The Paleo Diet & Type 1 Diabetes: The First Week
My partner and I began eating Paleo a little over a week ago. If I had to sum up its "take-home message" in three words, they'd be these: EAT REAL FOOD. Stuff our ancestors would recognize as food. Food that doesn't have commercials during prime time. Not fast food (unless it's fruits or veggies). You get the picture.
I am one week into the Paleo lifestyle and I must say, I'm not resisting this like I resisted the idea of a low carb diet. While the Paleo diet is pretty low carb, it's the way I feel that has made me keep going. Full. Healthy. Proud.
If you're anything like me, change isn't easy, though it is necessary. I'm a 35-year-old Type 1 diabetic (for 24 years) who wants to be as healthy as possible for a long time to come. I'm looking to shed excess weight, but more importantly, to stabilize my bloodsugars so they are "in range" all or most of the time (something that before the "Paleo Diet" seems elusive).
My partner is a "normal guy" in his forties looking to lose a little weight and feel better. He has already lost seven pounds, despite not being very overweight at the outset. I may have lost a pound or two, but that's not the point of this post.
Though we're still very early on in this process, I wanted to do a post to encourage those of you who have been on the fence about trying out the Paleo diet to JUST DO IT! I had heard first hand from several friends I trust how much the Paleo Diet had positively influenced their health and well being, and figured if I were careful, it couldn't hurt to try it out.
I decided to wait until after Thanksgiving--and the experience of having bloodsugars in the 400's after eating that carb-heavy Thanksgiving meal was a timely reminder that what I was doing (carb-counting and using my insulin pump to navigate the tricky highs and lows without eating a low-carb diet) just wasn't working well enough for me.
Though I was initially turned-off by all the hype surrounding the Paleo Diet as of late, I decided to give it a go. I am VERY reticent to jump on the bandwagon of the next great weight loss/diabetes cure regime and despite what some say, I don't believe there is cure for my Type 1 diabetes (yet). Tame it into submission? Maybe. Allow me to experience healthy and "normal" bloodsugars? Absolutely.
While I've counted carbs and tweaked my insulin pump settings for years and years now, tight glucose control (even while pregnant and trying to become pregnant) has eluded me. I am used to often feeling sluggish after eating and upon waking when hyperglycemia often sticks around. I have lived in great fear of those debilitating and life-threatening lows that occur when miscalculating or riding the bloodsugar roller coaster.
But what I can say is this: though there have been a few bumps in the road, and knowing the ins and outs of the "Paleo Solution" can feel overwhelming at times, this week I've experienced the most consistent in-range bloodsugars in recent memory. I feel better already. I don't feel hungry. I feel nourished and full after every meal, and I don't worry about huge spikes in bloodsugar from my meals. I have had some high and low bloodsugars, but these have not been from my meals, which gives me huge peace of mind. HUGE.
There are a host of sites, books and blogs out there to help anyone interested in learning more about eating Paleo. While I am close to 100% Paleo right now, I'm not totally there. I've cut out all gluten and dairy and consume 95% of my calories from fish, meat, fruit, vegetables (not corn or potatoes), and healthy fats. I eat more now than I did before, but I feel good before, during, and after meals, and my bloodsugars reflect this as well.
I'd love to hear your experiences with living Paleo, and how it has affected your health and your life. I'll be sharing my experiences with Paleofying my life periodically as well.