View Full Version : Vegetarianism and Diabetes

30 December 2012, 05:32 PM
Namaste all,

I have an important question. It concerns vegetarianism - I honestly don't want to debate if being vegetarian is required to be a Hindu or not, but while I'm not vegetarian at present, I do want to make the switch when I am ready. There is one complication: I'm diabetic. Type 2. :(

Sadly, meat is one of the few foods out there that doesn't send my blood sugar into low orbit, I've discovered. I'm definitely not eating beef, so that's a start for me, but if I am to take vegetarianism any further than that, I'm going to need some help.

Another complication is that I'm a terrible cook. Anything more complicated than microwaving a TV dinner or boiling pasta and I always mess it up somehow. :o

So yeah, I'm kind of in a rut here...if anyone has any advice whatsoever, I'd love to hear it. Just remember, whatever you suggest has to be diabetic-friendly. :p

30 December 2012, 07:23 PM
Namaste, Webimpulse,

It's my opinion that if you have a medical condition that prevents you from practicing vegetarianism in a healthy way, the karmic impact would be lessened, if there at all. But I'm not an expert on vegetarianism or SD, so hopefully members with more information can be more helpful.

From what I've experienced from eating vegetarian lunches at Temple, plus trying to transition to vegetarianism myself - it is almost impossible to get rid of starches and carbohydrates. Dal and lentils are packed with lots of protein, but they are also extremely carby.

I even did a search once for "Low-Carb, vegetarian cookbooks" and came up empty handed. (I don't necessarily need low carb, but my husband wanted to do a low-carb diet which usually = lots of meat. )

I hope someone here can offer resources for you. Best of luck!

EDIT: I stand corrected. A new search on Amazon brings up a few cookbooks that claim to be aimed at vegetarians who are also trying to do low carbohydrate. I don't know how the recipes would stack up for someone with diabetes and I know you said you aren't a very good cook, but maybe you can become one with a little practice! =)



31 December 2012, 08:19 AM

I think it depends on where you want to draw the line at not eating animal flesh for health's sake and trying to minimize himsa. You might try pesco-ovo-lacto, or even adding poultry, or just ovo-lacto, avoiding anything with hair or fur and mammary glands. Something that may keep your blood sugar and triglycerides under control (trigs. are a result of high carbs, not high fat in the diet) is the aforementioned pesco-ovo-lacto and lots of vegs. of different colors. Yes, it's pretty much a paleo type diet but without the mammal flesh and fat. I am not in any way suggesting that poultry and seafood are any less sentient, nor that they don't feel pain on being dispatched, but when there's a medical condition, you have to strike a balance. Remember that ahimsa also applies to us. I don't think God wants us to suffer and cause harm to our bodies.

31 December 2012, 08:48 AM

I agree with the others who have posted so far. I follow a low-carb vegetarian diet, and while it can be hard sometimes, the benefits are well worth it. I'm not diabetic, but have been vegetarian for about a decade, and despite years of following the healthy, balanced diet with plenty of whole grains - just like the conventional wisdom prescribes - used to get trembly and confused after a few hours without eating. Keeping dairy, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables, and tart berries, while dropping all of the breads, cooked grains, and beans, has ended that problem (and also stopped digestive troubles, as an added benefit).

Besides Jodhaa's good recommendations, I would add to it Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades' Protein Power and The Protein Power Lifeplan, either or both of which are usually carried by public libraries, and are down-to-earth, everyday-language explanations of why this way of eating helps. Also, blogs are a fun resource - http://lowcarbwholefoodie.blogspot.ca/ (http://lowcarbwholefoodie.blogspot.ca/) hasn't been updated in a while but has some good recipes, for example.

Jainarayan makes a good point about personal suffering, and that you may want to consider a pesco-ovo-lacto lifestyle. Sadly, all of the brittle type 2 diabetics I know are vegetarians, and I wish I could get them to read some of the newer research about the effects of carbohydrate. Best wishes; you've asked a good and relevant question, and I hope that you receive many more replies that will help you, and any other diabetics who come to this thread seeking similar answers.

