Dr. Bernstein and vegetarians?

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gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 9/11/2006 12:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been reading a lot about Dr. Bernsteins Low Carb approach to controlling type 2 diabetes. My local bookstores do not carry his books. Here's my question - can a lacto-vegetarian (low fat milk products, no fish, no flesh of any kind, no eggs) use his approach? I'd invest in his books if I knew they would be suitable for me- otherwise I'll be saving my $$$ for more test strips scool thanks for any help! Sandy

I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


Santoz
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/11/2006 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   

Gelchick,

IMO, you would have a tough time with Dr. Bernstein's diet.  However, I believe low-carb is the proper diet for all diabetics.

My view is this:  my diabetes dictates my diet. By that I mean, if I do not control my blood sugars, I'm in serious danger.  What is the point of eating what many consider a healthy and moral diet if it's going to kill me, a diabetic?  There is nothing moral or healthy in that scenario.  So a vegetarian diet is simply out of the question for me (and IMO, s/b out of the question for all diabetics).

If you ate eggs, you would have a much less difficult time with this type of diet.  

You may also want to check out the low-carb vegetarian forum at lowcarber.org.  There seems to be a good bit of information there.

I do urge to to take control of your carbohydrate intake.  At the end of the day, carbs are simply sugar in another form, and they will harm diabetics if they are not strictly controlled.


fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 9/11/2006 3:48 PM (GMT -7)   

Sandy,

I'm going to have to agree with Santoz here, who I think has summed it up rather well.

I've been type 1 for 25 years and was also a strict vegetarian for 16 of them. Looking back on that time I now recognise that my diet relied far too heavily on carbohydrates and too little on protein which was always difficult to obtain in quantity. There really is only so much tofu one can eat. Eventually, and for a number of reasons, I abandoned vegetarianism 5 years ago and, maybe counter-intuitively, my health and blood sugar control has improved as a result.

I appreciate the morality of your position, but I've found that since I started putting myself first and eating what works for me my diabetes has greatly improved as a result.

That said, and Santoz is right here also, if you were to include organic free range eggs then it probably would be do-able?

Best of luck,

fergusc


Santoz
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/11/2006 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   
I reread my previous post and I may have come off as a bit heavy handed. That was not my intention.

I do appreciate that vegans and vegetarians have many moral and health reasons for their diet. I understand completely. And while I was never a strict vegetarian, vegetables & grains were a very large part of my diet before my T2 Rx.

But, unfortunately, I just can not eat that way any longer. I'm a type II, on low medication and a low carb diet. I do not want to burn out the rest of my beta cells. And I firmly believe that is what would happen if I did not strictly control my carb intake.

The complications of elevated blood sugars (even moderately elevated) are well documented. If diabetics do not keep their BG's within normal ranges they are going to suffer very serious, very painful, long drawn-out complications.

And a vegetarian diet will almost always be high on carbs vs. a high protein/fat diet. I believe it's possible for a low-carb lacto-ovo vegetarian to go low carb. But vegan diabetics will have very hard time keeping their carbs under control. It is hard enough for me, a carnivore, to control my carb intake, so I can only imagine how tough it is for vegetarians/vegans.

And honestly, I feel great since my change to low carb. I have more energy, I sleep better, I've lost the weight I needed to lose without even trying, and I'm rarely hungry between meals.

As I said before, my disease dictates what my diet will be. I really don't see any realistic (for me) alternative to my current way of eating.

At any rate, the best to you gelchick with whatever way you go. The important thing is to keep those BG's under control.

gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 9/12/2006 8:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Santoz,
 
