For Parents of Type 1 Diabetic Children (Juvenile Diabetes)

I wanted to create a blog post that could try and help parents with type 1 diabetic children, or also known as juvenile diabetes. It’s one thing to hear of other adults with T1D, but I feel so much worse every time I hear of a new child becoming diagnosed with the disease.

My Heart Goes Out to Parents of T1D Children

I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to try and raise a child with T1D. Being a parent and watching your child’s blood sugars swing from high’s to low’s has to be a taxing endeavor. The constant birthday parties with ice cream, pizza and soda, not to mention the school lunches filled with processed food. I feel so bad because these children don’t even have a chance try and manage the disease naturally.

The Myth:  I Give a Sense of False Hope for Juvenile Diabetics

A lot of parents with T1D children actually become angry when they read my blog or hear about what I’m doing. They think that I’m representing some false hope that their children could be removed from medication with a change in diet and lifestyle.

However, I know that there are just as many parents of T1D children out there constantly searching for ways to ease their child’s suffering and help their kids enjoy life without constantly worrying about blood sugars and needles.

Reality

Unfortunately, a majority of doctors won’t point you in the natural direction because there is too much liability. They tell you your child has stopped producing insulin and they require insulin injections to live. In some cases, this is probably true, but in other cases, I’m highly confident that the child is still producing some insulin, just like me.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a doctor, but I am a diagnosed T1D that’s been off meds for over 2.5 years with a most recent A1c reading of 5.5 (non-diabetic reading).

I’ll be the first to admit that managing T1D without medication is much more difficult for children compared to people like me that are diagnosed later in life. I can make my own decisions and see the results. However, in order for children to live medication free, the entire family must buy in to the diet in order for it to work.

Based on my research, I do believe that an individual is hit harder with T1D when diagnosed at a earlier age relative to a later in life diagnosis like me. However, there are families out there raising medication free T1D children.

My Objective

My goal with this blog is to provide hope and insight to parents that are interested in helping their child manage T1D naturally, or at least drastically reduce the amount of shots / insulin that their kids need to take.

Resources for T1D Children Off Insulin

Below are links to articles or sites that represent success stories of T1D children that are living medication free. Some of these articles are dated and do not exactly preach what I follow, but they are real instances of parents removing their children from insulin or young adults doing the same. I put a brief description of the article afterwards as well.

Link #1 – Sergei Boutenko

There is a guy named Sergei Boutenko who was one of the 1st individuals that I researched that has been living for years without meds as a T1D. Researching his story provides a wealth of knowledge for those seeking to manage T1D naturally, especially for parents of T1D children, as his family raised him medication free for his entire childhood. (Link)

Link #2 – Two T1D Brothers Living Medication Free

Article about two brothers with T1D that have been medication free since 2008.  (Link)

Link #3 – 1/3 of T1Ds produce Insulin for Decades

Interesting article that says about 1/3 of T1Ds can have residual insulin production for nearly 4 decades. (Link)

Link #4 – 9 Year Old Boy Removed from Insulin

Article about a young boy using a Paleo diet to remove himself from insulin (Link)

Link #5 – Child Weened Off Insulin

Good article talking about a child that was weened off insulin (Link)

Link #6 – 20 Year Old T1D Living Medication Free

This link is about a girl in her 20s that was able to ween herself off of insulin and remained medication free for over 2.5 years, although she did have to get back on insulin. (Link)

Link #7 – 13 Year Old Girl Weened Off Insulin

Article about a mother who removed her 13 year daughter from insulin. (Link)

Conclusion

My goal of this blog was to try and provide hope and insight to parents of T1D children that it is absolutely possible to manage your child’s disease medication free.

These articles prove that T1D children all over the world are having success living medication free through various methods. Worth noting is that I probably only put 30 minutes into googling to find these articles, so a determined parent could probably find much better info than this.

Personally, I believe a mostly raw plant-based diet is the only way for true longevity in living medication free as a T1D, however, these articles prove that there is more than 1 approach to helping your child.

I realize this may seem very difficult for parents, but adopting a new lifestyle will help not only your child but also the rest of your family. I always preach that my family has been much healthier ever since I became diagnosed with T1D, and I still adamantly stand by this notion.

Creative Ways to Improve Your Health

Intro

There is no doubt that diet has the most significant influence on my body in my effort to stay off of medication as a Type 1 Diabetic (officially just passed 2.5 years no meds!).  However, I personally believe one has to watch other lifestyle and environmental factors as well in order to optimize their health and limit toxins.

I will be the first to admit that chemical intake is not my area of expertise, but I know enough to be dangerous. My wife is actually the one who is much more up-to-speed on the daily toxins that enter our body through something as simple as shampoo or cleaners.

I thought a good blog topic would be to describe several other ways that my family improves the quality of our lives by minimizing our toxin intake. Although diet is much easier to gauge its effect on my blood sugars, I know that minimizing other toxins entering my body can only help my cause to remain medication free and keep my blood sugars low.

Many people probably think we are weird for doing things like this, however, the one nice thing about having a chronic disease is that you get a free pass on being weird when it comes to raw vegan diets and holistic approaches to things!

Toxin Fighting Products

Tower Garden

As I’ve mentioned before, this diet is not cheap as it involves purchasing a significant amount of organic produce. To try and save on costs long-term, we invested in the Tower Garden.

Using aeroponics, the Tower Garden grows plants with only water and nutrients rather than dirt. Research has found aeroponic systems grow plants three times faster and produce 30% greater yields on average.

This thing is pretty sweet. It’s super easy to use and provides you probably the safest way to eat your produce because you are growing it yourself. My wife or I don’t have the time to manage a garden, and the Tower Garden allows you to grow everything in the basement!

The upfront cost is about $1,000 +/-, but the Tower Garden grows so fast and in abundance that it provides nearly all of the base for my salads in a given week (I eat ~7 salads/week). So, my guess is the amount we save on buying store organic spinach, kale, etc. is probably $500 to $1,000 per year, so the payback is quick.

Here is a picture of our Tower Garden in the basement…

Tower Garden

Essential Oils

I used to use your typical grocery store bought products for things like face lotion, shampoo and body wash. They work great, but the ingredients look like a science experiment on the packages.

My wife buys Essential Oils which allow you to make your own home products. We don’t use these for everything, but my shampoo, face lotion, shaving cream and body wash are all based on the Essential Oils. 

When buying essential oils, you want to make sure they are 100% therapeutic grade. We mostly use DoTerra, but Young Living is also another good brand. These brands are so pure, that you can actually cook with them or take them in a capsule. Many of the cheaper versions of essential oils have additives and chemicals, so you have to be careful. 

Wellness Mama and Sophie Uliano have some great DIY recipes and also DoTerra has quite a few on their web site.

Berkey Water Filter

The water you drink is very important to understand. Obviously most people understand tap water is bad and use some sort of water filter. However, even filtered tap water contains a significant amount of chemicals that your body doesn’t necessarily need.

The Berkey Water Filter is the stud of all water filters. It removes viruses to purification standards, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites to non detectable levels, and harmful or unwanted chemicals to below detectable levels. We have the fluoride filter add-on too for additional chemical removal.  I just fill up a large thermos before I leave for work and that’s the water I drink all day.

The Berkey is a low cost system that requires to be refilled. More expensive options are reverse osmosis water filtration systems that can be installed into your home and don’t require refilling. However, we’ve enjoyed using the Berkey since we purchased it earlier this year.

La Croix and a SodaStream

Since I’m not able to indulge on many drinks besides water and almond milk, my life can get a little boring in that regard. Enter La Croix! I am definitely hooked on these. To the average person, these are pretty boring. But to a type 1 diabetic trying to stay off of medication, these things are amazing! They provide consumers with a non-artificially sweetened sparkling water that tastes pretty good.

The only problem is that they are packed in aluminum cans with water from god knows where. So, we purchased a SodaStream on Amazon which allows us to create our own homemade La Croix that we can use our Berkey filtered water. Talk about amazing (sorry, I know this is not really that exciting)!

