21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: January 2012 Kickstart Forum: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Created on: 01/04/12 12:13 PM Views: 4780 Replies: 21
Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I'm following the plan as posted to the letter. My postprandial blood sugars are much, much higher than before the vegan kickstart. Is this going to get better? I'm convinced this is the best way of eating, but concerned about the spike.

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Hi there. I'm going to re-post a response from our staff Certified Diabetes Educator and Nurse Practitioner to a similar question last Kickstart:

...for a small number of people, the shift to higher carbs/less fat initially causes blood sugars to go up. In my clinical experience, most who stick with it find that over time, the numbers come down. This is probably because dietary fat can accumulate inside muscle cells, and as the fat is removed from the inside of muscle cells over time by eating less fat, blood sugar numbers get better.

However, some people are not just insulin resistant, but also are insulin deficient, meaning that they no longer make much or any insulin. This is what occurs in type 1 diabetes, and also in people who have had type 2 diabetes for many years. Some people will continue to need medication to achieve the desired level of blood glucose control.

Other considerations: Higher readings for a short time are usually not problematic, as it takes months or years of highs to develop problems. Do check in with your health care provider to be sure this is an acceptable approach for your situation. For my patients, I'm thrilled to see them taking healthy steps with outcomes such as weight loss, which suggests that overall, they are on the right track. In this situation, it may not be necessary to get too hung up on the blood glucose numbers for now, which are just one measure of health. An A1c may be a better guide than the numbers on your meter about the overall impact of the diet, and a 3 month trial, between A1c tests, might be worthwhile for you. Furthermore, beneficial changes occur inside blood vessels and with circulation that cannot easily be measured. In addition, higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans provides more nutrients than a low-carb diet, which is not easy to measure or observe (as with a blood glucose meter), but is very worthwhile. The science is clear that those who follow plant-based diets have less cancer and heart disease.

Some people with diabetes are more sensitive to certain carbohydrates. Be sure to choose the least-processed carbohydrates (avoid flours, flaked and puffed cereals, bread, sugar) and go for whole grains such as barley, oat grouts, buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice. While Dr. Barnard's study did not have people limiting carbs, you might want to favor vegetables and legumes, and eat somewhat smaller portions of fruits and grains (the minimally processed ones I've mentioned) , and see if that helps. Focus on getting a fiber intake of 40 grams or more per day. Brenda Davis, RD, has two books that might be helpful: Becoming Vegan and Defeating Diabetes, and if you Google "BrendaDavisRD," you can explore her website. For another perspective, I also highly recommend the article, "How I Treat Diabetes" by John McDougall, MD, under "Hot Topics" at www.drmcdougall.com.

Be sure you are getting vitamin B12, from a multivitamin, and have your Vitamin D level checked, as low levels may interfere with metabolism and low Vitamin D is very common. Exercise may help you to maintain your weight loss and further lower blood glucose levels. Old insulin, poor absorption from over-used injection sites, or timing of blood glucoses tests are other factors to consider. Work with your health care provider to individualize your care from these general recommendations and sort out solutions for higher readings.

Finally, always be prepared to treat low blood sugar by carrying some glucose tablets or hard candies, as it is possible that at some point in the near future, all of your healthy lifestyle changes will result in your medication suddenly becoming too strong.

Caroline Trapp, MSN, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE
Director of Diabetes Education and Care
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:31 PM

cbaber wrote:

I'm following the plan as posted to the letter. My postprandial blood sugars are much, much higher than before the vegan kickstart. Is this going to get better? I'm convinced this is the best way of eating, but concerned about the spike.

