Whenever we hear of disease, medicine is always ready as a cure. We know that particular medicine will tackle the problem at hand but what we miss out on is – what are the other direct effects of the same medicine. Medicines can never be the long-term solution.
Diabetes is a very big problem in today’s time. But here’s a fact, you can reverse type 2 diabetes with a plant-based vegan diet. And here’s another fact, when it comes to diet, there is no diet that fits all. However, a type of diet can work wonders for you. The question is- are you willing to make the change? Are you ready to make the shift?
In this blog, we will discuss:
- WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
- WHAT IS A VEGAN DIET?
- HOW DOES THE VEGAN DIET WORKS FOR DIABETICS?
- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A VEGAN DIET?
- HOW TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF A VEGAN DIET?
- KETO DIET AND ITS SIDE EFFECTS
Before we dive into the blog and delve into all the information, first let us know about someone who has had Type 2 diabetes for a very long time but has been able to live a medication-free healthy life for the past eight and half years now, Marc Ramirez. He is a B.S. Kinesiology, a TEDx presenter, a motivational speaker, and certified Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Marc and his wife Kim run a non-profit called Chickpea and Bean, which helps all people achieve health through the healing power of plants.
In 2011 Marc shifted to a plant-based lifestyle and his health improved. He reversed Type 2 diabetes, psoriasis, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol, obesity, and frequent heartburn.
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is often characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and a relative lack of insulin. It is a chronic condition that results in more than the required amount of sugar circulating in the bloodstream.
In type 2 diabetes, there are two interrelated problems.
- Your pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells)
- Hence, the cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar
Managing type 2 diabetes is very much possible. By losing weight, eating well, and exercising regularly you manage your blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems.
WHAT IS A VEGAN DIET?
A person who follows a diet of abstaining from the consumption of animal products is called a vegan and the philosophy is called veganism. There are multiple distinctions between Vegans.
- Dietary vegans, also known as “strict vegetarians” avoid the consumption of meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances.
- An ethical vegan, also known as a “moral vegetarian”, not only follows a vegan diet but also extends the philosophy to the treatment of other humans, and opposes the use of animals for any purpose.
- “Environmental veganism”, refers to the avoidance of animal products and opposes the industrial farming of animals as it is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.
In simple terms, a Vegan diet is a diet exclusive of animal and dairy products and inclusive of only plant-based products. This means no cow milk, no eggs, no chicken, no meat, and no cheese. A vegan diet is full of whole fruits and vegetables along with legumes and nuts.
Vegans in the USA have been increasing at a very high rate. More and more people are shifting to a plant-based diet. People have realized that their diet plays the most important role in maintaining a healthy and health-free life.
If you follow a healthy vegan diet, you are less likely to get heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, and cholesterol.
Studies have also shown that vegans are less likely to be overweight and tend to have a lower percentage of body fat. Thus, reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.
However, a vegan diet has proved to be very beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. Adopting a vegan diet plan will help you bring down your blood sugar levels.
HOW DOES THE VEGAN DIET WORKS FOR DIABETICS?
People with diabetes have a high risk of Cardiovascular disease, are usually overweight, and have high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. A vegan diet or plant-based diet helps fight the problem from the root cause and eliminates the chances of most chronic diseases.
A vegan diet has less saturated fats and is high in fiber. It has high amounts of fruits and vegetables which are very useful for people with diabetes.
You must consult your dietician and doctor when you decide to shift to a vegan diet. They will ensure that all the key nutrients are present in your diet. A balanced, nutritious, and whole-food diet is necessary for a person who is just making a shift in his diet.
Based on a lot of factors, from the type of diabetes you have to your physical activity level, sex, age, and others, your dietician and doctor will help you identify the ideal amount of carbs, proteins along with other vitamins, needed with each meal.
You can either make a complete shift and turn to a plant-based diet at once or can gradually increase the amount of plant-based meals, slowly eliminating animal products from your diet.
People with diabetes are suggested to keep the intake of carbs consistent throughout the day. Carbs have a more direct effect on blood sugar levels than protein and fats. Therefore, meals and snacks must be balanced with carbs, protein, and healthy fat. A plant-based diet might be a little challenging initially, but it is the best choice to bring down blood sugar levels.
