Type 1 Diabetes No Match for Primal Lifestyle!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

My name is Shawn and I am 28 years old. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a year ago. I haven’t seen many stories or articles related to diabetes on the MDA website so I thought I would share how going Primal has helped me take back control over my health and wellbeing.

First of all, I have actually been very healthy most of my life (or so I thought). In college I lifted weights, ran, and did pushups and sit-ups in my dorm room on a regular basis. I despised salad and fresh veggies, and loaded up on Hamburger Helper, cereal, and PB&J because it was convenient and I “worked it all off” during my workouts. I am 6’ tall and my weight maxed out at about 205 lbs (92 kgs) during my last year of college (2007)…perfectly healthy I thought.

Fast forward several years (during which I managed to drop about 10 lbs thanks to army basic training) to September of 2011. I started losing weight…lots of weight…about 25 lbs in 3 weeks to be exact, I drank water by the gallons, and I could no longer exercise without getting severe cramping in my legs. Something was obviously wrong, so I made an appointment with my doctor who I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. I had a fasting blood sugar level of 350 (normal is 70-99 mg/dL). The last several months of 2011 were very challenging. There was no explanation why I got this disease (no family history) and trying to come to terms with the fact that I would have to deal with this every day for the rest of my life was a bit overwhelming. I started working with diabetes educators and nutritionists at the local hospital and was told that I should take in about 320 CARBS/DAY(!!) based on my activity level. And they call themselves nutritionists?? Even my endocrinologist said I could eat whatever I wanted because the disease “sucks enough the way it is” and I just needed to shoot up with enough insulin to cover the food I was eating. At this point I still did not know any better so I bought into their conventional wisdom.

Needless to say, my blood sugar control was not good. I would go up to 250 right after meals, but since I dropped down to normal again after a few hours my doctor was fine with it. Being all too aware of the side effects of uncontrolled blood sugar, I decided to educate myself and become my own “nutritionist/doctor.”

Around January of this year a friend exposed me to the paleo diet. I checked it out and was intrigued. I started doing extensive reading and research (during which I came across this website) and decided to give it a try. I slowly started purging out the sugars/carbs/processed foods that were poisoning my body (especially cereal which was a staple of my diet at the time), and whaddya know…my blood sugars and overall health improved drastically, and my insulin requirements dropped like a rock!!!

Fast forward another 8 months to today and life has never been better! Through my faith, support of my wonderful wife and family, and a little help from the Primal Blueprint, I have been able to cope with my diabetes to the point that it is a mere afterthought in my everyday life. My diet includes massive amounts of meat/eggs/veggies/salad/nuts to fuel my active lifestyle, ~120 carbs worth/day with virtually no SAD food (if I do slip up, my blood sugar pays the price!). I do still indulge in some diabetic friendly, Primally questionable foods (quite a bit of cheese, a few peanuts, and the occasional artificially sweetened drink). I guess there is always room for improvement? I still work out quite often, but in Primal fashion: biking in to work as often as possible (~16 miles, 50 minutes each way), sprint sessions when I can’t get on the bike, and circuit-type training with pushups/pullups/core exercises/any other bodyweight exercise I can think up 4-5 days/week . The results: My weight has stabilized at 187 lbs (slightly less than pre-diabetes weight) while also managing to drop a couple pants sizes. I have tons of energy, especially compared to some of my type 2 diabetic relatives who always feel run-down due to their poor diets. (I’m trying to convert them, but no luck as of yet). And of course, combined with the omnipod insulin pump that I am now on (which I would strongly recommend to all insulin-dependent diabetics) I find it quite easy to tightly control my blood sugars (i.e. less than 100 AT ALL TIMES with very few hypoglycemic episodes, i.e. low blood sugar). And possibly the best part, my family/friends/coworkers are noticing these changes and starting to question their own diets and lifestyle habits…it’s like a contagious disease (the good kind)!

A few stats for the diabetics out there (or non-diabetics) who may be interested:

  • A1C – September 2011=13.0 (newly diagnosed), January 2012=5.7 (pre-Primal), May 2012=5.4 (partially Primal), November 2012=?? (should be under 5).
  • Average total insulin use per day (bolus+basal)=13-14 units (doctor thinks I’m still in the honeymoon phase after 1 year. Possibly, but I think it’s more a result of my diet and fitness level.)
  • Cholesterol levels at diagnosis: HDL=35, LDL=90, Tri=sky high because of high BS. Next test in November, the real indicator of the effectiveness of my new lifestyle!

I look forward to a long and healthy life (in spite of the diabetes) as my Primal lifestyle continues to evolve, and hopefully I can get more people on board! Thanks for reading and I hope this can provide some motivation for the diabetics out there who may need a little extra motivation once in a while!

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240 thoughts on “Type 1 Diabetes No Match for Primal Lifestyle!”

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  1. Lookin’ good! Those abs! :-O

    Great to hear you’re helping friends/family question their own SAD. Keep up the good work!

  2. Some people are ready to hear new information others need to see the changes in our bodies for the light bulb to go off (“Hmm…maybe there’s something to this paleo stuff.”). Every time people say, “Hey, you’ve lost weight, haven’t you?” I respond with, “Yep, I went paleo in January of this year and lost the troublesome last 8 lbs I wanted to.”

    Keep up the great work!

    1. I find that very, very few people are open to hearing new information when it calls for drastic action like paleo/primal. They want a quick easy solution that won’t require to much modification to their currnet life. I have had a few friends try paleo get great results for 3 weeks and just stop cause they don’t care enough to put in the work.

      1. That’s almost as infuriating as my friends, who say, “I’m like, addicted to carbs! I could never stop!”

        Yeah, because you’re a unique snowflake.

        1. After they threaten to cut me I explain,
          “both sugar and wheat have been found to bind to opiate receptors…so that defensive reaction is due to feeling like I just threatened to take your crack. People did not eat wonder bread 8,000 years ago, they ate a meal of whatever was available smooshed into a pancake or loaf. If it means that much to you, you could source ancient wheat and other grains but I think it’s easier to just eat more greens and fat to make up the difference.”

          Then just leave it at that. You’ve planted the seed and now trust that other influences will germinate it.

        2. …and another typical thing some people say, “I smoke, do you think I’m worried about what I eat or my cellphone?”
          boom headshot

        3. I love this statement. I may start referring to people as a unique snowflake from now on when the situation warrants. 🙂

      2. I am experiencing the same. Friends tell me I look great and ask me how I manage to stay thin while entering the mid-life phase. I always share my “secret” of paleo/primal lifestyle, but see none of my friends making even the slightest modifications in their diets. Even though I went cold turkey on carbs and sugars, I encourage them with baby steps, being patient with themselves, etc, but it is as if the effort is just too much. I do not understand how the effort can be too much to improve quality of life so drastically. I forward the success stories, which I find very inspiring, to my friends, and still none bought into this lifestyle. This has been the easiest and most satisfying “diet” that I have ever followed and my family and I are most certainly hooked for life.

        1. I know!! I go through this with my family members and it drives me crazy…they come to me with their health problems, digestive issues, and wanting to feel better…and I tell them what has worked for me – and they’re smart people – and they just ignore me. I love them but sometimes I feel tired of being asked if no one is going to listen. PHEW! Guess I had to get that off my chest 🙂

          But excellent success story, thank you for sharing. These personal stories are excellent motivation.

      3. We all live in comfort zones. Some our comfort zones involve taking control of our health, while the comfort zones of others involve less healthy behaviors. Even if they see their health going down, they might take comfort in the fact that they’re just doing what “everyone else” does and recommends. Diving into what, to them, is a drastic change in lifestyle takes them out of their zone. For these people I would recommend smaller, incremental changes. They should see smaller, incremental improvements which might help them take comfort in the control they’ve taken in their health, which might inspire them to do more.

        1. I engage in intermittent self-torture to feel like I’ve earned my comfort time. For example cold water plunges, resting/lazing only when necessary (mostly..), eating small amounts of raw meat once in a while, going for a barefoot hike in the rain through mud while not dressed warm.
          I’m sick of the shelter I’m staying in and a lot of the people in it so this week I’ll be leaving with a sleeping bag and probably a tarp or two to be subject to the whims of the ecosystem.

        2. I agree. For me, what has been interesting was making all of these big changes and then realizing, “it’s really not that big of a deal.” I think we are more attached to our comfort zones than the content of said comfort zones. Though, that said, we also don’t realize how messed up our insulin/leptin/ghrelin sytems are and how much they affect our ultimate behavior.

  3. Great story, thanks for sharing it! I look forward to hearing the results of your November check-up.

  4. Very nice! I have just started eliminating all processed foods, dairy, grains, etc from my diet. My daughter and I both had a borderline a1c test (5.7), so we are taking the advice from my primary care physician to lower it. It appears that you have done a great job with it and this inspires me to continue, thank you!

  5. Great work Shawn! Curious to know if you’ve considered or tried the autoimmune protocol (no nuts, eggs, nightshades). Thanks for sharing your story, and best wishes for the future.

    1. I’m curious to know this too. I’m a type 1 with great control since starting paleo, but can’t lose a pound even with lower insulin levels. I’m starting to wonder if its because I don’t follow the autoimmune protocol.

    2. i havent really considered it, mostly because i eat alot of eggs and snack regularly on nuts between meals and i feel better than i ever have. If my blood sugar was out of control or if i was gaining wgt or getting upset stomach, i would definitely try it. although i should say ive never actually heard of the autoimmune protocol. Susan, maybe you are at your optimum body composition right now and you dont need to lose anymore weight?

      1. Shawn, I’m also Type 1 diabetic, since age 2, and have celiac disease. I’m under good control but I’m interested in trying the Primal diet/lifestyle. I was curious what you do when/if your blood sugar gets low? What do you eat to bring it up quickly? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

        1. Hi ktjane, I always have glucose tablets or sweetarts available for when I go low, especially if im active. I find these to be the fastest acting and have the least amount of additives, basically just plain sugar. Milk or other high carb liquids will raise it even faster, but I typically drink these things. Its easy with liquids to drink too much and then rebound and go high!

  6. Good work!You might want to get a copy of Dr Bernstein’s book to help you tune in. Also, think like a pancreas has great info for pump users.

    I had discussed getting a pump a year ago, but the reservoir was too small for my needs. By the time I got off the wheat and grains, my insulin doses were too low to bother with a pump. I now am 98% insulin free. Except for some Thai food that raised my bg, I haven’ needed a shot in 2 months.

    1. My sister in law is type 1, she is on a sad diet and it seems like she barely eats. her portion sizes are sooooo small. when i watch her eat, i feel like i am starving to death. i know she is on that pump, however I do not know the specifics. I just wish that she would see what the rest of us sees and get healthy!

    2. @marcsfl are you Type 1? How do you manage your need for basal insulin if you are Type 1? My 8 year old son has had type 1 for 6 1/2 years now and I am very curious about this.

    3. Are you a type 1? If so, did you start as a type 2. I’m a type 1. I take very little insulin because I don’t eat much, but I still have to take a shot after I eat. I loved Shawn’s inspirational story. We are all looking for support and the cure for this life altering disease. I’ve had it for 13 years. I am trying the paleo diet, but my only vice is diet coke. I don’t ever crave sweets, just diet coke. Someone tell me how to get over this one.

