Tale of Two Type 2’s – WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

True stories of two type 2 diabetics, one failed at managing diabetes and one succeeded. One is my grandmother, the other is me.

  • One followed, as best she could the high carb “ADA Way”
  • I managed diabetes with a ‘low carb paleo meal plan‘ and lifestyle.

Below are two very important women in my life.  My mother on the left and my Type 2 grandmother on the right.  Part of what drives me today is knowing how my grandmother struggled with managing diabetes, she suffered needlessly.

Here is a picture of my mother and grandmother.

My grandmother’s story is like the vast majority of Type 2 diabetics, ever increasing drug and insulin requirements and ever decreasing health.  When I was diagnosed, I knew where the “ADA Way” path would lead, a downward spiral in health, leading to amputations, organ loss, pain and suffering. I was determined to find a different path.

The Struggle: Managing Diabetes

One diabetic was diagnosed in the 1980’s. At diagnosis, she faced many of the same emotions and challenges I faced 30 years later, which is a sad statement of the protocols used to manage diabetes.

Oh sure, back then she kept her insulin bottles in the refrigerator and she had to measure the insulin herself before injecting. Today there are “pens” that you dial up your dosage. Yes there are Insulin Pumps with Continuous Glucose Monitors today that make it easier to take drugs and insulin… but there has been no advancement in the treatment of the disease.

My grandmother was told to eat a low fat, high carb, grain based meal plan, avoiding eggs, butter and animal fats. She was instructed to only use  vegetable oils and she was placed on a 1200 calorie limit per day.

Low fat, low calorie, high carb, vegetable oil,  grain based meal plan:

  • The absolute opposite of what she needed to eat
  • The absolute opposite of what I eat

Grandmother’s Background

She was born in the mountains of North Carolina, raised on eggs, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, walnuts, apples,  biscuits and cornbread. They raised their own vegetables, had a small orchard of walnut and apple trees and ate other things of course but those were the staples.  Other than the cornbread and biscuits, she grew up eating all the right things and was by all accounts, healthy.

When she moved ‘off the mountain’ to the city, of course she used more hydrogenated vegetable oils, ate more sweets, breads, pasta, rice, cakes and cookies etc. As a result she gained weight and eventually would become an overweight diabetic.  After becoming accustomed to eating natural fats, meats and eggs ALL her life…when she became diabetic, eating such a limited caloric diet with such little meat and fat, of course she cheated.

ALL of her support systems rallied around and tried to encourage, nudge and even physically attempt to keep her from eating “fatty meats”.

I will NEVER forget the scene of my grandmother, sitting at the kitchen table and crying uncontrollably because she could NOT limit herself to 3 oz of meat per meal.

My grandmother received the same  ignorant, harmful restriction I was given 20+ years later!

The 1200 calorie limit was TOO tough for her to maintain. She felt like such a failure… she craved butter and meat… make no mistake, she craved carbs as well. The mental anguish of not being able to uphold her end of the diet bargain caused her much anxiety… much mental anguish.

Downward Health Spiral

After several heart attacks , strokes, triple by-pass surgeries, after years of pain and suffering … she left us. She was loved and she knew it.

We often talked about how she felt that she had “done this to herself”… and she would often beg me,

“don’t eat the way I eat Steve. Eat the right way, don’t eat a lot of pork, beef and biscuits like I did.”

… she would often say that while she was fixing us those very foods.

The story of the next type 2 occurred about 30 years later….

A Better Way: Managing Diabetes

I was diagnosed on 2/15/09, while I was in the hospital. Despite receiving very similar diet advice as my grandmother did about 30 years earlier, I discovered a better way to manage diabetes.

The hospital nutritionist handed me the ADA FOOD PYRAMID  …. she told me to “eat the food groups’ and the designated servings from each of the food groups each day .  At the base of the pyramid…are those items you should eat 6-11 servings of daily! Pasta, grains, breads, cereal, rice, beans, etc.

These are the foods YOU SHOULD NOT EAT!!!

Those foods are high in carbohydrates and INCREASE BLOOD SUGAR!!!

Millions are told that same harmful advice and millions fail at successfully managing diabetes.

