By Sarah E. Brown
Diabetes has become a seemingly unstoppable national epidemic, affecting more than 20 million Americans.
According to the World Health Organization, deaths from diabetes will increase by 80 percent in the Americas, by 50 percent in the Western Pacific and the Eastern Mediterranean regions, and by more than 40 percent in Africa over the next ten years. Proponents of including natural treatment approaches draw direct connections between these statistics and an increasingly globalized, processed diet coupled with less active lifestyles.
A raw foods diet eliminates processed sugars and starches, and substitutes these for organic, whole plant foods that have not been cooked. Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a leading natural healer, embraces the philosophy of including natural diabetes treatments. His approach through green juice fasting and a 100 percent organic, nutrient-dense, plant source-only, low-glycemic, low-insulin-scoring, and high-mineral diet of living foods during the first twenty-one days of healing. (citation: Cousens, Gabriel, and David Rainoshek. There Is a Cure for Diabetes: the Tree of Life 21-day Program. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic, 2008. Print.)
According to Dr. Cousens research, it has been shown that this program renders insulin and related medicines unnecessary for most Type II patients within four days as the blood sugar drops to normal levels; and the diabetic shifts into a non-diabetic physiology within two weeks. (citation: Cousens, Gabriel, and David Rainoshek. There Is a Cure for Diabetes: the Tree of Life 21-day Program. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic, 2008. Print.)
Gabriel Cousens, M.D. received his M.D. from Columbia Medical School and has more than 35 years experience in treating diabetes naturally. 57% of the varieties of Type 2 diabetics come off all medications and have a blood sugar of less than 100 within 21 days. (citation: Cousens, Gabriel, and David Rainoshek. There Is a Cure for Diabetes: the Tree of Life 21-day Program. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic, 2008. Print.) All of Dr. Cousens’ program participants heal themselves naturally through a plant-source-only, live foods diet.
What does a curative raw foods diet look like in practice? Live food or raw cuisine not actually a diet, but rather a long-term set of nutritional foundations that set the stage for lifelong transformation. And, It can also be absolutely delicious. A raw foods diet used to reverse diabetes should include plenty of greens, in the form of delicious salads, smoothies, and juices. On Amazon.com and HappyCow’s new Raw Food Store there are plenty of raw recipe books out there, and websites like www.GabrielCousens.com, www.giveittomeraw.com and www.goneraw.com offer great recipe ideas. However, just going raw is only part of the game. The important thing for diabetics to understand is that a truly nourishing nutritional regimen should focus primarily on greens, non-sweet fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. It should also be entirely plant-based, as this has been shown to confer the most health benefits.
A high-glycemic diet is one that includes any white sugar, any white flour, white rice, honey, maple syrup, alcohol, coffee, wheat, any junk food, and most fruit (some fruit, such as berries and cherries, is moderate to low on the glycemic index). According to research findings in the academic journal Diabetes Care, “a quarter pound of beef raises insulin levels in diabetics as much as a quarter pound of straight sugar.” (Diabetes Care 7, 1984 p. 465).
It is important for diabetics to follow a low-glyecmic raw plant-source only regimen. Essentially this means that to reverse diabetes, we must consume live, organic, fresh foods that are non-sweet and non-animal derived. This means focusing on eating green sprouts, green leafy vegetables, green juices and smoothies, mineral-rich sea vegetables like kelp, nori, dulse, sea palm and sea lettuce, non-sweet fruits like tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, lemons and limes. Fats and oils like hemp oil, hemp seeds, avocado, olives and olive oil, sesame, pumpkin and almond oil, flax seed, and other nuts and seeds. It also includes delicious cultured and fermented foods like apple cider vinegar, soy-free miso, raw sauerkraut, sprouted lentils and mung beans, caffeine-free tea, and all herbs and spices. Spirulina, a protein and other nutrient-rich nutritional algae, can be another great food to incorporate in your raw foods lifestyle by adding it to salads and vegetables.
There are many ways to prepare delicious combinations of these foods. Discover the joy of rich, creamy raw nut and seed pates heaped with diced tomatoes, sprouts and served in romaine lettuce leaves as a kind of “raw burrito”, or desserts like raw lemon cheesecake made with zucchini, vanilla, stevia and macadamia nuts that is a guilt-free treat that tastes delicious. Zero glycemic sweetners xylitol (derived from Birch) and stevia (a plant used for centuries by many ancient cultures) provide incredibly satisfying sweetness without altering blood sugar levels.
It may seem a bit scary to shift to eating raw foods when we’re used to the Standard American Diet (SAD). For many of us, dealing with our emotional attachments to food is a significant barrier to healing. For many Type II diabetics, it can be very challenging to adopt a new lifestyle, especially since long-term adherence to a live foods diet is central to the healing diabetes naturally approach.The truth is, once we’ve begun eating this way, it is extremely enjoyable for most people. When our bodies are cleaned through detoxing the junk of processed sugars and starches, we can actually taste the sweetness in greens like spinach!
To gain support, many who follow the natural approach to healing diabetes seek online resources to meet others following the lifestyle and to gain recipe advice and other community support. Some great online options include happycow.net, meetup.com, facebook.com, goneraw.com, welikeitraw.com and the diabetes support-centered website www.GabrielCousens.com, which offers tips and supportive community to keep people motivated on their healing paths.