I took no offense- I asked for help and I appreciate your thoughtful replies. I sense that you are passionate rather than heavy-handed  :-)  I am a vegetarian for religious more than ethical reasons, although I have grave concerns about eating anything that contains antibiotic residues and growth hormones, mercury, etc. I have not had meat since I was 4 or 5 years old and I am in my 50's now. The one or two times that I have inadvertently eaten meat (chicken) or meat broth (hidden in a cream based soup), I have become extremely ill- the chicken incident sent me to the hospital for a stomach pumping that I am not anxious to repeat. I understand the consequences of not controlling my BG levels, and am not anxious to go blind or lose limbs either. I did check out the locarb vegetarian site that you recommended and there was a lot of great info there- thank you for pointing that out! I am able to get the soy-based 'meat replacement' items out here, so I think that I may start out with them. That way, I can cut way back on the bean/grain combos and up my protein levels. Do you know what the fat/protein/carb percentages or ratios of the high protein/fat diet that you follow are? Do you limit the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol that you eat? I was thinking about maybe adding egg protein to my diet, but am concerned about the cholesterol. What is the upper limit of carbs that you eat? I'd appreciate any further help that you can give me. I think I'm going to invest in the Dr. Bernstein book anyhow and see if and how I may be able to adapt to it. Thanks! Sandy
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


Santoz
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/13/2006 7:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Gelchick,
 
Bernstein doesn't limit the amount of protein and fat.  He simply calls for a carb intake of 6/12/12.  That is, 6 carbs for breakfast, 12 carbs for lunch and dinner--a total of 30 carbs a day.
 
That's a bit low for me ;)
 
He also claims the fears of saturated fat are overblown (but that's a discussion for another day).
 
I use Dr. B's book more as a guide, that is, I do not follow his diet religiously.   I eat more than 6/12/12 carbs.  I have reduced my carbs quite a bit.  But I probably eat close to 100 per day.  I usually eat 3.5 meals per day.  I exercise some, but that is the weak part of my diabetic regime.  I don't need to lose any more weight, since I was only a few pounds overweight to begin with. 
 
I also try to reduce my saturated fat intake.  I eat egg whites, turkey, chicken etc.  I try to eat organic/range-fed when possible.  Not easy to find those items in my location though. 
 
Primarily, I eat a lot of spinach, lettuce, olives, cauliflower, broccoli and other low carb veggies.  I make homemade flax meal muffins.  I eat the organic diabetic bread made my Alvarado Street bakeries out of San Francisco.  If not that, I have a quick low carb bread that can be made in the microwave.
 
I do eat turkey, chicken, fish.  Not much red meat.  I do eat various soy burgers etc.  Many are quite good, and fill me up.
 
I also eat a lot of nuts, Pecans, Walnuts & Almonds.
 
I do miss the grain cereals though :(   And of course all the various breads that are out there. 
 
Soy milk is another favorite of mine.
 
For cholesterol control I use a product called Profibe.  I did post about it here.  You can google "ProFibe" if you're interested.
 
So far, things have been going well.  My BG's rarely rise above 130, even post meal.  However, they don't often go below 90, even after fasting.  Still I'm glad to have my numbers within such a narrow range.
 
You may want to visit Dr. Bernstein's forum at diabetes-book.com.  Most of the posters are die-hard low-carbers, but they do have a very good recipe section that you may find helpful.
 

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 9/13/2006 7:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to note here that although Santoz' food plan is quite regimented it is extremely healthy.
Santoz, you may want to consider purchasing a bread machine. By using barley, oat groats, bulgar and other grains as well as buckwheat flour, flax seed and any other healthy thing I can grab at the bulk food store and local farm market I am able to produce some awesome bread that is beyond healthy.

I've been using bread machines since they were first introduced and have found my last four at garage sales for about $10 each. A bread machine will produce a loaf of bread for about 14ยข worth of ingredients. If you bake a heavy, grainy loaf you will need to keep it in the fridge to prevent mold growth but the toast it makes is well worth the carbs, and the large grains are not digested as easily. Slow blood glucose rise and makes me feel special because it's so delicious. Worth a try?
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 9/14/2006 12:34 PM (GMT -7)   

