My journey started in 2016, when I had severe discomfort in my stomach that I later learned was an ulcer. I also had vision loss and nerve damage in my hand. The real discovery was when I was told the cause was advanced type 2 diabetes.
It happens. You stepped off the diet that's helping you manage your diabetes. Now it's time to get back on track.
The sooner you do that, the better -- for your health and your peace of mind. These simple strategies can help you get right back on track with healthy eating.
For a brief moment, I said to myself, “Well, this was coming. When you get to a certain age, you get diabetes or heart disease.” Then I said, “No, I'm not surrendering. I'm going to at least have a good fight”
Going in Reverse
It was a wake-up call. Instead of hitting the snooze button, I got up. I shifted everything I knew as normal and tried to reverse it.
I Googled “how to reverse diabetes” and came up with a lot of information. I reached out to an amazing doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, who told me how eating the right foods would impact my health and potentially reverse my diabetes. I immediately worked toward a whole food, plant-based diet. Three weeks later, my vision returned. Three months later, my diabetes went into remission and the nerve damage in my hands and feet went away.
It was a challenge. I was battling 56 years of eating a certain way: fast food, junk food, fried food, processed food, sugar. I had to change my mindset. Instead of thinking about what I couldn’t have, I looked at foods I’d never even thought about.
A Learning Experience
I learned how to cook, one meal at a time, trying different spices and recipes. I started cooking with cumin, turmeric, oregano, garlic, paprika. I learned how to make cheese out of chickpeas, nutritional yeast, and a few spices. I was a gourmet ice cream guy. I used to put away a pint of it. So, I learned how to make my own ice cream with three ingredients: freshly made peanut butter, cacao powder, and a frozen banana.
Then I started going into the local bodegas and stores with my eyes open. I discovered lentils and dried beans and learned how to make soups and burgers with them. I built a meal repertoire.