I’ve actually started to see a lot of other people drinking La Croix over the past year. I think people are wising up and realizing that a majority of drinks at the grocery store contain all sorts of harmful chemicals and added sugar, and people are relieved that there is a flavored sparkling water with no artificial sweeteners.

In the News

VAXXED (website)

This gets off subject slightly, but it still has relevance as it involves the truth hiding pharmaceutical companies that I have learned to distrust since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 2014.

I’ve been mildly obsessed with this film ever since it came out in March 2016, and I personally think it’s one of the biggest stories we will see in our lifetimes. The producer, Del Bigtree, even goes as far to say this could be the largest cover-up in the history of mankind.

It’s a documentary about a Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) whistleblower who confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final 2004 report that revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Without getting into the weeds too much, the whistleblower was the lead scientist on the study, and he was recorded admitting that the CDC covered up, manipulated and destroyed data to hide a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

My guess is that most of my blog readers probably have heard nothing about this, which is the most mind-blowing part. Somehow, mainstream media has blacked this story out to the general public.

The most unsettling part is that the whistleblower provided an affidavit to Congressman Bill Posey (click here to view his speech to Congress) asking to be subpoenaed in 2014 to testify in front of Congress regarding the corruption on this report, but nothing has happened yet. Yes, that is 2 years of nothing…absurd.

What’s even MORE interesting, is that California just implemented a new law, SB 277, that requires all children to follow the one-size-fits-all CDC vaccine schedule or the child will not be allowed to enroll in any public or private schooling. 

And any child currently in school that is not fully vaccinated would be required to get all the vaccines before starting school this fall. Prior to this law, California parents could claim a personal belief exemption to avoid vaccinating their child, but that is now removed.

Pretty interesting that a state just passed this law with the CDC whistleblower situation just coming out, right? Check out this speech by Del Bigtree (Be Brave) talking about the situation. Should be interesting to see how this shakes out.

I’m not trying to get into a pro / anti-vaccine dialogue because it’s outside of the scope of this blog. My desire to work this into my blog is to try and make the public aware about what’s going on inside the pharmaceutical industry and certain government health organizations. It’s pretty shady stuff. Actually, it’s outright fraud and illegal.

Whether you are pro or anti-vaccine, or somewhere in between, I think all people can unite and realize there is something really wrong with this situation.

Why Alternative Health is Booming

This is a great article talking about how the general public is starting to engage more holistic health care professionals instead of conventional medical care. It even talks about how standard medical doctors are often referring patients to holistic health professionals to help patients with chronic pain.

It drills down the point that the medical community treats disease with more treatments, and they don’t really focus on the root cause of the disease. Much like how the fact that a raw-plant based diet can potentially keep a type 1 diabetic off medication is just not in the conversations with standard health care professionals.

My Annual Endocrinologist Visit

Each June, I have my annual visit with my endocrinologist. For those who may not know, endocrinologists are the specialist doctors that diabetics typically go to once they are officially diagnosed with the disease.

I thought an interesting blog post would be to describe what my visits are like considering I’m a type 1 diabetic (“T1D”) living medication free for nearly 2.5 years. Obviously this is contrary to what most doctors understand, so this should be interesting, right?

My Personal Routine

I visit with my endocrinologist once per year, and it’s typically in June. Since I’m not on medication, there is no need to visit more frequently unless my fasting blood sugars or A1c readings start climbing to higher levels.

In August, November and February of each year, I only get an A1c test. This is the standard benchmark to test how well a diabetic is controlling their disease. So, for 1Q, 3Q and 4Q, I really only worry about my A1c.

In May of each year (2Q), I typically get my A1c test done along with several other T1D specific blood tests to measure the antibody levels in my body. Since I visit with my doctor in June, we are able to have a more comprehensive discussion about my current state, which is the reason for the extra tests in May.

Other than this annual visit, I really have no other interaction with the medical community in a given year. The annual visits are more of a formality at this point so I can stay registered as a T1D in order to get my testing strips to check my fasting blood sugar each morning.

My Most Recent A1c and Historical Fasting Blood Sugars

As promised in my earlier posts, I will continue to post my most updated A1c results and most recent fasting blood sugar charts each quarter.  As you can see below, my May 2016 A1c was 5.5, which was actually down from 5.6 in February 2016.

Historic Fasting Blood Sugar and A1c Readings Through June 2016

As a refresher, the general guidelines for A1c readings are A1c < 5.7 = non diabetic, A1c > 5.7 but < 6.5 = pre-diabetic and A1c > 6.5 = diabetic. So, according to my A1c, I’m classified as a non-diabetic.

My average fasting blood sugars over the past 30 and 90 days were 109 and 107, respectively. Now, I do fail this test, because non-diabetics have a fasting blood sugar < 100, pre-diabetics > 100 but < 125 and diabetics are > 125.

My Goal

My overall goal each quarter is to keep my A1c reading below 5.7 and have a trailing last 30 day average fasting blood sugar reading below 110. I could get my sugars lower if I really wanted, but that level of dietary strictness and discipline is something that even I find difficult to follow.

Yes, I am Confirmed as Type 1 Diabetic…Again

The other two tests I received were the IA-2 Autoantibody and the GAD-65 Autoantibody. My IA-2 came back at 4.2 and a T1D reading is anything above 1.0. My GAD-65 came back at 9.0 and anything too much greater than 0.0 is a reading of T1D.

I realize some people / doctors out there may think that I’m a Type 2 Diabetic or perhaps the mythical Type 1.5 / LADA diabetic. But these tests prove that I have an auto-immune disease, and I am indeed a T1D.

Progress with My Endocrinologist

I personally like my endocrinologist. He’s a nice guy, and I know that he wants the best for me. That said, he is still the typical medical professional that, from a disease management standpoint, is highly trained from a medication perspective, but nominally trained from a dietary perspective.

1st Visit – 2014 (6 Months Post Diagnosis)

My first visit back in 2014 was about 6 months after I was diagnosed. This was when I was still figuring out the disease. I was off medication, but my blood sugars were rising, and he gave me the typical dooms day scenario that medication was in my near future.

2nd Visit – 2015 (18 Months Post Diagnosis)

My second visit in 2015 was after I was off medication for nearly 1.5 years. This was after I implemented the mostly raw, plant-based diet that caused my blood sugars to rapidly drop. I explained to him in decent detail about the documentaries I watched and the teachings of Dr. Gabriel Cousins.

He was happy for me, but my general impression of our interactions were 1) he thought my diet was weird and unrealistic and 2) that this was only temporarily helping and my body would fail and require medication soon. He did not say any of this, but it was just the general vibe I got from our visit.

3rd Visit – 2016 (30 Months Post Diagnosis) – Now I Have Your Attention

Fast forward to June 2016 for our 3rd meeting. At this point, I felt like now I had his attention. We had our typical conversations, but this time he actually pulled up the internet in the room, and we briefly looked at Gabriel Cousins website together. He also jotted down the name Kirt Tyson, who was the first T1D that I identified that has been off medication for an extended period of time.

My doctor openly admitted that he does not have any other, nor knew of any other, T1D patients that have been able to avoid medication for the length of time that I have while still maintaining non-diabetic readings. To me, this was major progress.

Light Bulb Going Off

We both agreed that my diet is not realistic for most people, and that not all T1Ds could achieve my blood sugar levels with this diet. However, I could tell I was starting to change his thinking about the different strategies at managing this disease. He openly admits that there is still alot of unknowns about the disease, and people like me are perfect examples of that.

As I mentioned in other blog posts, I think a majority of doctors are truly out there to help people and give them the best advice possible. My grudge is with the medical schools and even the pharmaceutical companies and why they do not educate doctors about people like me.

Apparently Novo Nordisk is the largest manufacturer of insulin in the world. I bet their executives know all about people like me, however, what is their incentive to educate doctors on how diet can potentially allow thousands of T1Ds to live medication free? This would only decrease their profit.

