Read the Transcript Below the Bio
Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 80 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and lay readers.
As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. He has hosted four PBS television programs on nutrition and health, and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In 2016, he founded the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, as a model for making nutrition a routine part of all medical care.
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Barnard received his M.D. degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee.
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Reena Jadhav: Hey everyone. It’s been a job with health bootcamps program and I’m excited that you are listening and to our book masterclass on Dr Neal Barnard program for reversing diabetes, which originally came out in 2007 and is now in a revised edition as of 2018. And of course it also has a beautiful cookbook as an add on mew book that Dr Neal Barnard has come out with today. On this particular interview. We’re going to talk about chapter one. Dr Neal Barnard. Welcome.
Dr. Barnard: Thank you. It’s great to be with you today.
Reena Jadhav: So let’s start with chapter one, which is the new basic is the title. How do I know if I have diabetes?
Dr. Barnard: Um, diabetes is relatively simple to diagnose them with most people. The problem is they never actually went to their doctor to even get the diagnosis, but when your doctor is going to do is going to do one of two blood tests, the older fat and old fashioned, what is blood glucose, but more and more are using something called a one c, hemoglobin a, one c, and that’s a measure of your blood sugar control over the past three months or so. More and more people are using that and here are the numbers. If you’re a a, one C is below five point seven. You don’t have diabetes, you don’t have prediabetes, you’re fine. If you’re at five point seven, your doctor is gonna. Say, Oh, you don’t have diabetes yet, but that’s a sign that your blood sugar is getting too high and if it’s six point five or above, that’s diabetes. So those are the numbers that you need to know. The good news is that these numbers will change. So while we used to think once you’ve got diabetes, that’s it. We now know that you can change your diet and your lifestyle and you can get those numbers back down. So a person with prediabetes can go back to not having it. The person with diabetes can improve too. In some cases they can get rid of it as well.
Reena Jadhav: So clearly one is testing. What about symptoms? I personally experienced a lot of these interesting symptoms when I was starting to see some insulin imbalances. Definitely. Oh, can you share for someone who hasn’t gotten tested yet, but is thinking, you know, I wonder if I should get tested, what should they be looking out for?
Dr. Barnard: Great. Um, the classic symptoms that we look for are number one, you’re tired. Now, a lot of people are tired. It’s so nonspecific. There’s a million reasons to be tired, but the reason that people are tired when they got diabetes is that sugar, glucose powers your muscles. And in diabetes, the sugar isn’t getting into the muscles, it staying out in the blood. And so if your muscles don’t have their fuel, you feel tired. Um, symptom number two, you’re in the bathroom a lot in simply put your pa a lot. What’s that about? If you have too much sugar in your blood, sooner or later that sugar goes through the kidneys and it carries a lot of water along with it, and so you’re urinating a whole lot. Symptom number three, you’re thirsty and that’s simply because you’re losing all that water, so you go to the doctor and you say, I’m tired all the time.
Dr. Barnard: I’m in the bathroom so much and I’m really thirsty, and the doctor says, they told me about this in medical school. Let’s do a blood test. The doctor looks at the numbers. It says you’ve got diabetes or prediabetes or you don’t have, but those are the classics. Now, big caution. A lot of people have diabetes without any symptoms at all there. Yes, their first symptom is a blood test that said you’ve got diabetes. It’s very, very common now becoming more common all the time, but many people do have those symptoms. There can be late symptoms to where you had a wound that didn’t heal very well, things like that, but that’s really pretty much it.
Reena Jadhav: You mentioned something very interesting, which is people might not have symptoms at all, so at what age do you recommend people just go get tested in case they’re curious about whether they are starting to see some. Some imbalances?
