5 Months on a Plant Based Diet

What happened next…

Dr. Neil BarnardAfter hearing Dr. Neil Barnard speak in October about following a plant based diet, (pretty much vegan: no meat, no eggs, no dairy) I jumped in feet first. I bought his book and began devouring it over and over. I SO wanted to believe that Diabetes could be reversed.

Well, guess what? It’s happening. After only 5 months my cholesterol has come down and my A1C has come down from 6.6 to 6.2! I can only hope and assume that the longer I adhere to this lifestyle, the better it will get. No, it isn’t easy but I believe it’s worth the effort. Beans and rice, beans and rice!! Granted, I’m still on Metformin, so we’ll see what happens next…

Vegan Tofu No Egg Salad

Vegan Tofu No Egg Salad

(This tastes similar to real egg salad)

1. Start by browning firm tofu and then chopping it up into tiny pieces.Vegan Tofu No Egg Salad

2. Add your typical egg salad ingredients, mayo, onion and celery. Then have some fun and customize to your taste by adding mix ins of your choice. Mine has (Vegan Earth Balance) mayo, onion, celery, carrots, Kalamata olives and sunflower seeds)

Other ideas might be some paprika, mustard, red pepper flakes, dill, lemon juice, parsley, green olives or chopped pickles.

Vegan Tofu No Egg Salad

Coconut Oil and Diabetes

According to Eating Well, it’s actually a draw as to the health benefits or evils of both butter and coconut oil.
Read: http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/this_or_that_butter_vs_coconut_oil

From Eating Well:

“Until more is known, you’re better off replacing your butter and coconut oil with heart­smart unsaturated fats, such as olive and canola oils. Per tablespoon, olive oil contains 119 calories and 13.5 grams of total fat, of which only 1 is saturated; canola oil contains 124 calories and 14 grams of total fat and 1 gram is saturated.”


For me my focus is on reversing my Diabetes if possible. For now that means no animal products, so butter is not an option. The jury is still out in my mind as to how coconut oil fits into my diet. Some say it’s bad, others say it helps to control blood sugar.


If you’d like to read more on coconut oil in relation to Diabetes see these sites below:

Fact sheet from Food Insight: http://www.foodinsight.org/CoconutOilAndHealth
“Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease and limiting your saturated fat can help lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.”


Coconut oil is not a cure­all. Research supporting claims of its role in preventing, reducing risk for, or curing HIV/AIDS, diabetes, thyroid disease, or Alzheimer’s disease is sparse or non­existent. There is little evidence to suggest it has a significant effect on inflammation or bacterial infection when consumed in food. And the pre­clinical research in cancer is mixed. Considerable research is needed to determine whether such claims may one day be substantiated. Further research may also help to clarify the potentially beneficial effect of coconut oil on HDL cholesterol levels and waist circumference.

In order to reduce cardiovascular disease risk through diet, it will be necessary to determine the appropriate balance of dietary fatty acids that will favorably affect a range of cardiovascular risk factors. It is possible to include coconut oil in a healthful diet. Rather than focus on the saturated fat content of this single food ingredient, it is important to acknowledge that coconut oil contains a blend of fatty acids and other nutrients. It should not replace a significant amount of other plant oils in the diet. Those who enjoy the flavor of coconut oil may consider using it in place of butter or shortening, or paired with other cooking oils.

Coconut oil can be one of a wide variety of plant­based foods that are included to support health and wellness, keeping in mind that only small amounts should be consumed.

From Niulife: https://www.niulife.com/health/coconut­oil­and­diabetes

Coconut Oil and Diabetes

Diabetes is becoming widespread with rising sugar consumption and obesity. Coconut’s unique properties go a long way in helping maintain health in people with diabetes. Besides lowering blood sugars, in some cases, coconut has completely reversed symptoms of type 2 diabetes with only 2­3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. Coconut can help relieve, and in some instances completely stop neuropathy; it can improve circulation and restore feeling to limbs where numbness has set in. It can improve blood sugar regulation and eliminate hunger and cravings. Coconut sugar is also a low Glycaemic Index sweetening option and fibre richcoconut flour effectively reduces the GI of foods in which it is used.

Diet in Transition

As I transition into a plant based lifestyle, here are some things I’ve had to ponder:

Traditional Food Replacements:

Meat, Fish, Dairy: Tofu Hot Dogs

I shamelessly admit that I’ve always loved a good hot dog! Although the texture is softer, these tofu hot dogs taste remarkably similar to the real thing. When piled high with mustard, ketchup or jalapeños, they satisfy. Some brands even have no carbs at all (good for diabetics). As for regular tofu, I’m still working on that one! It’s the texture!

Vegan Hot Dogs

Eggs: 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed in 3 Tbsp water = 1 egg

There are many replacements for eggs that I haven’t tried yet but flaxmeal has been my most successful replacement for baking. After letting the mixture sit for a minute, it thickens right up to the consistency of an egg. Trust me, it works.
As for crumbling tofu to mimic scrambled eggs, as I said above, ew!

Milk: Almond Milk (my personal favorite)

There are many varieties and flavors of non-dairy milks that are made from soy (for my husband who is allergic to nuts), rice, etc. I’ve never really liked cow’s milk anyway so this was no biggie for me.

Cheese: This one is rough!

