I have been in this new phase of life for nine months now, and while it is occasionally aggravating and frustrating, it is working.
The new diet I’m on is all natural, nothing processed, no meat, dairy, eggs, added salt or sugar, no added oils. they prefer it if one of your meals is all raw vegetables as well. While it sounds restrictive, I am getting much better at fixing vegetables with a variety of tastes and textures.
Growing up on a farm, we always had plenty of fresh vegetables on the table, but we had meat also. In thinking back, while meat may have been on the table, it wasn’t the main attraction. There was enough for everyone to have one serving, but plenty of fruits and vegetables to fill up on. Of course, we also had home made bread, which is off my menu.
So, what do I eat?
Breakfast is my difficult meal of the day. I like something hot in the morning, but so far cereal grains are not friendly. I’m beginning to be able to eat buckwheat, but I do better with it later in the day with a lot more in the way of leafy greens than as the star of the show for breakfast. So I usually have a mix of raw nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, and a few dried goji berries or dried mulberries for a tiny burst of flavor. I’ve found I don’t really need a lot in the morning, so it works for me.
Lunch is when I usually go raw, with a big bowl of salad. I have romaine lettuce and some sort of greens mix, like baby greens, spring mix, or herb mix as a base. Then I add everything but the kitchen sink. I’ll put on tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, cucumbers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and anything else I might have in the fridge. As a dressing, I sometimes use just plain old vinegar. Other times, I mix up vinegar with tahini or natural peanut butter and some fresh ginger.
Note to self. Go easy on the ginger…
Dinner time is fun. When I first began this journey, it was kind of a one vegetable at a time things. Green beans with tomatoes and onions. Steamed broccoli. That sort of thing. But now I take a variety of vegetables, cut them into like-sized chunks, and add them to my wok to steam quickly. Some of my favorites are broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash, with onions and garlic, and maybe some snow peas. Other times, it might be lentils with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, garlic, herbs of some kind, and kale.
I love kale. I can toss it in at the last minute and let it wilt to add texture and color to an otherwise blah looking meal. I don’t like it cooked to mush, so I stir it in, turn off the heat, and replace the lid for about three minutes. Ready to eat! I do the same thing with spinach, only it doesn’t take as long to wilt as the kale.
Lately, I’ve been able to add a little grain to this regime. With about a quarter of a cup of millet or buckwheat, I can have something similar to rice without making a huge impact on my blood sugar levels.
I’ve found I can eat dried beans if I cook them myself and check the label for the carb to fiber ration. Taking the carbohydrate figure, I subtract the amount of fiber from it and compare the result to the amount of protein in the beans. If the protein is the same or higher than this number, I probably won’t have a problem with it.
Some of my favorite beans are fava beans. Most people peel them after they’re cooked, but if I do that, I lose most of the fiber. As the skins can be a little tough, I pop them into the food processor and give them a whirl. Then I can top them with fresh tomatoes, onions, and green peppers for a dish similar to ful medames.
Frustrations? Going out to eat and family barbecues.
Going out to eat can be tricky. I need go to someplace with a good salad bar, or a Chinese place with steamed vegetables. Of course, watching everyone else eat things I used to be able to eat can be a little depressing, but it isn’t like can actually eat them anyway. My system as come to the conclusion that meat is not a happening thing. One tiny taste sends my stomach into fits.
Our first family barbecue after the change in diet left me depressed. Everyone else had burgers, hot dogs, or chicken breast. I had several skewers of vegetables. Not that they weren’t tasty–I nearly had to fight one of the family off to keep them to myself–but they weren’t really barbecue material.
Don’t get me wrong. I love vegetables. I just miss being able to eat other things.
So what has been the result of all this?
When I first went in to the doctor, my A1c–which tells the blood sugar story of the last three months–was at 11.5, which is really high.
My first check up three months later, my A1c was down to 5.5 and my doctor was amazed.
The next three month check up it was down to 5.4.
Last week, after another three months, I had been off all medication for at least three months and my A1c was down again, to 5.3. If my blood sugar is still under control unmedicated at my next visit, I will only be going in every six months.
I love my doctor. He is very supportive and actually listens when I talk. He also likes to follow a natural route as much as possible, so he was delighted that I’d been able to stop taking my medications and still have blood sugars down in the normal range.
I have also lost over 30 pounds in the process and I’m slowly creeping down a little more. My goal is to be below 160.
If you are diabetic and wanting to try this approach, please talk to your doctor first, especially if you are on medication to control your blood sugar. Yes, the diet works if you stick to it. But you have to be dedicated and in it for the long haul. It works well enough that if you are on medication and try to go it on your own, you could wind up with hypoglycemic incidents, which are very dangerous.
Do I recommend this approach?
Very much. But under supervision if you have a blood sugar problem.
Interested? Go and get a copy of one of Dr. Fuhrman’s books on Eating to Live. Then talk to your doctor. Change doctors if necessary. But do think carefully before you make the choice. This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix and then back to your old way of eating.
Now, what can I fix for dinner tonight?
Yes truly, the title sums it all up. Everyone has to adjust for living or to survive as each day is a new day new beginning. Lovely that you recovered A1c in such a short time.