Blessing In Disguise


Well, I’ve almost surpassed the 4.5 year mark of living medication free as a type 1 diabetic. It has been a tough road, but I couldn’t be happier where my life is. Yes, it’s certainly not fun living with this disease, but I have to say that I feel like it was a blessing in disguise.

My Pre-Diabetes Meals

I am a man of strict routine (as I’m sure you can imagine). I got diabetes when I was around 31 years old, but from age 22 to 31, I had a very regime diet. For breakfast, I used to each Kashi Go Lean cereal everyday. I have always tried to be healthier, and I thought Kashi was a good choice for my daily breakfast to start the day. I also used to use cow’s milk with the cereal. Kashi does a great job at marketing their products like they are truly a healthy alternative to your typical Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch cereal. I was sold.

However, after I became diabetic, I look back and realized the significant amount of carbs and sugars that were put in this cereal. Not to mention me saturating the cereal in liquid meat (i.e. cow’s milk) to top off my “healthy” breakfast. Check out these ingredients for Kashi (link), a little bit of cane Syrup, degerminated yellow corn flour, expeller pressed soy grits. This doesn’t seem too bad, but definitely odd sounding items, which usually means unhealthy.

Corporate America at it Again

Then for my 10am snack, I would eat an apple or raisins. Apples were a good choice, but raisins have a significant amount of carbs in them. In fact, they are one of the higher glycemic fruits out there. Even if you are not a diabetic, raisins would cause spikes in your blood sugars and make your body work hard to process all of the carbohydrates. I also love this article that I found from Sun Maid (big raisin brand) trying to convince diabetics that raisins can help lower blood sugars.

I absolutely cringe every time I read an article from a large food company trying to sell that their product is good as part of a well balanced diet for diabetics. Yeah, it would be a good part of my diet if I wanted to stay heavily medicated and pump myself with insulin my whole life. Thanks for the advice Sun Maid, but I’ll pass.

Delicious Nitrate Filled Lunch Meats

For lunch, I would usually eat a deli sandwich with nitrate filled lunch meats such as ham, turkey or roast beef. I would top my lunch meats off with two slices of carb heavy bread along with some dairy cheese and mayonnaise.

I later would research that nitrate processed lunch meats are associated with pancreatic cancer and other diseases. Another good quote in this article starts by saying that eating processed meats can increase your chance of pancreatic cancer by 67%. Then later in the article it says “Although there is a correlation, the FDA has not ruled processed meats as too dangerous to consume”. Thanks FDA for telling me it’s okay to eat products that increase my risk by over 50% of one of the worst cancers out there. Sign me up for hot dogs, sausage, bacon and ham!

For dinner, I would typically eat frozen vegetables (corn, peas) along with a piece of chicken. Nothing of obvious concern, but still an animal based diet.

My Old Diet Couldn’t Handle Diabetes

For someone not educated on nutrition, my above diet would seem relatively healthy to most of the U.S. population. However, when my body first became diabetic, I obviously did not initially know. So, probably for a month or two, I was unknowingly at type 1 diabetic and continued eating my routine diet.

When I went to the doctors for my annual checkup in December 2013, they ran the usual A1c test on me (I always got an A1c test every six months since my Dad was a T1D). When I got my A1c back in late December 2013, my reading was 8.4 (> 6.5 is a diabetic reading) and my fasting blood sugar was nearly 200. Point being, the diet I was eating was not conducive to managing diabetes naturally based upon my blood sugar readings.

From January 2014 through December 2014, I learned a tremendous amount about nutrition and it’s profound effects on my blood sugars. I remember going to a nutritionist soon after my diagnosis and going through a full evaluation of what I was eating. I couldn’t believe when he was telling me that dairy may not be helping me or that eating fruit may not be a great idea. This was mind blowing.

Blessing In Disguise

Fast forward to present day, I couldn’t imagine eating any other way than a plant-based diet. If I did not get diagnosed with T1D, I very well may still be eating sugar filled cereal, nitrate filled lunch meats, or inflammation causing animal products.

My average fasting blood sugar is probably around the 105 mark these days, which is still a pre-diabetic reading. I realize that my blood sugars aren’t perfect, but I’m hoping the positive benefits that my body is achieving from a plant-based diet will exceed the negative effects from the higher than normal blood sugars.

In conclusion, I truly feel like getting T1D was a blessing in disguise and that myself and my family are overall healthier people because of me getting this disease. Hopefully I can continue to help other people through this blog to understand other diet options to improve their overall health.

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