MDAE E44 – How to Communicate With Your Doctor About Lifestyle Change and a Plant-Based Diet – with Kylie Buckner, RN

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published November 12, 2018

Podcast Transcript

Kylie Buckner, RN: So, I always say it's good to go in with a plan. It's helpful to go in with “This is my goal, and then this is my plan.” You're informed and you're prepared to have that full conversation. So, maybe you start by saying, “This is my goal. And my plan is to begin exercising multiple times a week, or my plan is to join a coaching program to help me learn how to transition to a plant-based diet.” And just by starting off the conversation that way, in a very, informed and confident place, can be a really great way to start a conversation with anybody about adopting a plant-based diet.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Welcome to the Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience, where we teach you how to sit in the driver's seat of your diabetes health for the rest of your life. We’ll teach you how to reverse insulin resistance, achieve your ideal body weight, gain energy and get your best A1c following more than 85 years of evidence-based research in the Mastering Diabetes Program.

Robby Barbaro: Our program teaches you how to reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and how to simplify your life with type 1 diabetes by maximizing your insulin sensitivity, using food as medicine.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We're on a bold mission to reverse insulin resistance in 1 million people. We're glad to have you joining us.

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Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: If you're like most people, you're probably interested in living medication free, or at the very least, reducing your need for oral medications and insulin. The problem is that when you become a plant-based eater, or you transition to a plant-based diet, it's very difficult to understand how to back off on the amount of medication you're taking, and most importantly when to back off, so that you can prevent against unwanted side effects.

When it comes to oral diabetes medication it can be confusing. Things like Sulfonylureas, Meglitinides, GLP-1 receptor agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, SGLT 2 inhibitors, Thiazolidinediones, Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, Amylin analogues, Biguanides, Insulin, Basal, Bolus. All of these things can be really confusing, and it may feel like you need an advanced degree just to understand what these medications are actually doing inside of your body.

That's why in today's Podcast, you're going to get a real good understanding for how these medications affect tissues, like your brain, your muscle, your kidneys, your heart, your vasculature, your liver, your pancreas, and your digestive organs. And that way, you'll have a real good understanding for how these medications are affecting you, physiologically. But then, once you understand that information, now, your goal is to try and communicate that your transition to a plant-based diet is actually improving your health, from the inside out. So that you and your doctor can work together, as a team to, reduce your need for medications. And that's the challenging part.

Now, most people who transition to a plant-based diet, or use their food as medicine, have a difficult time communicating with their doctors. Why? It’s not that doctors are bad people. They're wonderful people. They're very altruistic, they want to help. The problem is that they weren't trained on how to use food as medicine in medical school. Therefore, when you actually decrease your physiological or biological need for medications, oftentimes they have no answers.

So, if you're in the boat where you've tried to communicate with your doctor about what to do, and how to back off on your medication needs, and you've either gotten a blank stare, or you've gotten resistance, then this is the Podcast for you. This Podcast is taught by Kylie Buckner, she's a Registered Nurse, and she has a Master's degree in nursing, and she teaches you how you can frame the conversation with your doctor, so that you have an effective method for trying to non-combatively educate and communicate with your doctor, about how to reverse, or how to reduce your need for oral medications and insulin.

So, this episode is one of my favorites, obviously, it's my wife, Kylie Buckner, who's giving the Podcast. But most importantly, the information that she teaches you is very valuable. She'll teach you how to identify your goals, she’ll teach you how to communicate your plan, she’ll teach you how to clarify your doctor’s approach. And then she'll also teach you how to ask for your doctor’s support. And if you have the conversation with your doctor in the way that she describes, you'll maximize the chances of succeeding, and turning your doctor into your advocate, and also working together as a team to minimize your need for both oral medications, and insulin all together. I hope you enjoy what you're about to hear.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: All right. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience. This is a Podcast in which we share information about how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle, while living with all forms of diabetes. Now, I am extremely excited to have our guest Kylie Buckner. She's a Registered Nurse. She also has a Masters of Nursing, and she is absolutely brilliant. She happens to be my wife, and I have the pleasure of being able to live with her every single day. And I get to hear her genius on a daily basis. But today is a special episode, because now she's going to be able to share her genius, and her knowledge of interacting with physicians, and having a constructive conversation with them. She's gonna be able to share that with you.

