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How Long does it Take to Heal?

It takes anywhere from seconds to years. It depends on the issue, the person, their diet, and their lifestyle. Lierre Kieth, for instance, felt better the instant she started eating meat again--the tuna was like prana in a can. (Sadly, her back pain from the damage caused by long-term B-12 deficiency will never go away.)

There have been a lot of 30-day challenges out there: 30-day paleo, 30-day Whole 9, even 30-day gluten-free from Dr. Guyanet. (He actually had a terrific blog before he started going on about food reward.) I think these challenges last long enough to get allergens out of your system and let you see if re-exposure bothers you, yet they're short enough to seem manageable. Thirty days is more than long enough to begin clearing up GI problems caused by food. My GERD disappeared within a few days of starting a low-carb diet, and two days on a fat fast cleared up my gastritis.

Some issues can take much longer. Almost a year ago, two of my teeth were knocked out of place in an accident, and they've only recently stopped being sensitive to pressure. This, on a high-nutrient diet of weekly liver and oily fish, red meat, green veg, 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 and 400 micrograms of K2 daily. In other words, a diet high in the nutrients Dr. Weston A. Price found in the traditional diets of people who suffered little or no dental problems. When I had my accident, my dentist warned me that those teeth would be compromised: it would be weeks or years before they'd die and need a root canal. On the standard American diet, that's no doubt the case. On a "heart-healthy," low-fat, low-calorie diet, you might as well start saving up for a root canal. (Fat-soluble vitamins A, and K2, which your teeth need, are best absorbed with, well, fat.) My teeth are still alive and crunching and feel like they've healed.

My left shoulder is another thing that took longer than 30 days to heal. In January 2010, it was so sore I saw my doctor. It was just muscle strain, but I'd suffered with it for years, probably from carrying 20 pounds of photo equipment for three years, then 20 pounds of books for four and a half. It wasn't from lack of exercise (I lifted weights at the time); yet I couldn't carry a purse on that shoulder. Why didn't I see the irony? Around the time I say the doctor, I started a wheat-free diet and soon after, gave my diet a radical carbectomy. Eight months later, my shoulder was well enough for me to ditch the backpack and buy a chic new handbag.

My mother can top this. She started a low-carb diet about the same time I did to control her blood sugar. In spite of this, she had to start taking insulin--a sudden diet switch isn't going to correct the damage from 20 years of out-of-control blood sugar levels. Think fasting blood glucose levels in the 300s. Seventy to 100 is normal, sustained levels above 140 lead to tissue and organ damage. The new diet did bring her blood sugar levels down immediately, and her mood, energy and mental function improved remarkably. This year--three years into a low-carb diet--her kidney function became good enough to go back on metformin, a safe drug that helps control blood sugar, and her fasting blood sugar has gotten so low that she's going to try skipping her evening insulin shot. I read on the Diabetes Update blog that neuropathy can take three years to heal as well. We'll see if this happens for her.


Anonymous said…
You've done SO well, Lori!

Love 'radical carbectomy'!
Lori Miller said…
Thanks, Carole. On a "healthy" diet, I'd be ready for the glue factory.
Galina L. said…
My mom normalised her blood pressure, and her mioma and an ovarian cyst are gone after 2 years of a LC diet, she also stopped having seasonal flues. She didn't became thin, especially around the middle, however more than 20 lb were lost.
Lori Miller said…
Great post Lori quite thought provoking.
You've done very well and I think your mother has too.
Just wish more people would realise the damage that they may be causing to themselves, and start being more open to a different lifestyle

All the best Jan.
Lori Miller said…
Thanks, Jan.
Amy S. Petrik said…
Hi. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in Feb 2008. Can you tell me the diet (or show me the link) that your mom went on to lower her sugar levels please? I'd love to try it. Thanks, Amy at
Lori Miller said…
Amy, my mom simply whacked a lot of carbohydrate out of her diet. Since she's 83, in a wheelchair and has little appetite, she doesn't eat very much, either. Your needs may vary, as they say.

Here's a resource to get you started: At the bottom left is a sheet describing how to lower your blood sugar.

Since diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance, I suggest you get an up-to-date book on low-carb diets. It should be low-carb high fat; your body can't run on protein, and natural fats aren't going to harm you. We've been eating them for over two million years.

You can check out New Atkins for a New You, The Diet Trap, or Wheat Belly. My diet (see link at top right) would be appropriate for many diabetics. Pretty much any blog I've linked to will steer you in the right direction. Tom Naughton has made some great videos; you can look them up on Youtube. You can probably find low-carb recipe books by Dana Carpender at the library.

A few other indispensible books for diabetics: Blood Sugar 101: What they Don't Tell you about Diabetes by Jenny Ruhl. She's a diabetic, programmer, anthropologist, amateur researcher, and she's wicked smart. Also, Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. Former engineer, current MD, T1 since 1946. He pioneered blood sugar testing.

Good luck!

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