Friday, October 10, 2014

How I am beating Type 2 Diabetes

I was diagnosed with diabetes in late July. At the time of diagnosis, my blood sugar was at 365 ml and my vision was already very bad (I couldn't make out the features of people who are not standing right in front of me. If I know you, I would know you are the one, but I wouldn't be able to describe your features if asked. My fingers were constantly tingling (A symptom of nerve damage caused by the extreme high blood sugar) and I felt like a total wreck.

I knew I was overweight, but didn't feel it was that bad (I weighed like 90kg, weigh below 80 now). At least I was hardly ever the biggest person in the room. I do drink, but very passively—once in a long while—mostly while hanging out with friends and at most 2 bottles.

I didn't consider myself a candidate for diabetes as I didn't know of a family member that had it. So getting diagnosis that read diabetes was a shock.
Shock did give way to reality and because I am a very practical man, I jumped into research: seeking knowledge about what to do and how to go about doing it. I got lots of information from friends, especially on Facebook, after I shared my situation.

Some of these tips were very helpful other not so much.

I've got Type 2 diabetes and one of the major ways of dealing with it is coming to terms with the disease and learning to deal with it, on your body’s terms. For me, one thing that works is eating very low amount of carbohydrates and slapping on the veggies.

It took me a few days to see the lie in the claim that diabetes is a big man’s disease. The truth I found is that a diabetic’s meal is much cheaper than what a normal person would consider a balanced diet, and if you stick to plan, it is healthier—it should be, that’s the point.

My breakfast usually consists of one small unripe plantain, crayfish, a little groundnut oil and half-cooked ugu. For lunch I dive into copious amounts of bitterleaf soup, fish and about half-a-fist sized wheat meal/or semo. Occasionally I try out fufu—very little—but I've not tasted yam, which used to be my favourite food before I was diagnosed, in about two months. I also eat as much ugba and garden egg as I can and drink bitter leaf water (Don't throw away all the native remedy advice you get, especially if it is harmless).

However, food tends to react to different people in different ways.

I think the key to staying within the threshold is getting a blood glucose metre and use it to gauge how your body reacts to different foods and exercise. Yeah, I am not forgetting physical activity and weight loss. Very important.

I try to brisk walk every day. I live in neighbourhood with an incline, so I walk, as fast as I can, for about 40 minutes up and down the hill. I try to do press ups, and jump up to a hundred, like skipping without a rope, each day, but I will admit I am not faithful.

Did all these things work for me? I would say yes.

I've not tested above 100 ml in weeks. My daily threshold is somewhere between 85-95 ml (Normal fasting blood sugar, that is 8 hours without meal, is between 75-100 ml).

I'd like to add that I now eat about a quarter of my pre-test meal size? Starvation diet, my wife calls it. However, the truth is your body does not need all that food you shovel in. It is all about cravings. That is why you frown at anyone asking you to eat what we called ‘half chop’ in my school days.

I don't believe there is a cure for diabetes, yet, or that I’ve been cured, but it is by no means a death sentence (I really thought it was when I was diagnosed). The key to beating the disease is to live right. For most of us who have always had a high carb diet, withdrawal is super hard, but think about the benefits in the end.

Yes, and after all that hard work, you will look and feel healthier that you have in years.

In addition, the most important aspect of going low carb is that you may not need medications, so that fear of low blood sugar we diabetics carry around may not apply to you.

Why am I sharing this information?

Because I seriously believe that, the best medicine is information.

Not forgetting that I think I am seeing the outline of a returning six-pack J.


  1. Well done Mazi. I'm a type 2 too. Almost went into a coma late July. Blood sugar was 440. But for some reason, I'm not very careful about it, maybe because I was back to 85 before I was discharged, I just think it must have been a freak occurrence. Now from reading your blogpost, a life can be saved by doing what is right even if it's mine.

    1. Wow Azafi, I didn't know this. Glad this made a difference :)

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