So, Kylie has more than 18 years of experience as a Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, otherwise known as the NICU. She's also worked in labor and delivery, and in OB-GYN, as well as in pediatrics. She's dedicated her life to caring for people as a nurse, and she has a very in depth understanding of the challenges of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. She specializes in helping people talk with their healthcare providers about their plant-based transition in a constructive manner. And she's also a certified yoga teacher. And she herself has been 100% plant-based for over six years. Kylie is a coach at Mastering Diabetes, and she provides support to our members every single day. Thanks a ton for being here with us today, Kylie.

Kylie Buckner, RN: You're welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It's very exciting to be recording this in separate rooms of our home.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Isn’t that great? You're outside, I'm inside. You got the more tropical background here. You're looking good. Okay, so let's start off here with learning about your experience as a nurse. You also refer to yourself as a, quote unquote, patient advocate. So, explain to us what the heck that means.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Sorry. Well, in my experience as a Nurse, one of the roles that we play as nurses is to help our patients understand more about what they're living with. Whether it's something they've been diagnosed with, or maybe how to navigate the world of the healthcare world. So, as nurses, we take on many different roles. We're educators, we’re direct care providers, we participate in so many processes in healthcare system. But one of my favorite roles is that of advocate, and when I was a NICU nurse, I spent so many years kind of in that liaison role. I was taking care of these premature babies that need a lot of care. And, you know, oftentimes the parents had questions that maybe they didn't really know how to phrase, or how to ask to the doctors. They get a few minutes of time with their doctor, where they're learning about their babies care, and about medical updates. And, sometimes that left more questions.

So, a lot of times, as a nurse, we sort of interpret some of those questions, we help rephrase things, or reframe questions, so that everybody's on the same page. And it's one of my favorite roles, because it really involves a lot of perspective taking, you have to really understand someone's perspective, to be able to then help them get the best information that they're seeking.

And so as an advocate, and in my role at Mastering Diabetes, I feel like I really get to explore that role of advocate in such a big way. Because we are having these conversations every day where we're teaching our members, and the people that we're working with, how to talk with their physician. What are the conversations to engage this conversation, and to get the answers that you need to understand your diagnosis, to understand your level of insulin resistance, all of these pieces of your sort of healthcare puzzle. We are talking about every day. And so the same comes up pretty frequently about, “How do I talk to my doctor?”, or “What if my doctor doesn't agree with what I'm choosing?” Those sorts of conversations.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Actually, I love the idea of being a patient advocate. Because let's be honest, when you're diagnosed with diabetes, it can be an intimidating situation, you may be unsure of exactly what it is that you need to do for your own health in order to maximize your health today, as well as into the future. And then on top of that, when you go and talk to the doctor, it can be an intimidating situation, because the doctor shows up, is wearing a white lab coat, and, they have years, and years, and years of experience, and you may not know the right words to choose, you may not know what to say, how to say it, and as a result of that, when you go into your doctor, I've been in this situation before myself, where you kind of get tongue tied, you sort of like well, “And kind of, but you know, I think…” and then, sometimes you can get overpowered as well.

So, thinking about your role as an actual advocate for patients to be able to voice their opinions, their experience, their concerns, that's ultimately what I know a lot of our members are struggling with. I think that you bring a lot of experience to the table there, which is really helpful. So two questions that people ask us all the time in our Coaching Program, that you are a master at answering are, number one, “How do I talk to my diabetes doctor about eating a plant-based diet?” Can you go into a little bit of detail here? How to start that conversation? And how does it go?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. When you're talking with your doctor, with any of your doctors, but in particular with your diabetes doctor, many physicians right now, do not have the mindset that anyone living with diabetes should be following a high carbohydrate approach in particular, to their diet. So just getting that conversation started could be a little overwhelming, like you mentioned before, I mean, it's not something that is widely accepted at this point. But one of the things that we have heard over, and over is that just getting this conversation started can be really challenging.

So, the best way to start is by talking about your goals, and just letting your diabetes doctor know what your goals are, in regards to your diabetes health. So, maybe you have a goal around your A1c. Maybe you want to see that around, you know, 6.5, or 6, or whatever your number is, that would best work into your health. Maybe you want to lower the amount of insulin that you're using. Maybe you have a goal of achieving a stable fasting blood glucose level. So, whatever the conversation is, around your diabetes, starting off by “My goal is to achieve an A1c of 6.5”, for example, would be a really great place to start. Because when you put your goals out there, and can communicate what you're looking to do for your health, it just communicates to your doctor that you're serious about your diabetes health.