      1. How about trying plain mineral water or soda water with ice and some lemon or lime juice. I find it is really the bubbly water that I like. We have a Soda Stream, so I make my own carbonated water.

        My child is type 1 on paleo, and it really controls his blood glucose levels easily. I recommend it for all diabetics (and non diabetics too!)

  7. Thank you! It wasn’t till I became diabetic (T2) that I learned how appallingly, criminally deficient and dysfunctional the current medical guidelines for diabetes treatment are. It boggles the mind. So much so that intrepid ones among us have decided to fend for ourselves. Looking forward to your update!

    1. Anna, I totally agree. So “SAD” that we have to fend for ourselves. Why doctors aren’t required to learn about nutrition is criminal. It’s not a healthcare system, it’s sickcare.

      1. Exactly, Christina! We need holistic lifestyle approaches, not “Here, take this pill …” Clearly, that approach isn’t working. Our society is sicker than it’s ever been.

      2. I’m a general practicioner in Germany and I learnt about nutrition – 100 hours of extra-lessons.
        I was taught the low fat and whole grain story. That was 5 or 6 years ago and there hasn’t been a basic shift since.
        The problem is twice:
        1. Patients are mostly addicted to carbs (I myself was)
        2. Money makes the world go round- I think the “Carbs-Lobby” is very strong
        I’m sure, the American doctors want to help and not harm their patients – they don’t know better!

        1. I’m a current medical student and a primal eater (lost 40ish pounds because of it). We are learning the basic calories=calories out/willpower paradigm for weight loss…even though on the same token we are also learning about how fats and proteins cause satiety on a hormonal level and how de novo lipogenesis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise (which is caused by an increase in CARB CONSUMPTION!). My professors end all of their lectures with a list of “cool” new drugs that obese people/diabetics may be able to take one day to improve their poor/hopeless situations….it almost feels like the medical establishment has to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  8. Great article and I would love to hear more testimonies of diabetics going primal.

    I’ve had high blood sugar for years but I was in denial. About 5 years ago, my a1c was about 6. I should have done something about it back then but I chose to ignore it. I had it checked a month ago and it was 13!!

    So, that was my wake up call and I’ve been primal for 4 weeks. My blood sugar is coming down daily with only a few setbacks. I noticed that the ravenous hunger pains stopped in less than a week. However, I cheated about a week ago with a piece of pie and the cravings were back with a vengeance for about a day. So, no more of that!

    My blood sugar is not yet under complete control yet but it is continuously improving and I hope to have it below 125 in a few more weeks. I’ve been this way for years so a few more weeks in the danger zone does not cause me to panic. I see light at the end of the tunnel.

    I need to lose about 30 pounds and no weight loss yet but I’m in the early stages of this lifestyle change. With the food cravings under control and 4 weeks of light exercise under my belt, I’m ready to step up the exercise and grok on.

    1. PS – I previously drank almost 100 oz of soft drinks per day. I know, that’s really horrible.

      But, the good news is that with the primal diet, I’ve had very few sugar craving since day one of eating primal. A few bites of fruit here and there but not one sip of a soft drink in 4 weeks and I don’t miss it at all – amazing!!

      1. You should try kombucha! It’s full of many different B-vitamins, and lots of probiotics. Plus, it tastes like fizzy rainbows mixed with joy.

    2. @Kevin
      the less carb you eat = less insulin which means you can drop wt.
      check out TheEatingAcademy.com Dr. Attia talks a lot about insulin and the effect it has on wt. loss

  9. Sean,

    One thing to check if your Triglycerides are “sky high” is Alcohol.

    I got diagnosed as being “Allergic” to alcohol about 12 years ago. My tri’s were 650 or so, and they determined that Alcohol was the cause. My Tri’s dropped to Normal (100-150) even though I was severely obese at the time.

    Since Alcohol is a sugar, and it is the kind that can’t be stored, it causes the body to want to store all other types of food as fat (hence the term “Beer Belly”) and causes the triglycerides to go up as a result.

    In cases like mine, it goes up pathologically.

    So I haven’t had much alcohol in the last 12 years. Like darn nearly NONE.

    Just something to check out.


    1. Just wanted to point out one thing: alcohol is not a sugar, it’s not even a carbohydrate.

      That said, it’s true that the body tries do get rid of alcohol by burning it off as quickly as possible and also by turning it into fatty acids (causing fatty liver in the unlucky).

      1. What do you think alcohol is made of? He is obviously talking about produced alcohol, such as beer and wine – not the OH-group attached to a molecule of some kind which contains oxygen and hydrogen.

        Just a few examples of the alcohols we drink:

        Beer (4,5%) per 100ml:
        Carbs 4,1g (2g glukos, 2g maltos)
        Ethanol 3,5g
        Protein 0,4g
        Fat 0g
        Gives 43 kalorier, 39% from carbs.

        Wine (8-15%), per 100ml:
        Carbs 0,5g
        Ethanol 9g
        Protein 0,3g
        Fat 0g
        Gives 68 kalorier, 3% from carbs.

        The more “pure” the alohol you drink is, the less carbs does it contain. But yes, regular alcohol that is being consumed for dinner such as beer and wine DOES contain carbohydrates. So in every day language Alcohol (as in drink) = Carbohydrates intake.

    1. it has a small tube like IV’s and it just goes into your skin/fat you have to change them every so often (i have a minimed pump and i change mine every 72 hours)

    2. Its different from pretty much all other pumps in that it is tube free and run by remote control. I tried both types of pumps when i first got it, and there was no comparison for me…so nice not to have to deal with all the tubing and everything.

      1. That pump looks awesome! I am a t1 and I just changed to a pump this year… no comparison to MDI of course… but now I want that pump!! Mine has tubing and I don’t yet have a remote… Maybe when I’m rich… 😛

        1. I just switched the omnipod from Minimed (after 14 years with minimed) last week. I LOVE IT! It is the best solution for me!

  10. wow dude jealous! T1D since 15 (now 27) and primal since june (just finished a marathon so now primal fitness as well)my A1c has never been good 7.4 was the last one in July (one month as primal dropped it from 9) next one in 2 wks- we will see…congrats though keep it up

    1. Keep up the good work. The more you test, the more you know and the more you care and choose primal foods, you will get there. I have been T1 for 20 years (28yo female) and practice as a private RD advocating this diet to other T1’s.

      1. Hi. I’ve been T1 for 36 yrs, on a pump for 15 yrs and now also have overactive thyroid – waiting for date to have thyroid removed. Last A1c was 8.6 due to the thyroid complication. Can this diet help with the thyroid problem too? I know omitting refined carbs has massive impact on control but have fallen off the wagon due to other health issues. Needing some inspiration here!

  11. Love your story.
    And I love your Omnipod.
    My little boy is 5 and just started on the pod in July!
    Since going primal, his insulin needs have greatly decreased.

  12. Wow, Shawn, you look great! Coming from a family that has been severely traumatized by the effects of T1 and T2 diabetes, this is very inspiring although *facepalm* over the advice and reaction of your doctor. So glad you were able to see through it and listen to your friend. Congratulations!

  13. God, this is absolutely fantastic.

    The proof not only that food is the medicine, but also that non-food is the poison.

    Congratulations to you, great warrior!

  14. I LOVE Friday’s!!! Shawn, your story is just another testimonial as to why this way of life is so great! You look awesome and more than that, you’ve taken control of your health – in spite of the advice/instructions/directions given to you by doctors and nutritionist with their CW. When will they open their eyes and see that CW doesn’t work?? Thank you for sharing your story!!!!

  15. That is a great story….congrats.

    PS. great looking family too!

  16. Congrats. Very inspiring story. Looking good keep it up! Love to hear the next update.

  17. I love stories like this. I love how it shows that we each need to take control of our own health. The medical community is so incredibly deficient in nutritional knowledge it’s pathetic. Great job, Shawn. You are an inspiration.

  18. Congratulations! You look fabulous and what an adorable family you have 🙂

  19. WOW! Wish more of my family would get the hint by this and just tre it.

  20. Great testimony, Shawn and thank you for sharing it. My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young adult also. We have heard that viruses can trigger a response causing the the body to turn on itself, in this case the pancreas. Our family has been very concerned about our brother’s well being as it seems that he feels crummy most the time. Your story is the first account from someone with type 1 that I have heard about. It gives us hope.

  21. Good on ya Shawn, I was exactly the same only type 2, I could not believe what they were telling me and did the same as you. Now my BG is normal, HBA1C 5.3mmol, I have lost 3.5 st in 6 months and feel better than I ever have, I go gym 3 times a week, go swimming with my boy’s, and feel fantastic and I’m 52. Keep it up and good health.

  22. Congrats Shawn! I also have type 1 diabetes, and I have seen many of the same results as you with the Primal diet. Is that a RoadID I see on your arm? It’s my favorite accessory, which doubles as medical alert in case of an emergency. I hope you will update as time goes on 🙂

    1. it is a med ID bracelet, got it on ebay from a company in the UK. its rubber and not real flashy so something i thought i could wear during exercise or for going out, work, etc. After 10 months its been great, no wear showing yet..

  23. Shawn,
    this is a very timely story for me. My five year old daughter was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes around 6 months ago, and it has been a difficult transition, more for me than for her, I think due to her age. I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of more resources to check out besides the books that’s been mentioned. We were also told that it’s no problem for your blood sugar to go up as long as it comes down again. I’d like to know more about what happens in our bodies when that happens…and if it is detrimental, are we being told that it’s ok just becuase doctors/nutritionists think that we can’t handle getting away from too many carbs? I think from a psychological point of view, it was so overwhelming to really delve into what I needed to do to help her at the beginning–I just wanted to figure out how to get by–but I am at the point now that I want her to have the best diet. I was wondering about the connection between celiac disease and TID- will it always come up with a test that she is intolerant to gluten, or is it possible that it won’t be detected, but being gluten free would still help? I guess for those that don’t ‘get’ this diet it’s nice to tell people that she’s gluten intolerant. thanks so much for sharing, and for pointing me in the direction of any other resources.

    1. Caroline – a good site to visit is the Blog of Dr. Michael Eades. Look for the articles ‘Metabolisn and Ketosis’ and ‘Getting started…’ His url is https://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/

      I found it very helpful in my understanding of what happens when I eat.

      I am a t2d and was diagnosed almost 20 years ago. At the time I weighed 225 – 230 lbs. My advice was the typical eat carbs and lose weight. Never worked! Over the years pills and a bit of eating self control kept my sugars under control. On July 4th I started PB at 220 lbs. I am now at 204. On Aug 5th I took my last pill and have had normal blood sugars since. Needless to say I am glad that I found Mark’s site but wish it had happened years ago – I’m 75.

    2. Blood sugar spikes are bad. What happens is the body’s cells – especially the nerves – get soaked in more glucose than they can tolerate, and each time it happens, they get damaged a little tiny bit. Once or twice – maybe even hundreds of times – and the nerves work fine. But there comes a point after repeated dunkings that the nerves no longer work as well as they used to. After thousands of incidents, the nerves begin to fail outright. The best scenario is where the BG doesn’t rise at all. The next best is that it rises for only a short time and stays low most of the time. The next best is that it rises for a while after meals but comes down overnight.

      I’ve been low carb (<50g/day) for about 6 years. My endocrinologist still cannot believe I've stuck with that diet. He can't hardly keep T2s on their diet at all.