When I ordered food from the hospital, it looked just like the foods I normally ate, prior to my diabetes diagnosis.  There were beans, breads, deserts, a small portion of meat and a vegetable. I swear, I thought to myself… except for the Fast Foods I was eating… “THIS IS WHAT I NORMALLY EAT”.

How in the HELL can this be a “diabetic menu”?

Honestly, my first response was excitement, I had been fooled. I thought… “HELL yes! I can eat like this!!!, I can be a good diabetic! I can beat this thing!!!”

Well, I was in Intensive Care at the time and they could not place me in a normal hospital room until my blood sugar fell  below a certain level, I do not recall what the level was but a funny thing happened… while I was eating the “diabetic diet’ even with IV’s, shots, prods, pills etc… while in the hospital, my blood sugar level would not  fall low enough to be moved into a regular room for three days. On the fourth day, literally at midnight… they moved me to a regular room.

Once home, through self-discovery, learning that the lower in carbs I went…the lower my blood sugar went, I was able to wean off drugs and insulin. Not just Diabetes Drugs… but drugs for cholesterol and hypertension, etc. All drugs.

I began to eat more meats, fats, eggs and low carb vegetables too. A funny thing happened… not only did my blood sugar become normal for diabetics, my blood sugars became normal for non-diabetics!

I became energized, being able to push myself physically, performing more and more demanding tasks. I LOVED LIFE AGAIN!  I was 78 lbs lighter and I WANTED TO TELL THE WORLD about this lifestyle that can change lives. Eventually I started this blog to share my story. :)

Successfully Managing Type 2 Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association’s “carb up and shoot up” treatment protocol for managing diabetes is an abysmal failure.  In this post, one diabetic followed the ADA Diet the best she could, eating a calorie restricted, HIGH CARB DIET.  Of course following this diet maintains the addictions to grains and sugars… almost guaranteeing failure.

Another diabetic did NOT follow the ADA Diet. Instead, he went LOW CARB Paleo  and opted to eat fatty meats, eggs, butter and veggies. NEVER going hungry, always sated and always FULL of energy.

Difference in Health

ONE diabetic’s health continued to decline until the body was too tired to continue after surgeries, strokes and heart attacks. Living the years after diagnosis with anguish,  regrets and shame for not being able to eat a calorie restricted, low fat, low protein meal plan.

Another diabetic’s health continued to IMPROVE after the diagnosis… living life with NO REGRETS, NO SHAME and  trying to TELL THE WORLD of the benefits of a low carb paleo meal plan.

Seeing how my grandmother suffered, seeing how she tortured herself, that is what really angers me.  In 30 years, the harmful dietary advice had not changed.

Why I Hate the ADA

Today, I know the ADA knows it’s meal plan is harmful, but did it know it 30 years ago when it was ‘feeding’ grains and sugar diet advice to my grandmother?

I hate the American Diabetes Association… because they know their meal plan benefits only the Drug companies, Grain Providers and those that profit from the “High Carb” meal plan…. yet they do not change.

NO EXCUSES, if you are a doctor, diabetes educator, nutritionist or dietitian, stop causing needless pain and suffering, stop KILLING PEOPLE.  STOP IT NOW!!!

SO there you have it. two tales of two type 2’s. One successfully managed diabetes, one suffered and died a painful death.

Which one are you?

Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally

If your blood sugars are elevated and you cannot achieve truly normal blood sugars with diet alone…

READ MY BOOK! How to Reduce Blood Sugars.

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7 thoughts on “Tale of Two Type 2’s – WHICH ONE ARE YOU?”

  1. I graduated from nursing school in 1976 and we WERE taught that lower carbs, not fats, led to better glucose control. I know now that this was a bit unusual….but I also looked at one of my old school books recently and they also promoted low carb over low fat! (In fact, looking up heart disease it was noted that there was a theory about fat causing heart disease, but nothing had been proven and this was controversial!).

    I can picture my nutrition teacher standing there telling us that poor people tended to become diabetic at earlier ages because carbs were cheap and they tended to eat more of them than “good” food like meat, eggs, vegetables etc. (Remember too that back then fast food places weren’t as prolific as they are today!)Also, since we ate all our meals at the hospital cafeteria, my class got together to protest the menu, which was very heavy on carbs and light on meat/fat/protein….and ended up getting the cafeteria manager fired!!

