Blood Sugar Predictability = Less Stress

When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (“T1D”) about 4 years ago, it was very stressful having to see my blood sugars swing up and down. My initial A1c test was 6.7 which is essentially an average blood sugar of 146 (most non-diabetics are around 85). I remember initially being in denial thinking that I may not really have T1D, however, my blood sugar readings kept being in the 180s (pretty bad).

Obviously a Type 1

The doctors initially were trying to figure out whether I was a T1D or type 2 diabetic (“T2D”), but being a 5’10 / 160 lb. person who exercised 6 days per week, I think the answer was quite obvious which type I was.

As a T1D, the key to alleviating stress in one’s lifestyle is to stabilize your blood sugars.  Easier said they done! Insulin obviously helps decrease a T1D’s blood sugars, but if you are not eating the right diet, then those roller coaster blood sugars are sure to come. And roller coaster blood sugars = stress.

Thank God I’m a Type A Personality

I am by nature a very type A personality with a quantitative frame of mind. I really only check my blood sugars once per day when I first wake up in the morning (fasting blood sugar). Over the past 3.5 years, I’ve found that I am able to fairly accurately predict what my A1c readings will be before the actual results come rolling in.

As a lesson, an A1c reading is the quarterly test that most diabetics take which shows the average blood sugar reading over the past 90 days. As we all now how waiting for blood work is…early on after diagnosis, my heart used to pound as I was logging into the blood work site to check out my A1c results.

Predictability

What I started to notice over the years is that my A1c was actually  predictable to some extent. I listed below what my rolling 90 day average fasting blood sugar was prior to my A1c tests.

I use an iphone app called Pocket A1c which allows me to translate an average fasting blood sugar to an A1c reading. As you can see, my A1c is typically 2 to 3 points higher than what the iphone app predicts (click for a larger version).

Let’s Just Go Vegan

Also, a few months ago I watched the documentary “What the Health” which essentially made me go vegan.  I was close to vegan before watching this documentary (~90% plant based / ~10% animal product), but the information in that was so powerful that I lost much of my desire to eat animal products.

7 Straight Days Under 100!

After a couple months of going vegan, my blood sugars became even less volatile and more predictable. I even went a stretch of 7 straight days where my fasting blood sugars were below 100. Not bad for a T1D off medication. I put below a chart that shows my fasting blood sugars from mid-July (I started vegan) to mid-October. As you can, my levels have been around the 100 mark on average (click on graph for larger view). Any T1D would be thrilled with these levels, even on medication!

I was especially proud of my 70 fasting blood sugar reading after I ate a raw kale salad for dinner the night before! Kale is one of the most powerful foods in fighting disease. It’s remarkable for me to see my fasting blood sugar be 70 which is exceptional for even a non-diabetic human.

As I’m sure many of you are thinking, yes, being vegan in this society is hard.  However, I am at peace with my dietary decisions and I quite enjoy living this way. My overall body is much healthier and my blood sugars are much lower and more predictable.

Health Vegan Diet = Plummeting Blood Sugars

I wanted to show my rolling 30 day average blood sugars prior to going vegan. As you can see, the drop was substantial (click for a larger version).

Ultimately, I have found solace in tracking my fasting blood sugar readings and being able to predict within a small amount of error what my A1c readings will be. This allows me to reduce the amount of stress in my life that is devoted to worrying about what my average blood sugars are.

I have always said that if I was going to get a chronic disease that T1D fits my personality the best. Living medication free isn’t easy as a T1D but increasing the predictability of my blood sugars has made this disease much easier to cope with.

New and Improved Website Coming!

Stayed tuned for next month’s blog post which will be unveiling my new website!

Also, I had the absolute pleasure of getting a family picture with the Stanley Cup a couple weeks ago. Hopefully the Penguins can make it a 3-peat!

Guest Blog Post – My Wife!

Hello everyone, I have a special treat for you! My wife will be doing my first ever guest blog post. As a type 1 diabetic that has been off medication for going on 4 years, my wife has been a big supporter of my efforts and instrumental to my mission to stay medication free.

What she has to deal with is no easy task. For most dinners, Amanda will have to make 4 separate meals, 1 for me, 1 for her, 1 for our son Aiden and 1 for our daughter Madison. She tries her best to make sure we all eat healthy, but it can be exhausting managing my raw-vegan focused diet along with feeding two toddlers, oh, and not to mention herself.

Unfortunately, ever since our 2nd was born, my wife has been experiencing health problems as well. But she has taken steps to improve her diet which has significant reduced her ailments. Amanda actually does not follow a vegan diet like myself, but she has had success with other avenues. I am very proud of Amanda and her efforts and am excited to let you hear her story…

Amanda’s Story

Hi! My name is Amanda Steve and I am Matt’s wife. After I had my 2nd child, I started to experience a lot of strange symptoms such as joint pain, tingling all over my body, blurry vision in my left eye and severe fatigue among other things.

I went to my doctor who ran some bloodwork and due to an elevated antinuclear antibody (ANA) of 1:640 and family history, they thought I might have Lupus and referred me to a Rheumatologist. Many autoimmune diseases such as Lupus cannot be diagnosed with bloodwork alone. Luckily, the Rheumatologist told me that I don’t currently have Lupus although it could be early stages that we should keep an eye on over time.

Dr. Cole to the Rescue

It is scary when you experience symptoms and can’t make them stop. You can’t help but wonder if you will have them for the rest of your life or if they will even get worse. Like my husband, I could not accept what was happening without taking action. At first I just cut out gluten and discovered that my joint pain immediately went away. I still wasn’t feeling 100% though so I decided to seek out a functional medicine expert named Dr. Will Cole in Monroeville.

Functional Medicine, the Better Choice

Functional medicine looks at the root causes of why your body isn’t working the way it should instead of conventional medicine that might just prescribe pharmaceuticals. Through running additional bloodwork, a saliva test, urine test and stool test, Dr. Cole had determined that I had leaky gut syndrome, adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalances, hormone imbalances, inflammation markers, low vitamin D and a few other items such as food sensitivities to dairy, eggs and gluten.

Most people that are having symptoms of autoimmunity often have similar underlying issues that cause them such as inflammation, so I feel strongly that the process listed below can help most people with autoimmune disease if they are currently following a Standard American Diet.

Amanda’s Diet

The diet I have been following is very similar to the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP), which is a stricter version of a Paleo diet removing all grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, cocoa, nuts, seeds, butter and eggs and a few other foods. The diet focuses on eating mostly vegetables (6+ cups per day), high quality meats and seafood, healthy fats and limited fruit.

The point of this diet is to remove foods that most commonly cause inflammation in people. Overtime you can add things back in one by one spacing them out over several days to see if they impact you. This is also known as an elimination diet. While you start to feel better within the first few weeks of eating this way, it can take years for your body to completely heal depending on the amount of damage.

