Pat’s Secrets to Reversing Prediabetes | Food as Medicine

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published December 4, 2018

Podcast Transcript

Pat Savage: My weight has gone down from 145 to 117. My energy levels have come up dramatically. I work out twice a week with a personal trainer. I do yoga, almost every day, for at least 30 minutes. I couldn't do that five months ago. My husband says, I'm like a new person. I'm happy. But I think one of the best things is, I enjoy eating again. It's a pleasure. No, it's more than that, it's a thrill. It's an adventure.

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.

Robby Barbaro: Welcome to a Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience. In today's episode, you will learn how Pat reversed prediabetes, and took her A1c from 5.9 to 5.2. She lost weight, she lowered her cholesterol, she lowered her blood pressure, but even more significant is the change in her quality of life. You're going to hear Pat talk about what life was like when she was doing a low-carb diet, and the changes she has seen since adopting a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle.

Hopefully you’ll find this episode inspiring, and we'd love to see you share this with others. Anybody you know who's living with prediabetes, or even type 2 diabetes, this episode is showcasing how the Mastering Diabetes Program reverses insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the cause of prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. It’s exactly what happened to Pat, she developed insulin resistance, her A1c went up, and when she decided to adopt a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, she solved the core problem, and now her health is dramatically better.

We'd also love to see you guys taking a screenshot and tagging us on Instagram. Post this podcast in your Instagram stories. We're going to look for it, we're going to respond any questions you have, any comments. We would just love to see you guys sharing about this on social media. Just tag us @MasteringDiabetes on Instagram, and also tag us on Facebook. We want to get this message out there to as many people as possible. That said, let's get into the show.

Pat Savage: I was first diagnosed as being prediabetic in late 2017. And the doctor I saw, she was rather indifferent about it, “Oh, we'll look at it again. In a year. It's no big deal.” And “Oh, you're hypertensive. Oh, gee, yeah, you know, your cholesterol levels are pretty high. But you know, everything's okay.” And I knew that it was not okay.

I have a family history of diabetes on my mother's side. Her father, and her sister both were type 1 diabetics, and I saw what happened to them. And so, this being told I was prediabetic. Just freaked me out, really freaked me out, like I had not been freaked out before. Because everything I had done with my diet, was my attempt to avoid any chance of developing diabetes, because I knew, I'd seen how awful a disease it is.

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And so, this left me absolutely devastated. I was on a high fat, high protein, very low carb diet. My energy was non-existent. I had very little quality of life, I couldn't enjoy living in paradise. And this just absolutely left me crushed. I didn't know what to do. And from July until early November, I was in just deep depression, not knowing what to do, how to proceed, I couldn't function.

And then I got an email from Ocean Robbins, and that sort of changed my whole life, inviting me to this webinar on diabetes, and reversing diabetes, no less. And I believe that's how I first saw Cyrus and Robby. I signed up on their mail list, and started watching their videos. And I said, “Well, this sounds like something I should be doing. And it sounds like somebody just thrown me a lifeline.” I felt I was going to have a second chance to restore some of my health, maybe not all, at least some of it.

So, I got started on trying to make a change in my lifestyle, but through my diet, I still wasn't able to exercise. I literally had no energy. My exercise was moving, getting up in the morning, and fixing my breakfast, and retreating to the sofa. That was my life. My adrenal had failed. Everything was just crashing all around me. And so, this at least was giving me some hope. And the more I listened, the more I heard, the more I understood, thanks to Cyrus, that I was right all along when I kept telling my health care providers, “Something is wrong with my diet. But what? What?” “Oh, no, you have the perfect diet. This is perfect.” I couldn't lose weight, my blood pressure was constantly going up. I had never had blood pressure problems before. And then the prediabetes on top of that.

I started eliminating salt and oil in my diet. The salt was tough, but I was working on it. Oil was a lot easier. Sugar wasn't a problem, because I didn't have any sugar in my diet. Immediately, I started feeling better, and better, and better. I just took it easy. I introduced my husband and friends to the Mastering Diabetes recipes for Christmas Day. It was sweet potatoes with curried peas, and stuff like that. And date syrup, or date sauce on top. Oh, my Gosh, everybody just raved. In fact, I didn't have enough, everybody wanted more. So that was that was good.

But I didn't really know how to cook in this style. I really had no idea, and I didn't even have the right equipment. But I started learning, and learning. I was watching and reading all of the emails from Mastering Diabetes, and attending their invitation videos. And finally in March, early March, I said, “Okay, I'm getting my energy back. I'm really ready to go into this.” And I signed up for Mastering Diabetes. And that was the best thing I ever did in my whole life, I think. People who know me, and know what I've gone through over the past, say, 18 years, know what a change has taken place in my life.

My weight has gone down from 145 to 117. My energy levels have come up dramatically. I work out twice a week with a personal trainer. I do yoga, almost every day, for at least 30 minutes. I couldn't do that five months ago. My husband says, I'm like a new person. I'm happy. But I think one of the best things is, I enjoy eating again. It's a pleasure. No, it's more than that, it's a thrill. It's an adventure.

I mean, when I fix my breakfast each morning, and invent my fruit bowl, I'm just like a kid playing with his most favorite toys. I'm just having so much enjoyment. And every bite is such a pleasure, and puts a smile on my face. And I never had that feeling before. In fact, by the end of last year, I could barely eat, because everything I was eating was making me sick. I could barely prepare something to throw on the barbecue, because it smelled so bad to me. My body knew that what I was eating was wrong. I guess I was just too dense to see it.