Dr. Barnard: Yeah. Well, first of all, anybody who doesn’t feel well, she really should get tested because of getting a blood sugar test is so easy, so cheap, and you’re. You might be getting a cholesterol test or something else anyway. It’s the easiest thing in the world for them to also check how your blood sugar control is doing. If you’re overweight, um, for just about anybody. We used to always say chem, anybody over 40, you want to have a higher index of suspicion. We’re changing that now because we’re starting to see type two diabetes in kids. Never used to see it. Now we do. A Kid’s 16, 15, 14 years of age are starting to get it. It’s not because their genes are changing. It’s all because of food. Nonetheless, despite how troubling it can be to know the kids are at risk for things like diabetes.
Dr. Barnard: That’s the time when it’s easiest to intervene as long as the kids and their parents are willing to think this through. Imagine if you have a child. Let’s say kids pick up cigarettes, they’re 16 years old and they’re walking home from school and they’re smoking cigarettes. You Think, oh, that kids at risk for lung cancer. Yeah, sure, true, but if that kid stopped smoking and stays cigarette free, do you think they’re gonna? Get Lung Cancer? Very likely not so when when you had a shot across your bow, which is you’ve got a high blood sugar when you’re 16 years old and if the whole family together says, wait a minute, we don’t eat very well, come on team, let’s ramp it up. All of that can change and it can change very well and not just for the kid. It can change for, for the brothers and sisters, the parents, the onstage, the whole family, cultural change.
Reena Jadhav: I love that. I love that. Chapter two, Dr Neal, so how can we reverse type two diabetes? What is the new understanding of the costs?
Dr. Barnard: When we look at diabetes, it’s clear there’s too much sugar in the blood. That’s what diabetes is all about. So until fairly recently people kind of naively assumed it came from eating sugar or eating too much carbohydrate, which did just to release sugar in the blood. So, so people thought, well, that was the cause, and then he thought, well, the answer is just don’t eat carbohydrates and that will bring your sugar down a little bit. However, following that low carbohydrate approach, for the most part, people didn’t get a lot better with using magnetic resonance imaging, Mri, um, we have had an opportunity to actually look inside the cells of the body. And then we found something amazing. It turns out the whole reason why sugar is building up in the blood is because it can’t get into the muscle cells and into the liver cells where it belongs.
Dr. Barnard: Why not? Because there’s something in those muscle cells and in those liver cells that stopping the sugar from getting. And what is that? It’s microscopic fat particles that came from. So to put it short and sweet, you ate a chicken salad sandwich with a slice of cheese and a bunch of French fries for lunch and the fat particles with from your digestive tract into your blood, into your muscle cells. And as they build up in the muscle cells, sugar can’t get in anymore. So what we have done in our research facility here is change that. So I’ll take the animal products out of your diet. Suddenly there isn’t any beef, fat or chicken fat anymore at all. There’s no cheese anymore. And if I keep vegetable oils low as well, there’s not a lot of any kind of fat and the fat drains out of the cells. And then the glucose can now go in the blood sugar falls. The diabetes in some cases just flat out goes away. In other cases it’s better but not quite gone. So, um, that’s what we call reversing diabetes.
Reena Jadhav: Oh my God, that’s actually brilliantly simple. And it really is some, some simple core changes to your diet. And I think that’s where your cookbook probably comes in handy. So carbs are no longer to blame.
Dr. Barnard: That’s right. Now that’s not to say that every carb is a healthy carb, no carbohydrates run the whole range from really healthy foods like beans and brown rice and sweet potatoes and so forth, all the way to potato chips and cake and that kind of thing, but as a group, carbohydrate is not the devil at all. In fact, carbohydrate releases that glucose to your cells. The problem in diabetes is that fat glucose can’t get into the cell and it’s building up in the blood, so that’s the whole big problem. So if I want to reverse diabetes, I’m going to do three things. Number one, I want to avoid all the animal fats. That means keep the animal products out. So I’m going to make you into a Vegan. Okay, that sounds like a tall order, but in later segments we’re going to talk about how to make that not only doable, but actually fun because all the side effects are great.