The Results Are In

After one month on this diet, I felt much better. After about 2 1/2 months all of my symptoms were gone. I haven’t had my bloodwork rechecked just yet, but I have no doubt that most of my levels are normalizing just by the way that I feel. I’m still experimenting with what my body can and can’t tolerate, but this diet works. If I eat something that my body doesn’t like, I can get symptoms back for days up to almost a week even. However, it is comforting that I know I will feel great if I just go back to the basics.

So, at this point when I see a piece of cake, it honestly doesn’t look good to me anymore because I know how sick it will make me feel and how terrible it is for my body. I can honestly say that I don’t feel deprived because I can make my own version of desserts, pancakes, pizza, bread etc. The most difficult aspects of this diet in my opinion are going out to eat and social gatherings. Bringing your own dressing for a salad at a restaurant and making a compliant dish to share for parties are the best ways I have found to overcome these challenges.

When looking at your overall health you also need to focus on items other than diet such as keeping stress levels low, exercise and reducing your exposure to toxins that are in most conventional cleaners, cosmetics, and bath and body products. I don’t think there is one diet that fits everyone. Vegan might work best for your body like my husband and a paleo diet might work best for someone else with an autoimmune disease. It is up to you to take the time, energy and effort and commit to testing out what works best for your body.

Family Picture!

Some of my followers have said that I need to include more photos in my blog to liven it up! So, here you go…this was a family picture from last weekend when we rode the Gateway Clipper boat in downtown Pittsburgh. Who says a married couple with auto immune diseases can’t have fun…

What the Health!?

As most of my blog followers know, I eat a plant-based diet. I eat minimal animal products and maximize intake of uncooked low glycemic vegetables, nuts and seeds to stay off of medication as type 1 diabetic.

I’m going on nearly 3 years of this diet, and I feel great! That said, I’m in the vast minority and am constantly surrounded by individuals eating an animal-based diet. Sometimes I think that maybe an animal based diet is not that bad. Maybe I overthink the hazardous health effects from an animal based diet as I become dusty on all the research I completed years ago.

What the Health

Just when I start thinking about staying quieter about my message, I’ll watch a documentary like “What the Health” that reinforces my thoughts about eating a plant-based diet.

What the Health is a follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick.

Straight Up Vegan

This documentary was actually so powerful, that I went straight vegan after watching it. I used to always mix in the occasional animal product, but after watching this documentary, I just have no desire anymore. Even if 50% of the documentary is true (which I’m sure it is since I’ve seen a similar message in many other documentaries), it’s still truly astounding.

Type 2 Diabetes and Animal Products

The premise of the documentary is that the type 2 diabetes epidemic is pretty much caused by people having too much animal product in their diet. Most people think of type 2 diabetics as those who are very out of shape and eat a mostly sugar / carb filled diet. The truth is, it’s mostly the animal products causing the type 2 diabetes epidemic according to What the Health.

If this sounds ridiculous, just look at me as an example. Animal products have hardly any carbohydrates in them, which should make them a nice choice of food for a body like mine with a disease that has a deficiency in processing carbs. Yet, when I start eating animal products on a consistent basis, I start seeing my blood sugars creeping up to much higher levels. The documentary noted that as soon as one ingests animal product, it causes immediate inflamation in your body. They said that most kids by the age of 10 are already showing signs of heart disease.

The American Diabetes Association

The Amercian Diabetes Association (“ADA”) is truly a piece of work. If you go  to their website, they offer a super high glycemic meal plan offering fruit, grains, fish, chicken, dairy, and popcorn.  Yes, they actually recommend popcorn for diabetics! The documentary noted their personal favorite, the bacon wrapped shrimp on the ADA website. I’m sure that sits well with the ol’ blood sugars.

Check out this link of all of the grains that the ADA recommends as “Best Choices”. They actually recommend eating a potato. A potato?? That is one of the most high glycemic / worst foods that a diabetic can eat. It sure would keep me hooked on insulin though!

Why is the ADA Trying to Keep me Sick?

So, why on earth would the top authority on diabetes management recommend foods that will cause a diabetic’s blood sugars to go on a roller coaster ride?! Shouldn’t the ADA be recommending a diet consisting of mostly low glycemic vegetables? I mean I’m sure the ADA would like people like me to use as little insulin as possible, right?  I wish. Unfortunately for the most part, the ADA is doing nothing more than supporting a diet that will keep diabetics struggling with high blood sugars and hooked on insulin.

Once Again, More Examples of a Plant-Based Diet Curing Type 2 Diabetics and Improving their Lives

As this documentary shows, the diabetics interviewed followed their doctor’s orders and the ADA’s recommendations and were suffering from high blood sugar complications, excessive need of various medications and depression from the volatility of their blood sugars. It wasn’t until they did their own research and focused on a plant-based diet that they found happiness. They all came off  a majority, if not all, of their medication in just days/weeks and had remission of their ailments.

A Must Watch 8 Minute Video for Everyone

If you are reading this blog, please watch this short clip (ADA Interview). This was probably the most profound message from the documentary. Essentially a higher up at the ADA actually agreed to meet with the producer of this documentary for a Q&A session on camera. This was painful to watch for a variety of reasons…the ADA guy looked like a total fool.

He preached that the ADA’s mission is to “identify a prevention and a cure for diabetes but in the meantime to improve lives of all of those affected by diabetes.” Sounds altruistic and sincere at first, but when the producer started discussing the topic of diet curing type 2 diabetics, the ADA member got very defensive and hostile. He actually got so hostile that he stopped the interview. He literally would not acknowledge anything about how diet has cured the disease in certain people. I mean, how is anyone supposed to have trust in our governmental authorities after watching things like this?

Does the ADA Know a Plant-Based Diet Cures Type 2 Diabetes?  Absolutely!

I have done many hours of research and have seen countless type 2 diabetics cure themselves on a plant-based diet after only a few weeks on the diet. But the foremost authority on diabetes management is absolutely clueless on this matter. Or, they are fully aware but for some reason turn a blind eye (I think it’s obviously the latter after watching that interview).

ADA Sponsors, Big Surprise….

So why does the ADA do this? Well, check out their sponsors and who funds their organization. The documentary noted that the ADA’s sponsors include Dannon (dairy yogurt), Kraft (cheese), Oscar Mayer (bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts), Coca-Cola (sugar drinks!!!!), Merck (Pharmaceutical Company). Gee, thanks sponsors for your contribution! If only your products weren’t a major part of the diabetes epidemic then this might seem normal. That’s like a cigarette research study being funded by Marlboro.

Ultimately, the companies funding the ADA are the very companies that are manufacturing the products that are keeping people sick and on medication. It’s all business folks. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory, it’s just plain old fashioned capitalism at it’s finest. Profits no matter what.

