Pre-diabetic Vegan Newbie seeks advice

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Hi there ✋

I’m new, just registered, and need some support along this journey.

About two years ago I noticed I was exhausted all the time, which was strange. I went to my GP and did all the blood tests. I thought maybe I was anaemic or low on iron which had happened to me before. My bloods came back fine except my HBA1C was 44 and was told I was borderline diabetic / pre-diabetic. I panicked a little but was advised to go onto a diabetes prevention course.

I think it’s safe to say my weight plays a role in this I’m about 20kgs overweight, BMI 31 and I also get quite stressed. So I went on the course over six months and started to see some slow progress. My HBA1C went from 44 to 43 to 42 the last time I checked last year.

Although I am walking between 1hr and 1hr 20mins a day to get my 10k steps in, I’m also vegan and in a stressful toxic work situation. So I can comfort eat carbs and then get real tired after 20mins and fall asleep.

Recently during lockdown and especially these last few days, I’ve been feeling really tired and stressed. I have checked my BG each morning and am getting fasting readings of 4.4mmol/L to 5.4mmol/L which don’t seem that alarming but then why the sleep comas during the day? My weight hasn’t changed, maybe it’s even gone up. Could there be something else going on in my body? Something hormonal or worse? I’m nervous to go back to my GP for more tests. What if there’s something worse?

Also if my work is the cause of my stress, comfort eating, overweight and diabetes, shouldn’t I just leave it?

Thanks for reading.
Mac2020
 
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Vonny

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi @MAC2020 and welcome to the forum.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I'm pretty sure that 5.4 mmol is well within the healthy range. In fact I wish I had those fasting results! I'm unsure what your diet is apart from carbs, but I know that my lethargy stopped when I stopped eating carbs, after I'd been diagnosed with diabetes. In fact I feel much healthier than I've done for years. Having said that, I'm not vegan, and largely exist on eggs, cheese, meat and vegatables, most of which you presumably can't eat.

Hopefully someone will be along soon who may have more idea about vegan diets, however in the meantime I would go back to the doctor. Even if there is something worse, as you fear, it's better to identify it sooner rather than later. I so wish I'd been to the doctors for blood tests a year ago, then I may have been able to prevent my diabetes.

Wishing you all the best x
 

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Hi Vonny, thanks for your helpful reply.

Yes a vegan diet can be pretty carb rich. I've managed to cut out the breakfast porridge oats and sliced wholemeal toast, replacing them with assorted berries and different fruit. Still working on eliminating the wholewheat pasta and rice. And portion size. But if I get rid of them, doesn't leave much in terms of variety left!:( And you're right, it's probable the carbs that are triggering the lethargy.
and, yes, seeing the GP is the next step, just have to pluck up the courage...
 

LucyDUK

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
Hi @MAC2020

Welcome to the forum :)

Your fasting readings are just about spot on where you’d want them - have you ever tried testing when you have these bouts of tiredness? Having a good fasting result is a great starting point, but trying to avoid spikes in your levels after eating can be the trickiest part. Even though you have generally improved bgl they could be going up after you eat. Some people find getting active right after eating helps to prevent such a large increase, so if you do find your levels are going up after a meal, you could try a brief walk once you’ve finished to see if that prevents the tiredness setting in.
 

Eddy Edson

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
With those completely "normal"-looking fasting readings but HbA1c a bit elevated I'd guess you probably are seeing some high BG levels after eating. Easy enough to check that out.

Also, do you know how you're doing with micronutrients? I found that looking into that really helped with day time fatigue problems I've been having. If you're not doing it already, popping a daily multivitamin couldn't hurt.
 

brisr949

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
May i ask how long you've been on a vegan diet for?
 

HenryBennett

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Also if my work is the cause of my stress, comfort eating, overweight and diabetes, shouldn’t I just leave it?
I’m really sorry to hear that work is stressful and toxic. Yes, change your job as it will be affecting your health in so many ways. However, it’s very easy to say and less easy to do. Changing jobs is difficult, but your health comes first.

Rather than being afraid of seeing your doctor it’s even more important that you go, especially to address the stress. A beta blocker strictly for just a few weeks helped me during a similar period. Keep up the walking and don’t have any snacks in the house.

Let us all know how you are getting on.
 

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Morning everyone

Thanks for the welcome, I feel really embraced :), and for these great hints and tips.

