When my test results came back positive for gestational diabetes, I was beyond shocked. How could a fit, healthy, and thin woman have gestational diabetes?
I followed the endocrinologist's diet advice and was starving (and grumpy) for over a month. Finally, my gynaecologist told my endocrinologist, “Enough. This woman needs to eat or else she will endanger the baby.”
It was then that I started injecting myself with insulin every night. I NEVER thought this could be me. I was a former personal trainer and wellness coach. This doesn’t happen to people like me.
But it did.
Fast-forward 3 years and I found myself in shock once again. My regular check-up revealed that my blood sugars were up again. Not just my fasting glucose, either, but my HBA1C. I was officially pre-diabetic.
That is when I knew that this wasn’t temporary and that I would need to make some serious lifestyle changes so as not to become fully diabetic.
One of the resources I turned to was the book “The Diabetes Code” byDr. Jason Fung.
Not only did the book explain the science and difference between Type 1and Type 2 diabetes but shares exactly how to dietarily reverse Type 2diabetes. No insulin. No medicine. Just you and your food choices.
Let’s start with getting clarity on the difference between Type 1 andType 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes results from a LACK of insulin in the body, and usually starts early in life (that’s why it was previously referred to as early-onset diabetes.) Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the result of TOO MUCH insulin and a resulting insulin-resistance. The body doesn’t know how to handle the over-abundance. (Which is why giving insulin as a treatment for type-2 diabetes is a bit counter-productive).
Secondly, let’s talk about calories. Many of us were taught that all calories are equal. If you eat 2000 calories a day, and burn 2000 calories aday, you create the balance needed to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, it’s not true. All calories are NOT created equally, so simply trying to reduce calories to reduce fat and diabetes doesn’t work—it just leaves you feeling like I did—grumpy.
So, what do you eat instead?
Dr. Fung suggests that you reduce/eliminate all fructose and refined carbohydrates. Unfortunately, that means some of our favourites - pasta, bread, rice, etc. It also means checking the labels for some of those sneaky sugar-ingredients with names that end in - ose.
Of course, you will need to replace those carb-calories with something else and that is where healthy fats come into place. Nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados. One of my favourite replacement is Hemp Seeds. I buy it by the kilogram and use it as a substitute for pasta, quinoa, couscous, etc. It also has about 3 times the protein as quinoa, and as a vegetarian that is important to me.
Dr. Fung is also a proponent of Intermittent Fasting. When you fast intermittently, you abstain from all foods for a set period of time. There are several different types of intermittent fasting, but one of the most popular is the 16-8 fasting method, where you abstain from food for 16 hours and then give yourself an 8-hour window to eat.
If you do decide to take this approach, it’s always a good idea to check with a medical or health professional.
Today, I can happily report that through the advice of Dr. Fung I now have totally normal blood sugar levels, even with a daily bite (or 2) of (dark)chocolate.
I have found a good rhythm with my intermittent fasting and my modified Keto diet, which allows me to indulge from time to time, while also enjoying my own homemade nut-based breads.
If I can do it, you can too!