A year ago, Glynis Larkin was eating what she thought was a healthy diet. She’d put on quite a bit of weight, but she was walking and watching her portions – so it was a complete shock when the 63-year-old was told by her doctor that she had developed type 2 diabetes.
“You think it's never going to happen to you, so it’s very demoralising when it does,” says Glynis. “My daughter told me I was eating too many carbohydrates, but I didn’t make the connection with that and my weight gain – I just couldn’t understand it. We always cooked at home, we rarely ate out, we didn’t eat fried food. Plus I was walking quite a lot every day with my husband Maurice.”
Glynis’ diet prior to being diagnosed included things such as homemade porridge with raisins for breakfast, multi-grain toast with lentil soup for lunch, yoghurt sweetened with honey and fruit for snacks. At dinner, she chose low-GI basmati rice, protein and vegies, ate grapes after dinner and sometimes fruit toast. “But I was hungry all the time and didn’t know why,” she remembers.
Glynis lost 17 kilos in just 4 months, completely turning her diabetes around!
The day Glynis was diagnosed, she remembers her GP being as upset as she was about it. “However, she didn’t want to put me on medication – she wanted me to do it by diet as much as I could. We came home that night, switched on the TV and by chance caught Dr Michael Mosley on the Insight program with Jenny Brockie. He was talking about his latest book, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet, and how it could reverse type 2 diabetes. I was so very lucky to see that. It gave me hope that I could do something about it because you just think, ‘This is it. It's all downhill from now, being diagnosed as type 2 diabetic’. It's absolutely terrifying.”
After ordering the book, Glynis decided to give it a crack – with amazing results. “I was 82 kilos when I started, and I lost about 2-3 kilos a week by following the recipes in the book, and doing 2 walks a day of about 2km each. And also, I was checking my blood glucose levels about six times a day and apart from the weight loss I was seeing some really positive changes in my levels.”
Glynis started the diet in mid-March, 2016, and by the end of July had lost 17 kilos. Her husband Maurice, who followed the diet in solidarity, had lost 15 kilos. “I’m now 65kg and over the moon. Plus, my quarterly HbA1c blood tests are also good. The look on my doctor’s face says it all!”
Although The Blood Sugar Diet may seem restricted (it allows you 800 calories a day, and not many carbohydrates, for a 2-month stint before you move onto the maintenance plan), Glynis says the recipes she followed were delicious and kept hunger pangs at bay.
“What you’re doing is eating [small amounts of] full-fat dairy – milk, natural Greek yoghurt. You’re having lots of protein, herbs and spices and vegies you might never have tried. And I found I wasn’t that hungry between meals like I had been before.”
Glynis suggests eating 'real, unprocessed food'
Glynis believes the diabetes epidemic is extremely worrying, especially the fact that so many Australians are pre-diabetic and don’t realise it. “I think a lot of people run for the hills when they are diagnosed or they say, ‘Just give me the tablets and let me get on with my life’, but for those who don’t want to take medication, and who want to do it themselves like I am, then my advice to people would be to get back to eating real, unprocessed food. Not low fat.
“David Gillespie’s books are also great; he talks a lot about how our food system has been messed with so much, and how that’s making us fatter. It’s really about re-education.
“What really bothers me is that the diabetes associations here are still telling diabetes patients to stick with low-fat. I know the Diabetes Association in the UK have turned around about that, but we have a way to go here.”
Glynis admits she used to bake her own bread and does miss that, but she still has sourdough from time to time, and factors in treats occasionally for family celebrations, which doesn’t affect her blood glucose. “You don’t feel like you’re missing out,” she says.
“And the thing is, this is a way of eating for the rest of your life – but it’s so enjoyable. You feel so healthy, you can do anything. I cannot recommend it enough.”
Want to try the diet for yourself? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our series on The Blood Glucose Diet, where we’ll also share a day’s worth of recipes from the Blood Glucose Diet recipe book.
Have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? How do you manage the disease?