Final Thoughts at my Appointment

We ended our meeting with a couple things. I first wanted to re-confirm that I am indeed a T1D, and he said yes with absolute certainty.

Potential Cures On the Horizon?

I then asked him whether there were any cures on the horizon for T1Ds. He’s been pretty consistent over the years on this one saying that strides are being made, but it’s most like 10-20 years away until we see something that could truly be considered a cure.

I’m really not overly concerned about a cure at this point because I don’t believe I would change my diet much if I was cured anyhow. However, my fasting blood sugars are definitely at levels that are adversely impacting my body, so I would like to find a way to get these down lower without me having to eat a 100% raw vegan diet.

We always part ways with him saying that he hopes we don’t see each other for another year, because that means I’m still off of medication and managing the disease well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s been a tough 2.5 years dealing with this disease, but I’ve settled into a groove with my diet. I’ve been able to put some weight back on, and I’ve started to enjoy a greater variety of healthy foods now that I understand my body better.

I realize my blood sugars aren’t perfect, but I believe they are better than most T1Ds managing the disease with medication. If I can keep my A1c below 5.7, I feel like that is a win in my book, and I’m content with my management of the disease.

In the News (New this Blog)

I also wanted to start something new with each blog by putting in any interesting articles I read over the course of the last month. This post is from CNN that talks about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shifting towards a mostly plant-based diet. He was educated by his trainers about how this diet can extend his career by making his body healthier and reducing inflammation.

He also notes that other QBs in the NFL follow a similar diet like Tom Brady. Kind of makes you think there is something to this diet if some of the wealthiest, top athletes in the world are shifting away from an animal based diet and towards a plant-based diet.

Aaron Rodgers Comments on Changes to Diet, Impact on His Health

Pros & Cons of Managing Type 1 Diabetes Medication Free

Intro

My May 2016 blog post is going to center around the pros & cons of managing type 1 diabetes (“T1D”) without medication.  As I’m sure you are aware, I’m a strong proponent of a more naturalistic approach to managing disease, however, I realize this may not be realistic for all.

The Elusive Search for Like Minded T1Ds

Since I was diagnosed with T1D nearly 2.5 years ago, nearly all of my interactions with other T1Ds have been those managing the disease through insulin. Unfortunately, finding another T1D managing the disease without meds is like finding a needle in haystack.

Although these insulin dependent T1Ds are generally supportive of my efforts, I have been overly surprised about their lack of interest in truly understanding my practices that has allowed me to be medication free for nearly 2.5 years. After all, I’m essentially providing a guide to potentially cure their disease.

The No Med Path Just Isn’t Worth It

I paraphrased below some of the more common comments I’ve heard from other T1Ds:

“It’s amazing what you are doing, but I like my donuts too much”

“Your diet is too restrictive and unrealistic”

“We are all going to die someday, so why not enjoy junk food and other standard american diet (“SAD”) staples”

“I’ve learned to manage the disease with insulin quite comfortably, so I’m not really motivated to try and remove myself from medication through your diet”

“I use the pump now and it makes managing my disease much easier with far less injections”

The Two Ends of the Spectrum

On one end of the T1D spectrum, there are those that relentlessly pursue avenues to stay off of medication at all costs (like myself) and on the other end there are those that are completely informed of the potential for diet to remove the necessity of medication but choose to stay medicated for various reasons.

I can respect those T1Ds at the opposite end of the spectrum than myself and fully understand their choices, but I’ve come to realize that there is an unbridgeable gap in mindset to living with this disease with medication or without medication.

An Objective View of the T1D Options

I’m going to try and give an objective view of the pros and cons of managing T1D through a plant-based diet. The options below were a majority of the issues that I had to consider when deciding how I wanted to approach the disease.

Most long-term T1Ds are set in their ways and drastically changing their approach to managing the disease is probably not going to happen. This matrix below is best for those newly minted T1Ds in their 20s and 30s that will have to live with this disease for 40-50 more years.

This was my situation, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around being heavily medicated with daily injections for another 50 years. I don’t care how many T1Ds tell me managing through meds isn’t that bad, this just sounded like such a nightmare to me.

Below I created chart that portrays many of the key issues that any T1D needs to consider before determining the best approach to managing the disease for them personally. The one column shows the Standard American Diet (“SAD”) T1D approach while the other approach is my plant-based diet (“PBD”) approach.

To note, I admit that most T1Ds are relatively healthy in nature compared to a majority of the population, so when I say SAD T1Ds, I mean these individuals eat a relatively healthy diet, but it’s still full of animal products, heavy carbs (i.e. pasta, bread, oatmeal), fruit and occasional sweets which in turn requires the use of insulin to manage the disease.

The Pros & Cons to Managing T1D Medication Free

Diet Type Standard American Diet Plant-Based Diet
1 Cost to Maintain Diet Lower (√) Higher
2 Time Commitment to Maintain Diet Lower (√) Higher
3 Daily Finger Pricking to Check Blood Sugar 3-10 Once (√)
4 Eating Out Easier (√) Difficult
5 Health Risks Associated with Medication Yes No (√)
6 Healthcare Costs to Manage Disease Higher Lower (√)
7 Insulin Injections Required No (√)
8 Irritability Lower (√) Higher
9 Level of Dietary Restrictions Lower (√) Higher
10 Level of Physical Condition Lower Higher (√)
11 Longevity in Life Shorter Longer (√)
12 Medication Required Yes No (√)
13 Overall Level of Health Lower Higher (√)
14 Overall Level of Health – Family Lower Higher (√)
15 Overall Satisfaction on Diet Taste Higher (√) Lower
16 Physical Appearance Heavier (√) Skinnier
17 Risk of Other Diseases / Cancer Higher Lower (√)
18 Sense of “Fitting In” Higher (√) Lower
19 Sleep Quality Lower Higher (√)
20 Stress of Living with Disease Higher Lower (√)
Count 8 12

1 – Winner = SAD – The SAD is definitely the cheaper approach to managing the disease. The plant-based diet can get expensive with the organic produce.

2 – Winner = SAD – The plant-based diet is definitely higher maintenance than the SAD. Once you get into the rhythm of the PB diet, it’s not too bad, but it’s a major adjustment having to cook a lot of your meals instead of popping a frozen meal in the microwave.

3 – Winner = PBD – Going the SAD route will significantly increase the amount of times per day you need to test your blood sugar (i.e. more finger pricks). That said. there are continuous monitors that are available these days which make it easier for medicated T1Ds but it would still be on your mind all day.

4 – Winner = SAD – Eating out with a PBD is a major pain. Hardly any restaurants offer vegan options, and most dinner plates have God knows what in them. I try to avoid eating out as much as I can, but sometimes it’s inevitable. I will say it is getting easier and some restaurants are starting to be more accommodating with plant-based options.

5 – Winner= PBD – A big risk with SAD T1Ds is hypoglycemia. This is essentially when your blood sugar drops too low and you can pass out. This is very dangerous if you are driving or if you are drinking alcohol.  I have zero risk associated with medication because I’m not on any, and I can still drink alcohol worry free!

6 – Winner = PBD – The only real direct medical costs I experience are buying test strips every 3 months and the co-pay at my annual endocrinologist appointment. SAD T1Ds will have much higher costs associated with more testing strips, more doctor visits, insulin pumps, insulin, continuous glucose monitoring devices, etc.

7 – Winner = PBD – Besides one finger prick each day, I have to experience zero needle injections. This makes it all worth it for me. For SAD T1Ds, medical advancements, like the insulin pump, have minimized the amount of injections that are necessary. However, sticking yourself with needles in some form or fashion will always be involved on the SAD as a T1D.

8 – Winner = SAD – I’m definitely more irritable than I used to be. However, I had my first child and was diagnosed with T1Ds within 2 weeks of each other. All you parents know that young children definitely increase the stress level in a household, so this could be causing it too. There is something to be said about the soothing nature of bad food. Ultimately, I think more carbs in one’s diet just decreases moodiness.

