What Matters Most

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was peaceful, simple and good. Oh, and it was vegan.

I don’t kid about meat, people.

It’s a long story, but the short of it: my hubby is a new diabetic. He was diagnosed a month ago. I cried. For days, I could only think about his sweet sister, my dear friend and her terrible, current journey as a diabetic.

We’ve devoured books and tried to understand the complicated world of diabetes. He was determined to try and control his blood sugar by controlling his food intake instead of taking four medications. One way to do this? Going vegan: no animal products (that would mean no meat and no dairy). His doctor gave him 90 days to see if it would work.

Um, yeah. You might recall my inlaws run a cow operation and I sort of have a special relationship with butter and consider myself a Chick Fil A employee.

We are on day 20. He’s lost 15 pounds and has controlled his blood
sugar!! I’ve lost a few, too and have recurring dreams about chicken. But I’m seeking counseling.

So. Christmas dinner was different. But supporting my husband is on
my what matters most list. And sweet tea is totally vegan!

We had planned on spending New Years at the farm with my hubby’s family, but a phone call on Christmas Day changed our plans.

My dear sister-in-love was admitted to ICU with kidney failure, due to diabetes. It’s in those minutes that you’re reminded of what matters most. We packed up the car and stopped by the farm overnight and will go on to visit my sister-in-law tomorrow, now that she’s stable.

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and every day God reminds me of what matters most.

And apparently, it’s not meat at the moment.

P.S. Works for Me Wednesday will go up at 10 pm CST. If you don’t already have a tip, I thought it would be fun for everyone to link up the ONE post from 2010 that you really wanted to be read!


  1. 4


    I have typed and deleted my comment so often – I have so much to say here… to encourage you and warn you of pitfalls and surprises… and that a well looked after diabetic is really a fun guy!!! My hubs was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years back and the learning curve was steep and the information lacking… So many folks said – control it with discipline and diet, well that’s easy to say when you are feeling well but diabetics don’t feel well a lot of the time. My hubs was on medication for years and has been injecting insulin for about two/three years now. He is mostly well, but when he gets ill it is harder for him to recover, we do have to take him in to account for almost every outing: have we got snacks, when last did he eat. Simply things like church taking half an hour longer than usual means that his snack routine is thrown and we could end up with a dreadful day… It is a genetic disease so feed your children with care and it does effect your whole family… it certainly isn’t his diabetes – it is OUR diabetes and we control it together!!! Even this comment I am tempted to delete… it is getting just a bit looong!!! I just want to say there are times when it is really hard and you just want to cry – an you will… And there are times when it all goes smoothly and you wonder what is the fuss about. Hang in there and pray for him, your family, and for research to be done… because this will effect our children and their children… and their children’s children. I should probably take the step and blog about it – If I do I will let you know and if there is anything you would like to ask then feel free to ask away – that may even motivate me to blog about it!!!

    • 4.1

      kristen says

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! I know this is a life change and not a diet and I’m thankful for that insight because I really want my kids to be healthy. Would love to read if you blog about it sometime

  2. 5


    Congrats on going vegan! We have gone from eating meat almost daily to once a week, if that. When you buy good meat, it’s so expensive! So we can only afford to eat it once or so a week. But there are lots of other great options. Hang in there. I’m praying for your SIL.

  3. 6

    Daina says

    Best wishes to your husband and you both. I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I’ve been reading awhile and I feel like I know your family, so I’m so glad to hear going vegan is working well for his blood sugar! I’ve eaten vegan before myself and am currently vegetarian, and I’ve usually found that the first month of a change of diet is the hardest time, while you switch from thinking about all the things you can’t eat anymore to realizing all the foods you CAN eat. I know you said the food isn’t what’s important, but it’s always nice to remember that there are many wonderful, delicious recipes just waiting to be discovered!

  4. 8


    Kristen, I have been racking my brain for a works for me wednesday, but am thrilled at your idea for the one post you really want read. I will definitely be linking that! On Christmas day I published a post that was VERY hard to write, but now that it is out there, I want others to read it. I have been dealing with severe, debilitating postpartum depression. I had decided not to blog it, but as I think about my journey, it is something to be shared. So I published it on Christmas day. Now that it is out there I want as many people as possible to read it…maybe it will find the other mama that needs it. So thank you for proposing the post idea for works for me wednesday. (wow, that was a lot of words to say, thanks)

  5. 9


    I’m saying a prayer for your family right now. Several years ago my dad got a pre-diabetes or diabetes diagnosis (I’m not sure which – I was a teenager at the time) and he chose to control it only via diet, so I know it can be done. Sometimes life throws some pretty bad curveballs, but God’s always got us in his arms.