Keep an eye on which carbs you are eating - not everyone reacts the same way to all. Some folks have no problem with a bit of potato, others spike; likewise, some are okay with brown rice but not others. I know that good corn tortillas/tortilla chips (organic, vegan, baked, low fat types) are problematic for me but a homemade whole wheat tortilla is not. Go figure. So, you may need to tweak things a bit and sub quinoa for rice or have cold high fiber cereal instead of oatmeal (or vice versa). Even different styles/brands can be different. And, if you're adding dried fruit to oatmeal (for example) you might need to re-evaluate whether you use dried fruit at all, if you're using too much (actually measure out portions with measuring cups/spoons, eyeballs are usually wrong until they get re-trained), and many brands have added sugars. For me, I can have oatmeal or I can have raisins but to put raisins on oatmeal is too much (I use a bit of plant milk, some cinnamon, a bit of dark agave syrup on my oatmeal now, and maybe a crumble of pecans if I know that the rest of my day is pretty fatless).

Too, you might actually be eating MORE food over all as you're adjusting to the different types of food, and that will affect your blood sugar results. New foods can sometimes cause one to eat more than otherwise simply because it's new (kind of like going to a new restaurant or seeing a big varied buffet laid out). Keep an eye on portions - learn what 'full' feels like - most of us need to re-learn that (one tip that helps me is to keep the 'rest' of the food over on the counter or at the stove, rather than on the table, so I have to stop and think about whether to get seconds - often, that minute to stop and think helps me realize that I'm actually comfortably done with the meal).

--Deb R

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Yes, the spike at first is a common experience. As your body adjusts to the increase in carbohydrates it will also adjust to a more fiber-rich and low-fat diet which will bring your numbers down.

Be sure to stay in touch with your Physician as you are going through this process so he/she can adjust your medication if needed.

We also have some more helpful info at pcrm.org/diabetes.

Best,

Jill Eckart
PCRM

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Thanks for the feedback, all. I'm sticking with this for the full 21 days before I make any changes. Spoke with my DC yesterday and he said my body needs time to adjust to the different fuel; he's proud of me. (That always helps.)

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I am a type 1 and though itgoes against everything I was ever taught, I am trying to do the diet though it is high in carbs. After breakfast, I bolused and crashed like a lead balloon, immediately spiked into the 400's and crashed again. I mean the crahses looked like a straight vertical line on the CGM!

I watched Forks Over Knives tonight and they also said a diabetic can eat more carbs on this type of diet. I don't know but those dramatic changes make me worried. I do know I respond dramatically to eating oats so maybe thats part of the problem.

I might also mention that I have a paralyzed stomach. Years ago, the docs told me I could eat nothing but a liquid diet or baby food. For some reason, I stopped eating so much meat and I can eat pretty normally now. I want to go vegan just for my love of animals but giving up dairy is the hardest thing I have ever done. Soy yogurt is horrible but soy milk isn't too too bad. I always made my own but have no clue how to make a non dairy version.

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Friday, January 6, 2012 at 6:13 AM

If you take insulin (type 1) then you will have to adjust your medication accordingly. So definitely speak with your health care professional about how to handle those adjustments if you are not sure.

Because this diet is the same for reversing heart disease and reducing the risk for cancer, it's VERY beneficial to someone with type 1 diabetes. And yes, there is a history of people reducing their insulin intake on a low-fat, plant based diet, even with type 1.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Wanted to share my experience so far. I am a 61 yo black woman diagnosed with diabetes about 6 years ago. My diabetes has been well controlled with Metformin except for the last 10 months or so. My fasting blood glucose first spiked into the mid-300s in early 2011 and Byetta was prescribed which did help lower my numbers. My numbers stayed in the 130-140 range for a while but in the last couple of months have been in the 220-230 range. On the third day of the kickstart, my number dropped dramatically -- almost 100 points to 155! I was so psyched! Talk about motivation -- I was worried I wouldn't be able to stay motivated but these numbers did the trick. My glucose did go back up to the low 200s on day 4 but every day since my fasting blood glucose has been 10 to 20 points lower than the day before. This morning it was 169. This is making me want to eat a vegan diet for the rest of my life!

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 at 4:06 PM

recluse wrote:

I watched Forks Over Knives tonight and they also said a diabetic can eat more carbs on this type of diet. I don't know but those dramatic changes make me worried. I do know I respond dramatically to eating oats so maybe thats part of the problem.