      Be very conscious that most diabetics are T2, which is a very different disease than T1, although still an inability to process sugars properly. When you read articles and books, make sure you are getting advice for a T1. There are many things my T2 friends can eat which would put me in a coma.

      Also, diabetes – especially T1 – is a very individual disease. Your daughter's insulin needs will depend on her personal metabolism, her personal insulin to carb ratio, her personal exercise level and even her personal stress level. In order to fine tune her treatment, you can keep records of diet, exercise and sick days so you can see trends in how things affect her.

      I strongly recommend Dr Richard K Bernstein's book. He's a very practical man and his recommendations are easy to understand. Lots of us are doing much better on a low carb regimen than we were doing on the standard advice. It's a bonus that it turns out to be a pretty good regimen for everyone.

      1. +1 Caroline, this is very good advice.

        Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s Diabetes Book is the best I know of, plus he has a great forum full of very helpful people on his website. He is T1 himself.

        Shawn, you have a great story. I totally agree about mainstream medical advice being insufficient for diabetic health. My own doctor thinks it’s criminal. You’re so lucky you found low carb paleo early! Keeping blood sugar low at all times will greatly diminish neuropathy.

        Love your family photo, too!

      2. this is exactly right…ive even read that extreme blood sugar spikes can be worse than consistently high blood sugar for reasons stated above.
        Dr bernsteins book is probably the best resource..its what really initially woke me up to the side effects of uncontrolled blood sugar when i first started becoming ‘educated’. He is very strict and somewhat intense with his suggestions but it makes a world of difference even if you can just follow a few of his guidelines.

        1. Shawn,

          I’m an highly active T1D on a pump and I’m trying to go primal, but I’m not seeing the results I expected. I’m 26 and I’ve had T1D for 4.5 years. I’ve tried to cut out all carbohydrates for the past week, but I’m wondering if I need to bolus for vegetables and protein or just adjust my basal rates and eat relatively similar meals at consistent increments. Can you tell me what and when you eat on a typical day? Also, do you bolus for vegetables, protein, or fat?

          My numbers are crazy, which is dangerous in my line of work (commercial fishing). Thanks!

    3. Good luck to your daughter, Caroline!

      There are lots of great Type 1 mom bloggers out there that you could use as resources. I found “Think Like a Pancreas” by Gary Scheiner to be great for learning the history of diabetes and some of the basics for figuring out basal/bolus rates. I, too, am on the Omnipod pump and love it. For your daughter, considering her as gluten intolerant would help in some ways. However, tons of gluten free products are on the market and aren’t necessarily low carb. They’re probably made of rice flour or bean flour or potato flour and aren’t so good on the blood sugars, either.

    4. About 8-10% of those with T1 will test positive for celiac disease but tests are far from perfect. Also there are many more people who test negative for celiac disease but are still very gluten intolerant. Grains are eliminated in the paleo diet and in the diet Dr. Bernstein recommends. Dr. Bernstein says that grains quickly raise blood sugar in most.

    5. Caroline, hoping I can provide some advice. I am a T1, have been for 20 yrs and now practice as a private RD in Chicago. The best thing you can consider is removing all gluten from your daughter’s diet. I went to a conference in 2010 with many holistic practitioners and hands down they were baffled I was T1 and eating wheat, etc. Today, I feel much better and have made the transition to full paleo. I am sorry you have been getting controversial advice, and if you need anything from a RD, please feel free to contact me.

    6. @Caroline Believe me the blood sugar spikes definitely cause harm, for many years I have seen the effect of highs and lows in my 8 year old son (diagnosed type 1 at 21 months), dramatic mood swings, headaches, leg cramps, stomach aches, bad grades when he normally gets straight A’s. It affects him in school now as well. He has been on the omni pod for three years now and with semi-paleo (Grandma’s just do not understand) we are starting to really get some better numbers. I have found that cutting dairy from his diet keeps him much more consistent. I have read research that indicates that cow products contain bovine insulin which can effect our endocrine reaction. I have found this to be true with him.

    7. read “the diabetes solution” by dr. richard bernstein. i have been a T1 for over 30 years and this book answered every (almost) question i’ve had yet could never get answered from my “doctors”. this book also paved the way for me to start the primal diet. good luck and best wishes to you and your daughter.

  24. Whoa I think the real test of the effectiveness of your diet and lifestyle would be a mirror, holy crap you look great.

  25. Hi, Shawn, it’s great to read your story! I’m guessing I’m pre-diabetic based on testing my own blood sugar periodically, and have not seen a doctor for it. I’m curious as to what good blood sugar numbers are to shoot for, in your experience. Based on reading, I’ve been thinking if I stay below 120 or 140, that’s good, but in your story, you mention that you keep your blood sugar below 100 at all times. How did you come up with that goal?

    1. A ‘normal’ blood sugar reading is in the low 80s, which is what most people are at 90% of the day. i try to aim for that as much as possible, with a slight increase for an hr or so after meals. CW says that 120 or under is ‘normal’, but that would equal an A1C of almost 6.0 which is far from normal or healthy.
      Its really not hard to stay under 100 if you dont eat SAD food.

  26. Keep up the good work Shawn! Keep away from the artificial sweeteners they are carcinogens…!

  27. Awesome success story!! Love it!

    I have a friend with gestational diabetes. Her Dr. Told her to choose 45-60g carbs/meal (5 meals/day!) wow…really! I told her that’s twice as much as I get (I am also pregnant w/no gestational diabetes.) she just looked at me and shrugged and said her Dr. Knows best…

  28. Dude, give yourself some credit. “Faith” is just another word for resolve, determination and commitment. You did this! Not some higher power (where was he when you were getting into this mess)?

  29. Shawn, I gotta ask: other than claiming you are “still in the honeymoon phase,” what else has your Medicine Man said about our diet that flies in the face of conventional wisdom?

    1. Other than the whole 300+ carbs/day fiasco….
      when i first was seeing the diabetes educators, they absolutely freaked out whenever my blood sugar levels were below 140 an hr after meals, or if i was below 90 before meals. They said 150 after meals is ‘not too high'(and didnt say much about going up to 250 after meals either). maybe not too high if you dont care about getting limbs amputated, going blind, or having strokes later in life….

  30. Food for thought…

    Excersize is good for lowering blood sugar, we all know that, but increasing testosterone also increases insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar.

    Makes me wonder if it’s a two pronged attack. Burn glucose excersizing, and keep the insulin needs low over time by increasing testosterone… by excersizing (lifting heavy weights). And eating primal of course.

    I’ve ben primal for 6+ years. It’s how I fixed my blood sugar problem. Everyone knows that I eat primal, but nobody else is interested. So I gave up on “converting” anyone.

  31. You know, as a personal trainer I was highly skeptical of the whole primal/paleo diet mentality. However, that was due to my ignorance of the program. But there was something in my gut telling me that our current paradigm of what constitutes healthy eating was off kilter. So I checked out “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain from my local library. After getting halfway through this book, it just intuitively makes sense. But I needed more proof. These testimonials that you have on your website are quickly changing my mind. Thank you for sharing Shawn’s story.

  32. Good for you although I agree you may technically be in the honeymoon phase you still will be able to control your BS with the diet and exercise. An A1C of less than 6 is considered not “diabetic”. I have T1 and was an RN Diabetes Educator and they didn’t even teach us to talk about glycemic index with T1’s. Craziness. I am following the autoimmune paleo diet and have lost over 30 lbs in 3 months and have cut my TTD of insulin by over 50%. As a side note I have a (non blood related) aunt with T1 for over 40 years and she just had her foot amputated this week. So, umm, yeah, controlling the spikes is really important if I want to be around for my children. One more thing, my endocrinologist is somewhat on board with the diet. He just told me he changed his diet recommendation to non HFCS! (Which is in 70% of grocery store foods he also informed me, lol!) Good luck and keep rocking the boat!

    1. Hey there! I’m a type 1 diabetic and I’ve been doing paleo for quite some time and my a1c has stayed under a 6 ever since. I LOVE this way of life, BUT I can’t seem to lose a pound. Do you think it’s because I don’t do the autoimmune version? It’s so great to communicate with other type 1’s out there who are having success with Paleo/primal. Would love your feedback!

  33. facepalm x 100 at your doctors. So glad you didn’t take their advice for long! Congrats, and you look fantastic!

  34. Your example is desperately needed with diabetes/metabolic syndrome basically being the new plague. Grok on!!!!!

  35. If I weren’t in a stable, happy marriage I would be so soliciting a connection…You are a gorgeous specimen of primal potential!…Good on you to have done the research an found the healthy primal lifestyle so fitting with your needs. There is a history of diabetes …Types 1 and 2 in our family…and your attention to what is needed for feeling good truly inspire…Thank you for sharing your incredible story.

  36. Thanks for sharing your story – so inspirational for so many. And, in particular, for those with diabetes. There is so much ‘mis-information’ aimed at diabetics it beggars belief sometimes!! Well done :o)

  37. Thanks for posting this, very inspirational. I am forwarding this to my diabetic friends!

  38. Shawn, great story, I too was diagnosed with type 1 a little over a year ago (age 38). The Paleo diet is excellent at controlling my diabetes and I have been able to keep my A1c’s below 6 each time. Thanks for the inspirational story. Keep it up.


  39. Shawn,

    Great job.

    The most interesting (and frankly, bluntly – sad) part of your story is your doctor and mainstream medicines response to your diabetes.

    Unlike you, I was caught at the pre-diabetes stage and figured things out before I got put on meds or insulin despite an extremely strong genetic component in the family.

    It’s certainly not always advisable to go against a medical professionals advice, but when it comes to nutrition and controlling a chronic disease like diabetes naturally – you’re kind of on an island.

    Congrats again.

  40. Great to see you have benefited from the paleo/ primal way of eating you are an inspiration don’t stop spreading the word

  41. Shawn, Thanks for sharing your story. It is very inspiring. I have recently gone paleo and love how it makes me feel. My brother has been a type 1 diabetic for more than 20 years now and his diet is far from ideal. I certainly can’t preach my new way of life on him, but I hope to share your story with him for possibly a slight kick in the pants to make some positive changes in his diet.

    I hope you will share your November results. I’m very curious to see how your numbers turn out!

  42. As an RN, I have often pondered whether diabetic patients could have much better control over their disease by following the primal lifestyle/diet. Sadly, in medicine, this is not emphasized, more just ‘medicating after-the-fact’. This post is so encouraging to me…individuals advocating for themselves and doing what they can to improve their own health and future! Congrats and hope for the best for you!

    1. Read the diabetes solution by dr Bernstein. Type 1 diabetics can have blood sugars that are the same as non diabetics, including post prandial. It’s unfortunate for the millions of sufferers that the medical establishment is so negligent when it comes to diabetes care and it’s only some enlightened individuals who really know the score. Between primal and Bernstein my type1 has never been better, ive never been better. Shame about all those who have died from diabetes because their specialists have no idea that what they advise is so utterly wrong. It’s good to hear people like yourself want to know what can be done.

  43. Sounds like you’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time, Shawn! I, too, am a late T1 bloomer! I was diagnosed not quite two years ago at the age of 32! I started the Omnipod 8 months after diagnosis. My A1C was 13 at diagnosis and my lowest has been 5.0. Amazing what we can do with careful attention to diet, exercise, and a bit of insulin!

