Tag Archives: Diabetes

2/3 Vegan

In my previous post about Lizard Spit, I give the general history of my diabetes and a look at the latest treatment I am using. Months later, I was finding my blood sugar manageable and under control. Even so, in November my eye was drawn to the book at the left as I perused the aisles of my Whole Foods Market. People in the Vegan world usually recognize Neal Barnard. He’s been on the “pro-vegan” scene for more than twenty years, and he’s written a bunch of books on why eating vegan is healthy.

I bought it out of curiosity and on a whim, buffered a little by hope. Frankly, as much as I am relieved that the Lizard Spit and Metformin combo I’m taken seem to be doing their job, I’d be more than happy to not have to carry the medicine around in a cooled packet or inject myself twice a day. In fact, if I could, by diet and exercise alone, actually maintain decent blood sugars, I would.

While reading Barnard’s Reversing Diabetes, almost everything I had been taught about how to eat with diabetes was turned on its head. I was completely and totally skeptical, even in the face of clinical studies that clearly show patients with reduced Ha1Cs after following a vegan diet. Add to it that he’s someone that Oprah has given a thumbs up to and my skeptometer was beeping wildly.

Teriyaki Tofu on Toast with Goddess Dressing and Arugula...Mmmmmm...

The idea of being vegan is one that I’ve found…distasteful. Literally. I LIKE the flavor of meat. I love ribs. BBQ. Ham. Turkey. Chicken. Give me a burger with bacon and cheese and my mouth is a happy mouth. Eggs? Yes! Ice Cream? Love it. Cheese? Puhllllleeeeease, yes.

Still. He’s done three studies with a statistically significant number of patients. And, the numbers are impressive. Can you hear my longing sigh? The one that says, “I wish I could just ignore all of this and continue to just…the things I like!”

I had to see what would happen if I actually started eating the kind of diet that Dr. Barnard recommends. So I started with going Vegan…sort of. Here’s what I mean by that. I’ve gotten it 2/3 of the way there–my breakfasts and lunches have been vegan since the end of November. I’d say fully a half of my dinners have been as well. The youngest is less than thrilled with this arrangement, but everyone else seems to be okay with it so far. Almost everything I’ve tried has been really, really good.

Oh…and my blood sugars have plummeted. Like. A. Rock.

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Filed under Cooking, Diabetes

Hurray for Lizard Spit!

Gila Monster Venom.  Exenatide.  Byetta.  All the same thing.

For those of you who like specifics:

I won’t pretend I understand the composition to the left here, but it sure looks fancy, doesn’t it?  Exenatide is the name used for the synthetic version of Gila Monster Venom.  A part of me was disappointed to learn that I’m injecting a synthetic form of the stuff and not using actual venom.  Another part of me was relieved there aren’t a bunch of  little creatures being squeezed for their juices on my account–or whatever form of extraction one can imagine.

I’m what’s called a Type II diabetic.  I “went diabetic” when I was pregnant with my youngest child and never went back to normal after he was born.   I spent a long time thinking it would just go away–turns out that realllllllly doesn’t work.

After spending several years struggling with just diet and exercise and one oral medication called Metformin, I wanted something else to help.   I had already dropped a bunch of weight and had plateaued on a rather rigorous exercise and food regimen.   When I was doing everything right–eating six “food events” of 150-300 calories a day, doing one long and two short cardio workouts a day, and taking the metformin–the best I could hope for in my fasting blood sugar was around 150-160.  That’s way too high for me and my doctor, so we agreed it was time to up the medication.

Most people would shy away from using a needle twice a day, but not me.  After my lengthy infertility struggle where I got to inject myself several times a day with two-inch long needles,  the little tiny things they call needles seem like nothing.    When my doctor suggested I try Byetta to help with my blood sugar controls, I jumped at the chance to see if it would work.

After two full months on Byetta, combined with Metformin and all the rest, I’m hitting around 120 in the mornings.  There are times during the day when I’ll test and I’m as low as a normal person.  I’m beginning to feel less shaky when I get there, too.    So, Hurray for Lizard Spit!

Here’s a link to the wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exenatide that can give you more details on exactly how it works.

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Filed under Diabetes