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How I Reversed my Type 2 Diabetes and Why No Diet is One Size Fits All

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I have spent the last 10 months studying the role nutrition plays in healing ill health. In March of 2016, I was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome due to an abnormally high fasting blood sugar, which was in the diabetic range, high total cholesterol, tryiglycerides and LDLs with a borderline high blood pressure.

This came as complete shock to me. I was leading what I thought to be a very healthy lifestyle. My diet consisted of a 95% plant-based diet comprising of a variety of fruits and vegetables, beans, healthy grains (e.g., brown rice, quinoa, couscous and sprouted grains). The other 5% came from an occasion egg, fish, and chicken. I grew a lot of my own veggies, including potent sprouts and micro-greens. My weight was on the high-end of a normal BMI and I exercised daily while also practicing yoga and meditation to manage daily stressors.

I chose my doctor because he was a big proponent of a plant-based diet and when we met after my very concerning lab results, he said, “You need to lower your fat intake. No avocados, nuts or oils.” Though I wondered how I was going to absorb my fat-soluble vitamins, I cut out fats. The next lipid panel (i.e., measure of fat and cholesterol) was worse and my blood sugars too. I was aghast when he said the only thing left to do was to put me on Metformin.

That’s when I hit the nutritional research. I discovered that many people were reversing their metabolic syndrome with a ketogenic diet. What??? High fat and low carbohydrates lowers the amount of circulating fat and cholesterol in the blood? I was flabbergasted but intrigued. I read research articles, listened to experts and personal accounts of diabetes and heart disease being reversed by cutting out sugar, and all other simple carbohydrates while ingesting a lot of good fats, moderate protein, and low glycemic fruits and vegetables. I decided to put my skepticism aside and give it a try. ANYTHING was better than starting on the slippery slope of medication management in my opinion.

After 3 days of cutting out all wheat products, beans, sugar, potatoes, rice and other grains, my fasting blood sugar was normal. Starting my day with coconut oil and cocoa butter laden decaf coffee was a bit strange, and adding organic cheese and heavy cream to my diet bordered on frightening, but my energy soared and weight melted off. I lost 23 pounds in 2 months!! My skin looked like it was “youthing” and I was sleeping like a baby. And though I knew by the way I was feeling that becoming a lean, mean fat burning machine was doing my body good, I was still amazed at the results of my next labs: H-A1C was 5.3 (anything under 6 is considered non-diabetic) which was down from 7.2. My Triglycerides dropped by over 50% to a very healthy 81 and my HDL rose from 54 to 68! The triglyceride/HDL ratio is the best predictor of coronary artery disease. Anything lower than 2 is considered very low risk and mine was a 1.3!!

Do you know what my doctor said? “You are an anomaly.” I will continue to tell my patients that a plant-based diet is the healthiest diet there is.

But before I started shouting from the rooftops that a Ketogenic diet was the answer to all that ails us, I embarked on more research. Were there people who might not be able to tolerate a high fat, low carb diet? What about those who were thriving on a Vegan diet? Were the Paleo or Mediterranean diets the answer for others?

What I ascertained from all my research, is that no one diet fits all: Far from it! For instance, if you have a gallbladder disorder, or no longer have a gallbladder, you may not tolerate a ketogenic diet. If you have sensitivity to oxcylates, you may experience increase joint pain or kidney stones eating leafy green vegetables, beets, okra, leeks and other veggies often consumed in a vegan diet. If you are histamine sensitive, fermented foods would not be your best option.

However, I did find a common denominator with all the diets that are touting health benefits. They are all based on real food (things that don’t come from a box and laden with chemicals).

On the other hand, the one diet all the experts say to avoid is the high fat/high processed carbohydrate diet – think donuts and Big Macs. This is known as the Standard American Diet (SAD). Processed foods contain a lot of chemicals and toxic fats that are at the root of most health issues including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The moral of the story being, know thy body. Listen to what your body is asking for and disagreeing with and adjust accordingly. Feel how it is responding and adjust some more if needed. You may choose to seek out the counsel of a bioindividual nutritionist or a functional medicine doctor to assist you in discovering the right food choices for you based on more in depth testing than what is normally provided by traditional medical doctors.

Here’s to food being thy medicine and bon appetite!

  1. Janice M Masters
    Janice M Masters01-11-2017

    I really appreciate this article and your perspective, You and I have discussed this and I found that a ketogenic diet gave me a rash LOL and raised my fasting blood glucose levels.Like you, I also was diagnosed as Pre-Diabetic, although with healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels (good genes for this) and my doctor wanted me to take Metformin also. I told her that I would manage it with lifestyle changes.

    I am on a WFPB/NO diet. Whole Food, Plant Based/NoAdded Oil. My fasting blood glucose levels are under 90, working toward gettting them under 80, A1C has gone from 6.2 to 5.7 and my weight is slowly dropping.

    So important to share experience and information without dogma. Tuning into what I call my “Body Guru” is what changes the game for me. Information overload is stifling the messages from our bodies for a lot of people, I know because it did for me too. Your approach, dear friend of research and experimentation,leading to desired results is so valuable as well as you encouragement for people to know their bodies and choose accordingly.