9 – Winner = SAD – A SAD T1D essentially has no dietary restrictions because you can pump yourself full of insulin when those blood sugars start to skyrocket. I have a much more restrictive diet, but I enjoy most of the foods I eat. I don’t really miss the SAD ways because once you become enlightened on how bad this way of eating is, you’ll desire it less and less.

10 – Winner = PBD – My level of physical condition has never been higher. I hardly sweat when I run or play racquetball and my body aches much less than it used to.

11 – Winner = PBD – This is always tough to benchmark, but most sources I read say a PBD will prolong ones life by 7 to 10 years vs. a SAD. I guess this really isn’t that much longer, so I understand when certain T1Ds would rather just eat the SAD, enjoy food better and die a little younger.

12 – Winner = PBD – I don’t care how many T1Ds tell me they have gotten used to life on insulin…nobody wants to be medicated, especially a form that requires getting stuck with needles on a daily basis.

13 – Winner = PBD – I noticed my eye sight improved, any acne I had went away and I just overall felt like my body / mind operated better. I hardly get sick anymore either, and when I do, it’s usually very mild and only lasts for a couple days.

14 – Winner = PBD – If you manage T1D with no medication, your immediate family will most likely adopt your diet to a certain extent, which in turn has created a much healthier wife, son and daughter for me.

15 – Winner = SAD – Obviously a Big Mac with Fries tastes better than raw lentil tacos.

16 – Winner = SAD – The PBD will make the weight shed off.  I am currently right where I should be according to the BMI standards, Unfortunately, a majority of society is obese, so the PBD T1Ds look too “skinny”, while the SAD T1Ds look “normal” and “healthy”. Very annoying…

17 – Winner = PBD – Living with a PBD greatly minimizes your risk of ancillary diseases outside of diabetes. Living life on a SAD highly increases your risk not only to diabetic related disease (i.e. blindness, limb removal, hypo/hyperglycemia) but to the other popular killers like heart disease, strokes, etc.

18 – Winner = SAD – Unfortunately, living a PBD life will make you feel like an outsider most of the time. When you go to family outings or dinner parties, you are the only “weirdo” not chowing down on steak, chicken, donuts, candy, cheese and ice cream.

Eating a SAD is much easier to conform to society. Also, good or bad, PBD T1Ds with no meds will become enlightened about the true world around you. I feel fortunate to experience this, but sometimes ignorance is bliss, as I just feel like the more research I do, the more frustrated I become about what the reality is about what goes into the mainstream food around us.

19 – Winner = PBD – My sleep vastly improved once I started the PBD. I recommend this diet to anyone having sleep issues. I can almost guarantee you’ll notice a difference within only a few short days.

20 – Winner = PBD – As I’ve mentioned before, most of the time my life is completely unaffected by T1D. If not for the finger prick in the morning, it’s really like I’m just a normal individual living life on a healthier diet. Dealing with the high and low blood sugar readings, needles and excessive finger pricks that come with a SAD would be much more stressful than what I deal with.

Conclusion

In summary, I hope I portrayed an objective view of what all T1Ds would need to consider before deciding between my strategy of managing the disease vs. the mainstream / medicated way. There are certainly +/- to both strategies, and it really comes down to personal mindset and what motivates you.

Personally, in regards to managing T1D through diet / exercise, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, I miss out on the ability to eat the mainstream fast food and junk food that tastes incredibly good, however, what are the long-term effects of picking the SAD way? Certainly not good…

I didn’t choose to be a T1D, but I feel like it’s my duty to try and educate other T1Ds (or anyone in general) that there are more disease management options that than your mainstream doctor tells you. Even though I personally don’t know of any T1Ds that I’ve positively impacted, I’m just going to keep plugging away!

The Medical Community – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

My April 2016 blog post is going to describe my general thoughts on the medical community and other haters of my cause.  My experience with doctors as a non-insulin T1D has not been the most pleasant, but I do have much respect for the medical community as a whole.

I divided my blog post in 3 sections…the good, the bad and the ugly…

THE GOOD

Overall, I believe a majority of doctors are really trying to help people and have their patients’ best interests in mind. Over the years, the medical community has been able to eradicate numerous diseases and also allow people to live with certain diseases that would otherwise prove fatal if left untreated (i.e. type 1 diabetes).

Helping my Dad

Specifically, my Dad was diagnosed with T1D in the 1970’s when he was in his twenties. At that time, the disease was much more difficult to manage and far less information was available than it is today.

A powerful example was that blood sugar monitors were not around when my Dad was first diagnosed. He actually had to pee on a test strip, and the color determined whether his levels were high or low (talk about stressful). Present day I can get my actual blood sugar readings within seconds of putting a drop of blood on the test strip…much easier.

The medical community’s invention of diabetic insulin has allowed people like my Dad to survive with the disease. My Dad is currently in his 70’s after living with the disease for over 40 years. If doctors had not invented insulin, he almost certainly would not be here today.

Helping Me

Also, I’m lucky to have two healthy children, and I couldn’t even imagine not having doctors and nurses around to help make sure the delivery went smooth. In addition, if I ever broke my leg or needed a surgery, doctors would be the first people I call.

I guess my point is that although I do get frustrated with the medical community at times, I fully admit they do a lot of good for the human race.

THE BAD

The “Bad” can include two different aspects; 1) the drug manufacturers and; 2) the medical schools.

Greedy Drug Manufacturers

The drug manufacturers have a major conflict of interest with the general health of society. On one hand, you can say these companies help save people’s lives and/or help people with diseases manage their daily lives. On the other hand, they are making billions of dollars each year making sure society stays heavily medicated.

The problem is that a large portion of diseases in the world are the result of a poor diet. A poor diet helps disease fester in our bodies and promote an overall lower quality of health.

Great big pharma article…click here.

Lack of Incentive to Cure Disease Through Diet

I truly believe the drug manufacturers are fully aware of the extent to which a proper diet can eliminate disease. However, there is just too much money floating around the industry that supports a heavily medicated society.

I mean, if you were the CEO of drug manufacturer, why on earth would you want people to stop taking medication? That would mean far less money in your pocket.

It’s unfortunate to say, but there are a lot of bad things in this world that are motivated by greed. Can someone please tell me how cigarette companies are still able to sell cigarettes to the public? It’s proven that they give you cancer and promote disease.

Unfortunately, these companies pay lobbyists a significant amount of money to make sure the government can’t shut them down or stop selling their products.

Lack of Diet Education at Medical School

Medical schools are part of the problem as well. I was listening to a documentary a few weeks ago, and they asked a doctor how much of their medical school curriculum was devoted to how a diet can impact disease. The answer was around a few hours. Yes, of 8-10 years of medical school, only a few hours were devoted to how a diet can affect disease. Something wrong here?

It’s not the doctors’ fault that their schooling doesn’t educate them on the profound impact that a diet can have on disease. I put blame higher up with the people funding / running these universities that have to be aware of how diet is more so than ever eradicating disease and making medications less relevant.

Once again  though, what incentive do medical schools have to push education on fighting disease through diet and exercise as opposed to medication? These medical schools are making money hand over fist to support medication as the fix for all disease.

Also if I was a doctor and I just went $200,000 in debt for medical school, I certainly would be hesitant to shift my practice to diet over medication for treating disease. Medication has a much more lucrative recurring revenue model considering many drugs just put band-aids on the problems and don’t address the underlying issues.

Type 2 Diabetes Making Drug Manufacturers Rich

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most profound examples of this. T2D is borderline an epidemic at this point, but can you imagine how much money the drug manufacturers and medical community make each year by keeping their T2D patients on medication? Again, why on earth would they want these T2Ds to know that a diet can cure their disease with a 100% effective rate.

My comments are meant to be general in nature and are directed at a majority of the medical community. I’m certain there are doctors out there who try and push diet to help their patients, but it certainly seems like these individuals are the minority.

