Bumps in the Road

I haven’t done a health update for a while, so I thought I’d let you know how I am doing. I was very discouraged and dismayed to find at the end of May that I had only lost four more pounds. As you know, I am not doing this for weight loss, but weight loss is an expected and desirable side effect of my efforts to fight my diabetes. In May I fasted more, ate less, and started doing some exercise. I expected that all these things would contribute to accelerated weight loss instead of hindering it. So that was very hard to accept.

I tried going off one of my medications but then ended up going back on, which was also discouraging. I traveled for almost two weeks and spent much of the time fasting. It still feels wonderful to be able to go somewhere and not have to take a cooler with my insulin.

Later this month I will be having my birthday, so I have decided to give myself a birthday gift consisting of more deprivation. I know, it doesn’t sound very appealing, but at this point I’m convinced that prolonged fasting may be the only way to reduce my medication further while giving my pancreas a long enough vacation to be really useful.

So, I haven’t had a meal since breakfast yesterday and am planning to continue my fast until my birthday—almost two weeks. I know there are probably going to be a couple of “breaks,” events where it might be awkward if I abstain from eating. I now know that I don’t need Glyburide when I am fasting, so my hope is that I might be able to stay off it when I start eating again.

Despite what others report, I don’t find fasting invigorating and I don’t find the hunger disappears after the first day. I miss food a lot, even though I can no longer eat many things that I truly enjoy. I hate being antisocial and having to leave the room when others are eating, but that is often still my best strategy. And of course, I continue to give myself little pep talks all the time. Here are some things I tell myself:

  • I am saving my life.
  • I am extending my life.
  • I am being kind to my body.
  • I am undoing some of the harm I’ve done to my body over the years.
  • I am saving so much money! (On medications and food.)
  • I am greatly reducing the likelihood that I will suffer from diabetes complications.

And of course, as my clothes get looser and looser, maybe I’ll be able to get some new things and not hate the way I look in them! While on my trip, I saw a dress I liked that was on sale, but it was a size smaller than I normally wear. I bought it anyway, thinking it might inspire me to keep fighting the fight. Today, I couldn’t resist trying it on. I not only got into it, but it was not alarmingly tight and actually fit quite well. So I think I will stop with that one piece of encouraging news!

A Momentary Setback

Everything has been going so well I suppose it was inevitable that I would get ahead of myself. I tried eliminating another medication and it didn’t go as planned. The medication in question is Glyburide, which I just started taking in February, right before I embarked on this adventure with my health.

When I started taking it, I saw no difference in my blood sugar and therefore I believed it was pointless. I honestly thought I could just let my prescription run out and I wouldn’t notice any change.

I was wrong. I went without Glyburide for 8 days, and during that time my fasting blood sugar readings went up by 20-30 points, to a level that was unacceptable to me. Who knew that tiny little pill was actually doing something? So I refilled the prescription and immediately my numbers went down again.

I continue to fast a minimum of 3 days a week. Generally speaking, my fast days are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, plus half of Tuesday. However, sometimes I have to work around other events, so my new technique is to just allow myself 9 meals per week, and I can have them when it works out best with my schedule.

Of course, having said that, this week is different as I am doing a 4-day continuous fast to give my pancreas a longer vacation. I try to do a longer fast like this once a month, but I am thinking of trying even longer stretches in June and July, because I want to give myself the best possible chance to get off the rest of my medication. I might actually try decreasing my Metformin again before tackling Glyburide again.

I have been exercising every weekday with Jasper and am currently doing 25 minutes on an exercise bike. As I expected, it has had no impact at all on my blood sugar numbers.

I am not discouraged-—just determined.

 

My Diabetes Miracle Report #3

So, another month has passed. I continue to refine my pancreas rescue plan, and I think I may finally have a piece of the puzzle that has eluded me for decades. I often spend time researching Type 2 diabetes and looking for tips that might help me continue to treat it naturally. Somewhere in my cyber travels I came across a recommendation for the book The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting. I know. Long title. But it was highly recommended, so I got it for my Kindle and have been reading through it.