Dr. Barnard: I mean, it’s the best way to lose weight and your blood pressure, but that’s number one. Number two, we’re going to reduce vegetable oils also, and number three, I’m going to pick the healthy carbohydrates because white bread, there’s other kinds of bread that could be a little bit better. Um, the choices are really easy and quick to make. What’s a healthy carbohydrate? Okay? If I feed you white bread, your blood sugar’s going to go up pretty quickly. Let’s say I change it to Rye. Well, your blood sugar doesn’t go up quite so much. Let’s see, I go to pumpernickel even less. Let’s say I give you a white baking potatoes. Your blood sugar rises a lot. If it’s sweet potato arises less. So there are certain ways of picking foods that are generated.
Reena Jadhav: And what about fruit? That eternal conflict between us food? Good for you or just food? Bread for you?
Dr. Barnard: Uh, the jury is in fruit is fine.
Reena Jadhav: Oh yes. Okay.
Dr. Barnard: Is not only as fruit, fine, but fruit is vitamin rich and it’s good fruit has those natural sugars. Nature was hoping you’d pick. And so if most people, sweet taste comes from table sugar, drowning everything, throw that out. Pick the fruit. That’s what nature wanted you to have.
Reena Jadhav: Oh my God, that’s such great news because I love sugar. It’s been one of the toughest things for me to hold off on and so I’m thrilled to hear you say. Now, of course, I used to eat a pound of grapes. That’s not a good thing, but I think even just a few grapes is fantastic. Great. All right. Chapter three. What is the revolution in type one diabetes? Will Diet help type one if you’ve already been diagnosed, Dr Neal, what’s. What’s the verdict on that one?
Dr. Barnard: Yeah. This is the most amazing thing. Type one diabetes means that the insulin producing cells of the pancreas are gone. They’re not there anymore, so if a person has type one diabetes for the rest of their life, they need a source of insulin. That means injections. You can change your diet as much as you want. You’re still going to need some insulin injections, so should you change your diet? Absolutely. Here’s why. If a person has type one diabetes, it’s not the high blood sugar. It’s going to kill you. What’s going to happen for most people? What’s going to happen? The damage is damage to the blood vessels, the blood vessels to the heart, to the eyes, to the kidneys, to the extremities. The blood vessels are attacked by the diabetes process. So I don’t want any cholesterol in my diet. I don’t want any animal fat in my diet.
Dr. Barnard: I want to protect those blood vessels. So if person follows a healthy plant based diet, a Vegan Diet keeps the oils loan, um, the art, the arteries are really protected. And so that heart attack hopefully isn’t going to happen. It is a way of making the complications that occur. The other thing that it does is it tends to reduce insulin doses and I never sure why this happens, but if a person might need you name it, a certain number of units of insulin before they change their diet, they need a whole lot less once they follow a healthy diet. So the answer is you still follow the same diet as for type two. For type one, you’re still going to need some insulin, but you’ll need less and the complications are less likely to happen.
Reena Jadhav: Oh, that’s very, very encouraging. And can someone follow a diet to prevent type one so it can the same diet actually help and prevention?
Dr. Barnard: We don’t know for sure, but we think so. And here’s why. Um, when you look into the blood of a person who is newly diagnosed with type one diabetes, you’ll find something in the blood. Those are antibodies. Antibodies are proteins, little protein molecules that are like little torpedoes that are trying to destroy viruses or destroyed bacteria. But in this case, those antibodies have destroyed the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Where did they come from? Antibodies are usually buy some protein that you ingested. What could that be? It could be a virus, but there’s a lot of evidence that it could be cow’s milk product. So our advice is that babies need milk, they need new mom’s milk, they need mothers milk, human breast milk. And that human babies should not be exposed to milk from a cow or any other animal. And there’s a lot of evidence that when kids are breastfed, their reduced, their risk of getting type one diabetes goes way, way, way, way down. So step one in preventing a type one diabetes is to breastfeed kids from day one and to not expose them to the antigens which are in council. That’s probably the most important thing. Stay tuned. There’s more testing of this going on, but I think that’s probably the most important strategy for prevention.