03 January 2013, 11:21 AM
Having diabetes should not hinder you to become vegetarian. Even after controlling for weight and activity levels, studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower risk of developing diabetes and other diseases associated with metabolic syndrome than omnivores.

A low carb approach can be helpful in the management of diabetes, but this is not necessarily the best approach. Carbohydrate rich plant foods are also rich sources of vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients. The consumption of whole grains and legumes are in fact beneficial for diabetics as has been shown many times. We must not forget that protein is also insulinogenic and sometimes even more than straight glucose. There is no reason to fear carbohydrates, you should try to get a balance of all macro nutrients (carbs, protein, fat). I don't really believe in cutting out too many food groups from your diet. There is no single food that provides all the nutrients necessary for human beings. You should however, severely limit refined products and hydrogenated vegetable oils (transfats) from your diet.

If you decide to go vegetarian, it's advisable to take these three supplements:

-vitamin D3 (2000 IU per day if you don't live in tropical climate where there is enough sunshine)
-a micro algae based DHA/EPA supplement

Some interesting facts about vitamin b-12. Vitamin b-12 is not made by humans nor by animals. It's made by bacteria. The bacteria in your gut do make b12, but this is not absorbed, because it is too far down in the digestive system. The only way to get this b12 would be to consume your own feces, this is not recommended of course. Take a supplement instead. Vegetarians in India do not seem to have a deficiency in vitamin b-12, researchers suggests that this is because the bugs found in vegetables in India. One way vegetarians in the past used to get b-12 was from the drinking water with bacterial contamination. In our modern sanitized society we do not get any b-12 from bacteria contaminated water. Even though vitamin b12 is water soluble, our bodies are evolved to store vitamin b12 for longer periods. A 5000 µg tablet each week should be sufficient. B-12 deficiency is not only found in vegetarians, most omnivores also have suboptimal levels of b-12 in their blood.

03 January 2013, 11:40 AM
Namaste all.


Actually only vegans really need supplement of B-12.

Vegetarians who eat milk and/or egg have no need of it.

I started as lacto-ovo-vegetarian when I was about 14 or 15 years ago and now I am definitely lacto-vegetarian(as gaudiya-vaishnava,I am not allowed to eat eggs).
I never took B-12 supplement in my life:)


03 January 2013, 11:46 AM
You would need to eat 200 eggs or several gallons of milk every day to get enough vitamin b-12. ;)

Most omnivores are also deficient in b-12, it's probably best for most people to take a b-12 supplement.

It's better to be safe than sorry. Vitamin b-12 deficiency can cause irreversible neurological damage and b-12 supplements are inexpensive.

03 January 2013, 12:15 PM
Namaste Sahasranama.

You would need to eat 200 eggs or several gallons of milk every day to get enough vitamin b-12. ;)

Most omnivores are also deficient in b-12, it's probably best for most people to take a b-12 supplement.

I hope you do not get offense about my following words: if what you said was true,that would imply that we westerns and you indians have a different physiology:eek:

In fact western doctors say that:
-only vegans need to take supplement of B-12
-vegetarian that eat milk and/or eggs already have enough B-12


03 January 2013, 12:29 PM
Most doctors know very little about nutrition, studies have shown that the average physician knows even less about nutrition than the average joe on the street. When your b-12 is in the low range of what is considered normal by doctors, you are at risk of developing complications related to b-12 deficiency, some of which can cause irreversible damage. I am not talking about having a different physiology, although some people have a harder time absorbing b-12 than others, but about environmental factors. There is more bacterial contamination in Indian water supply than in modern western countries. As India is modernising b-12 deficiency may also become a problem in India. Vegans do not get any vitamin b-12 from their diet (except from fortified foods), but any person living in a modern sanitized society who limits their consumption of animal products is gambling with their health if they don't take a b-12 supplement.

B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought:

Oddly, the researchers found no association between plasma B12 levels and meat, poultry, and fish intake, even though these foods supply the bulk of B12 in the diet. “It’s not because people aren’t eating enough meat,” Tucker said. “The vitamin isn’t getting absorbed. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2000/000802.htm

03 January 2013, 09:29 PM

I think high fructose corn syrup is killing millions of Westerners, causing an explosion in diabetes and other diseases. It is a sugar replacement found in sodas, and many foods today including bread.

