These are candid conversations that took place in some of the Facebook groups have been in. Unlike many sites where the “success stories” have been carefully filtered toward a particular bias, I have presented them exactly as they were written (but with any identifying information redacted and copy edited for grammar and syntax). You can draw your own conclusions.
The following represent groups that were not specifically for diabetics but discussed related topics:
From a Seventh-day Adventist recipe group:
Me: I would like to ask if there is anyone in this group with Type 2 diabetes who has been successful in reversing diabetes, getting off insulin and diabetes pills, by eating a vegan diet.
DB: My father had this. He cut out all sugar, simple sugars, and only ate complex carbohydrates and walked a lot. He is not vegan though. Just cutting out all sugars and staying away from breads, pastas, and so on he lost all of his extra weight and is no longer diabetic. This has been for 6 years now.
DR: Yes, my dad did, too, by cutting out sugar, processed carbs, and going vegan. He has since gone back to eating meat but the diabetes is still gone.
Me: Great testimonials! Sounds like they both cut way back on carbs but needed to have meat and/or animal products in their diets to maintain a reversal of diabetes symptoms. Kudos to your dads!
From a Rosedale Health Plan group:
DC: My wife overcame gestational diabetes 6 years ago by following the Rosedale Diet. Baby was born normal weight while other mothers from the diabetes class we were told to attend were pre-booking C-sections. My wife lost weight throughout her pregnancy and her obstetrician was supportive.
KS: My journey began mid-June 2012, age 62 years, my highest weight 250 lbs., sporting a 42-inch waist, having liver problems, having T2 diabetes problems, having high blood pressure problems (25+ years), having problems with neuropathy, both legs and it was getting worse. January 2015: age 65 years, weighing 140-145 lbs., sporting a 30-inch waist, no more liver problems, no more problems with T2 diabetes (I am off 2 different meds and 2 different injections, which I was doing in same day), off 2 channel blockers, off 2 ace inhibitors, off 1 diuretic for high blood pressure, which I was taking same day. At one time doctor had me trying a beta blocker along with other meds (that did not work either), leg neuropathy is gone, I actually have hair regrowing where it hadn’t been in years. I used to catch flu/cold all the time, had bad sinus problems but for over 2 years now I have been flu/cold and sinus problems free. I had gotten to the point that I could not breathe, my blood pressure was never brought under control (average pressure ran 170s to 210 / 90s to 128). Dr. Ron’s Health Plan/Diet has been a life saver indeed.
From a NEWSTART group (not exclusively diabetic):
BW: I attended the Classic program this February and it was life changing for me. I was pre-diabetic (which is really diabetic, just not medicated), heading for medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. I topped the scales here before I left for the program at 311 and I was in so much pain with bad knees and bad left ankle that I didn’t do any exercise and I had really lost all hope. I have been on anti-depressants for 4-5 years and I just couldn’t see how anything was ever going to change…. To date I have lost 39 lbs, dropped my cholesterol to normal range, my AC1 is now 5.3, and my blood pressure has been normal every time the doctors have taken it. What also excited my doctor was my iron level. I was on over-the-counter iron, 45 mg a day. I am no longer on that; taking blackstrap molasses instead and my iron was rock steady. My knees still give me issues from time to time, but I figure 51 years of mistreatment don’t go away overnight. I think the biggest obstacle was myself, but I got some great advice from R.G. right before we left. I changed my attitude and have been going pretty strong ever since. Second biggest challenge is not forgetting the T in NEWSTART® stands for Temperance. Temperance in all things, including not working all the time. Doing a lot better with that now, but every now and then I can use reminders from friends! Good news? Yes, my doctor is starting to wean me off the anti-depressants! Don’t hesitate to follow me on Facebook as I have goals set for myself that I really feel that God wants me to share. At 50 lbs weight loss I will update my photo and will then choose the next goal.
