Super Spuddy - Julie Simiana healed her diabetes with potatoes
The following blog article is written by Julie. You can also watch her interview with me, above.
I changed my relationship with food and shifted my mindset to reverse Type 2
Diabetes instead of just focusing on weight loss!
I’m Julie from Ontario, Canada, 41 years old and have been battling weight, and health issues over half my life, despite being involved in sports from a young age. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid at age 17, which started my struggle with weight loss and depression. I felt defeated after trying so many fad diets, and even after enlisting the support of personal trainers and nutritionists to help in my weight loss journey. All my efforts would yield the same result: I would lose weight then gain it back and put more weight on. It sucked, was very depressing, and always started the poor food choice cycle again. At my highest weight, I reached 275lbs.
In my early thirties, I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, the package deal. My doctor prescribed medication, advised me to make dietary and lifestyle changes and recommended I attend a diabetes educational class to learn what to eat. At that time, I believed that diabetes was caused by too much sugar, so I reduced my sugar intake. I made small changes such as switching my extra sweet coffee to coffee with just cream and my regular pop to diet pop. I would eat “healthy” for short periods of time but nothing long term and I would always revert back to the SAD
(Standard American Diet). My weakness was chips, fast food, and pizza. I was hooked on salty, greasy foods. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me, if I knew I shouldn’t eat these foods then why was I still eating them? I didn’t realize food addiction was a thing and I was unknowingly trapped in it. And to think all this time I thought I was the problem!
People would tell me to have a “goal” which I always just thought was to lose weight and be thinner, but what did that really mean? In February 2020, I completed my quarterly bloodwork and was called into the doctor’s office to go over the results. My MD told me that my diabetes was out of control; my A1C which is a test providing a three month average of glucose in the blood, was 10.5 and would need to be managed with insulin. I was heading down a slippery slope that could lead to serious consequences such as gangrene which would affect the use of my limbs. At this time, I had just been introduced to the term Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB), and the multiple health benefits of this type of diet. I asked my doctor to give me one more chance at getting my diabetes under control without insulin and with a WFPB diet. He gave me
until my next bloodwork review to make some drastic changes. This gave me a new meaningful goal. “I want to reverse my T2 diabetes with food instead of just managing it with medication.” I was focused and had a deadline in mind.
At the time, I was thinking about sending myself to a food rehab clinic in California to get out of my environment and give me the time to learn how to be successful. That’s when the Covid-19 Pandemic hit Canada and we were instructed to quarantine and stay home. I took that time to dive into books, YouTube videos, podcasts and anything I could, to help figure out what WFPB eating looked like.
Even now, when deciding what to eat, I ask myself, “if I eat this will it keep me on the path to reverse my diabetes or will it lead me down the path of insulin injections and amputations?” Basically, if it is anything other than WFPB foods, I choose to eat something else within my guidelines. My next bloodwork results came in and my A1C was 8.3. Although this was still high, I had made enough of an improvement to continue until my next test.
By August 2020 I was starting to slip back into old habits, cheating more often and feeling like I was about to give up. That’s when I saw a Spud Fit Challenge starting for the month of Spudtember. This is what I needed to get back on track! I knew a little bit about Andrew and the Spud Fit Challenge as I had completed a 30-day challenge in August 2019 and went from 255lbs down to 225lbs. I thought why not give this another shot.
I completed the month of September eating potatoes only. I even went out for my Mom’s birthday dinner at one of my favourite Italian restaurants and remained disciplined. Before going to the restaurant, I ate a huge plate of potatoes. Once there, I ordered a side dish of potatoes and that was my dinner. I didn’t feel like I was missing out because I was already full when I arrived. This was the second time where I attended a function while doing the Spud Fit Challenge and was able to follow the rule of “Eat Potatoes First” to prevent temptations and the feeling of missing out. It gave me the freedom to enjoy the company I was with rather than being focused on the meal. Also, the amount of extra energy I was feeling from eating potatoes was motivating. I felt like I wanted to go exercise not because I had to but because I didn’t know how else to burn off all the extra energy. There were days I would put on a podcast and take the dog for an hour walk and just listen to different people in the WFPB world. Other days, I couldn’t turn off the music and I just wanted to dance the energy away. Out of all diets I have done in the past, none of them have given me the energy and self confidence like eating potatoes has. It felt like all the depression I was feeling for so many years was finally going away.
After completing Spudtember I went for another round of bloodwork. This time my doctor was a little more interested in what I was doing as my A1C was now 6.8. Although it was still a little high, it was the lowest it had ever been. I told him I was only eating potatoes and I think he was in disbelief but whatever I was doing was working so I could continue.
In all honesty, I did slip again in December, blaming it on the Christmas Holidays to allow myself a few extra treats. It was great to see another Spud Fit Challenge starting in January to get back on track. I jumped back in and since January 1, 2021 I have eaten potatoes everyday. For the whole month of January and the first week and a half into February, I ate only potatoes. Now I’m on the Mega Foods Plan where I’m incorporating other vegetables and fruit along with my potatoes.
In March I went for my latest bloodwork and I was ecstatic with my results. I had my best numbers so far and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for hanging in all those times I wanted to quit. My A1C is 6.2, and I am so close to being out of a diabetic range for the first time since being diagnosed almost 10 years ago. My cholesterol medication was cut in half, I am now on the lowest dose. Also, I’m the lightest I’ve been my whole adult life, I’m down to 185lbs. People think that what I’m doing is difficult and honestly, it does take a little discipline.
But I really love the simplicity of the Spud Fit Challenge and Mega Foods Plan. It takes all the thinking, and decision making out of the equation which makes this the easiest “diet” I’ve ever tried. It’s simple! Is it a potato? If yes, you eat it. If not, you do not eat it! It’s that easy! Before you know it you are blasted with extra energy and increased self esteem. It’s amazing to see how once we stop putting toxins in our system, how quickly our body starts to heal itself.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned this past year is that the underlying cause of T2 diabetes is insulin resistance which is caused by too much fat in our cells. By eating potatoes only and removing all processed food, meat, dairy, and fats such as oils and butter I have allowed my cells to eliminate this fat, making them more insulin sensitive which I believe has reduced my glucose numbers. As I get deeper into this way of eating, I realize how much of this is mental and that I have a lot more to learn about food addiction. I’ve only just scratched the surface on the mental side of things.
It’s so incredible to think that in less than one year I have made so many positive changes! If I start feeling like I’m slipping, I know that I can always fall back on potatoes and that they have become my safety net. I’m not finished yet, but I feel like this is the path that will help reverse my T2 diabetes in a healthy way, using dietary and lifestyle changes. The Spud Fit Challenge gave me the drive and the Spud Fit courses provide the training and guidance needed to stay focused on the end goal.
Don’t Over Think It! Just Eat Potatoes!
Take the full Spud Fit Challenge HERE.
Or get started for free HERE.