Reena Jadhav: That sounds great. All right. The next chapter, which has the powerful new menu with the powerful new foods that you can eat to reverse diabetes. So how do we get started?
Dr. Barnard: Okay. Um, first of all, what is it that they were going to eat? Certain things we’re going to set aside and certain things we’re going to bring in and really emphasize the things that we want to emphasize are all those things that built those bad fats into myself and make my insulin network anymore. So what’s that? I want to set aside the animal products and the added oils, but what do I want to emphasize for things? Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, legumes, that’s, that really means beans and peas and lentils. So fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes. Emphasize those notes or those. That doesn’t sound like food though. Sounds like ingredients. So the way that translates is let’s say I make a spaghetti with tomato sauce for Spaghetti is a grain and the tomato was a fruit or some people call it a vegetable, but, but that’s, you know, I’m, I’m combining those two or I can have a pasta bean dish or beans and rice with vegetables on the side.
Dr. Barnard: So the idea is to use these four food groups as ingredients and that’s really the basis of the Diet. Um, I’ll give you, we’re going to talk more about this in a later program, but the way I encourage people to jump into it is to always focus on the short term and we’re going to test out different ways of eating, see how we like it, and really build confidence as opposed to saying, for the rest of your life, you’re never gonna have another whatever that sounds too daunting
Reena Jadhav: The moment you say to me, this isn’t the rest of your life, I’m like, I’m not doing this.
Dr. Barnard: Yeah, no, we make it really simple. I’ve never seen anybody unable to do it. You mentioned puff that and I’m sort of blown away because I thought we were not allowed to eat a lot of the white flour or anything that might. So when you talk about Pastas, could you clarify what kind of pasta these.
Dr. Barnard: Yeah, it’s really shocking to people. Um, 2003, we were funded by NIH to do a head to head trial of the Diet. I’m describing a Vegan diet versus a conventional diet and the low fat Vegan Diet, um, it just won hands down. It was three times you read three times better at controlling blood sugar. And it was setting aside the animal products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans were emphasized as I, as I mentioned earlier. And Pasta is a great um, but it’s made from flour. And if you take white flour and you make dough out of it and you put yeast in it and make it rise, so you’re making bread. What you’re going to discover is your blood sugar goes up, you take the same flower and you make spaghetti out of it.
Dr. Barnard: You don’t put any yeast in it and your blood sugar doesn’t really go up very much. Why is that? Because when you chew the bread, your all those air pockets that came from the east, all the bubbles in the bread in your stomach, the stomach acids and enzymes go in your digestive tract, go in and they just to adjust the carbohydrate really fast, a spaghetti and other process, no matter how much you chew them up, it’s much more dense than bread and just to just really solely. So we allowed our, our participants to have it. Would you be, be better with whole grain pasta? Sure. But even with White Spaghetti, um, it still has very little effect on blood sugar. Now, is it better Aldente? Yeah. Um, but we allow our, our participants to have spaghetti depending on what they put on top. That’s the key. No butter. The Alfredo. Sorry guys. The ground beef sauce out. Dang. Well, it’s still pretty delicious though. Let me tell you something. Put some fresh basil. Some really sets a nice new tomatoes on there or make. I don’t know if you’ve, if you’ve had pesto sauces, you know, I’m not talking about cheesing it up. There are ways to make this light delicious out of this world. Sometimes people add beans to a fabulous.
Reena Jadhav: I agree to the Mediterranean. Must be lunchtime.
Dr. Barnard: You got it.
Reena Jadhav: So what about volume control when you did this particular trial, is there a certain amount of volume that you’re restricting? And then of course the very important intermittent fasting question, do you restrict eating between certain hours?