  44. Thank you for sharing you inspiring story. I hope you will add an update when you get your Nov lab results. I hope you are feeling as great as you look!

    I wish my two sisters who had T1 had this information.

  45. Hi Shawn. I wouldn’t let the Docs write off your success as ‘probably still being in the honeymoon phase’. I’ve been Type 1 for 44 years (diagnosed at 8 yrs)and since going paleo I average 9-11 units daily. Prior to paleo, it would be more like 20 units. Reckon 44 years is well past the honeymoon phase! 🙂

  46. I didn’t notice anything about possible proteinuria, which diabetics who eat a large amount of protein are prone to. Lots of doctors recommend less protein to prevent kidney damage. Any thoughts?

    1. This is only an issue if you have uncontrolled blood sugar, since that is what damages the kidneys in the first place. If your kidneys are damaged, a high protein diet will make things worse. If you can keep you BS at normal levels, you have no higher a chance of gettting kidney damage than a normal person. I get a urinalysis done every few months, and on my last test my ‘microalbumin’ levels were so low they didnt even register on their charts

    2. Hi Shirley.
      According to Dr Bernstein (i’d trust this guy re diabetes before any other Dr) Non diabetics who eat lots of protein dont get kidney disease and the idea is a myth. According to him (he’s type 1 himself and 80 years old and still practising BTW) there’s no higher incidence of kidney disease in the cattle growing states of the US than any other states. The incidence of kidney disease in vegetarians is the same as meat eaters.
      Consumption of carbs as recommended by CW for a type 1 is the problem. It causes excess sugar in the system for hours, it makes you feel like crap all day (im type 1 so i can say eating the wrong carbs for type 1 is horrible) and it ages you, it ages your organs, the list goes on and on.
      Dr bernstein does recommend calcium to counter act the phosphate produced by the protein consumption. He recommends 1 gram calcium for 10 ounces of protein.
      If your interested get his book, i learned more about diabetes control in reading this book than 23 years of ‘specialists’ taught me.

      1. Just to add to this my kidney function is normal and i eat a LOT of meat/fish/eggs.

  47. Hi Shawn. Amazingly well done on managing this yourself after such a short period of time. I’m type 1 for 23 years and started primal a about 14 months ago and saw dramatic improvements.
    If you’ve not already i’d say read the diabetes solution by dr Bernstein. There’s lot of knowledge in their which i wish i’d known early on.
    i dont agree with that much diabetes specialists usually say as it’s BS conventional wisdom that belongs in history but i’d maybe agree with your dr and say you are still in the honeymoon phase, and i’d advise you to read the diabetes solution because it’s helped people in the honeymoon phase to keep their existing insulin producing islet cells to keep producing insulin. It’s book i wish i’d known to read a long time ago instead of listening to the CW BS.
    Again well done in getting it under control so quickly. Type 1 Diabetes is more difficult than people appreciate but for you to get such good hold on it so early on says a lot to me about the type of person you are and that you’ll control it and not let it control you.
    All the best.

  48. Hey everyone, I appreciate all the responses and am glad to see that this may giving a little extra motivation and hope to some out there who are struggling w/ this disease much like i was at this time last year. There is no reason that diabetics should settle for anything less than normal when it comes to health and longevity, and its so unfortunate that people have to come to this conclusion on their own in the face of CW!!

    1. Shawn~ nicely done, my man! Please share your test results after your next doctor visit. Grok on!

    2. Shawn, again well done, it’s inspiring. The posts also show how clued up diabetics are.
      I’m interested in your work out regime any any post work outs meals. Do you use protein shakes. I’m interested in your regime as I too only use bodyweight. I can do handstand push ups , supported, and pistols etc so I’m relatively experienced. I’m interested as you’re in amazing shape and I’d like to add the extra pounds of muscle you have, which ain’t easy as a type 1! Cheets

      1. Hi Greg, I dont have a set workout routine-I used to but got rid of that. As for cardio, like i said in the story i bike to work, ~100 mi/week, at a very fast pace(~19 mph avg) to simulate sprint training. My legs are usually spent after that so ill go on some walks with the fam but not much else. I will run if i cant get on the bike.
        As for wgt training, i do use some free wgts a couple times a week to do some shoulder and arm exercises, usually a circuit of 3 sets of 5 or 6 exercies in a row(20 min total max). On odd days ill do pushups, usually a couple hundred true pushups ie. all the way down, all the way up! 🙂
        Abs are usually 3 sets of about 6-8 min straight of planks, leg raises, situps, crunches, whatever else i think up or find online that looks like it would work well.
        Im trying the armstrong pullup program right now..it seems to get good reviews and i would like to hit the 20 pullup mark..not there yet. Thats 5 days on and 2 days off.
        Meals..really just following the primal eating plan. Always have hardboiled eggs and nuts on hand. Eat a big omelet every morning, and a hardboiled egg after biking in to work(these are local raised eggs from a relative down the road). Lots of salad and veggies, i get alot of comments at work about how healthy I eat. I Iefintely take in more protein than carbs, but not sure of an exact number because i dont really keep track…i dont even count carbs anymore for insulin delivery, ive become pretty good at estimating as long as im not eating sad food! 🙂
        I should say that i was in pretty good shape before becoming diabetic, i have just fine tuned everything since changing my diet.

        1. Thanks for reply, Shawn, it’s appreciated. Sounds like i’m doing a lot of what you are minus the the free wegihts and the huuuuge amount of biking. I think patience is probably the key factor.

    3. Shawn, again well done, it’s inspiring. The reply posts also show how clued up diabetics are and clueless the medical industry is.
      I’m interested in your work out regime and any post work outs meals. Do you use protein shake?. I’m interested in your regime as I too only use bodyweight. I can do Wall supported handstand push ups and pistols etc so I’m relatively experienced. I’m interested as you’re in amazing shape and I’d like to add the extra pounds of muscle you have, which ain’t easy as a type 1! Cheers

  49. Hey guys I am a “recovering endurance athlete”. Ten years of Ironman Races, obsessive overtraining and what I thought was a healthy diet left me injured, depleted and feeling a lot like Mark describes in his history. I have committed myself 100% to the primal life style. I eat the right way now. I lift heavy things twice a week, a few sprints once a week and lots of walking. My question is- is there such a thing as too much walking? I walk about 2 hours (8 miles) per day at an easy relaxed pace. This is a huge change from my 2-5 hours of hard core training every day. Is this okay? I enjoy it but I don’t want to compromise my ability to recover, add muscle and return to the world of true healthy lifestyle!
    Thanks, you guys are the best. Greg

    1. from one Greg to another I’d say that sounds about perfect amount of walking that anyone on primal would aspire to. If you search marks done some posts on it. Wish I had the chance to walk that much! Sounds to me you are doing the whole primal thing which should be the perfect recovery. If you’re not already maybe take the occasional day of not doing much moving at all, I’d say our ancestors did.

  50. Shawn could you email me @ [email protected]. I’d like to get some more info from you. I’ve been a type 1 for 9 years now, using conventional wisdom to treat with poor results. Thanks!

  51. Nicely done Shawn! for me, T2D, D-Day May 6 2010. 518 BG, 16 A1C. Virus took out most of my pancreas – at least that’s what Doc said. Only on one med, never been on insulin. 5.5 A1C now and no signs of T2D risk in my blood work. 10 months of primal kicked my last medication in half.
    So glad you shared your success story! You are an inspiration! When I grow up I wanna be like you! =)

  52. Thanks for sharing your success story…I mean your SUCCESS STORY!

  53. I’m a Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian. I believe that everyone with diabetes is unique and has to find what works best for them. There is no one-size-fits-all in regards to eating with diabetes. Great job Shawn in finding what works best for you. You are a great inspiration! Curious, have you tried a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)? Very cool tool to see your BG patterns.

    1. Do you have many success stories where diabetics on 300 grams of carbs a day manage to keep post prandial blood sugars in the non diabetic range?

  54. Thank you so much for sharing your story in such detail, Shawn. I’ve only recently signed up here and I was despairing of finding any info from people with Type 1 diabetes. It was great to read your insulin doses and A1Cs – very informative.

    One question – how did you decide/calculate how many carbs to eat each day? Did you base it on your weight? Did you experiment on a trial and error basis? And do you share out your carbs between meals or just eat them as and when you like?

    (I’m on an insulin pump too, but a D-Tron Plus because I’m lazy 😀 )

    1. Hi Em, I just eat until I feel satisfied, or as much as i need to keep my energy levels up. Ill eat more on the days that i bike or do some harder workouts, and less on other days.I find that i can eat alot of meat and veggies and still remain very low carb/low insulin dosage. I usually feel like im ‘pigging out’ compared to ppl around me, but im still probably taking in 1/3 the carbs they are.
      I eat most of my carbs at meals, but i will snack if im home during the day(not at all when im at work). I use the extended bolus feature on my pump every day, and it works great for me! Or ill just give myself small doses throughout the day if i eat something.
      Like people have said, every diabetic is unique in the way they react to diet and lifestyle, so its really just a trial and error and figuring out what is best for you.

  55. Gotta love a great success story! Actually his SAD diet was my exact diet, and I always stayed slim. It was hard for me to acknowledge how bad those foods were to me because “at least I’m not fat.” Nevermind the IBS problems, rosacea issues, and chronic fatigue/depression. These stories give me so much hope for my own story.

  56. Congrats on getting your diabetes in control but please don’t kid yourself. To maintain such tight numbers means you’ve got a decent amount of functioning beta cells in your pancreas. 5.7 a1c pre-primal is phenomenally good and has nothing to do with fitness.

    (I’m also 28 with type I but for 11 years now. I too still have functioning beta cells but not nearly as much as Shawn obviously does. And finally, yes: every single type I should be eating this way.)

  57. Shawn,

    You achieved your current physique by doing body weight exercises and occasionally sprinting? What is your primal “workout” routine? I am trying to find a good plan to fit into my lifestyle. Any advice/recommendations will help and be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Doug,
      I really dont have a specific routine i do every day, i try to mix it up. I bike ~100 mi/wk to and from work at a fast pace w/ some walks in there as well. I also will try to do some running sprints just to keep in ‘running’ shape.
      my bodyweight exercises consist of pushups, planks, some free weight shoulder/arm exercises, situps/crunches, and quite a few others that i saw online or in magazines that i dont know the names of. I like to do several circuits of about 8 min each(1 min per exercise), usually the total workout length is no more than 30-45 min, but i try to go to muscle failure every time. I also am doing the armstrong pullup program, you can check it out online.
      Probably the biggest thing though for me is diet. I eat much more protein than carbs, particularly eggs…and LOTS of veggies. Basically just follow the primal blueprint..

  58. Hi Shawn,
    have you ever thought about doing less exercise? Straight question.
    Also you mention carbs and protein, but you don’t mention fat. How much fat do you reckon you’re eating and how does varying the fat affect your diabetes?