I have been aware for years of the fad of “intermittent fasting” and have actually tried various permutations of it, but never with the goal of controlling my blood sugar. I was hoping it would lead to weight loss, which it didn’t. Since starting this journey I have found myself fasting more and more, because I am so focused on resting my pancreas, and because I do have excellent blood sugar readings when I am fasting. This book gave me a piece of information I had missed, which is that the primary predictor of both obesity and Type 2 diabetes is high insulin levels in the body. It further goes on to say that if you are injecting insulin, it is virtually impossible to lose weight because the insulin will keep your body from burning fat for energy. I certainly found that to be true.

So, it seems I am on the right track. The discouraging part is that I will probably have to continue to fast a lot for the rest of my life, in order to keep my blood sugar under control without medication. For the time being I am upping my pancreas vacation days (fasting) from two to three per week, with a longer fast at the end of each month. It is not hard to do if you go on a very low-carb diet first. It’s not so much that I’m hungry but that I miss eating food. The benefits do seem to be worth it though. I have cut my Metformin dose in half as of today and am hoping my results will continue to be good.

Today being the first day of the month, I also got on the scale, and again it was a good thing I didn’t have very high expectations. In my youth I could go on a diet and lose sixty pounds in three months, with a much less draconian regime than the one I am currently following. Right now I would say I am eating less than one third of what I did before I started, yet in three months I have only lost thirty-five pounds. I have decided to be happy with that. After all, in my case the weight loss is simply a side effect of working on my blood sugar, and at this point I’m just thrilled that I haven’t started regaining yet—and I’m beginning to hope that might not happen now that I’m off insulin and fasting regularly.

I’m still working on fitting more exercise into my daily routine. My past injuries make it a little tricky but I am determined to figure out what will work for me. I don’t expect it to have any impact on blood sugar or weight loss, but there are plenty of other benefits that make it worthwhile.

I am also still experimenting with supplements. I won’t post another list this time, but once I feel I’ve pared it down to the supplements that are actually beneficial to me, I will let you know.

Bottom Line: When I started this adventure, I was hoping to follow a low-calorie, low-volume diet for 8 weeks to see if I could cut my insulin dosage in half. I am now three months in and have been off insulin for the last two of those months. I hope by the time I report next month I will be off all my oral diabetes meds also. This is working so much better than I could have dreamed and I have no plans to stop.

Days in the Danger Zone: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I knew that Easter weekend was going to be a challenge, right? It’s hard to keep saving your life on family holidays. For one thing, there’s the candy: jelly beans, peeps, Cadbury eggs, Reese’s eggs, etc. My family loves those seasonal goodies so it’s not as if I could just not buy them, even though I love them too and can’t have them anymore.

But for me, even a Cadbury egg pales in allure compared to my homemade hot cross buns. Our long-cherished family tradition is to have hot cross buns on Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas morning. We all are pretty passionate about them. In recent years, I’ve had to make a gluten free version, but now even that poor substitute is off limits for me.

Times like this are very dangerous for me. The temptation is overwhelming to think, hey, it’s a holiday that only comes once a year. What would be so terrible about sampling a bite or two of this or that? I think we all know the answer to that. For me, a bite or two leads to many more bites–not right away, but eventually. It’s times like these that my zero-tolerance rule about moderation is very hard to stick to, and as a result I tend to be grouchy and out of sorts because I am feeling sorry for myself. To help myself out, I got rid of the last of my insulin so I don’t have that to fall back on. I can’t “cheat” and eat something that will spike my blood sugar, because now I can’t flood my body with artificial insulin to get it back down.

