A cure for type 1 (T1) diabetes isn’t here yet. There is, however, a solution. It’s taken me a while to figure it out because the current nutritional advice for diabetics recommends a diet high in whole grain carbohydrates and low in saturated fat. I’ve tried this approach over and over and could not stabilize my blood glucose (BG) levels in the normal range (70 – 100 mg/dL). I realize this range would terrify my endocrinologist, but check your non-diabetic friends’ BG levels if they let you. Unless they just drank a 32 oz. big gulp, their BG levels will be in this range.
The information on this blog comes from my own anecdotal experience and from research I’ve done in human nutrition. Though my BG levels are far from perfect, my A1C is 5.1, my energy levels are fantastic, and my BG levels don’t rise and fall like a roller coaster.
The solution is to eat real food. By avoiding processed, packaged foods, the T1 will avoid the sugar, sodium, and processed fats that cause inflammation to the body and subsequent BG swings. The food I eat and recommend is not strictly low or high carb, low or high fat, or low or high protein. It is, most importantly, REAL food from the cleanest, most unprocessed source possible. As a T1 myself, the paleo template works best. This template is a good starting point due to all the information out there already. From the paleo platform, people can experiment with other real foods and see how their bodies respond.
Diabetes is a struggle to live with. But armed with some useful information about diet and exercise and how they relate to your BG levels, you can learn to truly thrive with this disease. I have learned that competitive swimming and running are well within my limits. I want people with T1 to find and test their own limits by looking outside the current recommendations on diet and exercise. I haven’t heard a lot of voices out there telling people that saturated fats from healthy grass fed animals is good for you. I haven’t heard many nutritionists, dietitians or doctors tell people that cereal grains for breakfast might be disastrous for many diabetics. I want to be one of those voices.
In addition to being a voice for real food, I’d also like to offer actionable tools and tricks I’ve discovered that may be useful to other diabetics. For this reason, I will share some actual meal choices, my experience with certain medications, and activities I participate in along with their effect on blood sugar levels.
There are some amazing blogs out there that provide delicious and healthy recipes. There are blogs that are really on top of emerging science and medications. I will post links to some of my favorite blogs, but this is not the place for these issues.
I feel a great deal of passion for this because T1’s don’t have to live with crazy BG levels and the devastating long term consequences. This disease can be controlled. Until there’s a cure, there’s a solution.