|Posted on May 23, 2015 at 5:55 AM|
This article was posted to the 'Plant-based Nutrition for Diabetes' Blog on My AADE Network on May 22, 2015
Pt drops A1c 3.7 points, thriving on “Veggies in abundance”
Peter emailed me the day after our first meeting. In the email he asked a few questions, and he ended with his plan: “Will try to reduce my fish intake… and replace with beans/legumes as my protein source and eat the fruits in moderation and veggies in abundance.”
“He’s got it!” Peter had grasped the approach of eating a plant-based diet to reverse his diabetes.
Peter and I met in February 2014 only month or so after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Not confident that he knew how best to handle this diabetes problem, he appeared in my office with a log of blood sugar numbers and food intake. I could tell that Peter was nervous about his diagnosis and, at the same time, confused by available information about how best to care for himself.
At that meeting, Peter told me that in the next week he’d be leaving on business, a trip that included places that most of us can only dream about: Spain, Portugal, and Italy. “Lucky fella,” I thought, but probably not what he was feeling at the time.
After listening carefully to Peter’s concerns and goals, I suggested an alternative way to handle his diabetes diagnosis. “Maybe it’s unconventional,” I told him, “but it works.” I told Peter that I was sure that he could lower his A1c, and that I was almost as sure that he could reduce his reliance on diabetes medication, if not eliminate it completely. Peter perked up.
“Here’s the deal,” I remember telling him. I explained that inside the cell, messages are sent and received constantly. I guess it’s like a cell phone, and just like having too much stored data that can slow down the phone’s performance, muck that collects inside the cell slows down the cell’s ability to process insulin and glucose.
I told him that in order to make this work, he would need to make some changes in his diet and fine tune his exercise plan somewhat. Losing weight would help to clear the muck, and reducing or eliminating the fats and oils would result in big progress. Likewise, animal foods like chicken and fish as well as the chemicals added to food also interfere with the signals that bounce back and forth inside the cells.
So you see, the email that landed in my inbox the day after I met Peter was solid confirmation that he was on board.
For the next few weeks, Peter was impeccable with his diet and unbending with his exercise routine, and his diligent efforts paid off. Peter’s results were no less than phenomenal. It took only 12 days for Peter’s blood sugars to drop low enough that his doctor stopped his diabetic medication completely. Within ten weeks, his A1c fell from 8.1 to 4.4. Peter’s doctor said that 4.4 was the lowest A1c he had ever seen. Peter also reduced his total cholesterol to 156, dropped 20 pounds, and fixed his elevated liver enzymes (a long-standing problem).
Today, Peter’s A1c hovers around 5.1. He now knows the things like stress and watermelon that raise his daily blood sugar numbers, so he manages his stress as best he can, and he limits the amount of watermelon that he eats. He does eat some fish, and occasionally he gets a restaurant meal with more oil than he bargained for, but he takes it all in stride. He hasn’t given up panzerotti either. He eats the fried, cheesy pastry annually when he’s in Milan and brings a few home and squirrels them in the freezer to eat on another day. Peter says that he doesn’t feel deprived. Instead he feels empowered to know what his body needs to be well.
To make sure he’s on the right path, Peter keeps his eye on his A1c and lets that guide him.
Peter is a huge advocate of a plant-based diet and regular exercise for good health. He’ll tell anyone who will listen about how it changed his life.