I didn’t want to just sit there and stare at an empty plate though, so I did plan ahead and make my first loaf of paleo bread. Paleo bread has no grain in it. It is made from seeds and nuts and eggs. My kids would say it tastes like pencil shavings and they are not far off the mark. I don’t really think of it as bread. It’s more of a convenient way to convey cheese to my mouth.  Since everyone else was having hot cross buns, I had cheese crossed bread:

4-14-17 cheese crosses

 If you pile enough cream cheese on it, it tastes mostly like cheese. It hardly takes the place of hot cross buns, but it also did not spike my blood sugar, and that is the point. So I focused on being there with my family and enjoying our traditional Good Friday teatime.

Easter was easier in some ways. I had to forego hot cross buns again at breakfast, but at least I made an egg-and-sausage casserole that I could eat. I had to do without ham for dinner (which I love) because it wasn’t done when I had to eat, but of course I will have some leftovers tomorrow. Today is a pancreas vacation day, otherwise known as a fast. In the afternoon, I opened all those bags of Easter candy and divided them into “goodie” bags for my kids and our “adopted” college kids. I didn’t even eat a single black jellybean.

I wish I could say that all this self-denial is getting easier—but it isn’t. Not yet. I am also struggling with a weird form of guilt. When I have to be in the kitchen a lot, preparing food for other people, I find myself feeling very guilty, as if I’ve totally blown my whole pancreas rescue plan and have eaten far more than I should—even when I haven’t actually eaten anything, let alone something that’s off-limits for me. At some point I suppose I will be less afraid of screwing up, because I’ll have more of a track record of success, but for now, I find myself often fearing failure.

My Diabetes Miracle Report #2

Last month I told you how I had managed to go from needing 170 units of insulin a day to no insulin at all in less than a month. (I am still taking my oral meds but hope to eliminate those eventually too.)  My plan is to report on my progress once a month, as I continue to tweak my strategy. My blood sugar numbers are still great. Fasting numbers range from the low 90s to a high of about 105 usually. At no time has my blood sugar tested higher than 112, even after a meal. This is a minor miracle considering that before it often soared to 200 after a big meal and 300 after Chinese food!

I have a made a few adjustments to my daily routine. Instead of having my greens/veggie drink with supper, I now add it to my lunchtime protein drink, thus getting all the nastiness out of the way at one time. In fact, my lunch now consists of the following:

-About 12 ounces of ice water

-1 scoop of unsweetened protein powder

-1 scoop of greens/veggie powder

-1 Tablespoon of liquid organic coconut oil

-1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed

-1 handful of frozen berries (probably about half a cup)

I whiz them all together in the blender and then drink that for lunch. I know the coconut oil and flaxseed add to the calories, but they are important for other reasons. One interesting thing I’ve found is that this drink is so filling I don’t get hungry in the afternoon at all and therefore am not tempted to eat more than I should when I have my early supper.

I have also been experimenting with some supplements. I don’t have definitive results at this point, but here are some things I’ve been trying:

-Apple cider vinegar in capsule form (although the liquid form does seem to be more effective)

-Sage

-Cinnamon

-a pancreas support supplement

-a powerful probiotic

-Alpha-Lipoic acid

-Moringa extract

-Bilberry

Still on my list: Coriander essential oil. Essential oils are expensive, but I’m hoping to get that soon. (Note: I do take some other supplements to deal with my other health issues, but this list is just for my diabetes.) If you have taken a supplement that is not on this list and that really helped control your blood sugar, please tell me what it was!

One thing I am working on is figuring out how to fit regular exercise into my daily routine. Thanks to arthritis and injuries, my two favorite exercises are not a good choice for me right now (swimming and walking) so I will probably have to go to the university gym and use an exercise bike. I have been walking short distances, but longer distances are difficult due to my foot problems.

I will say here that I don’t expect exercise to help lower my blood sugar or help me lose weight. I know it is effective for other people, but it has never worked for me, not even when I was swimming a mile a day or walking three miles a day. There are plenty of other benefits of exercise that make it well worth my while, though, so I am trying to make it a priority.

Speaking of weight loss, I did lose more weight last month. Not a lot—not as much as one would expect given the drastic reduction in food intake—but at least I didn’t gain, which is likely to happen before long no matter how low my calorie intake is. I have to keep reminding myself that this journey is all about controlling my blood sugar.

