The other day I received an email from a reader that I had to share with you, because it’s so inspiring. And it speaks to the fear of carbohydrates that has been brainwashed into us. And it shows the power of a plant-powered diet to resolve obesity and deal effectively with type 2 diabetes.
I’ll let Rebecca Sinha take over in her own words.
“I had been obese since the age of 7. After several rounds of antibiotics for chronic bronchitis, my mother said I just blew up like a balloon. The family dinner table was always animal foods in almost every meal, and often snacks.
“So over most of my life through my mothers efforts to get me to eat more fruits and vegetables to my own diet adventures as an adult – I would lose and gain over and over.
“I did every diet out there, I even tried being a vegetarian because I read how healthy it was, but I am sure I did it all wrong.
“I tried being a vegan, the same way, no success. About 20 years ago I did the Atkins diet when I reached a high of 205 pounds, I am 5 feet and 3/4 inch tall. I did manage to lose some weight, I lost 19 pounds and got down to 186 pounds.
“Then it stopped working.
“And for the next 13 years I worked hard at not gaining any of it back and in that I had success. I have worked with several doctors over the years trying to lose more weight, and nothing I tried worked. I even had a doctor ask me to do something very similar to the Atkins diet and I did not lose a pound.
“About 6 years ago I had a friend who was losing a lot of weight with the very low carb high fat diet and out of pure desperation tried it again. This time I was starting at 186 pounds and over about 3 to 4 years I lost 47. 2 pounds, and got down to 139 pounds.
“And then it stopped working.
“I did not have any of the common side effects people have on a very low carb diet, I believe because I made an effort to eat lots of vegetables and some fruit. I have kept all that weight off, largely through constant vigilance and being careful of what I ate. So a couple of more years went by and I could not lose another pound.
“Largely I find eating that way very boring; I do not even like chicken, beef and pork.
“I am also a type II diabetic and was totally convinced I could not eat a lot of carbohydrate/starchy foods and be able to control my blood sugar.
“I now know this was totally wrong.
“I eventually started eating a lot of fruit and just gave up on the low carb diet and found my blood sugar would tolerate it. And I even lost a few more pounds. I am down to 132 pounds for a total loss of 73 pounds.
“I guess I feel lucky I am able to maintain my weight loss over many years, which has never happened before. And I also feel very lucky that I can stop eating in a way that in the long term would be very damaging to my body.
“All of this led me to reading blogs, and then I discovered Dr. McDougall and then the Proteinaholic book. I have been very happily eating potatoes, corn on the cob, whole oats, beans and all the fruit I like.
“It is wonderful, my blood sugar is good, I still have to take pills, but I hope in time to be able to lose the rest of the weight and hopefully reduce my medication.
“I always thought I should weigh maybe 105 pounds and people always laugh at me and say that is ridiculous. I was vindicated when Dr. McDougal, in one of his talks told a 5 foot 3 inch woman she should weigh less than 110 pounds.
“Proteinaholic really looks at the science in a great way and makes me feel even more convinced that for my health I would be much better off eating a very low fat vegan diet.”
That was on October 25. On November 5, Rebecca wrote with an update:
I am at the beginning of my journey. I have just completed 3 weeks completely animal protein free. I was obese for over 45 years. I did lose a lot of weight doing low carb and high fat. I chose that diet because I am a type II diabetic and I was convinced I could not control my blood sugar eating a high carb low fat diet. I have now proved that assumption to be wrong.
When I stopped all the animal protein and started eating whole grains and fruit and of course vegetables, I discovered I could keep my blood sugar levels roughly around the mid 80´s, with the same amount of medication I needed eating low carb. I am starting very slowly to see a need to reduce my medication as my blood sugars are often now in the 70´s. The most difficult thing for me was to over come my mistaken belief I could not eat grains. In the past when I ate them it would bloat my stomach, give me diarrhea, and cause a lot of water retention. I thought I was grain intolerant – this just is not true! I now believe it was the combination of grains and animal products that was the cause.
I still have to be careful with my food choices. Foods made from flours, even whole grain flours, and white rice make my blood sugar go too high, so I have to limit my food choices to whole grains and whole foods. But I am loving it. Potatoes, corn on the cob, whole oats and beans are my staple foods – I love it. It is a big adjustment and I do find it a little limiting, but that is because of my diabetes and that was also true for any diet I could have chosen. Cancer runs in my family as well and I think this is the best way to eat to continue improving my health and prevent cancer.
Eating out is harder for me because most restaurants will not have the whole grains I can tolerate, and I love to eat out. But there is usually always something to chose in any restaurant. Sometimes I just order several side dishes or ask for changes in ingredients in existing menu items. But I have cut back on eating out, it is far easier to eat at home. I do like to cook and that helps. I was also really big on eating a much wider variety of foods and this was hard for me to deal with too. But after my short time doing this I find it was more an idea I had in my head about the need to eat a wide variety of foods rather than a true taste preference.
So the moral of the story is that I am finding it makes my life a lot simpler to eat this way, it is cheaper, less time consuming, and for my taste buds absolutely delicious and satisfying.
Thanks, Rebecca! Congrats on finding your way to the plant-powered lifestyle, and on having the courage and determination to live it. You’re an inspiration to us all!
Update 11/30/15: Rebecca just shared a “before” photo with us (from fall 2012):
Do you have a Proteinaholic Recovery story to share? You can post it to comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.