    1. thats a good question, and yes i am trying to lighten the intensity a little bit. I just got done w/ a ‘deload’ week because i didnt feel my body was fully healing between workouts. My wife is a phys. therapist assistant and she yells at me every so often to stop and take a break unless i want to become one of her patients! 🙂
      I dont really keep track of my fat intake, but im sure its higher than the standard CW guidelines w/ all the nuts and meat i eat. I dont think it affects my blood sugar much, probably about the same as protein which is very little compared to carbs

  59. Thanks for this story and for Mark’ s article on T1D.My husband is originally from Michigan and was raised on SAD he was diagnosed T1 in August aged 39 yo and there is definitely not enough info to support adult diagnosed T1 s and their families.He was in DKA and his BGL was 54 on admission to ER ( Australian units – normal is 7) we are learning about carbs and reading all we can MDA has been very inspiring thanks for giving an alternative view.

  60. Hi Shawn,
    Great researching on your part; I really enjoy hearing about other Type-1 successes. While I was originally diagnosed as Type-2 at age 30 by a General Practitioner, I was RE-diagnosed by an Endo. as a Type-1 at age 31 (two years ago) at which time the endo. promised me I’d be insulin-dependent within 6 months.
    Seeing this as a basic prescription for exactly how I’d die (retinal detachment, loss of circulation, amputations… everything you’ve already memtioned) I delved into my own research journey and am glad to say that I have also reaped the benefits of the Primal lifestyle. I now need NO medications or insulin. I am so glad to say that I am now a believer that our bodies are quite capable of healing on the inside

  61. Hi Shawn,
    Great researching on your part; I really enjoy hearing about other Type-1 successes. While I was originally diagnosed as Type-2 at age 30 by a General Practitioner, I was RE-diagnosed by an Endo. as a Type-1 at age 31 (two years ago) at which time the endo. promised me I’d be insulin-dependent within 6 months.
    Seeing this as a basic prescription for exactly how I’d die (retinal detachment, loss of circulation, amputations… everything you’ve already memtioned) I delved into my own research journey and am glad to say that I have also reaped the benefits of the Primal lifestyle. I now need NO medications or insulin. I am so glad to say that I am now a believer that our bodies are just as capable of healing on the inside

    1. Sorry about the double post!
      I was meaning to continue by saying that bodies are just as capable of healing on the inside as they are on the outside, we just have to give them the right conditions to do so! Best wishes in your continued success, Shawn, and all others who are becoming their own doctors 🙂

  62. I am SO very excited to read your story, Shawn! I have had T1 diabetes for 20 years, my husband for 25 years. I am a diabetes nurse educator and he is an endocrinologist. We counsel patients on “carb poisoning” routinely, and have been primal for about 6 months (I’ve lost 31 lbs!).
    The Paleo lifestyle is an amazing one for T1 and T2 persons with diabetes, and I can absolutely see a difference not only in my family, but my patients, too! Thank you for sharing!!
    I write a T1 blog: SugarstheBNotMe.blogspot dot com
    Take care! Kelley Crumpler

  63. I can’t even pretend to know anything about living with diabetes, but I congratulate you on your success! Man, you are cut! I’m as jealous as one man can be of another man! On Wisconsin!

  64. Hey Sean – great job – I’m a Type I, diagnosed at 32 years old and am now 45. I pump and use a CGM. I went Primal / low carb two years ago and saw my insulin go from 20+ units a day down to around 14, mostly basal. My past three a1c’s are 5.9, 5.7, 5.7. Even though you are probably still producing some insulin – resulting in your very low a1c’s – you should be able to stay in the 5’s on a primal diet. Anything below a 6 is an amazing success.

    One thing I’ve struggled with though is pump placement as someone with very low body fat (5’7″ 155) – be careful of keeping your pump in one general area – you can become susceptible to lipohypertrophy. I change my sites from glute to waist, trying not to hit the same general area more than once every three weeks.

    I’m considering changing to a tubeless pump, but am worried that the “bulge” would be very noticeable on me.

    Do you use a CGM? I find that it makes all the difference in maintaining tight control.

    1. Hi Robert, i find it challenging also sometimes to find places for the pump. I usually rotate b/w about 6 different places on my stomach, each of my sides, and my upper arms. I cant use my legs or glutes due to my biking. So far i have not noticed any kind of scar tissue buildup. I used to have some problems with bleeding and bruising, but that seemed to go away after i changed my diet(suprise suprise!):-)
      I would strongly recommend the omnipod, i guarantee you would love it and its really not that noticeable unless you are wearing skin tight clothes!
      I havent tried the CGM yet, havent really needed it to this point and seems like just another needle that would contribute to scar tissue.

  65. Thanks Sean!

    I also became a type 1 at 28 and i’m now 37. (No family history, was always very “healthy”.) I can keep my blood sugar around 5.9 and the doctors think i couldn’t do better, but I want to get down to 5.0-5.5 range. I fell off the primal life style a little bit, but I need to get back on track. Your story is inspiring and will give me the jumpstart I need. It’s nice to hear that there are a few others that get what I deal with everyday. Thanks for posting!

  66. Thanks for the inspiration and congrats on your success! I’ve been reading Dr. Mercola’s beginner dietary plan which basically goes along with the paleo diet and want to make the switch (especially since I’m the one planning meals for everyone in my house, Hubby and two kids). My cupboard is full of bread, sugar and cream in my coffee, love tacos with tortillas…. I don’t know where and how to start meal planning! Wish someone would just put a shopping list in my hand and tell me where to go! HA! Off to search for recipes!!!

  67. My son is a couple of years younger than you are and has been T1 since 3. I just discovered the primal blueprint myself 3 months ago. I want to get him hooked on it as well. Maybe your results will do the trick!

    Thanks for sharing your very inspiring story.

  68. Go Shawn. I am newly diagnosed type 2 (6 months) and I am allergic to all the drugs they prescribed. So I too am going it alone. No symptoms even though my initial reading was 20.5. So I cut out wheat, sugar, milk, and reduced my carbs to a very low level. Initially found that I suffered from the dawn effect if I ate any (yes I mean any) carbs at night. So I just eat protein and maybe some nuts or some chicken soup. I manage to keep my levels between 5 and 7 with no drugs, no insulin just a few herbs. The diabetes educator I saw said between 7 and 10 is good for a diabetic. I am aiming to go below 6 permanently. I exercise daily and find that if I exercise at night my levels are always lower in the morning. It is quite easy to do just takes a little re-thinking around food. Why is it that you and others like you can work out what needs to be done and the medical profession can’t? What they advised me in terms of diet had my blood sugar levels rushing up instead of down as soon as I worked out what to do, they rocketed down. It is all just trial and error wouldn’t it be nice if this was all documented and advised to doctors, so that others who are newly diagnosed can take control of their diabetes.

  69. Shawn is my son and I am so proud of how he has taken control of his body and the diabetes. He has become an inspiration to us and has taught us alot about the foods we eat and the foods we shouldn’t eat. I have never seen him in better health and he feels so good. He has always been a determmined person and I know he will help inspire many people in the future. We thank God every day for the man he has become.

  70. As a fellow Type 1 Diabetic + Paleo Follower (And low carber) of nearly the same age….. congrats. I know how great it feels to crush the diabetes into a smaller ball instead of having it roll you over. Takes a lot of self control and I salute you.

    I also use the omnipod….. wonderful ain’t it? 🙂

    Don’t be surprised if your cholesterol is high…. all the fat loss shot mine up since it’s metabolised to be burned off. It eventually leveled off much *much* improved. Really need expensive tests to see exactly what size the cholesterol cells are. Can’t see that with numbers alone.

  71. You are an inspiration! My 11yo son is type 1 diabetic. And you look fantastic 🙂

  72. Good for you! I have a friend who was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes after entering the army. I have always wondered if there was not some connection to the massive amounts of vaccines they gave him.

  73. Looking Good!!!
    It is too bad that the diabetic educators and endocrinologists just don’t get it. I can’t believe that they still are putting patients on high carb diets. Almost looks like a conspiracy with the insulin pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, diabetic cookbooks at the turn of the last century promoted a primal diet – no wheat, pasta and rice, lots of meat, fish and fowl and nuts. Keep it up!

  74. Hi. Just passed this info onto my nephew who is a type 1 diabetic (diagnosed. 2 yrs ago) He wanted to know whether your referring to your hba 1 c level as being under 5? As he was under the impression that its close to impossible being a type 1. Thank you

  75. I was directed to your post by a comment on my blog post about diabetes and Tough Mudder. I’ve been diabetic almost my entire life and have never let it stop me from doing anything. I’m glad you have the same spirit.

    I once visited a doctor who gave me the spiel about dosing on insulin. It was the first and last time I saw him.

  76. I would love to her your updated numbers when they are available. Awesome job, you look great and more importantly you feel great!

  77. I can’t stop crying. My little boy was diagnosed with diabetes yesterday and was rushed straight to hospital. He was put on an insulin pump this morning. He is only the 46th child in Australia to have a pump. I read this blog all the time, never knowing how vital this info would be to me now. All the nutrition info I have been given by the hospital says to base his diet on carbs! I’m not going to question them but will be putting our whole family on a strict paleo diet when he gets out of hospital. Why am I being given this “advice” by the hospital. I have a health science qualification myself so I think I have the intelligence to figure out that a diabetic should not be on a carb fest!

    1. Lisa, I feel for you. My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 7 and I remember the cold horror of those early days and the grief. I also have two brothers with Type 1. Our endocrinologist always told us that she could eat whatever she wanted (carbs) as long as she took the required insulin to offset it, but she has always struggled with high blood sugar levels and high A1C, which apparently was exacerbated by the hormonal swings of puberty. She has a very high insulin-to-carb ratio and still rarely has gotten her blood sugars below 180 on a regular basis — until recently when she tried the 17 day diet. As I understand it, it has a bit in common with the Paleo diet. Her insulin requirements dropped drastically and her blood sugars as well, into the 120 range, which was unheard of for her, unless she was having a low blood sugar episode. She is in college and is finding it difficult to maintain the diet with dorm food being what it is, but is still trying to reduce her carb ingestion. So I would say hang in there, do what you feel is right for your child. I regret the years we spent taking the doctor’s word for it and chasing high blood sugars with ever higher doses of insulin (eating dairy products for her also would cause a massive spike — up to 500 once, even though we had “covered” it with insulin). I know from experience that coping will get easier in time, but it’s easier to cope when you feel you have some measure of control over the blood sugar. Good luck.

    2. He is very lucky to have gone right to a pump. Its not lucky at all that he has t1 diabetes (as my brother and I do). But ever since I moved to a pump after 10 years on MDI, my control has improved 10 fold. All the best. xo

      1. PS dont listen at all to what they say about the carbs etc.
        Speaking from a type one, there is no way that I had better control eating a high carb diet.

  78. Your story really gives me hope. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes just 6 months ago. I will be 60 years old in Jan 2013. First put on the “traditional diet” for my “condition” Told it can’t be cured by my Doctor, just managed. I could not understand a diet that was based on carbohydrate from mostly bread and cereal when they are converted to glucose so quickly in the body. I am reading all I can and have swopped cereal and bread for vegies and fruit with more complex carbs instead. I still am with same doctor who is Chinese and supportive of my change in lifestyle but I feel not entirely convinced about my. Hopefully I can change his mind about “curing” this awful disease. Regards Maggie – P.S. Love your family photo. I am sure they will give you the inner strength needed to beat this disease!

  79. My (now ex) partner has diabetes. After years of me trying to convince him that a reduction in carbs would do him the world of good, he finally tried it and was amazed at the immediate result on his blood sugar levels and health in general however every now and then his diabetes ‘played up’ and he would find himself in hospital for a couple of days.