Dr. Barnard: Um, people were in the study that I described, people were allowed to eat as much as they want as many times a day as they wanted. There was no limit on calories or carbohydrates at all. That’s in the Vegan group. Now, if in a conventional diet where you’re trying to tell people to lose weight, you cut calories, they limit carbohydrates and all that kind of stuff, those people do not do as well as the person following a low fat Vegan Diet with no calorie limit at all. And now the reason for that is on a Vegan Diet, everything you’re eating is from a plant. Plants have fiber, fiber fills you up, but it doesn’t really have any calories, so your appetite is naturally turned off and eventually you’re going to say I’ve had enough. And then when you measure the calories, it really wasn’t that much.
Reena Jadhav: I have to tell you a joke. A friend of mine that the speaking diet and on day three she called me, so one of our health bootcamps is a fabulous vegan program and so she was on it and she called me. She goes, you know, it’s because you’re my friend. I’m telling you this, but oh my God, I cannot eat this food anymore. Like I stopped eating and I couldn’t stop laughing because the doctrine, I would put the program together. That had been his assertion that the reason people lose weight and actually feels so much better, it’s because the volume goes down because the addictive foods like the ice creams and the cheeses are no longer in the menu. And the reason we tend to overeat so much is because of the addictive nature of some of these foods. And when you take those out, you know, like you may overindulged in a cheesy beef Lasagna, but you’re never going to indulge and carrots and hummus.
Dr. Barnard: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. You know, and the other piece of it is that they’ll veto is not from a plant so it doesn’t have any fiber. And so you get every calorie that’s in it and that’s true of chicken and salmon and so forth. And so people eat these foods and they tend to overdo it because there isn’t enough fiber in there to fill them up and turn off, uh, the eating drive and the brain.
Reena Jadhav: What about intermittent fasting?
Dr. Barnard: I’ve asked that this morning between about nine and 11. So you can do it if you want to, won’t hurt you, but it’s not part of what we do.
Reena Jadhav: Fantastic. What about weight control on this particular diet?
Dr. Barnard: Automatic people start losing weight on day one. Now that’s if you have weight to lose. If you’re already skinny, um, you’re not going to just blow away, but you will.
Dr. Barnard: Most people have type two diabetes, have some weight they would like to lose. And this is a really, really effective way to do it. It’s more effective than any other approach that I’m aware of because the food’s a naturally be because of the fiber, as I mentioned, they helped the, the appetite center to be satisfied naturally. They also change our metabolism a little bit. Um, so that you’re burning calories a little bit better than you were before.
Reena Jadhav: Fantastic. Thank you so much. All right. How do we get started on this amazing reversing diabetes program?
Dr. Barnard: Okay. Everybody’s going to be nervous when people are thinking about doing a Vegan diet for their diabetes. They’re, they’re, they’re nervous. They think, okay, if I go Vegan, does that mean I have to go acquire a taste for folk who say, Oh my God, do I have to wear a tie dye?
Dr. Barnard: What all these images they have like going Vegan? Um, there’s, there’s a way that we had done this in our research studies to introduce it that I’ve never seen anybody unable to do it. We break it into two steps. Step one, take seven days. And during those seven days, don’t take anything out of your diet. What you want to do is take a week and just think about foods that you might like that happened not to have animal products in them and make a list. I want breakfast lunches, dinners and snacks. So write down on a piece of paper. All right. Haven’t made oatmeal since I was a kid. I wonder if I’m like, well, write it down and then you discover, okay. If I put some cinnamon and blueberries and strawberries on it, it’s pretty good. All right. That stays on my list. Um, for lunch.
Dr. Barnard: Um, I make Chili with meat. Would have been chilly. Be any good. I don’t know. Let’s, let’s try. I haven’t tried almond milk. I don’t know if it tastes any good on my cereal. So seven days we’re going to try out new food. Seven days is enough time. You’ll find them. Now at the end of seven days, I want you to take step two, which is three weeks with all the foods that you identified the you liked. Now we’re going to eat them for 21 days for 21 days. No animal products at all. The oil is really low and eat the foods that you already identified as winners during the next 21 days. After just three weeks has done. Two things will have happened. The first is physically you’re different. Your blood sugar is falling, your losing weight, your energy is better, your digestion is better. The second thing is your tastes are changing. Learning to like the taste of vegetables and fruits and things that you hadn’t really thought about much before and so at that point, three weeks in now you’re thinking, are I get this now, I’m with it now. Week four. That’s gonna. Be a snap. You’re free to stop. Every patient says, are you kidding? I’m doing great. I want this momentum to keep going, so break it into two steps a week to have checking out the possibilities. Three week test drive and then take it from there.
