Monday, January 16, 2012

I Stopped Taking Insulin One Week Ago (A Post For My Type II Diabetic Friends)

You may have started out like me. Eight years ago next month it was a diagnosis with the number 330. Got some glucophage, changed my diet, and in a month it was 103. A few years later, a few different additional pills later, it was time for the needle. One shot a day turned in to 4. We changed some pills around and got it to one shot a day. It's been fine. A1c about 6.5 or 7. Life is good.

Meet my chiropractor and nutrition freak of 10 years, Dr. Todd Narson. He's got this 21-day purification program.

No, it's not a "juicing" diet. It's some shakes, lots of vegetables and fruit for 10 days, and then we add in some chicken and fish and when it's over, we, on our own, decide how to live our lives. Todd is my dear friend, and he never asked me to do the program. He doesn't know I'm writing this post. I'm not getting a dime off the next program he sells to a friend of mine.

The primary goal is not weight loss, although that obviously comes with it (down 8 pounds in 10 days). The goal is detoxification. As Dr. Todd tells me "your body is not set up to digest certain foods."

So this post is about as salesy as it gets.

I've been on this program for 11 days, and 7 days ago stopped taking my 30 units a day of insulin. I also reduced my nightly amaryl pill by half.

My morning blood sugars have been numbers like 86, 95, 101, 105, 126, 95, and 112.


Obviously it's because of reduced food intake and the things I am not eating - but the important point is that one year ago my doctor was hinting at an insulin pump, and in the last week I've realized that I can control my diabetes with food and exercise.

I feel better, I am thinking clearer, I am sleeping better.

I don't crave the typical things that Dr. Todd is concerned about - coffee, sweets, and my beloved wine. I wasn't a daily coffee drinker, didn't eat sweets that much, and am not an alcoholic. I do miss bread and chips, but I can tell you that when this is over, I will be much more focused on eating well and eating crap as an occasional treat. I'm really enjoying trolling the farmers markets and loitering in the produce section at Whole Foods. Getting re-introduced to fruits and vegetables is a lot of fun.

Today I begin re-introducing chicken and fish and we'll see what happens to my blood sugar levels. If I have to start taking some insulin again, that's fine, but to know that a type II diabetic CAN regulate blood sugar with serious changes in diet, is something I hope you think about.

This program is not easy. The first day or two is really tough, and can be tougher if your body needs more time to detox. Then it gets easier. When you start feeling better, losing weight, reducing medication (if you can do that) it makes it that much easier.

This isn't for everyone, but if you have been contemplating whether you can make serious changes that will affect your life for the better - consider this program.

You can also do some things yourself, like stop eating shit and exercise a little.

That works.

Whatever you do, you should definitely check with your doctor first*

*I didn't do that because I am arrogant and will tell him what I did when I feel like it, right now I'm enjoying life, and the numbers show that.

Anonymous comments are welcome as long as they say something relevant and half-way intelligent and arent a vehicle for a coward to attack someone. I trust you understand. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


Josh King said...

Nice! A year ago, I cut wheat and sugar out of my diet as a short-term experiment. Felt like crap for a week or two, but since then I've never felt better. My "experiment" is now entering its second year and has become a permanent lifestyle change.

I wouldn't be surprised if this keeps you off the insulin permanently.

Lisa Solomon said...

First, congratulations.

I have a lot of diabetes in my family (father, both grandfathers). I had gestational diabetes in both my pregnancies, which I managed with strict diet and exercise. I know what a pain in the ass diabetes is (yes, I know it was only for about 6 months total, but *you* try managing diabetes while simultaneously feeding another person growing inside you). Even when not pregnant, I am insulin resistant.

Second, you idiot . I thought you were Type I (mainly because you're relatively trim for a Type II). If I knew your were type II, I would have told you to go on a low-carb diet ages ago. I would have sent you to You would have found a ton of information, including discussions, links to books, etc. about how diabetes can be managed with diet and exercise. You wouldn't have listened to Jimmy Moore, but it might have made you more open to trying Dr. Narson's program sooner.

There are a ton of relatively high-protein, low-carb foods out there, including bread and chips. Some of the specialty low-carb food out there is disgusting, but there's some good stuff, too. If you have a Trader Joes near you, they have a lot of excellent fairly low-carb/high protein food (for example, Spicy Soy and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips - 9g effective carbs, 6g protein per serving; European Style Plain Whole Milk Yogurt - 14g effective carbs, 12g protein per serving - try it w/ half a pint of fresh strawberries for breakfast).

I have a ton of other low-carb suggestions that taste good. Happy to share them w/you - call or e-mail me any time.

My Law License said...


First, thank you. Yes, I was diagnosed 11 years before they advise people to get checked for diabetes. I was 34. When the doctor first saw me he literally looked down at his file, looked at me, and said "this is you?"

In the last 8 years I have read dozens of books on type II and dieting, exercise, etc... I know more about food now than I do about law.

The problem is that your body gets used to certain things. So the low carb diet with a pill doesn't work as long as expected because your insulin production changes. So another pill is added. You go on a low carb diet and numbers go up and down. What worked 5 or even 2 years ago no longer works.

So diabetes is a daily struggle. 6 months from now I could be on this same diet and my numbers go up. 3 months ago my insulin production was dangerously low - now it's back up. Why? Who knows.

So there's no certainty, and that's the frustration. The body changes, and so us diabetics have to make changes - the problem is that most of us use medicine as a crutch and don't even think of wholesale changes. We're unwilling to cut out certain foods or exercise. I see the evidence of that every time I go to the doctor - a long line of obese people in diabetic shoes with walkers. I mentor occasionally and hope someone makes a change.

Always happy to receive a recipe or two. I appreciate them.

Anonymous said...


Can you describe your diet before this? You mention re-introducing chicken and fish--curious as to what were you eating prior, especially because you weren't big on sweets.

Dr. Todd Narson said...

Brian, I'm very happy for you and your success on the program. But for those that think this is simply a low carb program I want to point out 1 thing. Carbs as they exist in nature aren't a bad thing. It's the man made, man altered carbs that are the problem. For diabetes, whenever you see something made out of the seeds of tall grasses (aka: Grains)you should read "sugar". This is how your body treats it.

It's okay to have carbs, it's your body's source of immediately accessible fuel. After your body burns through them, then it mobilizes and burns its most preferred fuel - Fat.

The foundation of the problem is simple. Our genes are 100,000-1 Millions years old and our gene pool dates back another 4-6 million years. Our physiology was literally created out of our environment. So for 4-6 million years our systems developed to eat the foods we hunted and gathered. Fruits (mostly berries), vegetables (non-starchy), fresh meats that grazed, pecked, swam or roamed in their natural environment, nuts and seeds.

Now, most of our food comes from grains sources, even our meats (corn fed cattle, corn fed chicken, etc.). So not only are we eating foods that were never part of our evolution, but we're eating foods that are also eating foods that are eating things foreign to their evolution.

So one of the most important questions you should ask is "what food did my food eat?"

Thin for a moment about your body parts... Your eyes, your kidneys, your pancreas (and those little islets of Langerhans cells that produce insulin), your heart, lungs, prostate, uterus, brain, skin, thyroid.... Since your foods provide the building block chemicals that keep rebuilding your organs, do you really want those made out of dunkin donuts, starbucks and domino's pizza?? or are they better off made from the stuff our ancient caveman ancestors ate? Fruits, Veggies, clean natural meats, nuts and seeds??

If they don't know it already, most doctors will come to know that most common diseases and ailments can be linked back to our food, environment...

Good luck to all of you.. and Brian, Great Job buddy!

Dr. Narson