    I will never forget how the nurses would push food on him, telling him “you need to eat this cereal/sandwich/other carb laden food so we can give you this (predetermined dose of) insulin. He would refuse, and rightly so. One the one hand they were telling him to control his blood sugar and weight (he had at this point lost 30kg’s) and then they were pushing him to eat more so they could give him more insulin. Crazy.

  80. Amazing story! Mt 3yr old was dignosed last year and i am always overjoyed to see inspiring role models like you to motivate him on his journey w/ this disease. Thanks

  81. Shawn, wonderful story and motivation to a fellow diabetic.

    I wanted to see how you keep your numbers in check while working out? Like what your target number is pre-workout, etc.

    Keep up the good work!!!

  82. Thanks for your story. I was looking for something like this for a friend whose son is Type 1. I think she’s going to be happy to read your story!

  83. Tons of great info here, but I’m a little concerned about a couple things:

    1. Comments here sometime reflect lack of understanding that Type 1 is an entirely different disease from 2. Type 1 can be immediately life-threatening in addition to its long-term consequences, so they can’t be approached in the same way.

    2. Children diagnosed with Type 1 have different nutritional needs from adults. This doesn’t mean you can’t use info from primal — but you can’t feed a two year old like you would a thirty year old. I’m concerned that moms and dads of kids with a Type 1 diagnosis might jump to change diet drastically without doing enough research. It’s fine not to accept conventional wisdom, we don’t in our household, but you really, really need to be careful about how you are unconventional when you have a kid with a new diagnosis.

    BTW, my kid has had diabetes for five years, diagnosed at 1 1/2 years old, and when she was first diagnosed a dietician told use to feed her 140 carbs a day! Unbelievable! We were advised by another nurse to feed her sugar free jello when she was high, and a third professional (dietician) that we had to stop breastfeeding her immediately. It was the beginning of our education on how “dieticians” and nutritionists and doctors and RNs can be a little mixed up when it comes to nutrition. . . .

  84. Just wondering what some example “paleo” meals are? I’ve just passed my 1 year anniversary of becoming a Late Onset Diabetic, and I’ve gained way more weight than I want, not to mention my sugars have went up alot since I was diagnosed with an A1C of 14. Any help or examples would be very much appreciated!

  85. Late Onset Type 1 Diabetic, I need to add…..

    When I was 25 I was 300lbs. My brother was diagnosed with diabetes. Not knowing the difference, I thought it was because he drank and ate lots of crap.

    When I turned 28, I had dropped to 205lbs and was exercising every day or every other day. Running 8 miles every other and strength trained the off days

    Just before I turned 30, I pulled my Achilles and it wasn’t healing after almost a year, and I was exhausted after “attempting to run a mile”.

    Fast forward to April, 2 months after my 30th and I was down to 190 lbs, nighly leg cramps, HORRIBLE heartburn and puking in the middle of the night.

    2 days later I was in the ER with a BS of 550 and A1C of 14%.

    All that to reiterate the message above this and where I am, have been.

  86. I have just started my journey, but I am hoping that the changes I anticipate going through will inspire my type 1 daughter who is a competitive athlete to follow me in my footsteps.

    She is a very fit, carb addict, who actually follows a more intense version of the PF workout, including weights and sprints, and I can only imagine what a gorgeous figure she’d have, if she could get rid of that fat layer that she always carries, and of course, how much better her A1c’s would be.

    I will send her to your story if the day ever comes that I can make the horse that I led, drink the water. 🙂

  87. My son was diagnosed T1 about a year ago at age 20 with BS at 600 and A1c of 12. We had no family history of this, he was very fit and ate well- never even drank pop growing up- He follows a primal/paleo plan now,and requires very little insulin. But,please keep in mind that each person’s chemistry is different, he tolerates some food fine where others may not…so start with a plan, but individualize it.

    My concern is- why does it seem like so many people are being diagnosed? How come we can’t figure out what triggers it…I have 4 children, but only 1 has been diagnosed. They grew up in the exact same environment,they are all very close in age…so did only one child carry the gene that can be triggered by the environment, or do the others have it, but for some reason it stays dormant in them? I’m sorry for the medical mumbo jumbo…it just seems like we should know more about this condition after all this time…. However, when you have the medical community pushing carbs and insulin maybe not 🙁

  88. I am a Type 1 Diabetic for past 6-yrs. Suffer from high sugar levels.

    Landed on Mark’s site and discovered the info on going ‘primal’; something I have read on before but never got into it.

    I am keen to give it a shot as simply low-carb diet shall lead to lesser insulin to take, which can’t be bad.

    However I am wondering how will I maintain weight; rather gain as I have always been on the skinny side. More than that I wonder how the red meat and yolk et al shall affect me, something I have been avoiding as I am now borderline cholesterol.

    As for Shaun, well, dude is a rockstar 🙂

    1. If your Hba1c improves from better blood sugars that should improve your cholestrol etc. I am also t1 diabetic and I did gain weight going primal/paleo… but it’s mainly because my blood sugars improved ALOT and I feel 100% better than I used to. I think a lower(not saying I advocate really low) carb, natural diet is THE ONLY way all diabetics should eat…. actually probably eveyone 😛

      1. Update:
        In mid-march I went on Primal diet; followed Dr. Bernstein’s diet, which seems to me a bit more ‘stringent’ than Mark’s.

        Unbelievable thing happened after three months: something that I never expected – my A1c went below 6. Previous best in past six years of me being T1 was 6.5; typically I would hover around 7.

        Now it came to: 5.6. My cholesterol levels shot up a great deal; no more borderline. Someone suggested that I try to get Thyroid function test done, which I will soon. However, as per Mark’s guide, all my important (cholesterol) ratios are very much in range. Reason I ain’t much worried.

        Of course being in ‘normal’ range is like being in heaven.

        Eating slow-acting (low) carbs work. And like mad. It’s simple; as per Dr. Bernstein. The insulin you take has an arc of its own. What you need to ensure that the diet you eat creates glucose, which remains under that arc. Example – eating fruits (depending on what you consume) may produce too much of glucose too quickly, which shall result the glucose-arc going over the insulin one. If you keep it below, things are fine.

        I can’t thank Mark enough as I discovered Dr. Bernstein thanks to his recommendation. I wish I had found him six years back as things would have been much better. Nevertheless knowing that you can keep the sugar level like a normal person is, yes, being in heaven.

    2. Dietary cholesterol has little effect on cholesterol levels. Our bodies make much more than we eat, make more if we eat less, and less if we eat more. Most of the cholesterol in your stomach comes from you, not your food, pretty much regardless of what you eat.

  89. Wow! Im impressed. I am type 1 diabetic and am on the medtronic insulin pump. My co-worker told me about paleo/ primal and sent me your story. Im gamed. I will research how to do primal and start asap. Thank you! U and my co-worker may have saved my life!!!

  90. Hey, Shawn, great story that makes sense. I couldn’t resist blogging about it https://goo.gl/gOfwh and I hope you approve of what I had to say (with appropriate links to your article). Very much appreciated. Keep up the great work. kevin aka FitOldDog

  91. Man you truly are an inspiration. I’m 21 years old and been type 1 since I was 16, over the last 2 years or so I’ve desperately tried new diets to shed this body fat that has accumulated around my stomach, behind and pecs! No luck even though I do 2 cardio sessions and 3 weights sessions a week. Its very frustrating as I can see behind this fat that theres good definition!
    I was also briefly on the omnipod after attending a summer camp in boston for type 1 diabetics and, although I loved the pod, I could not get funded by the NHS (my control was too good!) so had to stop. Reading this I will certainly start this primal/paleo diet after a meeting with my diabetic nurse. Harry

  92. Hi Shawn, and everyone else,
    I just found this blog and I feel really connected to everyone! I’m a 47 year old female, married, and have 2 beautiful healthy children. I’ve had T1D for 34 years. I wear the minimed pump and my A1C is 7.0. For years I’ve been about 10 pounds over my ideal weight but I’m starting to turn “fatty” and hate it (doctors shrug it off as “you’re getting older”.) I don’t have any major complications besides the (relatively new) fact that my annual carotid artery ultra sound is now showing significant thickening of my arterial walls. My arterial age is that of a 69 year old, which scares the *&%& out of me! My endo now wants me to see a vascular surgeon. I’m afraid they’ll put me on scary meds. Has anyone heard of a reversal of these symptoms after going on a primal diet? I can’t believe after all these years none of my docs have EVER recommended a low carb diet. Thanks in advance for reading this!

  93. What an interesting read. I’m a type 1 diabetic based in the UK diagnosed 20 years ago at the age of 8 years. Myself and my partner are both triathletes and are constantly looking for an easier ride in terms of diabetic control. I have been on an insulin pump for 2 years and it has significantly reduced my blood sugars and HbA1c but I still get the highs and lows (mainly lows).

    We have recently spent time volunteering in a remote village in Nepal where we consumed a diet of vegetables, lentils and rice. My blood sugars were perfect! Since returning we have been researching the diet at great length with the view to starting next week. If you have any tips or advice on sustaining it then we would be very grateful.

    Bristol, UK

    1. Hi Debbie,
      It does take more time and commitment to sustain this type of diet, but it is definitely possible! Ive been on it for over a year and liking it more than ever, and the fact i really have no other choice if I want to keep my blood sugar in check is a good motivator too. send me an email with your questions to [email protected] and i would be happy to comment further.


  94. thanks to a friend sending this link to me. I am right now going to research this. I went on the omnipod in february and your story is mine to a T…. I/they can’t seem to get me on a 120 steady stream bg reading. I hope researching this paleo lifestyle will help.

  95. Hi All. Just wanted to update you on my son’s health since type 1 diagnosis 7 months ago. We eat mostly paleo, but allow our son to eat unhealthy foods on the odd occasion, such as birthday parties. He is 13 years old now. He does rowing 4 times per week for exercise and fun. He does not have hypos after exercising. If he eats my cooking, his BGs are always normal. His last HbA1c was 5.5 and apparently is the only patient to have achieved this in his doctor’s clinic. I just want to assure all type 1 diabetics out there that it is SO SIMPLE to keep your BGs normal all the time. If you eat according to the paelo food pyramid, and do a bit of exercise, it is difficult to fail. From my research, wheat and grains are probably the cause of autoimmune diseases, as they cause the gut to become permeable. I do not find low carb cooking restrictive at all, in fact we are eating better than we ever did. I just substitute high carb ingredients with low carb ones. For example, I make “spaghetti” from zucchini and “rice” from mashed cauliflower. I make cakes and cookies from almond meal. Low carb eating=low insulin usage=healthy weight=normal BGs=healthy body. It really is easy!

  96. I strongly believe that your diabetes coming from too many vaccines you took before basic training in the army.. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 3 years after I got discharged from the army. no family history, no bad habit and physically fit.. I remember I took about 20 unknown vaccines when i joined the army.. Vaccines are strongly related autoimmune disease. I am glad to hear that you are doing well.. I just started paleo this week.

  97. Hi Shawn,

    I just read your article and its like you took all the words from my mouth, almost everything you said is what i went through and everything your average doctor said, mine said as well, eat whatever you want, just use more insulin. I am 31, diagnosed at 24 and I am just getting started with Paleo and it is doing wonders, I am starting crossfit next week so hopefully my results are as good as yours with this new lifestyle choice of eating.