So, I always say it's good to go in with a plan. It's helpful to go in with “This is my goal, and then this is my plan.” You're informed and you're prepared to have that full conversation. So, maybe you start by saying, “This is my goal. And my plan is to begin exercising multiple times a week, or my plan is to join a coaching program to help me learn how to transition to a plant-based diet.” And just by starting off the conversation that way, in a very, informed and confident place, can be a really great way to start a conversation with anybody about adopting a plant-based diet.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Excellent. That's excellent. So you actually helped us create a PDF, it's a tool called “The Insulin Resistance Checklist.” And people were using that checklist to figure out how to monitor, and measure, and track the level of insulin resistance over the course of time. And that checklist has been very helpful for a lot of our patients. So, we came up with another checklist, or should I say, you came up with another checklist here, that you can download by visiting our website. So, go to www.masteringdiabetes.org/diabetes-doctor. So, you go to Diabetes-Doctor, and then you can download the PDF there

Now in this PDF, Kylie is giving you some very helpful ways that you can actually have this conversation, and structure this conversation with your doctor. So that's a quick aside here. That being said, now you're at a point in the conversation where you've told your doctor what your goals are, “I want to achieve a lower A1c of 6.0%, I want to get a stable fasting blood glucose under 100 milligrams per deciliter. I want to lose 30 pounds.” Fantastic. Your doctor gives two thumbs up and says, “Great, I'm on the same page.” What next? How does the conversation go from there?

Kylie Buckner, RN: The next step is to identify your plan, and the steps that you're going to take. So, let your doctor know “I am going to do the following things”, maybe add more exercise in, adding in a coaching program to help you learn more about how to adjust your diet, and maybe you have a plan to take steps towards intermittent fasting. There’s so many tools available to you, to make lifestyle changes. But when you talk about the steps that you're going to take towards your lifestyle changes, it will let your doctor know that you're really serious about your health. And by having that conversation, and letting them know that you already have an idea in mind, how this is going to look for you, and how this is going to work into your life, that makes it much more tangible, a little bit more concrete, and it opens up the door for more conversation about your plans.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so at this point in the conversation, is it necessary to be very detailed? Do you want to use the words “I am adopting a plant-based diet. Low-fat diet. Low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet?” Or would you recommend keeping it kind of vague, and just saying, “Oh, yeah, I'm going to change my diet and do things, like exercise and intermittent fasting”?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, I think it depends on the situation. Some physicians are going to be really open to this idea of using diet for your health. I always find it very interesting how on, a lot of medication commercials, they will often say, when using combination with diet and exercise, you can achieve your health results as a part of the sort of medication plan. So, if you are on a medication, it would be something to bring up with your doctor that, you're looking to use lifestyle, diet and exercise as a way to help you manage your diagnosis, that you've been given.

And the results that we see in our Program are that, we're seeing people who are reversing their type 2 diabetes, and their heart disease, and they're getting off of their medications every day. And so, if you go into a conversation with your physician, in a way that it sort of set up for you to share the things that you're going to do, the steps you're going to take, it doesn't leave a lot of room for that sort of question mark of, “Well, how am I going to do this?” or, you know, your doctor may feel more confident with the fact that you're really thinking this through.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so I’m going to play devil's advocate here, because we've heard from some of our members, and just people living with diabetes in general, that the minute you bring up this idea of plant-based, “I'm going to be a plant-based eater, or vegetarian, vegan, low-fat”, any of those words, some medical professionals don't love those words. And they say, that's when the conflict can, doesn't always happen, but that's when the conflict and tension can begin. So are you saying that the best thing to do in a situation, is kind of feel it out, and decide whether or not you're going to be detailed, and use those words, or whether you're going to be vague and just say, “I'm going to work on my diet.”

Kylie Buckner, RN: I would say start out vague, and if you're concerned that they're going to have a response or reaction, that's not going to be an agreement with what you're doing, then start out to say that “I'm going to work on my diet, start exercising”, you know, keep it really simple. And rather than getting into all the details about the type of diet you're going to explore. When we keep things simple, just keep it surface level, it doesn't require a lot of information more than “I'm going to work on my diet.” And if the person that you're talking with is really not supportive, and they start asking more questions about it, you can also keep it simple and just say, “I'm going to try to eat more fruits and vegetables.” Again, it's not about necessarily going into all of the details right up front, as you're starting to navigate this process, you can keep it very simple, and just let your doctor know you're looking for their support, especially towards your health.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so that that takes us through two parts of the conversation. Number one, “These are my goals.” Number two, “This is my action plan.” What is the third part of this conversation? How does that go?