One thing I’m doing is trying to keep having one or two “fast” days per week. Sometimes I fast for the whole day, and sometimes I might eat just breakfast or just supper and skip the other two meals. I do this for two reasons. First, it does give me good numbers on my blood sugar the following day. Secondly, it obviously reduces my overall calories for the week, which in turn helps keep my blood sugar in control also, and of course it also gives my pancreas a little vacation.

Fasting is pretty easy for me now. My overall food intake is so low that going completely without does not trigger extreme hunger until the third day, and I don’t normally fast that long. Since I no longer eat anything I really enjoy, I never have to worry that I’ll be missing one of my favorite meals. Food’s prominence in my life has all but disappeared. I don’t look forward to meals as a general rule. I try to focus on other things. Sticking to my “zero tolerance” rule concerning all my favorite carbs has been very hard at times, but I know it is the right policy for me because I know only too well what cheating always leads to in my case. Also, to me it would be a huge failure if I were to eat something that would send my blood sugar high enough to make me feel I had to resort to insulin. Right now my syringes are gathering dust and the vial of insulin that I had at the beginning of February is still sitting in the fridge unused and I will probably just toss it.

So, this month I will continue to work on exercise and supplements and I will also experiment with variations on my routine to see if anything helps to counter the “dawn phenomenon.” For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the dawn phenomenon is when your blood sugar rises overnight, despite the fact that you haven’t eaten anything. Your liver spews out glucose in the wee hours of the morning, apparently to ensure that your blood sugar doesn’t get too low. It’s very frustrating for me. My bedtime readings are almost always in the 80s or even the upper 70s, but by morning the numbers have risen by as much as 20 points. I’d love to figure out how to eliminate that problem.

 

Hard Choices

I am going to try to confine my health-related posts to Mondays, so they will be easy to find for those who are interested.

Embarked as I have upon this road toward more health and less diabetes, I freely admit that it often is not easy or fun. I have made choices for myself that cannot be unmade unless I want to be a slave to insulin once again.

Our trip to Indiana was a case in point. On the one hand, traveling without insulin feels tremendously freeing, but on the other hand that means there really is no margin for error. I knew meal stops would be hard. I had made and brought some chicken salad, which we ate for lunch the first two days (the kids had theirs on bread and I had mine on celery). For supper, though, I drank my unpalatable protein drink in the car at the appointed time, and then we eventually stopped at a fast food place so the kids could eat.

The problem was that by then I was hungry again, so my plan to sit and keep the kids company was fraught with danger. It is incredibly hard to sit and watch someone eat a juicy burger and crispy French fries, while the fumes taunt your nostrils and your stomach growls in anguish. No matter how many times I silently told myself “I’m saving my life,” I still wanted more than anything to steal one French fry.

Remember, though, that moderation does not work for me. You might be able to eat a single French fry every now and then, but I cannot. There can be no cheating for me. When you think about it, who would I be cheating? Myself, that’s who. I’d be cheating myself out of my own future.

It reached the point where I had no choice but to flee the temptation. I went back out to the car and took a few deep breaths. By the time the kids were done eating, I had more or less recovered.

One thing I did to reduce stress on that trip was to not test my blood glucose. I was very, very careful with what I ate. I did not eat a single bite of anything I shouldn’t have. However, I was not always able to eat at the exact times I’m used to. I figured if I tested my blood glucose and it was a little high, I would just fret and feel guilty and there’d be nothing I could do about it. I knew it was not going to be dangerously high, because I didn’t eat a single thing that would have caused that, so I decided I was better off not knowing. As soon as I got home I started testing again and everything was fine.

At home it is often easier for me to make my hard choices, but sometimes it means staying away from the dinner table when everyone else is enjoying a meal that I can’t eat. And this weekend it meant not even licking a single drop of batter or icing when I made yummy-smelling chai flavored cake! I just keep giving myself that same pep talk: I’m saving my life. I’m saving my life. It really does help!

