Judy Ngaruiya: Championing the Keto Diet for Reversing Diabetes

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Article by: Wanjiru M. Thuku

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In the heart of Nairobi, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Judy Ngaruiya, mum of one, sits poised in her office. She is a woman whose unwavering resolve and proactive approach to health have not only transformed her own life but also ignited a spark of inspiration across her community. 

Judy Ngaruiya (provided)

Judy's narrative unfolds against the backdrop of a personal tragedy, following the sudden and unexpected loss of her brother in 2019. Little did she know that this profound loss would serve as the catalyst for a journey of self-discovery and profound transformation. 

As I step into her domain, I find her engaged in the rhythm of her daily duties. With focused determination, Judy navigates the complexities of her role as a property manager, her office a haven of productivity and professionalism. Amidst the flurry of paperwork and the hum of phone calls, she exudes an air of confidence, a testament to the trials and triumphs that have shaped her life. 

Reflecting on those challenging times, Judy recalls the subtle yet persistent symptoms that plagued her in the wake of her brother’s passing – subtle signs that belied a deeper underlying health issue.

“It wasn’t until a week after my brother’s passing that I sought medical attention,” Judy shares, her voice tinged with the weight of memory. The diagnosis, Type 2 diabetes, was a silent intruder that had stealthily infiltrated her health for years.  

Unlike its counterpart, diabetes Type 2 tiptoes into one’s life, whispering its presence through multiple symptoms. According to the Kenya Diabetes Study Group, these may include heightened thirst, increased hunger, blurred vision, frequent urination, unintended weight loss, slow-healing sores, frequent infections, numbness in the hands or feet and dark patches of the skin usually around the neck or armpits. 

Living with diabetes unknowingly is more common than many realise, given that the condition can develop gradually, with the symptoms going unnoticed or mistaken for other health issues. 

Type 2 diabetes is referred to as adult-onset diabetes, a chronic condition characterised by high levels of blood sugar also known as blood glucose, resulting from insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the blood sugar is too high, thereby leading to glucose buildup in the bloodstream. Unlike Type 1 diabetes which typically occurs in childhood, Type 2 diabetes develops later in life, and is strongly linked to poor diet, obesity and sedentary behaviour. 

“Half of my life, I believe I was diabetic unknowingly. Some of these symptoms such as headaches were there but nothing of much concern. My brother’s death simply triggered what was happening in my body. I didn’t go to the hospital because of diabetes, I never even suspected it.” Judy recounts, her words resonating with the echoes of countless individuals navigating similar health issues.  

Determined to confront her diagnosis head-on, Judy embarked on a rigorous regimen of conventional treatments. Despite adhering diligently to the medical protocols and undergoing escalating doses of medication, Judy's condition persisted, seemingly impervious to traditional treatments, leaving her trapped in a cycle of frustration and uncertainty.

“I got rid of everything in my house that was not brown. I got rid of white rice, sugar, unga and literally everything and replaced them with the brown ones the doctor recommended. And despite all that effort, my health continued to deteriorate. I even started going blind because of the high sugars, yet I was doing exactly what the doctor told me to do. The stress I underwent only made my condition worse. The sugars kept rising. At this point, I was eager to know what I could do outside the box.”

It was then that Judy embarked on a journey of discovery, turning to the boundless resources of the internet in search of viable solutions. Amidst the vast array of information, she unearthed a ray of hope: the ketogenic lifestyle, a journey that has not only transformed her life but also that of countless others seeking wellness and vitality.

“As I delved into the depths of the keto lifestyle, one thing became abundantly clear: knowledge is power,” Judy asserts, her voice infused with a sense of conviction born from personal experience. “Understanding what to eat and when to eat is paramount for success on the keto journey.”

With attention to detail, Judy outlines the foundational principles of the ketogenic diet. Moderate proteins, high fat and low carbs. She emphasises the importance of portion control. “It is about striking the right balance,” she explains. 

“Healthy fat foods like avocado, meat, olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil and nutrient-rich leafy vegetables such as cauliflower, fermented cabbage and broccoli form the cornerstone of the keto lifestyle. There should be no carbs-laden foods or starches on your plate as far as keto is concerned.”

Armed with the newfound knowledge and guided by a steely determination, Judy embraced the principles of the keto lifestyle with unwavering resolve. She has meticulously charted her progress with unwavering precision. 

Judy herself has been medication-free for five years, a testament to the transformative power of dietary intervention and lifestyle modification. Within a mere six months of embracing the keto regimen, Judy found herself liberated from the shackles of medication, her blood sugar levels stabilising to within optimal ranges. 

Judy Ngaruiya (provided)

Judy's journey transcends the confines of her own experience, extending a guiding hand to those who seek empowerment and enlightenment. Today, Judy is a health coach, training people on how to reverse diabetes with diet. As she continues her crusade on her Facebook page as a keto diet advocate, her message resonates with a growing chorus of individuals who have embraced the principles of the ketogenic lifestyle and experienced a profound transformation. 

“It has been eleven months now since I went off medication. I have been on the keto diet as advised by Judy and I feel great. I no longer have diabetes,” says Josphat Bakari.

“I have been on a clean keto diet for the last three and half years and I have completely reversed diabetes. What’s great about this diet is that I have also been able to go through smooth menopause without any hot flashes,” testifies Nancy Ng’ang’a.

As Kenya grapples with the rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, among others, Judy’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of education, empowerment and collective action in the fight against chronic health conditions. NCDs pose a significant threat to public health, with their prevalence pointing towards changing lifestyles and dietary habits. By embracing healthier lifestyles and dietary choices, individuals can take proactive steps towards safeguarding their well-being and that of future generations. 

"The burden of non-communicable diseases in Kenya, particularly diabetes, is a pressing reality," Judy affirms, "But we can chart a course towards a healthier, more vibrant future."

As Judy's story continues to resonate across the nation, her narrative serves as a testament to the enduring resilience of the human spirit – a testament to the transformative power of individual agency and communal support. In a world besieged by adversity, Judy's triumph stands as a beacon of hope – a rallying cry for all who dare to envision a brighter tomorrow.