Kylie Buckner, RN: So, the third part of the conversation would be talking about the things that your doctor might look for, in order to help you navigate your diagnosis, your medications. If you are taking diabetes medications, your diabetes doctor is an important person to be involved in your decisions to make lifestyle changes, because if you need an adjustment to your medication, because your blood glucose levels start to normalize, stabilize, or maybe you are looking to adjust your medications in some way, we always recommend doing that in coordination with your physician.

So, the next part of the conversation would be, “Hey, where are my labs? And where does my lab work fall in my biometric markers? Where are they in this picture? And what would you look for, in order to adjustment medication, maybe taking off of my medication, and/or adjust my diagnosis.” So, those are important conversations to have, that you are all on the same page. So when everybody's on the same page, then we can all work towards our goals together. And that's ultimately, you know, we have all the same information, then we all know we're working towards.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Yeah, this is actually super helpful, because this part of the conversation is actually very important, because effectively what you're trying to communicate with your doctor is, you're trying to ask a question, you're saying, “Hey, listen, I get it. I've been diagnosed with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes, whatever it is, tell me what lab values, what numbers you want me to target. And when I hit those numbers, let's adjust my medication. Let's bring my medication down, or let's change my diagnosis.” And I think it's actually really important that you say this, because doctors, diabetes doctors in general are very quantitative. Okay, the entire profession. Diabetes is a very quantifiable disease and diabetes doctors, endocrinologists had been trained to monitor number. So they're looking at blood glucose values, CGM, continuous glucose monitor profiles, A1c, lipid panel, you name it. So if you ask your doctor, “What are the numbers that you want me to achieve?” Then you're talking your doctor’s language. And that's really important.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. And actually, that's one of the things I really like about this tool that we've created, is that there's a chart on it. And so there's space for you to go in with the names of your medications, the current dosage that you're on, the value associated with it. So what value would it be that would help you get off of medication, or reduce your medication. And that way, you can go in with a sort of, prepared in advance, and you can fill in the numbers in advance. And with that, in that time with your physician, which is for most people, it's not a very long amount of time, you can quickly get to each of those points and talk about them, and make a plan really quickly.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Absolutely. And let me backup here to be crystal clear about this. Here at Mastering Diabetes, we in any way, in no way, shape or form, are we trying to talk smack about doctors. We love doctors, we partner with doctors, we especially love diabetes doctors, because they're so valuable in helping to adjust medication when necessary, reduce medication when necessary, and eliminate diagnosis. So, what we're trying to do in this situation is empower you to be able to talk with your doctor, so that any potential conflict that you might experience with your doctor, can become less tension filled, and it can become a much more constructive conversation.

So please don't interpret anything that we're saying as though you know, we don't like doctors or, you know, we're not in agreement with the way doctors behave, because that's not a true statement. We love diabetes doctors and want you to basically have as effective of the conversation as possible with them.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Absolutely.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: So, that being said, let's role play a couple of different scenarios here. Because, sometimes certain doctors can be more open minded than others. And we've heard from our members that some of these conversations can be a little bit frustrated. So I’ll throw your three scenarios. Scenario number one, you're speaking with your diabetes doctor, who's quite open minded about you eating a plant-based diet, and is not necessarily pushing you to have to eat a low carbohydrate diet. Okay, so in this scenario, you walk into your doctor's office, what is your opening sentence to them about your lifestyle choices?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Okay, so you go to your doctor, and you say, “Hey, doctor, are you familiar with the new information coming out that a plant-based diet can help me lower my A1c, and reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes?”

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: No, I'm actually not familiar with this information. What do you mean by plant-based diet? I don't understand.