THE UGLY

My “Ugly” category is reserved for ignorant haters. In my experience so far, these haters have taken the form of certain doctors and parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes.

Ignorant Haters – Doctors

Some of my biggest supporters have actually gotten in arguments with people in the medical community when discussing my situation. The tension was purely the result of certain doctors that are so ignorant that they refuse to believe that a T1D can be living free of medication for over two years.

They claim that I’m either 1) a Type 2 Diabetic or 2) that I’m still honeymooning.

Shame On You!

First off, shame on any medical professional that believes that I’m lying. Do you really think that I’m not a T1D? Do you think that I didn’t go through an extremely stressful 2-3 months post diagnosis trying to figure out what was wrong with me? I wish I was a Type 2 Diabetic as my life would be much less stressful.

Secondly, so I’m still honeymooning? You ignorant haters could be totally correct that I’ll some day need medication, however, what about the specific examples in my previous blog post. I’m certainly not the only one doing this for a prolonged period of time.

Medication – Old School Way of Treating Disease

My final thoughts to you doctors that are ignorant haters is to please keep an open mind and don’t argue with my supporters. Also, initially treating disease through medication is the old school way to approach things. All medication does in most instances is put band-aids over the problem.

The new school way to approach disease is to hit it at its core through a better diet. This is the only true long-term fix for most disease. If medication is necessary, then so be it, but every patient should know that diet is paramount to the overall eradication of most diseases.

Parents of Children with T1D

First off, I want all parents with children of T1D to know that I’m on your side. I couldn’t even imagine how difficult life would be to raise a child with T1D. This is a very tricky disease and I absolutely emphasize with your situation.

That said, I’ve received nastygrams from parents who get very frustrated with my message like I’m creating some sort of false hope for their situation. As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I can not guarantee your child could be removed from insulin with the correct diet, but it is a possibility.

At the end of the day, I have the same disease that your child has, and a raw plant-based diet can significantly decrease the amount of insulin that your child needs. I bet your child would be very excited if you told them they had to take less shots each day, or had to worry less about extreme highs and lows. 

Please just don’t be brain washed by your doctors who claim that everything I’m saying is totally incorrect. I have heard of stories of children with T1D who have been able to stay off of medication as well with this type of strict diet. So, try and challenge your doctor and send them my blog posts if need be.

Conclusion

Hopefully you all enjoyed my portrayal of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In summary, I truly respect doctors and the good they do, however, there are many conflicts of interest out there in the medical community that everyone needs to be aware of.

I will always be skeptical of big business and their greater motivation for financial incentives than the general well-being of the human population.

Thank-You Supporters!

A special thanks to all of my supporters, and if any of the haters start getting in your face, please just direct them to my blog post. Even better, give them my cell phone number and tell them to call me.

I am fully confident they have no argument, and after all, the proof is in the pudding. I’m the one having to live with this disease, and they are only prescribing medication to others with the disease. Who would you listen to more?

Exercise: Critical for Type 1 Diabetics

Exercise: Critical for Type 1 Diabetics

This blog post is going to describe how exercise plays a key role in my ability to manage Type 1 Diabetes without medication. Before I jump into my exercise routine, I wanted to share with you my most recent blood sugar test results.

My Most Recent A1c Test

Every 3 months I get an A1c test, which is a barometer and industry standard for how well a diabetic is controlling their disease. The A1C test reflects your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. The results can be interpreted as such:

A1c < 5.7 = non-diabetic

A1c between 5.7 and 6.4 = pre-diabetic

A1c > 6.5 = diabetic

My most recent reading was 5.6 in late February 2016, which is a non-diabetic reading. Not bad after 26 months of being a T1D without medication. I put links below for my fasting blood sugar charts since I became diagnosed and also over the past 3 months. I will start to include this data quarterly after my most recent A1c test is completed.

Fasting Blood Sugar History – Since Diagnosis

Fasting Blood Sugar History – Last 3 Months

Back to exercise…I have always been an active person. I played all types of sports growing up, and I played football and ran track in college. For those of you that know me, you know I hate losing, and I’ve always enjoyed competing.

Me Against the Medical Community

In a sense I feel like it’s a David vs. Goliath scenario between me and the medical community. Here I am, one individual, saying and achieving things that are seemingly completely off the radar of the vast majority of diabetic doctors throughout the world.

I feel like it’s so wrong that the medical community does not inform each and every T1D patient of this alternative method of treatment that could potentially eliminate their need for countless insulin injections. More than anything, this dynamic truly drives my motivation to share my story.

I will say that I don’t believe the medical community is negligent towards their patients, but it does puzzles me why this is not discussed more with T1Ds. I’ll get into this more in another blog post…

Why Exercise is Important for T1Ds

I’m sure nearly everyone reading this blog already knows that exercise is an important component to an overall healthy lifestyle. However, for us T1Ds, it’s even more critical. Staying fit and active makes it easier for us diabetics to control our blood sugar levels and it increases our insulin sensitivity. In other words, after exercise, a T1D’s body is able to more efficiently process carbohydrates.

Additionally, there are all the traditional benefits of exercise including lower blood pressure, better control of weight, leaner, stronger muscles, stronger bones and more energy.

Rigorous Exercise Is Important but Not Enough

I am a huge advocate of exercise, however, as a T1D it is much more critical to effectively watch what food I eat as opposed to the amount of exercise I do. You can be a triathlete, but if you are eating the wrong foods, you have no prayer of staying off of medication for an extended period of time as a T1D. In my opinion, staying off medication as a T1D is probably 85% food choice and 15% exercise routine.

I’m not trying to downplay the powerful effects of exercise, but merely provide a road map for what needs to be a priority for other T1Ds if your goal is to stay off of medication.

Soon after diagnosis, many of the more motivated T1Ds (like myself) implement an extremely strenuous and intense workout routine in an effort to keep their blood sugars low during their honeymoon period in an effort to remain off of insulin for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, most T1Ds are uneducated about what types of food you really need to put in your body, and they remain on an animal-based diet (like myself at first). Inevitably, their bodies end up needing insulin to combat their rising blood sugars once the honeymoon period is ending. For me, my honeymoon period appeared to be ending around 9 months post diagnosis. At that point I implemented the raw / plant-based diet and it has successfully regulated my blood sugars ever since.

Added Worries for Insulin Dependent T1Ds

Intense workouts for T1Ds on insulin also adds the risk of experiencing hypoglycemia or aka the “lows”. Since exercise naturally lowers one’s blood sugar, if a T1D is not careful and injects an excessive amount of insulin prior to a workout, they run the risk of their blood sugars dropping to dangerously low levels.

Now for me, I don’t have to worry about any of that since I’m not on medication. I really only have to worry about high blood sugars.

My Personal Weekly Workout Routine

I thought it would be informative for other T1Ds if I laid out my workout routine. As you’ll see below, I do exercise alot, however, it’s certainly not an unrealistic amount for the average person. Once you get in the rhythm of an exercise routine, you’ll feel great about keeping it going.

Monday – I typically run ~2 miles around my neighborhood. If it’s too cold outside, I’ll sometimes go to the gym and do the elliptical for 30 minutes.

Tuesday – I do upper body weight training for 20-30 minutes with resistance bands in my basement.

Wednesday – I play racquetball for an hour at the local gym. Racquetball is an excellent workout that really gets the blood pumping. It’s also keeps the competitive juices flowing and it’s fun!

Thursday – I do a lower body workout. My wife bought the T25 video collection that has a lower body focus session.

Friday – I play racquetball for an hour at the local gym.

Saturday – I play racquetball for an hour at the local gym.

SundayI do nothing!! In my opinion, it’s important to give your body a days rest each week to recover. I’ve pretty much done this my whole life.

In summary, I workout 6 days a week, with 4 being cardio focused and 2 being strength / weight training focused. This was actually my similar routine before I was diagnosed, so I really didn’t change much after I became diabetic. I did become slightly more disciplined though once I was a T1D because it’s in the back of my mind.

