God Hit Me with a Lightning Bolt!
It was back in the late spring of 2019, and I was visiting with my GP for 14 years. He still looks like a kid. I think I might have been his first patient back in 2005. Anyway, we have grown up together, medically!
I was there for my annual physical, including bloodwork. The next morning when I read the email report of my test results, I was slammed back by the phrase, “YOU HAVE TYPE II DIABETES. The Almighty’s bolt out of the blue hit me squarely between the eyes.
I thought to myself, “Well, damn (sorry, God), I guess I am older than I had been believing.” I could not ignore the symptoms any longer. My doc (and Jehovah) had been telling me I had pre-diabetes for two or three years. But who worries about pre-diabetes? Not me. That was for sure. I guess God had just had enough of my farting around. Well, His lightning bolt worked this time.
My dear wife, Sandy, has been doing massive amounts of internet research on diet and nutrition for the last three or four years. Her interest is that she has cardio-vascular disease that she has really done great in controlling since its diagnosis in 2001.
The problem was that I was not listening to her advice. I had kept to my typical regimen that was a heavy supper (two servings), heavy dessert an hour later, then eating again when I woke up in the middle of the night with my insomnia. Add to this that I had back surgery, knee replacement, and chronic back pain extending down my left leg that drove me to have a spinal cord implant to relieve the pain all in two years. During this time, I struggled to walk around the block, and my eating patterns remained the same. Result? I ballooned to 261 pounds, and Type II Diabetes became my constant companion.
When my doc checked my blood sugar yesterday, it was normal, and I had lost from 261 (Jan 2019) to 237 (Jan 2020).
“So, how did it happen?” Perhaps you are asking. What specialized diet? What unique exercise program. Well, you are about to be disappointed!
Now that I have my pain to a manageable level, I walked at least a mile a day. Somedays more. Some days may be less if the leg is acting up. Some days more if I am feeling good. But I try to walk every day. My best walking coaches are Boomer and Chloe, my two Brittanys.
I am not on a diet plan at all – except that we do not eat breakfast – and, therefore, we virtually fast from about 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. the next day or fast for about 15 hours each day. Research is proving this to be a good strategy. Going back to my high school days and my days as a teacher, coach, and principal, I never ate breakfast anyway, so it was not difficult to follow this strategy.
Aside from the fasting, here is a typical meal that I had this week. Last Sunday, I smoked a pork butt on the grill, and we ate on it on Sunday and Monday. My meals for the day on Monday were this: (1) fasting for breakfast, (2) cottage cheese and fresh fruit for lunch, (3) a healthy serving (maybe 6 oz) of BBQed pork (no seconds, however), a fresh green salad with full-featured dressing, half of a baked sweet potato, and a glass of water.
As a snack about 8:00 p.m., I had a small bowl of Kirkland’s roasted peanuts and a bottle of Kirkland’s mineral water.
The ingredients of this day’s eating: almost no carbs, fresh fruit, greens, and sweet potato, and a very nice sized helping of beautifully smoked pork that I had cooked for 6 hours over the weekend (more about the very-simple-how-to-smoke-a pork roast in another blog).
What was absent from day, and every day since my diagnosis? No processed food, no bread, no food high in carbs. What was present was fresh greens, sweet potato, and home-smoked pork.
No matter the day, here is what I typically I. I vary the fruits with the cottage cheese. Today we had fresh pears. Yesterday, it was fresh blackberries. Day before that, it was fresh raspberries. Some weeks it will be strawberries and blueberries. Sometimes it is a nice cheese with fruit or apples and peanut butter.
Some times at my 8:00 p.m. snack, I might eat a cup of berries with a quarter cup of heavy cream. That is a tasty snack! Neither the berries nor the cream is loaded with carbs, and the cream contains good fats. Both recommended by the National Diabetes Association.
My point is with this blog is that I do not eat things I do not like! The real difference is fresh and unprocessed and one helping (a good one), and no seconds. That is how I made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although, I must admit I fell off the wagon when I ate a couple pieces of my home-made bourbon-pecan pie with the grandkids!
I still like sweet things, but I substitute fresh fruit for jams and jellies. It is incredible how sweet fruits taste when you are not eating sugar regularly. If I have an urge for something sweet, I will go for the berries and cream, or more likely, I will take on the Kirkland’s carbonated mineral water, squeeze half a fresh lime into a tall glass, add a couple of spoons of Truvia, add the mineral water, stir and add crushed ice. The result is a great lime aid.I often do lime and the Truvia thing the same way with unsweetened tea that Sandy makes for me, and rarely, I drink of a cup of coffee with cream and Truvia for a desert or 8:00 p.m. snack.
Are there hard parts? For sure. (1) We eat out much less, and we do we try to eat at farm-to-food restaurants. (2) Sometimes I eat too many nuts when I eat them from the container instead of putting a handful in a small bowl. (3) I have cravings, but I usually find a pear or an apple and maybe some peanut butter. (4) Perhaps the hardest part is that eating fresh (and organic when you can) is expensive.
The expense of eating well does not compare to the cost of spending my retirement years suffering from the string of ailments – none of them minor – caused by untreated diabetes.
I am betting that I am not preaching to the choir – especially to choir members from the South! (The only thing that still bothers me, is giving up my table-wine of the South, sweet tea!) If this hits home with you or someone you love, please don’t ignore it. It will make your life miserable on the way to killing you. But, I am proof that simple changes can produce significant results.
My doc tells me if I am still at my current blood sugar level at my springtime visit, I can likely go off my diabetes meds. Regardless, my lifestyle changes are here to stay:
1 Walk a mile or more every day
2 Eliminate carbs – especially sugar
3 Eat fresh foods – including veggies, fruits, and wild-caught seafood. Organic when you can
4 Don’t go back for seconds
5 Don’t worry about foods containing natural fats. Have that ribeye once a week. Eat about half of it.
6 Snack on healthy foods like nuts and fruits