Herbie of the Week: Kal (He's Managing His T1 Diabetes with a Plant-Based Diet!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Kal!

After his daughter started following a plant-based diet, Kal was convinced the same diet would help him -- and he was right!

Since going plant-based, he has been able to manage his T1 diabetes (which he was diagnosed with more than 35 years ago!) a lot easier, his blood sugar has stabilized AND he lowered his BMI.

Here's Kal's story in his own words...

My daughter adopted a plant-based diet approximately 3 years ago and became a big proponent of Lindsay's "Happy Herbivore" cookbooks. At 64, I was convinced the same diet would help me. I argued that I already followed a good low-fat diet.

In 1979, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 31 and it changed every dynamic in my life! I needed to coordinate everything I did based on what I ate, what time I ate, how much I ate, what activity was I doing, and what I was planning to do. Fortunately I have a very supportive family, and I adjusted to following a low fat, low sugar, high carbohydrate diet which consisted of approximately 6oz of meat/fish, 1-2 serving vegetable, 1-2 serving fruit, 2 servings dairy per day, and when you add all of the breads/potatoes/grains, I averaged 300 gram of carbohydrates per day. I have been able to avoid any major complications as a result of my diabetes and I am still able to participate in marathon cross country ski events and ride approximate 2000 miles a year on my road bike.

But as good as I thought I was about my diet, my daughter was right! I eased into my plant-based diet over a 10-12 week period, and the transition was pretty smooth. I really do not have any craving for anything from my old diet! I now make black bean burgers every couple of weeks and always have a couple in the freezer for a quick meal and the same goes for soup, which I make 1-2 times a week. I have prepared quite a few of the soups in all of the HH books, with the Quick Chili Mole (from Aboard) as one of my favorites.

Changing to a plant-based diet has really improved my Diabetes management. My blood sugar has become more stable and I do not experience as many spikes of high and lows as I experienced on my old diet. My hemoglobin A1C test, which is a blood test that measures how well your managing your diabetes, has improved from 7.0 which is good, to 6.3 which is excellent!

Besides my improved daily diabetes management, my BMI dropped from 22.7 to 22.0. My family doctor and the nurse practitioner that I see for T1 diabetes are both impressed with the improved test results and the overall good health I've enjoy since changing my diet. My daily vegetable and fruit consumption has increased almost exponentially and I am feeling real good about the health benefits I have achieved with a plant-based diet.

I certainly would encourage anyone with T1 to follow a plant-based regime, they will see big benefits in the daily management of diabetes, which in itself is no small job! I have my wonderful daughter to thank for all of her help and encouragement to make the switch. She knew the benefits of the plant-diet would be really good for me, and she went out of here way to help me discover the benefits myself!

Thank you Kal for sharing your story with us!