Whole Food, Plant-Based: One Month Recap
Tomorrow will be one month since I switched to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. There's no way around the fact that it hasn't been easy. I think though, and not to be ridiculously cliché here, that if I can do it anyone can. Seriously. It has gotten easier as the weeks go by. Much easier. Mainly because the health improvements have been so significant. I'm really amazed at how far I've come in such a short period of time, which is why I've decided to write this post. It's my progress report. A recap of where I was, and where I am now.
Numbers Don't Lie!
Take a look at the numbers below. They're nothing short of amazing! And it only took me a month to get to there!
- Weight: 274.4 lbs
- Fasting Glucose: 246 mg/dL
- Evening Glucose: Unknown
- Blood Pressure: 130/83
- Weight: 251.2 lbs
- Fasting Glucose: 93 mg/dL
- Evening Glucose: 102 mg/dL
- Blood Pressure: 115/68
Sometimes it's easier to visualize data...
I've lost 23.2 lbs since August 10, 2016, and I feel great! As of today, I'm at belt hole number six. I started on three. One more, and I'll need a new belt! I'm wearing pants I haven't been able to wear in years. I feel more confident about my appearance. And the best part: people have noticed. I've still got a ways to go to get where I want to be, but the progress I've already made is inspiring, making it much easier to press on.
This is the number that blows me away. I turned my eating habits on a dime, and it's made a big difference quick! I was shocked when my doctor told me I was diabetic. That shock gave way to fear. Diabetes is no joke, and it's a very serious sign that something needs to change. I was very glad to hear my doctor tell me he believes type 2 diabetes is reversible with lifestyle change. He told me to think of this as a wake-up call.
I was already familiar with the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet and immediately made up my mind to go that route. And it's working! Ha! What do you have to say now diabetes clinic nutritionist lady? Her message, in a nutshell, was that I could eat the same foods I'd been eating, just less carbs, and I'd take meds to control my glucose for the rest of my life. I'd be diabetic for life, she told me, and it's not reversible. My numbers are well outside of the diabetic range now, and it's only been a month! By the way, and I'm not advocating ignoring the advice of doctors, but I never took a single Metformin pill that my doctor prescribed. My blood sugar started coming down so quickly that I was worried about hypoglycemia if I took the pills.
In addition to the measurable health benefits, I've been experiencing vanishing symptoms as well. I've been taking heartburn meds daily for at least ten years. By day nine on a whole food, plant-based diet I stopped taking them daily, and I've only taken two pills since then.
Daily Pills Before...
Daily Pills After...
One down, two to go. I've been taking one form, or another, of blood pressure medication for almost 10 years. The last several years I've been taking two pills a day. My blood pressure numbers right now though are the lowest I've seen them in close to 15 years. I think I'll be getting off of the blood pressure meds sooner rather than later. To be honest, I've been splitting them up for the last week or so, taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Otherwise, I've been experiencing a lot of dizziness.
No More Headaches
Beginning last year, I was getting debilitating headaches. I'm not sure if they were migraines, or something else. They seemed to be associated with nerve pain running up my neck and into the back of my head. They were so severe, at times, that I wound up in the ER last year. I thought I was having a stroke. I was dizzy. I couldn't see straight. The pain was unbearable. All the tests and scans were good. There was nothing obvious causing them.
For a while I was getting these headaches on a daily basis, taking ibuprofen and prescription medications to make the pain bearable. They started to taper off over the last several months to the point that they were only occurring once or twice a week. I'd seen my doctor about them, and he referred me to a neurologist. The best they were able to do were pills. I'm happy to report now that I haven't experienced a single one of these headaches since I changed my diet. That, in and of itself, is miraculous to me. There's a chance it's a coincidence, I supposed, but I'm inclined to believe it's directly related.
Stomach Aches and Pains
Along with heartburn, I've suffered from what I believed to be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for a few years now. I'd get regular stomach aches and cramps mainly when I'd eat spicy foods. Unfortunately for me, I love spicy foods. I discussed it with my doctor, and he referred me to a gastroenterologist. I really didn't like the prospect of being "scoped" though, and was never able to bring myself to get it done. As with the headaches, the stomach aches and pains have all but disappeared. I think this can be largely attributed to the fact that I've been eating less spicy and greasy food. It's a welcomed side effect of a WFPB diet.
Dry Mouth and Thirst
Among the first symptoms to disappear, literally overnight, were those associated with diabetes: dry mouth and unquenchable thirst. I had been drinking massive amounts of water, and waking up several times a night to urinate. That went on for months. I thought it was because it was summer, I sweat a lot, and I'm on a diuretic for blood pressure control. Turns out it was more likely due to the fact that my blood sugar was so high. Your body tries to use water to flush the excess glucose out in your urine. This winds up causing thirst and increased urination frequency. Those symptoms stopped within a day of switching my diet.
A quick recap of the benefits I've experienced from switching to a WFPB diet over the past month:
- Lost 23.2 lbs
- Blood glucose down to 92 mg/dL
- Blood pressure down
- No more heartburn
- No more headaches
- No more stomach aches/pains
- Dry mouth gone
- No more excessive thirst
As I've already said, it hasn't been easy. But it has been amazing to witness the power of plant food to enable the body to heal itself. I'd read so much about WFPB nutrition, but I never had the motivation to change. Finding out I was diabetic was pretty motivating. I feel so good I can't imagine going back to eating like I used to. I'm proof that nutritional excellence has immediate, and powerful effects.