If you know oats are an issue for you, try something else instead - rice, quinoa, millet, etc can all be cooked up similar to oatmeal for a breakfast grain.
I know that if I eat oatmeal, I need to NOT put any dried fruit on it because the combination is too much for me. I usually put a sprinkle of cinnamon and a small crumble of pecans instead (since I rarely eat oatmeal, it's not adding a lot of nuts to what I'm eating overall).


Quote:


Soy yogurt is horrible but soy milk isn't too too bad. I always made my own but have no clue how to make a non dairy version.

Making soy yogurt is pretty much the same as making dairy yogurt - get soy milk, get a container of soy yogurt (with active cultures). Use the soy yogurt as the starter and off you go. There are lots of resources online to get you going with that.

--Deb R

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Mellah124, congrats on your numbers! I would think that that alone would keep you motivated! Let us know if you need advice on books, etc. Keep it up!

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Can't explain it, but the numbers are modifying! One thing I tried was cutting down portion size on the oatmeal, and definitely not making it with apple juice concentrate! Half a cup, even with raisins, does not result in a huge spike and it keeps me satisfied until lunchtime.
Morning numbers are great, too. I guess my body knows what it's doing when fed the proper fuel.

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:14 AM

cbaber wrote:

Can't explain it, but the numbers are modifying! One thing I tried was cutting down portion size on the oatmeal, and definitely not making it with apple juice concentrate! Half a cup, even with raisins, does not result in a huge spike and it keeps me satisfied until lunchtime.
Morning numbers are great, too. I guess my body knows what it's doing when fed the proper fuel.

That's it exactly! The kickstart is a guideline, ideas for how to change from the typical way of eating to a low fat, vegan, type plan. BUT for each person there likely need to be little twists and tweaks - whether it's reducing this portion or eliminating that food or whatever. The DIY meals are a great time to see what you can put together from what you've been learning too.

--Deb R

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Blood sugars are normalizing. Nothing over 160 postprandial all week. Morning readings in the 80s. I'm so happy! Razz What an incentive to continue this way of eating forever.

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Thanks for letting us know how it is going. I'm so happy to hear it's coming together for you!

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 11:41 PM

cbaber wrote:

Blood sugars are normalizing. Nothing over 160 postprandial all week. Morning readings in the 80s. I'm so happy! Razz What an incentive to continue this way of eating forever.
woo hoo good for you! a couple of questions: what is postprandial and what meds are you currently taking? Your numbers sound great and it's motivating for me as well!

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Mellah, postprandial is the reading approximately 2 hours after the first bite of a meal. It's when blood sugar is pretty much at its peak. I'm taking plain old metformin, 500 mg, one in the morning and two at night.

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM

I am pre-diabetic, no meds required, but my physician recommended lifestyle changes. I am optimistic that following a vegan diet will keep the diabetes at bay and put me on the path to a more healthy lifestyle.

--Sandy

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 7:19 PM

I am optimistic too!

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM

cbaber wrote:

Mellah, postprandial is the reading approximately 2 hours after the first bite of a meal. It's when blood sugar is pretty much at its peak. I'm taking plain old metformin, 500 mg, one in the morning and two at night.

Post-prandial question: I thought it was 2 hrs after finishing, since a meal can take an hour sometimes, to finish. Can someone clarify this for me as to the correct official way to handle this? For some things (like having a bowl of cereal), it's not a big deal since it only take 5 or 10 minutes from start to finish. But, something like a restaurant meal or a holiday dinner can take an hour from start to finish.

--Deb R

RE: Anyone with diabetes out there?
Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM

The official definition from the American Diabetes Association is as follows:

postprandial blood glucose - the blood glucose level taken 1 to 2 hours after eating

So two hours is apparently approximate. Which I think means you can use your own judgement within that window. Was it a quick bowl of cereal or a long social feast?

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education


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