“Pharmacy” vs“Farmacy” by Caroline Trapp
As a nurse practitioner specializing in the care of people with diabetes, I was educated to tell newly diagnose patients that at some point, they would probably need insulin injections. “Diabetes is a progressive disease,” I’d been taught to say. Eventually, the pancreas “stops making insulin,” and people should not be made to feel guilty. We want them to embrace insulin, not fear it.
Well, I’m older and wiser now, and basically, this is a bunch of hoo-hah promoted by insulin manufacturers, and the army of clinicians and educators they have influenced. I say this because I’ve seen a number of people who were on 100 or more units of injected insulin daily, who had been diagnosed with diabetes 10 or more years earlier, reduce or even eliminate their need for insulin shots. Just today, I had a grateful call from a patient who previously had an A1c of over 14%, and required multiple medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She wanted me to know that since switching to a plant-based diet, her A1c was now under 7% and her need for medications had been cut in half, and her blurred vision was completely resolved.
If you or somebody you know has been told that they need insulin or some fancy new pill or injection for type 2 diabetes, please be aware that there may be an effective, safer, and more affordable alternative. When people in this situation make and sustain a switch to a whole food, plant-based diet, they are likely to see significant improvement in blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes is dangerous, so I’m not recommending foregoing necessary treatment, or stopping medication without support. However, insulin injections can cause weight gain, and low blood sugar, and they are expensive. People taking insulin do not always report a better quality of life. There is no inexpensive, generic insulin, and none in the pipeline. Everyone deserves to be fully informed about the potential down sides of insulin and other diabetes medications, and the power of plants. Injected insulin has been proven to lower A1c, but it does nothing to get at the root cause of the disease that leads to damaged blood vessels and organs. That’s why I choose to prescribe the “Farmacy,” available at your local grocery or garden market, over a visit to the Pharmacy.
Dr. Caroline Trapp, DNP, ANP-BC, CDE, FAANP