Santoz,

Thanks for the info- other than the meat, your eating plan sounds very do-able to me. I have been eating  3 meals, and 1 snack(locarb skim milk, doctor's orders, with my night dose of metformin) around 120-130 total carbs (always low GI/GL) with about 35 grams of fiber, so I am not doing too bad in the carb department based on your numbers. The diabetes dietitian that I was sent to prescribed 180-200, 3 meals, and 3 snacks, which kept my BG levels in the 170's or higher all the time, even with 500 mg of metformin three times per day. And as an added bonus- I gained weight! She kept saying..if you only ate meat, this would be so much easier...Since dropping down to my current levels, my BG is around 115 - 135 during the day, but it rises to 150 overnight. I am going to try adding egg whites and hi protein veggie burgers (Boca, Morningstar), soy based protein powder, and lo carb skim milk to up my proteins and change my carb/protein/fat ratio. We'll see how that goes for a start. There are so many conflicting opinions/eating regimes/doctor directives that my head spins around like that poor girl in the Exorcist. I need to be my own lab rat I guess to determine what works best for my body and you've given me a good starting point.

 

Jeannie,

You must be one heck of a cook. Didn't I make a terrific brown rice/barley dish that you posted? I am also bread maker fan and have burned out 4 of them over the years. I love my current machine - a nice Zoshirushi (sp?)- Would you be willing to send me the specifics of your bread recipe and the size loaf you make? It sounds great-  I grind my own grains, and I would be glad to abandon my Whole Foods Lo Carb Flaxseed for something I could make and slice myself. I'm sure my husband would be glad to get away from the 'carb-board' bread too. Thanks!

Sandy :-)   


I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 9/16/2006 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Peter58

I agree with you. There are a lot of charlatans and conflicting opinions out there. And I have been mightily confused since receiving my diagnosis 2 months ago. I tried the balanced approach prescribed by my diabetes dietitian and I gained weight and saw no signigicant drop in my BG numbers. So I started to look for real experts - the people who have my disease (and yours, I presume) and who have gained some semblance of control over it. That's how I wound up on this forum. So far, I have used the experience of a poster named cmkeyse to overcome the side effects of my medication. I know there are folks who have dropped their BG numbers and A1Cs, and improved their lipid profiles and blood pressure readings using dietary approaches like Dr. Bernstein's and herbal supplements. I thank my lucky stars that they are willing to share their experiences with me and other newbies. I am happy that the balanced approach to eating works for you- and I thank you for your input. It, apparently, doesn't work for me so I plan to continue to ask the experts for their helpful suggestions. yeah sandy


I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 9/17/2006 9:22 AM (GMT -7)   

I'm with you, gelchick!

I listened politely when the diatetian gave me the "recommended" food plan when I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago.  Then told her I had no intention WhatSoEver of following it.  She finally understood that I was adamant and left it with a "call if you need me" - which I haven't.  Oh well, she was just doing her job, telling me what she had been taught - not her fault she was Wrong.

Low carb works for me.  Always.

What I have trouble with is fluids - hate water, love coffee with Hood's 'milk', love diet soda, hate Crystal Lite, like tea but it gives me heartburn.  I've yet to find the perfect liquid and now, with 7 month old permanent colostomy, must somehow rectify that.   :-)


fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 9/17/2006 3:55 PM (GMT -7)   

Here, here!

I still find it surprising to come across other diabetics who mistrust the low-carb idea. Logically, practically and empirically it makes complete sense. At the same time, I'm encouraged to find that it's making a difference to you guys too.

Wmnak, I agree, any dietician that simply spouts the official party line (the food pyramid!) has very little to offer us without a much more open mind. By the way, how about low cal (slimline) tonic water? I find it has no effect on my bg and yet is really good to drink.

All the best,

fergusc


wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 9/17/2006 8:37 PM (GMT -7)   
fergusc said...low cal (slimline) tonic water? I find it has no effect on my bg and yet is really good to drink.
 
Haven't seen it, but will look in drinks aisle and try. Is there a specific brand or flavor?
Thanks!   :-)

fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 9/18/2006 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi wmnak,

I live in the UK, Scotland to be precise, so we may not have access to the same brands. Besides, over here we wear shoes on our heads and hamburgers eat people!

I buy Schweppes Slimline Indian Tonic water, the stuff one would put in a G&T, only without the sugar. It comes in both regular and lemon flavours. If you can't find it, you must have your own versions I suppose. The ingredients for a decent G&T are the very bedrock of a civilised society after all.

Cheers,

fergusc

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