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Eyes of Health

3.20 eye chart poster

Soon after I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I was told that my eyes were in trouble. I was already showing signs of diabetic retinopathy. It only got worse as my diabetes got worse. And by 30 years old I was told that I’d go blind fairly young because of the issues I was already having and if they kept progressing – which I was showing no signs of anything getting better anytime soon. I was on so much medication, doing everything “right” as far as my diet was concerned (according to my doctors).

I knew where the story ended. It ended in me going blind. Having T2 diabetes so young, I knew it would be earlier rather than later.

It wasn’t too much longer after that in which I found about a plant-strong diet, and my health and diabetes started to get a lot better.

2 years ago I went for an eye exam check up. I did this mostly because my vision had changed, I was pretty sure it was worse and that my eye health was becoming worse. Even though my health had changed a lot, I didn’t think that my eyes could ever get better.

I was really surprised when the eye Dr. told me that my vision was BETTER and that my eyes were looking a lot better, there were only a few small spots that were left. It was really encouraging.

Well I had let too much time pass and decided that I needed to get my eyes checked again, I was having some vision issues and thought that maybe the previous issues had caused some deterioration.

So I go to the eye Dr. and he runs me through a big round of tests. He then tells me that my prescription is way too strong and that my eyes are better than they were before. And then for the big news… he tells me that my eyes show no signs of damage from diabetes, at all. He told me if I did not tell him that I was a T2 diabetic, he would not have known.

And he said that he never gets to tell T2 diabetics that news – ever.

There are days in which I am reminded that health is as much (if not more) an inside thing rather than an outside thing. There are days in which the outside progress can get me down. But I think it is so important to remember that there are things going on inside that we’ll never get to see, that we can’t really comprehend. Things that we would have suffered through, but never actually happened because we are now plant-strong.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. I almost wish that we would only see what was happening on the inside, because I think that is where the dramatic and amazing progress truly happens.

Going plant-strong has done so much for my life, but this week, I realized that it’s because of the way I eat that I will get to see so much more in my life, and there are no foods that are worth not watching another sunset for.

About the author

Natala is the director of communications for Engine 2 Diet, she is also one of our coaches on our support site, Engine 2 Extra. A few years ago, Natala was at the end of her rope. She was on almost 15 medications daily, had out of control Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, issues with nerve damage, and was morbidly obese. She was just over 30 years old. She decided to take her life back by becoming plant-strong. She has lost over 200 pounds, got off of all of her medications and now has great health numbers. Natala plays the violin and studied music therapy. She became passionate about plant-strong nutrition, received her Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University, a certificate in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and is currently pursuing a degree in nutritional sciences. Natala is also a featured speaker at our Engine 2 Retreats she talks about the reality of our nations obesity epidemic as well as providing practical steps to becoming a healthier person.

10 Responses to “Eyes of Health”

  1. Vickie says:

    Natala I also have type2! Neuropathy,vision issues, This is so encourging to me to read your story im on 5 different meds. I am eating plant strong its been 7 days today! its been great ! My morning blood sugar is the lowest i have seen in over a year. I have a long way to go yet im enjoying the journey.

  2. Fantastic! Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story. It is one of so many ways a plant-based diet improves a person’s life.

  3. Jenny says:

    wow, that’s awesome, Natala! Congrats!!!!! :-)

  4. Quinta Peterson says:

    Natala, I love to read the pieces you write! Congratulations on your eyes!! You are so upbeat and you are a beacon of light for the plant strong community, new as well as long time :)


  5. Leslie says:

    The eye doctor told my husband the same thing…that she could not tell he was T2. Maybe eye doctors who have T2 patients are the ones who should be suggesting the E2 Diet to their patients!

  6. Barb says:

    Each positive story like this is so encouraging! The changes Natala made in her life are amazing.

  7. Tessa Hill says:

    Yey Natala! Great story- thanks for sharing. When I saw Green Smoothie Girl in CO, she mentioned that her vision had returned to 20/20 over the years (although I do not think her issues were due to diabetes). Terrific news! You are an inspiration

  8. Roy says:

    Congratulations Natala – for seeing the light! (pun intended). I am a plant strong Retina Specialist dealing with these issues on a daily basis. (The College Greens – Craig, Tara & Jenna – featured my story in one of their posts here about 3 months ago). Over the past year I have tried to enlighten literally hundreds of my patients with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. I can’t tell you how discouraging it is when I tell people there is a way to lessen and possible reverse the severity of their disease by changing what they eat and they say ‘no way’. (I am in central Pennsylvania where obesity is rampant and hunting, fishing and eating animals is the major sport.) They would rather go on taking their meds and continue their downward slide. Most people look at me like I am crazy for even suggesting eliminating animal products from their diet and tell me ‘I just can’t give up meat’ let alone dairy, eggs and oil. To date I think I have two couples that have altered their lifestyle to become plant based. I’ve had about 7 or 8 patients that tried it for a few weeks, saw their blood glucose levels stabilize and drop, felt significantly better, lost weight and then go right back to their old habits saying ‘now I know what I need to do but I just can’t do it.’ It’s the addiction to fat, sugar and salt. All in all, it’s those two couples that keep me going and pushing in the hope that more people will see the light. Best of luck to you!

  9. Liz says:

    I have T2 and my eyes are getting bad. I have started eating plant strong but fell off the wagon today. Getting back on! I do not want to lose my eyesight, and I want to lose all the diabetes, hypertension and the drugs that go with them!

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