I first learned of a whole food plant based diet through our local state ADA meeting. I have always been interested in counseling my patients on diet, although as the pharmacist I tend to mainly discuss medication changes. After hearing another pharmacist talk about a plant based diet at a diabetes conference it piqued my interest.
I dove into researching such a diet that claimed to be able to have incredible effects on chronic disease state outcomes. After listening to several podcasts and reading a few books I learned of the research backing the power of this diet. I adopted the diet for myself for personal health benefits, but also to be able to more effectively counsel patients on it if it was something they chose to do. This was surprising to my friends and family having always been known as ‘the carnivore.’
I started to include information about the diet in my patient counseling so that patients understood it could be part of their toolkit for improving diabetes. One patient in particular came into my office that was often seen as “difficult” due to refusing medication changes. With some diet and activity modifications, his A1C had dropped from 10.6% to 9.4%. Despite discussions about his A1C still being too high and recommending additional medications, he was unwilling to add medications into his regimen. In addition, the patient had numerous cases of hypertensive emergencies in our office over the past year.
After seeing him for a third visit, the patient continued to decline medication changes. It was then I decided to talk with him about how a whole food plant based diet could help him reach his goals without adding medications.
The patient became interested in this approach quickly as his daughter was vegetarian. He had already been curious about the health benefits of removing meat from a diet due to her suc
cess. He informed his family of his plan to start a whole food plant based diet and they became fully supportive. The whole family, including his wife and two daughters, decided to try it with him.
The patient called me two weeks later to tell me how good he felt. He also noticed clearer skin and normal blood glucose. His glucose was in the normal range practically overnight. At his next physician visit (2 months later) his BP had normalized and his A1C dropped to 6.0%. The physician was extremely impressed by the impact the diet had on the patient’s numbers.
The patient became so excited about his success that he started signing up for diabetes classes just so he could tell other patients with diabetes about the diet and the impact it had on his life. It has been one year since he started the diet and the patient’s BP continues to be normal and his A1C is still at goal.
Nicole Jasperson, PharmD, BCACP