  6. 10


    I’m so glad to hear that a vegan diet is helping your husband! If you need any tips or suggestions about eating vegan or figuring out what you can and can’t eat, just give me a shout and I’d be more than happy to help. I’ve been reading your blog for ages, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually commented. I don’t want to throw a ton of info at you (especially unsolicited info), but I will say that vegan cupcakes are AMAZING. Seriously.

  7. 11

    Renee says

    Kristin, So glad to hear you all are taking this diagnosis seriously and making changes now. My father-in-law was diagnosed with diabetes when Michael and I were dating in high school (over 20 yrs ago). He did not make the changes to his lifestyle that he needed to and has always struggled to keep his diabetes under control. Now he is on disability because he is losing his eye sight. We’ll be praying for your SIL.

  8. 12


    Praying for swift and complete healing for both your sister in love and husband. Diabetes is a tough scary disease. It was a big wake up call when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my current pregnancy. This means I’m more susceptible to Type II diabetes in the future. I have been able to control it with diet as well. Good for all of you being so supportive of your husband/father.

  9. 14


    So sorry to hear that about your husband, but AMAZING job you are all doing in supporting him! The fact that he has already lost 15 pounds will do wonders for his health. Please let me know if you have any questions. As an RD, I enjoy helping new diabetics. I also have many vegetarian recipes on my blog. Keep up the great work!

  10. 16

    Stefani says

    Wow! What a testament to the sacrifices we make for our spouses! My husband was diagnosed about three years ago with type 2 diabetes. He’s been taking meds to help control his sugar, but he’s currently doing a three month trial of controlling it with just his diet. The key for him was really just being careful not to eat too many carbs and to cut his portion sizes back – a lot. He has lost about 40 pounds and feels so much better. He even stopped snoring! I say all this to encourage you that there may be less drastic ways to control his blood sugar. Every person is different though and we were blessed that my husband’s diabetes is not as severe as some others. Thanks for talking about this!

  11. 17


    Kristen….we’ve been thinking of you guys….and your sister-in-law. Love that you are tackling this as a family. You guys are such an awesome support to each other.

    {PS….there are always cookies (and chicken) here when you need a hit! ;)}

  12. 19


    As a registered dietitian who mainly works with diabetics, I say WAY TO GO! I am so proud of you and your hubby for taking the diet route FIRST. It can make a huge difference. I would highly recommend that you see a RD to help fill you in on how carbohydrates effect blood sugars as well (you can email me for free advice if you would like).

    Diet and physical activity should always come first but are also the hardest! Hang in there!

  13. 21

    Amy says

    I am currently a vegetarian and have been a vegan in the past. I find it hard to consistently eat low carb meals.(I avoid soy) What types of meals are you and your husband eating? Great job being so proactive!

  14. 22


    I’m new to your blog – first time – but I’ll be back. I’ve never heard of vegan being a treatment for diabetes, but I’m curious about that now. Poked around your site a bit, and am intrigued.

  15. 23


    Good for you! We’re not strict vegans, but I’ve been vegan off and on and most days we don’t eat any animal products (was raised vegetarian). My husband was raised eating meat, and he’s vegetarian now too. You’ll live. I promise!

    My mom is diabetic. Both her brothers and father are/were too; but she’s controlling it pretty well on a vegetarian/mostly vegan diet. It sure beats meds and insulin!!!

    I post vegan recipes on my blog from time to time; you might want to check them out. :) Also see my post about the book “Eat More, Weigh Less”. It’s full of tasty vegetarian recipes (many vegan), so you may want to get one. I love my copy!!!

    Good luck on the new lifestyle change!!!

  16. 25


    Kristen, I am a recent (March) kidney transplant recipient and have been a diabetic since 1995. Diabetes didn’t cause my kidney failure but it certainly didn’t help! (I have Polycystic Kidney Disease)

    I have dabbled with a vegan diet off and on over the years but never stuck with it because it was so hard to stick to (even thought it make me feel great). With recent the recent health issues, I started the vegan diet again on Monday. In just three days my blood sugars have been awesome – all my fasting sugars under 100!! My blood pressure is excellent also.

