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Saturday 15 September 2012
My experience with a low carbohydrate diet by Alison
My name is Alison and I am a grateful T2 diabetic. I was diagnosed just over 3 years ago. For some 5 years prior to the diagnosis I had neuropathy happening in one foot then slowly the other became numb. When I had my first HbA1c test done it was 5.9 so when I saw an endocrinologist he felt that other factors were in play but said that an average does not tell the whole story and ran more tests. Other than a deficiency of Vitamin D3 there were no remarkable results. The endo read the riot act to me and told me I had weight and cms to lose and to get my morning fasting figures down from 6.2-3 to under 6.0 added Metformin to my reflux, statins and BP meds. As I left his rooms he said I should not eat carbs.
I was annoyed at the whole scene, diabetes, medications and a doctor giving me instructions as if was incapable of making valued and informed decisions. How could a person survive without carbs? He obviously did not know a great deal about nutrition, I thought. A couple of weeks later I found a book on 'Reversing T2 diabetes" and though I knew this was not possible I bought it and found that Sandra Cabot's recipes had very few carbs. Immediately I started to lose weight and when I returned to the endo for a follow up visit 3 weeks later I had already lost 3 kgs and my blood glucose readings were improving. The endo told me to keep on doing whatever I was doing and come back in 6 months.
I soon discontinued the reflux medication I had been taking for about 10 years as I cut the carbs, found the Atkins book on Diabetes and the weight continued to fall away. I was now reading extensively on the net about low carbing, viewing forums and absorbing all the information I could. Then I came across Bernstein and ordered his book and was now getting fasting BGs of 4.2 and my blood pressure was well under what my target should be. I discontinued my medication slowly including the statins though at a routine diabetes check with my GP she thought the endo would not be happy with me stopping meds without his permission. By eating the Bernstein way I was find new, tasty recipes and I had reluctantly stopped eating all fruit, except berries.
At my follow up appointment with the endo I had lost around 10 kgs with 5 more to get to his target and had a few more centimetres to lose from my waist and my A1c was now 5.0. He was OK with me stopping the meds with the exception of the statin as he said that my cholesterol had gone up slightly and shook my confidence somewhat so I purchased the statins. Knowledgeable posters on low carb forums put research my way and some of these studies indicated that total cholesterol figures might get slightly worse when embarking on a low carb eating plan before improving. Within a few weeks I stopped the statins taking courage that what I researched would prove to be correct and it did!
My last A1c was 5.3 and I have now returned three consecutive readings in the non-diabetic range while I remain medication free. Total cholesterol is now is 4.97 with chol/HDL ratio at 2.5 all achieved by the low carb lifestyle. I supplement with D3 daily as do all my family now and my last result was excellent. I am passionate about the food I eat and have five large raised bed, no dig gardens in my back garden with every imaginable green vegetable, herb and berry growing in them as we in Australia experience the hottest summer in 150 years tempered with floods and cyclones up north which will cause the prices of produce to increase dramatically.
My BG meter only gets used every so often when I try a food that is an unknown but I always do a fasting reading to keep a close watch on how my pancreas is coping. Over 12 months I lost 20 kgs and settled into a weight loss of 18 kgs which was 3 kgs more than the endo suggested but I was calling the shots now with my health and he acknowledged that I knew what had caused my diabetes and also now had the knowledge and the commitment to attain non-diabetic figures. So I realise that I am grateful that I got the wake-up call that is a diagnosis of diabetes. Fortunate am I that I was diagnosed in time to give my pancreas a rest on medication and at the age of 59 years I look forwards to creating a vegetable garden that Eden would be envious of and to be able to help others find better health through low carbing.