Recently, a group member asked a question which I re-posted and then decided to blog about so more people would see it. He wrote, “Are you aware of the link between low carb diets and MASSIVE meat consumption, organ meats highly promoted? Vegetarian approach seems rare, leafy greens are the main group on the okay list.” The answer is a resounding YES! That’s a PRIMARY REASON why we created this “Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics” group! That was 4 years ago.
I started Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics in 2013 with a group of 30 or so Facebook friends whom I knew were also diabetic and Seventh-day Adventist. I wanted an online community where we could discuss our challenges and successes with controlling—maybe even reversing—diabetes. I was a member of other “reversing diabetes” Facebook groups who presented a lot of promising information for success by eating a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet, but many of the recipes were based on bacon, shrimp, and pork rinds. This meant that many of the recipes were not usable for me! It was just easier to identify as a vegetarian in those groups rather than try to explain why I ate beef, chicken, turkey, and salmon but didn’t eat pork and shellfish. So I threw in the word “Vegetarian” to the title of my new Facebook group.
Over time, I discovered that most people do not read the Group Description (which is available publicly) before they request to join a Facebook group. Many people do not even read the name of the group correctly. I remember one member who later told me she was vegetarian and diabetic but had misread the word “Adventist” as “Adventurous”!
Other people became offended when I attempted to explain the principles of low-carb high-fat eating that I was learning (no grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and most fruit) and they left the group. Many others just turned off Notifications but did not leave the group.
What these early defectors are missing out on now is that Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics has become a support system for all diabetics, regardless of their approach to managing diabetes, whether low-carb high-fat, high-carb low-fat vegan, ADA-compliant, or somewhere in between. Although we (the Admins) post information and recipes based on low-carb high-fat simply because that’s what has worked—and is working—for us, we encourage diabetics following other dietary protocols to also post their experiences(s) and the recipes they have used that have worked for them to lower their blood sugars and reduce their A1C to meet their individual goals.
We also encourage those who are struggling with the Standard American Diet (or perhaps not even trying to change) to stay in our group and hope we can motivate them to make whatever changes will increase their quality of life, delay complications of diabetes, and hopefully extend their life.
We try to make it clear that we have a wide spectrum of dietary lifestyles represented in our group, from omnivore to dietary vegan, with the most common being lacto-ovo vegetarian and “Adventist non-vegetarian” (those who eat only “clean” meat and fish). The only requirement is that we are not allowed to post recipes containing meat without giving possible vegetarian alternatives for the meat ingredients.
Just as an aside, we now require those requesting group membership to answer three (3) questions, just to assure that they understand what our group is all about. They are:
1) Are you a diabetic, pre-diabetic, at risk for diabetes, or have a diabetic family member or friend?
2) Are you a vegetarian/vegan or Adventist non-vegetarian (eats only “clean” meat)?
3) Are you a current or former Seventh-day Adventist, or do you know that Adventists do not eat pork or shellfish?
If we don’t get a response within 48 hours, we delete the request.
The majority of support groups for vegetarian and vegan diabetics are focused on high-carb low- (or no-) fat and do not allow for any discussion of any other dietary protocols. The majority of low-carb high-fat diabetes groups are, as our gentle reader observed, focused on a heavy meat diet and disparage any discussion of a vegetarian approach, at worst making fun of vegetarianism and even at best are not very helpful with suggestions on how to implement a low-carb vegetarian diet. Fortunately, there are recently many vegetarian and even vegan low-carb groups springing up on Facebook. Unfortunately, there are not many low-carb vegetarian diabetic groups. (There’s actually only one group that comes up if you search on “low-carb” and “vegetarian” and “diabetic.”)
But we are the only group that I know of that is totally inclusive, diverse, and eclectic, while still promoting a way of life that works for most of us. This is reflected in our version of a Food Pyramid (below), with the caveats that vegetarians can omit the (clean) meat, poultry, and fish, and dietary vegans can further omit the eggs and cheese.
Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics is unique!