DVD Review: Simply Raw, Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Simply Raw begins with a quote:

Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure.  — American Diabetes Association

This is a dismal statement, and one consistent with the kind of information most diabetics and pre-diabetics (including myself) are given by their doctors.  But is it true?  The people at Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona have set out to disprove that claim.   The film tells the story of six individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who go to Tree of Life to find out if these medical rebels are right and their own doctors are wrong. 

Ill get to their stories, but Ill begin by telling you my own: When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had gestational diabetes.  With a controlled diet, I was able to keep it in check but the diet was difficult.  My sweet indulgence during those months? Half a grapefruit.  Really.  This wasnt easy for someone who was known to order dessert before or even instead of the entre.  Still, I did it.  My daughter was worth it.  After the pregnancy, the condition ceased, but about a year later I found myself experiencing frequent hypoglycemic spells:  Id break out into a sweat, get shaky, have to sit down and immediately eat something.  I went to my doctor, and after sending me to get a glucose tolerance test she determined I was pre-diabetic.  She referred me to an endocrinologist who informed me that once you are pre-diabetic you could postpone the onset of diabetes with diet and exercise but you could not avoid it entirely.  

My mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me, and she developed diabetes later in life.  She did not control it at all and she eventually suffered a stroke.  That was the first of innumerable other problems: difficulty walking (sometimes she managed with a cane, other times she needed us to carry her), balance issues (how many times did I pick her off the floor?), incontinence, dry skin, mental changes,  etc. etc. etc.  I took one look at my mother and knew that could not be me. It was time to decide if I was worth it.

I began exercising and restricting my sugar.  I also went to a homeopathist.  Between the two, within months my blood was coming back normal on the A1C test (which tests your glucose control over 3 months).  Nonetheless, I was still experiencing periodic hypoglycemic spells.  The specter of the doctors statement Diabetes is inevitable rang through my consciousness.  

At some point I stumbled across the trailer for the movie, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes for 30 days.  It was inspiring enough for me to try introducing raw foods into my life.  For several weeks I ate two meals a day raw and one meal each day of my regular ovo-lacto vegetarian diet.  Then I caught the stomach flu from my daughter.  You might be familiar with the phenomenon where you cant look at whatever you were eating immediately prior to vomiting, no matter what the actual cause.  Bye-bye raw foods.  But those hypoglycemic spells continued.  About six months later I decided to try again.  I got more serious. This time I went mostly raw with the occasional cooked vegan meal but with no processed sugar or fried food.  A month and a half later I noticed I hadnt had a single hypoglycemic episode since I began.  And this while eating fabulous raw vegan desserts regularly!  The changes Im experiencing are so dramatic Ive since decided to eliminate even the occasional cooked vegan meal.  Living, and eating, this way feels too good and tastes too good.

All this life change began because I watched a single 5 minute trailer!  It was clearly time I saw the whole movie, but I hesitated buying it only because I was now on sabbatical and making 75% of my normal income.  As fate would have it, the film company offered review copies to those with websites.    

Upon watching the full-length film, I was moved almost to tears by the stories of the six individuals documented.  All of them were experiencing significant health problems due to diabetes, much more severe than my own.  Four had Type 2, two had Type 1.  Some were young and some were old.  They came from all walks of life.  They arrived at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center hoping, like me, that their doctors were wrong.  Diabetes doesnt have to be forever.

Here I have to pause to give credit to the filmmakers.  While the film does have an agenda to convince the viewer of the health benefits of the raw diet, especially for diabetics they are remarkably unbiased in their depictions of the patients reactions.   At their first meal, one patient says of the food,  This is different. You could get used to it.  If you grew up eating it you could like it.  Not a ringing endorsement for what are billed as gourmet raw vegan meals!  One man doesnt make it through the entire month because of the food, even though he experiences dramatic changes after just two and a half weeks. When he arrived at Tree of Life his blood sugar was at 450 on medications, and on the day he left it was at 200 without them. His blood pressure was normal, hed lost 30 pounds, and he went from taking 17 medications a day to none at all.  But he couldnt stomach the food:  My brain dont want the food, he told them, It just rejects it. Literally. I look at it and I just want to scream.  When the day is done, this is simply a good documentary, whether you are diabetic or not, whether you are interested in eating raw or not.  The story is simply compelling and the production values are high.  This is a PBS-worthy film.

