Want to talk about Vegetarianism?

I’d like to talk about Vegetarianism, but am new to this site and would like feedback from those of you who care on whether there is some interest in pursuing this discussion. My thoughts are to keep it somewhat general and not go too far down any one path of discussion (don’t know if that’s possible). Please provide some feedback if you care. A yes or no will do just fine. My feelings won’t get hurt.

For those of you interested, I’m a cook by trade and a 20 year type-1 diabetic who wears a pump and does CGM. I’m under relatively good control (A1c of <6.0 for over 4-years now), but are always looking to improve which was part of the reason to become a Vegetarian.

Let me know what you’all think and thanks.

I was a vegetarian for 3 years, and then a pescatarian (fish only) for 3 years, and now I’m back to meat.

If you’re overheated, it would be healthy to drink something cool, and if you’re freezing, it would be beneficial to drink something warm. This sounds obvious, but there simply is no ‘right’ answer about what’s good for you. It depends on your genetic makeup, your current condition, and the conditions around you.

I’m someone with naturally low cholesterol, perhaps even too low. Yes, there is such a thing for those reading who have never heard of it. I also get cold easily, and feel quite comfortable in hot humid conditions. (This basic make-up is important if you look at chinese medicine or ayurvedic medicine, which is why I mention it.) For me, I found a vegetarian diet was leading me to high carbohydrate meals too frequently which wreaked havoc on my blood sugars. I really would like to be vegetarian as there are great environmental benefits, and I think it’s more humane, but ultimately my body seems to like a small amount of organic meat. Other people, who are perhaps overweight and have high cholesterol, would probably benefit more from a vegetarian diet. There’s certainly no harm in trying it out for a few months. Also, regardless of diet, the more I exercise the better I feel.

Aaaron, I read somewhere (probably Vegetarian Times) that Vegetarians tend to replace healthy with unhealthy food substitutes. I’m not sure what the correlation is, and believe that this may be a problem for a lot of people regardless of being a Vegetarian.I’m careful about what I eat and work constantly to overcome an urge to eat sweets.

I find it very interesting that you’ve come full circle in terms of your diet preference and wonder what the impetus was in the first for you making a change. In my case I became a Vegetarian only because I felt after some study that it was the only way I could maintain a high quality of life. I believe that as a type-1 diabetic there is no doubt in my mind that I am likely to have complications from the disease at some point and that a Vegetarian lifestyle was needed to delay or mitigate those complications as long as possible. I also believe, but can’t really prove that there are environmental (e.g. hormones, chemicals, etc.) affects on my body that aren’t good and that come from a lot of foods we all typically eat. In my case, after 53 years, 20 of which managing type-1 diabetes, I can’t any longer keep from getting sick. I’m just trying to keep going and maybe improve my health for as long as possible.

I’m vegetarian often vegan. I do find it difficult sometimes to find things to eat without turning to carbs. I’ve been considering going back to eating some meat to make things a little easier. I also find it difficult to fight off illness but I not sure that it’s related to diet.


You don’t have to prove that there are hormones in animal products that adversely affect people… there have been numerous studies. That’s why I try to eat only organic grass fed beef, free range chicken, wild caught fish, and so forth.

I became a vegetarian for three reasons. 1. Health 2. I didn’t want to partake in the poor treatment of animals caught in the factory farm system 3. Negative environmental impact of meat eating

I stopped being a vegetarian because of the carbs. I can’t eat a lot of pasta. I can’t eat rice heavy dishes. I can’t eat a lot of potatoes. I can’t eat 95% of cereals, or muesli, or all kinds of other good things that a healthy vegetarian would eat. I also don’t think tofu is particularly healthy as it mimics estrogen. It just got really hard after awhile so I figured good blood sugars and meat were better than bad sugars and vegetarian. Again, that’s for my body, and my lifestyle, and has nothing to do with you or anyone else.

As far as #2 goes, I make sure I only meat from animals that were treated well when they were living.
As far as #3 goes, I try to eat only enough to meet nutritive requirements. Most of my meals are still vegetarian.

I’m a 10+ year vegetarian, but only diagnosed Type 2 a year ago. The most difficult thing for me has been the reduction in the amount of beans, rice, bread and pasta that I can eat - those were my staples. So far, I’ve managed to get my A1c to 4.6, but that’s been through a severely limited diet. Low-carb tortillas are my bread now. I’m eating more tuna-fish than I ever used to.