Listed below are examples of carbs, proteins, and fats that you can use to prepare meals and snacks if you’re following a vegan diet for diabetes:
- Carbs: whole grain flour (bread, pasta), rice, potatoes, oats, quinoa, fruit (fresh, frozen, or unsweetened canned), corn
- Proteins: soybeans and soybean products (tofu, tempeh), beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, tree nuts, nut butter, seeds, plant-based meat alternatives
- Fats: olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut, plant-based spreads
- Many plant-based foods, such as beans and grains, contain a mixture of carbs, protein, and fat, so they can pull double or triple duty in your meal planning
- Additionally, fiber which is a type of indigestible carb is found in most plant-based foods. Fiber is very helpful as it makes these foods more filling and also helps in reducing your blood sugar level.
Most of us worry that the amount of protein that we intake following a vegan diet is very low. However, unknowingly most of us eat far more protein than our body requires. Gorilla shares the same DNA as humans almost 98.3%. They are almost human from a genetic standpoint. Guess what? They are vegan. They get their huge structure and strong muscles from consuming plants and plant-based food. Even animals as big as elephants or a giraffe or a rhinoceros or stallions all of these are vegetarian. They have got their strong structures and muscles by eating plants and plant-based food.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A VEGAN DIET?
Animal-based food is rich in saturated fats which are most harmful to our bodies. These food items lead to inflammation and belly fat. They also make your body resistant to insulin and increase blood sugar levels.
Nevertheless, a vegan diet is rich in unsaturated fats which are not harmful. Plant-based food items are also high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. These nutrients protect your body against diseases and always manage your blood sugar levels.
A vegan diet also helps in managing weight. As the diet is rich in fiber, you tend to get rid of all the unhealthy and hard-to-digest food items, Hence, making digestion an easy process for your body.
HOW TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF A VEGAN DIET?
After deciding that you want to turn vegan, there are a few things that you should consider to ensure the success of the diet.
- Plan: Meal planning and having some healthy snacks handy will be very helpful. Also, check out the menu in advance when you’re planning to dine out always.
- Eat plenty of non-starchy veggies: Non-starchy food is low in carbs but full of fiber and nutrients. They have the least effect on your blood sugar and help you feel full and satisfied.
- Balance each meal and snack: A healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protein, along with some non-starchy vegetables is the most ideal combination of meals and snacks.
- Mix up your proteins: include a variety of plant-based protein sources in your diet. It will ensure that you are getting essential amino acids in the required amounts for optimal health.
- Monitor your blood sugar regularly: If you have diabetes, and are following a vegan diet, you should check your blood sugar regularly to stay aware of the fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
- Supplement wisely: If your doctor suggests, take the supplements. At times, your diet might not be able to fulfill the exact requirements of different nutrients. It is ok to include supplements like iron, B12, and Vitamin D to ensure your body is never nutrient deficient.
KETO DIET AND ITS EFFECTS
The Ketogenic Diet or Keto Diet involves cutting down carbohydrates, to almost 50 grams a day or less. By doing this you help your body achieve a state of ketosis, in which it has to burn fat (rather than sugar) for energy. The diet’s unsustainable nature has led to many questions being raised by doctors and health experts.
A Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. It promises quick weight loss. However, health experts worry about the side effects and complications are way more than their benefits.
- The Keto Flu: Keto Flu usually happens in the early stages of commencing the Keto Diet. It includes headaches, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea.
- Constipation: your body is losing water weight which means you are clogging your pipes
- increased risk of kidney stones: High intake of animal proteins can increase both calcium and uric acid levels in urine. As these levels rise, so does your risk of developing kidney stones.
- increase your cholesterol: keto diet involves getting up to 85% of your daily calories from fat. This means the diet isn’t exactly heart-healthy.
- Vitamin Deficiency: Keto Diet prohibits a lot of fruits and vegetables which causes vitamin and mineral deficiency.
This blog covers the highlights from the latest episode of Resolving Diabetes Naturally which was about the benefits of shifting to a Vegan diet for Type 2 diabetes patients.
You can check out the entire podcast on our YouTube channel. (CLICK HERE)
If you have any other questions related to a plant-based diet and how it helps in managing blood sugar levels, please drop us an email with your question and a brief about yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org