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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?

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

Progress!

I am now 10lbs lighter, and 50lbs happier! I have so much
energy! I am now down to 1 unit of Novolog per meal and can even
eat a mid-afternoon snack with the amount carried over from lunch.
I would really love to help others (esp. Diabetics) in eating a raw
food diet. The results are unexplainable,…I haven’t had this much
energy, love, and gratitude for life and those around me since I
was a child. It’s so nice to test my blood sugar and always have a
balanced and predictable reading. I need to get my blog in more
Google searches so that I can get the word out. There is not a
whole lot of info out there on types 1 diabetes and a raw vegan
lifestyle. Eventually, I’d like to learn some more about WordPress
so I can begin to post photos of meals and maybe even some before
and after photos! I’ve been updating mostly with my phone and need
to utilize my computer more. Tomorrow I will be attending a free
Vegan cooking class at Whole Foods. While I don’t see myself eating
cooked foods ever again (aside from the occasional special
occasion),…my daughter has recently shown an interest in becoming
vegan due to my own personal change. I hope to get some good tips
and ideas! I’ve already got her drinking green (well, purple from
the berries, but consisting mostly of spinach) smoothies in the
morning for breakfast! For anyone looking at healthy travel
destinations, my best friend and I will be staying at a Vegan bed
and breakfast in the rain forests of Las Marias, Puerto Rico.
Maravilla guesthouse (www.maravillamountain.com) has an all
inclusive meal plan which provides tasty vegan meals as well as raw
(you just need to request). I’m so excited to go on a vacation and
stay raw and healthy at the same time! To our health!

Supplements!

In addition to eating a raw foods diet, I also supplement with various vitamins and minerals.

While reading Dr Bernstein’s, “Diabetes Solution,”  I learned about an interesting product called Insulow.   I saw an immediate improvement after taking these supplements and highly recommend them to anyone seeking better insulin sensitivity.  The description on Amazon.com reads:

“Insulow, recommended in Diabetes Solutions by Dr. R. Bernstein, is pure R+ Lipoic acid complexed with essential Biotin. R+ lipoic enhances glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity which reduces the spike after carbohydrate containing meals. Improving carbohydrate uptake and utilization can increase energy levels and improve your ability to use both fat and carbohydrates for energy.”

I love this supplement so much that I’ve put it on Auto-ship!  Simply take 1-2 capsules right before you take your insulin injection.   It works best when taken with Evening Primrose Oil (I purchase the Trader Joe’s brand to save money).

Other supplements I include in my daily regime include:

  • Alive multivitamin (3 daily, taken with each meal)
  • Vitamin D3 (4,000 iu daily)
  • Vitamin B12 (I get the B “50” version from Trader Joe’s
  • Evening Primrose Oil (One with every dose of Insulow)

What types of vitamins (if any) do you take??

So grateful…

I feel incredibly grateful for the progression of healing I’ve seen in my body.

Before going raw, I was taking 23 units of Lantus, and about 14-16 units of Novolog daily.  My blood sugar readings were across the board, ranging from 140-300.   I was consuming large amounts of coffee, and also eating low carb (greek yogurt, salads, meat, cheese, butter).

I am shocked to say I am only on 18 units of Lantus, and 6 units of Novolog DAILY!  My levels are now 85-160.   They never go higher than 160, and it’s usually around 140 two hours after a meal.  I have cut out the coffee, dairy, meat, and ANY refined sugars or starches (I use liquid Stevia to sweeten).  The part that amazes me most is how many more carbs I eat now.  I am able to enjoy low glycemic fruits without a problem!  Another bonus- I’ve lost 5 lbs!  I feel great!

If you give your body what it needs, it will thank you.

A bump in the road…

Today has been a rough day. My sugar levels have been amazing for the past two weeks of eating raw vegan, but last night I got myself into trouble. Tonight is a holiday potluck at my friend, Julie’s house. I wanted to bring a yummy raw dessert and decided on making a chocolate strawberry mousse pie. Now, typically I only use Stevia when I create something sweet for myself, but I wanted to save the amount I had left and also please the palates of the guests, so I used a combo of soaked dates and raw honey. Well, while creating this lovely pie, I was taking taste tests to make sure it was turning out right (bad idea). All the itty bitty tastes definitely added up and spiked my sugar level. As any seasoned type 1 diabetic knows, once your sugar is spiked, it’s difficult to return to balance without going on a roller-coaster ride. I’m trying to ease it down with small amounts of insulin but it’s been in the low 200s since last night. This of course has given me a depressed and negative attitude for most of the day. I’m reminding myself however that I am actually doing a really good job and this is just a bump in the road.

Today I had a green smoothie made with spinach, a little leftover kale, Stevia, a couple spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, nutiva hemp protein powder, and half a small apple with a small handful of walnuts on the side.

For lunch I ate a large spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, 1/2 avocado, green pepper, a few baby carrots, sunflower seeds, flax oil, sea salt, and apple cider vinegar.

I have not tested my post lunch blood sugar reading yet,…so I am about to do so and will let you know what I end up with. ((drumroll….))

88! What a relief…!

With perseverance all things are possible. 🙂

To our health!