Reena Jadhav: I love it. I need it for the rest of you. That might be thinking, well, how do I do this on my own? We’re going to have a health bootcamp for it and you can get support and we can all do this together. As a group, so I love it. Thank you so much. Next one. Weight control and diabetes. Dr Neal, how much of a factor is weight or obesity in diabetes
Dr. Barnard: weight’s a big issue for type two diabetes? The vast majority of people with date with type two are overweight and they got wait. They want to lose and losing the weight will not only help their diabetes control and it also takes the pressure off their heart. It helps their blood pressure to come down to reduce their risk of cancer and stroke, so losing that extra way. It’s a good idea.
Reena Jadhav: So how do we do get into weight control in this program?
Dr. Barnard: We did a research study a number of years ago where we brought in 64 women. They don’t. They were all overweight moderately to severely and they had all done every diet known to humanity. And what we said to them is two things. Keep the animal products off your plate and keep the vegetable oil slope. And what we discovered was two things happen as they were, as they went along, their appetite was satisfied sooner as we’ve talked about in earlier segments. That’s because you’re suddenly eating high fiber foods. You’re eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and when you eat a lot of fiber, your stomach as the fiber in it, the fiber holds water and you think you ate a lot of food, but in truth you ate a lot less than before. So this kind of diet is going to be helping your appetite to turn off a couple of hundred calories sooner than it would otherwise.
Dr. Barnard: But it’s just one other thing he said, which way we measure their metabolic rate is how fast is your body burning calories. We can measure that and what we find is that in the after meal period when you’re digesting food and you ought to be burning calories a little faster during digestion, for some people, their their ramp up and calorie calibrate is not very strong after they go on the Diet that I just described, their calorie burning speed increases in in our study, about 16 percent. Not huge, but it’s enough that it gives that extra edge, so the reason people lose weight is that their appetite is turned off sooner and their metabolism is stronger. Now, one other thing I need to emphasize, you can make all this fail by eating foods that are really, really calorie dense. Which foods are those? If you’re avoiding animal products, that’s good, but what if you let a lot of oils or oily foods like nuts and guacamole come into your life? Those foods are so calorie dense. If they’re going to slow down your weight loss, so if you’ve got weight but you want to lose, don’t just avoid the animal products. Keep the oils and the oily foods. I’m talking peanut butter. Keep those things to him. You know what I mean by that?
Reena Jadhav: Nuts and cashew nuts are the bane of my existence. Yes,
Dr. Barnard: there you go. So, so keeping those to a minimum, it’s gonna help you too. And uh, don’t go low carb. Don’t cut calories, just let the foods do the work for you and be gradual. Don’t try to lose weight really, really fast. Let yourself lose weight bit by bit by bit. If you’re losing a pound a week, that’s fine. That’s 52 pounds a year, or if it’s a half a pound a week, fine as 26 pounds a year. Let it let it come off at its own rate and you’re going to be fine. If you want to add exercise so much, the better, but if you can’t exercise because you got bad joints are a weak heart or whatever, you can still lose weight with this program.
Reena Jadhav: Very exciting, very exciting. All right, Dr Neal. How do we test and how do we try?
