Goodbye to Raw, Hello to Paleo…

It has been many months since I updated the Raw Diabetic….and for a good reason.  My health has been suffering and I’ve spent the past few months dedicated to finding the root of the problem.

Unfortunately, I have ultimately discovered that the raw diet was the perpetrator in my situation.
I may disappoint some, and some may argue against this….but from my own personal experience, I do believe the diet royally screwed me up.
Rewind to February, when my levels started becoming unpredictable.  I was eating the exact same way, yet what used to work, was not working anymore.  My hair started falling out,  my digestion went awry (constipation, then diarrhea, then constipation again).  I was in a constant state of brain fog and fatigue.  The energy I once had plummeted to near nothing.  My blood sugar levels started to run high, then higher…I needed to take more insulin again.  Bloating to the point of looking pregnant became the norm.   Mood swings, anxiety, mouth sores, dizziness, lack of coordination, shortness of breath, irregular menstrual cycle, lack of patience…. I could go on and on.
I didn’t think it was the diet at first….of course not!  This is the healthiest diet in the world! (Or so I thought).
So I proceeded to see many different types of doctors (including a neurologist, gynecologist, ophthalmologist, dermatologist)  and then eventually a naturopath.  The naturopath, I assumed,  would be impressed by my “perfect diet” but instead, she told me to eat meat!   She said all the raw vegan patients she has seen are not well!  Well, I heard what she said, but I didn’t let it sink in.
This wasn’t easy for me.  I thought maybe I just needed to eat less nuts, or make sure to soak them?  I had let all the dogmatic teachings of the raw vegan lifestyle brainwash me.  Over the next couple months, I flip-flopped back and forth between raw vegan, eating chicken occasionally, not eating meat, only eating fish, to just eating a cooked vegan diet.  I was really struggling with the concept of eating meat.
One day, I remembered an inspiring ‘hero’ of mine: Jenna Phillips.   She is a personal trainer in California who also has Type 1 Diabetes.   Her goal is to inspire others in beating this disease with fitness and nutrition and taking the least amount of insulin as possible.   So I decided to ask her (via her Facebook page) what type of nutrition she follows?
Jenna was generous enough to let me call her on the phone so we could chat about her diet.
This was very exciting for me, as I’d been following her for a while, which included working out to one of her exerciseTV videos.
I would have loved to have talked to her longer than I did, but in our short conversation, she let me know she eats a Paleo diet.
This means eating meat….and LOTS of it!   Protein, Veggies and fat at every meal is what she recommended.  She obtains all her carbohydrates from veggies.
So I ran to the library, checked out “The Paleo Solution,”  did some research online, and made a complete 180 in my purchase decisions at the grocery store.
Eating this much meat, especially red meat, seemed very foreign to me.  My catholic upbringing also gave me a good dose of guilt as I chowed down on steaks, ground beef, chicken, pork chop, deli ham, and turkey.   But you know what?
I woke up!   The constant brain fog that haunted me was lifted and I literally felt like I woke up.  All of a sudden, I had energy, my mood swings disappeared, and my blood sugar levels were doing pretty darn good too!   I desperately needed the nutrients that these amazing animals were able to provide my helpless body.
So, currently, I am sticking with this “Paleo” style of eating.  I will be avoiding all dairy, soy, corn, grains, legumes, and fruit (berries on occasion).  In the “Paleo Solution,”  I really related to the author, Robb Wolf, who was also a long-term vegan before he ate this way.   Many of the health complaints I was experiencing, he had experienced as well.  The more internet research I did on vegans switching to ‘Paleo,’  the more I realized I was not alone.
My sunny short-term accounts of eating a raw food diet should be viewed as such.  It worked very well at first…but I believe cutting out dairy, grains, and caffeine is where the real credit should be given.   As a quick cleanse, eating nothing but veggies might be great, but I can no longer recommend this diet as a long-term way of life.  Who knows what might have happened to me if I continued eating this way?   I was low on Vitamin B12 (even though I supplemented) and a host of other nutrients I was unable to obtain from such extremism.  Balance is key.  I may still make some raw veggie dishes that I learned from my time on the diet, but I’ll be making it as a side dish alongside my meat from now on.

Support Group

Yesterday, I had the honor of being a guest speaker at a type 1 diabetes support group for kids.

I spoke to the kid’s parents for the first 45 minutes on my life growing up with diabetes, and the last 30 minutes speaking with the kids.

I became the most nervous when I began speaking with the youth.  I wanted to be careful not to say anything too morose or bring up a topic they may be sensitive to.  I recall being quite vulnerable in the beginning, and I wasn’t sure where each child’s path lay with the disease.  I was quickly put at ease once the kids began to speak about their experiences in regards to their peer’s reactions to diabetes.  These children were not only well spoken, but resilient and wise.  I forget how much growing up you go through once you are diagnosed with diabetes.  You immediately have to become that much more responsible for yourself and it really showed in these kids.  Their attitudes on the disease were admirable and made me really wish I had cool diabetic friends like them as a kid.

