Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

Insulin Resistant VEGAN / Plant Based???!!

on April 12, 2011

There’s a new song being sung in my kitchen, and it’s missing a few of my typical ingredients – all animal products.

For a few years, I’ve been trying to follow a lower carb diet.  All the women in my family have diabetes, and I’ve been struggling with insulin resistance, so I try to keep my insulin in check.

About 5 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with acute Mononucleosis.   Not really something major, right?  Well, that was until my white blood cells disappeared and I started to get some more complications.  After 2 weeks, I started experiencing pain.  Turned out my spleen and liver were NOT happy, and were both inflamed.  At 3 weeks my LFTs were off the chart and each test they were worse.  So my doctor informed me to avoid ALL dark meat, ALL animal fat, that if I wanted anything I could have white meat chicken and white fish.  No added fat.

Frustrated and defeated (and not really having the energy to cook chicken and fish) – I decided to choose a plant based diet.  I expected to gain weight, after all carbs = weight gain, right?  I expected to experience increased insulin resistance symptoms.  I expected to be weak and miserable.

Instead, I’ve lost 10 lbs, and haven’t even felt the need for my Metformin.    I’m still a little bloated though.  Damn beans.

Clearly, it’s only been 2 weeks, but I was pretty amazed.  We’ll see what happens moving forwardI started doing research on vegan diabetics, to see if it’s even possible for a diabetic to be on a higher carb vegan diet.  To my surprise, I found research study after research study, article after article, doctor after doctor – all claiming the same thing – that insulin resistance and diabetes isn’t caused by high CARBS but rather by high animal protein / fat.    WHAT?!?!  That just sounds crazy.  But here’s the explanation: Too much fat, combined with too much protein causes fat to clog the cells.  Insulin regulates blood sugar and is the signal which says, “Go ye sugar into that there cell and give your master energy!”  So Insulin goes to the door of the cell, tries to unlock it, and the key won’t fit anymore because there’s globules of fat clogging the keyhole!

So, what happens is, Insulin turns to Sugar, shrugs and says, well you can’t stay here.  So more insulin comes rushing out, trying to break down the door – when that doesn’t work, MORE insulin comes and sugar is whisked away.  Meanwhile, now all the Insulin troops are gathered and ready to go, so while they’re there, they whisk away ALL the sugar in the blood – causing drowsiness and low blood sugar.  Then, panicing, they signal the brain to get them more work – or more sugar.   Queue cravings.

The idea that low fat vegan living could help reverse insulin resistance is still just downright crazy to me.

But you know what?  I haven’t had a single craving and I’ve been eating rice and (shhh!) flour products.  Technically, the low fat vegan diet that they refer to is based on whole foods.  Foods in their natural form – at least mostly.  Which means oils, since not in their natural form, go bye bye.  Flours… they’re gone too.  Soy PRODUCTS, buh bye.

I can’t say I’ve been FULLY adhering to this, but I’m getting better.

So, from now on, you’ll be seeing vegan recipes.  Ok, so I probably won’t always be 100% vegan, but I’m going to try.

Update:  I’ve enjoyed so many great recipes over the last few years, and here are a few of the cookbooks that I highly recommend:

Thug Kitchen

Fork over Knives

Oh She Glows

Isa Does it

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