Tag Archives: diabetes

Success story: How does eating real food help a 61 yr old?

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If you have been a reader for a while, you’d remember that I posted a success story titled Man Vs. Diabetes. While I get plenty of such success stories, I just haven’t had the time to compile them and post them since I’m always trying to address some controversial topic or the other in an effort to make nutrition and fitness understandable for the lay person. Now that I have been out of action for a while, I thought the best way to sneak back in and start writing about serious stuff was a success story. Moving forward I’ll be sure to post many more such success stories.

While I was in Bali, I got an email from my buddy Mahesh and it read as follows…

Machi [Meaning – buddy],

I wanted to check my blood work since it has been 4 months and also to check how my diet plan has been working out for me and as well as for Amma [Meaning – mom]. Just wanted to share with you.

These are the numbers before and after.


April 14 2011

HDL – 72
LDL – 135
Tri glycerides 48
Total Cholesterol 219
Blood sugar : 93
LDL/HDL: 1.875
TotalChol/HDL: 3.04

Sep 3 2011

HDL : 64
Total Cholesterol: 185
Blood sugar fasting: 78
60mts glucose tolerance : 135
2 hrs glucose tolerance : 63
LDL/HDL: 1.625
TriG/HDL: 0.671


April 7 2011

HDL: 44
LDL: 129
Triglycerides: 123
Total cholesterol: 197
Blood Sugar:Fasting 120, 60 mts: 234, 120mts: 199
vldl: 25
LDL/HDL: 2.93
TriG/HDL: 2.79
TotalChol/HDL: 4.47

Sep 3 2011

TotalCholesterol: 194
VLDL: 10
Fasting bloodsugar: 95, PP 1hr30mts: 175
LDL/HDL: 2.07
TriG/HDL: 0.924
TotalChol/HDL: 3.66

My mothers overall health has improved significantly after following a real diet plan. Still got to work but her 4 months of stay with me I made sure that she eats good quality food and improve her health. The numbers show the efforts she had put in. Still working on her blood sugar.


Let me point out a few things.

  • Mahesh and his mom are both vegetarians. Mahesh eats eggs, while his mom doesn’t.
  • Mahesh has been working with me for a couple of years now and he started off as a skinny marathoner and is now a solid fit guy who can squat, press and pull more than most and sprint a 100 pretty darn quick. His secret? Extremely consistent strength training & smart conditioning along with plenty of real food (whole milk, eggs, vegetables and fruit especially).
  • Mahesh’s mom is 61 years old. Clearly she had some blood sugar related issues which is being reversed.

Since Mahesh is young and his numbers are pretty darn perfect, let me break down his mom’s numbers for you.

  • Her HDL increased by 20% rising from from 44 to 53. If you didn’t know, a high HDL reading signifies cardiovascular health and immunity and is one of the most important numbers to look at wrt heart health.
  • LDL doesn’t mean anything, so I wont call her drop in LDL as an improvement.
  • Her fasting blood sugar dropped from 120 to 95 and, though not perfect yet, her postprandial blood sugar numbers are definitely improving! Without exaggeration, her fasting blood sugar went from diabetic to almost normal and she is well on her way towards completely controlling her diabetes! Good good stuff!

Obviously I’m not going to post this with no information about what she ate and other lifestyle changes. So I asked mahesh for some specifics.

Was/is she on meds for diabetes?

She wasnt on any meds for diabetes. It was completely diet and a lot of walking (1-2 hrs), around 20 thoppukarnams/day (in order to have an activity similar to squats), lot of sunshine.

What was her typical diet like? Any eggs?

I asked her to minimize grains (lentils). She completely eliminated sugar and sugar based productsand had limited the consumption of rice. Sheate a lots and lots of vegetables every day for the past five months, soaked well fermented payaru, lentils incase she felt like having different variety of grains apart from rice. Rice consumption was limited to max 2/3 days a week. Coconut oil was used for all the cooking. Olive oil for salad dressing. She also had optimum quantities of full fat milk, greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, avocado, fruits everyday. For protein she had tofu, tempeh, paneer. Most importantly she had Omega-3 supplements every day for the last 5 months. Most of the days she skipped her breakfast – 2 meals/day. She did complete fasting moslty 2x month but definitely 1x a month for religious reasons.

Any change in bodyweight?

She lost 2 kgs (4.5 lbs).

Change in energy level? Sleep quality?