    Thank you…and Love!!
    Janice Masters

    • admin
      admin01-11-2017

      Ha! Thanks for making my point, Janice. Low fat sent me into metabolic distress and oil gives you a rash. I am thrilled you turned to your Body Guru (love that) which led you to what to eat so your sugars could get back into balance. I deeply honor your path and you know how much I adore you!!

  2. Lois Ziolkowski
    Lois Ziolkowski01-11-2017

    Hi Forrest,

    Your story is amazing..I’m experimenting with different healhy eating plans also..So since I’ve read

    your article..I have more hope!

    • admin
      admin01-11-2017

      Don’t give up, Lois!!

  3. Christy
    Christy01-11-2017

    Forrest, thank you for this! I went full ketogenic in September at the advice of my doctor to help with depression and anxiety and insulin resistance. Like you, I dropped over 20 lbs in 2 months – and this was after years of trying calorie restriction and exercise to no avail. Now, I feel so amazing that even when I want a piece of cake, I can turn it down just knowing that it will take away the positive vibe I feel when I’m off carbs. It’s no surprise the effect it has on the brain when you consider that ketogenic diets have been used for a really long time to control seizures in epileptic children.

    • admin
      admin01-11-2017

      Thank you so much for sharing your success! I am thrilled you were able to find a diet that stimulated serotonin and balance your blood sugars. I believe in personal responsibility when it comes to health, and you are a prime example of making the needed changes and I trust you will be an inspiration to others. I appreciate you!!

  4. TRB
    TRB01-11-2017

    So your regular daily foot consumption is now very close to the Mediterranean |Diet then?

    • admin
      admin01-12-2017

      Basically, 70% of my consumed calories come from healthy fats, 20% from clean protein, and 10% from complex carbohydrates. This puts me into fat burning mode. If this corresponds to the Mediterranean Diet, then yes. Thanks for the question!

  5. TRB
    TRB01-11-2017

    ….hahaha,

    You’ll will have realised by now that ‘foot’ should have read as ‘food’…….I’m a hopeless typist at the best of times, but this is dead funny!

    • admin
      admin01-12-2017

      LOL! Thanks Trevor for your brilliant editorial comment. I had NOT caught it yet. Would you like to be my proofreader? 😀

      • admin
        admin01-12-2017

        Hmmm…couldn’t seem to find that particular typo. Can you point out which paragraph?

  6. Ted Schredd
    Ted Schredd01-12-2017

    Excellent! Nice perspective and a well written article… cheers!

    • admin
      admin01-12-2017

      I’m happy you enjoyed it Ted! And thanks for the positive feedback. Cheers right back to you. 😀

  7. Christine
    Christine01-14-2017

    Great information and congrats on your new healthy lifestyle!!

    I wish more people would realize that their doctors cannot possibly know what is right for everyone, that your health not a “one size fits all” deal and you absolutely have to know your own body and do research on your own. I know so many people on that slippery slope you mention, my best friend is one of those people. She has a multitude of ailments that I believe are all gluten and/or thyroid related but she would rather take whatever pill or injection one of her doctors tells her to try instead of insisting on a complete thyroid work-up and gluten intolerance testing. She’s a very intelligent woman except in this one area so it baffles and frustrates me to no end that she thinks anything other that what her doctor says (and what I say) is nonsense… Meanwhile, I see her health declining while she goes from one doctors office to the next. But… what’s the saying? You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

    My mother was on that slope, she was a chain smoker who took whatever drug her doctors told her to take. She had a TV tray next to her sofa that was completely covered with prescriptions bottles, lined up like little soldiers…a pill for this, a pill for that, a pill to counteract the side effects of another pill, etc. it was insane! She was sickly for years until she passed away at age 83. My dad was the opposite, he always told me to stay away from doctors and hospitals ” they’ll kill you!” An exaggeration of course but he WAS healthy until he went to the hospital for something minor and contracted an infection that killed him at 99 years of age. Hence my attitude!!!!

    Christine.

    • admin
      admin01-15-2017

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Christine. I can so relate to your experience of having friends and family who give their “health” over to their doctors. Like your father, I have often said, “Stay away from doctors and hospitals because they’ll kill you.” I saw it first hand as a nurse while working in a hospital setting. Thankfully, I had the sense to change my profession because I felt I was doing more harm than good. Blessings of good health to you!

  8. Brenda Ball
    Brenda Ball01-16-2017

    Wow, that’s phenomenal! I’ve heard of this before and remember when I was following that diet I felt great and my labs were normal and lost weight. I couldn’t sustain it as I have a sugar/carb addiction. Now that I’m having health issues and great difficulty sleeping, it’s time to start this up again. I do remember when I stayed on that type of eating, the sugar/carb cravings mostly subsided and a nutritionist was a big help. It would be great to have a support group to help many of us that are challenged with this to make positive changes and sustain them rather than yo yoing like I’ve done for years. I need to change my grocery list. I’m so glad to hear of your amazing positive changes.

    • admin
      admin01-16-2017

      Hi Brenda! Thanks for chiming in. I know you are not alone. I craved sweets, mostly chocolate, for 2 weeks but it did finally subside. I knew I was over the hump when I went to Olive Garden for my granddaughter’s birthday dinner and I could pass on the pasta and breadsticks. A support group is a great idea!! I would certainly be open to facilitating if enough interest was generated. I will try to find you some resources for you, and let me know if there’s any other way I can help. All my best, Forrest.

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