I’m reposting an entry from my good buddy Eric over at Droppin ‘Betes about how a plant-based, nutrient rich diet has affected his health and management of type 1 diabetes. Check out his site, which I’ve linked to above and added to my blogroll. Pretty astounding stuff:
Being an entrepreneur forces you to make a lot of sacrifices in order to make a company work: move to a new city, dedicate nights and weekends to a fledgling business, and spend less time talking to or being with the ones you love. One of the parts of your life that should never (but inevitably does) take a hit is your health.
When you’re first starting out, working solely for equity, you scrounge for every dollar. I used to drop $100 on dinner without flinching when I lived and worked in New York, but I found myself, with a newly minted MBA no less, eating $1 cans of soup for lunch and $5 of salad for dinner. Eating ramen for months, a right of passage for so many entrepreneurs before me, simply was not an option. I’m a type 1 diabetic, and I was desperately trying to keep myself healthy on a shoestring budget.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve maintained that this disease could have been a blessing in disguise. A renewed and permanent focus on my health could actually make me healthier than had I never been diagnosed. Since getting on a CGM, and studying blood glucose and it’s effects on the body and performance, I’ve believed that close monitoring and management may actually be an advantage over “normal” people. Look at prosthetics, in many cases they now outperform their flesh and blood counterparts. Some might even say they make you superhuman: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/142/super-human.html
One year into my crazy startup adventure, Napkin Labs received funding and we starting taking salaries. I’ve become more serious about eating mostly fruits and veggies, and far, far less (and now almost zero) meat, dairy, and processed carbs. Despite popular belief, fruits and veggies have a higher bang for the buck.
What? “Blasphemy!” You say? Sure, on a per calorie rate, carbs and meat will do the trick. Especially if you buy a $10 bucket at KFC. You might notice that shortly after that meal you’re hungry again. This isn’t your stomach talking, it’s your brain and it’s telling you that whatever you just ate didn’t have enough nutrients in it. Nutritionally, you’re still hungry. Mechanically, you bet you’re full. But you can fill your belly pretty easily with veggies, at far fewer calories, and with more nutritional content than you could stuff in 5 happy meals, 3 buckets of KFC, and a 10 pack of ramen.
You think you need more calories to live than a belly full of greens can provide? False. What you really crave when that hunger strikes 30min after your last chicken wing is more nutritional content. And only veggies and fruits will let you accomplish both a full belly and excellent nutrition. Think about maximizing your nutrition per dollar instead of calories per dollar, and you will end up with more money in your pocket and a healthier body.
I write this post after my first endocrinologist appointment in a year. That’s bad. I shouldn’t have gone this long. I’ve been vigilant with testing my blood sugar and staying on my CGM. But more than anything, cutting out meat, dairy, and processed carbs and white starches and eating massive amounts of fiber, greens, and beens has made me feel healthier while keeping my blood sugar rock solid for months.
I had my A1C taken this morning. For reference, a normal healthy young man about my age should expect an A1C of 6. Previous Doctors have told me to shoot for an A1C of 7 as a healthy number for a diabetic.
My A1C came back at 5.9: better than normal.