I’m heavily involved in the business world and I respect capitalism and making a profit, but it does have some harsh unintended consequences. There is so much bureaucracy in these large organizations that they will fight tooth and nail selling their product no matter how unhealthy it is for the american people.  There is just too much to lose to fess up and admit their products are the leading causes of heart disease and cancer.

We All Know Someone That Has Died Too Young

Look, I get it, we are all busy and relatively healthy, right? But we all know someone that died of cancer at a young age, has type 1 diabetes or a parent or grandparent that has type 2 diabetes. There is no doubt in my mind that animal products are a major cause of diabetes and cancer.

The Spite That Drives Me

Part of what drives me to stay off meds and eat vegan is pure spite. I’m not an angry person, but I’ll be damned if I sit by and fit into the system that Big Pharma wants that will keep me heavily medicated and at risk of all sorts of disease. They do not care about my health, I’m sure of it. So, after I watch documentaries like this, it revitalizes me to keep blogging, to keep eating a plant-based diet and to keep fighting for the health of all people by providing information that should be readily available from your doctors that clearly isn’t.

Hopefully I inspire some of my readers to start educating themselves, eat healthy and question their doctor a little more. You deserve to know the truth about how to best manage your health and any diseases that you may have. I implore you to stand up for what’s right and to start realizing that this diabetes epidemic is much more prominent than many of us realize.

 

Coming Back Strong

After my last blog post, my friend told me that he did not think it was a good post. He said it gave fuel for all of the doubters out there to call me a phony and decreased my credibility for what I’m trying to accomplish.

Maybe he is right, but at the end of the day, this is real life. I’m not some raw vegan foodist living in California with a nutrition degree. I’m a pretty typical guy from Pittsburgh, PA that was unfortunately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013 who is trying to manage my life the best I can with my newly inherited disease.

He said I need to “Come back strong”, so here we go…

I’m Fine Being Unpopular

Maybe I did lose some credibility with my last blog post, but I’m not trying to gain popularity points. I do  this blog once a month in my spare time to hopefully educate other T1Ds about how a plant-based diet can change their lives.

I’m hopeful my followers can appreciate my honesty that comes across in my blog. You can agree or disagree with my philosophy, but I can say with great pride that I have not once injected insulin into my body after having T1D for 3.5 years, and that should always keep people tuned in to hear my message.

Check out My Fasting Blood Sugars

I’m sure other T1Ds reading this blog are interested in what my blood sugars read every day. Currently, I only test it once per day first thing in the morning (fasting), and I track it in excel. The below link is a chart showing my readings since I was diagnosed in December 2013. As you can see the readings aren’t perfect, but my A1c has been a pillar of stability over the past couple of years.

Fasting Blood Sugars and A1c Since Diagnosis

Annual Endocrinologist Appointment – 4th Time Around

Last month was a tough month for me, but it ended on a positive note. In June of each year, I always have my annual endocrinologist appointment. I’ve been going to the same Dr. for the past four years and I detailed my first 3 visits in my blog post from last year (June 2016 Post).

It has been a true motivator for me seeing the evolution of thought and action from my endocrinologist over years. As each annual visit goes by, I continue to notice his intrigue getting stronger and stronger about my accomplishments.

The Best Progress on My Goal to Date

This past year was the most encouraging yet. When the appointment started, he actually brought a younger endocrinologist in training into our appointment to hear my story. He even told me that he has been telling other patients about my plant-based strategy and some have adopted aspects of my diet with some success.

Now, you need to understand that this doctor is associated with one of the largest health organizations in the city of Pittsburgh. I don’t fully understand his network, but if he is preaching my story to his other patients, I’m sure he has told my story to other fellow endocrinologist in the Pittsburgh area, and possibly beyond.

I could tell that he actually has started to research Dr. Gabriel Cousens and how his raw plant-based diet is helping type 1 diabetics all over the country lower their blood sugars, and even remove some from insulin like myself in certain instances.

Exactly What I’m Looking For

Honestly, this meant the world to me. My goal when I started this blog was to increase awareness in the diabetic community that a plant-based diet was a potential option to significantly increase the time a T1D can live without medication.

I’m not trying to force feed my strategy down other T1D’s throats, but I merely want other T1Ds to know this option is out there so they can potentially adopt some of its principles and live a less stressful life.

My endocrinologist is a perfect example of a good person that was simply not educated on my approach, but is now willing to share my story to help others. Hopefully he continues to spread the word to other endocrinologists throughout his network.

So, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been making progress in my efforts and having interactions like I noted in this post are what keeps me going. As my blog has increased in popularity, I’ve had an uptick in nastygrams from people claiming that there is no cure for T1D and that I’m faking this or that my teachings are “dangerous to others” in giving them false hope.

A Great Option

I’m not claiming that I’m cured of T1D, but in some sense I hardly even feel like that I have T1D anymore except for that morning finger prick to test my sugars. Take my message for what it’s worth, it’s an option, not a guarantee.

To all the T1Ds or parents of T1Ds reading this blog, please just keep an open mind and continue your research on options out there. I am merely one option, but I can tell you that it’s a great option to pursue and I recommend it for any T1D out there.

I am Humbled

Penguins Win the Stanley Cup Again!

Right on the heels of a 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup Championship for the Pittsburgh Penguins (I am a Pittsburgher), I was all ready to write up a raw raw post talking about all of the great things that a plant-based diet affords the general population.

Change in Tune

That was until we took my daughter in for her year and a half checkup in mid-June. We had been noticing her acting a little more lethargic lately, but didn’t think much of it.

Long story short, Madison ended up being iron deficient and we had to head off to the ER and ultimately a hospital visit to get her iron levels back up to par. The doctors could not be sure, but the likely culprit was from a deficiency of iron in her diet.

A Little Iron Did the Trick

Since returning from the hospital my daughter has gotten a bounce back in her step and we were very thankful that the situation was able to be remedied in short order. She has much more energy now and it’s great to see her bouncing around the house.

The day at the hospital was very hard for me emotionally for several reasons. I completed so much research on how a plant-based diet can have profound impacts on one’s health and cure disease. I’ve seen it first hand allow me to stay off of medication for now over 3.5 years since I was diagnosed back in December 2013 and I feel healthier than ever.

I also specifically researched the proper way to raise your child on a plant-based diet to ensure that they are getting all of the necessary nutrients, so I felt pretty confident in our decision to raise our kids on this type of diet. Our son is 2 years older than Madison and he has grown up super healthy on a plant-based diet very similar to what we feed her.

Feeling of Guilt

I couldn’t help but feel so guilty that my poor little girl was iron deficient most likely because of her diet. That said, the doctors actually said that iron deficiency (anemia) is common for children across a variety of diets and not necessarily tied to those who choose a plant-based focus.

