Happy Herbivore Blog

January 18, 2012

Herbie of the Week: Candy

Hi Herbies! Last week we met Teresa, who after years of trying found a plant based diet she was happy with. This week we met Candy, who after being diagnosed with diabetes was able to control it through diet, and lose weight!

HH: How'd you find your way to a plant-based diet?

I began a journey back in March (2011) after being diagnosed with diabetes. My A1c test was a scary 8.5. 

HH: Do you know what caused the diabetes? Were you surprised?

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have been on Prednisone (a steroid) for many years. One of the side effects is that it can create an insulin resistant response and cause blood glucose to rise to diabetes levels. 

When my Rheymatologist gave me the diagnosis (March 2011), I was not totally surprised, but it still stunned me. 

HH: What was your initial reaction, once the shock wore off?

A switch flipped in my head with the knowledge that I had to make a change and I knew I had to change what I ate. While I was once quite the cook and baker, I had all but stopped cooking for myself---lots of processed foods, fast food, real butter, lots of eggs, milk and cheese! 

HH: How did you hear about the plant-based diet and it's ability to "cure" diabetes? 

When I first began reading about diabetes the traditional treatment approach: strict carb counting and exchanges, I thought, "Oh, I'm doomed!" because I have never been successful at that type of restrictive structure. 

Then I saw Dr. Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes on our local PBS station and ordered his book. Dr. Barnard advocates a low fat, low glycemic vegan diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains AND NO COUNTING! It sounded like something I could do, so I committed myself and immediately began following Dr. Barnard's plan. 

HH: So going plant-based was quite a 180 for you! How soon did you see changes, if any?

When I changed my diet (March 6, 2011), I also began testing once a day. There was steady improvement and by April 1st I had a meter reading near normal. Because I had been able to manage my diabetes, my doctor didn't put me on diabetes medication as planned. 

By June my A1c test was in the "controlled" range of 6.8 -- still diabetes, but controlled, and then by November, my A1c test was in the "normal" range of 5.9 -- NORMAL! NOT diabetic level! and that was without diabetes medication and still taking a small dose of Prednisone (the culprit).

HH: Amazing! Have you experienced any other benefits?

I feel SO much better. I had been feeling such fatigue and "brain fog" that I could barely function. Now the "fog" has cleared, I have energy, am sleeping better and even my arthritis has improved. 

Also, I have and am continuing to lose weight (30 lbs and counting). I have a completely different perspective about food now. My new motto toward unhealthy food is, "It's not worth it." 

I receive comments all the time about how great my skin looks, how they can see the light in my eyes and life in my face. I have others tell me they are inspired by my success. I find that is the greatest compliment.

HH: How has happy herbivore played a part in your journey?

I came across Happy Herbivore when I was Internet searching to learn more about Dr. Barnard's program. I was pleased to see that Lindsay's approach was right-in-line with the program, and that she made foods I was familiar with. I tried the black bean burgers first and they now make a frequent appearance. I purchased both her first cookbook, HHC, and then EHH; I have the kindle versions so I would have them with me always. They are my "go to" books that I use everyday. 

HH: Any additional comments? 

I enjoy the "Herbie" community Lindsay has created on happyherbivore.com and Facebook. I have been inspired by her creative approach to her recipes and am enjoying cooking again. Lindsay has also inspired me to eat more greens which I now love!

I also like the way Lindsay shares with her "Herbies" and that she keeps in such close communications with all of us. I don't know how she does it--but am happy she does. 

Lastly, I am so grateful to have found this way of eating, to be learning along with many other people how to improve our health and lives, and to be able to share it with others. I'm not only a "Happy Herbie" but a passionate one!

We are all so proud of you Candy! Congrats on all the positive health achievements -- you are an inspiration to us all!

UPDATE: Below is a message from Candy that we received after the post 

Thank you fellow Herbies for taking the time to read and comment on my story. Your support and encouragement are very much appreciated. I have a long way to go in weight loss but with the knowledge and experience I now have I know I will get there. I love this plant-based way of eating and the way it makes be feel. I will never go back. 4Ever Herbie!

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