    The ironic thing? I went to Framingham Union Hospital School of Nursing in Framingham Massachusetts…..home of the famous Framingham Heart Study! (The father of a good friend was in the study and the docs all taught us in our CCU rotation)

    For my family, even the generation after me is starting to show diabetes (my mom was the only one in her family to NOT be diabetic when she passed). I have a niece and nephew (that I know of) that are both diabetic….my brother and sister too. None of them will listen to me and keep using the ADA diet. My nephew recently had a heart attack….he’s not even 40!

    Please keep up your posts!! We all have to try our best to inform!

    From Steve:
    Sincerest thanks for your comment! Very eye opening indeed! Have you seen the Westman videos? He mentions that low carb and even zero carb has been the diabetes treatment up until 1950’s… apparently even later according to your info.

    There is a set of four, the 3rd focusing on Diabetes…. I am trying to locate the links…apparently someone removed them from youtube. :(

  2. Excellent post Steve!
    So much to say, I’ll try and go in order and please forgive me if I stray too far off topic.
    I understand why you start and delete posts. I’ve composed more letters to editors, managers, my State Representative and Santa Claus than I care to think about and I trash three for every one I send. That is another bad habit I will break. If you have an opinion strong enough to compose a post or write a letter then I’m betting that SOMEONE out there will be grateful for the information or the feedback! I run a small business and I am grateful for every bit of feedback I get. I love to hear the positive comments, but I need to hear the negative comments so I can make IMPROVEMENTS!
    Our Grandmothers followed fairly similar paths. I also remember the insulin bottles in her fridge. However, she was not a ‘good’ diabetic by any stretch. She basically ate what she wanted, including WAY too many carbohydrate laden foods and just ‘covered’ for her food with insulin injections and medication. In her final years she did suffer from severe neuropathy and obesity.
    I have no idea why the experts (and I use that word very loosely) are so firmly entrenched in their decades old strategies for dealing with Diabetes. Hell, I had a CDE tell me that I needed to be eating 75 grams carbohydrates at every meal. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! At my follow up, one month after diagnosis my only question was “What do I need to do to get off the medications?” and the CDE’s response…. Wait for it…. “No one gets off these meds, they will be with you until you have to go on insulin. Diabetes IS progressive you know”.
    *OFF TOPIC WARNING* Do you watch Lost? I got hooked last year. Without going into all the details, John Locke is one of the main characters and one of the recurring lines of his character is “don’t tell me what I can’t do”. When I heard the CDE’s response to my question, all I could think was JOHN LOCKE!
    I know that I MAY not be able to achieve the improvements to my blood glucose levels through lifestyle alone, but how dare she tell me it could not be done! That day I learned that I am the one who is responsible for managing MY diabetes. The Docs and CDE’s provided standard ‘canned’ answers to questions I asked. I take the initiative to actively seek out medical studies, books and blogs about Diabetes then I read and research to determine whether or not I’ve found something I should incorporate into my management plan.
    You know which TYPE I am. Right now I’m part of the fringe minority. Word is spreading, every day more people are deciding to type Diabetes into a search engine. I sincerely hope that all of them find the solution that works for THEM. The primal lifestyle has worked miracles for you and is showing great promise for me. It WILL help other people, just keep posting.
    As far as more positive posts are concerned, well my only suggestion would be for people to put their favorite PRIMAL recipes out there. I can’t think of anything more positive than surprising my wife by having a new, delicious, primal meal prepared for her when she gets home from work.

    Keep Truckin’ Brother!

    From Steve:

    So much to comment on… I will save for a separate post… many thanks for contributing Brian and I do agree with your points. The primal recipes etc… that is something that I need to work on. Thanks. :)

  3. Steve…I know the videos you mean. He was being interviewed by another doctor….and it’s in the other guy’s name! I think he was from UNC, but not sure. I thought I had it bookmarked, but I don’t….will keep looking.