Likely Causes of Anemia

Apparently, in many cases anemia is caused when kids drink too much milk (almond or dairy) which inhibits efficient iron absorption and they don’t intake enough calories from other food sources to balance out their diet.

I think in my daughter’s case it was a combination of a lower iron diet and probably drinking too much almond milk. We think the problem started months ago when she was sick and had less energy to eat and started to rely more on almond milk which ultimately started a downward trend of iron levels in her body.

At the end of the day, kids are picky eaters, and it’s hard to make sure they are getting all of the necessary nutrients on a daily basis. My wife and I were never totally against her eating animal products from time to time, but Madison never really liked those foods. I was confident in my research, and especially my experiences with my son, so I didn’t think it would cause her any harm.

I Need to Blog the Good and the Bad

With this blog, I try to be as sincere and real as possible. I feel like it was the right thing to do to write about this and show that a plant-based diet does come with some risks and may not be for everyone. I couldn’t in good conscience write a super up-beat blog this month after my little girl went to the hospital.

For me, a plant-based diet is a no brainer, because it’s really the only way that I can stay off of medication. But for a young developing child, you really need to make sure he/she is getting enough B12 / Iron and other predominantly animal product found nutrients in their diet.

Iron Has Many Sources, Including Plants

I still fully stand behind a plant-based diet for my family but I will definitely be a little more accepting of my kids eating the occasional hamburger, salmon, eggs or chicken. I will say that I was a bit surprised at her deficiency as she was getting a fair amount of iron from things like spinach, sweet potatoes, almonds, broccoli, peas, beans and fruits, but apparently her body was not able to absorb the plant iron well enough to keep her red blood cells up. I also think an excessive amount of almond milk kept her full which caused a decrease in her appetite for other foods.

I still think an animal based diet is not the healthier route to go relative to plant-based one, but mixing in the occasional animal product is probably beneficial to the growth and development of a young child. Mostly because kids are so picky with their food that it’s hard to ensure your child is getting all of the required nutrients on a pure plant-based diet.

I am Humbled

Also, after this experience, I reflected on my blog posts over the past year and a half and realized that I have been pretty hard on the medical community at times. I do have some strong disagreements with how they inform patients of T1D management, but ultimately, I can not say enough about how supportive and friendly all of the doctors and nurses were at the hospital.

Even when we were in the hospital, all of the hospital personnel listened to my story and why we feed our kids the way that we do. In all cases, the doctors/nurses were supportive and respectfully listened to everything that I had to say. They agreed that our diet is well rounded and mostly a good strategy, but recommended a few items to add some more iron into their diet.

I guess I want to give a shout out to all of the things that doctors and nurses do each day to help those in need. I sometimes disagree with their approach on how they communicate disease management options to patients, but a majority of the medical field are kind hearted people doing their best to get your kids out the hospital as quickly and safely as possible.

I will continue to spread my message, but this experience surely humbled me. No diet is a one size fits all for anyone, especially when raising little children and ensuring they all receive the nutrients necessary to promote growth and development.

Meeting Some Pittsburgh Pirates!

Madison is back at home and doing well and the doctors said that she’ll be fine. We were told that we caught the deficiency early and there should be no long term issues as a result of the deficiency period.

Also, one positive note about the hospital visit was that Madison got to meet two Pittsburgh Pirates, Chris Stewart and John Jaso. Jaso actually hit a pinch hit two run homer the night after Madison met him! She must have been a good luck charm!  Also, good thing I wore my Bucco shirt to the hospital.

T1D Parent Alternatives – High Protein / Low Carb

The Diabetes Summit was truly eye-opening. One of the very interesting segments was from a parent who is raising a T1D child. I always say that my battle is half as difficult as those that a parent of a T1D child must face. His name is RD Dikeman, and he has a very interesting story to share.

RD Dikeman

As with most parents, this father was caught completely off guard when their child had a diagnosis of T1D at the young age of 8. Like a majority of parents in this situation, the first and foremost discussions were with their doctor about how to manage the disease using medication.

60 Carbs Per Meal, Are you Serious…?

The doctor initially explained the disease and how the child should maintain a typical diet with lower sugar intake but shouldn’t deviate much from what a standard american diet entails. The doctor recommended a diet with 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal (I probably eat this in a day, if that), which seems odd considering the child has a disease deficient in adequately being able to process carbs.

T1D on Standard American Diet = Extreme Blood Sugar Volatility

After initially following the doctors orders, the family experienced heavy doses of insulin injections and subsequent extreme volatility and unpredictability in their son’s blood sugars.

This father was interesting because he was very quantitative about how he helped his child manage the disease by experimenting with different foods and monitoring how they impacted his son’s blood sugars. This was a similar strategy that I took once I became diagnosed with the disease.

Not only were his son’s blood sugars extremely volatile, but his A1c readings were in the mid-to-high 5 levels. The fact of the matter is that even though the mainstream doctors will target an A1c in the 5.5 to 6.5 range for a T1D, this is still relatively high and causes damage to the body.

Early on the father realized that it’s nearly impossible to predict what his son’s blood sugar levels would be while eating the doctor recommended diet. The father followed the doctor’s orders, but soon realized how stressful not only his son’s life was, but also the life of his family.

Dr. Bernstein to the Rescue

Much like me, the father started to question the doctor’s recommendations and began experimenting with other diets to help stabilize his son’s blood sugars. This was mostly through his son’s research in finding Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution which promotes a higher protein / lower carb approach to managing T1D.

After researching Dr. Bernstein’s strategies, RD Dikeman realized that although the doctor’s orders were allowing their son to live with the disease, his son was still experiencing extreme highs and lows in his blood sugars on a daily basis which would ultimately adversely affect his health down the road.

The father did a ton of research and decided to go against doctor orders and placed his son on a high protein / low carb diet which ultimately made the disease much easier to cope with and began yielding A1cs in the high 4’s and low 5’s.

After implementing this diet, his son now has a consistent A1c around 5.0 which is astounding for a T1D, especially a child (much better than my 5.6). His commentary was very interesting in the Diabetes Summit video as he stated that the mainstream medical community pushes for a T1D disease management that promotes high blood sugars to a certain extent.

Doctors Bullying T1D Parents

One quote that stood out to me in the segment was “It’s as if the doctors are so fearful of litigation from hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) that their mode of practice is to run the children as high as possible to avoid any legal repercussions.” He even mentioned parents getting “bullied” by the doctors to push a high carb / high insulin diet as the only alternative to managing T1D in their child.

Now, I don’t fully agree with how this father is managing his son’s disease, but I do agree that he heavy protein/low carb is a much better approach than the mindless recommendation of a heavy carb approach that mainstream doctors regurgitate to parents day in and day out.