Just like milk, there are many substitutes for cheese, however, I have not found them to be very tasty. Like the soy hot dogs, the sliced cheese versions are ok on a sandwich if you’re adding condiments. Nutritional yeast is the vegan go-to for adding a cheese-like flavor to dishes, usually along with soaked cashews to make a cheese sauce. I haven’t been too crazy about this.

Sugar, Honey: Apple sauce, Dates or Raisons, Frozen Fruits

I am currently experimenting with different sweet recipes that use these alternative “diabetic friendly” ingredients without the use of sugar or artificial sugars. Artificial sugars are not a healthy alternative and honey is still sugar to a diabetic. According to some, it’s possible to stop craving sweets and carbs that also turn into sugar. Really??

Butter, Fats & Oils: Vegetable stock, Wine, Water, Vinegar

I make vegetable stock all the time for making soups and don’t miss chicken broth at all. Chicken is another story! No one said it was going to be easy!

Blended tofu with a squeeze of lemon juice can be used in place of sour cream or mayo.

Prune paste can be used in place of fats and oils when baking sweets.
*Process 1 cup prunes + 1/2 cup water
Sub 1/3 of the amount of paste for the amount of oil.
Evidently prune paste holds moisture better than banana, pumpkin and
other fruits in recipes. Applesauce adds moisture.

Other than applesauce I haven’t experimented with any other alternatives yet.

High Morning Fasting Numbers

Rooster Good MorningMy blood glucose readings seem to be all over the place and it is so frustrating, even being on Metformin, to get to reasonable numbers. Morning fasting numbers have been inconsistent at best, 80’s & 90’s for a week or so then up in the 120’s.

This is what I’ve read on Diabetic Living about this phenomenon :

“Overnight, the liver and muscles get the message from excess glucagon to ramp up the glucose supply because the person is sleeping, not eating,” says Marty Irons, R.Ph., CDE. “There is not enough GLP­1, insulin, or amylin hormones to stem the tide of excess glucose from the liver and muscles, essentially throwing this feedback loop out of whack.”

High fasting blood sugar levels, particularly in the earlier years of type 2 diabetes, result from this hormonal imbalance. Evening meals and snacks may get the blame for morning highs, but hormones are the likely cause.” I have been drinking my shot of apple cider vinegar before bed and waking up at 4 or 5am to drink about 4oz. of almond milk to offset this happening but honestly I don’t think it is working. I’ve read that I should have a protein/carb snack before bed but most of the time I don’t eat until 8pm and bedtime is not much later and I’m so not hungry! What to do, what to do! Next I will try taking the Metformin before bed instead of my usual 7pm time. We shall see.

My bottom line: I want to reverse Diabetes! Can it be done? I don’t know.

Plant Based Nutrition Lifestyle

Tuscan Fall Fruits

Photo by Mollie Pritchett Photography & Web Design

As you know I am following a plant based nutrition lifestyle. (diet implies a certain length of time until it’s done) I am committed to doing this even though my mind has not yet accepted the idea. My husband and I have given ourselves one cheat day/month. Today was it_a fried fish sandwich at The Original Oyster House (Best fish sandwich in Pittsburgh) Fish=meat, mayo=dairy, fried=saturated fat, 1/2 white bun=bad carbs OH BOY!

OH BOY was it good! Otherwise we have been 99.9% plant based so, good for me.

I started down this path after seeing the movie, Forks Over Knives, where researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal­based to plant­based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes. I liked the sound of that, I absolutely hate taking Metformin! Then I went to a vegan festival and heard Dr. Neil Barnard speak and reiterate the same idea. I bought his book, Dr. Neil Barnard’s program for reversing Diabetes (It can be found on Amazon but what can’t, really!). I’m one of those people who has to read something a thousand times to really absorb it, but it is fascinating to read.

My bottom line: I want to reverse Diabetes! Can it be done? I don’t know.

Earth Balance Product Review

Products I recommend:

I guess I’m still in that phase of trying to reproduce the flavors I’m used to and grew up with, (i.e. butter and mayonnaise) So that admitted, I love these two Earth Balance products. They come very close to tasting like real butter and mayo. They are available at Whole Foods and are a bit pricey however I am not buying meat, eggs and cheese these days so I allow myself to buy these other items.

Earth Balance Reviews

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


Hello, my name is Bonnie and I’m a chocoholic!! This is a big problem for me as a diabetic because most chocolatey and ooey gooey desserts are packed with white death (oops, I meant sugar!). I was skeptical at first when I came across this recipe on runningwithspoons.com. Zucchini muffins? But, as my chocolate cravings grew I decided to give these cocoa vegetable treats a try. (more…)

5 Reasons to eat Black Rice

Just the facts:

  • 1. AMAZING, DELICIOUS and there are only 12 carbs in an 8 oz serving. And more importantly, so far unlike any other rice or pasta I have not found it to raise my blood glucose when eating a 1/2 cup portion. YAY!
  • 2. Decent amount of fiber.
  • 3. Low sugar.
  • 4. Low cholesterol.
  • 5. And let’s face it…YUM! Virtually guilt free!

Black Rice
Black rice nutrition facts

Yes, the Chinese Market store has been in my neighborhood for who knows how long. I just never considered it until I started changing the way I eat. So, with this new plant based (not quite vegan) diet came new ingredients to try and that’s when I discovered this rice. It is now a staple in my pantry.

When I need a quick and healthy meal I fall back on one of my favorites_stuffed peppers.

Stuffed Peppers with Black Rice

The Forbidden Rice: Black Rice Nutrition & Benefits