Awesome energy levels to walk the entire NY city downtown, Chicago, DC and Boston downtowns without using any cab service. I was totally amazed to see her walk miles together without getting tired. She is 61. She has always been a sound sleeper and now it has only become better. Since there was less stress involved while staying with me in the US, she slept for longer hours (~8).

Change in other aspects of health? What has become better and what became worse?

Her chronic cold has improved. Shes using her inhaler a lot lesser these days but has not eliminated completely. Digestion has improved.

The way I look at this there are two valuable lessons here.

1. Mahesh did all he could to ensure his mom will take the real food route. He brought her to US, he made real food available at all times. he constantly spoke to her about the importance of eating real food, he ensured she walked a lot and got plenty of sunlight etc etc. He did his part well… very well.

2. His mom sealed the deal by doing exactly what she had to do. She took every piece of advice seriously, made changes to her diet and lifestyle and most importantly, stuck to it consistently.

There ya go – a testament to what eating real food and staying active can do for you (or your parents) irrespective of age. So whether you’re the son/daughter or the parent, you have here an example and motivation to make a change towards the good health and I truly hope you you do!

Peace out.

I Love You India But… Things Have Changed

Picture from Littlefoodjunction

The ancient Indian diet used to…

  • be rich in saturated fats (especially from dairy, ghee and coconut).
  • contain only little vegetable oils.
  • only contain grains that had be fermented/sprouted extensively.
  • include a multitude of different spices (turmeric, holy basil, coriander etc.) with amazing health benefits.
  • provide enough calories (and carbohydrates) to fuel the intense activity of our ancestors.

The present typical Indian diet…

  • is dominated by grains which are cooked too quickly and carelessly.
  • has little to no protein.
  • is high in vegetable oils.
  • is stripped out of healthy fats.
  • is loaded with anti-nutrients from grains and legumes due to lack of sprouting/fermenting.
  • is deficient multiple vitamins (especially A and B12) and minerals due to the lack of vegetables and animal foods.
  • contains more carbohydrates than is safe for the current lifestyle.
  • is extremely high in (empty) calories (and carbohydrates) for the obvious sedentarism being commonly exhibited.

Though the country isn’t plagued with junk food and fast food chains yet and though most people still eat home cooked meals, today India…

  • has the highest number of diabetics in the world.
  • accounts for 60% of heart disease cases worldwide.
  • is home to ~ 174 million overweight/obese people (in spite of widespread hunger and poverty)
  • has ~ 71 million people suffering from iodine deficiency.
  • ranks 2nd in the world with respect to children suffering from malnutrition.
  • has 4 children under the age of 5 dying every minute due to preventable diseases and lack of immunity.
  • is the country in the world with the lowest number of total Olympic medals per capita.

Maybe there is a connection? Maybe we need to be a bit more open minded? Maybe we should stop with the ‘The Indian vegetarian diet is the healthiest diet!‘? Maybe we should consider a change?

You tell me!

Peace out.

Success Story – Man vs Diabetes

I’ve known this person for a long time really and here are some things about him you need to know about his diet and activity level…

  • He was always health conscious.
  • He ate per the guidelines he was provided i.e. high carb with lots of whole grains, low fat, low protein
  • He is and always was vegetarian (no meat, no seafood, no eggs, milk OK).
  • He had his blood lipids and blood sugar tested very frequently and monitored it closely.

Then this happened…

  • In 1990, at the age of 36,  he started feeling tired for no reason. Slowly but steadily the tiredness crept up on him and it became a daily occurrence. It affected his work life to a point that everyday after lunch he had to drive away from work and crash for about 2 hours in his car (in some random alley) before he started work post-lunch.
  • In 2002 his tiredness was termed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and he was prescribed testosterone injections in order to balance out his hormones. When he learnt that the side effects of this was cancer he quit taking the injections. Though there was some improvement the syndrome continued to exist.
  • In 2002 he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In spite of his following the ‘diabetes diet’ and walking regularly, in 2004 he was prescribed 1 diabetes medicine a day which was increased to 2 tablets by 2009.

I had heard about this a few times but didn’t know it was affecting his life to this extent. Mid 2010 I came to know that this was taking over his life and I thought it was time. I spoke to him and his wife and explained to them the perils of such an unhealthy life and how his life may end much earlier than it should if he continues to live like this. By Sept ’10, we agreed to change his diet. I designed a completely customized nutrition plan for him and put him on a real food, high fat, high veggie, no grain, moderate protein diet.