Realistic Juvenile T1D Management

I’m going on nearly 3.5 years of managing this disease medication free with a mostly plant-based raw vegan diet. I realize though, that this is, for the most part, an unrealistic diet for a young child to maintain. I personally don’t even know how I would manage my own child’s T1D if the situation ever came.

So, I absolutely applaud this father, and his son, for thinking outside of the box and doing the extra research to realize that doctor’s do not have all of the answers, and borderline recommend disease management tactics that can be more detrimental to a child’s health than other alternatives.

It makes sense though from doctor’s perspective. I mean why would you recommend a higher protein/low carb diet that would potentially expose a child to the risk associated with lows. The low blood sugars can result in immediate issues that could cause a child to pass out or go into diabetic hypoglycemia (very bad stuff).

By promoting a higher carb diet that requires heavier doses of insulin, the child will have higher blood sugars than a normal individual, but the harmful effects would not be seen for years to come which is the standard way to approach the disease.

T1D is a Business, Everything is a Business

It begs the question of why would doctors not at least provide this alternative method of managing the disease to parents? Not to mention people like me that can manage the disease medication free with a plant-based mostly raw diet.

I know people probably think I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but everyone must realize that diabetes management is a massive lucrative business enterprise. If everyone managed the disease like me, there would be way less revenue generated from diabetes medication.

I encourage parents of T1Ds and all walks of T1Ds to think through this strategy at managing the disease. It’s just plain wrong of the lack of education that mainstream doctors provide T1D patients on the options of how to manage the disease.

Doctors will always have their place in the world helping people cope with diseases, but they are educated and employed to push medication, it’s as simple as that.

My endocronologist is  good guy, but he is astounded at what I’m doing. He said that he has no other patients that are able to do what I do. We need to educate the doctors and let them know that their are other alternatives to managing the disease and they need to inform other patients of these approaches.

For all of you doctors out there, you must agree that this is the right thing to do. You have great responsibility in that you are the main focal person that nearly all T1Ds are funneled to soon after diagnosis. You must start providing all of the options to T1Ds and not merely recommend this high carb / high insulin diet.

Type One Grit

For more information on this father’s journey, please check out his facebook page at Type One Grit. From my understanding, it’s actually the largest following of T1Ds that manage the disease from the high protein / low carb approach.

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The Diabetes Summit

Understanding disease is never an easy task. When I was first diagnosed in early 2014, the doctors made type 1 diabetes sound so simple to me. They told me that my beta cells were being attacked and that I will soon no longer have the ability to create insulin on my own.

Diabetes is not so Simple

At the time, I was very depressed when I went home from that initial appointment. However, after researching the hell out of the disease over the first 9 months, I came to find that T1D was anything but simple. Not only that, I came to realize that the mainstream doctors are only communicating one side the story to a majority of the T1Ds out there.

After I explored the alternative approaches to managing the disease, I came to realize that this is the path that I needed to take. No pills, no insulin, no shots, no doctors (except for an annual visit), just a mostly live plant-based diet and plenty of exercise.

Continuing Education – The Diabetes Summit

I always continue seeking ways to better educate myself on the disease in an effort to add value in my blog and help other people (even non-diabetics) improve their way of life.

One great educational forum that I was made aware of was the Diabetes Summit (website).  I actually only came across this because my wife found it. She is very into a holistic approach to fighting disease, so she comes across things like this on occasion. The Summit is facilitated by Dr. Brian Mowll (website) who is known as “The Diabetes Coach”.

The definition from the site is “The Diabetes Summit 2017 is the premier event in natural diabetes prevention, management,
and care to help you discover the root cause of blood sugar imbalance, and set a path of change to enable your body to regain optimal health and blood sugar”.

Summit Structure

The program is structured to last one week and include 30 different speakers via video podcasts, so it was about 4 different videos per day for a week. A nice thing about the program is that it was actually free during the week of March 20 to March 27.

However, if you are like me, it’s tough to find the time to watch five hours per day of videos for a week straight. So, the site gives you the option for around $60 to just buy the summit and have access to watch it at your leisure. This is what I did, and I’ve been trying to watch one per night if I can.

As of today, I’ve only gotten through about 1/3 of the videos, but it has been eye opening. The Summit is focused mostly on type 2 diabetes, but there are many references to type 1 diabetics throughout the presentations.

Summit Topics

The topics run the gamut as to the different ways to help combat the issues of high blood sugars. The topics of the videos that I’ve watched so far include:

  1. A New Understanding of Insulin and Blood Sugar
  2. From the Trenches, Strategies for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
  3. Using Detoxification and Clean Eating to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
  4. A Parent’s Journey to Managing Type 1 Diabetes
  5. A Functional Medicine Approach to Managing Blood Sugar
  6. Autoimmune Disease and It’s Connection to Diabetes
  7. Using Naturopathic Medical Principals to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
  8. How to Get your Sleep Right to Improve your Insulin and Blood Sugar
  9. Using a Raw Foods Approach to Reversing Diabetes

Number 9 above was a video with my boy Dr. Gabriel Cousens (Tree of Life Center), which is the gentlemen whose live food diet strategy has been the key to my ability in staying off of insulin. During the video he discussed his track record of getting 20-30% of the T1Ds that he treated off of insulin with a fasting blood sugar below 100. Absolutely remarkable.

Reigniting the Fire

Being involved and watching forums like this are an important ingredient to keeping me motivated to stay off of insulin and medication as a T1D.

Sometimes what makes life so hard is that I feel like I’m on an island by myself on this plant-based journey. When I’m in the comfort of my own home, it’s a lot easier. However, as soon as I leave my front door and jump into the real world, it’s a constant struggle of seeing nearly everyone around you eating steak, chicken, fish, sugar, dairy and other products that I know are detrimental to my ability to manage this disease insulin free.

You Vote with your Fork Everyday

One of the best lines from a Summit video that I watched thus far was “You vote with your fork everyday”. I truly resonate with this saying because I could curl up in a ball, pump myself full of insulin and eat the standard american diet (SAD) and go about my life and fit in a lot better with society.

However, I see this SAD lifestyle choice as only perpetuating the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, not to mention many other SAD induced diseases. I think of my children growing up in this crazy toxic / GMO / sugar filled / animal-based protein society, and I just can’t buy in to supporting these SAD ways which are proven to be unhealthy and cause disease. This probably motivates me more  than anything to continue my march down the lonely road of being a T1D off of medication.

Even if my kids grow up and choose to eat a poor diet, I’ll be damned if I don’t at least set a good example and educate them during their adolescent years of how to optimize their health because I know the schooling system and corporate media machine certainly won’t.

Conclusion

The Summit has been a great reminder that there a significant amount of people out there that know and seek the truth about how diet can affect and cure disease, and it’s great to see the top researchers in homeopathic medicine come together to educate the public and spread the word.