The Mendacious Myth of Moderation

I’m going to say something here that I fear some people may disagree with—but others are going to maybe find it helpful. I’m going to talk about “moderation,” and how my feelings about it have changed.

For all my life, I’ve been taught that if you’re a good person, you do everything in moderation, whether it’s eating, exercise, hobbies, etc. Moderation has been held up to me as the gold standard of prudent behavior. The implication has always been, if you can’t do something in moderation, then you are morally deficient.

My mother loved to point out how wonderful her father was at doing things in moderation, especially when it came to eating. He knew exactly how much he could eat and still maintain his svelte shape, and he never overindulged. If we had sandwiches at lunch, he only took one piece of bread—but he would cut it into four pieces and spread a different topping on each tiny square. He was the kind of person who could count out and eat six potato chips—but no more.

I am not that kind of person. I consider myself a smart and mighty person in many ways, but I have not been able to master moderation in some areas. After more than half a century of striving for moderation in those areas, I have recently admitted defeat. Maybe it makes me a bad person. Maybe it means I have glaring personality flaws that are unfixable. But, when it comes to certain things, I have become much more pragmatic. I no longer even have moderation as my goal.

For the purpose of this essay, I am referring primarily to food. The unreachable goal of moderation has done me no good and has caused a great deal of harm over the decades. I have gone sugar-free for years at a time, and every time it has been the seductive dream of moderation that derailed me. People would say, “You don’t have to pig out. You can have just a few bites of dessert.”

So I would have just a bite or two. After a few weeks, I would be indulging in four or five bites. Then a whole serving—but a small one, and only once a week. Then twice a week. Then it would be Halloween or Valentines or Easter and there would be candy. By then moderation would be so far behind me I couldn’t even see it from where I sat on my big pile of sugar.

So part of the journey I’m on right now involves admitting and accepting that for me, moderation does not work and will never work. There can be no “cheating” on sweets or starches because I know my body can’t handle them and I don’t want to go back to needing insulin. Some people can do things in moderation—but I am not one of those people, and I no longer am willing to keep trying. I am so done with that.

In a way, it’s a huge relief. For me, it is easier to just do completely without certain foods than to try and enjoy them in moderation. It takes away massive amounts of stress. No more dithering about whether I should indulge in a few potato chips or a brownie or a baked potato. The decision has been made, and moderation is not an option, now or ever.

I feel like I need to have a big sign on the wall saying “No Moderation.” In case, you know, I forget and start thinking I can do it again. Because I can’t. Not ever. For me, there can be no compromise.

My Diabetes Miracle

For the last month, I have been doing something without telling you about it, and in fact I had no intention of telling you about it, but now I kind of feel like I have to, in case my story can help someone else.

So first, some history. In May of 2015, when I ended up in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, I was informed that I was diabetic. My blood sugar was at 300. After the surgery, I was visited by a diabetes educator who told me that I should limit carbs and starches to about 25% of my diet. I also got started on Metformin and insulin.

Once I got home, I soon discovered that eating 25% carbs was a recipe for disaster. I tried to keep my carb consumption a lot lower than that, but even so, over time I found I had to increase my insulin dosage in order to keep my blood sugar under control. From needing 30 units a day when first diagnosed, my needs steadily increased until by the beginning of this year, I was needing 170 units per day!

Not only did this make me nervous; it was getting very expensive. A vial of insulin which used to last me a month now only lasted a week. Even using the cheap Walmart insulin, that adds up. I don’t have an “insulin budget.” So my insulin had to come out of my already tight grocery budget.

As I reported to you on February 6, I went to the doctor for a check-up and asked her why my insulin needs were continuing to climb, and her answer was, “Because your pancreas is wearing out.” I don’t know how you would react if your doctor told you that your pancreas is wearing out. I reacted with horror—and with determination to do something about it.

