Some diseases are genetic, and their development may be inevitable. But some are caused, or at least worsened, by what we eat and the way we live. While there is no one cure-all for completely preventing diabetes, certain lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Our choices can also improve quality of life and decrease insulin dependence for those who suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Gabriel Cousens groundbreaking film Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days proved with six case studies that raw living can significantly improve the health of people with diabetes. If a raw food lifestyle can reverse or mitigate the effects of diabetes, then it is highly likely it can keep it from developing in healthy or pre-diabetic adults. Here are a few ways that a raw food lifestyle can support you in preventing diabetes.
1. Limited Sugar
Processed sugar may be the most insidious substance known to man. For many people, it is as addictive as narcotics, and potentially as deadly in the long run.
We are hard-wired to love sweet things because in nature they are relatively rare. The fruits that taste sweet are also usually high in necessary nutrients, and in the past they would have only been ripe for a few weeks or months each year. So we would have eaten as much as we could get while they were available.
But with processed cane sugar, grain syrups, and chemical sweeteners so readily available today, this instinct to devour sweets is being triggered all the time. This throws off our blood glucose levels, causes weight gain, mental instability, and energy crashes, and can lead to the development of diabetes.
A healthy raw lifestyle includes limited sugar. It is possible to cut out all sugar other than whole fresh fruits. Low glycemic raw sweeteners such as Jerusalem artichoke and coconut sap can be used for special occasions, but usually cane sugar and corn syrup are avoided. It is important to note that if you are pre-diabetic of diabetic, you will want to avoid any kind of juice or sweetener, even if it is raw.
2. Insulin Resistance
Insulin is required for the liver, muscle, and fat cells to absorb glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. Eating processed sugar spikes blood glucose levels, which means even more insulin is needed to absorb the excess sugar. Over time, the pancreas can begin to falter in its ability to produce enough insulin. When this happens it is more likely that diabetes will develop.
In addition to cane sugar and corn syrup, processed cooked foods such as white rice, white bread, baked goods, crackers, and most snack foods act like sugar in the body.
Raw whole vegetables and fruit that are high in fiber help keep blood glucose levels stabilized. They also support the functioning of the liver and pancreas, ensuring proper absorption of the sugar that is consumed.
3. Leafy Greens
The healthiest foods for anyone attempting to stave off diabetes are leafy green vegetables. Luckily, these are a staple in raw lifestyles. Leafy greens are high in fiber, phyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants, all of which help maintain health.
Fiber is crucial for maintaining balanced blood glucose levels. It slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and feeds the beneficial bacteria in the colon that improve digestion.
5. Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese is a huge contributing factor to developing diabetes. Abdominal fat in particular produces hormones that contribute to insulin resistance and other diseases.
A raw food lifestyle that focuses on vegetables, whole fruits, sprouts, and healthy fats encourages the maintenance of a healthy weight.
Frequent vigorous exercise helps reduce abdominal fat and maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Muscles burn more glucose than other tissues. The larger and more active muscles are, the more glucose they burn without needing as much insulin. A healthy raw foods lifestyle includes daily exercise.
7. Vegan Power
A raw lifestyle usually includes being vegan. Eating a diet that avoids dairy, eggs, and meat helps the body maintain a healthy hormonal balance. Meat cooked at high temperatures is poisonous to the cells and contributes to insulin resistance. Animal protein in general raises blood levels of IGF-1, a hormone that has been linked to diabetes and cancer risk.
A raw food lifestyle helps put you more in touch with the living essence of the food you eat. When you are more in touch with the vital energy of your food, you are more likely to eat consciously. This means making choices that are more healthful for your body.
There are many factors that contribute to the development or prevention of disease. Sometimes it is simply a persons fate to work with a particular illness in his or her lifetime. But we can use every tool available to give ourselves the best chance at being healthy and vibrant. A living foods lifestyle that focuses on leafy greens, sprouts, whole fruits, soaked nuts and seeds, exercise, and awareness can support our health in many ways, including potentially preventing diabetes.