Epiphany of Inclusivity

I don’t know when exactly it was or specifically how it came about that I came to a realization that Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics needed to be inclusive. In the beginning, I would get frustrated when my friend Claudia would post vegan recipes that were high-carb low-fat, in direct opposition to the low-carb, high-fat protocol I was attempting to recommend. But I didn’t tell her not to post them, like other low-carb diabetic groups might have done. In fact, I learned very early on about Facebook group etiquette. First of all, you had better read the Group Description and make a point of understanding what the group is all about. And then you do not, I mean do not, ever break those rules by posting anything that doesn’t agree with them! That’s how you learn what the group is all about and the premise for their beliefs. Oh, sure, you can ask questions and someone is sure to give you an answer. It’s sort of like joining a church or a Sabbath school class. I learned that in the Reversing Diabetes group you don’t ever say that, when you have a headache, eating a slice of whole wheat bread makes it go away. In the NEWSTART® Insights group, you don’t ever say that you think coconut oil is healthy or ask why you can’t eat mushrooms. I determined that I did not want Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics to be like that!

I didn’t come to this realization, however, before I discovered that some of the group members had left the group because they didn’t agree with the low-carb high-fat regime I was promoting. It was too late for me to tell them that it was okay that they didn’t agree with me. I began inviting group members with a different perspective to post links to articles and recipes that were in disagreement with the ones I was posting. At first, no one did. Except Claudia. Then Tom started talking more about being vegan. I made it a point to try to provide vegan alternatives to ingredients in recipes that were not vegan, and vegetarian options for ingredients in the non-vegetarian recipes. Sometimes I would comment that I would use almond meal instead of bread crumbs or olive oil instead of canola oil and would explain why. Whenever recipes were posted by anyone, I usually ran the ingredients through the MyFitnessPal recipe analyzer to get the calories, carbs, fat, protein, and fiber per serving. And I did the same for products by finding their Nutrition Information. And then, based on the results, I would comment on whether the recipe fit the criteria for low-carb high-fat, ADA-compliance, or high-carb low-fat vegan. Sometimes the product or recipe failed to fail into any specified criteria. Oh, well.

I reviewed our Group Description again. “The purpose of this group is to provide support, encouragement, affirmation, and information…” I started by including Type 1, Type 2, pre-diabetics, ex-diabetics, and recovering diabetics, though I am most familiar with Type 2. And I went on to include people who are not even diabetic but who may have a diabetic family member, or someone who wants to avoid diabetes, or even those who just want to find good recipes! When I got requests to join the group from people who weren’t Adventists (or never had been), I didn’t want to exclude them either, as long as they understood the Adventist position on what meats were not acceptable. And even among Adventists I knew that some eat meat and some don’t and some are what my grandmother used to call “strict vegetarians”—no dairy or eggs—long before the popularity of the term “vegan.”

what-is-right-for-youThe more I have tested recipes and experimented with my own nutritional protocol, the more I am convinced that low-carb high-fat is right for me. Still, I can’t argue with the success stories that are being reported in high-carb low-fat vegan groups. It’s sort of like how, even though I might believe in literal six-day creationism, I cannot argue with the logic of a theistic evolutionist. What they say could be possible. And what the creationists say could be possible, as well. I wanted to practice the concept of it being more important to be kind than to be “right.” So I am in a ongoing process of collecting success stories from all approaches and, in some cases, “failure stories.” I am reasonably certain that anyone who is not able to reverse or even control their diabetes with their chosen protocol will be told in no uncertain terms from the proponents of that protocol that they failed to do everything required. Someone who fails at low-carb high-fat will be told they didn’t reduce their carb intake enough and/or didn’t eat enough fat. If they fail at a high-carb low-fat vegan program, they will be told that they ate too much fat or didn’t walk the required 10,000 steps (aka 5 miles) a day. However, someone following the ADA recommended guidelines for diabetics will not be told that they failed but that diabetes is a progressive disease and they will eventually have to increase their prescribed medications, go on (or increase) insulin, or both. And, beyond that, well, they may be prescribed something for foot pain due to neuropathy, or have eye surgery, or—at its worst—have to have a liver or kidney transplant.

Still, no matter what approach to diabetes management one takes—or maybe more so if they don’t manage their diabetes at all—every diabetic needs some level of support, encouragement, affirmation, and information. So please be assured that, whatever your goals are and whatever path you take to reach those goals, Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics will support and encourage you, will empathize with your struggles, and will rejoice with your successes, whether big or small. We will try to provide you with information, sometimes conventional wisdom and sometimes “present truth” (the most recent and credible findings available). Admittedly, I personally will undoubtedly post freely and frequently about low-carb high-fat stuff (because that’s what is working for me right now), but I also encourage anyone who wants to post about high-carb low-fat vegan—or anything inbetween—to do so. And the most valuable of all are your experiences—your stories of both success and failure and trying again. And again and again. And never giving up!

Thanks to all of you for just being here, for collectively being in this virtual room together, whether or not you post frequently or at all. Whether all you do is read and “Like” or whether you stay silent and I never really know quite what you’re thinking. I know you’re here because you feel a common bond with the rest of us, because you seek the community of other current or former Adventist vegetarians, non-vegetarians, or vegans who are wanting to be or stay non-diabetic for yourself and your loved ones. And even if you never join the group but are content to just read what I post (after all, this is a Public Group), that’s fine, too. Because, for that moment in time, you are connecting with a vast, understanding Adventist Vegetarian Diabetic family.

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