Sunday, March 18, 2012

Curing Type I IDDM diabetes through diet

I'm going to make this as fact-based as I can. This is the story of how my son, Logan, contracted insulin dependent diabetes melitosis (IDDM aka Type 1 diabetes) and the facts surrounding his recovery though primarily diet and supplements.

I tell this story in the hopes others will heal themselves.

Thanks to all who have prayed for Logan. And they are many and spread worldwide.

What Started All This

Logan was born in 1991. His mother has IDDM since the age of 24 or so. He was never breastfed and loved milk products, particularly ice cream and cheese. (Cow's milk is linked to IDDM as explained in The China Study, as is lack of breastfeeding).

He never got sick and never missed a day of school due to illness in 12 years until he went to Va Tech (VT). At age 9 or so his weight ballooned about 50 pounds. His diet was the Standard American Diet (SAD)... maybe even worse. Many kids do this. Infants are obese now. They don't lack willpower. Our food supply has changed.

His grades were always B+'s. He took mostly IB and AP courses in high school. At VT, the first year was OK and then his grades started slipping. He started failing.

When I quizzed him, his answers seemed out of character. They seemed dreamy or unfocused to me. I determined that he wasn't on drugs (including alcohol or nicotine), and had never used them. (I know how that sounds, but trust me, I'm sure.)

I was so confused by his behavior that I took him to the doctor and we found his fasting blood sugar was 220. (It should be <100). His sophomore year was spent on Metformin due to an assumption of Type II diabetes (wrong) and the Metformin seemed to help for a year or so. His sugars were still high, but under 150.

A naturopathic doctor here in Austin tested him for food allergies via a blood antigen test and found him somewhat allergic to just about everything. They'd never seen anything like it. We ran these tests multiple times and had him alter his diet to eat things he was less allergic to.

After some time his allergies lessened but did not dissipate. We thought if we could get his immune system to stop overreacting then it would stop attacking his pancreas.

Then the endocrinologist in Blacksburg told him he had tested positive for the antibody that indicates his body was attacking his own pancreas. This is what is now understood to cause IDDM.

It is my belief that Logan's overactive immune system has been doing several things:

1. It keeps him from ever getting sick. At all.
2. It makes him allergic to all food and all common airborn allergens.
3. It kills the islet cells in his pancreas, causing IDDM

Incidentally, his diabetic mother never gets sick either. His sister rarely does.

Logan is motivated to solve these problems and can stick to draconian diets because he's seen his mother suffer from an inability to keep her sugar in a safe range. In my experience ALL diabetics fail to keep their sugar in the safe range of 85-100. It is too hard to replace your pancreas with artificial means. The balance is just too hard.

Logan was able to heal himself because his would rather live without insulin than live with cheeseburgers. He is very motivated. Determined.
His ability to focus and control his urges is really quite majestic.

His endocrinologist put him on insulin and added onglycin to his regimen. Onglycin is a Metformin replacement that costs $250/month and United Healthcare would not cover it. It came with coupons that would not work as the coupon redemption company wouldn't answer the phone for Walgreen's.

The costs of continual blood testing, insulin, and onglycin would easily have exceeded $500/month forever and resulted in lack of control of his blood sugar in my opinion, so I talked him into another option. This other option costs $12,000, about two years of the cost of the treatment he was pursuing, but held out the possibility of a cure. At first I thought that possibility was extremely remote, but wanted to give it a try. I didn't think Logan knew what it felt like to be healthy anymore and wanted him to feel that for once. That much I knew we could achieve.

We decided, based on the recommendation of 2 friends of mine who'd been there, to go to the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ to participate in their Diabetes Reversal program.

The Tree of Life
In early December 2011, Logan went on insulin. 2 weeks after that, I'd talked him into taking a semester off from VT and in going to the Tree of Life (TOL).