Kylie called me, here at home, right after I enrolled in the Program to welcome me, and make me feel part of a family, and I didn't feel alone. I been so isolated, and so alone for so long, because people just didn't understand what I was going through.

When I joined Mastering Diabetes, and they started talking about eating fruit, lots of fruit. Not just eating fruit, but lots of fruit, I'm going “No! How is that possible?” And that's when I started understanding what was going on, as I was going through all the modules, and watching all the videos, and listening to Cyrus explain in the coaching sessions. It clicked, and I'm going “I can do this!” And so, I started off with just a couple of fruits in addition to my berries. That went well. I mean, I had no indigestion, no sense of having overeaten, or anything like that. I think now, for my breakfast, I usually, typically have the berries with cereal, and I have a big bowl of some spinach, and about five different fruits. I mean, I've grown to love mangoes. I never really cared much for mangoes before. But now I'm a mango fanatic.

It's tough on the days when I don't have a right mango to put in my fruit bowl. So, it's been a thrill to rediscover a joy of cooking. I love fixing stews, and chilies, and all those good things. But my main love is my fruit bowl in the morning. I can't get enough of it. And whenever I feel, like in mid-afternoon, a little low in energy, I'll pop a couple of dates. I mean, I'm a date fanatic now. I never, never really touched dates before, “Oh that's way too high in sugar. You can't do them!” So now, it was challenging to take that leap, and trust. These guys really know, you signed up with them, they really do know what they're talking about. They’re living proof they know what they're talking about.

So, it was a challenge, but boy I embraced it and it's really helped turn my life around. I've learned to exercise before I have breakfast. That was one of Cyrus's recommendations to help get a lot of benefit, and help lower the blood glucose. And so, I do that, and that just really sets me up for the day. And then, I fix my breakfast, and it's typically a bowl of quinoa to act as cereal, or oatmeal, with two thumbs of walnuts, and at least a half a cup of blueberries. If they're really, really good, I'll make it three quarters of a cup of blueberries. And I'll have a big bowl of spinach, pineapple, mango, strawberries, raspberries, banana, kiwis. Whatever I have handy, when we don't have mangos available, or pineapple, then I'll do apples, and pears, kiwi. I have Kiwi almost all the time, because I like the color.

So, that's breakfast on just about every day. I have not grown bored with it. I feel good. One day I weighed the bowl, and then I weighed the food. I had pound and a half of food. I only eat two meals a day, because I do the intermittent fast on a daily basis, on a 16-8 schedule. So, I found it too difficult to try to eat three meals a day, so I eat two meals. But breakfast, as you see, is the bulk of my calories, and everything for the day.

Dinner will usually be, my favorites are like a three bean chili with butternut squash, loaded with lentils, black beans, pinto beans, butternut squash, a lot of great spices. I may have a couple of organic, non-GMO corn tortillas. And I feel like “Wow! This is the best in the whole world.” And I just eat, and eat, and eat. And make myself little tacos, I'll spoon some of the chili into the tortilla. And with a little bit of avocado and cilantro, and green onion tops. And it's paradise.

So, I get plenty of protein, I get plenty of fat. Everybody is saying “But where does your protein come from?” And I'm going “From just about everything I'm eating. From my oatmeal to my beans, my lentils, green peas, I mean, you name it.” And so, I'm just enjoying it. I don't see it as a sacrifice. That one of the things that I learned through Mastering Diabetes was how to manage social situations, and planning for going out to areas, or a friend's home, making sure I bring something with me that I can eat. And then eating a little before I go out.

I don't miss it at all. I don't feel deprived, because a lot of people look at you and go, “Gosh! This is such a horrible sacrifice you're having to make”, and I'm going “What sacrifice? My body loves this. I love it. I like to the way I look, I haven't looked this good in 20 years.” I said, “This is the best thing in the world. You should you should all be on this.” And I try not to preach. I'm really careful about that. But this has been an absolute joy. And I enjoy the coaching sessions. I don't really participate in Facebook, but I love looking at the post now and then, and realize how, really, how fortunate I am, because I am not as bad off as so many others. And I'm just glad I acted now, and didn't listen to my doctor, or just give up and say, “Well, what's going to happen is going to happen”, because I know what would have happened. And now I have no fear. That is never going to happen to me. That is never going to happen to me. I've got my life back.

So, last test I had was in July of 17. I was tested in late March, almost the end of March, and I had gone down from a 5.9 A1c, to a 5.2, with the average blood glucose of 123, down to 103. And then, just huge drops in the cholesterol levels. Triglycerides went up, but I understand that from, you know, my body is ridding it itself, of all of that excess fatty deposits. So, I wasn't worried about that, because all of the HDL, LDL, everything, and the total cholesterol was beautiful. I've never had such good numbers.

It's totally reversed. And when I checked my glucose each morning, it's always below 100. I have no heart palpitations, my blood pressure is ideal, it's not just normal, it's ideal. It's in the 115 over 75, to like 119 over 77. So, it's in a really sweet range. This was so easy. Once I realized I could control what was going to happen, our taste buds change, and re-adapt.

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.