  98. I am a type one diabetic and I very interested in the Paleo diet. I am 24 years old and have been a type one for 2 1/2 years. I have no family with type one either. So do you not have any carbs/sugars at all? If so what do you eat for energy and weight management? Also, (this might be odd) but I am a big believer that something is going to happen soon that could change the whole world. Mainly, a solar flare. No electric = no insulin. How would I prepare for that as a diabetic? Or do we have no hope?

    1. Hi Brittany,
      I do eat carbs, but they come exclusively from vegetables, nuts, and other ‘primal’ foods…no simple carbs from processed foods, grains, or sugars. I eat a very high fat/protein diet, and that’s where all of my energy comes from. This website does a very good job of explaining what it means to burn fat as energy, aka ‘fat-adapted’. My weight has been the same for years now, pre and post diabetes. I even have problems maintaining my current weight sometimes, considering the huge amount of calories I burn biking.

  99. Hi Everybody
    I have been type 1 for 20 years, ate a ” normal” diet and had great A1C results always around 6 until around 5 years ago. Then everything went pear shaped!! I have struggled to get my sugars under control even though I was eating the same s**t as before. So I started on primal 6 weeks ago and my sugars have improved but I am still having quite a lot of insulin novo rapid ( 7 units for a veggie omelet , 8 units for lunch of salad and tuna and 8 units for dinner of fish and salad. Also 22 units of lantus at night! ) im wondering why im s
    Taking the same amount! my sugar levels alway rise up after exercise ( I do kickboxing and running) then it takes forever to drop back down again ( I find myself injecting sometimes) I also can not seem to lose the 14 pounds that have hung around for 5 years! ( believe my i have a wicked body under the layer of fat on my arms, back and lower stomach! ) Ive read in jealousy the sucuss stories hoping that finally this would be my sucuss story! Does anyone else do a lot of insulin still or is my body just rebelling! Need help

    1. Hi Candi, I think you need to give it more time. 6 weeks may not be enough time for your body to fully adjust to burning fat instead of sugar. Once that happens, weight should disappear along with your insulin resistance.
      Brief intense exercise does raise blood sugar…I have the same issue. sometimes I will bolus before exercise for that reason.
      I use a total of around 20 units ea day now(basal+bolus), 2-4 units at ea meal on average. I try not to worry about how much insulin I use and focus more on the food im eating, then bolus however much I need to maintain normal blood sugar. Weight should be fine regardless of insulin usage as long as you are eating healthy

  100. I just read this and i think im in a similar boat. Im currently 31 y/o and last year i was told i was a type 1 dm. Just as your doctor told you , my doctor beliefs that im in a honey phase. I ve read up on the paleo diet a couple of months ago and i have been giving it a try and i do notice my blood sugars stays within 80 to maybe 110 at most.(3 weeks in so far)My doctor personally outraged that im following this diet because she states its too extreme. I do have to use some caution sometime take in carb to prevent low blood sugars. ( mostly before i sleep i find)

    the question i have is did you ever exit the honey moon phase or stop producing insulin? if yes is the paleo diet still working for you?

    1. I dont know if i am still producing insulin or not. Im getting the c-peptide test in november to see if the honeymoon phase is still going for me. I believe i may still have some production left, but not alot because my bg’s will fluctuate wildly if i eat any kind of simple carbs.
      Regardless of whether im still honeymooning or not, the paleo diet is the way to go imho. I believe it would greatly help all diabetics, T1 or T2, newly dxed or veterans.

  101. This is really inspiring . I’m a type one diabetic myself and I’ve been wanting to go paleo for about a year now ! I could never keep up with it because everytime I would have a low I would pig out like crazy and that of course didbt help the fluctuations as well ! I’m glad that there are people out there that are on this diet and are diabetics ! I would really love any pointers on how to do all this paleo stuff effectively !

  102. I started the Paleo Diet but am having a lot of low blood sugars. I realize it will take a little bit to figure out the right dose of insulin for my Omnipod Insulin Pump on this diet but could you tell me what would be the right food to bring up a low blood sugar without completely bowing the diet for the day?

  103. Hi Shawn, Like you I’m type 1 diabetic. Have been on insulin and diet control for last 40 years. Recently been experiencing problems keeping my blood glucose levels on an even keel. I’ve always been active and played lots of different sports. Just graded black belt at Wing Chun Kung Fu. Not bad for 61year old even if it hurt a bit. Read your story with great interest and will now try the primal method as nothing seems to be working even pumping myself full of insulin all day long. You look brilliant mate, with a supportive family and crowd alongside you. Let’s see what changes happen on this side of the Pacific with me.

    God bless from Queensland, Australia,

    1. Hi Ken,
      I live in QLD and my son has type 1 diabetes and we do the paleo diet. Yes, I highly recommend the paleo diet. These are the websites I follow, and they provide some excellent information and recipes. All my information comes from books or the internet. Diabetes Queensland’s literature is NOT helpful – in my opinion it their dietary advice will lead to diabetic complications. I think my son is the healthiest diabetic child in Australia, and I have this success story to thank for it.
      All the best,


  104. A great story! I’m looking into starting a partial Paleo diet, giving up processed foods and breads is going to be challenging enough as it is. I’m still going to allow myself dairy & legumes. Will see how it goes.

    I had a side question: I noticed on your pic that you use the Omnipod Insulin pump (at least I think it is), and was wondering how you like it…going to be getting a pump soon and think ill start with that one.

    1. I love the omnipod. I tried a couple pumps before going with the pod, and nothing was even close in my opinion. Being tubeless was big for me, the tube was a real hassle. alot of people dont mind it, i guess you would get used to it if you didnt know any better. i also liked how easy it was to set up.
      one negative…you can misplace the controller since its not connected. I did this on vacation once and it was a bad situation. ive also forgot the controller at work before and had to drive 20 min back to work to get it…not the end of the world but a hassle anyways. the positives far outweigh the negatives for me.
      good luck pumping and going paleo…they are both great!

  105. how is Shawn doing now? 3 years later? was it honeymoon phase or is this lifestyle really working? I have been diabetic for about the same length of time and I have been through hell I was 130 lbs standing at 5’3″ when I was diagnosed and have added 70 lbs to my
    frame! I’m trying so hard and have been for so long to lose this weight! I could use some help the doctors don’t seem to care. Shawn if you don’t mind do you take labrus? if so how many units out ius are the same 10-14 a day and I’m taking 30 lantus a day. thanks in advance for any response

    1. well, about 1 1/2yrs after writing this story, things have not changed a whole lot. my bgs are still normal, my most recent a1c was 5.4 again(cant seem to get that below 5 no matter how low i can safely push my bgs), i recently had a cpeptide test done and confirmed that my honeymoon is over. so that seems to show that diet is the #1 factor in control even over honeymooning, and the primal diet is the #1 diet for diabetes control imho!
      My last 2 cholesterol tests came out within about 5 pts of eachother: 220 total, 95 hdl, 25 trig, ~110 ldl. perfect primal numbers in my opinion, even my endo was ok with it in even though the ldl is higher than conventional wisdom says is acceptable.
      i dont take lantus now that im on the pump but did in the beginning for a few months. my total daily dose is about 20u now, up from 15 before. my basal is about 6.5u, that would probably come out to around 7-8u of lantus.
      I find exercise is huge in maintaining insulin sensitivity and keeping my doses lower. If i dont exercise for a few days, i notice right away in my bg levels. Maybe you are on a regular exercise routine but if not, and assuming you are eating a somewhat primal diet, that is the first place i would start if you want to try lowering your doses.

  106. Yay first positive story I have read about T1 and Paleo. I have Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood .. like a cross between type 1 and 2 .. I am really struggling with my weight and finally the ball has dropped that its the carbs/insulin thing.. I am now going to the gym and cleaning up my diet slowly. My HbA1c is good as Im on a pump but my LDL/HDL is crap ..
    What Im struggling with is hypos after the gym .. any suggestions of a Paleoish snack that gets it back up quick?
    You look awesome sounds like you feel awesome too?

    1. I always tend to drop low towards the end of my bike rides too, but find that my bgs usually will rebound on their own without even eating anything. I will often times drink some whey protein after strenuous exercise(1 serving whey ptotein, 8oz almond milk, 8 oz water or coconut milk), the protein will slowly digest and raise bgs over a length of time. I also find sweet potatoes are great for this type of thing, they dont spike me but will raise my blood sugar slowly over the course of several hrs. If you need to raise it real quick, glucose tabs are the best ive found. they are pretty much just plain sugar with no other additives and are about as close as we will get to primal for treating lows!
      i have never felt better in my whole life than i do now, i think diabetes has made me healthier if that makes any sense.

  107. awesome…..u inspired me…..i am in a similar situation as u..

  108. Hi
    You are inspiring. I got type 1 5 years ago on my 30th birthday. Instead of doing the sensible thing and getting my life sorted and focusing on health, food, exercise etc. I hid from it continued smoking, eating rubbish food, forgetting to take my insulin. I have also only one kidney that works pre diabetes. I continued to not drink regularily and then binge out at parties.
    Basically I’ve been doing nothing right. I
    In 2014 my primary focus is finally me, my health and my diabetes.
    I’ve quit smoking (On an e cig at the moment), I made the decision to have my old dead kidney removed (5 days ago) and I am going paleo.
    I stumbled across your story whilst surfing for advice on paleo and type 1 diabetes.
    Thank you for being the thing that made me wake up and realise that I have been living in excuses and hiding from my diagnosis for five years. Its a hard thing to realise. However it is the thing that I needed to realise in order to get another 35 years of living my dreams.
    Good luck with your life 🙂

  109. Great story and gives me a lot of hope, diagnosed two days ago after losing 40 lb in weight over 6 months, I’ll actually for the first time in 15 years am happy that I have a genuine motivation to get healthy, fit and control whatever I have coming my way over the next 50 or so years. Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

  110. As a fellow T1 within a couple years of you (on the omnipod aswell) I can totally relate and revel in your story. Congratulations on finding a way past the conventional wisdom killing diabetics daily.How are those pods doing on your abdomen anyhow?

  111. Is that an insulin pump on his ab? That would tend to aid control. Just curious.

  112. I was diagnosed 4 years ago with type 1 and I am SOO GLAD to have read your story. It is just the motivation I was looking for. I couldn’t agree with you more that the “doctors” and diabetes “experts” give HORRIBLE advice. The amount of insulin I was told to take in a day was insanely high (unless I’m looking to become a blue whale which I’m NOT). And my endocrinologist also told me that I literally could eat whatever I want. I even asked if I could go to mcdonalds and get a large fry and large coke (specifically) and she said YES…after living with diabetes for 4 years now I have learned the hard way what horrible advice all that was. And they ALSO specifically tell you NOT to go on a low carb diet. CRAZY!!! They have NO IDEA WHAT THEYRE SAYING!!! Eating low carb, 100 a day or so for me (29 years old now) seriously made me feel like a different person. I wish I wouldn’t have listened to the “experts” and started the low carb thing sooner. My blood sugar levels and my energy levels are actually normal with a low carb diet.

