off again easily. I need to pay more attention to dropping my insulin dose, because I have to keep eating between meals to stay stable.

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Thank you for the encouragement! I really want to make it work as these past two months of crazy blood sugars have been exhausting. I am finding the support in this community INVALUABLE! I certainly can’t maintain the intesive monitoring for ages so I hope to do it intensely now and get lots of information and learning and then allow things to flow without so much monitoring.

I’ve been fasting every second day since 11 April but my weight is not changing. Admittedly I have around 15lb-20lb that are more vanity pounds than anything but I would like to fit my clothes better again. I suspect as my insulin sensitivity hadn’t improved yet may be why the weight hasn’t started to drop…I must hang in there and take it one day, one 30-min walk at a time.

In the long run, I hope this diet and approach will allow me to live a long life and pay that forward to others who also want to try it out.

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I have never fasted, so I don’t know the affect on the body, but I am wondering if your body could be holding onto weight because it isn’t sure when it will get more food. What is your reason for fasting so much?

I know that the guys at Mastering Diabetes talk about fasting, but I have never read the information. Do they recommend fasting that often?

Marilyn

I’ve been fasting since 2015 and it’s helped me a lot. It is the first time I’ve done such an intensive regime but with the lockdown, I wanted to use the time to see what would happen. When I eat normally, I usually only have lunch and dinner and maybe a snack in between so I am used to that kind of schedule.

I wanted to fast like this as I am already not moving a lot and I really enjoy the days I fast as I think less about food and I find it a very spiritual practise in helping me to really be with my feelings, including boredom, instead of eating in those moments. I grow a lot from the experience and have found it very easy to adjust to.

I thought I would lose weight quite easily but what this has shown me is clearly something else is going on as with such a calorie drop, there really should be more of a shift. I suspect it is tied up with exercise, not for the effect of burning calories, but the effect that some resistance exercise can have on insulin resistance. Body fat is intricately tied up with hormonal balances. In the past three days with me doing some simple resistance training, I’ve seen a huge impact on my sensitivity and I am already processing those higher carb amounts better so I will keep going and see what effect it has.

For the record, I wouldn’t fast this intensively long-term, it is something I’m experimenting with now but fully expect it to change and adapt.

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Reporting in another day. Things stabalised a lot and I’m happy to see with eating so many carbs such a stable line through the day. However, my sensitivity is still at about 1:10 or 1:11 so there is more improvement to be made.

Updated records and graphs are here: https://tinyurl.com/yam9fmmp

Meals
Bkfast: cocoa oats, pea protein powder & 2 lima bean cookies

Lunch: big salad dressed with lemon juice. quinoa and some satay mix of butternut squash

Dinner: more salad and “nice cream” which is frozen blended banana and a bit of cocoa. Some red wine.

Total carbs: 210 Total fat: around 27. Total insulin for day: 41.8 units

Noticeable effects
The day before I got tired of fasting and started snacking absent mindedly on this peanut butter powder (it takes out 90% of the fat) and got a reminder that there are no “free” meals. I had a huge spike up to 18 overnight and had to take a lot of insulin to bring it down. I won’t do that again.

This time I took insulin of 0.8 units when I did my resistance training and that helped a lot with not having the big spike when I exercised. Having done the resistance exercise seemed to really help throughout the day with processing carbs…though I am still not seeing a great change in sensitivity.

I had to put temporary basal rates on lowering by 20% as I was more sensitive so this was satisfying to see.

Also, I’ve been having red wine most nights that I eat (every 2nd day) which is being influenced a bit by isolation boredom and wanting to “escape”. I think it will serve me well to take a break from alcohol and see how that helps things and leaves me feeling so I’ll see how I go with giving that up tomorrow.

I have not found the changes in the diet too difficult…just hoping to see some results soon as tracking details can be tiring and it feels frustrating to put in so much work not to see results.

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Update again as I’m finishing my first week back on the HCLF plant-based diet. I had pretty good blood sugars yesterday but frustratingly, don’t see any improvement in my sensitivity. My sensitivity on LCHF was 1:8 and right now it’s sitting at about 1:10. I suspect this is the reason I am not losing any weight despite fasting 3-4 days per week.

I went for a run yesterday and I saw that had a big impact on my blood sugar driving it down quite low. As a result, I undershot for my dinner by about 30grams of carbs and my body seemed to process that well.

More wins are that I am feeling really good about doing the resistance training that I am and feeling motivated to run. For next week, perhaps I can try to run before a meal, but I would really like to see some changes in my sensitivity!

I’m not taking any wine this week to see if that helps as well.

The results are updated here: https://tinyurl.com/yam9fmmp

Meals
Bkfast: oats, tsp of chia seeds, tsp of coconut, some berries

Lunch: big salad dressed with lemon juice. quinoa and some butternut squash, broccoli and a little tofu that I picked out of a Thai curry meal so not to use the fat. 1 lima bean cookie.