RG: I have reversed my diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. I’m Italian and ate everything under the sun and drank the finest wine I could afford. I also had a Big Mac now and then with lots of fries, ate lots of sweets, etc. I did not exercise much at all. The biggest change was stop eating meats, chicken, and fish, stop the alcohol, and start being vegan, and walking which was a new concept to me. NEWSTART is not just a place where I work; it’s a place at Weimar Center of Health and Education, where I attended the 18 day program in August 2005. I have lost 95 lbs, reversed my diabetes in three days, dropped my blood pressure (BP) from 190/95 to 110/70, stopped drinking alcohol, reversed my insomnia, got off all meds, rid myself of sleep apnea, and more. What’s most important, I was baptized 3 months later. NEWSTART is where I found Jesus. I do not suffer from depression after going through the NEWSTART program. Amazing. My blood glucose was below 100 from that point on and I was off diabetes meds and have been off since. When I had blood drawn, my A1C was 4.9. To be sure, I remember my A1C below 5 because it was a goal; however, I don’t remember how long it took. I do remember the third morning of the program and my blood sugar dropping below 100. It had been dropping each morning from the beginning and then in a total of six days my blood pressure was extremely low and I was taken off two blood pressure meds. I can recall days of BP 210/105 and I was on BP meds. Then after six days at NEWSTART my BP was normal. Let me make a point here. I was an alcoholic that stopped drinking. Does it mean I’m not the same? No, I’m still an alcoholic but don’t drink. I liken diabetes in the same way. I am still a diabetic without diabetes. I would venture to say if I returned to my previous lifestyle I would be a full-blown diabetic once again. So, that being said, I am committed to a vegan lifestyle.
MD: I’m diabetic; however, it’s under control. I was in the 21-day program in 2011 and greatly benefited from the program. I could use a refresher; however, time, distance, and costs play a great factor. A1C was 5.6 last testing, need to get it lower. It was 14.x before I started using the NEWSTART® principles.
EP: Yes, I am diabetic. After two months now on the program and walking after every meal my numbers are consistently from 95 to 110 max [this was in answer to my question about her 2-hour post-prandial numbers]. I wasn’t able to walk right after my lunch today and it went up for the first time to 175. [This was after a very high-carb breakfast.] Walking is my medicine. I get in about 5, sometimes 6, miles a day. Always over 10,000 steps. I have to say the only thing that has gotten worse since I started this program is my pain from the fibromyalgia and injured lower back. I believe I was trying to walk to fast. My fast is not that fast. I started walking slower yesterday to see if it would help and it has a bit. But still in much pain and my upper thigh is numbing. I will have to see the doctor about it. What amazes me is that every day I’m still able to get up and do it all over again. So perhaps the water and good nutrients are getting me through the pain. I am praying as I lose more weight it will get better. I am so thankful to the Lord and to NEWSTART for starting me on this journey. It was a lifesaver. My A1C is in the normal limits. I take my blood sugar once a week or so, and it is running from 84 to 90. When I left Weimar I had lost about 7 to 10 pounds. I can’t remember now. But I am happy to say I have lost 40 lbs so far. It would go faster if I wasn’t in the kitchen as much creating and tasting, but I am happy with slow weight loss. I am still sticking to the program. Walking after most meals. Getting sunshine, and every once in a while I get off my schedule, like this evening, and go to bed later than 10 pm. But most evenings I am in bed at 10.
Update: When I started walking I was doing my best 10,000 steps and a bit more but because I had a back injury I should have been more thoughtful about going from 0 to 60. I ended up in physical therapy. Although the doctors were amazed i was doing so well they advised on taking it slower. So I have pulled back to walking more times a day and slower, just like Dr. Lukens said in the first place. I probably get in more like 3 to 4 miles a day. My body is happier about that. I still have not had a pain-free day but my body is filled with the right kind of nutrition now and I am able to deal with the pain without meds. I praise God.
