Today, Caroline Potter from Colorful Eats, has an amazing story of recovery for you. She’s worked with the same nutritionist that I have these last few years, and has been able to treat Type 1 diabetes with a nutrient-dense diet and natural supplements. It’s another encouraging story of how food can play a significant role in our fight against disease!
Treating Diabetes with Real Food
Life in your 20s seems pretty grand. You feel powerful, youthful and energized. Dreams seem within your reach and challenges seem conquerable. Then out of the blue, college bliss turns into doctors offices and waiting rooms. Countless tests of all forms, vague results and no answers as to what was wrong with me. As I came home from college that winter for Christmas break, I laid on the couch for most of my vacation. I was constantly starving, eating everything in sight but quickly loosing weight.
Finally, one day while out to dinner with my family, I broke down in tears because my mouth was so dry, I could barely talk. I was experiencing dry mouth, one of the major symptoms of diabetes.
Diabetes? I was 20, a seemingly healthy young girl, who grew up in a home where my mother fed us all organic food.
I was the one in school with her carrot sticks and tuna salad sandwiches. I never drank soda or ate Oreos, so the thought of diabetes was never even on my radar. Barely able to walk up a flight of stairs, I checked myself into the ER to discover my blood sugar levels were in a diabetic coma range. Later the next morning, the doctor diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes. I was scared, hopeless and confused. The days that followed were difficult to say the least. I still felt sick all the time, gained over 20 pounds in 2 weeks and felt terribly alone. My legs turned black and blue from giving myself insulin shots and my sugar levels were anything but stable.
I’ve never been one to give up or take no for an answer. Refusing to be another statistic in the diabetic charts, I took matters into my own hands.
I researched and read everything I could — from nutrition books to scientific studies. I discovered that the more carbohydrates I consumed, the more insulin I would need. So I cut out all sugars, grains, gluten and most carbohydrates. For a while I ate strictly fats, proteins and leafy vegetables.
I discovered that fats—from pastured butter, steak and eggs—which just so happened to be some of my favorite foods were actually good for me! With the help of a nutritionist, some natural supplements and endless encouragement from my family, I was slowly able to completely wean myself off insulin and remain insulin-free for over 2 1/2 years!
My Recent Health Journey
This past summer was difficult to say the least. I found myself laying in a hospital bed feeling my world crashing down around me. After over two and a half years of being insulin-free, I was in the ICU in a diabetic autoimmune flare up—barely able to walk, talk or open my eyes. After talking with countless doctors, who said they’d never heard of anyone managing diabetes with diet and nutrition, they believed that two bouts of the flu and many high stress situations this summer caused the flare-up.
I must admit having to go back on insulin was discouraging. I felt like I’d lost the fight. But right now this insulin, even the smallest amount, is what my body needs and I am beyond thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses that tended to me in the hospital.
When I was first diagnosed back in college, the months that followed were dark and difficult and I didn’t want to share what was happening. If my time in the hospital taught me anything, it taught me to share my story instead of being embarrassed about my condition.
There are so many people who suffer from diabetes and don’t know how much their diet and daily meals affect them.
I know that there is no cure for this disease, but I do believe that eating a real food diet and proper nutrition can greatly influence my daily life—and that is something I will never stop believing in. Thankfully, by continuing to eat a strict grain-free, gluten-free and refined sugar free diet, I have already able to lower my insulin need by over half – a success I find my strength!
When I share my story, I often say I’m thankful for diabetes. I know that sounds so strange, but in a sense I’m thankful for this disease. It’s given me a platform for helping others and developed passions that I never thought would exist such as photography and cooking. I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and discovered a love for creating grain and refined sugar-free recipes.
I’m thankful I didn’t let my circumstances or health condition define me, but rather used it to develop new passions and encourage others to a joyful side of healthy eating and nutrition.
I’ve learned that choosing joy despite life’s circumstances isn’t always the easiest choice, but it sure is the best choice! I’ll leave you with a peek of some of my favorite grain-free recipes you can find on my blog, Colorful Eats. I love to recreate my favorite foods using grain free ingredients, such as this fall cheese platter or my grain & nut free sandwich bread.
Here are some of my favorites:
Grain & Nut Free Sandwich Bread
Allergy Friendly, Paleo Spiced Breakfast Cookies
Italian Sausage Ragu with Cappellos Fettuccine
Paleo Pumpkin French Toast
Fall Cheese Platter
Shredded Pork Tacos with Pear Salsa
I hope my story inspires you and you enjoy these delicious recipes!
Caroline’s healthy journey inspired her to start her blog Colorful Eats, become an NTP and develop a passion for photography and cooking. Caroline lives in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where her husband is stationed in the US Navy. They love to cook together and take their dog Liberty to the beach. She says a good day is when their house smells of melting butter, smoked ribs and homemade chocolate chip cookies!
Disclaimer: This information is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition.
UPDATE: I have closed comments on this post because many writing in are not displaying kindness or respect. Caroline clearly states there isn’t a cure and was sharing her personal story as documented by her doctors, nurses and nutritionist. I am proud of Caroline for sharing her story in hopes to encouragement. Many have asked about how a child can develop a disease at a young age – to read more on this topic I recommend the book, Deep Nutrition, by Dr. Cate Shanahan.