I went home realizing that I had to come up with a plan. The doctor had recommended diabetes education. I’m sorry, but I already went through all that stuff, many times, and I was doing what they said to do and that’s what got me to the point of needing 170 units of insulin a day. So I knew I was going to have to find a solution that actually had some sort of beneficial result. I started a document on my computer and titled it My Pancreas Rescue Plan.

When I was researching various sites to come up with my plan, I read an article that was very discouraging. First of all, it made the assumption that diabetes always gets worse and there’s not much you can do about it. It went on to explain that this is why so many diabetics give up. Once they start experiencing complications, they figure their efforts no longer matter, so they might as well eat what they want and just die sooner rather than later. I have known two people who did this and basically ate themselves to death. I refuse to accept that fate for myself.

My thoughts turned to a study my dad had told me about, and that I often see various advertisements about. There are various versions of it, but what they all boil down to is that some people have been able to greatly reduce their insulin dosage by going on a low-calorie diet, sometimes as low as 600 calories per day. In addition, sometimes when they stay on the diet for 6-8 weeks, their diabetes seems to “disappear.”

Now, I have always rejected this approach for two reasons. First, I can’t recall reading of a single case where anyone started off needing more than 50-60 units of insulin per day, so I knew in my case I’d be lucky to even cut my insulin dosage in half, and at the time that didn’t seem like it would be worth it. Why not? Because secondly, my metabolism is so spectacularly screwed up from my many failed attempts to lose weight, that a very low-calorie diet would just inflict more damage and guarantee that nothing ever would enable me to succeed in losing weight.

However, once you realize that your pancreas is actually failing, your priorities change. I would much rather be alive and still fat than dead from diabetes complications, so I decided I was going to start restricting calories in general and carbs in particular. I spent two days coming up with my pancreas rescue plan, and I started it on February 8. My goal was to stay on this regime at least through the end of April in hopes of halving my dependence on insulin, and also, of course, giving my pancreas a break.

One week later, on February 15, I was able to eliminate my morning insulin injection, which had started off at 75 units. My evening dose was down to 25 units. That first week, my need for insulin decreased so suddenly that I had to actually have some carbs in the afternoon to keep my blood sugar from getting too low. (I tested my blood sugar very often to make sure I didn’t get in serious trouble.)

At the end of that first week, when I had reduced my insulin intake from 170 units to 25 units, I began to wonder if it might actually be possible for me to get completely off insulin—a goal which hadn’t even seemed reachable when I started. I had to go out and buy smaller syringes. Over the next couple of weeks, I was able to reduce my evening dose by small increments, until March 2, when I made the jump to zero insulin.

So what did I do? It was surprisingly simple. I’m still kind of stunned that it worked. Normally my body doesn’t obey any of the “rules” that seem to work for other people.