One of the videos mentioned that nearly 50% of the population either has, or is in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. Talk about an epidemic. This Summit can be useful for everyone, not just for diabetics, and I encourage everyone to check out this information and start yourself into a healthier lifestyle.

Back to the Basics – Who Needs an Oven…

Sometimes whenever my blood sugars start creeping up, I have to go back to the basics of what I learned years ago that has kept me off of medication. There are so many food temptations every day that it’s tough not to cheat every now and then.

For the most part, I’m very disciplined, but it doesn’t take much deviation from my plant-based diet to increase my blood sugars to higher than desired levels.

Cruise Control

Whenever I was first diagnosed, I was extremely passionate about researching methods of keeping me off of medication.  I’m still passionate, but now that I’ve settled into a successful routine, the stress has been greatly reduced with my disease management.

That said, I still have to be very careful with what I eat on daily basis.  As I always preach, the more uncooked (raw) foods you eat, the lower your blood sugars will be. Uncooked foods retain many more nutrients relative to cooked foods, which helps heal your body.

Reducing the Inflammation

I’m a firm believer that T1D is as much a disease about excess inflammation than it is about getting your beta cells destroyed. I believe the more raw foods you eat, the more your body can heal which in turn reduces the inflammation.

This reduced inflammation allows my pancreas to function as efficiently as possible to produce the insulin necessary to manage my blood sugars to near non-diabetic levels. This explanation sounds plausible, but who really knows. Whatever I’m doing is working, so I’ll just keep at it.

The Benefits of Raw Food

My point with this blog is to focus on the great benefits of raw foods and the creative recipes that you can use to make delicious meals that help heal your body.

My breakfast and lunches are always raw vegan, but my dinners are mostly cooked vegan.  I try and mix a raw meal in for dinner at least a couple times a week to try and help heal my body and keep my blood sugars down.

I’m typically fine with eating cooked dinners, but there is a difference that I notice the morning after when eating a cooked vs. uncooked meal. It’s not a massive difference, but very noticeable which = less stress.

Fasting Blood Sugars Cooked vs. Uncooked

I’d say my fasting blood sugars are usually around 100 in the mornings after I eat a raw dinner vs. around 110 if I eat a cooked dinner. Not a big difference, but noticeable.

Recently I wanted to do some research and try and find some more raw meals that are conducive to the plant-based low carb diet that I follow.  Due to time constraints with work and dealing with two kids, I decided to outsource the project to a nutritionist that I was introduced to.

Outsourcing Raw Recipes

Her name is Deanna Mollicone, and she has a website at www.deesdailydish.com.  She is currently working to become a registered dietitian and she creates meal plans for individuals.  I worked with Deanna and explained my dietary restrictions.  Our goal was to find 20 or so raw vegan / low-carb recipes that I could mix in with my diet.

Deanna ended up doing an excellent job and uncovered some great dietary options that I could choose from.  I wanted to share some of those recipes for you T1Ds out there reading this blog.

Creative Raw Recipes for Everyone

As you’ll see below, you can get quite creative with uncooked plant-based meals. I can’t promise these will taste as good as a big mac with fries from McDonalds, but you will be astounded at the positive effect that these foods will have on your blood sugars.  Not to mention your overall sense of well-being and health will be greatly enhanced by mixing these meals into your diet.

Raw Vegan Spinach Manicotti

Raw Pad Thai with Spicy Almond Sauce

Smashed Avocado Kelp Noodle and Lemon Bowl

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Broccoli Hoisini Sauce Parsnip Rice

Roasted Cauliflower and Kale Soup (Not Raw but Good)

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables on White Bean Mash (Partially Raw but Good)

Bon Appetit…

 

What Do I Feed the Kids!?

I have two little rugrats running around and they are so cute. My son just turned 3 and my daughter just turned 1. My son was actually born two weeks after I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Talk about a stressful month. Below is a recent picture of the two from their 1 and 3 year old photo shoot.

Silver Lining

Over my first year of being a T1D, I learned a lot about food and its effects on your body. It sucked getting T1D, but I feel like it resulted in my children being great benefactors of a healthier diet. Kids will be kids, so getting them to eat healthy foods is always a challenge, but my wife and I (mostly my wife) try our best to have them eat a plant-based diet.

Many of the plant-based nutritional books that I read said the greatest gift you can give your child is a healthy diet, and I personally believe that. We try and fuel our kids with some of the healthiest foods on earth that will significantly aid in their development, especially in their early years.

That said, we aren’t perfect and they get their fair share of snacks in order for my wife and I to keep our sanity. For the most part though, they eat a relatively healthy diet. Below is a quick outline of what we try and feed our kids on a daily basis.

Almond Milk

Most days start off with a big glass of almond milk. After my research over the past few years, I try and avoid dairy like the plague.  It’s horrendous for your body and I personally feel like it increases the risk of children getting T1D. So with my family history, I really try and avoid cow’s milk.

Mainstream media will try and scare the living bejeezus out of any parent that tries to avoid cow’s milk by saying that their child will be lacking significant nutrients that are necessary for early childhood development. I’m not saying that cow’s milk doesn’t have some healthy stuff in it, but it sure also has a lot of unhealthy stuff in it too.

God only knows how grocery store cow’s milk is processed and, from my understanding, cow’s are artificially inseminated at the dairy farms to trick their body into thinking they are pregnant so they can produce larger quantities of milk. Freaking weird and gross…

It was tough as a parent to go against mainstream medical recommendations and avoid dairy in the early years, but there are many alternatives. Some alternatives include coconut milk, soy milk, and almond milk to name a few.

Dairy Alternatives, Almond Milk Wins

Coconut milk is a nice alternative, however, it didn’t have much protein. Soy milk is an option, but a lot of research says this isn’t the best for little kids either. That left almond milk which is a great option with hardly any negatives that I know of.

One caveat is that you have to make it yourself in order to ensure that a meaningful amount of protein is in the milk. The store bought almond milk tastes good but it’s extremely watered down with lower amounts of protein and usually added sugar.

We make two batches a week with organic almonds and put dates in it to add flavor. Our kids worship the stuff. I make one batch for the kids with the date flavoring and then one batch for myself without dates. Dates are one of the highest glycemic fruits out there, so they don’t jive well with my diabetes.

In summary, almond milk is a great alternative to dairy, so hopefully you aren’t allergic to nuts. I won’t lie, its a pain making it, and nothing is worse than coming home from a long day of work and having to make a batch of almond milk, but it’s great for your children’s health.

Breakfast

Along with almond milk, we usually give the kids some kind of fruit. My son really likes bananas cut up with some peanut butter on them. My daughter usually will eat some bananas too or some blueberries.