A Consistent Exercise Routine is Realistic for All

Now, I understand many people might think it’s unrealistic to exercise like this 6 days per week. You may be right. However, I will say that I manage doing all of this with a full-time job, running a part-time real estate business, being a husband to my wife and a father to a two year old and a two month old.

Considering everything I have on my plate, I am forced to do my workouts in the morning before work. I would highly suggest morning workouts as opposed to evening or even mid-day. Things always pop up, and the longer you delay your workout into the day, the greater likelihood you’ll find an excuse not to do it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I understand my routine might be unrealistic for most people, but it works for me. Exercise is critical for a T1D if you want to try and stay off of medication. Besides racquetball, most of my workouts are 20 minutes long. All you really need to do is get the blood pumping each day. I wouldn’t stress about staying on an intense routine that is too time consuming and unpractical, it’s more about just staying active.

Continue reading Exercise: Critical for Type 1 Diabetics

Success Stories – Cured Type 1 Diabetics

Success Stories – Cured Type 1 Diabetics

My first couple posts outlined my story as a type 1 diabetic (“T1D”) and my daily diet that has helped me stay off of medication for over two years.  A natural progression for my next blog would be to list the key resources that I used to educate myself on natural alternatives to fight this disease and illustrate multiple cases of cured T1Ds.

Over the course of the past two years I have read many books and watched a number of great documentaries.  For this post, I’m going to focus on the two key resources that essentially changed my life and provided the education and inspiration necessary for me to manage this disease medication free.

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Link to the Documentary

This documentary was the first major step in understanding how to manage Type 1 diabetes with no medication.  This film is truly inspiring for not only diabetics throughout the world, but for anyone looking to fight diseases naturally.

The film starts off with all sorts of fun facts like 1) the cases of Type 2 diabetes has tripled in the past 10 years; 2) the US is one of the sickest countries in the world; and 3) we currently have the most overweight population in the history of the human race.

The genesis of the documentary was to follow 6 Americans with diabetes through a 30 day journey to “cure” their disease through purely a raw natural food diet.  Like most diabetics, all 6 subjects prior to the documentary had been advised by their doctors to pump themselves full of medication with zero guidance on how a raw plant-based diet could essentially cure their disease. This was exactly the rhetoric I heard from my doctors when I first was diagnosed, as well.

All Type 2 Diabetics Cured

The subjects all attended a clinic at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia, Arizona which is led by Dr. Gabriel Cousins. Of the 6 diabetics in the film, 4 or them were Type 2 diabetics (“T2D”) and 2 were T1Ds.  The T2Ds were hard core diabetics, meaning they all were heavily medicated and in poor health. The one T2D was on 17 different pills and insulin.  After 1 week, each of the T2D were 100% off of medication with fasting blood sugars approaching normal ranges.

I don’t want to dwell on the T2Ds here because my primary purpose is to help T1Ds, however, this pretty much shows that even the worst cases of T2D can be completely reversed within a week once following this type of diet.  I’m no doctor, but from my understanding, every single T2D out there can be cured, or at least stop medication, if you just follow the general guidelines of this documentary.

Type 1 Diabetic Success Story #1 (drastic insulin reduction)

Now for the T1Ds at the clinic…the one T1D had the disease since he was about 10 years old. He came into the clinic very skeptical about a “cure” or the potential of living insulin free, even though the doctors told him of several cases of “curing” T1Ds. After the 30 day program, this individual was able to reduce his daily insulin units from 70 to 5. Since I’ve never been on insulin, I really don’t understand doses/units but this represents a 93% decrease in required insulin.

Type 1 Diabetic Success Story #2 (cured)

The second T1D was the more interesting subject. Not to play spoiler, but this person was thought to be a T2D at the beginning of the film but it was proven at the end he was actually a T1D. His name is Kirt Tyson and he was diagnosed with the disease in his early 20s. When he was diagnosed he had a fasting blood sugar of 1,200 (normal is < 100), and had been on insulin ever since.

Within one week at the clinic, Kirt was off of medication and his fasting blood sugar was 73. One could argue that he was cured of his disease. Dr. Cousens mentioned that Kirt has been medication free for over 10 years now.

In conclusion, the transformation of each person was truly remarkable following the retreat. Each person felt much healthier, lost significant excess weight, and got their life back on track. It wasn’t easy though, and the documentary shows the battle that people have adjusting to this raw vegan diet. However, 5 of the 6 individuals were completely euphoric following the retreat and were overly thankful at how this changed their lives.

Profound Impacts on All Disease

One final point worth mentioning is that this can positively affect each and everyone one of us. The Standard American Diet (“SAD”) promotes disease in all of us, not just diabetics. The one doctor in the film stated that he believes 50% of all diseases could be completely eliminated if the population focused on a raw plant-based diet. 

Whether you suffer from illnesses like diabetes or cancer or other issues like acne, stomach problems, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or fatigue…I can assure you that implementing a raw plant based lifestyle can help counteract these problems. There are examples of multiple people that I know who have cured or significantly alleviated their problems through a healthier diet.

I certainly don’t expect everyone to become a raw vegan foodist. However, just take baby steps like eating a salad everyday for lunch made up of healthy vegetables. I promise you that you will feel like a million bucks after a 2-3 weeks on the diet. Don’t underestimate the power of food!

The 2nd Resource: Dr. Gabriel Cousens

Tree of Life Center (website)

There is a Cure for Diabetes (book)

After I viewed the documentary discussed above, I was completely floored that a T1D was able to remove himself from insulin and achieve a fasting blood sugar of 73. If you talk to any doctor, this just isn’t supposed to happen. I was very eager to learn more, so I started researching Dr. Gabriel Cousens who runs the Tree of Life clinic.

More Diabetics Seek to Get Cured

After a little digging, I discovered that Dr. Cousens published a book in 2012 that summarized his interactions with another 120 diabetics, both T1 and T2 since the release of the documentary. Apparently, once the Simply Raw documentary came out, many other diabetics throughout the country were interested in attending the Tree of Life retreat to try and cure their diabetes.

More Type 1 Diabetics Cured

Of the additional T1Ds that Dr. Cousens treated, approximately 31.4% were off all insulin in three weeks and approximately 21% were off all insulin with a fasting blood sugar less than 100 (cured). Although 69% of the T1Ds treated at the clinic were not able to come off of insulin, they had a 70% average drop in their insulin requirements. Not bad…

Unfortunately the book didn’t provide exact numbers of how many T1Ds were treated, but a 30% success rate of removing T1D patients from medication in three weeks is astounding. Much better than the 0% that your typical doctor / endocrinologist will tell you!

After reading this, I’m guessing the question that most people have is how is this possible? Aren’t T1Ds supposed to have an autoimmune disease that destroys their beta cells and prohibits the creation of insulin? Well, I’m living proof that my beta cells are not all destroyed, contrary to popular belief.

Without getting too technical, Dr. Cousens believes that his diet was effective because 1) it reduced inflammation in a T1Ds body which allowed more beta cells to survive and produce insulin; 2) the live foods stimulated beta cell production; and 3) the diet significantly reduces the amount of insulin needed to produce normal fasting blood sugars.

Conclusion

For any of you skeptics, hopefully after reading this blog you can see there is concrete scientific research to support my practices. There is a whole community of other T1Ds out there doing the exact same thing as me, some even better!

Unfortunately, this diet is not full-proof and a majority of T1Ds will not be able to completely remove themselves from medication. But, I feel like every T1D out there deserves to be educated on this (you hear that American Diabetes Association?!?) so they at least have the option that nearly all doctors will not provide. Instead of hopelessly injecting yourself full of insulin everyday, you now know that you have a 30% chance of living medication free with this diet.

