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Editor’s note: As always, make any changes to your diet under the supervision of your doctor or diabetes educator.
As a type 1 interested in nature’s ability to heal, I ask, What is causing this so-called diabetes epidemic? Why is it expanding from Western countries to developing countries at the same rate that fast food and junk food are spreading?
The newly popularized raw-food diet is a diet of nutritionally dense plant foods that are naturally low in calories and low on the glycemic index—yet high in satisfaction. Many people following the raw-food diet can eat until well satisfied at every meal (as long as all of the food is raw), yet they still easily achieve their ideal weight and remain energetic.
A Popular Dietary Choice
Many people tout the virtues of eating a diet of uncooked and unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted raw grains. For baby boomers searching for improved health, the raw-food diet is becoming a popular choice.
The fundamental justification for eating a raw-food diet is the theory that food that has not been heated beyond 105 degrees retains all the enzymes that are naturally present in whole, unprocessed foods - enzymes that are destroyed during the cooking process.
Enzymes are the key to all bodily functions, and they exist in the body in a limited supply. If the body’s enzymes are needed to process and metabolize foods that are enzyme-depleted through heating and processing, then there are fewer enzymes left for maintaining health. Over time, this cycle leads to deteriorating health and, ultimately, disease.
Lowering My Insulin Requirements With a Raw Food Diet
While living with type 1 for 36 years, I tried many diets and natural treatments. Three years ago, I decided to try the raw-food diet. When I began the raw diet, I was taking 22 to 24 units of insulin daily, and I had good control on the low-carb/high-protein diet. I now need only six to eight daily units, with excellent control, and I am satisfied, free of cravings, energetic, and happy. Some may say the decreased need for insulin is a result of fewer calories, but the biggest change for me has been in long-acting insulin requirements, which demonstrates an overall improvement in the general diabetic condition.
Nutritionist Swears By Raw Food Diet
Fred Bisci, MD, a nutritionist from Staten Island, New York, has been a raw-food dieter for over 40 years and is now in his 70s. He still does nutritional counseling and takes 10- mile runs on the beach.
“Diabetes, as well as many other diseases, sees improvement on the raw-food diet,” says Bisci. “The body shows many remedial capabilities and reversal of certain pathologies if the diet is done properly and under supervision.”
Bisci is very cautious with his encouragement of the raw-food diet, understanding that it may not be for everyone.
“It is a commitment to a whole lifestyle change,” he says. “The closer you get to the raw-food diet, the more dramatic the improvement.”
On a raw-food diet, Bisci says, the body cleanses itself on a cellular level and is able to function better on fewer calories, garnering all needed nutrients from the nutrient-dense food. Bisci says that he has seen thousands of type 2s get off all medication by eating a diet that is 80 to 100 percent raw.
A Diet Still in Its Infancy
The raw-food movement among the diabetic community is still in its infancy. However, the promise that the raw-food lifestyle holds, though largely based on personal testimonials, is starting to be supported by a few studies (see below). There is no question that the raw-food diet warrants further investigation.
From the March 28, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine
A study was conducted by a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Eighteen individuals who had been eating a strict raw-food diet for an average of 3.6 years were compared to 18 others who ate a more standard diet. The raw-food dieters’ average body mass index was 20.5; the conventional dieters were a little overweight with an average BMI of 25. The vitamin D level of the raw-food dieters was “markedly higher.” In addition, the level of the raw-food dieters’ C-reactive protein (“an inflammatory molecule that is becoming linked with the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic disease”) was much lower.
Sample Menu for one day of the Low-Glycemic Raw/Live Food Diet
Each menu item is followed by nutrition facts detailing the content of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and calories, with a percentage breakdown for each nutrient category. An overall daily breakdown follows the day’s menu.
Note that although the overall fat content for the diet seems suspiciously high, the fats are all heart-healthy plant fats that have not been heated. The health-giving impact of live food can transcend the macronutrient content. Both my husband and I are lean, fit, and muscular, with low body fat, excellent blood profiles, and superb energy despite the relatively high fat content of our diets. My most recent blood work was as follows:
Breakfast: Low Glycemic Breakfast Cereal
Lunch: Very Large Garden Salad
Supper: Live Kale Salad
Low Glycemic Breakfast Cereal
Salt & sweeten with stevia to taste, then mix thoroughly in bowl.
Protein 6 g; Carb 10.2 g; Fat 28.9 g; Calories 325
Very Large Garden Salad (Serves 2)
Chop ingredients, then toss in large bowl. Season with salt and herbs to taste.
Per serving: Protein 6.75 g; Carbs 26 g; Fat 39 g; Calories 482
Live Kale Salad (Serves 2)
(Modified from Chad Sarno’s Vital Creations)
Blend by kneading with hands. Add salt and chipolte pepper to taste.
Per serving: Protein 6 g; Carbs 24.5 g; Fat 29.2 g; Calories 385
|Protein:||18.75 g (11%)|
|Carbs:||60.7 g (34%)|
|Fat:||97.1 g (55%)|
Aimee Perrin, a native of Tennessee, was brought up on the “Standard American Diet” until the age of 16, when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. During the seventies, she became a vegetarian chef and began a quest for a nutritional solution for her diabetes. Through the use of whole foods, she was able to bring her daily dose of insulin from 36 units down to 24. Since 2003, she has eaten nothing but raw foods. She states that by doing so, she has succeeded in reducing her insulin dose down to only 8 to 12 units daily.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.