  • For breakfast, I have tea (with cream but no sweetening), one egg, and either a sausage patty or three strips of bacon. I squeeze as much fat out of the meat as possible with paper towels. I was and am willing to replace this meal with a protein shake, but it hasn’t been necessary so far and breakfast happens to be my favorite meal.
  • For lunch, I have a protein shake, made with water and usually with a few berries thrown in. At first I got my protein from Aldi but it made me nervous because of the artificial sweetener, so I switched to a more expensive unsweetened brand. Not sure I can continue to afford that, though.
  • I still have my cup of tea in the afternoon. If I really feel hungry, I might have a cheese stick or ¼ cup of nuts.
  • For supper, I have a piece of meat (eg. a chicken thigh) and some low-carb veggie like cauliflower or zucchini. I also have a veggie drink–you know the kind that is a mix of a bunch of greens, veggies, and fruits—so I can make sure to get more veggies. The drink tastes vile because it is sweetened with stevia, but I can gulp it down in a few swallows and it actually seems to help lower my blood sugar so I don’t skip it.
  • Supper is eaten no later than 5:00 p.m. I hate eating that early, but I have known for a long time that is one of the best things I can do for my blood sugar. This means I never get to eat dinner with my family, but if they’re having something that’s not too tempting to me, I will sit and visit with them while they eat. I usually take my supplements and multivitamin at this time. What if I’m out at suppertime and miss my 5:00 deadline? I just have the veggie drink and feel a little sorry for myself. Missing a meal is not a big deal.
  • Half an hour before lunch and supper, I take a Garcinia Cambogia tablet. I know they are associated with weight loss diets, but I take them because they are supposed to reduce appetite, and I don’t want to feel ravenous all the time.
  • Also half an hour before lunch and supper, and at bedtime, I take 2 Tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar. Lots of people believe this helps lower blood sugar. I tried it before and didn’t feel like it helped at all, but I’m giving it another chance and I definitely feel that the bedtime dose seems to help with my fasting number the next morning. Do I like drinking vinegar three times a day? No. It makes me shudder—but I’ll keep doing it. I will also try ACV capsules and see if they are as effective as drinking it.
  • My rule is no calories in the evening, so if I’m still hungry an hour after supper, I might have a ¼ cup of nuts, but usually I don’t. If I want a hot drink, I have herbal tea since I can drink that with no additives. I thought I’d be starving all evening after eating supper so early, but it hasn’t been that bad at all.
  • If someone wants me to go to lunch with them, I can do it, as long as I get a salad with no high-carb ingredients. A lettuce-based salad with grilled chicken, cheese, eggs, and tomatoes does not raise my blood sugar. And since I normally just have a shake for lunch, I am too full to eat supper after eating lunch out, so I just have my veggie drink and call it good.

If you are not diabetic, you might not realize why this is such a big deal or why it is so revolutionary for me. I’m still in shock that in one month I could go from 170 units of insulin a day to none. I never dreamed of that level of success when I started. The great part is that it has not been as burdensome or difficult as I thought it would be. I can continue to eat this way for the foreseeable future. I am getting enough protein, vitamins, and at least a fair amount of veggies.

If you, like me, are a Type 2 diabetic, I know you are wondering what my “numbers” are like since I no longer use insulin. My fasting blood sugar is usually in the 80s or 90s. A few times it has been between 100 and 115, but only when I was in the process of reducing my insulin by another notch, and I am trying some supplements to see if they will help keep it low. My “after supper” number is always less than 120, and more often in the 90s.

I know what some of you are wondering. You’re thinking I must be losing massive amounts of weight as a side effect of doing this diet. I wish that were the case. I only weigh myself once a month, so I had to wait until March 1 to see how I was doing in that regard. I had lost some weight, but nowhere near as much as I would have expected given the drastic reduction in calories. This is why I avoided this approach to controlling blood sugar for so long. I know for a fact that I can subsist on 800 calories a day and not lose weight. The lower I go in calorie intake, the fewer calories it takes my body to live on and the easier I gain weight if I increase my caloric intake even a little.

So, unlike the people in the studies who “cured” their diabetes after being on a low-calorie diet for a couple of months, I don’t expect to ever be able to eat normally even for a diabetic. I will have to keep doing what I’m doing, with maybe a few tweaks here and there, but starches are never going to be back in the picture and I am unlikely to be able to increase my daily calories by any appreciable amount.

Sure, sometimes I feel deprived—but it sure beats being dead, if you know what I mean. I really feel that I have saved my own life, and it was relatively easy to do. The bonus is that I’m also saving money! Next time I go to the doctor I’ll be interested to see if I can reduce the amount of the other drugs I’m taking. She’s gonna freak out when she hears I’m completely off of insulin.

So yeah, even though I worked hard to achieve this result, it really does feel like a miracle.

Final Note: I know that some of you are thinking I was crazy to attempt such drastic changes without medical supervision. And yes, it would have been preferable to do this under my doctor’s supervision, but that was not financially feasible. Nothing related to my diabetes is covered under our plan, so I had to go it alone. I tested a LOT during the first couple of weeks to make sure my blood sugar didn’t get too low. If you want to try something similar, and you have real insurance, I strongly recommend that you get your doctor to team up with you and supervise your progress.