No one really knows why this diet works for some T1Ds. My personal opinion is that I believe all T1Ds, no matter when diagnosed, still have some functioning beta cells in their body. And the utilization of these remaining beta cells are able to be maximized by eating the diet discussed above.

Is This a Cure?

Is this a cure…? I don’t know. Is it true to say I’ve cured my disease because I can manage my blood sugars naturally by eating a diet of mostly vegetables, nuts and seeds? I certainly don’t think I technically cured my disease, but living medication free with the disease is damn near close.

What’s funny is that a more acceptable cure for society would be the introduction of drug that injects beta cells in one’s body (hypothetical example) to stimulate insulin production. This may eliminate the insulin need for many T1Ds, but they would still be eating the SAD. Now, is this a cure?

For having to live with a chronic disease that could slowly kill me, I’d say life really isn’t much different than it was before I became diabetic. Besides the change in diet and having to prick my finger each morning, there really isn’t much of a difference. Sometimes I don’t even like telling people I’m a T1D considering I’m not on medication and my A1c readings are technically classified as “non-diabetic”. 

I consider myself very fortunate that my body is still able to combat this disease medication free, and hopefully I have many more years of medication free life ahead of me. 

 

My Diet – Foundation for No Medication

Raw Plant-Based Diet is the Key

For my second blog post, I thought it would be a good idea to just lay out what my diet is. After all, any T1D interested in staying off medication will be mostly interested in this topic. I will discuss in more detail below, but I predominately eat a raw plant-based diet. When I say raw, I mean uncooked foods (i.e. garden salad). Raw foods retain higher nutrient levels that aid in healing my body. The more cooked foods I eat, the less nutrients my body absorbs.

When I say plant-based, I mean that 90 to 95% of what I eat is centered on vegetables, nuts and seeds…all organic. The other 5-10% of what I eat is animal-based (i.e. chicken, fish, eggs, steak). The only reason why I still eat animal products is because it’s very difficult to completely eliminate these considering how ingrained they are into our society. I do admit they taste good, but I know they are bad for me, so I try and avoid them as much as I can.

When I first was diagnosed back in January 2014, I read a few books outlining the benefits of the plant-based diet. I initially thought these books were crazy talk as I was coming from a completely animal-based diet, so the concept of limiting my diet to 1-2 small servings of animal products per week almost seemed comical.

However, what wasn’t comical was the continued rise of my blood sugars over the first 9 months after my diagnosis when animal products were still a staple in my diet. This included eggs for breakfast, chicken on my salads for lunch and some kind of animal product for dinner. Newly diagnosed T1Ds have some flexibility soon after diagnosis (0-9 months) when your pancreas is still functioning to a certain extent, but this “honeymoon period” does eventually fade unless you convert to a plant-based diet, at least in my experience.

Plant-Based Diet is Good for Everyone

Before I jump into my diet, I want all non-diabetic readers of this blog to know that I would recommend my diet for everyone, not just T1Ds. We all should be eating plant-based diets. It’s what’s natural and the food that is meant for our bodies.

I realize many of you are rolling your eyes right now, just like I was when I first started researching this, but it doesn’t take much internet research to uncover a lot of the adverse effects from eating animal products. I’m not saying you need to completely eliminate animal products, but just know that the more you eat the worse off you will be.

My Diet And Path To No Medication

Below I’m going to outline my routine for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks on a daily basis. At this point, I’m on cruise control with my diet. I was stricter when I first began following it, but over time I’ve learned certain areas where I can loosen up because my blood sugars remained in a desirable range. I will admit this diet is not cheap and it’s high maintenance, however, staying off medication will save you money in the long run, and you will have an extreme sense of personal accomplishment.

Breakfast (Raw Nut Granola Recipe)

For breakfast I eat raw nut granola with homemade almond milk. On a typical 30 day month, I probably eat this 26 days for breakfast. It actually tastes very good and is filling. This is probably my favorite thing to eat. The other 4 days of the month I eat pecan porridge which has similar ingredients to the nut granola.

I use something called yacon syrup that flavors the granola with a similar taste to that of maple syrup. Yacon syrup tastes amazing, and I’m not sure how it’s low glycemic, but it is. It’s also super expensive unfortunately. Here is the link to the yacon syrup I buy: Amazon Therapeutics. The granola is dehydrated on 115 degrees for 12+ hours. Cooking foods at 115 degrees or less preserves the nutrients so the meal is still technically “raw”. Here is the dehydrator I use: Nesco.

Lunch

For lunch I almost always have a garden salad made up of low glycemic vegetables. The items I typically include on my salad are spinach, kale, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, chickpeas, green/red pepper, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds. For dressing I use some type of low-to-no sugar organic salad dressing from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

This really should be the staple in everyone’s daily diet, not just T1Ds. All of these vegetables are key in reversal of disease and healthy living. If you wanted to be stricter, you can try using apple cider vinegar dressing. I used ACV for a while, but just couldn’t handle it anymore…I needed something with more taste.

Dinner

Dinner is where things get interesting. This is probably the biggest pain in my diet. I have the breakfast and lunch routine down, but it’s not easy finding low maintenance vegan dinners (at least in my experience). I really wish I was filthy rich and could just hire someone to research and prepare vegan dinners for me each day, but for now I’m stuck working through this myself. I will give credit to my wife though as she does find cool things for me to eat.

Many of the dinner items I experimented with tasted great at first, but I became sick of them after about 4 or 5 times. So, I’ve had to keep searching for new things to eat. A good website / app to locate good vegan meals is Pinterest (clean eating). My wife got me into this, and it does provide some excellent options. I’m going to list below the link to some good meals that I’ve had. These are probably my top choices at this point. I just try and rotate them to try and keep the appeal. Worst case scenario I just eat a salad for dinner if I’m in a crunch.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Raw Lentil Tacos

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, & Sun Dried Tomato Salad with Chickpeas

Black Bean Meatball Bowls with Cauliflower Rice

Snacks

The above diet can leave you a little hungry during the day, so I almost always eat some kind of daily snack in the afternoon. I’ve experimented with many types of foods, but the most low maintenance, good tasting snacks I found are kale chips and flax snacks.

If you go to Whole Foods, they have a snack isle with a lot of good options. Just make sure you read the ingredients to ensure there is no added sugar in the kale chips. The “Brad’s Raw Chips” are really good and they are located at Whole Foods.

Fruit

I hardly eat any fruit. I wish I could eat more, but most fruits in general have a large amount of natural sugars and carbohydrates which translates to higher blood sugars for me. If I do eat fruit, I try to eat berries as they are the lowest glycemic fruits out there (i.e. blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries).

The next best would be fruits like apples, pears and oranges. Dried fruit should be avoided if you are a T1D. These are fruits such as dates, raisins and cranberries, and they are extremely high on the glycemic index.

Sweets / Deserts

I almost never eat sweets, deserts, soda or other sugary drinks. I may have something once per month. I did used to love ice cream, but the dairy and sugar in ice cream will throw a T1Ds blood sugar out of whack, so I suggest avoiding them. If you must indulge, there is ice cream made out of nuts like cashews that tastes just as good as cow’s milk ice cream.

Ultimately, I would suggest not eating any sweets or deserts. They are packed with sugar and garbage ingredients that wreak havoc on your blood sugars, not to mention your entire body. My guess is that this is where a lot of T1Ds would have trouble following my diet.

However, once you research and better understand the adverse effects that sugar desserts have on your body, my guess is that you’ll be less inclined to eat them.

Alcohol

YES! I definitely still indulge in a few drinks here and there. I do, however, drink much less than I used to, but this can be attributed to me just getting old as well and being married with children. In my experience, having a glass of red wine or two has typically lowered my fasting blood sugars the following day. Alcohol is known to have this effect on blood sugars. If I drink beer, I’ll have Miller Light or Michelob Ultra which are two of the lower carb beers.

If you want to be super strict, drink potato vodka, club soda with a lime…this would be your lowest glycemic choice. I tried drinking these, but I never was much of a liquor fan, so I just stick with red wine for the most part and have the occasional beers. Just remember there is a tipping point where consuming too much alcohol in a given night will actually raise your blood sugars.