Lunch / Dinner

Lunch and dinner seem to blur together for the kids. I wish I could say that they eat a flavorful diet of assorted foods, however, that’s not reality. We try out best to keep our kids on a plant-based diet, and for the most part, that is case. We try and avoid dairy, but we occasionally give them chicken and eggs. But besides that, it’s mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Beginning when they were little, my wife always pureed their lunch and dinner foods. Some examples of pureed meals were 1) vegan chili; 2) peas; 3) squash; 4) spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and avocado combined. Both of them loved an assortment of pureed foods initially, but became pickier as they got older, but to this day my son still eats pureed chili and mixed veggies and he is over 3.

In some cases it’s amazing that our kids have settled into a nice diet of healthy vegetables, however, my poor wife still has to puree our 3 year old’s lunch / dinner so he’ll eat it. It’s something about the texture of the food that he is comfortable with. He still won’t eat a normal dinner that we eat, but things could be worse.

Both kids have become fairly picky with their diet, so a majority of the time the lunch/dinners are either vegan chili, an avocado or the pureed vegetable mix of spinach, sweet potatoes and avocados.

Most mainstream people would think that our kids are missing out on tons of protein and essential nutrients found in animal products. However, the vegetables that they eat have more than enough protein, and healthier protein, relative to a child that would eat an animal based diet.

They both have vitamins too that help supplement their nutrient intake to ensure they are getting adequate nutrients in their diets. Some parents might be nervous that their kids wouldn’t develop normally with a diet like this, but I can tell you both of my kids are in the 75th to 85th percentile for height and weight. They are growing like weeds.

Snacks

Finally there are snacks. In a perfect world our kids would eat non-stop vegetables with no problem. However, with two kids it seems someone is always hungry or whining or crying. In order to keep our sanity we have to give them snacks.

We try and give real fruit as snacks as much as we can, like oranges, apples, blueberries, mangoes or things of that sort. However, sometimes we are traveling or just tired so we’ll give them less healthy options like vegetable/fruit squeeze pouches or veggie straws.

I always take the position that if a majority of what they eat and drink is plant-based and healthy, then I’m fine with a few veggie straws here or there.

Conclusion

Well, that’s the daily diet of the two little ones. They seem to like the plant-based diet and the earlier you start them on it, the more likely they’ll stick with it in their early years. My son is 3+ years old and he still eats mostly vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit and is growing up so fast.

Don’t get bullied by your pediatrician or the mainstream dietary recommendations of a diet predominately based on  cow’s milk and animal products in order for your kids to grow big and strong. There are other safer and healthier plant-based routes to go with your children’s diets that will have them developing just fine.

My Words of Wisdom

Well, this past December marked the official 3 year anniversary of me being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and also the 3 year mark of managing the disease with no medication.

It’s been an incredible journey over the past few years, both with ups and downs. My blog has been a great forum to spread my message and help other people, but it’s also been a forum that has allowed me to learn from other people as well.

Since I have been diagnosed, I have logged my fasting blood sugar each morning for nearly 3 years, which is also the only time I test my blood sugar each day. You can click below to access my graph of fasting blood sugar results and quarterly A1c tests since I was diagnosed.

Last 3 Years Daily Fasting Blood Sugar and Quarterly A1c

My goal with this post is to write about my “Words of Wisdom”. Like anything in life once you get some experience, your management of something becomes more efficient and you just intuitively start to know what works and what doesn’t.

At this point I am in a rhythm and things are still going well. My blood sugars have remained relatively stable and I hardly even notice that I have the disease.

So, without further ado, below is my quick cheat sheet guide of what any T1D can expect that desires to try and get off of medication and leave the insulin ball and chain behind.

Words of Wisdom

#1 – This Isn’t Easy

Obviously if this was easy, there would be many more T1Ds like me. I personally now like eating a plant-based diet, but I am the minority. Society is tailored around an animal based diet and I am going against the grain. I think a vegan diet is becoming more en vogue with each passing year, but it’s a constant battle and is not for the faint of heart.

#2 – Not All T1Ds Can Do This

Unfortunately, not all T1Ds can remove themselves from medication through my diet. From my understanding, about 30% are able to. I am very fortunate to be one of the lucky ones. This said, the other 70% that can not completely get off meds can still drastically reduce the amount of insulin needed each day.

#3 – Drink This Each Day

Drink a scoop of this everyday – Vitamineral Green. It tastes terrible but it alone will noticeably lower your blood sugars.  I started taking a scoop of this per day in November 2016 and right away my average fasting blood sugar dropped from 110 in the 30 days prior to 102 in the 30 days post taking it.

#4 – Alcohol Can Be Your Friend

Obviously alcohol is not a great thing for our bodies, however, a small to moderate amount almost always lowers my fasting blood sugars. I’d say 4 out of 5 times my fasting blood sugar is below 100 is a morning after I have some drinks. I typically drink red wine as an FYI. Tito’s vodka, or other potato vokdas, with club soda and a lime is a nice choice too.

#5 – Eat Raw Vegan for Breakfast and Lunch Everyday

In order to stay off of medication as a T1D a majority of what you eat will need to be low glycemic, vegan, uncooked (raw) foods. My breakfast is always the raw nut granola (recipe) and my lunch is always a salad. My dinners vary depending on what my wife is cooking, but they are almost always cooked and mostly vegan.

Rule of thumb is the more uncooked, organic, plant-based foods you eat, the lower your blood sugars will be.

#6 – Track Your Fasting Blood Sugars

At this point, the only time I check my blood sugars is each morning when I wake up before I eat anything. As long as this number is within that 90 to 120 range, I’m usually comfortable with everything.

Another added benefit is that I can usually predict what my A1c is going to be each quarter by taking my rolling 90 day average of my blood sugars. This takes alot of the stress out of the unknown.

If you download the iphone app called “Pocket A1c“, it quickly tells you what an average fasting blood sugar corresponds to what A1c level. Immediately before my A1c test, below are my last four 90 day fasting blood sugar averages, the Pocket A1c predicted A1c and then what my actual A1c was. As you can see, there isn’t much difference.

February 2016 (A1c testing month) – 108.8 (90 day rolling average fasting blood sugars at day of testing) – 5.3 (predicted A1c per Pocket A1c) – 5.6 (actual A1c)

May 2016 – 106.5 – 5.3 – 5.5

August 2016 – 108.2 – 5.4 – 5.7

November 2016 – 108.0 – 5.4 – 5.7

As you can see, it’s usually about 0.2 or 0.3 higher than what the pocket A1c predicts but very predictable.

#7 – Know That You are Better Off on this Diet

A plant-based diet is a major life-style change, and it’s hard. But you need to realize that you are better off on this diet, not just from a diabetes perspective, but from an overall health perspective.

I don’t know what blows my mind more, the healing power of a plant-based diet or the fact that no doctor in my 30 years prior to getting T1D ever told me about the profound effects that a diet can have on disease.

