A few years ago, Tiffany received an unexpected diagnosis of type II diabetes. When drugs led to unpleasant side effects, she adopted a different approach to managing the disease—with food! Tiffany went from an A1C of 10% to 5.8% in 6 months and has been able to keep it stabilized by radically changing her diet. Read about her incredible diet journey below!
When I was first diagnosed with type II diabetes two years ago, my blood sugar and A1C levels were off the charts. My blood sugar were around 400 mg/dL and my A1C levels were at 10.1% (v.s 4% for normal). The doctors started me on Metformin, but the side effects made me feel terrible. After doing some research on my own, I decided to modify my diet as a way of managing my disease. I worked with my doctor, Dr. Shaffer, and a nutritionist to create a diet – which was composed of a “Phase One- Strict Detox Plan” and a “Phase Two- Maintenance Plan” to reverse my diabetes, without meds.
The results of this diet transformation were astounding– today I have dropped 8 pant sizes, and have fully reversed my diabetes by simply eating well! It takes a lot of discipline at first. But if you stick with it, you’ll find both a rhythm and a diet that work for you. I found that it took about 6 months on the strict Phase One diet to get my A1C to normal levels, and I’ve been able to maintain it for over 2 years now.
Here, I share the specific food lists and how-to-guide on the diet I used to reverse my diabetes. I hope it provides you ideas and inspiration!
Phase One (My Detox Diet)
Each day, I ate three main meals and two snacks–one mid-morning one mid-afternoon. Sticking to a meal schedule, and 5 small meals a day helped me manage my blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- For a typical breakfast, I ate one cup of cream of buckwheat with an egg and a side salad.
- My lunch & dinner consisted of three ounces of lean meat or an egg. In addition to the lean meat, I also ate lot of beans for protein (one half cup serving size) and heaps of vegetables!
- My snacks: Veggies, veggies veggies! Sometimes a piece of fruit (see below) or a quarter cup of nuts.
My Safe Foods List during Phase One:
- Vegetables: I ate as many veggies as I could on a daily basis. My best food friends were leafy greens (spinach, chard, beet greens, kale, mustard greens, bok choy), cabbage, radishes, endive, cucumber, summer squash, mushrooms, and kohlrabi. I limited starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, to a half cup per meal for lunch and dinner.
- Grains: One half a cup of grain per meal was okay, unless I had a starchy vegetable (eg. sweet potato) with my meal. In this case, I wouldn’t incorporate any grain into the meal.
- Fruits: I only ate apples, berries, grapes, papaya, pears and plums. I limited those to one fruit portion per meal (eg. one apple), or as a snack.
- Nuts: I ate a quarter cup of almonds and walnuts once or twice per day.
- Dairy: I limited my dairy, and tried to only consume whole, raw dairy when possible. Kefir and cottage cheese were good sources of dairy for me during this phase.
- Caffeine: I switched from coffee to green tea.
- Alcohol: I eliminated white wine. Instead, I drank one glass of red wine, once a week.
- Oils: I used only olive oil and limited other oils.
My Secret 24-hour Veggie Fast & Detox Drink:
Once a week I did a 24-hour veggie detox day: All I ate the entire day was vegetables, and I limited those vegetables to non-fat veggies and no nuts. I did a little juicing, but only if they were vegetable juices with very little fruit. If I needed it, I ate a little avocado, olives, or one small potato to make it through the day. In order to avoid monotony, I switched back and forth between raw and lightly steamed veggies, and used vinegar to flavor them.
On these fasting day, at night, around 6 or 7pm, after the full veggie day, I would detoxify with my cleansing Detox Drink of a 8 ounces of grapefruit juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil. The doctor I worked with told me this was a natural liver cleansing drink.
When to Stop Phase 1:
After a few months, my sugar began to drop too low, and I couldn’t go even one hour without eating. When I asked my doctor about this, he said that this meant I was done with the veggie fast! So if you try this diet, be sure to listen to your body and know when enough is enough.
After two months of my phase I diet, my A1C dropped to 7%. A few months after that, it was at 5.8%. I lost a lot of weight really quickly, and my sugars dropped 10 mg/dL per day. I’m happy I am not losing more weight now– my current weight is the weight my body wants to be! My desire for sweets has also diminished, as the diet has changed my palate. My cravings are actually now more in tune with what my body actually needs!
Phase Two (Maintenance Plan)
To be healthy long-term, I had to find a plan that was sustainable. For instance: I love cookies, so I modified my recipes to be diabetes-friendly and added those versions into my repertoire! I now make cookies with nut flours and have adapted some of my favorite recipes to be healthier in other ways. When I do eat sugar, I try to eat it in combination with fat and protein so that my body absorbs the sugar more slowly. I also eat 70% dark chocolate, and I love it! I’ve also recently discovered the varying forms of coconut. I adore them all, so I’ve introduced a lot of coconut into my cooking. Mostly, I have found that stress and sugar are huge contributors to my diabetes. I therefore work towards minimizing stress and limiting sugar– everything in moderation!
Here are some of my favorite low-carb diabetes friendly recipes that will help keep you on track!
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.