When an Oakland, California man named Robert Jones visited the emergency room in November of 2021, he assumed that he would be given medication for his symptoms and quickly return home. However, the results of the visit were gut-wrenching. Jones visited the emergency room with a fever; he had assumed that his right big toe was infected. Yet the diagnosis he received from doctors was quite different. Robert was told that he was diabetic. He ended up having his right big toe, and part of his left big toe amputated.
According to statements that Jones gave to Today, he had been told he was prediabetic roughly ten years earlier. At the time, he had not taken the diagnosis of prediabetes particularly seriously since he was still young. After his amputation, he told Today that he recalls thinking to himself “I’m never going to lose another body part.”
Although Robert had already lost an impressive amount of weight before his amputation, dropping from around 500 pounds to 366 pounds. After the surgery, he spent four weeks in a nursing facility while he recuperated. While he was there, he lost an additional 30 pounds. Once Jones returned home, he resolved to continue the weight loss and adopted several healthy habits to that end. He began walking and strength training as well as following a vegan diet.
Adopting a vegan diet has many benefits. Cutting out animal products helps alleviate animal suffering, and is better for the planet. However, plant-based diets can also significantly improve many personal health markers. Research shows that a vegan diet can help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Additionally, a vegan diet can help promote weight loss and lower A1C levels. A1C is a blood test that measures glucose levels over the preceding three months. It is an important diagnostic test for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. By lowering these levels, research shows that a vegan diet can prove to be an effective way of managing diabetes.
For Jones, those benefits were soon apparent. He lost weight and saw a dramatic drop in his blood sugar levels. Eventually, he dropped to 285 pounds and was able to stop taking metformin to manage his diabetes. He also saw his sleep apnea, blood pressure, and liver cirrhosis improve. Now, he says that he is excited to do many things that his former size prohibited him from experiencing, including riding a roller coaster!
Robert Jones’s inspiring story is one example of the positive impacts that a vegan diet can have on your overall health. However, it is important to always seek out medical advice for diabetes and other health conditions. Although a vegan diet can be important in managing diabetes symptoms, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Medication and other interventions are a vital part of diabetes treatment and should not be ignored. Healthcare providers may recommend that people living with diabetes adopt a plant-based diet as part of managing their disease. This is because research has shown that plant-based diets are effective at reducing the risk and symptoms of diabetes. Robert Jones’s experience provides a real-world example of the power that a vegan diet can have in helping those suffering from diabetes.
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