Ok so I’m going to try testing my BG when I feel these bouts of tiredness (thanks Lucy!). Once I tested myself before eating and was at 3.9mmol/L so ate something which after two hours brought me back into 5.8mmol/L range.

I’ll also try a 30min walk immediately after eating (thanks Lucy!) and a good daily multivitamin (thanks Eddy!)

But Eddy I don’t know how I’m doing with micronutrients. Please explain what I need to do. How do I measure this?

Btw the highest BG reading I’ve had during or whilst eating is 8.9 mmol/L but I don’t know what this means and I only measured this once whilst eating on 19th March 2020. Perhaps I’ll start more testing during or immediately after eating.

I think if I cut out carbs, as a vegan I’m left with fruit, vegetables, seeds, pulses, grains, nuts and legumes (eliminating the sugary or starchy high carb ones eg potatoes, root veg etc). Has this got something to do with measuring micronutrients?

I’m also going to try konjac (yam) noodles, konnyaki or shirataki, which I’ve just learnt about. Apparently no carbs, no calories, no sugar, just 97% water and rest fibre. Can be used to replace pasta or regular noodles. Has anyone had any experience with these?

Hi brisr949, I’ve been a vegan for about 8 years. It’s ok, it was difficult to remove flesh foods (fish and meats) at first but you get use to it and as I say it’s pretty carb dense which hasn’t helped my diabetes. I get protein from tofu mostly and of course there’s protein in most plants. I eat a lot of hummus, drink plenty of water and use dairy substitutes. I also supplement with Vitamin D and B12 occasionally. I haven’t had any issues with cholesterol, my GP is quite pleased with my levels of HDL and LDL. My total cholesterol has been down to 3.8 and hovers around the 4.2 range. I think the body makes its own cholesterol. I eat good fats avocados and olive oil if I have to. I try not to fry but bake,steam and boil and if I use oil in cooking I use measuring spoons 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of oil.

My weakness is stress triggers and how I react to them. Definitely a “Secret Eater”. Processed carby snacks are the devil. Snacks no longer in the house, just in the car now. Thanks for calling me out HenryBennett, and keeping me accountable!

Have been thinking about my work situation for a while now. Actively looking for a window of opportunity so that I can escape this horrid situation. As you say and I agree, health comes first.
 
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Eddy Edson

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Morning everyone

Thanks for the welcome, I feel really embraced :), and for these great hints and tips.

Ok so I’m going to try testing my BG when I feel these bouts of tiredness (thanks Lucy!). Once I tested myself before eating and was at 3.9mmol/L so ate something which after two hours brought me back into 5.8mmol/L range.

I’ll also try a 30min walk immediately after eating (thanks Lucy!) and a good daily multivitamin (thanks Eddy!)

But Eddy I don’t know how I’m doing with micronutrients. Please explain what I need to do. How do I measure this?

Btw the highest BG reading I’ve had during or whilst eating is 8.9 mmol/L but I don’t know what this means and I only measured this once whilst eating on 19th March 2020. Perhaps I’ll start more testing during or immediately after eating.

I think if I cut out carbs, as a vegan I’m left with fruit, vegetables, seeds, pulses, nuts and legumes (eliminating the sugary or starchy high carb ones eg potatoes, root veg etc). Has this got something to do with measuring micronutrients?

I’m also going to try konjac (yam) noodles, konnyaki or shirataki, which I’ve just learnt about. Apparently no carbs, no calories, no sugar, just 97% water and rest fibre. Can be used to replace pasta or regular noodles. Has anyone had any experience with these?

Hi brisr949, I’ve been a vegan for about 8 years. It’s ok, it was difficult to remove flesh foods (fish and meats) at first but you get used to it and as I say it’s pretty carb dense which hasn’t helped my diabetes. I get protein from tofu mostly and of course there’s protein in most plants. I eat a lot of hummus, drink plenty of water and use dairy substitutes. I also supplement with Vitamin D and B12 occasionally. I haven’t had any issues with cholesterol, my GP is quite pleased with my levels of HDL and LDL. My total cholesterol has been down to 3.8 and hovers around the 4.2 range. I think the body makes its own cholesterol. I eat good fats avocados and olive oil if I have to. I try not to fry but bake,steam and boil and if I use oil in cooking I use measuring spoons 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of oil.

