How I Reversed My Diabetic Diagnosis With Diet
A few months ago I was diagnosed with diabetes. It came as quite a surprise. I’m 37 year’s old, I’m not overweight, I get exercise regularly and eat fairly well. My family has some history of diabetes, but only my grandparents who became diabetic in their 70s.
I went to the doctor for a general health check-up, thinking about life insurance, my new 7 month-old son, and his welfare. I left wondering how could this be? In fact, my doctor too seemed perplexed. We ran the test again a month later, my A1C had dropped some, but was still high and in the clinical range for diabetes.
Lucky for me, my doctor practices functional medicine. She looks at every factor involved and tries to cure ailments holistically, looking at environment, diet, nutrition and other factors together. Other doctor’s would have put me on medication, she told me to eat better, get more exercise and encourage good gut health.
To determine how my digestive system was functioning, we ran more tests and were able to determine that the beneficial bacteria that lives in my stomach, colon and intestines wasn’t doing so well. In fact, I had a massive overgrowth of candida and other non-beneficial bacteria had taken hold.
Recently, scientists have shown that symbiotic bacteria that lives in our gut, more than three pounds of it in a healthy adult, plays a vital roll in maintain a healthy digestive system and greatly effects our overall health. The New York Times magazine recently published the article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs by celebrated food and health author Michael Pollan delving into this very complex relationship.
So what did I do? I went on a 60 day elimination diet. At the same time I took beneficial probiotics (probiotics are beneficial bacteria that helps to maintain the natural balance of health in the intestines). A healthy adult usually has over 400 different types of probiotic bacteria that reduces the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes digestive health.
I also cut out all simple carbs. Simple carbs turn into sugar, and harmful bacteria feed on sugar. That meant no white rice, no breads except for whole grain breads, no pizza, no pasta and no sugary snacks or drinks. I was also told to stay away from fatty meats, take supplements that included fish oil for the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and again, get more exercise.
I still need to eat more hearty greens, more salads, more fiber and roughage and stay away from sweets. But adding that in doesn’t seem as hard as I thought. I eat plenty of vegetables anyway and crave salads if I haven’t had one for a couple of days. Making healthy decisions at home is easy, it’s eating out and staying healthy that’s hard.
Taking lunches from home helps. Reducing the number of days we eat out as a family is also a good way to avoid tough decisions. But I wouldn’t say that any of it has been extremely difficult.
So now it’s three months later. I’ve taken the A1C test again, and I’m no longer clinically diabetic. My glucose level is still high and needs to come down more, but I’m improving. My doctor calls my condition in the “pre-diabetic range” but it has been a real improvement over three months ago. As an added bonus, my cholesterol has come down too and I’ve lost a few pounds!
Diet seems to be everything. Eating healthy, getting exercise and staying away from harmful foods has helped me to avoid what could have been a disastrous health problem. I still have to be careful, and monitor my health periodically to make sure I’m still on the right track, but thanks to some great medical advice and a simple change in my eating habits I was able to avoid taking medication and reverse my diabetes.
Do you have diabetes or know someone with diabetes? How are they managing their condition? Has diet helped you or someone else that you know? Share your story in the comments below.
**Note: I apologize for not stating above that my diagnosis was of type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetics need insulin to live and are unable to reverse their diagnosis simply with diet. For some type 2 diabetics diet can greatly reduce their dependance on medication and help to regulate their blood sugar. I didn’t intend to mislead or misinform anyone as to the extent of my diabetes or diagnosis and stress that it is always necessary to work in concert with your health care provider before attempt any changes to manage diabetes.**
Gabriel is the communication and information hero at Full Circle. He helps to bring good food to good people and great recipes to Full Circle members. When he’s not riding his bike, cooking healthy food, or chasing around his son, he’s napping.