…developing heart disease and 80 per of people with diabetes will die from cardiovascular complications.
And with hindsight, Halle credits those doctors’ tough words with saving her life. She’s also enjoyed a top-flight career, winning a coveted role as a Bond girl and a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the film Monster’s Ball.
“I went into hospital on my last breath, and came out feeling a hundred times better. I knew it was time to take better care of myself and I can honestly say that I am a healthier person than I was before I was taken ill.”
Dramatic Diet Changes
The first thing Halle did was to change her diet to one low in fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates. So out went any sweet deserts, junk or processed food and in came a whole new way of eating.
“I started to eat loads of wonderful fresh vegetables, chicken, fresh fish and pasta. I cut out red meat and cut back on fruit because it can contain quite a lot of sugar. Now one of my favorite dishes is something simple but tasty such as grilled tuna and garlic mashed potato.”
Although Halle says she craves salty rather than sweet things (her favorite foods are butter pecan ice cream and salt and vinegar crisps), if her sweet tooth does get the better of her she will satisfy it by sweetening her food with honey, molasses or low-calorie sweeteners.
But it wasn’t just her food intake that needed to change. “I needed to pay attention of everything that could affect my blood sugar level, including diet exercise and stress,” she says.
So she took on personal trainer and began doing yoga.
The final piece of the jigsaw in Halle’s successful diabetes management was control of her blood sugar and insulin levels.
“I have to test my blood sugar levels at least a couple of times a day,” she explains. “I do a tiny pinprick, usually on my fingertips, and test it with a special kit which tell me how high or low my blood sugar levels are. Then using this as a guide I inject myself with the correct dose of insulin to level up my blood sugar. People always kind of cringe when I say that.”
She adds: “Actually I feel very lucky that I can take insulin. It saves me from becoming ill.”
Now Halle, who also has only 80 per cent hearing in one ear after being beaten up by an early boyfriend, is on a crusade to enlighten the world about the dangers of diabetes.
She regularly does public speaking on living with the condition.
“Diabetes turned out to be a gift,” she says. “It gave me strength and toughness because I had to face reality, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it was.”