I think it was around my 5th birthday that my father began giving me tools. He would give me mostly Craftsman® from Sears®, as he felt the lifetime warranty meant they would stand behind their product, well, for a lifetime. There was no real method to his giving, every birthday or Christmas I would receive a small amount of tools that, at the time, I had absolutely no use for. One year he gave me a toolbox for me to house the build up of wrenches, pliers, sockets, etc. that I had been accumulating. Looking back, I must admit, that I was not very grateful. “Yeah, another tool, Whoohoo!” #Sarcasm
It wasn’t until I left for college with two, large, completely-full toolboxes did I fully realize the gift that he had given. For the next 10-12 years I did not run into one person who had any tools let alone a complete set. I quickly became the go-to-guy for anyone needing a quick screwdriver or hammer to get a job done. Without knowing it or even really appreciating it, my father had equipped me with the tools he knew I would someday need. He did not make a big deal of it or really even speak too much about the whys of what he was doing. It was more of a “you will understand one day” sort of lesson, and eventually I did understand and I was grateful. Dad, if I forgot to tell you, “Thanks for all the tools.”
Although I have found having the right tool for a job to be helpful hundreds of times during the course of my life, never was it more apparent than during the Christmas holiday of 2013.
On December 20th, 2013, I went to the doctor to receive the results of some blood tests that I had taken the week before. I knew something wasn’t quite right, however I was not prepared for how bad it was. As I sat in the exam room it seemed to take forever for the doctor to come in and when she did she was not a doctor at all, but a nurse practitioner. She wasn’t even through the door when the sentence, “yep, you have diabetes,” came spilling from her mouth. I didn’t have much time to be shocked as she had her hands completely filled and almost dropped her laptop. She needed a minute to get herself together and I used that time to text my wife the news. My wife was reassuring that no matter what the damage was we would get through it. She was right, I was sure the doc was about to give me just the tools I needed to fight this thing and even reverse it. She had tools all right, but not really what I was thinking. After she read me my blood test numbers and indicated that they were off the charts, she began handing me what, she would later say, was going to be the tools I would use for the rest of my life. There was insulin, syringes, blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, pamphlets and a glucose testing kit. After a brief lesson on how to use all my new found tools she said, “Everything is in here,” while handing me a prescription for more medication. “Let us know if you have any further questions,” she said indicating she was preparing to leave. “Will the doctor be coming in?” I asked. “No,” she said. So with my new tools in hand I got up and headed out.
When I arrived home my wife, true to form, was deep into research on Type 2 Diabetes and had already created the beginnings of a new eating plan. It was clear I was going to have to make some changes to my diet and cooking my own food would be a big part of this. Next came the research into the drugs they had prescribed. We were disappointed to find the side effects of the drugs that were supposed to help me were actually as bad or worse than the diabetes itself, it was clear to me that I wanted to be on these drugs for the shortest amount of time possible.
What I did first.
In order to get my blood sugar under control I had no choice but to go on insulin. I had two types of insulin, one would be taken in the morning if my blood glucose was over 140 and the other would be taken prior to eating if my levels were still at dangerous levels. I took my glucose level 3 times per day. My first level after taking it myself was 305. It should have been in the 90s.
What I did second.
Everything my wife and I read told us that diet was the key to controlling blood sugar levels and to bringing my body back into balance. I started with vegetable super foods like Kale, Watercress, Spinach and Bok Choy. I have to admit that these were not my favorite foods and I was not especially fond of their taste. What I needed was the right tools to help make my new menu taste better. Luckily, I work for 360 Cookware and have owned these pots and pans for a while. Just like the tools my father gave me that went unused for years, I had been sitting on the answer to my condition all along. Getting to know this awesome cookware, I discovered my favorite pan — the 3.5 qt Sauté pan. We began cooking vegetables without added oil, butter, salt or any other flavorings. 360 cooks food in its own juices at lower temperatures retaining its natural flavor and nutrients using a cooking technique called Vapor Cooking. After a few days of being on this super-food strategy which kept my sugar, carb and sodium intake to bare minimum, I can honestly tell you the food tasted great and by Dec 22nd, I began to feel much better than I had in months. My glucose level had gone down to 225 (a drastic reduction) in only 2 days. I had already begun to reduce my insulin intake. However; the worst was truly, yet to come.
