When Craig Thomson, 37, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he thought he would be on medication for the rest of his life.
But after some research, he realised it was possible to control his illness through his diet.
With a family history of diabetes, and an insatiable thirst, software developer Craig from Edinburgh began to suspect something was up.
He said: “I half thought it would be diabetes, after Googling my symptoms. My Dad had type 2 diabetes, so I knew a bit about it. While it was not entirely surprising, it still shocked me.
“It impacts everything you do, because you have to think about what you eat, making sure you exercise and stay healthy - it was definitely a significant change.”
When Craig began to look online at sites such as the website diabetes.co.uk, he picked up a lot of advice about the best type of diet to follow.
“It was initially difficult because the low carbohydrate, high fat diet goes against things you’ve been told your entire life. I always thought it was a bad idea to have too many eggs in a week because they’ve got so much cholesterol in it. I discovered that for this particular diet, it’s not a bad thing - so initially it was getting over that.
“I’ve got a really sweet tooth so it was very difficult to put away all the sweet stuff. But when you start taking away not just sugar, but also other types of carbohydrates, you start to think about what you might have for breakfast - can’t really have cereal. Or lunch - you can’t really have a roll, or a baked potato or pasta salad.
“In a way it’s quite restrictive - but as well because you’re not particularly limiting calories just the type of foods, you’re free in that way.
There were several diets which Craig found useful - especially food bloggers who followed paleo and primal diets. It was research such as this which he found most beneficial after his diagnosis.
Since changing his diet he is now off all his medication.
“Educating myself, so that I knew enough to talk sensibly with health care professionals about what I wanted and how I would manage the disease was probably the biggest help.
“I didn’t take anything at face value - I’d go away and do a little bit of research and read the most recent studies.
“There are a lot of people who’d like to try and sell you things - sell you a miracle cure or tell you to go on this diet and everything will be okay - but it’s your long term health you’re dealing with, so educating yourself on what’s available and what’s out there is really important.”
Diabetes.co.uk is a community for people living with the illness to connect and discuss with others, getting advice and ideas. In association with Dr David Cavan, they’re releasing a book titled Reverse Your Diabetes Diet: Take control of type 2 diabetes with 60 easy-to-prepare recipes, which is aimed to help type 2 diabetics control their illness without the need for medication.
Dr Cavan said: “The aim of this book is not to prescribe a particular diet, nor is it to suggest a set number of calories or carbohydrates that you should eat each day.
“Rather, the aim has been to present you with recipe ideas that enable you to try out meals with different amounts of carbohydrates so that you can learn to identify the carbohydrate intake (for each meal or per day) that best enables you to keep control of your diabetes, while enabling you to continue to enjoy the foods you like to eat.”
For diabetes support and free online patient education please visit www.diabetes.co.uk the UK’s largest and fastest growing diabetes community