    Sorry for the epistle! I just wanted to encourage you. Also, there is a WEALTH of information at Dr. McDougall.Com

  17. 26

    MemeGRL says

    Oh–I was on a “blog diet” (ie–no reading–needed a holiday for the holiday)–but CONGRATS on your family commitment to wellness–way to go–I have many vegan friends and will pop up with resourced (good cookbooks, etc.) as I find them but wanted to pass on two recipes we’ve used a lot around here:
    1) Full Meal Muffin from Schmooed Food (I used regular wheat flours though I ‘m sure the others would be better for a diabetic) http://shmooedfood.blogspot.com/2007/02/full-meal-muffins.html
    2) My decidedly non-vegan family loves the vegan sweet potato chili from A Year of Crockpotting. We’ve played with it a lot (I don’t eat peppers, I didn’t have chipotle whatever it is, etc. etc.)–it’s very forgiving and delicious every time and many of my guests at my chilifest didn’t realize it was vegan! http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/05/sweet-potato-chili-vegan-crockpot.html
    Good luck to you all…thinking of you and holding you all in heart and prayer for the new year and beyond!

  18. 27

    Amanda says

    Know that I am praying for your family. Chia seeds have a great reputation as helping control blood sugar in diabetics, not to mention great nutrients.

  19. 28


    One of our friends is an insulin-dependent diabetic, but also developed it in his adulthood. Way to go, Kristen, for embracing this new stage. In sickness and in health, right? 😉

  20. 29

    Rebecca says

    I’m sorry to hear your news and will definitely keep you all in my prayers, especially your SIL, who was in my youth one of my best friends. Not sure if you are eating soy, but if so, TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) is a good meat replacement in dishes like chili, lasagna, etc. You can probably find it in barrels in a bulk food section of a large city store, but bulkfoods.com online has it and a lot of other things that may interest you. None of my family has diabetes, but I’ve had to cook creatively to accomodate severe food allergies, etc. It’s certainly something that affects the entire family, especially the person who does most of the shopping and cooking. Blessings to you all!

  21. 30


    Diabetes runs in my husband’s family, so we are now trying to drop weight to try to avoid it for as long as possible. While I don’t have much knowledge on diabetes, I’m aware that trying to keep blood sugars at a nice constant is a good thing. The book “The South Beach Diet” (keep reading, I’m not going to talk about the ‘diet’ itself) was actually discovered by the author of the book who is actually a cardiologist. He was trying to find a way for his patients to lessen their heart issues and medications by a diet change. In the end, alot of his patients’ health improved greatly. Many didn’t need their medications at all and as a nice side effect of the dietary change, some of them even got rid of their diabetes. It’s been called a diet now because that’s what people look for, but the whole idea behind the lifestyle change is actually keeping the body’s glucose level at a constant rather than inclining steeply and then plummeting. I definitely recommend checking the book out of the library and at least reading the first few chapters of it. It may come in handy on days that your family REALLY wants some meat and you need a recipe…the book has some really great recipes in it also.

    Prayers for your husband’s sister.

  22. 31


    I think this post is so great! Our family became vegetarians 3 yrs ago and have slowly tar
    transitioned to more vegan and raw foods. We just want to be good stewards of our bodies and proactive with our health. Have you seen the “21 day vegan kickstart” program? It is online, free and has great recipes. I pray God blesses your efforts and your family’s health.

  23. 32



    I would love to hear your thoughts on why your family chose to go Vegan in responce to diabetes. I have been struggling with diabetes for 11 years and I would love to have your input.

  24. 33

    Maureen says

    How fabulous that you are all working together to manage diabetes with diet!! Such a great choice. I would also love to hear about why you chose to control it with a vegan lifestyle. I’ve heard of a lot of success with controlling diabetes with a ‘Paleo’ type diet (no grains or refined sugars, and eliminating high glycemic fruits and vegetables). That option would provide you the ability to eat meat — healthy free range meat! My first thought was a vegan diet my provide too much opportunity to eat sugar, however you may know more than I so I’d love to hear about it!! Best wishes to you!

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