Saturday, November 28, 2020

Plant Based Eater Dealing with Diabetes


I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about the past six years with diabetes. I was diagnosed 6 years ago this month, and all sorts of emotions come up when I think about it all. On top of that, my Grandmother who died from diabetes would have celebrated her birthday yesterday, which brings up all sorts of other emotions.

On her death-bed, my Granny told me to do anything to not get diabetes. She was young when she died, she had suffered from the disease for over 20 years of her life, and she saw me going down the same road, and did not want the same for me. When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years after her death I kept replaying that conversation, sitting beside her on her hospital bed, holding her hand, wishing that there was something that I could do.

Nearly a year ago, I thought that my life would one day be taken by the same disease, I had absolutely no hope. It seemed I was on the same path, and I knew where it was going to get me – and it wasn’t going to be an over night thing, it would be years and years of suffering the way my Grandma did. When I was at my end, is when I started to find answers, answers that were outside of every thing that I had tried, and today, I am on my way to reversing the disease that nearly took my life.

Six years ago, I was a newly married woman, with all sorts of hopes and dreams. It was a few weeks after our wedding when I was getting more and more sick, till one night where I could not fall asleep and had severe panic attacks the entire night. I had been into the hospital earlier that week, because of a kitchen burn, and a concerned nurse called me to tell me she wanted me to come in and get some tests, because something didn’t seem right with the way I had burned. I had one sleepless night, and the next morning I would go into the doctor’s office, to be told I was lucky to be alive.

I don’t remember much of that first month. I remember being completely overwhelmed with life, sitting in the emergency room as a doctor tried to explain to me that my blood had turned acidic, and that things were not looking up for me. I remember our house being a disaster, and my mother coming and taking care of everything, including writing wedding thank you cards, I remember her showing me how to use my insulin needles, something she had to do for her mother for so many years. I remember being told I could not drive, or leave the house much because my sugar would get so high, it was not safe. I remember a few close friends who cared enough to call and make sure that my husband and I were okay, and of course my mom who did what Italian moms do best – bring over food and clean the house when there is a crisis.

Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you are told you have diabetes, for me I knew what the word meant, and I knew how bad it was. My doctors were talking a mile a minute, shooting me with things, pricking my fingers, giving me instructions, taking blood samples, telling me to call my husband, and I just sat there at the end of the exam table, hoping and wishing it would all go away.

It would be five years after that, in which things finally started to get better for me. For five years, I tried nearly every thing under the sun to help my diabetes. nutritionists, doctors, medications, trainers, you name it, I had done it, and with very little results. There were times in that five years in which I really did not think I would live much longer, nights where I’d lay wide awake because I was terrified that I would die in my sleep. My husband would have to call and tell me to unlock the doors so that if something bad happened, the paramedics would have an easier time getting in the house.

Thankfully, through the years we have had a few close friends and a few family members that stuck by us, no matter what, and were there for us. Despite that, the entire thing was scary and lonely, and terrifying.

It was a little over a year ago that I was at my end with it all. My doctors did another round of tests to see if something else was wrong with me, to come up with nothing. I had severe nerve damage in my feet, causing immense pain, I had an infection in my leg that would not go away, and that a doctor told me they might have to look at partial amputation. I was severely depressed, in part because of medication they had put me on to help with the nerve damage. If it were not for my husband, and a few amazing people in our lives, I’m not sure what would have happened.

It was at the worst of it, that I came across a book that changed every thing – I read “The 30 day diabetes miracle” and all of sudden had hope, that there was an answer. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know the rest of the story – I was able to get off insulin, get off all meds, and today I’m on my way to reversing the disease that almost took my life.

Since that book I’ve read so much, researched so much and talked to so many people about diabetes, and about curing it. Recently, I watched “Simply Raw” , a movie about reversing diabetes. It is an amazing documentary that follows 6 people in their journey to curing diabetes – 2 who are type 1 diabetics. After watching the movie, I decided to commit to not only being on a healthy vegan (plant based) diet, but I have decided that I would move to being on a completely raw vegan diet. I had gone back and forth about it, but after watching the movie, and seeing these people do it, people who had been on a SAD (Standard American Diet) prior to switching to raw, I knew that I could do it as well. I know that for me, it is another step in one day getting the news that I am no longer a diabetic, and I know that it is completely possible, because if anything, in the past 6 years I have learned one lesson more than any other:

I am worth going through the changes, learning new things, I’m worth feeling completely healthy. I’m worth not suffering from diabetes, not going through the pain my Grandmother went through. I’m worth ever single penny that it takes to figure out how to be healthy and how to live a life that is not complicated by disease and the effects of it. I’m doing this for myself, but I’m doing it in honor of my Granny, who I know, if she were here today, we’d be in the kitchen desperately attempting to make her Italian meals – raw & healthy. I’m doing this for my husband, who I love beyond words, who has stood by me no matter what and who loves me so much, that he has been willing to go through the ups and downs of it all, and who has become vegan despite some pretty bad food allergies. I’m doing this for the people who have stuck by me through the past 6 years – my dear friend L who stayed up talking to me on IM for hours in those beginning days, my friend Marc who encourages me in ways he probably would never know. My good friends in DC – Mary, Suzanne, and Grace who always made sure I was doing okay. I’m doing this for my Mom, so she doesn’t have to see her daughter suffer the same way her mother did, and because I know that at any moment in the past 6 years I could have called her and she would be there, no questions asked… I’m doing this for my brothers, who deserve having a pain in the ass big sister around for a long time, and who have cared and loved me through a lot of ups and downs. I’m doing this for an Aunt in Arizona who almost daily gives me the smile and the boost that I need, to know I’m doing the right thing.