JD: I went to the 18-day program in November/Decmeber 2011 and I had the same results. I kept up with the vegan diet and exercise for six months and did not have to take any diabetic medication. However, due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to continue with the exercises, then I didn’t have time to cook the vegan food from scratch, so I have gone off the program somewhat and I am struggling to get back on it. I cannot afford to go back to Weimar. I am now on insulin and it made me gain back 35 lbs. I was my high school weight two years ago. Please pray that I get back to following the program all the way. I felt so healthy and now I don’t feel that good anymore. Update: [Testimonial, February 2017]
From miscellaneous other Facebook posts:
CJ: My parents did the St Helena Hospital TakeTEN program. It seemed to reverse my stepdad’s diabetes, but they didn’t stay on the program afterward and so he’s back on insulin.
MM: In 2010, I saw Dr. Barnard on a PBS special talking about reversing diabetes with a vegan diet. I read his book and called his office. They referred me to Drs. Pulde and Lederman. I worked with Dr. Pulde starting in April 2010. My HA1C went from 8.6 to 6.4 in about 4 months, and has continued to drop. It’s currently 4.4. I had been on a variety of drugs over the years, but none worked. Never took insulin, though I’m sure I was headed that way. Metformin, Avandia (pulled from the market), a couple of others. Drs. McDougall/Puld/Lederman, etc. generally stop or quickly reduce all meds but insulin when people start this plan. Insulin dosages usually drop very quickly. NO oils of any kind. Avocados and nuts very limited or best avoided if reversing disease or losing weight. Same with flours (all). Sweetening with maple, dates, etc. is ok. Sugar in very small amounts added after cooking to top of food; same with salt. A little coconut (not oil) occasionally won’t hurt. I generally avoid flours and eat oats, grains, and sweet potatoes for starches. Rarely bread and I’m sensitive to nightshades so generally no potatoes. It was fairly easy for me. I was already vegan and had been vegetarian since age 12. Still a fair amount of adjustment but not like someone coming from SAD [standard American diet]. I also dropped 20 lbs. over the 4-month period.
JM (reporting about her husband): My husband is a long-term Type II diabetic who became unresponsive to all medications after nearly dropping dead last April. He’s also congestive heart failure. [sic] His blood sugar was under control with a minimum of meds when he tried to drop dead from undiagnosed heart disease. His A1C was good. During the heart crisis, he had a cortisol event. His body knew he was dying and sent his blood sugar through the roof in the ancient response to fight or flight. The hospital could not bring down his blood sugar even with insulin. They sent us home and said carry on as before. We did. Ten days later, he went into congestive heart failure. Thankfully, this way of eating has pretty much reversed the worst of the congestive heart failure issues and is not only dropping his blood sugar but has allowed him to become responsive once more. The docs are estimating he will be off all Type II medications sometime this spring. The high-carb low-fat description does not capture this way of eating. The emphasis is on no oil—a very essential point. Whole foods—stay away from processed as much as possible or choose minimally processed. Plant-based. Absolutely no animal products.
SH: I was on 2000 mg metformin a day and my morning fasting was around 150. Lipids and HbA1c were all out of whack. Plus I have a weak heart with arrhythmia and anxiety. Training with a personal trainer in the gym doing functional training, strength training, and weight lifting for 5 month got me off all medication with greatly improved lipid profile and lower HbA1c level. I have had type 2 for around 5 yrs now and doc said that now there is nothing to worry about. I look more than 10 yrs younger than my pic from 7 yrs ago and never felt better. All other problems are gone as well. So I say exercise, that include weight and strength training with a really good trainer, is the key.
JR: I would recommend you see a holistic nutritionist at least once. They can tell you exactly what your body needs and how to achieve this. I was diagnosed with myeloma almost 4 years ago. I have never had chemo or radiation. My labwork is very good and continues to reverse to normal. For my body and my illness, I follow a mainly raw vegetarian ketogenic diet with no dairy, no gluten, and no wheat products. My protein, iron, blood sugars maintain balance. Pretty neat!
KP: After speaking with a nutritionist, I now count my carbs. It is much easier than I thought it would be. But in just a few weeks my blood sugar average went from 280 to 120!! At first I felt a little bad because of the sudden drop. Didn’t take long and I began feeling better than I had in years. And—I’ve lost about 40 unwanted pounds!