My Journey Toward Self-Acceptance With Type 2 Diabetes
By Eric Adams, as told to Kara Mayer Robinson
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.
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How do you get all the nutrition you need in a day while still being mindful of calories and carbs? The secret is to plan ahead.
Meal planning depends on lots of things, like your taste preferences, medications, and activity level, says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, CDE, author of DiabetesWeight Loss — Week by Week.
But good general advice to follow is to keep your carbs consistent — eat the same amount at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keep blood sugar from spiking or dipping too low. Weisenberger…
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.