“Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure.”

This is the position of diabetes organizations and doctors across the globe, and there certainly is a big business around maintaining that claim. The short list contains blood meters, test strips, insulin devices, needles and pumps… glucose testers, packaged low-sugar diet foods, and lots of pills, pills, pills.

But, what if diabetes DID have a cure? What if someone suffering from diabetes could eliminate the need for the medications related to the disease completely by simply changing what they eat?

Simply Raw is a great little documentary which claims right on the label that diabetes can be reversed, and in just 30 days! 

In the film, we meet six people diagnosed with diabetes who participate in a 30-day program designed to heal them.  The participants are wonderful, adorable people who need help finding their way back to health. They were chosen to be part of this (medically-supervised) experiment that would determine whether or not they could eliminate the need for medication in treating their diabetes. In other words, could they be cured? They will travel to the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ to find out.

We first meet Kurt, a heart-of-gold 25-year-old from Baltimore with Type-II Diabetes. In the intro, we see him visit his sister, who is busy frying “nuggets” in huge amounts of oil and he tells us that one of his goals had been to live to be 100. (His sister must have other plans.)

Next we meet lovable Bill, 58, from Long Beach. He raves about his wife’s Italian cooking, and shows us the many bottles of medication taking up space on his bathroom counter. He admits that eating is something he does for comfort. He was also diagnosed with Type-II.

In New York, we meet Michelle, 36, a bubbly woman who tells us how her grandmother raised her and loved her with food, especially desserts. Another comfort eater, she admits she loves food, but doesn’t “get” veggies. She has a loving family and loves life, but her Type-II is ‘holding her back.’

In Reno, we meet Henry, 68, who loves his grandkids and wants to see them grow up. He counts out his huge number of meds on his dining room table (Bill’s bathroom counter might be too small to hold all of these!), and admits that his doctor said he, Henry, is killing himself. Orange juice is off-limits for his Type-II, and when his wife asks why he’s drinking it, he says simply, “Because I love it.”

When we meet Pam, 62, from Sarasota, she’s frying up sausage and ground meat. She is a dear woman who lives with an extended family and confesses she’s never taken time for herself. She has Type-II, as well.

In Michigan, we meet Austin, 25, a likeable young guy who describes himself as “an all-American boy” and admits to being an alcoholic (without actually using that word). He seems to have a stubborn streak and is unsure about whether he’ll live past 50.

(Meet the participants here.)

When they first arrive, they check out their new digs in the beautiful desert hills. For some of them, this alone is a lot to take. Henry’s first response upon seeing the room he’ll share with Bill: This is rugged, man. Bill says, “This is going to be very cozy.”

Austin is rooming with Kurt. Austin vascillates between expressing real feelings about having had to deal with Type-I diabetes since childhood and cavalier bravado. “I’m a defective human being,” he says, chuckling as he adds, “and I love it.” Kurt is open about hating to have to give himself injections, and knows that a change is needed.

When we meet Dr. Gabriel Cousens, he explains that he has been working in holistic medicine for 35 years and healing diabetes is “quite easy.” When explaining his plan to the group, he tells them that the “live food diet” works best because in cooking food there is a 50% loss of protein, a 70-80% loss of vitamins and minerals, and an almost 100% loss of phytonutrients. He immediately asks everyone to cut their insulin intake by one third.

When the group approaches the brunch table, all laid out with plates and bowls of colorful live foods - no meat, no dairy, no breads or cooked grains, no sugar, no caffiene, and nothing cooked over 118 degrees - for their first raw meal, Bill and Austin look confused; Michelle looks skeptical. At the table, each take bites as if there are live worms crawling on their forks. Michelle is much more on-board when the dessert comes around. “I could do this!” she exclaims.

There are lots of changes experienced over the course of this 30-day journey. Most of the group is off insulin by the end of the first week. Austin, the Type-I, is down to half of his standard dose.

Michelle goes through a bit of an emotional detox. Dr. Cousens tells us this is a normal part of the healing process and it needs to happen. I think more time could have been spent on dealing with the physical and emotional detox symptoms - dealing with cravings, feeling irritable, emotional and restless. Michelle almost quits the program, convincing herself that 30 days is too long to be away from her family to save her life. Kurt and Bill, the sweethearts that they are, help her to realize that she’s doing this for her family as much as for herself.

Austin can’t understand how Michelle can consider leaving when “it’s only a month.” It sounds like he gets it. Then we find out he can’t go 30 days without a drink.

Henry says “his spirit” tells him he wants to leave, too. Bill tries to understand what he’s saying, wants to understand what he’s feeling. Henry, unkindly cuts him off and shuts him out. He’s already made up his mind. Kindness and logic aren’t going to work. By the second week, he’s off of his insulin and the 17 different pills he was taking. He tells us later that his grandmother had both feet amputated all the way up to her knees. That memory is not enough. His wife’s encourgement is not enough. Seeing the results for himself is not enough.  Like many people, he just doesn’t want to make the change needed to heal. It’s incredibly sad when someone isn’t willing to help themselves.

This is an inspiring film. I fell in love with these people and cheered for those who did the work, and was truly disappointed and sad for those who made choices that were not in their best interest. In the end, everyone who stayed lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, got off of their medications*, looked and felt better. (*Everyone except Austin. Poor Austin really needs help with that addiction.)
Kurt deserves special recognition. He’s so supportive to those who need support, and he is direct with those who need that. With respect and caring, he is honest and says what they need to hear, even if it’s not what they want to hear. His closing statement was, “…for me, this works. And from what I’ve seen here, everyone who really tried it and put the effort into it, it works for them, too.” I see great things ahead for this guy!

Pam said, “I don’t see why the doctors don’t know about this. I’m going to tell mine when I get back.” She does, and we’re there during her appointment. Her doctor is of note here because he is supportive of what she’s doing and actually says he wants to learn more. He asks how he can ship all of his patients to Arizona! (My experience with discussing diet with doctors has been entirely different - from family practitioners to specialists such as rheumatologists and endocrinologists, I have yet to encounter an allopathic doctor that believes diet plays a significant role in disease.)

Interspersed with what the participants go through over their 30 days, we hear from Morgan Spurlock, Woody Harrelson, Tony Robbins, Dr. Fred Bisci, David Wolfe, and Rev. Michael Beckwith.

See the trailer:

Check out the wonderful Raw for 30 website!

Visit Dr. Cousens’ 21-Day Cure website.