Kylie Buckner, RN: So, a plant-based diet is one that is primarily, all of your food comes from plants. So, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and the diet that I've been investigating is one that's also low in fat. And actually, I've been reading a lot about the current research, and a lot of evidence that shows that this diet helps you to improve your long term health, as well as reverse your insulin resistance.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so I'll be perfectly honest with you, I don't know that much about diet. I'm here to sort of adjust your medications, and keep your blood glucose and keeping it all under control. You can talk about diet with the nutritionist as soon as our appointment is done. The one question I would have for you, though, about this plant based diet is your carbohydrate content, because we know that people generally do well on a low carbohydrate diet, but I have a feeling that if you're eating a plant-based diet, you're probably eating, are you eating potatoes and fruits? Or is this more of a vegetable based diet?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, it would be a combination of all those things. And I'm hoping to learn the foods that work really well for my body. And that help me achieve my best health, and my best blood glucose. So I'm planning to learn more about that and eating more fruits, and more vegetables already, and I'm feeling really good about it.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, great. So, that was an excellent way to start the conversation. Let's recap real quick. Your opening sentence was quote, “Hey, doctor, are you familiar with new information coming out that a plant-based diet can help me lower my A1c, and reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes?” Okay, if somebody is living with type 1 diabetes, how could they modify that sentence?

Kylie Buckner, RN: So if you're living with type 1 diabetes, I would modify it by saying, “Are you familiar with new information coming out that a plant-based diet can help me lower my A1c and improve my insulin sensitivity?”

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Perfect. I love that. I love that. I love that. A lot of diabetes doctors understand what insulin sensitivity is. So, if you talk that language again, you could probably make it work. Fantastic. Okay, Scenario number two. Now, you're talking with a diabetes doctor that does not know that much about plant-based nutrition, and in fact, is a little bit more dogmatic, I would say, a little bit more advocate of you eating a low carbohydrate diet, because that's what they've done in the past. That's what they know to be true. And that's what they use to help patients lower their blood glucose and A1c. So slightly more potential tension filled situation. What is your opening sentence?

Kylie Buckner, RN: So, I might say something like, “Hey, doctor, I've been doing a lot of reading about the negative long term effects of a low carbohydrate and high fat diet, I am going to begin eating a low fat, plant-based diet. And that is really important to me. How can we work together to help me lower my A1c?”

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Listen, if you're living with diabetes, a low carbohydrate diet is the only way to go. I've had patients try eating plant-based diets, or these low fat diets, and their blood glucose is an absolute disaster. I highly recommend that you eat a low carbohydrate diet, because that's the only way to go living with diabetes.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Okay, well, I'd really like to try this out and see how it works for me, I really feel like I could get some really good results in my health, and see improvements in my health this way, is there any way you think you could support me and trying this out, even just for a few months.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: I'm hesitant to do that. I'm really hesitant to do that. Listen, I'm open minded here. And it sounds like you've been doing a lot of reading, which I enjoy. Here's the problem, though. As soon as you leave this office, and you go back home, I don't know what you're putting into your body. I don't have any control over the foods that are going into your body. If I could construct your diet, I know exactly how I would do it. You’re going to return here three months later, six months later, and your blood glucose values could be worse, your health could be worse, your lipid profile could be worse, your cholesterol could be elevated, your A1c could go up. And I know what works, low carbohydrate diets work. And I'm just concerned that if you do a plant-based diet, that it's not going to work, and then three to six months later, you're going to be in a worse situation. So that's my fear. Do you agree with me or not?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, I'm more concerned about the long term effects of a diet that's high in fat, for my heart, and for other inflammatory conditions that I'm reading about. So I think I'm going to try to start to implement this, and see how I do. I found some resources that have been really helpful, to help me move in this direction. I've seen a documentary called “Forks Over Knives”, I've been reading and following Mastering Diabetes online. And I really like what I'm hearing, it really resonates for me, so I think I'm going to try it, and maybe we'll just see how things look in a few months.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, time out. That was excellent because one of the things that you're talking about is the long term effects. The negative long term effects of a high fat diet, and again, not all physicians are going to agree that there are negative long term effects. But the fact that you're bringing that up, that you're talking about it from an educated perspective, and you're saying “I've consulted these resources. I've seen this movie Forks Over Knives. I've been paying attention to Mastering Diabetes”, bring up doctors like Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Michelle McMakin, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Talk about these doctors, because the more educated you sound, the more that you can present to your doctor, that you've done the reading, that you're doing the reading and that you really understand the research, the more that they're going to be like, “Wow, this is a smart patient. This is a really educated and smart patient. Maybe he actually knows what she's talking about.” So I really liked the way you responded. That was great.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Thanks.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay. So, Scenario number three, this is the toughest of all the situations. This is a doctor, this is a diabetes doctor, or endocrinologist, that tells you that you have to eat a low carbohydrate diet, and if you don't, then they refuse to be your doctor.