What happened next.
On Dec 23rd I was all set to add in the 3rd part of our strategy when I began feeling tremendous pain in the upper part of my abdomen. This pain worsened throughout the night and by Christmas Eve morning, I was in such pain that I decided to go to the emergency room. After 6 hours of tests I was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis brought on by extremely high Triglyceride levels. I was told that because my Triglyceride level was over 1500 that over time it had affected my pancreas, which stopped producing insulin causing my type 2 diabetes. I was hospitalized for 4 days over Christmas without the ability to eat or drink anything.
When I was finally released on the 28th, I left the hospital with a healthy wake up call.
Once home, I resumed my eating plan using 360 Cookware and continued to heal. After a week at home I was finally able to add in the 3rd part of my strategy, walking. I know it sounds easy and actually it is. My plan was to walk every other day for at least 30 straight minutes. I had read that walking at least 30 minutes every other day keeps your metabolism elevated and your muscles active. I have to say that walking worked. It helped reduce my stress, raised my metabolism and my fitness level. I found that being outside was relaxing, something I sorely needed. I started out slow, a 19-minute mile pace, however my stamina grew and I was walking over an hour in no time.
Where am I now?
I am happy to report the following after one year of making the decision to change my life.
My glucose level went from a high of 310 a year ago to an average of 98. I was able to completely get off of insulin after only 3 weeks of being released from the hospital.
My Triglycerides went from a high of 1574 to between 176 and 198.
My A1C went from a high of 13 to 7 currently.
My blood pressure went from 145/97 to 117/79.
I went from a 19-minute mile to walking over 5 miles per day at an average pace of under 14 minutes per mile.
I average less than 50 grams of sugar and 150 carbs per day with the help of 360 Cookware and Vapor cooking.
I am now integrating other types of food back into my diet like lean organic chicken, turkey and beef. However, my method of cooking with 360 Cookware remains consistent. No oils, butter or sauces needed. I use fresh, organic herbs to create a tasty rub for the protein I am cooking and use Vapor technology to seal in the juices. You really can’t believe how good it is until you try it this way. I have included a sample daily menu at the end of this article.
As I explained early in this article, I learned from my father that the right tools are crucial to the success of any project. Below are my diabetes fighting tools:
A full set of 360 Cookware (Had I used my cookware at the beginning, I might never have put myself in the place I did.)
Jawbone fitness tracker
The “My Net Diary D” (D is for Diabetes) app for my iPhone, which helped me track my food, glucose counts, exercise and much more.
No single one of these items cured my diabetes, however each one played a huge role in my recovery and is key to the ongoing management of my condition. If you are struggling to manage this condition or simply want to take your recovery to an entirely new level I would highly recommend all of these tools.
Authors note: I am not a doctor and this blog post is not meant to be a prescription of any kind. This is simply my story and an account of what worked for me. I hope you find it helpful. I can tell you that the people who treat me and keep track of my condition have said that until treating me, they have never seen such a quick reversal of such an extreme case. They are now telling their patients that are newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes that it is possible to not only stop the condition, but to reverse it as well. Don’t wait for things to go critical to begin building and using your toolbox, get started today making the changes that will lead to a better and healthier life.
By the way, 360 Cookware, if I forgot to tell you, “Thanks for now being the best tool in my toolbox and for helping me regain my health.”
Sample Daily Menu
Hot lemon water with teaspoon of organic honey
Egg Whites cooked with spinach or kale and topped with a tablespoon of homemade hummus or salsa
Mid morning snack:
Tablespoon of Justin’s Maple Almond butter
Black tea with Stevia
Lunch (biggest meal of my day)
Fresh, organic grilled chicken (Cooked at the beginning of the week in 360 Cookware) salad with kale, spinach or romaine lettuce. At times I will add warm, roasted vegetables.
Mid day snack
10-13 blue corn chips and homemade hummus.
Protein (fish, chicken or steak cooked using Vapor Technology) over salad (same type of salad as mentioned above) or along side two types of vegetables (Bok Choy, Broccoli, Zucchini, Squash, etc.)