Snack: half a spoonful of pea protein with low-fat soya milk

Dinner: more salad and “nice cream” which is 1 frozen blended banana and a bit of cocoa. Pinch of berries and a sprinkling of coconut.

Snacks during the day: dandelion “coffee”, a couple of pinches of berries, small bites of carrots

Total carbs: 196 Total fat: around 25. Total insulin for day: 35.3 units

Noticeable effects
Running dropped my blood sugar considerably. Could help to do before a meal.

Feeling more motivated to do resistance training by easing into it rather than doing too big a step all at once.

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Rose, I took the Mastering Diabetes program that was offered at the time I started this way of eating. It was expensive, but we met once a week using video and we could learn from the two guys who started the program and ask questions. It was extremely helpful.

Have you read their book? I haven’t but I think it would be very helpful for you. Have you joined their on line support group? I think you are expecting results too quickly. A week is really no time at all. I don’t want you to get frustrated but to give it some time.

I certainly wasn’t able to go from 1:1 to 1:25 overnight. It took a long time to improve my insulin resistance that much. I did lose 10 lbs but I think it took a couple of months.

As long as you keep your fat content low and exercise things will improve. By the way, I never eat tofu because of it’s fat content.

It looks like you are doing really well with what you eat. As long as you continue to eat this way and continue to exercise you will lose weight and your insulin resistance will improve. Try not to look at the scale everyday. I would also suggest that you read the book if you haven’t already done so. You have a lot of will power, so I think you will do really well.

Just want to say that after almost 4 yrs of eating a low fat plant based diet, I feel really good. Considering the fact that I am 69 and have had diabetes for 61 yrs, I would say that I am doing really well. I rode my exercise bike for 2 hrs yesterday. Life is good.

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Marilyn, thank you so much. I think that’s exactly the encouragement I was needing to hear!

I was worried that the resistance was meant to be showing up much faster…if it can take a long time, that assures me.

I’ve read most of the materials on their website, watched their YouTube videos and listened to their podcast but I haven’t read all the book. I will look into how long it takes to arrive to the UK. I’m on the waitlist for the programme and have been two weeks but I’m not sure when they are opening up more slots. Right now there seems to be no positions in any programs.

I certainly will keep it up. Plant-based eating fixed my cholesterol which was really bad on LcHF (9.8 at age 32 and not overweight!!!). I was on statins and now my cholesterol is perfect without any medication. Plus, environmentally and ethically, I believe in eating this way to support the eco-system.

You are an inspiration to me with what good shape you are in and for how long you’ve had diabetes. I am aiming for the long-run as well so thank you, I appreciate the encouragement.

I’ll keep tracking these results here and hopefully once my sensitivity improves, my steps will help someone else reading the chain when they are wondering how to make the change too. Hugs!

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You are very welcome Rose. I am so glad that you are very enthusiastic about changing your way of eating.

I am very happy that your cholesterol numbers are good. Because of the books out at the time about cholesterol, I ignored my high LDL when eating Bernstein’s diet. I am well aware that it works very well for many people, but my high LDL was a huge warning. My A1c was 4.6, my HDL was high and my triglycerides were very low, but I ended up needing two heart stents. I must add that my dad’s dad died in his sixties from a heart attack, and my dad had a slight heart attack at around 69. He cut way down on his fats and lived another 20 yrs.

My stents at 50 were my first long lasting diabetic complications. They are still my only serious diabetic complication.

My LDL is still high and my blood pressure is now high when not taking a med. Most people following Mastering Diabetes have excellent numbers and have been able to stop taking blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds. I am having trouble getting my LDL below 114 and that is why I am doing my best to lose weight. I am down to 101 now. Still a healthy weight for someone my size. I can’t take statins.

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Exciting news, Marilyn! Today I think I started to see a shift in sensitivity. I ate a 100gram carbohydrate meal for dinner full of potato, something that would usually spike me. I was delighted when I saw my blood sugars went quite low after 1 hour. Not for the low but it showed me I responded well and I think I try less insulin!

I didn’t take photos of everything today but the results are updated here: https://tinyurl.com/yam9fmmp

I ate too much fat today but I was not perfect. I will be more careful next time and maybe try fruit for breakfast to lower my fat intake.

It looks like it might be time to try 1:12 up from 1:10

Also, the Mastering Diabetes programme has opened up so I have joined and am doing the programme. I’m feeling really positive it might be starting to work for me. And loving the food! (those cookies are too good, I ate them for my lows today but need to watch it when I straighten them out)

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I am so happy for you Rose and so pleased that you got into the Mastering Diabetes program. It will be worth whatever it cost you. Cyrus and Robby are great.

Yes, those cookies are really too good.

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