My Adventures With Low Carb Eating

For those of you that follow the blog to hear about our German Living adventures, this one is not for you.  This one is more about health, and some major changes we have made to our diet. Of course you are encouraged to read anyway, but there isn’t much about Germany in this one, sorry. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I am a Type II diabetic, and a registered nurse.  Many, if not most of my family members are also diabetic.

I have followed the recommended American Diabetic Association (ADA) guidelines for my diet since I was first diagnosed in my early 30’s.( I am now 49). I have meet with several registered dieticians over the years to make sure that I was on track with a proper diet to prevent my diabetes from worsening. (I have always been assured that my diet is a very good one, and should help manage my illness) Over the past 3 years, I have been increasing my amount of exercise, and at the suggestion of my Endocrinologist, I have dropped my caloric intake significantly.  I was down to eating only 1000 calories a day, while getting in about 2 to 3 HOURS of dog walking in my daily routine!  However, continued to gain weight.

Yet, I was still being told that I was eating too much, and not moving enough. (I feel fairly certain that my doctor did not believe me when I told him how much exercise I was doing, and that I followed the ADA diet very closely.  So frustrating!). I was taking both an oral and injectable medication daily to control my blood sugars, which continued to rise despite my medications, diet and exercise.  4 months ago, my HbA1C rose to 7.5. (HbA1C is a test that measures an average glucose over a 3 month time span.  Less than 5.6 is considered normal, 5.7 to 6.4 is considered Pre-diabetes, and over 6.5 you are diagnosed with diabetes.)  7.5 despite doing everything as instructed by my physician as well as several dieticians.  At that point, my doctor let me know that if at my next check my HbA1C continued to rise, I would be placed on insulin.  I was terrified.

My Endocrine doctor, as well as my family doctor, told me this was normal for people with a strong history of diabetes in their family.  My family doctor told me that my weight gain was a normal part of “getting to be that age”.  It was normal to them that this disease progressed, numbers get worse, weight goes up, and then you die.  No matter what you do.

I disagreed.  It bothered me immensely that the treatment for Type II diabetes involves adding insulin as a medication.  It made no sense to me(Still doesn’t).  I realize that I am not a doctor, but I am a trained nurse, and we did learn pathophysiology in nursing school.   Type II diabetics have high insulin levels, their bodies just do not use the insulin properly and are deemed insulin resistant.  How does adding more insulin help in this case?

The answer to that is that it doesn’t!

So, my journey to eating Low Carb, High/Healthy Fat began.  It started with my confusion about adding insulin. I thought maybe I forgot how diabetes works (nursing school was quite some time ago, after all).  Nope, after a quick study, I found that I still remembered everything.  Then, I began to do some research (It is the one thing that I did enjoy about nursing school, I love to delve in to research and find science backed answers.)  I also did some good ole google searches, and found Dr. Robert Lustig, and Dr Jason Fung.  There are several other doctors out there with lots to say about LCHF as well, but they are by far my favourite.  That’s when things changed for me.

The first thing we did at the McKay Horst and Rackley household was to stop using sugar.  No more sugar in my coffee, and I stopped baking sweet treats.  We also stopped using marmalade/jam, ketchup and other items that are full of sugar. No ready made sauces out of jars.  Taking the sugar away has been the hardest part of changing my eating.  I love to bake, and I am a sugar addict.  I thought that my intake was a “safe” amount based on my previous conversations with dieticians, but I was WRONG.

The next change was to stop eating bread products.  No more delicious brötchen in the morning, I started cooking eggs instead.  This change was also difficult, as I do like to bake, and we live in Germany!  Germany has amazing bread available, and there seems to be a delicious bakery on every corner.  But, as the numbers started to change, I knew we had made the right choice.

Then, we dropped other grains and legumes.  No more rice.  Oh, and we also stopped pasta.

The result?  Dirk, Cheyenne and myself all dropped 20 lbs each in 3 months, and it is still falling off.

Even more importantly, I dropped my HbA1C from 7.5 to 5.8 in 4 months!  The weight keeps coming off, and my blood sugars are much more controlled.  I have been told by my doctors that at my next visit, if my HbA1C is still dropping, then I will be taken off my medications.  Yes, I have manged to reverse my Type II Diabetes with simply lowering my Carb intake to less that 50grams a day.

It’s not for everyone, it is hard at times to avoid Carb filled foods.  But, for my health, this is my very best option.  I do feel so much better!  I also rarely feel hungry, and am able to go significant amounts of time fasting. (So, also managing to lowing my food intake to increase my weight loss…..I am nearly at my goal already!)

If you have been struggling with similar issues, I highly recommend The Obesity Code, and The Diabetes Code, both written by Dr Jason FungDr Robert Lustig has several of his talks about the dangerous effects of sugar available on YouTube(some parts may be a bit difficult to follow for non-medical people, but worth the time to watch). He has also written several books on the subject of sugar, and the damaging health effects of highly processed foods. If you are on Twitter, there are a whole host of people spreading their love for LCHF, just do a quick search and you will be inundated with people to follow (as well as lots of links to science based evidence).