Supplements

In general, most supplements are not good for you. A majority of them contain all sorts of weird chemicals that hurt your body. Even if you find a healthier one, chances are they provide more nutrients / minerals than your body actually needs. If you follow my diet above, you will not need any additional supplementation and you can rest assured that your body is getting all of the nutrients and minerals it needs.

There is one caveat, you need to take a B12 vitamin if you are vegan. From my research, this is the only mineral that your body needs that comes solely from animals. This is the spray I use: Pure Vegan B-12 Spray.

There is one supplement that I took for a while when I first started the plant-based diet. It is super healthy and contains only raw vegan natural ingredients (no chemicals). However, the drawbacks were 1) it gets expensive; 2) it tastes awful and 3) I had to use stevia to stomach the drink which actually increased my blood sugar levels. Ultimately, I stopped purchasing it, however, here is a link to the one I used to get: Healthforce Vitamineral Green.

Conclusion

This diet definitely took some getting used to, but I truly enjoy it now. Obviously it’s no fun having T1D, but it’s sure a great feeling when I can manage a disease naturally that nearly all standard doctors say is impossible. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years regarding diet and its effects on your body. Even if the medical community found a cure for T1D tomorrow, I sincerely believe my diet wouldn’t change much from what it is now.

I’m certainly not happy about having this disease, but in some respects I feel blessed that my wife, children and myself will be much healthier in our lives than we otherwise would have been if I’d not been diagnosed. I wish the rest of society could become enlightened like I was. Unfortunately, it usually takes some form of tragedy in one’s life before getting the motivation to change.

Fighting Type 1 Diabetes Naturally – My Story

Hello everyone! This is my first blog. I am a 34 year guy from Pittsburgh with Type 1 diabetes. I wanted to use this first blog to provide a summary of my background and what my purpose is for blogging.  I anticipate doing a monthly blog around the 15th of every month. This blog runs a little long, but I thought it was necessary to try and tell my story with the first post.

My Blog Mission Statement

Create public awareness among Type 1 diabetics (“T1Ds”) that it is absolutely possible to manage their disease naturally without the use of any medication for an extended period of time while still maintaining a healthy quality of life.

My Story

Nearly two years ago in January of 2014, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I had a fasting blood sugar of 300 and an A1c of 8.4. As a reference, a non-diabetic has a fasting blood sugar below 100 and an A1c below 6.0.

My father is a Type 1 diabetic and was diagnosed in his late 20’s with the disease, so it certainly runs in the family. I had always gotten an A1c test (standard test in diabetic world) semi-annually since I was 22 because of my family history with the disease.

Over the years, my readings were hovering around the 6.0 mark, which some doctors would call this pre-diabetes. However, my doctor wasn’t pushing the panic button so I wasn’t overly concerned.

The Initial Shock

When I was diagnosed, it was difficult news to grasp. It’s depressing when a doctor tells you that you now have a chronic disease for the rest of your life and you will undoubtedly have to start taking multiple insulin injections on daily basis just to survive. On the bright side, there are much worse diseases to get. Also, I was very fortunate I didn’t live during the early 1900s before insulin was introduced. Back then Type 1 diabetes was essentially a death sentence. It was a total life changer though. Imagine what it’s like one day to wake up and now have to worry about everything you put into your body, especially when I was completely uneducated about the glycemic index at the time.

During my first couple months following diagnosis, I had many doctor appointments. Ultimately, each and every doctor gave me a doom’s day scenario telling me as a TID, I’ll have a short “Honeymoon” period (6 to 15 months) where my pancreas will still work, but this eventually fades over time and I’ll then have to start on insulin injections.

No doctor told me of any type of possibility to live medication free for an extended period of time.

In fact, the initial doctors I went to literally tried to put me on medication immediately…totally ridiculous.

Every time a doctor, or anyone for that matter, told me insulin was in my near future, it just fueled my desire to stay off meds and prove them wrong. Just the thought of having to give myself 4/5/6 shots a day made me cringe. Not to mention having to prick my finger 4/5/6 times a day to test my blood sugar. Sound pretty annoying, right? Also, you now have to worry about low blood sugar if you inject too much insulin in your body (risk of diabetic comas – bad stuff!).

Meeting The Nutritionist

Following those doctor visits, my brother-in-law recommended a nutritionist that helps with diabetic diets. In fact, my brother-in-law told me that this nutritionist had worked with T1Ds that have been off medication for years. I’m talking 10+ years and no meds. This was the glimmer of hope I was looking for!

I was diagnosed in early January 2014, and I started doing sessions with this nutritionist later that month. It was probably a 2-3 month process with the nutritionist, but following his diet had dramatically reduced my fasting blood sugars. His sessions did give me hope that somehow/someway, there were other T1Ds out there managing this disease 100% through diet and exercise, and I was focused on figuring out the tricks.

Initial Diet

As for the initial diet (Jan 2014-Oct 2014). I pretty much cut out all sugars/sweets, breads, soda, etc. I was still eating what I would call an “animal based” diet, but I cut out the carb heavy things like bread, cereal, pasta and things of that sort. I was able to bring back down my blood sugars and achieve A1c readings of that of a non-diabetic person. I became more comfortable with my body and diet, and I began only testing my blood sugars once per day first thing in the morning (fasting blood sugar). As long as these readings were within a certain range (90-115), I didn’t even think about medication. My endocrinologist told me that when my fasting blood sugar gets above 140 for 3 straight days, then I need to start using insulin, so I began using this as my basis. Things were going great from February 2014 through September 2014, but I noticed my blood sugars were gradually creeping up. My fasting blood sugars started getting around 120 to 140 with some consistency and I started to think insulin was in my near future.

Intense Research

In October 2014, I started doing some heavy research to try and find some alternatives. I started reading sites about how a mostly raw vegan diet has “cured” T1Ds in certain cases. I’m a guy from Pittsburgh that has been eating dairy, chicken, beef, fish my entire life. I don’t think I even knew what a vegan was at the time when I initially started reading about this. I’m going to elaborate further in later blogs on my resources and food choices, but I ended up adopting a raw vegan diet for 2 weeks in early November 2014.

The results were astonishing. Over the course of these two weeks, my average fasting blood sugar dropped to 99. As a reference, my average fasting blood sugar the 30 days prior to me starting the raw vegan diet was 117.

Fasting Blood Sugar Chart.

Benefits From Proper Diet

Over the next 2-3 months, I did a tremendous amount of research on the positive benefits that a raw vegan diet can have not only on diabetics (Type 1 and 2), but on all people. I am now writing this in December 2015, and I’ve been completely off medication for nearly 2 full years (9 months longer than any doctor gave me a chance for).

My blood sugars aren’t perfect, but they are within a range I’m comfortable with. My average fasting blood sugar over the past 30 days has been 107, and my last three A1c tests have been at 5.6 (non-diabetic readings). I now eat a plant-based diet, with ~85% of what I eat being low glycemic vegetables, nuts and seeds (mostly uncooked), and I try to minimize consumption of all animal products (chicken, beef, fish, dairy).

I can say with confidence that it’s almost like I don’t even have the disease to a certain extent.

The Future

I anticipate writing a blog once a month to continue telling my story. I want to be a resource for other T1Ds out there so you too can try to stay off medication and combat this disease naturally. I only wish I could have found a resource like this early in my diagnosis to give me more hope and guidance. I won’t lie though, you have to be extremely disciplined and motivated with your diet/exercise routine to stay off meds as a T1D…there’s not much wiggle room.

If I can help just one person from this blog, then it’s worth it for me. Stayed tuned for my next post in January 2016, and please spread the word if you know other T1Ds out there that could benefit from this post. Also, please contact me with any questions/comments you have. After all, this is the reason I’m doing this!

Thanks – Matt

Type 1 Diabetes Without Medication