Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Rogue

We’ve been making some changes. Again.

A couple of weeks ago, we virtually eliminated meat and dairy from our family’s diet. I thought this was going to be really, really tough, because despite being fairly health-conscious, we’ve always been a “meat and potatoes with cheesy sauce” kind of family, and because T-Bear had drunk milk by the gallon for most of his life. It’s always been his beverage of choice.

But I read yet another source stating that cow’s milk is at the top of the list of probable triggers of Type 1 Diabetes and many other auto-immune diseases. It wasn’t the first time I’d read this, and this time I did some additional poking around on the internet and found other “reliable” sources stating the same thing. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. T-Bear has always drunk gallons of milk and developed Type 1; his two brothers with the same genetic background have always shunned cow’s milk and have not developed Type 1. Out with the cow’s milk and dairy products for a while.

Also, Papa Bear’s annual physical indicated his cholesterol is through the roof…still. (Funny how mine is fine, when we're eating the same diet). His Dr. wants to medicate him, but we’re not keen on the pharmaceutical approach…too many side effects. So, out with the meat for a while.

Now, we haven’t gone entirely vegan. I’m still using small amounts of butter for some cooking, and small amounts of goat cheese, parmasagne, feta, etc. for garnish. I’ve got a carton of milk in the fridge for occasional cooking (last week I think was the first time I ever had to throw out a partial carton of milk because it was undrunk). We’re doing fish a couple of time a week, and I'm using free-range organic chicken broth for cooking. But, as often as I have been able to, I’ve eliminated the dairy and meat, and we haven’t really missed it. And after the initial falling-to-the-ground-wailing-in-despair when I broke the news to T-Bear that he wouldn’t be drinking any more milk, he’s been totally fine with it. Go figure.

So, here’s what I’ve noticed since our fairly radical dietary shift. First, Papa Bear has dropped about 10 lbs and I’m pretty sure I’ve slimmed a bit, too. Papa Bear looks and feels better; better skin tone, shining eyes, elevated mood, etc. Me, I’m still not sleeping great, so probably still look pretty haggard.

More significantly, though, T-Bear’s insulin requirements have dropped. He’s gone from 20 u Lantus each evening to 15 u, and is spending more time in his target range (85-150). In fact, sans meat and dairy, we’ve had more lows that we’ve ever had until I got his Lantus down enough, and he’s still having them here and there. And while his carb/insulin ratio hasn’t changed, he’s not having highs as often as he usually does. If he’s eating vegan, two hours later he’s usually in range. If he eats meat or dairy, then using the same carb/insulin ratio he’s high two to three hours later (usually over 200).

And, that’s the other part of the “going rogue” thing. I’ve been adjusting T-Bear’s ratios and Lantus on my own. I haven’t been checking in every week with the endo, but have been watching “trends” and adjusting accordingly. It’s a little nerve-wracking, taking the full responsibility of this. But, then, it was incredibly nerve-wracking when we were traveling and I couldn’t get hold of the endo office (cell phone issues) to get adjustments for days at a time. I feel like I need to have enough confidence to make those adjustments safely myself, and this has been the first run at that, with the safety net of being about to call the endo at any time. I’ve been getting up more often in the middle of the night, but overall I feel very good about his numbers over the past two weeks.

So, what, exactly are we eating? I’ve gotten kind of creative with the cooking thing. Lots of lightly cooked fresh veggies as “main” dishes with whole-wheat pasta or buckwheat soba noodles (yummy!) or brown rice. And lots of potatoes (no skin off my spud-lovin’ nose, there). And lots and lots of fruit for snacks, rather than processed carbs. I’m figuring out how to make a pretty good bean soup, and veggie soups, and stir-fry has become a staple.

So, I think we’re going to stick with this for awhile. It seems to be doing us good. No one has threatened to leave, and there have been no uprisings over our frequent meat-less meals. Though Papa Bear did fall off the wagon and buy chips and sour-cream dips for our last group gathering, and has a pleading look in his eyes each time the subject of the impending Super Bowl party comes up.

It may take a little more adjustment, and some “’cause Mama says so” stubbornness on my part, but I think we can do this. And, I am certain it will be best for everyone.


  1. YAY for you all! I'll bring cookbooks next time I see you.

  2. So, your telling me to bring my own milk for Papa Bear's famous coffee next time I come over? LOL!
    I'm glad its going well. I made an awesome vegan rice/veggie soup this week. I'll bring you the recipe (all the veggies are food processed/blendered so maybe the boys will eat it).
    I checked out the gluten free vegan cookbook from library and it had a few really good recipes. Once you start replacing butter with olive oil you will never miss it and will probably begin to prefer olive oil.

  3. Sounds like some big changes over there! I have never thought of eliminating milk...but my kids aren't huge milk drinkers anyway and we don't eat a ton of meat. I have been trying to stay as "whole-foody" as possible...sans "fluff" and going out and Sunchips and Starbursts and Glucose tabs and... oh never mind!!! I suck. LOL.

  4. mo~ you are the expert in your home! your decision seems to be a benefit to your family right now. you are getting so many excellent results. that always makes you feel good! we are blessed with so many food choices, that it is our imagination or drive that seems to get in our way.. it sounds like you are enjoying feeding and preparing foods that make your family thrive. tweak as necessary, that is what makes things work! i am proud of you my friend.

  5. Just found your blog... and will be interested to track your progress! We're a family of five that food blogs together. I used to be flexitarian (fish only... no meat). Have a hubby who's a real foodie and can't seem to give up the meat. One kid who's nearly vegetarian, another who's a total carnivore and a third who's a work in progress.

    If you haven't already checked it out you should take a look at Great recipes!