Dr. Barnard: Okay, great. So let’s say you’ve changed your diet and you’re hoping to see that you can really improve. What do I want to know? When I’m at the doctor’s office? The first thing that’s going to be on your mind probably is your blood sugar control. That’s what the test called a one C or hemoglobin a, one c and the doctor does the test. Just a simple blood test and I want it to be below seven. If a person has diabetes, if I can get it down below six point five, you don’t have diabetes anymore. If you can get it down to a five point seven, you don’t even have prediabetes, so those, those are the numbers to just drive for. But if you’re above seven, that’s diabetes and not very good control while you’re at it, check your cholesterol because the biggest risk with diabetes is hard problems.
Dr. Barnard: So when your doctor does a cholesterol test, the thing to really zero in on is your bad cholesterol. LDL, low density Lipoprotein A. I want that to be below about 100, okay? Sometimes the numbers are a little more liberal. I would like to see that below 100. Some people would say even below 80, but if it’s below 100, you’re doing pretty well. Um, now when you go into the doctor’s office, make sure that you, you’re, you’re not just a blood test. Have the doctor look at your body to your eyes can be affected by this disease. Once a year, have a good dilated exam. This is not going to the eye to the eyeglasses guy. This is the person puts in the drops, expands your pupil and looks at your retina, and when you go see your regular doctor, every time you go in there, undo the laces on your shoes, kick them off, throw off the socks and sit there waiting for your doctor to come in and where the doctor comes in to your doctor is going to look at your feet to people with diabetes. They get foot sores that don’t heal very well. You want your doctor to check your feet, and this is my secret way of making sure the doctor doesn’t forget.
Reena Jadhav: Oh, what a great tip. That’s actually brilliant and so simple. One of the things I’ve heard more lately, so is get your blood sugar tested. Actually not just a fasting, but just regular. You’ve eaten and now you’re getting your blood sugar tested based on how it’s reacting after eating food. What are your thoughts on this?
Dr. Barnard: I think you. You certainly can do that and many people do and when we do a specific test called glucose tolerance testing, we’re doing exactly that in a really organized way. So I’ll give you a measured amount of glucose and then I’ll measure it every half hour and so that can be a good idea. That gives you extra information as well. And the hemoglobin a one c that I mentioned is a rough guide to how your body is handling glucose really throughout, uh, throughout week one, week after another, after another.
Reena Jadhav: Oh, okay. Yeah. There’s all these cool new wearables as well. I mean, I’m in silicon valley technology, so there’s things that are, especially in Europe that are available where you strap it on and it just sort of helps you track during the day what foods you’re reacting to and that way you can start to see, oh, you know, my body reacts disproportionately to let’s say Broccoli versus like potato. I’m just totally making that up because I would react negatively to broccoli than I would have to eat it anymore. But, um, what do you think of these new tools, technologies for testing and tracking purposes? Any. Any cool ones that you like?
Dr. Barnard: Yeah. Well, I think it can be handy and I’ll tell you one other. One other thing. It’s not just a guide to show you if your blood sugar is say going to high, but they can also be useful if your blood sugar is going too low and this will happen on this dial. A person comes in here or they’re reading the book. They’re watching this program now and they say, I don’t want to try that. They go vegan and it’s Monday on about Friday. They wake up in the morning and they’re feeling shaky and they’re sweating and they’re feeling nervous and they’re feeling so hungry. They’re ready to so far. What’s that about? What they don’t know. If they changed their diet, the Diet is bringing their blood sugar down, but their medicines stayed as powerful as before. So the combination of a good diet and the medicines means your blood sugar is going too low and your brain is saying, I’m not getting enough glucose here to work properly.
Dr. Barnard: And so you start feeling feeling bad, that is the time to call your doctor and say, I think I think my blood sugar’s too low. And the doctor will say, I’ll hang on the phone, stick your finger in, check your blood glucose right now I’m in a hole so you stick your finger in it’s too low and that this is the one and only time doctor says I want you to have some junk food because I want to get her blood sugar right up and now let’s ratchet you off your drugs. So what happens is when people follow this program, their need for medication diminishes. You work with your doctor, Dr. Ratchets you off your medicines as exert their, their benefit.