Kylie Buckner, RN: And we have actually seen this situation. We've heard from people this exact scenario. So these are real scenarios by the way.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Absolutely, these are real scenarios, and you may or may not know this information going in to talk to your doctor, but if you even suspect, or you've maybe heard some other stories from other people that your physician has this perspective, that's okay. So in this scenario, what is your opening statement?

Kylie Buckner, RN: So, I would say “Hi, doctor, are you familiar with new information coming out that a plant-based diet can help me lower my A1c and reverse my insulin resistance?”

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: So actually, that's the exact same sentence that you use for this first scenario. The exact sentence, right?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yes.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, here's my response as your doctor: Listen, Kylie. There's a lot misleading information on the internet today. Don't believe everything that you read. I've been working with diabetes patients for the last 23 years. And I require that my patients eat a low carbohydrate diet, otherwise, I refuse to work with them. That's the way that this scenario goes. What do you think?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, I would say thank you very much. I have been seeing a lot of new information out there. And I might try to find a diabetes doctor who will support a plant-based lifestyle. Plant-based nutrition is really important to me. And so I might go look for somebody else, you can support me.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: So, are you saying that you're going to not be my patient anymore? You're going to go find another diabetes doctor?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, I'm going to look to see if I can find somebody that can help support me and my goals.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, if that's the case, then I wish you the best of luck. And, I will be very honest with you, that I've seen lots of people try other types of diets, and it generally does not work out in your favor. So, I do believe that you're taking a big risk. I do believe that not following a low carbohydrate diet, or a ketogenic diet, is a very dangerous situation. But if that's the way it's going to be, then that's the way it's going to be.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Okay. Thank you.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Perfect. Yeah, that's a good response. Okay, great.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Thank you. You know, these are not easy conversations. These are difficult conversations. And I think that, I'm uncomfortable sitting here in this position. So, I understand that it's not easy to have these conversations. But the truth is, there's a lot of resources out there for you to find a plant-based physician. There's plantbaseddoctors.org, plantbaseddocs.com, these organizations are out there founded by the PCRM, and PBN HC. And these are organizations that are there to help you find a doctor that can help support you, on your goal towards a plant-based diet, and helping meet your health goals.

The other thing that's really important to remember is that, technology is really, really powerful. And a lot of doctors are offering consultations, and video visits. And, so if you can't find a doctor in your immediate area on one of these websites, you can also call an office and find out if they can do video visits, or telephone consultations. Just to basically get yourself some support on your side, as you're moving through this process. As you're navigating this process. It's so helpful to find somebody who understands your perspective, and maybe who's just really willing to listen to you, and what you're trying to accomplish in your health. We've worked with a lot of people in our program who once they make that switch, and they find somebody who aligns with their beliefs and about, not just beliefs, but with the practice that's working for them, it just makes that relationship so much better, and they can meet their health goals even faster. It's easier to meet your health goals when you're not feeling alone in that process.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: 100%. And I love what you said here about using technology to your advantage. Because in the traditional healthcare setting, you get in your car, you drive to your doctor's office, or to a hospital, you sit down in a waiting room, you wait for your doctor, you have a 10 minute appointment with them, and you get discharged. You go get medications if necessary. And then you go home. It's a time consuming process. It costs money, and that's the traditional healthcare setting. But in today's day and age, you can actually establish a relationship, like you said, with a plant-based physician or a plant-based diabetes doctor, over the Internet. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal idea. And even if you can't find that, or maybe that's something that you're not comfortable with, then you can use plantbaseddocs.com, like you said, or plantbaseddoctors.org, to find a plant friendly physician, hopefully close to where you live.

Kylie Buckner, RN: So important. And, you know, this is another reason why this the tool that we developed is really important. The conversations that we were just having here may not feel, you know, they really fit into your scenario, but hopefully it's getting, thinking about how you might approach that conversation with your physician. Another great resource if your physician is willing and open to learning a little bit more, let's say your physician says something about, “No, I'm not really familiar, but I've heard something about it, or I've been hearing more about it, but I'm not very familiar.” It could be an opportunity for you, to help inform and educate your physician a little bit more. And you can do that by sharing the resources that have really helped you adopting a plant-based diet.