A plant-based diet has literally cured cancer in some instances that I’ve read about. I will assure you that a plant-based will 1) give you more energy; 2) make you think clearer; 3) make your vision better; 4) make your body ache less; 5) make you sleep better; 6) make you just feel better about yourself; 7) help you lose weight.

#8 – It’s All About the Diet

If you are a T1D trying to stay off of meds, it’s all about the diet. You can be a triathlete, but if you eat an animal based diet then you are headed for insulin. In contrast, if you eat a diet like mine and exercise moderately, you have a strong chance of staying off medication.

Some newly diagnosed T1Ds start going insane at the gym because their doctors tell them that exercise helps lower blood sugars. This is absolutely true, but exercise is only a small, but necessary, piece to the puzzle.

I’ve actually exercised my whole life 5-6 days per week, so I can’t provide a reference of my blood sugars in periods of no exercise. But, I can tell you during the fist year after diagnosis my blood sugars continued to rise to hazardous levels while I was on the animal based diet with my same exercise routine.

#9 – Juvenile Diabetes and My Diabetes are the Same Disease

I know some parents of T1D children get frustrated with my message, but please understand that I have the same disease as your child. I’m not an PHD on T1D, so there may be differences between me getting the disease at age 31 vs. getting it at age 7, but we both have an auto-immune disease doing the same damage to our bodies.

I realize it’s 10x harder to manage T1D in an adolescent vs. managing as an adult later in life, but please understand my methods can drastically reduce the amount of insulin that your child needs.

#10 – Think for Yourself

Please don’t look at the medical community as Gods. In my opinion, they are merely one reference point on how to manage disease. Most doctors are smart and well intentioned, but are purely trained on fixing you with medication.

Realize that in most instances food has healing power far beyond that of any medication that your doctor prescribes. Do your own research and pick a method at managing the disease that makes you comfortable regardless of what your doctor tells you.

#11 – You will Positively Affect the Lives of Others Around You

I sometimes write about how most of my family members still maintain their animal based diet lifestyles. However, I have noticed a meaningful amount of people that are close to me modify their diet to include more vegetables, less dairy, or other plant-based sources of food.

My diet and motivation to stay off of medications is not only to avoid sticking myself with needles and medication for the rest of my natural life, but also to try and make a difference in the lives of those who know me. Even if you merely stop buying dairy milk and start buying almond milk, my god this is such a step in the right direction.

#12 – It Will Turn Into More Than Just Staying Off of Medication

Building on my last point, staying off medication as a T1D is much more than just a simple choice. It represents a stance against the mainstream ideology that medicine is the way to fight disease. Maybe in extreme examples medication is necessary, but a proper diet can do wonders in preventing all sorts of disease.

I’m by no means an activist, but I have no problem standing up for what I believe. I personally avoid doctors at all costs unless I would have an emergency. I am hardly ever sick anymore and feel better than I ever have. Unfortunately, society seems to be set up to have a revolving door in and out of the doctor’s office.

#13 – This Could Work for Decades

I truly believe that I can be off of medication for decades, and possibly the rest of my life. I am committed to making my diet more strict if needed to ensure I stay off of medication. I guess I’m saying do not get discouraged when you doctor tells you that you are doomed. It’s not always true.

#14 – Not Everyone Will Agree

Not everyone that hears your story will agree with you. I will say that almost all T1Ds that know my story respect my message, but many just would rather be on insulin and eat the standard american sugary foods or steak/chicken/fish. I totally get it, but that’s not me. I am a firm believer in full disclosure, and I do not believe T1Ds get this perspective from their doctors.

#15 – It’s Easier Than You Think

I know eating a plant-based diet sounds insane, but it’s not that bad once you get used to it. I eat this kick a*s nut granola for breakfast and a great salad for lunch each day. Then my wife usually makes me some sort of creative vegan dinner. I love my diet and am super happy about the plant-based focus.

Once you settle into the diet, it becomes second nature. Also, once you start feeling all of the benefits that a plant-based diet brings, you will be more reluctant to go back to your old ways. There are also plenty of vegan / plant-based websites or apps to help you find ideas for food.

I also cheat more than you probably would think. I almost never eat junk food, but probably 2 or 3 times per week I will eat some animal products. I definitely would have no problem being vegan, but it’s very hard so I probably slip up every so often. I guess my point is that you have some wiggle room here and you don’t have to be a raw vegan foodist to accomplish what I am doing.

#16 – Avoid Fruit and Grains

Unfortunately, most fruit is high in carbs. Although they contain natural sugars, they are high in carbs. I avoid most fruit, but I do eat goji berries (these are a super food) and also berries on occasion (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry) because they are the lowest glycemic of fruit.

The only grains type foods that I eat are lentils and quinoa. Although I try and avoid these if I can as they are moderately high on the glycemic index.

#17 – Dining at Restaurants is the Hardest Part

I won’t lie, eating out is the biggest pain of my diet. Most restaurants have a poor plant-based selection. There is always the option of just getting the garden salad at restaurants, but I have found it very difficult to eat a garden salad while looking across the table and seeing my friends gnawing on a massive steak.

My wife and I have tried to find more vegan restaurants which has helped make dining out stay fun. I absolutely love going to vegan restaurants. It takes a lot of the stress out of eating out.

#18 – Somehow This Stuff is Low Glyemic

Buy some yacon syrup. Thanks God for this stuff. This is what’s used in my nut granola recipe. Essentially it tastes similar to maple syrup but it’s very low glycemic. It is expensive though, but well worth it.

#19 – This Diet Isn’t Cheap

If you are committing to a plant-based diet, be prepared to spend some money. Buying anything organic immediately adds 20% to the price. Unfortunately in today’s society, the cheap and most readily available foods are the worst ones for us. Isn’t that a*s backwards?

#20 – All T1Ds Deserve to Know Their Options from Day 1

To all T1Ds, talk to your doctor about me. Talk to them about how a diet can affect your blood sugars. Challenge your doctor. Make them realize it’s not all about the medication and there are other alternatives that are safe and effective. Educating the medical community is a first great step in getting this message out.

I will happily get on a conference call with you and your doctor to help educate them. I am serious…

#21 – There is T1D and T2D, That’s It

Finally, I know some people think that I’m Type 1.5 or some other new term. At the end of the day, if you are a diabetic, you either have an auto-immune disease (T1D) or your body has just stopped managing insulin effectively due predominately to poor food choices (T2D).

Doctors try and justify their draconian T1D scenario by claiming people like me are a mix between T1 and T2, or are just straight T2 and were misdiagnosed. Come on Docs, please just admit that you don’t have all of the answers and that diet may be able to do a better job than you at managing my disease.

Summary

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to summarize everything that I’ve learned over the past few years for those new blog followers that may be looking for a quick summary.

Happy New Year everyone!

Type 1 Diabetes Without Medication