How determined Gail beat type 2 diabetes

Kingston accountant Gail Freeman tells KATHRYN VUKOVLJAK that she’s living proof that Type 2 diabetes can be cured with diet and exercise – and more importantly, without medication.

AFTER a routine blood test in March last year, Kingston accountant Gail Freeman was told she was “full-on, type 2 diabetic”, with a dangerously high blood-glucose level of 20. 

“It came as a complete shock, because I had no symptoms and didn’t feel any different from how I’ve always felt,” says Gail.

“I was devastated. It’s a horrible disease and you just don’t want it.”

Gail was prescribed drugs to help, but after three days she felt terrible – spaced out, sleep deprived and shaking.

“By the fourth day I couldn’t take any more,” she says.

“The doctor told me to stop the medication and suggested a sulphur-based drug instead.

“I’m allergic to sulphur so I knew I wouldn’t be able to tolerate it, and I refused to take insulin because I was trying to lose weight.

“In the end the doctor was wringing his hands because he didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew I’d have to find a solution myself.”

Gail met with a diabetes educator and was given a high-carb diet to follow.

“I tried the diet, while regularly monitoring my blood sugar levels, and after a fortnight I could see it wasn’t working because my blood-sugar [level] went up,” says Gail.

After trawling the internet, she found that the name Dr Bernstein kept popping up.

She ordered his book “Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution”, and his low-carb diet became her guide to live by.

“It turns out I’m highly sensitive to carbs, which is why I have to be so strict and really watch what effect certain foods have on my blood-sugar,” says Gail.

“I found success by being strict at first, monitoring my levels consistently, and experimenting once I was in a safer place.

“I’ve found that for me, exercise is critical, so I do something every day, like Pilates, weights or cardio. I also see a naturopath and have acupuncture regularly.”

Gail says there are certain no-nos on the diet, such as tomatoes, onions and grains.

“It’s hard when you can’t eat a lot of the food you like,” says Gail.

“But you find a way around it. Now I eat eggs for breakfast; meat, salad, nuts and olives for lunch and something similar, but with less carbs, for dinner.

“I love texture and I find it makes meals more satisfying, so nuts and crunchy veg are my lifesavers.

“I never get hungry but I do get bored – I need variety in my food, so I have to get creative and find ways to make it interesting.”

After just three months, Gail’s blood-sugar levels were down below six. Her endocrinologist was astounded: “She told me I was officially in remission,” says Gail.

Gail still checks her blood-sugar levels four times a day.

“If I didn’t check them so regularly I wouldn’t have found out that I can be a little more flexible at lunchtime, and that has been important for me to know,” she says.

“Everything in the diabetes field seems to be misleading.

“It’s taken me a lot of heartache, plenty of research and a few blind alleys to get where I am, but in the end it was a blessing in disguise that I couldn’t take the drugs. It forced me to work this out myself.

“I’m a very determined person and once I apply myself to something I will see it through.

“Providing I eat this way for the rest of my life, I’m cured.”

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2 Responses to “How determined Gail beat type 2 diabetes”

  1. rhianna
    January 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    It’s such a shame my daughter can be as determined as you but will always need insulin she is type 1diabetic and insulin keeps her alive
    Good on you for conquering your type 2
    Diabetes but please be aware of the difference. And people who have no choice as there diabetes is an autoimmune disease no cure no cause no days off

  2. Tiffany
    January 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    It would be appreciated that you clarify this as type 2 diabetes, not type 1

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