Just to keep this very real, this post will mostly be a compilation of email exchanges between me and him. Note: Anything that is red colored italicized and within parenthesis was added by me.

His first email after starting the diet…

Great and thank you…. today I started with your diet…. for dinner say a bowl of boiled veg with cheese… some curd… that is all… may take a cup of milk later…

What is Whey protein…

A couple of days later…

Today I am extremely tired… dont know why… just for your info…

Two more days later…

Today also I felt very tired… bought Whey Protein… had a scoop with cold milk.. tell me what amount of sugar it contains.. as am a diabetic…

Consuming only veg,nuts and curd does not excite my appetite… boring and bland.. any advise to make it tasty?????

Sleep is good… sleeping for more than 9hrs..may be due to tiredness???

A day later…

My blood glucose level as of today (with medication) has no change compared to before the no grain diet..  fasting 108 and PP 141…. FYI. But the tiredness persists.

My response…

Thats fine. It takes 2-3 weeks for the body to balance out and adapt to the change. That might explain the tiredness. Like I said my guess is that you need to eat more calories. Try that and see if you feel any better.

My advice would be to stick to the diet for 2-3 weeks atleast. There is generally a fall before the rise and this is due to the change in macro nutrient composition your body is dealing with.
A day later…
Today my fasting blood sugar has came down to 99 (PP 108) and random sugar at 2.30pm was 98 (PP 141).
Note I took 4 iddlies (indian rice cakes) last night.
My response…
I very strongly suggest that you do a grain free diet for at least 30 days. Your body is trying to balance things out and throw out all the unwanted toxins etc. Reintroducing rice (or wheat or any grain) will only make this task harder for your body.
His response to mine…
Will keep you posted on the progress…. actually day before I was so weak I could not even talk… and my legs were so weak I felt like I just recovered from Typhoid…
Considering his age, I had to make his transition more gradual.
I understand. A gradual change works better in some cases. Read this article below. It tells you how to gradually transition into eating clean. This should be very helpful.
This was approximately 2 weeks into the diet. Following this, the frequency of check-ins/updates reduced as he had gotten a good handle on what to eat, when to eat and how to make delicious recipes. Then on the 18th December ’10 I receive an email from him…
After adopting a near no grain diet for the last 95 days, I am happy to say that my energy level is increased so much. Now a days I don’t crave for rest in the afternoon. I really want to thank you for this. Hope more protein and good fat will  make me more energetic.
Now my diet is as follows… Breakfast – one cup of raw vegetables with cheese toping, one cup of fruits, one cup of boiled veggies with beans and nuts… milk… may be 2 iddlies… then for lunch mostly 2 cups of raw veggies… fruit.. tea and evening 2 vadas (indian lentil doughnuts) and may be coffee… for dinner… boiled/fried veggies, milk, ‘cottage cheese curd rice’, etc., now a days I dont like rice, sambar etc., only iddly I like with podi or chutney…I will stick to this diet…   A BIG THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT HELP IN MANAGING MY ENERGY LEVELS AND HEALTH.
Obviously this was awesome news and I was stoked! My diet program helped this person cure chronic fatigue syndrome from which he had been suffering for over 20 years! Better still he seemed to enjoy the diet and did not fear the inclusion of some grain based items. Awesome stuff!
In another 20 days (9th Jan ’11) I receive another email titled ‘Glucose Level’…
Accidentally I skipped my sugar tablet on 5th and felt very worn out in the evening… so I tested my glucose level with a expectation that it could have jumped to 200+… but to my great surprise the random sugar level was amazingly 95… night also I skipped tablets and the fasting sugar on 6th is slightly higher … 126…6th also I skipped the tab in the morning and the random sugar in the evening was 97. Today morning the fasting sugar level was 121… and PP was also 121… quite surprising… just to share am mailing this… I will continue my diet without medication for a week and will watch the sugar level.As am dropping the medication after say 5 years, the body’s response is violent… am very tired and sleepy as if the sugar level is 300+…will keep you posted…

A day later…
Today my fasting sugar level was 133….. but the tiredness has gone and the Random Glucose was 130… so tonight I reduced my dinner by 50% and will test the fasting sugar tomorrow… 4th day… no medication and my glucose level is amazingly very much under control and the tiredness also gone…Even if the fasting glucose does not come down tomorrow, I will take my dinner by 7pm and go for a walk at 8pm and test it day after. I got the confidence I can get rid of the medication and control my blood glucose level by diet and exercises(only emphasis added by me)Thank you da… mavane (means ‘son’)

Am now reading your blog regularly and have subscribed to it also… only one advice… mind your language…

with all the love

appa (means ‘dad’)

It’s one thing to prescribe a diet for a client… it’s a whole different thing to put your dad’s life on the line. And yes, I did stop dropping the F-bomb in my blog posts after this email!

