Group says raw vegan diet can help treat diabetes

June 8, 2011 10:34:51 PM PDT
An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Severe cases are typically treated with insulin and other medications, but now a Bay Area group is promoting what they say is a healthier solution -- a raw vegan diet.

Reggie Bass credits his raw vegan diet with helping him reverse the symptoms of diabetes and now he wants to help other diabetics do the same.

"This is a very unique project because it does offer a holistic approach to folks who are looking at lifestyle changes," Bass said.

Bass is teaming with filmmaker Michael Bedar to recreate a documentary that Bader first helped produce in Arizona. That project followed six diabetics, who agreed to switch their diets for one month.

"They ate 100 percent live foods, that's vegetables, seed vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts and low glycemic fruit," Bedar said.

All of the food is uncooked.

The film, called "Simply Raw," documented improvements such a lowering of blood sugar levels. And producers say several of the diabetics have been able to stay off insulin long-term by sticking with a raw vegan diet.

"Blood sugar, which is a measure of the swings of the diabetes symptoms, would be coming down while they were coming off the insulin just by eating this super nutrient-dense, high-mineral, alkalizing, high nutrient density food," Bedar said.

Now, the team is recruiting diabetics in Oakland and other parts of the East Bay, hoping that reproducing the results locally will help promote a raw vegan diet as an alternative for diabetes.

"They become models to show folks that you're able to make this transition, this transformation in your health," Bass said.

Doctors ABC7 spoke with were supportive of the project's goals, but some urged caution in characterizing the results as a cure for the disease.

"I am very cautious about using the 'cured' word for my diabetic patients," California Pacific Medical Center diabetes specialist Dr. Karen Earle said. "I think diet and exercise is a great treatment for diabetes and if someone is successfully managing their diabetes with diet, I consider that person a diet and exercise-controlled diabetic and the reason I do that is if they stop the diet, if they gain the weight back, the diabetes is very likely going to return."

To help the subjects succeed, Bass and other advocates from the vegan movement plan to help train them to prepare meals. And the group is also recruiting a network of volunteers to help with grocery shopping and emotional support, all in an effort to change both diet and culture.

"The science is already there, it proves that you can actually physically help somebody detoxify their body," Bass said.

Written and produced by Tim Didion

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