I’d really hate to go back to meat, though. I’d rather take insulin and seek variety in cooked vegetables and salads.

Ed, I’ve only occasionally heard of A1c results in the range that you’re experiencing. Congratulations. I’ve been experimenting with more bean dishes so if you have a favorite recipe with beans please post it.

Hi Brian, one thing that I’ve taken away from my reading prior to becoming a vegetarian is that there’s some science to a good vegetarian meal plan. If you’re interested in what I consider a great book please consider: Becoming Vegetarian – Melina, Davis, Harrison. The authors are all nutritionists and drill down pretty deep on developing a healthy vegetarian diet.

Thanks, I think it’s because I caught my diabetes early because my mother went blind from it and I got concerned enough to get myself tested. Apparently, I had had a slightly high reading in a 2005 physical but the doctor didn’t tell me.

I’m a real simple cook, everything gets soy sauce and curry!

I’m a vegetarian and I love it. I’ve been one for about 6 years and I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for about 5 months and I’ve continued to be a veg. I use to be way more vegan, but now I have dairy about every day because the low carb content in some products.
Having a plant based diet is very healthy for you and for the planet. I think it should really help with diabetes because studies show vegetarian diets are associated with having a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and obesity, and it can also reduce blood cholesterol. All of those of which are very important for diabetics! I’ve read that vegetarian diets can even help with impotence which can also be a complication for men with diabetes.
So yea, I think it’s a great way to improve your health. How long have you been a vegetarian? And keep it up! I once found a recipe book called “Low Carb Vegetarian Cooking”, I was shocked! People can really be a vegetarian and a diabetic. It takes a little extra work and insulin but it’s totally benefiting your health.

Hi Michelle - I studied the vegetarian diet for roughly 2-years & then made the decision to commit to vegetarianism March 25th of this year. So its only been 6-months for me & I’m doing just fine with the switch. I’m still working on my diet plan but have lots of great books to help me. I feel great & haven’t seen any negative side affects. Note I’m not vegan, just vegetarian. I have cheese almost daily, & eggs maybe once a week. And do eat seafood if I eat out which is a little less frequent than once a month. But besides that all my protein is coming from vegetables. Plus, your absolutely right about the health benefits from being a vegetarian. For me it wasn’t really animal rights so much as the health benefits that you mentioned. So I’m hooked and very happy with the change.

P.S. I’m sorry about your type-1 diagnosis. But your young & I can tell that you’ll get a handle on managing the diabetes.

How would one who has a constant battle with anemia do on a vegetarian diet? I am sort of a natural vegetarian but I can’t keep my iron up so I have to and I mean have to eat meat everyday. If not it’s iron infusions which are not fun. I am allergic to soy. I eat a great deal of iron from beans and veggies and always eat a vitamin C source to absorb it. But that is not enough and iron pills don’t do it for me. Is there anyway for someone who battles sever anemia to intake enough without the use of soy or iron pills?

Take care and be loved

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and a type 1 going on 21 years. It’s very easy to make the unhealthy, heavy in carb substitutes as you discussed! I was a vegetarian before being diagnosed, so they just go hand in hand with me. I’ve found that carefully balancing my carbs and insulin doses has worked just fine. I am new to tudiabetes, but there are a few type 1 – vegetarian groups on here you may want to get advice from.

I have been a veg for 20 years and a vegan for 5 of those years. I was diagnosed this past Feb. So I was already a vegan and a normal vegan diet is high in carbs but if you can be creative (and conquer those cravings for high carb vegan foods) than it is possible. I actually eat more healthy now than I did before - I eat greens and veggie alot more than before DX - everyday. Before I was bread, bread and more bread. We do have two group on here for vegetarian and vegan diabetics. I am a vegan for ethical reason and I want to stay that way. I can’t have dairy anymore even if I wanted too -it tends to give me sinus and ear problems.

