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.
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
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?
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