A Raw Deal

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This is a bit of a Type 1 rant, but  I have a question I’m hoping other people with Type 1 can help answer: what can we do to clarify the fact that Type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed by changing your diet? Over the past couple days, I’ve had a number of very well-meaning people suggest that I learn more about raw food and its abilities to cure my diabetes. I appreciate their concern — but it reflects a misunderstanding of what this disease actually is. Namely, I don’t have any islet cells. I cannot make insulin. You can feed me all the zucchini “lasagna” you want — I am not going to be cured till someone figures out a way to a. get me more islet cells and b. keep my body from knocking them off again.

I don’t mean to sound like a hater — really, I don’t. (God knows, this is far better than hearing from people who write me comments saying that having diabetes is my fault.)  I also think that eating more raw food, as long as it’s focused on vegetables, not fruit and sweets, definitely can help control your blood sugar — not necessarily because the foods are raw, but because there just aren’t many carb-y vegetables that we we eat uncooked. But in terms of curing my diabetes, the unfortunate truth is that cooked, raw — it doesn’t matter. My problem is in my pancreas. And while I try my best to eat healthy foods  (oftentimes raw), there’s only so much my diet can do.

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Comments (17)

  1. Bill at

    I tried to educate them on T1 versus T2….
    “Oh, you must think I have Type 2 diabetes.  Diet helps with that.  I have Type 1.  It’s really different…my cells that produce insulin are just plain gone and diet’s not going to bring them back.”
    It didn’t work, but it sounded good…

  2. nikki at

    Uhhh, I get it.  I hate that!!!!  Story of my life. 

  3. While I am a type 2,  I can hear you.  These people do not understand what the differences are between type 1 and type 2 or 1.5 and never will.  There are so many people that feel we can cure ourselves if we just will listen to them.  Until they actually have to walk a mile in your shoes,  you need to ignore them politely unless they just won’t shut up.  I am on insulin because of resistance and the fact that oral just does not afford me any control plus I do not like the side effects of some of the oral medications.   My pancreas does produce some insulin so I am thankful for that, but I do not want to completely exhaust what capability it does have.  Thanks for the post.  People that don’t pay attention need this reminder from time to time.

  4. Matt M. at

    Wow. Other than one very distantly related family member, I have never had to deal with that nonsense. I think, sadly, when confronted with such staggering levels of ignorance, it’s kind of like bailing out the Titanic with a teacup. I mean, where do you even begin with somebody who is so misguided? However, I would be sorely tempted to smile and say, “Yes! I’m so hopeful about the therapeutic possibilities of raw food for curing type 1 diabetes. Such a shame that it appears to be completely useless against ignorance.”
    As for this –
    (God knows, this is far better than hearing from people who write me comments saying that having diabetes is my fault.)
    I am speechless.

  5. Michelle S at

    I’m active on the CSL community forum and they asked me to write up my story after a cleanse we all did.  here is the link:  http://crazysexylife.com/2009/diabetes-meet-my-green-juice/
    i had very positive responses from people, but of course there was the inevitable comment about being able to cure my diabetes by going raw.  I was tempted to respond, but thought i’d just sound defensive or angry.  Victoria Boutenko is big in the raw world and claims her son’s type 1 diabetes was cured by a raw diet, but it is pretty obvious he was a young Type 2.  I read an interview with him where he described a pretty unhealthy diet preceding diabetes and weight loss after going raw, none of it fits with type 1.  So yes, it is annoying that she encourages this misunderstanding. As does the movie about curing diabetes in 30 days, they really should identify that it is type 2.
    I’m with you, raw food is healthy and I try to include some in my diet.  But even if we starved ourselves all day we would still need insulin.  this comment is too long, I guess the overall message is that I feel your pain!
    Michelle S.

  6. Another Type 1 at

    Frankly I have had very similar experiences and honestly believe that the time has come to name Type 1 and Type 2 something unrelated to each other. I was diag’d with Type 1 in my adult life (age 37) so saying “Adult-onset” or “juvenile onset” has no meaning either.
    I am at a loss as to what names they should be but also believe that we will one day find there are subsets of both Type 1 and Type 2 (there is already Type 1.5 and Type 3 referenced in MSM from time-to-time…sometimes, depending on what description they use, I fall into the Type 1.5 category – try explaining that one to someone!).
    Possible names (tongue slightly in cheek):
    Autoimmune diabetes / Pancreas Interuptus
    Non-autoimmune diabetes / Insulin-producing diabetes

  7. Jeff at

    I’m on board with the above comment that the names need to be changed.  Type II has taken over the diabetes discourse in the world, and so I think it would be better if we just gave Type I an alternate name.
    My most frustrating experience with this as of late was getting my flu shot, a middle aged male nurse technician giving the shot saw that I had put diabetes on my release form, and said to me – “oh, I’m pre-diabetic.  I really have to watch what I eat to keep my sugars in check.”
    Oh really?  you’re in the health field and don’t know the difference?  But it gives a small picture of what we’re up against.

  8. Elidad at

    Uncooked vegetables have sterols in them that help to modulate the immune system. ( plant sterols are destroyed when cooked)  Chaga mushroom, Reshi Mushroom and spirolina are some of the best imunomodulators. Perhaps these compounds in raw, plant based foods help “reprogram” the T cells that are out of control and treating the beta cells like spam. And then perhaps a body that is flooded with good clean nutrition has the ability to regenerate damaged cells?
    My son Ben was clearly diagnosed with type 1 and we are seeing him respond to a raw diet just as Sergei Buotenko did. Was it type 1 or type 2? Well if I believe the endo then it is type 1 and raw is helping quite a bit. Don’t forget that plenty of raw foods still have many carbs, ie fruits and sprouted grains, so it doesn’t seem to be a case of carb restriction.
    Good luck

  9. Julie at

    Thank you Elidad for your comments. I sincerely believe that raw foods can help restore the immune system and I also believe that the DNA in the beta cells can self-repair given the right nutrition. Of course, the longer the person has been living with type I diabetes the longer this repair might take, but at least there is hope! Please keep us posted on your son’s progress.

  10. meagain at

    thanX ELIDAD for your info..
    i too have son with type 1 diabetes.. he is almost 9.
    can you tell me are you documenting your experience anywhere to help others.. i am Reeeally really interested in finding help [SUPPORT actually] for my wanting to help my son thru diet.. but it is sooo hard going up against the typical spin.. & being seen as a bad mother if you say the way you really feel about their crap diet ideas..etc.. 
    would love for you to please get back to us with your info.. it is soo important to share what we learn..

    ~Peace 2u~ 

  11. Elidad at

    Hi Meagain. What we have done is switched over to a completely plant based, raw food diet. As we did this we saw Ben’s blood levels go down significantly. As time went on we noticed that he needed less and less insulin so we adjusted his ratio accordingly. Eventually his ratio was down to such a small level that we stopped with the shots all together. I think that this is a very important factor. Let the blood glucose readings speak for themselves and don’t be too quick to lower the ratio. Our endocrinologist agreed with our decision to bring his ratios down as it was pretty obvious that as we gave him what we normally had been his readings were going too low.  Our doctor still doesn’t know what to make off it all as Ben’s A1C has been between 5 and 6 and we have been giving him next to no insulin.
    There are many nutritional considerations to a well rounded raw veggie diet. It has to be lovingly planned out. If it is done right it can be the most energizing and nutritious thing you could do.  
    I would love to keep in touch with you. Out of respect for this blog site and it’s administrator, I would rather communicate via email so as to not overtake this post with my rantings.

    cgpauper@gmail.com     Send me a message to this address so we can keep in touch

    Also check out Sergei Boutenko at

  12. Elidad at

    Whoa I don’t know where all that jibberish came from in my post? I certainly didn’t type all that mso nonsense. Anyway, hopefully you can see my address at the bottom there.

  13. Jim at

    One can lower their insulin intake with exercise and a balance diet. I believe those who say I don’t need insulin anymore have some insulin producing cells. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Elidad at

    Hi Jim. Yes and that seems to be the challenge here; finding a way to give those islet cells a boost. They are still able to produce insulin and given the right nutrition our bodies can regenerate any given cell. It’s all in the DNA so each cell has the blue print to reproduce they just need the right building materials to do it. I have recently come across cedar berries ( from the Juniperuos Monosperma plant). They seem to be amazing food for the pancreas. They are packed with what the Beta cells need to heal and regenerate!
    P.S. now it seems that all of that weird code jargon is not in my previous post so the post following it makes even less sense. HMM?

  15. MomofB at

    Thanks Elidad,

    My son was diagnosed with type 1 a month ago and it has been a lonely crazy road researching how food can help or even heal his beta cells. Thanks for your information. So glad to find other parents doing the same!  I just attended a “plant-base” eating class from Whole Foods and learned quit a bit but I know I’m just beginning this journey. 

  16. Demi at

    As someone mentioned those who are young may have some beta cells left.  To find out have a C-peptide test at the doc’s.  Try a raw food diet for awhile and check your blood sugars more often (6-8 x per day) –  or do as I do which is a high raw diet where 75% or more of my diet is raw.I gave up most canned  and frozen foods. Most grains – I do have oatmeal 2x per week and try making new raw meals every week.  BGs are better.  I’m Type I for 47 years now.
    I believe raw food diets can help those who still have a few beta cells hanging around. Maybe even Type Is early on.

  17. Jennifer at

    Would like to add a few words here.  I was diagnosed with Type 1 23 years ago at age 7.  I think in those days the first few months to a year after the initial diagnosis was made was referred to as the ‘honeymoon stage/phase’ – It’s when your pancreas cells or islet cells haven’t died off completely, therefore your insulin needs will need some adjustments, and it will go up and down during that stage.
    After some time, they will die off completely and you will notice the insulin needs will increase.
    I would think that as mentioned in the earlier posts, that if you do radical diet changes including raw and vegan, a patient who was recently diagnosed especially a young person, could possibly see a reversal of symptoms and less insulin needed.  That doesn’t mean they weren’t Type 1, just that aggressive immediate action was taken to halt the dying off of the cells, even repairing them.
    What that means for those of us who have had this disease for 20+ years, well who knows, but eating healthier certainly can’t hurt, maybe it will even improve our situation! I will say that going raw or vegan for periods of time helps with some digestion issues I have that are resulting from this disease along with my thyroid disorder.  
    Just some thoughts that I feel might sum up alot of what people here are saying 

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