My weakness is stress triggers and how I react to them. Definitely a “Secret Eater”. Processed carby snacks are the devil. Snacks no longer in the house, just in the car now. Thanks for calling me out HenryBennett, and keeping me accountable!

Have been thinking about my work situation for a while now. Actively looking for a window of opportunity so that I can escape this horrid situation. As you say and I agree, health comes first.
I use this for tracking micronutrients: www.cronometer.com Free, find it easy to use. It's a US thing so the guideline micronutrient levels it uses might be a bit different in some cases than those used in the UK - not sure, but anyway any differences wouldn't be very major.

For vegan foods: check out seeds if you don't eat them at the moment. Great sources of fibre, protein, unsaturated fats, minerals, vitamins etc. Chia seeds are a big part of my diet these days - super convenient, don't need to grind them.
 

HenryBennett

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Perhaps I’ll start more testing during or immediately after eating.
Just before you eat, then two hours after your first mouthful (or even one hour as well as two).
 

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
I use this for tracking micronutrients: www.cronometer.com Free, find it easy to use. It's a US thing so the guideline micronutrient levels it uses might be a bit different in some cases than those used in the UK - not sure, but anyway any differences wouldn't be very major.

For vegan foods: check out seeds if you don't eat them at the moment. Great sources of fibre, protein, unsaturated fats, minerals, vitamins etc. Chia seeds are a big part of my diet these days - super convenient, don't need to grind them.
Thanks for the resource, will take a look around. Hadn't heard of cronometer before, so that's very useful. And yes chia seed super food, don't have it as much as I should. But will add more now you've reminded me. Thanks a bunch.
 

zuludog

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Search YouTube for 'vegan diabetic diet'
There are lots of videos, plus the Links & Prompts
I haven't watched any of them, but perhaps they will be useful. Though as with anything on YT if there are lots of references & videos it can get a bit confusing, and you need to be a bit cautious
 

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Search YouTube for 'vegan diabetic diet'
There are lots of videos, plus the Links & Prompts
I haven't watched any of them, but perhaps they will be useful. Though as with anything on YT if there are lots of references & videos it can get a bit confusing, and you need to be a bit cautious
ok, will do. Thank you Zulu!
 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Welcome to the forum @MAC2020

We eat largely vegan at home, because my youngest has been vegan for 2-3 years, and it’s easier to cook one main meal.

Checking BG before and again 2hrs after eating might be a really helpful strategy for you at this point, so that you can begin to get an understanding of the ‘meal rises’ you get from various things.

This is a great technique, because you can see what goes on when you eat x grams of pasta as a portion vs y grams. likewise you can see how you fare with different rices... is basmati better? Is long grain the fastest into the system? any better with wild or arborio?? Or as an alternative you might choose ‘cauli’ rice (grated cauliflower barely steamed) which has virtually no carbs.

Similarly ‘cauli mash’ with a dollop of vegan ‘butter’ and some soft cheese (eg Violife) and a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast might make a tasty topping for shepherd’s pie and similar?

But by using a meter you will be able to see how your body responds, and can keep the options pf anything that only raises your BG by 2-3mmol/L

I wonder from what you’ve said whether the stressful work situation may be causing some of the feelings of tiredness and exhaustion. It would be good to check BG (as high or erratic bg is well known to make you feel exhausted), but emotional trauma and low mood can also be very draining.

Hope you find a way through it.
 
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MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Good morning Everyday and extended family!

This is already one of my favourite places to visit, so friendly and helpful such a contrast to what I have been experiencing at work for so long. Work is definitely negatively affecting me, my wellbeing, and health generally. I do think it has a lot to do with my PD diagnosis. When you’re stressed with low mood and/or internalise things the last thing you want to do is eat a big bowl of salad!

I’ve been applying for new jobs recently, no luck so far. Will keep trying.

Work could be why my sleep pattern is so odd. I wake up around 3am, not to use the toilet. I just wake up, and can’t get back to sleep again. Doesn’t matter if I go to bed at 8pm, 9pm or midnight! It probably knocks my rhythm out so my body dips again trying to catch up during the day. Not sure. Has been happening for a quite a long time. I’m exhausted.

If my sleep is poor overnight it may also affect my eating, overeating or hunger pangs during the day.

Despite this I’ve been really inspired by this community so I’ve been eating quite well recently, having cabbage stew with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms thrown in. I feel great after eating it too, energised with no sleep comas 20mins later. I did have a cheat day one stressful afternoon with bad biscuits but that’s all so far this week.

I’ve visited cronometer (Eddy’s tip) and am getting used to entering my meals, exercise etc. It’s amazing how aware you become of your intake and calorific output and whether you are hitting your targets of low carbs. But also throws up challenges like how do I record the home made cabbage stew with broccoli etc mentioned above?

I’m exercising more consistently too, I registered almost 15k steps yesterday! Yay for me!!

Well, these are my BG before and after meals numbers I’ve recorded so far:

29th July
Before Supper: 5.1 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 6.6 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 5.6 mmol/L
Supper: Cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower stew and some strawberries and cherries for afters.

30th July
Before breakfast 5.6 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 7.3 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 5.8 mmol/L
Breakfast : 1 whole green apple, 1 clementine, 1 dark red plum,1 serving B12 @2000ug

Before lunch 4.7 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 5.6 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 4.6 mmol/L
Lunch : large bowl of leftovers cabbage stew.

(Didn’t record last nights supper readings.)

Any thoughts family?

Thanks so much!
 

HenryBennett

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Work could be why my sleep pattern is so odd. I wake up around 3am, not to use the toilet. I just wake up, and can’t get back to sleep again.
I’ve been to that place and it is exhausting. Moving on is the solution but very much easier said than done.

Those BG readings are great and can’t you just see the benefit of regular testing? You’ll build up a bank of foods and ingredients (and quantities) that you can safely consume and then it all becomes easier.

I loved your update for us. As the old saying goes: keep b*ggering on :cool:
 
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HenryBennett

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I’m exercising more consistently too, I registered almost 15k steps yesterday! Yay for me!!
You’re doing so well! The community here will help you to keep it up.

And, hey, it’s Friday!
 

Eddy Edson

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Good morning Everyday and extended family!

This is already one of my favourite places to visit, so friendly and helpful such a contrast to what I have been experiencing at work for so long. Work is definitely negatively affecting me, my wellbeing, and health generally. I do think it has a lot to do with my PD diagnosis. When you’re stressed with low mood and/or internalise things the last thing you want to do is eat a big bowl of salad!

I’ve been applying for new jobs recently, no luck so far. Will keep trying.

Work could be why my sleep pattern is so odd. I wake up around 3am, not to use the toilet. I just wake up, and can’t get back to sleep again. Doesn’t matter if I go to bed at 8pm, 9pm or midnight! It probably knocks my rhythm out so my body dips again trying to catch up during the day. Not sure. Has been happening for a quite a long time. I’m exhausted.

If my sleep is poor overnight it may also affect my eating, overeating or hunger pangs during the day.

Despite this I’ve been really inspired by this community so I’ve been eating quite well recently, having cabbage stew with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms thrown in. I feel great after eating it too, energised with no sleep comas 20mins later. I did have a cheat day one stressful afternoon with bad biscuits but that’s all so far this week.

I’ve visited cronometer (Eddy’s tip) and am getting used to entering my meals, exercise etc. It’s amazing how aware you become of your intake and calorific output and whether you are hitting your targets of low carbs. But also throws up challenges like how do I record the home made cabbage stew with broccoli etc mentioned above?

I’m exercising more consistently too, I registered almost 15k steps yesterday! Yay for me!!

Well, these are my BG before and after meals numbers I’ve recorded so far:

29th July
Before Supper: 5.1 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 6.6 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 5.6 mmol/L
Supper: Cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower stew and some strawberries and cherries for afters.

30th July
Before breakfast 5.6 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 7.3 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 5.8 mmol/L
Breakfast : 1 whole green apple, 1 clementine, 1 dark red plum,1 serving B12 @2000ug

Before lunch 4.7 mmol/L
1hr after first mouthful 5.6 mmol/L
2hr after first mouthful 4.6 mmol/L
Lunch : large bowl of leftovers cabbage stew.

(Didn’t record last nights supper readings.)

Any thoughts family?

Thanks so much!
Looking great! Perfect BG numbers.
 

MAC2020

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
Looking great! Perfect BG numbers.
Thanks Eddy! I'm trying...

BTW, Fantastic weight loss from BMI 25 to BMI 20 in under two years! Lovely BP reduction too. Well done! You'll have to tell me your secret. Can't seem to shift my belly fat for love nor money - not TOFI but FOFI.
 
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