It was an extremely rewarding experience.  I’ve always enjoyed kids, and having something as monumental as diabetes to relate to creates that much more in the relationship.  Perhaps volunteering with juvenile diabetic kids will be in my near future?

Raw Tacos!

Raw tacos!
I used Swiss chard leaves and purple cabbage as the ‘tortilla’ shell.

For the ‘meat’ I threw walnuts, cumin, cayenne, garlic, sea salt, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, and grape tomatoes.  Topped with tomatoes, diced chayote,  fresh guacamole and corn.

Struggles with getting sick

Hello everyone-

I neglected to update my blog due to my catching a nasty cough/congestion type illness.

Feeling incredibly run-down, I was also experiencing unpredictable blood sugar levels, regardless of eating my super healthy meals.  When your body is harboring an infection, the liver’s storage of glucose secretes the glycogen to give your body extra energy to fight the sickness….well, since our pancreas isn’t tag teaming with the liver, our blood sugars soar.  Any predictable regime you may have is completely thrown off.

It can get pretty depressing, especially after having such balanced levels for four months.  I think my immune system was compromised after my trip, and considering I was around a lot of sick people (including my daughter), I naturally caught the promiscuous bug.

I am finally at the tail-end of recovery and feeling much better.  My levels aren’t where I’d like them to be, but they have greatly improved from where they were a week ago.   The reality of diabetes is that no matter how healthy you eat, sometimes there will be factors that are incredibly difficult to manage.

So, I just test often, and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.

 

Staying positive

I recently posted a short paragraph about my blog and raw food experiences on a diabetes forum I belong to (TuDiabetes) to spread the word on my surprising progress.  My goal was to get my blog out there, so that anyone that might be interested in this lifestyle might be able to gain some perspective, support and new ideas that specifically cater to their situation.

Before I began this journey, I was desperate for any kind of information regarding this diet AND juvenile diabetes.  Most of what I found was for type 2 diabetes or the general public looking for weight loss and overall health.  Unfortunately, there is very little out there for people in my scenario.  I had found a couple you tube videos (also type 1 diabetics) that inspired me enough to try the raw diet (just for a week I told myself…haha) and I’m forever grateful that those people put themselves out there!

Well, after I made the post on TuDiabetes, I surprisingly received many negative (and sometimes just mean) comments on my new lifestyle.  Not all of them were discouraging, but the bulk of them were quite pessimistic.   Most of the gripe was surrounded around my use of the word “healing.”   As some of you may know, it can be very frustrating and off-putting when you read claims of type 1 diabetes being cured.   As someone who has had the disease for almost 20 years, I can completely empathize.  My choice of wording was the main culprit, but I still felt depressed by some of the comments, considering I’ve always come to this forum for support.

I avoided responding at first, and felt silly for how sad the comments were allowing me to become.

Today is a new day, however, and I realized that I can’t let negativity affect me, especially when I have accomplished so much!

To many, this lifestyle is very extreme…and in some ways it can be.   I feel it most when I go out to eat with friends….But I will say it helps my indecisive trait when there are only a couple of things on the menu to choose from!

So I responded to the post as best as I possibly could, and I am choosing to remain positive and happy, because that’s what this lifestyle has provided me, and I’m never ever looking back!

Here is the link to the aforementioned posting, in case you’re interested:   http://www.tudiabetes.org/forum/topics/raw-vegan-diet-healing-t1

Raw Chocolate Chip cookies!

I was experimenting with ingredients and ended up making a raw chocolate chip cookie that tastes pretty close to the real thing. I’m assuming you could dehydrate to make it taste even more cookie like, but I ate it right away…tastes just like cookie dough!

Ingredients:
-Handful of Pecans
-about 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
-1-2 Tablespoons Coconut milk
-Liquid Stevia
-Vanilla extract
-Pumpkin Spice
-Himalayan Sea Salt
-Raw Cacao Nibs

In a food processor, combine pecans, coconut flakes, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt and Pumpkin Spice (to taste).

Once its ground up, add the coconut milk and the liquid stevia, process.
It should be the consistency of cookie batter…nice and thick. Stir in however many cacao nibs you’d like, pat into a round cookie shape….dehydrate, or enjoy right away!

I washed it down with a cup of Almond Mylk…yum.

Vegan-rican photos!

Here are some photos from my amazing trip in Las Marias, Puerto Rico. We stayed at Maravilla guest house, located in the mountains of the rainforest. All meals were lovingly created by Margo, the host of the bed and breakfast.

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