Following a plant-based diet – My only goal, to manage type 2 diabetes

minute read
October 30, 2023
A selection of vegetables from a plant-based diet, helping to manage type 2 diabetes.
Note: Image for illustration only. Photo credit: Jerzy Gorecki

My name is Khushab Ahsan. I’m 45, 180cm tall, and weigh 220lb.

As a businessman, I don’t have to do any intense work or physical activity and until recently was living a sedentary life.

But in 2022, I started to experience excessive urination and thirst. One of my employees is a diabetic, so I recognised these symptoms and decided to get a check-up with my doctor.

Initial diagnosis and medications

In February 2022, my results came back from the diagnostic lab. My HbA1c value was 8% (it should be less than 5.7%), and my glucose level was 382mg/dl (it should be less than 100mg/dl).

My cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also high.

I immediately went to my doctor. He analysed my blood reports, confirmed it was type 2 diabetes, gave me some advice and prescribed me medications. He also diagnosed me with hypercholesterolemia.

Discovering the power of nutrition

Having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I decided to discuss my health concerns with my diabetic employee – He was on the same journey as me, and over the last year I’d seen a lot of improvement in his condition.

Rather than start the medication right away, my employee advised me to see a dietitian instead. He convinced me that type 2 diabetes can be managed with effective nutrition and lifestyle changes, and strongly emphasised that by managing my diet I could avoid taking medication (or at least reduce the amount) – That got my attention.

Although I was a bit reluctant, I decided to give it a try. If nothing else, I would at least discuss diabetes and my diet with a dietitian.

This turned out to be a life-changing decision.

Consulting with a dietitian

My first session with my dietitian was 40 minutes.

She patiently listened to my concerns. Then she educated me about the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and dietary associations with diabetes. She explained specific foods that cause glucose spikes, carbohydrate counting, and the importance of portion size.

We discussed the management of hypercholesterolemia, good fats, and bad fats.

We then discussed setting a goal for me to address my health issues.

I decided to follow a plant-based diet for 2 months. My dietitian developed a plant-based diet plan for me and gave me a list of foods I was allowed to eat.

Embracing lifestyle changes

Getting started with my new lifestyle as a type 2 diabetic, I had to check my glucose level in the morning and evening – I bought a glucose monitor so I could check my glucose level at home.

I also added to my daily routine a 40-minute walk early every morning. As a sedentary person, this was a challenge for me – Knowing this, my dietitian advised me to start with a 10-minute walk in the first week and gradually increase the time (this encouraged me a lot).

Within 2 weeks, my glucose level started to go down. Seeing this, I decided to stick to my dietary changes and follow my diet plan with even more determination.

My follow-up and continued progress

After 1 month, I got new blood reports and went to discuss my progress.

My fasting glucose level was 95mg/dl, and my HbA1c was 6.7. My cholesterol and triglyceride levels had dropped too.

My dietitian adjusted my diet plan accordingly, adding more plant-based food options. She also added snacks to my diet plan in addition to the main meals, allowing me to divide foods into small, frequent meals – This helped me reduce weakness and fatigue.

And I started to walk in the evening as well.

Closing thoughts

Now, I’m an active person with good dietary habits and a fully controlled glucose level. And I’m not taking any medications.

My experience with diabetes has been life-changing, and it’s led to significant improvements in my life.

Under the direction of a skilled dietitian, I’ve effectively controlled my blood sugar level and managed my diabetes. As a result of changing to a plant-based diet, exercising regularly, and committing to my health, I’ve become stronger and happier than ever.

I’m thankful for this experience and I’m looking forward to a future of better health and joy. And hopefully, my experience can serve as an example for others facing similar difficulties.

Graphic of a male profile picture.
Khushab Ahsan

At the age of 45, as a result of his sedentary lifestyle, Khushab Ahsan was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. This frightening diagnoses forever changed his outlook on life.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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