Here’s a look at what we do eat now, and it’s delicious! Pan cooked salmon and spargel with Hollandaise sauce.  Yum!

Salmon & Spargel

How about you?  Have you found a healthy way of eating that works for you and your family?  Tell me about some of your struggles with dealing with health providers, and not getting the information you really need or not feeling like they are hearing you.

 

28 thoughts on “My Adventures With Low Carb Eating

  1. Hi Cherie, I started this way of saying over 12 months ago when my cholesterol and other blood test results were getting out of control. I used a dietician/nutritionist to help me as I too thought my diet was fine. I now eat minimal carbs/sugar and take a low dose of cholesterol medication which together have reduced most of my numbers. I find it harder to do when I’m travelling, we just had 2 months in UK, and good choices are harder to source but at home I’m fine. I’m so pleased to hear your story and your fabulous results. It’s also good to do this as a household so you’re all on the same page. Bread is hard to cut out but it can be done!! Great to read your post and I definitely can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love hearing successes in others! Yes, I find it is harder when we are out and about, but luckily I do cook at home most days.
      It has been a big help that the whole house is following this eating plan, even my oldest daughter in the US is trying to follow it too. I am hopeful that I will be off all my meds in the next 3 months!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations!! I am so happy for you and your family. Cutting back on sugar is so difficult. I once went on a two week sugar fast and went into withdrawal. Felt a lot like a two week flu. I am better off for it though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is amazing! That is quite the dedication. I don’t have diabetes, nor do I struggle with weight, but I often feel there is FAR too high emphasis by dieticians and physicians on weight and BMI. I struggle to maintain a healthy weight the opposite direction. Don’t be quick to think that’s great. It isn’t. It does not matter what I eat. But regardless of weight, I have found that I FEEL better when I eat better. The best change I made about 6 months ago was to eat eggs for breakfast. I don’t every day, but feel so much better when I have that instead of oatmeal or toast. I’m not as dedicated as you, but my goal this year is to increase the amount of plant based meals I eat and decrease sugar intake. (I love meat though so I won’t be going full vegetarian ever) Still miss you at Metro! Keep at it girl! You are doing amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I admire your will power but I was once told, ‘If you know it is bad for you, then why do you keep saying “I will have it as a treat?” You wouldn’t take a bottle of poison and keep it for when you fancy a treat.” I know what he meant, if we stop sugar or crisps because we know they are making us ill, why do we give them things to others as a treat or a gift, keep some in for our kids … It is that mindset we need to change, easier said than done. I will let you know if I ever work it out. Meanwhile keep going you are doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think its a very difficult mindset to change. I was raised believing cakes and breads were special treats, food made with love. My mom and my grandmother never thought of them as bad for you, and certainly didn’t think a little sugar was harmful. Those memories are good ones. and they make it hard to change even when you find that a little sugar really does do harm.

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  5. Yay!!! Good for you and your family! As a health coach I LOVE to see people take control of their health. Dr. Robert Lustig is one of my heroes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband is type 2. He started Keto Jan. 1 and his labs were today. His A1C didn’t change a bit. He was SOOOO bummed. Granted it had only been 22 days but I think he was expecting miracles. He lost 12 lbs! I am struggling big time though. I dislike meat and keto is no beans, sweet pot., etc. I don’t want to eat those things in front of him so I am DYING for good, low cal, keto recipes that aren’t just green veggies. I love them. But….I need more that’s not high fat or meat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am trying to think of the doctor that works mostly with vegetarian keto people, and his name has escaped me. Most of his clients are of an Indian background. When I remember it, I will message you. He has a website and recipes and such. Ugh, hate it when I can’t remember things!!

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    2. Finally remembered his name! Dr Ronesh Sinha. Culturalhealthsolutions.com is his blog and it has several good posts relating to getting good protein with a veggie diet.
      Also, tell your husband to stick with it! A1c is a measurement of 3 months. So it’s not surprising that his numbers haven’t bumped yet, they will!! Good luck to both of you!!

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  7. Congrats on this success! Due to acid reflux issues a few years back, I started taking many things out of my diet to see what works. I no longer or rarely eat dairy, sugar, gluten, meat or seafood. I’ve also cut back on coffee and beer/wine. I eat mainly eggs/tofu/legumes for protein and have found many different ways to eat a variety of vegetables. It works for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my God! That is amazing. I’ve started to limit my carb intake as well and I’m slowly losing weight. I kind of messed up during the holidays and ate unhealthily, but I’m making a new commitment to not eat as many carbs. I haven’t eliminated them all yet because I love pasta and potatoes, but I’m trying to eat less than 100 grams of carbs a day. I’m also exercising more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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