In fact, the film is so unbiased, on one level it may hurt its own agenda: the food seems so unappealing in the eyes of most of the participants, unless your motivation to cure yourself of diabetes is high, you might watch this and abandon all hope.   I am almost certain that when I show this movie to my mother she will say You have willpower and can do this.  I cant. I hope Im wrong, and this is too important not to show her so I will.  In fact, this film is too important not to show everyone who is diabetic, pre-diabetic, or genetically pre-disposed to diabetes, and to the doctors who treat them.  

The doctor who told me Diabetes is inevitable sprang back into my memory as I watched the young man in the film who used his own doctors words as an excuse not to believe in the regimen and sabotage himself.  He repeats over and over to anyone who will listen that every doctor he has ever had has told him he will be on insulin the rest of his life. Yet despite a mid-retreat unauthorized field trip across the border to Mexico where he gorged on enchiladas and alcohol, by the end of the film he had gone from injecting 70 units of insulin a day to just 5.  The other type 1 diabetic is off insulin and medication entirely.  Doctors think they are doing a service by letting us know the reality of our chronic conditions, but what they are doing is planting the seeds of disaster.  As the movie tells us, it was Hippocrates who said Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.  We can heal ourselves, but first we have to undo the power of disbelief planted within in us by the very doctors who we went to for advice.  We have to undo the damage done to us by lifetimes of eating S.A.D (Standard American Diet).  We have to be willing to take that first step toward wholeness.

In the months since I first learned about raw foods, Ive read so many personal testimonies about how becoming raw has changed peoples health in innumerable ways, curing all sorts of supposedly irreversible or chronic conditions.  I hope there will be other films that document their stories.

Purchase Simply Raw from the Filmmakers

Purchase Simply Raw from Amazon.com

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Craft Instruction Archives

These are a few excerpts from AllWitchCrafts. Enjoy!

Down to Earth Rituals: Weeding your Spirit

My parents have a plentiful yard. When they first moved into this house, the back yard was oak trees and grass. Now it’s landscaped with an abundance of flora that seems to change subtlyover the years. There are at least a dozen hibiscus, a camphor tree, azalea bushes, and quite a few other plants that I can’t identify. Pathos, one of the easiest houseplants to grow, has taken over one oak tree and its leaves have reached terrifying proportions. Perhaps your pathos is more than a houseplant gone wild, but self-pity that has taken hold of your confidence and personal power.

Upkeep of our spiritual gardens is something most of us acknowledge as a necessity but put off — ridding the intentional plants of the unintentional weeds and volunteers is daunting. As in Florida where I currently reside, the climate of your life may nurture weeds that grow rapidly and tenaciously. Rake your fingers just under the mulch and you’ll snag a web of thick strands that have enmeshed themselves steathily under the decaying leaves to spring up and braid their vines along the branches of a soul that should blossom like azalea or hibiscus.

I find great great spiritual comfort in the pulling of physical weeds. My son loves to pull weeds with my mom but even he gets a little weary of all the tugging that will often yield a handful of vine and leaves but no roots. One such persistent invader is walking iris. It looks like gigantic tufts of grass blades. Out of these blade-like leaves, one will shoot out and spawn a small new plant at the end of the tendril that will sprout roots before it even works its way into the ground. These tendrils allow the plant to “walk” its way out to grow wherever it likes. It’s not unattractive, as “filler” plants go. But it does tend to walk its way into places you may not intend. My parents planted one or two very small patches of it and it now has taken over several quadrants of the yard.

Occasionally I have felt moved to do work in the yard. Last time I did a major amount of work, I attempted to rake up all the oak leaves that had fallen since the summer. Live oak leaves are pretty small and the grass I’m raking over isn’t actually real grass, so raking can be tedious and somewhat unsatisfying. You never really get all the leaves and sometimes all that’s left is dirt. Nevertheless, I felt like I’d really done something that day. Today was a day for weeding.

I started off weeding while wearing my daughter in her sling, but she’s grown cumbersome for doing actual physicalwork, even when she’s asleep. After a time, I was able to have my mother hang out with her while I got down to doing some serious weeding. I’d found that, while walking iris seemed to be everywhere, they weren’t difficult to pull out. A firm grasp at the base of a fan of leaves and the earth would release the roots with a satisfying series of pops and deep snaps. Mom showed me what she wanted taken out and I got to it. Her main objective was the clear away the iris from the Aztec grass they’d intentionally planted along the stone path. Iris leaves are narrow, but thick and plentiful enough to overshadow more delicate Aztec grass. As I pulled, I realized my son had gone inside, as had my mom with my daughter. At the same time I realized that this work could become more meaningful than just horticultural. I grounded and connected my center and my psyche with the land I was working.