This is the latest from him…

Thanks and today the fasting level is still 127 …. but just now at 3.15pm I tested for Random .. it is only 105… my breakfast is one tumbler (cup) coffee, one bowl of fruits and 2 bowls of veggies and paneer and in the noon one tumbler of protein shake …

All day my glucose level is very much under control without medicine… today I will have my dinner at 7.30pm and go for a long walk and test it tomorrow…

Note that with medicine also the fasting glucose level was always between 110 to 125. So i wont say it is any higher now (without medication).

Sure these are not perfect numbers and he’s still a work in progress. But the man understands his body now and I’m confident we will figure out the rest! Words can’t express how proud I am of him!

And just so you understand the extent of awesomeness this is, let me summarize. About 4 months of eating right…

  • cured the chronic fatigue syndrome he was suffering from for the past 20 years!
  • helped him give up diabetes medication which has been controlling his life for the last 6 years!
  • helped improve his lipid profile – Triglycerides dropped significantly, HDL increased and LDL dropped minimally (still in work in progress)

Now your turn – Are your parents diabetic or obese or have high blood pressure or have cardiovascular complications? Are they following the ridiculous grain dominant ‘diabetes diet’ provided by their doctors and dietitians? Are they popping pills everyday to just stay alive?

Don’t you think its time to put an end to the madness? Don’t you think its time you, as their son/daughter, step up and help extend their lives? If this is not a priority I don’t know what is. Do it before its too late!

Real food rules!

Peace out.

Think Behind The Box – Fruit Juice

There are fools who down soda cans by the dozen and then there are idiots who gulp fruit juice by the gallon. This post is for the idiots.

So you sit down for breakfast with a friend and decide you want to eat your omelet and toast with grape juice (healthy option in most restaurants). I mean come on it’s grapes! No one got fat eating grapes! This has got to be good for you… worst case… this can’t be bad for you. Good food, great company and awesome juice on the side.  So you get a refill of the grape juice.

OK enough story telling. Here are the nutrition facts.

Serving Size 8 FL OZ
Calories – 170
Total Fat – 0g
Sodium – 20mg
Total Carb – 42g
Sugars – 40g
Protein – 0g
Vitamin C – 100%

(Note: All the sugar is from the fruit itself. This juice contains no added sugars.)

FYI… this is for 8 FL OZ which is 240 ml and I can guarantee you none of your juice glasses or restaurant juice glasses are 240 ml. They are AT LEAST 330 ml. Let’s do the math.

You just downed 660 ml of grape juice which has 460 calories with 110 grams of sugar. This is just from the BEVERAGE which is a PART of your FIRST MEAL of the day and you were wondering why I called you an idiot! If this isn’t enough praising for you… you will be elevated from the idiot level to the retard level if you stock your refrigerator with  juice cartons!

So what about orange juice? Loaded with ~ 25-30 grams of sugar per 240 ml. You’ll end up inhaling 80-90 grams of sugar in a couple of glasses.

Apple juice? Same shit.

Cranberry juice? Ditto.

Vitamin Water? Demands it’s own blog post but The Dark-side of Vitamin Water should give you some idea.

Diet Soda? Read this.

Sparkling water? Fruit infused water? Flavored water? Let me make this easy. If you have to look into the ingredients/nutrition facts section… then more often than not you’re drinking some form of crap.

Drink your water and eat your food! Liquid food is in general more readily available as glucose to your body and liquid sugar results in insanely crazy insulin spikes. The more frequent these crazy insulin spikes the fatter you get and the higher your risks of getting type II diabetes. Read about type II diabetes here and about carb loading & insulin spikes here.

Think about it for a second. Your two glasses of grape juice equals ~ 8 cups of fresh grapes. If you were to eat grapes as a side with breakfast would you ever eat 8 cups?? In one sitting? Or apples for example. The two glasses of apple juice actually contains ~ 4 apples. When was the last time you ate 4 apples as a side for breakfast??

Fruit in limited quantities is awesome… yes. But fruit juice is just a glass filled with diabetes. 100% natural diabetes of course.


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