    1. Oh wow Stacey! My son has type 1 and he was also told by a diabetic dietitian that he could eat anything he wants, even McDonalds. Do your own research I always say. Low carbing is essential if you have diabetes. Everything you say is a common theme amongst diabetes “experts”. I was yelled at when I told my son’s educator that I had started low carbing.

  113. Great story. I am a long term diabetic, now on an OmniPod pump. I to am on the 280-350 gms of carbs a day diet. My A1C has been under 5.8 for 30 years. Then another autoimmune disease. Microscopic colitis. I have struggled with this for 10 years. I now have a new diabetic Dr and a new gastroenterologist. They have suggested the Paleo diet. Being a good daibetic I research everything. I am always fighting lows and this diet sounds like a way out. I have been cutting back on carbs and more protein but still eating grains. A trip to the market and Monday I am starting on breakfast for a week then lunch. I am excited but afraid how to raise my BG when low. Guess it will be glucose tabs and fruit. Any help would be appreciated

    1. Hi Dennis,

      I strongly recommend that you immediately stop eating grains. The gliadin protein in wheat is a known cause of type 1 and celiac disease and can instigate other autoimmune diseases. You need to stop your immune system from attacking your body. Grains are basically glucose so diabetics should not eat them (nor anyone else for that matter) Grains are grasses and grass should only be eaten by animals with a rumen in their digestive system such as cow. Humans are not ruminant animals. If you are on a pump, you can instantly change your basal rate. You should have LESS lows on a low carb diet because you will be injecting less insulin for boluses and therefore the chance of injecting too much is greatly reduced. Glucose tablets are good for lows, but I really think your BGs will be much more stable on low carb. My son has type 1 and is on a pump. He eats low carb and has excellent control and HbA1c of 5.5 with normal blood lipids. Don’t eat too much protein, as it can be converted to glucose. You can eat lots of healthy fats (not margarine or canola etc) and your body can convert to a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. Have you read Diabetes Solution by Dr Richard Bernstein? I highly recommend it as he will tell you so many things about diabetes control that no mainstream doctor knows about, such as blousing for protein and fiber. Good luck – you will do great!

  114. Great story, Shawn.
    Have you thought of adding homemade Sauerkraut to your fair? ‘Tis easy to make and everything goes. Veg, fruit, berries, ground up nuts (not peanuts-more walnuts etc ground up), chia and flax seed, fresh herbs (I do add some raw silver smelts to some of my art-more Korean like Kimchi). Fermented foods feed the healthy bacteria, flora from gut to good-bye.

    I add a few TBS yoghourt whey, kombucha and kefir water to support or introduce even more great little critters. (I also add the innards from a broken open probiotic capsule but haven’t a clue if that works or not.) Also can add a few TBS of previous kraut nectar. Never sterilise by boiling. Let it ferment to a little sweeter than you like and then move to the fridge in 1L bottles. It will still ferment but much more slowly. (I use 4L pickle bottles to make mine.)

    Within three days I was yodelling the pretty tune like never before. By a month I was so regular clocks stood proud as I walked by. I eat about a quarter to a third cup at each of my two paleo meals. You can also try adding some silver smelts to one of your concoctions to see if you like the flavour. If not and you have a dog, Sauerkraut is good for them too. (I pestle and mortar my dog’s kraut).

    A gal did what you are doing and loved it but after a year said she wasn’t doing so well and went off her Paleo. Strange thing is that she reintroduced milk products which she had said gave her problems. Why would she add back what she knew to be a problem food? Strange bird. Maybe there just is adjustments a diabetic must do to perfect their paleo. Maybe had she had the specs? (that she said tested poorly on) done more often and then adjusted the Paleo diet to see if she was missing something she would have done better. My belief is that our body is our personal laboratory and that is where we tinker to fine tune our living engine.

    Namaste and care,

  115. Hello, my fiance is type 1 diabetic. We don’t follow the paleo diet specifically, but more so wfpb (whole foods plant based) because we are gearing up to go on the GAPS diet. GAPS is gut and psychology syndrome diet that reverses a whole range of ailments that has a main focus on healing “leaky gut” and will also put his candida under control (big concern for diabetics). He has improved significantly in the past 10 months that we have made healthier choices but still suffers from IBS (the purge that comes with diabetes). Do you have any advice to type 1 diabetics in this area? He wakes up with IBS every night, and also wakes up sweating. I am getting scared because he is like this every day.

  116. Shawn I am so glad you wrote about how this affected your Type 1 diabetes. My oldest son was diagnosed at age 5. I followed the diet plan they gave him by the book and every time I took him in for an appointment his A1C was still out of control. Every time I was told I must be doing something wrong. They always made me feel like a bad mother. My son is now 26 and is not doing well. I have been reading everything on this site for 3 straight days now and I’m pretty sure what I was doing wrong was following their diet plan. I am planning on doing this for myself (hypoglycemic) and hopefully with some luck my son will follow me and start helping himself with this lifestyle. Thank you for your story 🙂

  117. Fellow type 1 since age 6 – I’m now 44.

    Unfortunately 35 years of the UK’s NHS diet (plus some gross negligence) left me overweight and with long term damage to my eyes. Blood sugars were permanently out of control despite genuine OCD level best efforts to keep it well controlled. Got patronising unhelpful ‘eating-too-many-sweeties-naughty-boy’ comments every time I went to the useless British National Health Service. Discovered Paleo off a mate at ju-jitsu club. Tried it on a bit of a whim on a month challenge to myself, mainly to lose weight, nothing to do with diabetes. 9 months in? Blood sugar levels mostly now very good, dropped 10 kilos very rapidly, I’m -not- suffering what was basically manic depression for first time in my life – my head is sorted (gluten?). I’m probably more ‘keto’ than purist paleo, but am concentrating on removing rapeseed oil, upping omega 3s and cutting back on additives a lot too. Now middle aged, I feel better than I ever have and being type 1 diabetic is somewhat of an afterthought now – i wouldn’t go back even if I could wolf down the junkfood. MDA was the first paleo website I came across and is still the most level headed and useful so a huge heartfelt thanks to Mark Sissen and the staff at MDA.

  118. Can you give an example of your daily meal menu’s? Do you get caught up with a lot of baked paleo goods? I do and am also a type 1, that follows the paleo diet. I have celiac disease for 20 years now, type 1 for only 8 years and my A1C can use some improving….


  119. I’ve been type one for ten years and I’m already seeing side effects of not taking care of myself I’m nineteen and I already have retinopathy kidney and liver problems and nerve issues and my last a1c was 11.1 I’m ready for a change I don’t want this to be what kills me at 30 you’ve inspired me a lot thank you

    1. Hi Sarah, this is an old comment but how are you getting on now? Are things better?

  120. I’m a type one diabetic for seven years. I am so sick of hearing about how diets have helped people that were diagnosed 1-3 years ago. You people are still in your honey moon phase! You don’t apply to most of the diabetics that have been suffering for years! I want to hear from someone who has tried this diet and has been a diabetic for more than just a couple of years!

    Ugh. The struggle. Of course this diet changed your life. Most people before 3 years are still producing some insulin and have little signs of insulin resistance.

    Oh well, I’ll keep searching the bowels of the internet.

    1. Hi Kris, thanks for the response and I appreciate the skepticism. I would probably think the same thing.
      I actually am not in the honeymoon phase anymore, and don’t know if I ever was. I had the c-peptide test done a year ago and it confirmed I make very little of my own insulin. so even though I am only 3 years in, my body is in the same boat as those who have had it for decades. Insulin resistance is largely a factor of diet and not getting enough exercise. If you are careful with your lifestyle(diet, exercise,etc) so that you don’t need to dose large amounts of insulin, you should never become insulin resistant. endogenous vs synthetic insulin does not affect insulin resistance.
      its about 1 1/2 yrs after I wrote this story and nothing has changed a bit other than I take about 5 more units of insulin per day. latest A1c of 5.1. However when I do try ‘cheating’ on my diet I am quickly reminded that I am diabetic as my bgs start to soar. I would encourage you to try the diet if you are not already. I guarantee it works.

    2. This is a bit of a late reply for Kris but as this thread won’t die I thought to chip in.

      I’ve been a type-1 diabetic for 25 years. Eating paleo foods and sticking to <50 carb per day WORKS.

      I eat a lot of good fats for my calories. Heaps of nuts, eggs, fish, chili (I eat so much chili sometimes the thought makes me weep), bulletproof coffees, bacon (see chili).

      I'm allergic to dairy too, if you aren't- rejoice! You can enjoy cheese!

      Short story- insulin has dropped from 14u per meal to 3u. HbA1c was 5.6 at last check, from 6.7 the year before.

      Just try it, what have you got to lose?

  121. first of all I want to say Thank you for sharing this. This weekend my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He’s 8 yrs old. We were in the Pediatric intensive care unit for 4 days. It was intense and heartbreaking.
    After reading your story, my husband and I decided our whole family (3 boys) will be transitioning to Paleo. It’s what our bodies need. Thank you for making this decision easier.
    God Bless you and your family

  122. Hi,
    I’m a Type 1 diabetic, have been for 16 years now, and have had very good control, until this last year, it’s been a real struggle. After my second pregnancy I became insulin resistant and my Endo wanted to put me on metformin, took it for a week and I couldn’t handle the side effects. Talked with my pcm, and she suggested I try Paleo approach for autoimmune. First week was rough, went cold turkey in eliminating all gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners…just eating veggies, some fruits, and meats. Into the second week I was feeing better, but then overnight my body started dumping large ketones and it’s been 4 days with trace-large ketones, 2 ER visits, and no luck in getting my ketones down. Has anyone else had this issue with ketones? If so, what did you do to help? Is large ketones in your urine dangerous if your sugars are stable? ER docs have said I’m a “complicated patient” and I have yet to hear from my Endo, but thankfully I have an appt with her in 5 days. Any advice would be helpful!

  123. Hi Sean,
    Our stories are very similar! I was diagnosed at 28 with no family history. There isn’t even Type 2 in my family. The nutritionists are so behind the times but I found a lot of support from natural-paths. I was researching blood sugar control a few years ago and found Mark’s Daily Apple which helped more then any other website to find ideas on what to eat. Best of luck to you, I’m 40 now and there have been some changes but all in all i’m doing very well.

  124. How do your ketones run with such a low carb intake? My 15 yo daughter with newly diagnosed T1D and an active lifestyle wants to know.

    1. I don’t know. I’ve never checked ketones in the 5 years ive had diabetes, and my Dr has never suggested I do it. From my understanding of it, checking ketone was done more back when checking blood sugar was less convenient and accurate..if blood sugar is normal, ketone levels should be normal.

      1. I remain skeptical, yet I am willingly researching low-carb as an alternative for my daughter who was dxed with Celiac and T1D nearly five years ago. One point that nudges at my skepticism is that you have no records of ketone changes during this radical change in your eating. I also don’t see recent responses from you. Please squelch my skepticism (or feed it) by responding with current ketones and any diet adjustments you have made since beginning your Paleo adventure.

  125. Hi! I hope that you still alive.
    My friend died yesterday after 8 months with this diet! She spoke similar to you, much enthusiam, but she didn’t know that with the time this will kill her!

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss that you’ve experienced. This is the deepest pain. Was your friend a type one diabetic?

  126. Can I ask how you’re getting on, 4 years on? My ex husband has just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and now I need to read up as my daughter may end up getting it.