I pulled up iris. This weed was the boys in junior high who tormented me at my locker and in class. I named the weed aloud and said, “this weed will not grow in my garden.” One handful of leaves would often yield one or two shoots and new, smaller tufts of leaves. This weed was all the issues of Elle and Vogue that taught me to be ever disappointed in my body and my lifestyle. This weed will not grow in my garden. Fans of dark green iris came away to reveal forlorn, underdeveloped blades of Aztec grass — hidden and stunted, but surely able to come back. I filled a garbage bag, hauled it to side of the house and started another. This weed was a boyfriend with whom Ialways felt inadequate. This weed will not grow in my garden. I tackled what seemed to be an enormous single clot of iris. But it came easily away as I pulled a little at a time. This weed was the middle school girls who chased me home one afternoon, taunting me. This weed was the cliques ofpopularkidswho distracted me from truer friends. These weeds will not grow in my garden. Handful after handful Inamed them and gently but firmly pulled their roots from where they were no longer welcome.

Most people tend to distinguish between weeds and desirable plants, but theyre all part of the same system really. Everything we experience in life has equal potential to shape us for good or for ill, but weeds are very much like those experiences in our life that can overrun our thoughts and actions rapidly and insidiously and break down our more productive nature. If left unattended, the weeds of our insecurity and pain can creep up and strangle those parts of us that flower beautifully. Like weeds, these experiences are usually deposited by something other than ourselves, are invasive, and often lay hidden to spread farthest. We are the keepers of our own souls garden. With careful tending, identifying and removing on a regular basis those elements that rob us of energy and nourishment, we can enjoy an inner landscape that reflects ourselves at our strongest and healthiest.

Introduction to the Sabbats: The Magic of Ancient Celtic Beliefs in a Contemporary Society

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I’m thinking of the days,
I won’t forget a single day, believe me.
–Ray Davies, the Kinks

The most important thing to understand about the eight Witchcraft
Sabbats is that they are not man-made. By this, I mean that they are
not holidays in the same way that Independence Day is a holiday, i.e. a
calendar anniversary of some date that has a special importance in
history. Indeed, the Sabbats of Witchcraft do not commemorate any
historical event and are, as we shall see, almost antithetical to the
concept of history. Nor are they randomly chosen holidays to observe
some social institution, such as Mother’s Day. No, the eight Sabbats of
Witchcraft were not man-made because they existed long before man was
made. Or woman. Or the dinosaurs. Or life on this planet. Indeed, these
eight holidays might be said to be as old as the Earth itself. They
might not have been called “sabbats” then, but they were there just the

Continue reading “Introduction to the Sabbats: The Magic of Ancient Celtic Beliefs in a Contemporary Society”

The Power of Enzymes: Best Detox Foods for Digestive Wellness

A typical steak dinner may take your body up to a week to digest.
Youre digestive system has to work hard to break down the components
of the meal. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, usually take 1-2
hours to digest.  Why?
The answer is enzymes. To understand why certain foods are digested
more easily than others, knowledge of how enzymes work is essential.
Enzymes are basically active proteins that act as catalysts for
biological chemical reactions. In the body, digestive enzymes are
responsible for breaking down molecules as part of the digestive


Continue reading “The Power of Enzymes: Best Detox Foods for Digestive Wellness”

Detox Myths Shattered: the Truth About Internal Cleansing

The media is abuzz lately with stories about detox. Oprah, Beyonce,
Gwenth Paltrow, and other celebs are drawing the attention of the
medical community, the press, and the public as the detox phenomenon
quickly picks up speed.  Doctors are frantically scurrying to annihilate detox out of the
sphere of influence, making claims that invalidate and attack internal
cleansing methods, labeling them dangerous, and ineffective. The
scare tactics being employed by M.D.s, however, can be demystified
with a little common sense. Allow me to explain why the medical
industry wants to boot detox off the radar screen by addressing the
three biggest myths told by doctors and spun by journalists:

Continue reading “Detox Myths Shattered: the Truth About Internal Cleansing”

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