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Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Oct

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!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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.

    ibJimBham wrote on October 31st, 2012
  2. 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.

    the allergy queen wrote on October 31st, 2012
  3. 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.

    Lynn Reimes wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  4. 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.

    Richard wrote on November 3rd, 2012
  5. You are an inspiration! My 11yo son is type 1 diabetic. And you look fantastic :)

    jolene wrote on November 7th, 2012
  6. 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.

    Demi wrote on November 10th, 2012
  7. 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!

    Frank Adamson wrote on November 12th, 2012
  8. 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

    merryl wrote on November 15th, 2012
  9. 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.

    Erin Feldman wrote on November 16th, 2012
  10. I would love to her your updated numbers when they are available. Awesome job, you look great and more importantly you feel great!

    LJinSC wrote on November 21st, 2012
  11. 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!

    Lisa wrote on November 22nd, 2012
    • 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.

      Leslie wrote on February 25th, 2013
    • 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

      Sarah wrote on March 8th, 2013
      • 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.

        Sarah wrote on March 8th, 2013
  12. 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!

    Maggie wrote on December 1st, 2012
  13. Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance, and I’m stunned why this coincidence did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

    credit score dates wrote on January 17th, 2013
  14. 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.

    Kate wrote on January 19th, 2013
  15. 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

    Maia wrote on January 20th, 2013
  16. 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!!!

    Shane wrote on January 25th, 2013
  17. 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!

    Tina wrote on February 11th, 2013
  18. 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. . . .

    Lisa wrote on February 17th, 2013
  19. 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!

    John wrote on February 19th, 2013
  20. 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.

    John wrote on February 19th, 2013
  21. 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. :)

    Amanda wrote on February 27th, 2013
  22. 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 :(

    Kelley wrote on March 4th, 2013
  23. 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 :-)

    Anuj wrote on March 7th, 2013
    • 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 😛

      Sarah wrote on March 8th, 2013
      • 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.

        Anuj wrote on September 10th, 2013
    • 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.

      Bill C wrote on March 8th, 2013
  24. 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!!!

    adrienne elsenity wrote on March 30th, 2013
  25. Hey, Shawn, great story that makes sense. I couldn’t resist blogging about it 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

    FitOldDog wrote on April 4th, 2013
  26. 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

    Harry Mitchell wrote on May 10th, 2013
  27. 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!

    Ichele wrote on June 2nd, 2013
    • Hi Echele,
      Send me an email to and I would be happy to discuss how reversing these symptoms is possible.


      shawn wrote on June 5th, 2013
  28. 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

    Debbie Green wrote on June 4th, 2013
    • 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 and i would be happy to comment further.


      shawn wrote on June 5th, 2013
  29. 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.

    Nancy Mancuso wrote on June 7th, 2013
  30. 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!

    Lisa wrote on June 25th, 2013
  31. 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.

    Jason wrote on July 26th, 2013
  32. 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.

    Rob wrote on August 6th, 2013
  33. 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?

    Brittany wrote on August 8th, 2013
    • 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.

      Shawn wrote on August 16th, 2013
  34. 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

    Candi wrote on August 8th, 2013
    • 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

      Shawn wrote on August 16th, 2013
  35. 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?

    Strife wrote on August 25th, 2013
    • 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.

      Shawn wrote on August 31st, 2013
  36. 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 !

    Kayleigh Catalanatto wrote on August 28th, 2013
  37. 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?

    Meredith wrote on September 9th, 2013
  38. 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,

    Ken wrote on October 8th, 2013
  39. 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.

    ProbieFit wrote on January 4th, 2014
    • 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!

      Shawn wrote on January 21st, 2014
  40. 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

    Danielle wrote on January 10th, 2014
    • 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.

      Shawn wrote on January 18th, 2014

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