So, maybe you would share with them a documentary like “Forks Over Knives”, or “What The Health” or maybe it's a book by Dr. Barnard, or Dr. Greger. Maybe it's the Mastering Diabetes website. There's so many resources out there that you could share with your doctor if they seem interested in learning more. I always found that, our patients can be just as inspiring and informative, we can listen to what they're bringing to the table and try to, again, understand their perspective. There's a lot of physicians out there, who I think would be really willing to help you, and learn more with you. It's just a matter of bringing that to their attention.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so imagine that we were 10 years in the past, and you're not a plant-based eater. You're working in the traditional healthcare setting, and you're a nurse. You walk up to a patient, and the patient says to you, “Hey, I'm doing this plant-based diet and I'm loving it. I watched a movie, “What the Health”, I read a book by Dr. Greger called “How not to die, blah, blah, blah. I've got a lot of information about this topic.” Here's my question to you. As a nurse, number one. Are you receptive to this information? Number two, is it smarter for you as the patient, to share a book, a movie, a video on YouTube? What is the information that you potentially share with your nurse, or your diabetes doctor, in order to get them intrigued and listening to you? My gut tells me that if you said “Oh, hey, you should go read this book, “The End of Diabetes” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.” They're going to be like, “Yeah, yeah, added to the list of books I should read. Maybe I'll read it in five years from now” That's what my gut tells.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, that's a good point. Because there is a lot of information. And as healthcare providers, we're inundated with continuing education that's often required by the facility or working for. It can be a little overwhelming. Maybe something that could be really beneficial, or not able, would be like something shorter. A shorter bite like a podcast episode, or something that would introduce the topic of plant-based nutrition for health outcomes. Maybe a nutritionfacts.org video, just a quick bite. Like a small shorter tidbit, because you're right, our healthcare providers, inside the hospital setting, inside the clinic setting, they're very busy. There are very busy days. There are very long days with a lot of patients, it could be very easy to forget that a patient recommended something that might be really beneficial for you to listen to.

I would say, if you're going to be going into the hospital, it can be really helpful to go prepared with quick and easy information. Something that would be a very quick, two minutes something, and time is definitely really challenging inside hospital. And same thing in the clinic, I mean, it's not something that I would expect a healthcare provider inside an office to be able to stop and read information at that time. So, maybe taking a copy of the book, or a DVD with you, and loaning it to your doctor, or giving it to them as something to read, when they have the time would probably be a better option, rather than necessarily trying to bring it up, and be like “Oh hey, check out this video on…”, leaving something for them to read it at another time, would probably be a better shot, I think.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Fully agree with you. Yeah, bite size I think is the key, because just like you said, time is a limited resource. Doctors are busy, nurses are busy, you're busy. Everyone's busy. So, asking someone to read a book, generally, maybe 1% of all the people that you tell to read a book, will actually read the book. And instead saying, “Hey, watch this video. It's 4 minutes and 50 seconds long. Trust me, you have four minutes. It's really powerful.” You can send it to your doctor via email. Maybe you have a print out with the link for the video “Here, go watch this.” Chances are people can spare 4 minutes and 50 seconds. But they're probably not going to read a book because they may not have the time for that.

Okay, so this is super helpful. How can people learn more about you? Where can they find you online, and how, educate our listeners a little bit more about how they can get more Kylie Buckner in their lives.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, I am with Mastering Diabetes. You can find me on our webinars, I'm usually there answering questions. I'm also a coach in our program. And very soon we will have another layer of Mastering Diabetes, which is going to be all about gestational diabetes and women's health topics. So we're going to be talking about diabetes and pregnancy. And I'm really excited to launch some of this information, because it's a great way to connect people who have had gestational diabetes, or are living with diabetes and considering pregnancy. My background is all in working with pregnant women and new babies. So I'm excited about that.

I'm also starting a blog called “MyPlantBasedPregnancy.com”, well, it’s “My Plant Based Pregnancy”. The website is “MyPlantBasedPregnancy.com”, and I just started an Instagram account for that. So, it's MyPBPregnancy. If you want to follow along the fun. An avenue I have not explored. So, it's a whole new world for me. But I'm really excited to talk more to women who are living with diabetes, who want to maintain a plant-based pregnancy, or want to reverse insulin resistance, or maintain their insulin sensitivity during pregnancy through a plant-based approach. So it's coming.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: That's going to be a topic of a completely different conversation, because gestational diabetes is a very confusing topic. It doesn't have to be. And there's a lot of women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes at some point in their pregnancy, and they don't know what to do. “Should I take insulin? Should I not take insulin? Should I eat more fruits and vegetables? Should I start exercising? Should I eat less food? Should I adopt a low carbohydrate diet? Should I adopt a ketogenic diet? What the heck am I supposed to do?“ It can be a very, there's many options on the table, and most women don't know what to do. So we're going to take that on, like you said, and we're going to educate a lot of women in that situation about how you can modify your diet during pregnancy, so that you can maximize your nutrition as the mother, and maximize the nutrition of your baby.