Most of all, I’m doing this for myself – because in the end, you have to love yourself enough to want to make the changes to live a healthy life, and in the end I’m the only one who can decide that.

I want to thank everyone who sends e-mails, comments, tweets – your support has been so amazing. I will keep writing, not only about health, but about the importance of being vegan. And I will keep encouraging those who need to be encouraged, because you are worth making healthy changes in your life as well.


  1. Pat

    Every day I get an e-mail from someone who is newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or some other preventable condition. So many people tell me they are ready to change AFTER they get sick. To me, it’s like saying you’ll stop smoking after you get lung cancer. Every day you have a choice to live a healthier life, don’t wait till you are sick to change, change now!

    Nothing is worth getting a preventable disease over, even if you believe you are healthy now, why play games and hope that the way you eat won’t catch up to you? Start making changes before you don’t have the choice, and it will be a heck of a lot easier.

  2. The Vegan

    Here is the thing folks, if you get a disease like T2 diabetes it’s not just about you – it’s about everyone who loves you. Your children, your spouse, the friends and family that love you. You need to stop thinking about yourself and the changes YOU have to make, and think about how it is going to effect everyone around you, because it’s not just about you anymore. Even if you have family/friends that say it’s not a big deal – trust me it is, and trust me they are saying that to be nice to you. You need to suck it up and change some things, stop making excuses, and start thinking about more than the lifestyle you have made yourself addicted to. There are people who love you and want you healthy and around, so if you can’t make the changes for yourself, at the very least make changes so that the people who love you don’t have to suffer as well.

    So listen to my husband talk about what it has been like to be a husband during this time, and even his take on what it was like to go vegan. I’m sure I’ll be interviewing him a bunch more, he’s got a lot to say on all of it!

  3. Nat

    There is this magic number in diabetes, well for me there has been anyway… 85. For six years my fasting blood sugar has never been below the number 85. In fact, most of the time my fasting blood sugar was the highest number I had all day. Today was a different day though, for the first time, since being diagnosed my number was under 85.

    This might not seem like a big deal to some people, especially if you don’t know much about diabetes. However, that number means a lot, and it means that things are really starting to work in my body. It even means that I might be approaching “normal”, well at least in the blood sugar area, I’m far from normal in the rest of my life 😉

    I was so excited this morning, it felt good to have that number on the blood test screen. It means I keep doing what I’m doing, and I keep working hard. I followed the celebration of the magic number with a really nice work out and then lunch at my favorite spot in Austin . Every day I am closer and closer to not being considered a diabetic, and today was a glimpse of what normal feels like, and it felt pretty good.

    If you are in a bad spot with your health, or headed to one, or heck, you just don’t ever want to get in a bad spot – know that there is hope, and that you have EVERY THING you need to be able to change your life.

    I’m going to be doing a month long support kind of group -focusing on plant based health for people who could really need some help around the holidays – just because there is tinsel and fat guys in suits everwhere doesn’t mean you should do massive damage to your body. If you are interested in a support system send me an e-mail or leave a comment, and I’ll get in touch with you. Don’t make January 1st the day you start to take things seriously, take everyday seriously, and start now.

  4. ruby

    wow, awesome story! my dad just got diagnosed with prediabetes and i am doing everything i can to get him better.

  5. diabetic

    No only are you important enough to change, but your courage to change causes other people to change as well. Living by example is a truly powerful thing.

  6. Liesel

    Thank you for writing this. You are so dear and you’ve been through so much. Some people would just move on and just think of themselves, but you have paused to look around and share your story with others that are faced with similar issues.

  7. Beth

    This story is so important! I’ve been a vegan for a while now, but recently my husband, who has been very anti vegan found out that he was pre-diabetic and his cholesterol was really high and dangerous. He is 38! He decided to stop messing around, and put his ego aside and go plant based. Since then, he’s also started to read about the very cruel world of what happens with animals in order for people to eat them.

    Keep speaking out

  8. Cristy

    I love reading your posts. There is hope in everything you write about, nothing is a lost cause. Lately I’ve been losing hope about some things, but after reading this, I feel better. Thank you. 🙂

  9. Lola

    I just wanted to write and say that I happened across your website very recently and it is so inspiring- a huge testimonial to the power of a healthy diet. You are on my daily reads because you keep me going! I’m nowhere near the point you were at when you were sickest but I have realized I am on an unhealthy path and that if I don’t start making changes now, it will only get worse. With your inspiration and lots of reading material, I am making the change to a vegan diet after much hemming and hawing 🙂 So I wanted you to know you have readers who maybe don’t comment but are inspired by you everyday. Good luck with your amazing journey and thank you!

  10. Lisa

    Thank you for taking the time to share your amazing story with us! You are SUCH an inspiration!

    I wish you much continued happiness and healing 🙂

    (p.s. I am a wellness and holistic life coach ~ and your site is one of the first things I pass along to anyone who even mentions diabetes!!!)

I went on a plant based diet after diabetes almost took my life. Now, almost 2 years later not only have I reduced my type 2 diabetes symptoms, I have lost close to 200 pounds (and still losing). This is a place where I write about my journey as I continue the quest for health, and living a good life for today, and long into the future. Get hold of me on

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