Thanks to social media I was able to connect with yet another fellow health advocate, using the paleo diet to control his type one diabetes. The below interview was held with the writer of Intrepid Pioneer, a site about modern homesteading principals.
Perhaps, you as the reader, can connect with this interview and maybe find yourself inspired to optimize your diet. Feedback is welcomed.
Cheers to you and good health,
How long have you had diabetes?
I was diagnosed May 2011 during my routine annual physical. At that time my blood sugars were up around 360 and my AC1’s ran around 12.3. At first I was treated as if I was a Type 2 with Metformin. The medicine only helped to control my blood sugars down to around 250 or so. At that time my endocrinologist informed me that I probably have LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, which basically has been coined type 1.5 Meaning I developed adult on-set Type 1. My father has had Type 1 all his life and was diagnosed as a child.
What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet?
Paleo, hands down, without a question. It took me some time to get there. I had tried Weight Watchers, and measure portions, etc. but I still just felt that each time I checked my glucose it was a crap shoot. I eventually did the Advocare 10 day cleanse and my blood sugars stabilized. Next I started researching Paleo and ultimately I ended up taking on the Whole 30 challenge. That was it and I’ve been keeping a food/exercise journal since Jan. 2013 and am now able to completely understand how my body metabolism it’s sugars. Sometimes my glucose is a surprise to me and when that happens I can look back through my food journal to see just what I ate or did for that number (good or bad).
What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not?
I’ve lost about 15bls and I am exercising on a more regular basis and enjoying it. Whereas I used to say the only time I ran was when I was being chased and now I’ve let a buddy talk me into running a Rock and Roll half-marathon in 2014. Plus, I’ve started doing Crossfit and I love strength training, lifting weights and the intensity that Crossfit brings as well as the community of likeminded no-bullshit real people.
Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes?
Yes, not only do I feel better, and have tighter control over my diabetes, I absolutely recommend it to anyone. Here’s the deal too that I like about Paleo – it can be as strict as they want or modify it to fit their lifestyle. For example, I am a home brewer and I love beer AND I love cheese. Those two delicious pieces of goodness I will never give up, so instead I gave up hot, fresh, warm bread and pasta. It’s all about choices.
What does a typical day of food look like to you?
Easy. Take today for example:
6:30a – BG 82mg/dl
20oz black coffee and 1 banana (it was a rough morning, sometimes I eat eggs or I’ll make a protein shake)
8:30a – 103 mg/dl
another 20oz Black coffee
1 apple and 1/3c raw almonds
11:15 – BG post snack 125 mg/dl
1 salad (bib lettuce from my garden), with radishes, scallions, cucumbers and 1/3c raw sunflower seeds, a little goat cheese and rice vinegar dressing. 1 large avocado and a 12oz can of seltzer water.
1:15 BG post lunch – 97 mg/dl
1 string cheese and an organic raspberry yogurt.
7:50p 237 Pre dinner (went out to a pub for Guinness and ate happy hour bar food)
9:45p 155 post dinner (took 8u fast acting w/dinner since I was so high from the bar food)
Here’s another example:
6:05a 138 fasting
6:30a 2 eggs over medium + 1 banana
8:45a 160 post breakfast
9a 20 oz black coffee
10 a 1/3c raw almonds and an Asian pear/apple
11:15a Turkey burger with mustard 2 slices whole wheat and cheddar) not paleo I know Wanted the carbs for my workout.
11:30 2 servings of my C4 pre-workout drink
12 Crossfit during lunch
1p 2 servings whey protein shake post w/o
3p 127 post shake
7:15p Paleo Chicken in Mushroom coconut sauce over quinoe and garnished w/scallions + 1 glass red wine
9:05p 106 post dinner
Pick any day of the week and or specific day (this year) and I can tell you what I ate and when. I realize today might be the best example of a day.
What is the best thing about the diet?
If I fall of the wagon for some reason and eat some chips or red vines (my kryptonite) I don’t feel guilty, like I did in the past when I tried Weight Watchers. I still mark it down in my journal, take it as head nod and move forward. You can make what you want of eating Paleo, be strict, or give yourself a cheat day. I love eating real food, that’s not prepackaged crap, I feel healthier and have more energy each day.
Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet?
Plan. For me that is the most essential thing. I found that when I didn’t plan, I fell off the wagon and I only had me to blame. It’s easy to do, but to stay focused you just have to plan. When you know what your meals are for the week, you can get home from work and then get at it in the kitchen. No excuses.
Anything in addition you’d like to say?
Since eating the Paleo lifestyle, and I hate it when one calls it a diet because then it feels temporary, I’ve pretty much stop taking my fast acting mealtime insulin. Meaning I only inject fast acting when I know I’m having Pizza for dinner as a treat, or for a thanksgiving meal, etc. My long acting insulin has reduced by over 10 units since starting this diet. All of that said, Paleo is great and it all tastes so good because it’s real food, but I have found that I also need to exercise, eating Paleo combined with exercise has yielded dynamic results. My endocrinologist was blown away by all that I had done, reduced my insulin injections and basically had my A1C’s in check — my last appointment I was 7.3. Still a bit more to go but the last time I was pushing 9 just six months before.
Lastly, some may say that eating Paleo is expensive, I would then ask, which is more expensive paying for real, quality food, or paying a doctor/insurance company for advice and then paying for an prescription? It’s all just choices.