AdventHealth documentary highlights Lake County woman’s plant-based diet journey helping with diabetes

Karene Bejarano was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after first pregnancy

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – At 25 years old, Karene Bejarano was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy. Doctors assured her she would be fine after having her baby but eight months postpartum, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“It just came back like a roaring lion. And there I was left with this diagnosis and trying to figure out what life looked like with a new baby and what life looked like now with this diagnosis,” Bejarano said.

With the approval of her endocrinologist, Bejarano decided to try a plant-based diet.

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Within six months, she says she lost 40 pounds and was able to manage her health with fewer medications.

“I was off blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine, all my allergy medicine, and my insulin, I had reduced the amount I needed to take by half,” Bejarano said.

That was eight years ago. Now, Bejarano is sharing her story in a documentary created by AdventHealth called “Plantwise.”

Dr. George Guthrie is a family medicine physician with AdventHealth who appears in the documentary.

“So whether it’s sugars or cholesterol or blood pressure or weight, to hear stories of people actually doing that, we think is rather powerful,” Dr. Guthrie said.

The term “plant-based” has exploded in popularity in recent years, leading some people to question, what qualifies?

Guthrie said he likes to add a couple of words to really define the diet.

“Whole food plant-based,” Guthrie said.

“Soda and french fries are plant-based and that doesn’t necessarily make them healthy,” Guthrie said.

Another rule he said to try: If there are more than two ingredients, leave it on the shelf.

“It ends up that there’s a lot of science showing us that when we eat plants, whole plants, we tend to improve our health,” Guthrie said.

The “Plantwise” documentary is free and streaming on the AdventHealth website.

“We look forward to seeing a lot of improved health in people from the stories that are told,” Guthrie said.

Check out the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below: