Why One Woman Stopped Cooking: The Raw Story
By Aimee Perrin
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.
There is a growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents that is thought to be linked to obesity and physical inactivity. Diabetes is now one of the most commonly seen chronic conditions in primary care. The CDC recently noted the 61 increase in incidence of adult onset diabetes from 1991 to 2000. Type 2 diabetes now accounts for between 8 and 46 percent of all new cases of diabetes among children who are referred to pediatric centers for care. Diabetes is also a major contributor to heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. In adults, diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness, end-stage renal failure, and non-traumatic lower limb amputations. People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely than the general population to have heart disease or to suffer a stroke.