Saturday, 17 August 2013

Changing our way of eating

Almost 3 months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes. He also had high cholesterol, which was diagnosed a few years ago, but he had given up taking tablets for it, as he felt they gave him muscular problems and interfered with his memory.

He works away from home most of the time, so I can't control the meals, but I know he didn't eat unhealthily - he cooks well, eats no fried food, no burgers or take-away's... but he was slightly overweight, not exercising, was fond of skipping breakfast and lately his lunch consisted of 4 or 5 pieces of fruit only, with his main big meal being dinner!

He didn't have any of the usual signs of diabetes like thirst or frequent urination, but luckily he had his yearly work medical and it was spotted, and he was asked to consult his Doctor.
The Doctor sent him to a Nutritionist and then he will have to return 3 months later for a review.
The Nutritionist recommended he did not miss breakfast of course, and that he eat wholewheat foods - bread, brown rice, eat more veggies, and exercise more even if just a walk or bike ride every day. 
I was disappointed with the advice, as I couldn't see that changing from eating white rice or white bread to the wholewheat version was going to make that much of a difference...

According to Dr William Davis who wrote "The Wheat Belly", 2 slices of wholewheat bread can increase your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of pure sugar!!

A healthy Paleo meal (photo from net)
But from the time my husband told me about the diabetes diagnosis, and while waiting for his test results and an appointment with the Nutritionist a couple of weeks later, I started investigating other dieting options.

I am not a hypochondriac, but working in a medical clinic, I have always been interested in finding ways to be healthy without  medication. As much as I admire Doctors and what they do, I do feel that they rather give out medication, instead of finding out what exactly the patient eats and drinks, etc. I suppose the fact that they don't study nutrition could be a hindrance. I believe in treating the cause, not the condition!

I am quite proud to say, that at my age I do not take any medication and apart from occasional back pain due to bad posture and too much sitting, I do not suffer from any other health related issues and even my Doctor says I'm too healthy for my age!

A couple of years ago after a bout of stomach problems, constant bloating and reflux, a test showed I had the H.Pylori bacteria. An antibiotic treatment made me feel better, but 2 or 3 months later I was again experiencing the same symptoms. I went to a nutritionist who put me on an gluten free diet, and I can say that just days later I felt better and the reflux was gone. The bloating and sometimes nausea returns if I overdo on the gluten, such as at times when I eat out...

A few months ago while searching for a recipe to use eggplant, I had came across a blog -, where the writer changed to a grain free diet, and she claimed to have lost a lot of weight in the year she had been eating that way, so I started investigating this way of eating.  
Of course convincing my husband that he should give up grains and other things he loves was not easy, so I had to come up with concrete evidence that a grain free diet would be the best for him.

This is where the next blogs came in with handy information -                                    

Maria is a nutritionist and she gives us healthy versions of recipes and the why her version if better for you - 
Through her blog I found Dr William Davis' blog - (he is a cardiologist who also advocates wheat free) and then Dr Loren Cordain's blog -
I bought one of Dr Cordain's books - "The Paleo Answer - 7 days to lose weight, feel great, stay young".
I loved reading it and have learned a lot about the do's and don'ts of this lifestyle - not a diet, but truly a change in your way of eating for life.
Just like Maria, Dr Cordain's also endorses a "grain free, high healthy fat, no starch diet".

The Paleo diet is based on what our Paleolithic ancestors ate - MEAT, FISH, VEGETABLES, FRUIT, NUTS, EGGS and of course the modern version of healthful food. So nothing that comes from a pack or frozen food. NO COUNTING CALORIES, which is great.
I am happy to say that almost 3 months later, my husband has lost 9 kgs (20 pounds), even though he doesn't follow it religiously, and I lost 2,5 kgs (5.5 pounds). He misses his rice, so he can't help but eat it a couple of days a week, but has given up sugar almost completely! 
He is quite happy with the weight loss and last time he was home he was thrilled when he managed to fit into his "thin wardrobe" that was packed away in the spare room.
For me the transition from Gluten-free to Grain free was made with no problems.

Best of all, his sugar levels have dropped to half of what he had. He will soon see his Doctor to repeat the cholesterol and diabetes tests, so I hope the cholesterol has also dropped.

I have found so many interesting blogs with Paleo recipes, and have been experimenting.
If I like a recipe, I print it out and file in my Paleo file in the kitchen for future reference.
I have to say, I have eaten some great food, desserts and all, and feel more energetic. 

Have you heard of the Paleo diet and what is our opinion on this way of eating?
Once in a while I will start posting some of my favourite Paleo recipes.

Have a great weekend.

Paleo diet food pyramid (photo from net)


  1. Cada vez mais temos que nos preocupar com a alimentação, a quantidade de porcarias que temos como oferta nos supermercados é assustadora! Lamento saber da diabetes do seu marido, mas com uma dieta equilibrada, tudo irá correr bem.

  2. Glad you're enjoying the Paleo lifestyle!

    Two things: cholesterol might go up for a while eating this way. Your body actually needs cholesterol to heal the damage that malnutrition does, so the number might go up during the healing process. You'll want to have the doctor test his LDL particle size to make sure he has the larger particles that are not harmful. Also, looking at HDL and triglycerides is really important too. Great book on subject is Jonny Bowden's The Great Cholesterol Myth.

    Also, if your husband likes white rice, there's good new and bad news. First, you'll want to read The Perfect Health Diet, by Drs. Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet. It's a Paleo diet that includes white potatoes and white rice. Second, there are concerns about rice (brown more so than white) being contaminated with arsenic. So, as with any other food, moderation is key. More info here:

    I hope that helps. Keep reading and connecting the dots!

  3. Thanks Dawn for the information.
    I will pass on the message, so my husband can request these tests at his next visit.
    I have the book "Cholesterol - the real truth by Dr Sandra Cabot", which is also quite informative, and she is also in favour of good nutrition rather than drugs.

  4. Obrigada J.M. Realmente o que se come agora e practicamente tudo contaminado com quimicos, etc. Nada como ter uma horta caseira e se poder comer alimentos naturais!

  5. Everything reverse, ha ha ha,

  6. I have a neighbour with diabetes. He isn't taking any pills or insulin even though he previously did. He is very careful with his diet, stays away from carbs and fruits. The only potato he eats is a sweet or yams and he exercises a lot. In the summer he is kayaking and taking long walks, in the winter he skijorns (sp.?)with his dogs. He is in his seventies.

  7. Hi Sami,
    I also have type 2 diabetes, and find that I do need some grains to keep my blood sugars stable. I go for low glycemic and have just a little at each meal. I also find that lentils are great - are those allowed?

  8. Evalina - yes sweet potatoes or yams are allowed in the Paleo diet, but not normal potatoes.

  9. Gill - lentils aren't Paleo, as aren't any other legumes, but Dr Cordain suggests you eat 3 Non-Paleo meals a week, so you don't feel deprived of what you like or miss.

  10. Wow, I'm glad the diabetes was found and that the Paleo diet is working for your family! As a way of eating, it totally makes sense.

  11. What a super interesting post Sami..your husband's previous eating habits sound very much like my husbands..who by the way is just border line diabetic. I really enjoyed checking out the links you supplied and will be watching them regularly, thanks Sami.

  12. The diet has been working well, and neither of us feels deprived, and no counting calories either!


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