Hi, I was recently diagnosed with T1D last year. I’m 23 years old and I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16. Just looking for some helpful tips on how manage diabetes while still maintaining a vegetarian diet
I’m both T1D and vegetarian and have been for years. (Full disclosure: I am NOT a physician.) The two can work well together. Vegetarianism can help prevent some other problems (heart disease, cancer, obesity, etc.). There really isn’t any big problem being a vegetarian T1D. But you have to look out for a few things. First, vegetarianism can mean a lot of different things. Eating vegetables is great. But there are vegetarian diets that are unhealthy. That is, you can’t just eat french fries. Make sure you’re actually eating a wide variety of vegetables. Second, while fruits are mostly healthy, you have to watch out for them, because there’s so much sugar in some fruits. In particular, watch out for watermelon and grapes (and there are other fruits that can be problematic). You can eat them in moderation, but you probably shouldn’t eat tons of them at any one time (unless your blood sugar is low and you need to get it back up fast). That said, most fruits are way better for you than most other sweets. Third, you’re going to need some proteins and healthy fats to balance out the carbs (but they don’t have to be animal flesh). Try to eat a lot of beans, nuts (assuming you’re not allergic), tofu, quinoa, etc. In any case, don’t let anybody tell you that you have to eat animals; you don’t. You just have to be twice as conscious about nutrition.
My son is 16 and has had type one since he was a year old. About three months ago he decided to stop eating meat for personal reasons. It’s had a very positive impact on his blood sugars surprisingly. He seems much more stable than he was previously. He goes next week for his quarterly check up and I’m looking forward to seeing if his A1C has changed.