Reena Jadhav: Which good home track or do you like? What do you recommend for tracking? Kind of putting that finger at home?
Dr. Barnard: I don’t have a preference for it there. There are more and more good products every day. And give it a try. See the one that really works for you.
Reena Jadhav: Fantastic. That sounds great. Alright, so next chapter, how do you maintain this perfect diet which is going to reverse diabetes and get you back your health, you know, highly imperfect world. Dr Neal, what are some great tips and tools that we can all use?
Dr. Barnard: You know, people eat out more than ever before. It used to be that people would eat out at a restaurant once a month because they saved up some money and they would splurge, you know, nowadays it can be almost every day the people are doing or we’re traveling, we’re on the road. A tip one, think international. What I mean is if you’re going to a restaurant that features Italian cuisine, they’ve got all kinds of dishes. Um, that happened to be easily done without animal products at all. You could have the spaghetti with the Rabi to sauce, Marinara sauce or whatever. The grilled vegetables, Chinese, they got all kinds of things made from rice and vegetables and Tofu. A Japanese. Yeah, there’s fish Sushi. But that’s what we’re talking about. Why not have the Sushi wrapped up with cucumbers and other things in the delectable salad? How about Mexicans?
Dr. Barnard: They can make you Veggie Fajitas, bean burritos, so think international. Um, there are so many cuisines that have healthy foods as part of their staples. Now the next challenge, I’m going fast food. Is there something that I can eat? You got to be a little discerning because there’s a lot of bad stuff there too, but more and more fast food chains do have veggie burgers. If you’re going to a submarine sandwich place, they are more than happy to leave out the meat and cheese into pilot high with lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers and spinach and a little red wine vinegar. You’re going to be okay at the Mexican fast food place. Skip the Meat Taco, have the bean burrito, hold the cheese. You’re going to be okay. Um, when you are traveling, when you check into a hotel, would, you can often find is if you request a refrigerator, you can stop at the store. If you happen to luck out and get ahold kitchenette, no problems whatsoever. If you’re traveling internationally called the airline 48 hours before you fly, but I know you want to a Vegan meal, they’ll have it for you and your going to get served first. So those are just a few tips that will help you get through this, unfortunately imperfect world that you’ll be able to do it.
Reena Jadhav: Oh, absolutely. You know, on planes. Actually my mother in law’s diabetic. Uh, we also just order a diabetic meal, so planes these days actually have specific meals just for diabetics, which is great. And to your point, you know, you get served first, which is really nice. I had a really hard time but I kind of switched by dikes around. I did it for 15 months, was a really long time and I have my hardest thing Dr Neal was actually television, like you know, you’re watching something and up pops that cheesy pizza or you know, the, all of these restaurants have these amazing looking foods. Any suggestions on how do you handle. I mean, so what I did is I would basically either you only netflix where there was no ads and so I couldn’t possibly be tempted and mine was chocolate. If I saw anything with chocolate, I just literally had to run out and get some.
Dr. Barnard: What recommendations, you know, what you’re saying is true. Half the commercials are for Burgers that are piled higher or cheesy things or candy or soda or whatever. Everybody handles it different. You’d have one way of doing it is to to to mute it and watch during the commercials, but another way of doing it is keep watching because what you’ll notice is that after the food commercial has done, the other half of the commercials are for medicines for all the health problems that you’re going to have from eating that you’ve got diabetes. That means go for it. With this medication, that medication, you’re thinking, what can I insane role is this. It makes those burgers now. It looks so good
Reena Jadhav: and I love those disclaimers. At the end. You know this medicine for your depression may give you depression, may kill. You may cause suicide every day. I love how half of the disclaimers basically say to the medicine doesn’t really work.
Dr. Barnard: Everybody’s trying to sell you something, so be aware of that and it it, it, it makes those junk foods that look so good and I got to tell you, my good friend, Mary Lou Henner always says, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels, and that’s, that’s the truth. So true
Dr. Neal Barnard
Address: 5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
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