On page 72 of Reverse Your Diabetes, Dr. David Cavan writes, on the subject of diabetes diagnoses in the 1990s, ‘I imagine that can’t have made them feel too good.’ It’s an off-hand remark, in context, but it soon characterises the book as a whole.
The strength of Reverse Your Diabetes lies in its warmth and it’s realistic, thoughtful approach to diabetes management Cavan’s interest is in helping the people who have type 2 diabetes, rather than discussing the disease in conceptual terms.
He succeeds in proposing a management plan that is both achievable and inspiring.
A warm and human guide
Type 2 diabetes can be a particularly complex condition, emotionally speaking. Cavan outlines the feelings of fear, resentment, isolatio, guilt, confusion, and helplessness that commonly characterise a patient’s response to their diagnosis
It’s this emotional complexity that makes guides like Reverse Your Diabetes – which is ‘not a medical textbook, nor an airy-fairy self-help book, but a book that is designed to give you the practical tools and the support and encouragement you need in order to take control of your diabetes’ – entirely necessary.
A realistic approach to diabetes management
Cavan’s guidance is characterised by a realistic understanding of what people can be expected to do. In the superbly engaging chapter on increasing exercise, he understands that ‘a weekly routine of five brisk walks a week is probably unrealistic for someone who is not used to any form of exercise.’
Similarly, grand, drastic changes to lifestyle are often ‘never realised’.
Therefore, it is important that if you are about to make significant lifestyle changes, you set yourself realistic goals. It is equally important to be honest with yourself about how motivated you are to make these changes.’ Cavan avoids the rhetoric of overnight lifestyle revolutions, instead aiming for a quietly inspiring approach.
Dietary debates: Cavan’s attitude to carbs and fat
Cavan’s approach does, however, include substantial advice, in addition to the encouragement and warmth. He advocates a low-carbohydrate diet (as distinct from a ‘very low carbohydrate’ diet, which readers are advised to ‘steer clear of’). He also suggests that people with diabetes ‘ try to make up [their] five-a-day from vegetables rather than fruit ‘ Cavan also defends fat, which he argues has a bad reputation because ‘it is so easy to link the two and think that fat in food causes fat people.’
Cavan recommends ‘ avoiding fruit juices and smoothies completely and to never drink them to quench thirst.’ All of these recommendations are well-argued and convincingly presented as parts of an approach to diabetes management with a clear philosophy and focus.
Ultimately, the mission is to encourage the reader to engage with an intimidating change in their lives, ensuring that they feel neither alone nor overwhelmed. In this respect, Cavan is more or less entirely successful. Reverse Your Diabetes is a valuable book that should become dog-eared and worn from repeated readings.