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Looking Back, Moving Forward

My diabetes journey has been a long road. In the 14 years since I was diagnosed with type 2, I’ve made a lot of changes to my eating habits and lost a lot of weight. I’ve also learned that diabetes becomes harder to control the longer you have it. Things that once worked don’t work anymore. Dealing with diabetes is a lifelong constantly evolving process, not a single plan set in stone.

After my Diabetes Diagnosis
After my diagnosis, I radically changed my diet, started taking walks and managed my blood glucose very well without medication. That worked for several years. Then, life happened. I went back to school, got divorced and moved to another state. Eventually, I changed careers, became self-employed, got remarried and moved to yet another state. Managing my diabetes was not my #1 priority during this time as it should have been and I paid the price. I learned my kidneys weren’t as healthy as they should be and I started paying attention again.

Liver Trouble
Everything was fine until last year when I got some troubling liver enzyme lab results. One thing led to another and I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (Note the NON part of this. I stopped drinking alcohol years ago because I found it made my blood glucose numbers too hard to manage.)

Vegan Fork
Food as a Drug
I moved AGAIN (I seem to get restless every few years) and found a new doctor who believes in managing chronic health conditions through nutrition as much as possible. She recommended I adopt a wheat-free, vegan diet. (“Vegan” means no consumption of any animal product whatsoever. No meat, no poultry, no fish, no cheese, no milk, no yogurt.) Coincidentally, The Grillmaster had just read Wheat Belly by William Davis and was ready to give up wheat anyway.

From late September through Thanksgiving, I strictly followed a wheat-free, dairy-free diet and I greatly reduced my consumption of animal protein. My next batch of liver bloodwork was great, nearly normal in fact. My A1C had increased significantly, however, possibly because I was substituting grains and legumes for meat. From Thanksgiving through Christmas, I slipped back into some old dietary habits. I ate more meat. I enjoyed a little bit of cheese. I had rolls made from wheat.

Since Christmas, I’ve re-boarded the no wheat, vegan train and I’ve been carefully monitoring my blood glucose. I’m noticing some interesting patterns which I’m not sure I quite understand, but I’m working to educate myself so I will.

The Future of Diabetic Foodie
So why am I sharing all of this? The Grillmaster (who, from this point forward, will be known as The CompostMaster since we won’t be doing as much grillin’) made me do it. I’ve been struggling with whether or not to take the Diabetic Foodie blog in a no wheat, vegan direction or to keep it the way it always has been. He suggested I not only share recipes with you, but also share my journey as I try to figure out how to make tasty, healthy dishes that don’t include wheat, meat or dairy. I’m fairly certain I’ll stick to the no wheat, no dairy part of the plan. However, my blood glucose numbers seem to be better when I include a little bit of poultry, fish, eggs or meat with my meals, so I’m not sure whether I will totally eliminate those foods from my diet. Stay tuned.

I feel like I’m learning to cook all over again, which is both exciting and frustrating. If you’d like to learn with me, teach me or share my successes and setbacks, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

May 2014 be healthy and happy for all of us.

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2 comments to Looking Back, Moving Forward

  • Jo Ann

    I feel that I have similar problems with blood sugar and high cholesterol. I have tried to eat vegan but blood sugar rises, if I eat meat and cheese my cholesterol rises. I will be looking forward to your comments and ideas.

  • diabeticFoodie

    Jo Ann – It’s so great to hear that I’m not alone. My toughest challenge so far has been breakfast. It seems that no matter what I eat, my blood glucose is higher than I want it to be two hours later. I’m obsessed with monitoring at the moment to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’d love to hear any tips you might have.

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