Because my diet (which is based upon the methods presented in Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution) is the most important aspect of my diabetes control, I wanted to write a more in-depth post about it. At the beginning of his book, Dr. Bernstein states, “You’re the only person who can be responsible for normalizing your blood sugars. Although your physician may guide you, the ultimate responsibility is in your hands. This task will require significant changes in lifestyle that may involve some sacrifice. The question naturally arises, ‘Is it really worth the effort?’” At the time that I discovered Dr. Bernstein’s book, my answer to that question was a resounding “Yes!” As I mentioned in my “My Story” post, when I first started reading Diabetes Solution I was at my wit’s end. I had gained about 25 pounds, was feeling sluggish and depressed the vast majority of the time and my blood sugars were on a constant rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. I was ready to make a change – even a drastic one that would eliminate all carbs from my diet – in order to get my life back.
While giving up all carbohydrates might sound like a scary proposition, it was one that I was willing to try. But even I have limits. I told myself that I would give the diet a week and if I absolutely hated it, I would seek out other means of controlling my blood sugars. Well, let me tell you, not only did I not hate the diet, but because I felt so fabulous (like a light switch had been turned on inside of me) within just a few days, carbs were not something I missed or craved.
Before reading Dr. Bernstein’s book, I had assumed that consuming only protein and vegetables would leave me constantly hungry, but I could not have been more wrong. Prior to starting the diet, I would find myself ravenous within minutes of finishing a meal. Insulin will do that to you. Once I was able to drastically cut my insulin dosage, though, thanks to my no-carb regime, I was, for the first time in years, completely satiated after eating. My depression quickly evaporated, as did the extra pounds I had gained, as you can see below. In fact, they seemed to just melt right off. It has now been almost three years since I started following Dr. Bernstein’s methods and I could not be happier or healthier.
Amazingly enough, I do not watch my fat intake – at all. Most people would probably be horrified at the amount of cheese I eat on a daily basis. But not only is my cholesterol outstanding, as you can see below, but I am also slender. Dr. Bernstein says, “If you give it some thought, it makes perfect sense: If a farmer wants to fatten up his pigs or cows, he doesn’t feed them meat or butter and eggs, he feeds them grain. If you want to fatten yourself up, just start loading up on bread, pasta, potatoes, cake, and cookies – all high-carbohydrate foods. If you want to hasten the fattening process, consume dietary fat with your carbohydrate. Indeed, two recent studies showed that dietary fat, when consumed as part of a high-carbohydrate diet, was converted to body fat. Fat consumed as part of a low-carbohydrate diet was metabolized, or burned off.” I am a living testament to the fact that that statement is true.
The sentence in the book that hit home the hardest for me was this – “Whether you eat a piece of the nuttiest whole grain-bread, drink a Coke, or have mashed potatoes, the effect on blood glucose levels is essentially the same.” I’ll repeat that, in bold this time – “Whether you eat a piece of the nuttiest whole grain-bread, drink a Coke, or have mashed potatoes, the effect on blood glucose levels is essentially the same.” Before reading Diabetes Solution, I had been under the impression that it was safe to eat a small piece of bread with dinner or some whole-grain rice with lunch. Never in a million years did I think that it would have the same effect on my sugars as drinking a can of Coke!
The picture below was taken in April of 2009, a good eight months before I read Diabetes Solution. As you can see, at the time I had no idea what I was doing. No wonder my sugars were a mess! In those days, I figured a little pizza crust couldn’t hurt me – I mean, it’s not like I was drinking a Coke! Oh, how much I had to learn! Prior to starting this site, I checked out some of the other diabetes blogs out there and on one a woman was discussing the fact that her blood sugars were high one evening after consuming pizza for dinner. She did not understand why because she was on an insulin pump and had given herself extra insulin to compensate. As Dr. Bernstein explains in his book, though, “Injected insulin – even with an insulin pump – doesn’t work the same as insulin created naturally in the body.” Diabetics quite simply cannot eat things like pasta, bread or pizza (although my husband does make a particularly yummy pizza using mushrooms as a crust – a recipe that I will share at a later date.)
I spotted the sign pictured below at a cafeteria in Palm Springs a few months back and could not stop laughing about it. Obviously the 843.7-gram carb count (LOL!!!) for a slice of cheese pizza is a grossly-amplified typo (it should most likely read “43.7”). But for a diabetic, it might as well be the true amount considering what pizza does to our blood sugars.
As I mentioned in my “My Story” post, I am not perfect and do, on occasion, cheat. I have a weakness for popcorn and chicken strips and sometimes give in to those cravings. But every time I do, I invariably feel horrible for several hours afterwards and always say to myself, “Why, oh, why did I do this?” The vast majority of the time, though, I follow Dr. Bernstein’s diet to a T and could not be happier doing so. I strongly urge fellow diabetics who are having a hard time controlling their blood sugars to read his book, which you can find here.
As always, I am only reporting on what has worked for me. Please speak with a doctor or medical professional before embarking upon this diet plan. Do know, though, that I met with some resistance from my doctors when I began the diet, not because they thought it was unhealthy, but because they had doubts that I would be able to give up carbohydrates long-term. Now that they have seen my miraculous test results and how happy and healthy I am, they are behind my no-carb regime one-hundred percent.