I am a thin Type2 on Metformin. I was 130 at Dx and lost 30 lbs (that I didn’t want to lose) in 3 months! I do not have high cholestrol, high blood pressure and never have. My dx A1c was 9.2 and 3 months later it was 4.9 and than 5.6. :slight_smile: And I stayed vegan! (well, I did have a some cheese at the beginning but like I said it does something to my ears)

Anyhow, in general principle, I agree with JohnG - meat has no carbs - although it can be very high in saturated fats so really that would be the worry if you also have high cholestrol. Although veggies and greens are low in carbs, they are not zeros carbs like meats. And other veg and vegan foods also have carbs. It is quite an art and skill to master this and requires a lot of research. This was probably easier for me since I already was familiar with a vegan diet before but I never looked at sugar or carbs on the labels. So I still had to relearn and revamp my diet (yet again - helps to have done this sort of thing before which I had).

I have come up with a diet that works for me for the most part - not that i don’t get any high numbers everyonce and a while. But getting rid of all the bread, rice, potatoes and pasta that my vegan diet was full off before dx - well, I know that is the difference. Too much of those processed things are not good for you anyhow. I find by general avoiding those types of foods the rest that is available for me too eat is definatley manageable to control my numbers. (keep portions in mind too). I think it is a personal choice - it really doesn’t matter what type of food it is - it is the amount of sugar/carbs in the food that will be factor in controlling your numbers. Some people can eat pasta, others can’t. Some people can have sugar alochols others can’t. For me it is personal choice, to stay vegan and I am happy that way. I can’t see going back.

I’m not vegetarian, but my husband is ovo-lacto. So I end up eating mostly vegetarian dinners. I have moved us away from a lot of cheese, beans, rice and pasta and more toward more whole grains and vegetables with eggs or meat analogs.

It’s often more expensive, but I have found a number of whole grain bread products that have low carb counts: whole wheat tortillas, FlatOut whole grain wraps, 100-calorie flat whole wheat buns.

I find the eat brown rice instead of white arguement totally bogus, and avoid rice at all.

I can eat some raw potatoes cooked simply. But was shocked when read the ingredient labels for frozen potatoes and chips to find all kinds of sweeteners. No wonder they cause my blood sugars to spike!

No, I would not choose to be a vegetarian intentionally with the sole purpose of improving diabetes! I am a vegetarian and thought I ate very healthy (I hadn’t eaten sugar for 13 years on diagnosis); I did eat very healthy, only not for a diabetic! Vegetarians naturally tend to eat a lot of carbs such as pasta, rice, cereals and other grains. It’s not easy to be a vegetarian and a diabetic!

Having said that, I am a vegetarian for lots of reasons and wanted to see if I could remain one and treat my diabetes at the same time. I’m also a foodie and wanted to be able to eat creative and interesting meals which also keep my diabetes in control. I knew that if my health was at risk, I would have to reevaluate my choices. What I’ve found is that for me I can eat “moderate low carb” as a vegetarian while at the same time satisfying my desire for interesting dishes. I also spend a fair amount of time cooking (I have the time to do it) and probably more money on ingredients than many. My last A1C was 6.3 which I would like to get a bit lower but am ok with. So for me it works. But being a vegetarian and a diabetic is not simple.

I too eat beans and lentils. I’ve actually pretty much replaced more morning bread with frijoles (refried black beans). It is less carbs than the type of bread I like and it seems to work better for my blood sugar. (15 grams for 1/2 a cup which is a sufficient amount for me)

I’ve long given up on expecting a universal meaning to the use of the word “vegetarian”. It used to confuse me when people said “I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish”. Now if I am cooking for someone, what with all the other dietary requirements/preferences we all have these days, I just ask, “What do you eat?”

Me I couldn’t function without eggs and cheese. I eat eggs every day. You said you only have eggs once a week, Gerhart; what do you usually eat for breakfast? Short of going off traditional breakfast foods, I find eggs is my only choice. Cereal is impossible for me. I’ve tried tofu scrambles and though I do eat tofu in other recipes, I just don’t care for the breakfast scrambles.

This is a good discussion!

I would like to have some good vegan recipes for diabetics. I find a lot of the vegan or vegetarian recipes are high carb. My husband has hemachromatosis so we don’t eat meat at home any more. Aside from tofu and “fake meat” stir fries, I find it difficult to come up with anything interesting that doesn’t take too long to prepare.

I found a pretty good cookbook at the library called The 30 Minute Vegan. I like its salad recipes. Unfortunately they don’t include the carb counts.

Dr. Neal Barnard has a new cookbook called The Get Healthy and Go Vegan Cookbook. I’m in the queue at the library for it, so I haven’t seen it yet.