But then secondarily, which is almost even more important would be, how can you, as the mom, continue to modify your diet, and adopt a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, so that you can minimize, or nullify, your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Because the chances of you going from gestational diabetes to type 2 diabetes is staggering. I don't remember the statistic. But it's something like 60 to 80% of all women living with gestational diabetes can become prediabetic, or develop type 2 post pregnancy.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Absolutely. I'm reading a lot of research on this right now. And it's just phenomenal, the connections and the correlations, and then taking it all back to the root, which is insulin resistance. It's really all connected there. And I'm really excited to be able to talk about this with women and put something out there that can be really supportive, especially if you've already started this process. It can be, especially when you're pregnant, I think for a lot of women, it's difficult to know the best choices, you want to make the best choices for yourself and for your growing baby. And we're gonna have some fun with this, and it’s gonna be really exciting.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Fantastic. Well, thanks for taking the time to be here with us today. I know I learned a lot in this process. And like we said earlier, we love doctors. We partner with doctors, with diabetes doctors, with endocrinologists. What our goal here is, to try and make your conversation with your physician as seamless as possible. Put you in the driver's seat of that conversation, so that you don't feel like it's this judgment day every time you go to the doctor's office, that it's a tension filled situation and that it's problematic.

So, if you want to download the PDF that Kylie described, simply go to our website Masteringdiabetes.org/diabetes-doctor. Just go to that URL, and you'll be able to download the PDF that we described. Thank you Kylie for being here, like I said, I get the opportunity to learn from your daily basis. And I'm glad that you are able to share your genius with our audience.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Thank you.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We hope you enjoyed this episode, and can apply some of these principles to your personal life. Now, we have an Online Group Coaching Program that has helped thousands of people living with all forms of diabetes, reverse insulin resistance, drop their A1c, lose weight, and gain tons of energy. And also reduce their need for oral medication and insulin using, their food as medicine.

We like to call ourselves the world's most robust, and ridiculously affordable, Online Coaching Program for people with diabetes. And we've helped people living with type 1 diabetes, type 1.5 diabetes, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes living all around the world.

Now we provide you with three tools that are specifically designed to put you in the driver's seat of your diabetes health. The first is an Online Course that gives you step by step instructions on how to change your diet. Starting with breakfast, then lunch, then dinner.

We teach you exactly which foods to increase, which foods to limit, and which foods to avoid entirely. The course is designed with you in mind. We provide you with relevant information, and we do our best to reduce overwhelm, because we know just how confusing the internet can be these days, when searching for simple ways to improve your blood glucose control.

The second tool is even better than the first. We provide you with access to our online community, with thousands of people that are going through this process with you. You'll be able to interact with our team of coaches, including Kylie Buckner, a Registered Nurse who is brilliant. She also happens to be my wife, and is one of the most kind and compassionate human beings that I've ever met. Adam Sud. He reversed type 2 diabetes. He lost more than 160 pounds and he de-addicted himself from both food and prescription medication at the same time.

You'll also get to interact with Mark Ramirez, who lost more than 50 pounds, reversed type 2 diabetes, and is a certified Food For Life Instructor, through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. You'll also get the ability to interact with both Robby and myself in the online community. And we guarantee that we’ll answer your question within 24 hours to help you solve problems in real time.

The third tool is a twice monthly Q&A video conference, where you can ask our team of coaches any question that you have about your personal program, and meet others that are going through this process with you. Now, we're proud to say that our coaching program is very popular, and because of that, we've instituted a waiting list to join. The reason we created the waiting list in the first place is because we have more than 2000 active members in our program and want to provide excellent service to our existing members. You can still join the program, but in order to do so you have to put yourself on the waiting list and you'll be notified of when we open next. When we do, we'll send you a personal invitation to join.

To join the waiting list simply go to www.masteringdiabetes.org and click on Coaching in the navigation bar at the top of the screen, or click the link below in the show notes. We can't wait to help you transform your diabetes health from the inside out. We hope to see you on the inside.

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.