    I saw Dr W for a while and yes, he says there is no need for carbohydrate in the diet at all. While I was seeing him I was diagnosed with RA and he told me that I may have to go to zero carbs to get relief and that he has a patient with RA and asymptomatic on zero carbs.

    When I was in school and working we did allow carbs….but in MUCH smaller quantities and sugar was an absolute no-no. Back then we did the “exchanges” which the ADA has decided is “too complicated” for people to follow….funny, our patients had little of no trouble…..if they wanted to anyway. Back then about 90% of what are now considered routine complications (nephropathy, neuropathy, etc) were only seen in patients that chose to not follow their diet and/or not take their meds!

    From Steve:
    He is working at Duke Univ., I’m a tarheel fan…I remember things like that… :)

    More great info re-confirming thoughts and learnings… -0- carb for T1… if you have to do so. (RA) … is that Rheumatoid Arthritis?… if so…wow! …amazing re: “asymptomatic”…

    …. Nephropathy & Neuropathy comments…. I know you will understand…but that is like…DUH!!!! Yeah!! … thank you so much for your comments… please continue. :))))

  4. yes, RA is Rheumatoid Arthritis….I have a very rare form, Palindromic RA. I was taking antibiotics for treatment but had to stop due to insurance loss. I can definitely can feel the difference when I eat too many carbs! Especially if they are from wheat!

    Glad to see you found your video!

  5. I just got this email from the ADA, to call my representative to ask him to appropriate more money to fund more ADA supported research and education. I figured I would post it here before sending to my junk folder

    Dear Diabetes Advocate,

    Today I am joining more than 200 Diabetes Advocates from across the country in Washington, D.C. to take Capitol Hill by storm – but we need your help!

    We’re meeting face-to-face with our Members of Congress to explain the challenges faced by those living with diabetes and make the case that diabetes research and prevention programs are critical in the fight to prevent and treat diabetes – and to find a cure.

    These meetings are powerful, but to make sure legislators and their staff take these meetings to heart, we need you to be the next person to call your legislators about diabetes research and prevention. We need the phones on Capitol Hill to be ringing off the hook telling Congress that diabetes is an epidemic and the nearly 26 million American children and adults living with diabetes, and the 79 million more with prediabetes, cannot be ignored!

    Call today using our toll-free number – 866-459-1206 – and let your legislators know you support the American Diabetes Association’s request to invest in diabetes research and prevention funding.

    Just follow these easy steps:

    Pick up the phone and dial 866-459-1206.

    When prompted, enter your zip code and press “1” to confirm you’ve entered it correctly. You’ll be connected to one of your elected officials’ offices.

    When a staff person answers, ask to speak to the health aide. Tell the health aide you are a constituent and you strongly urge your Representative/Senator to support the American Diabetes Association’s request to increase 2012 federal funding for diabetes research and prevention programs.

    Most calls will end there, and you’ll be connected to another one of your Members of Congress. But if you want to add more, you can remind them:

    Funding for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation, and the National Diabetes Prevention Program is essential to preventing, treating and eventually curing diabetes.

    Stopping diabetes will save taxpayers millions of dollars that would be spent on treating diabetes complications like blindness, amputations and kidney disease.
    Once you’re off the phone, click here to tell us how your call went!

    The brutal truth is, diabetes isn’t on everyone’s radar right now in Washington. Together we can change that. Call now and join the hundreds of Diabetes Advocates on Capitol Hill telling Congress what they must do to stop diabetes.

    Thanks for joining our Call to Congress and all you do in the fight to stop diabetes.


    John Griffin, Jr.
    Chair of the Board
    American Diabetes Association

    P.S. – Want to know how Call to Congress went and what else you can do to help stop diabetes? Sign up now to get action alerts like these, and become a Diabetes Advocate!

  6. It’s just so sad and disappointing that so many of us have been misled by medical profession. I wish I didn’t have to suffer more than 15 years!! But, now I am on the right path and I can’t wait to see the light at the end of the tunnel when my diabetes is finally stable and normal. I just started, so still with ups/downs of trail and error with this new diet and change of thinking.

  7. Pingback: Take the Low Carb Paleo Leap of Faith

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