How I used a plant-based diet to reverse my diabetes and ceased taking medications - Megan Ann Blog

How I used a plant-based diet to reverse my diabetes and ceased taking medications

How I used a plant-based diet to reverse my diabetes and ceased taking medications

Success Stories: By Marc Ramirez

I grew up in southern Texas with three sisters and four brothers. My father left us when I was eight, leaving my mother to raise eight kids on her own. In 1982, she moved us to Chicago in a bid to gain better employment. I was a great athlete in high school which earned me a University of Michigan football scholarship. I used to be physically active, so I could eat anything I like and not worry about gaining weight. I weighed 305 pounds at 21 years old and was 6’2″ tall.

Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs

"Dr. Barnard’s book is no exaggeration…The signs and symptoms of diabetes can be reversed, and he’s got the evidence to prove it."—Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, author of The New Glucose Revolution


A medical history of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes

I had to live through my mother’s battle with type 2 diabetes and its attendant complications. She was diagnosed with heart disease, vision problems and kidney failure. She fought this battle for 33 years and finally passed on in April 2002. My eldest brother passed on two months later from pancreatic cancer.


Of the eight of us, Jill my sister, is the only one that managed to escape type 2 diabetes. But that is not to say she has not felt the impact, because she had to donate a kidney to our mum. My sisters Sandra and Carol, and brothers Joe and Martin have battled with this disease for years. Joe suffered a heart attack two months ago and Martin has been through it all: he has had a kidney and pancreas transplant, had to amputate his right leg, is legally blind, takes 25 medications daily and receives dialysis 3 times a week. 

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My personal struggles with diabetes

I have also had my fair share of problems with diabetes. My diagnosis came the year my mum died. I was taking about 5 different oral medications for diabetes including Januvia and Metformin, Lisinopril to regulate my blood pressure and Simvastatin for cholesterol. My AIC hemoglobin level was 8.8 as at 2002. (the AIC is a three-month test for average blood sugar levels, with 4 and 5.7 being the current AIC range for non-diabetics). As at September 2011, my level was 10.5, which was when I was asked to start taking insulin injections (Lantus).

Over the years, as my AIC levels continued to rise, I tried to adopt a healthy lifestyle by exercising more, reducing my carb intake and dieting. Unfortunately, none of these, was able to halt the progression of my diabetes. (I later discovered that it is fat you should be worried about not carbs). I felt so helpless and frustrated when my doctor eventually informed me that I had to take daily insulin injections. I remember asking if there would ever be a time when I didn’t need to take the injections and his response was an emphatic “No”. This didn’t go well with me, but it was hardly surprising considering my family’s history with the disease and the fact that I’m Latino and Latinos have an unusually high diabetes percentage. I had seen my family’s suffering from this disease and it felt like I was destined to go down the same lane.

2011: the moment it all changed

My wife received a video titled “Forks Over Knives” in fall of 2011 from her parents. We had it for a couple of months before we finally watched it. We decided to give the film a chance one day. We bought Dr. Neal Barnard’s work titled “Program for Reversing Diabetes” which inspired us to consider this particular diet. On the 3rd of December 2011, my wife and I embarked on this journey of plant-based diet and whole food and there’s been no turning back since then.

There are 3 basic guidelines: eat only low-fat foods, avoid animal products and stay away from foods with high glycemic content. I enjoy oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon, bean burritos, veggie burgers, pasta primavera and lots of vegetables like sweet potatoes and strawberries including fruits. (this is actually not a low-carb diet. It actually has a lot of complex carbs. High-fat foods are what you should be avoiding not carbs! Fat can get into the cell and impeded your insulin function).

Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs

"Dr. Barnard’s book is no exaggeration…The signs and symptoms of diabetes can be reversed, and he’s got the evidence to prove it."—Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, author of The New Glucose Revolution


Stopped taking my medications after two months

I stopped taking my medications in less than 2 months of commencing this diet, and I’ve not had to take any meds for more than 3 years. And today, I can proudly say that I no longer suffer from diabetes. At the beginning of this journey, I was weighing 254 pounds, and I’m now down to 207 pounds!

I have discovered that having diabetes has nothing to do with being Mexican or the fact that my family has a history of this disease. It all boils down to my nutrition. I was able to give my body a boost by replacing all my nutrient-deficient foods with highly nutritious meals. And Carol, my elder sister has also been able to eliminate her diabetes by changing her diet to a plant-based diet.

My wife and I feel so liberated and empowered by this whole-foods and plant-based lifestyle. We’ve been able to take charge of our lives and feel completely healthy. Another advantage of this lifestyle is the fact that it is better for our environment and kinder to animals. We couldn’t be happier with this experience! Why don’t you checkout our website, Chickpea and Bean for more on how to experience this profound lifestyle transformation.

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About the Author

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. In this blog, I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge.

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