Is it found in processed food in India?

I hate it. I also hate aluminum cans - I think they are causing Westerners big medical issues. Autism, other odd things are on the rise.

Om Namah Sivaya

04 January 2013, 05:17 AM
But the worse thing of all, which could be the death of culture, is anti-depression drugs. Little reported but factual is that almost in every case of mass shootings such as in Columbine and others, the kids were on these prescribed anti-depressants. In Europe, residue of such drugs are now detectable in drinking water - you can see how vast is the usage of such drugs in Europe.

Om Namah Sivaya

Namaste ShivaFan,

Can we please stay on topic? I just found what you said there to be incredibly offensive and judgmental. The way you phrased that paragraph makes it sound like everyone who takes anti-depressants will turn into a spree killer! To be honest I thought you were less judgmental than that.

04 January 2013, 06:56 PM
Namaste All


Written words even in the "book binding" of obscure libraries or buried in a forest of electronic data sometimes have larger impact or even consequences than some imagine. I for one, if anybody should know, understands this and have connected the dots back to a few lines of written words that in some cases were one domino in a chain of events that are sometimes larger than life. And it is my belief that even more powerful than written words is the power of the human voice. Next to the Devas and Devi, the human voice is the most powerful weapon in the universe and can move history even.

Upon second thought, I decided to remove my original comment as it probably isn't conduitive to speak on a particular medicine in this context.

However, I will keep my criticism of high fructose corn syrup, which runs in second place to the most destructive witches brew in the universe next to ketchup.

Om Namah Sivayas

05 January 2013, 04:24 PM
However, I will keep my criticism of high fructose corn syrup, which runs in second place to the most destructive witches brew in the universe next to ketchup.

Om Namah Sivayas

Namaste ShivaFan,

I agree with you on the high fructose corn syrup, but why is ketchup worse?

...On second thought, don't answer that, I like my ketchup...though I do use it sparingly these days. ;)

15 January 2013, 02:39 AM
Namaste and I am sorry to hear/read about your condition.

I have also been hesitant to reply to this up until now, when I saw the phrase: 'I don't like to cook'. lol

Okay, now how far do you want me to go here? More to the point, how far are you prepared to?

I'll cut all the bull and get straight to it:

1. Bitter Melon/Gourd (Karela) - It tastes disgusting at first, but you can actually get used to it if you dry them out in the sun a bit first. I grew really accustomed to Bitter Melon pickles, dried out and preserved in mustard oil (which is also amazing for diabetes) and I used to have it with everything! If you know a nice, old Indian lady and can take her a few of these...they look like lumpy, bright green cucumbers....

2. Fenugreek sprouts - as above - bitter as hell, but nice tossed into a curry or just on a sandwich - takes some getting used to, along with the very next thing:

3. Turmeric - If you can, always grate fresh over using powdered and add extra into curries and such. The more 'yellow' the better.

4. Guava leaves/Neem leaves - I prefer guava leaves, but some like neem. Just drink about 2-3 cups of tea daily (prepared fresh if possible) from the leaves.

5. Dandylion tea - If above is unavailable.

6. Chyawanprash - Just do it (like Nike). lol

I don't have diabetes, but I do have gallstones and a sluggish liver and it could actually do with a cleanse again. I have been feeling like **** lately myself.

I hope this can help you.

*Source -all the 'old Indian Grandmas' out there who taught me 'the Art'.

Aum Namah Shivaya

24 January 2013, 07:52 PM
Keeping dairy, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables, and tart berries, while dropping all of the breads, cooked grains, and beans, has ended that problem (and also stopped digestive troubles, as an added benefit). Have you tried sprouting grains, lentils and beans? This reduces the phytic acid and carbohydrate content and increases protein, fiber and anti-oxidant content.


24 January 2013, 11:27 PM
Stephen Guyenet writes about how fermentation almost completely eliminates the phytic acid content of grains and legumes. He is also a big fan of idlis and dosas.