Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The lament of the diabetic would-be vegan

I've been tweaking my diet a bit recently. I'd been having pretty strong cravings and unstable blood sugar. I did a lot of thinking and realized that in the past the only type of diet to successfully keep these things at bay has been a lower-carb, higher-protein diet.

For the past 3 or 4 weeks, I've been restricting carby foods to lunch only. I've been eating some eggs, cheese, and fish--more than I have in a while, but not huge nasty quantities. I try to make the carbs I eat at lunch have some redeeming value (whole grains, sweet potatoes, etc.).

The difference in the way I feel has really been striking. I no longer walk in the door after work ready to eat anything in sight. I don't have to have a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack. I feel more alert and have more energy. After I eat carbs, I feel markedly sluggish and I can feel my heart rate increase. (This happens even if they're healthy carbs, but is most pronounced when I have sugar.)

My grandmother is diabetic and I've always thought I am borderline. I don't know yet how much I can cut down on my intake of animal foods without getting the blood sugar swings I know so well. I feel best after a meal with fish or eggs as the main course. I have been eating a lot of vegan, vegetable-based meals, though, and I try not to have two animal-based meals in a row.

Being a semi-diabetic vegan seems pretty daunting. Especially when I come across sample diabetic vegan menus like this one, with pretzels, white rice, and sugar substitutes. Bleck! I hope I can find more non-animal meals that satisfy me and aren't heavily processed. So far I like beans, tofu, stir-fries and salads, avocadoes, and--anyone have other suggestions?

(Pushups completed: 190)


Selina said...

Hi, I have Morbus Crohn, and my body and immune system is damaged due to this disease, I have partial diabetes, allergies, permanent problems with Candida ...

So far only the complete vegan (and mostly raw) diet could keep me going on and it actually stopped the permanent fatigue. I tried the fish error and the egg error (actually the eggs were the worst, later I found out that the protein from eggs may trigger worsening of the symptoms for most of such diseases)... More evil than the eggs is probably only dairy, but I think you know that with diabetes you body does not produce the enzyme lactase necessary for dairy digestion...

If I would be you, I would try to eat mostly raw vegan and not adapting things, which can only worsen your health (even if they may make you think you feel better, because of old cravings and familiar taste). The worst for diabetes are any kind of cakes and chocolates and lemonade and also white breads and stuff like that!

There is a lot of scientifically backed info online on cure for diabetes with vegan raw food! There are others like me and you who already did it! Take a look at http://30daysraw.com/ !

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh gosh, I am praying for you that you don't have Diabetes!

Sarah C. said...

Look at the vegan food blogs - they're COVERED in exciting vegan meal ideas and recipes that have nothing to do with that nasty meal you described. I am convinced that a straight-up vegan diet (that is, filled with vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and fruits) IS the solution to pre-diabetes. The scientific study that linked a healthy vegan diet with reversal of pre-diabetic symptoms is the VERY THING that prompted me to go from vegetarian to vegan. THERE IS NO WAY that a vegan diet should be icky, boring, or processed AT ALL!! Seriously, just check out some of other vegan blogs and cookbooks (like those from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, theppk.com - no, I'm not her - she doesn't use any processed foods or meat subs to make great healthy vegan food). Good luck!

Theresa said...

Have you checked out the book 'Reversing Diabetes' (I think that's the title) by Neal Barnard? I sent a copy to my grandmother, who has diabetes, and she said it was really helpful, though I haven't actually seen any of the recipes or advice.

I think it's geared at older people who *have* diabetes, but it's based on whole foods (which are cheap, for oldies on a pension).

ZuckerBaby said...

I'm insulin resistant (pre-diabetic), and am now on a low GI diet in addition to being vegan. Increasing the legumes, pulses and some wholegrains, whilst reducing refined sugars and grains in my diet has been really helpful for sustaining a feeling of fullness and reducing that horrible shaky, sick, blurry feeling.

Regular consumption of complex carbohydrates and lots of leafy green vegetables, and at least 2 pieces of fruit a day, as well as a protein rich diet (which can be easily gained from soy, seitan, and legumes) has really helped me. My doctor was very happy that I was vegan, because it's the most easily adapted to a low GI diet.

It sounds like you are finding your way, but if you want some more ideas for vegan food that would help you with the borderline diabetes, check out any of the great low GI vegan cookbooks. Another good resource is www.glycemicindex.com

Good luck!