The TOL is not a business as far as I can tell. It is run more like a non-profit. I had a hard time making a reservation and communicating with the staff by email and phone. Finally I took a leap of faith and just reserved space for the Jan2012 session in the absence of having many questions answered. I think it could be a business. But I'm a capitalist, a libertarian, and I believe in such things.

When we arrived, day 1, we were introduced to their food. The food is all alive. Some call it raw. Living is a better word. The living vegan organic food there is delicious. I didn't feel like I was sacrificing at all.

The 'phase 1' diet prescribed for diabetics contains no root
vegetables, no animal products, no grains (unless sprouted),
no legumes (unless sprouted). Basically it is above ground veggies,
green things, nuts and seeds. It is not low fat nor
low calorie. Most of the food is grown on site. The water is
all reverse osmosis, including the water for the crops and showers!
This is expensive.

It is like Atkins on steroids, without animal products where everything is organic and raw.

When we arrived, Logan's sugars were running between 150-400 with 14 units of insulin and metformin. That is extremely unhealthy.

On day 2, Logan's morning reading was 62 and he felt jittery and weak and had to drink apple juice to elevate his blood sugar.
Dr Cousen's cut Logan's insulin in half, to 7 units.

On day 3, Logan's reading was 58. Cousen's cut his
insulin to 3.

On day 4, Logan's reading was 60, Cousen's cut him to 1 unit, but Logan just stopped taking insulin. That was over 9 weeks ago. Logan has not taken insulin again.

Why? Why did this happen? Why did he get off insulin in a few days?

The food is extremely low glycemic. So less insulin is required. Clearly he was still producing some insulin (as is the case with 88% of type 1's according to Gabriel). His pancreas attacking immune system was calming down, but hadn't stopped attacking, and may never do so. But the food is also extremely high in nutrients, which act like a green shield, protecting the pancreas from immunological attack. That's my hypothesis, but it is also backed up by some of Gabriel's research and studies. If you can create islet cells faster than they are being attacked and killed, then you win the war against IDDM. That's what Logan is continually doing.

If you ask Logan about this he will recite the following:

"I don't have to ever take insulin again, and I'm not going to."

And when you look him in the eyes and here him say this, you will believe it.
He is determined.

Dr. Gabriel Cousens is an M.D. He's 69 years old. He's a yogi, a Lakota indian chief (or something like that) and a rabbi. When you do yoga with him, you will find he is as flexible as a 15 year old, probably more than most. He doesn't appear to tire and it is difficult to catch him forgetting anything. He is an excellent advertisement for the philosphy he's pushing. (Read his 4 books for more)

There were 15 diabetics in our group. 1 other IDDM in addition to Logan. The rest were Type II's. Every morning we'd all meet with Gabriel and he'd go around the room asking about sugar numbers, feelings, discomforts etc. He remembered everyone's name, their data from the previous day, he listened, and he responded. He is fascinating to watch.

I now realize what a real doctor is supposed to look like. Gabriel is the first real doctor I've ever met. He works very actively every day for about 14 hours to heal everyone around him. He is truly just amazing.

When Logan was taken off of insulin after a few days, everyone clapped. I nearly cried. This was so far beyond my most optimistic expectations.

By the end of the month that we stayed there, all 15 people were off of insulin and off of metformin.

The first week:

After the first few days, we fasted on green juices (mostly celery/cucumber) for a week. This was way way easier than I expected. The longest I've ever fasted in my life was when I was hung over. Type I's are given green smoothies instead of green juices. Gabriel said prior Type I's had inexplicably high sugar increases from the juices.

During the week long fast we did enemas every day. That was less of a big deal than I had feared. But I'm not a huge fan. The goal is to get poisons out of your body, while only putting pure things in and give your body a rest and time to heal.

Celery and cucumber are purported to contain compounds that improve certain aspects of diabetes.

During the fast, Logan frequently had sugars in the 50's or 60's with no insulin or metformin. Clearly his body was producing insulin. Other patients had much higher numbers even though they were still taking insulin.

We think being young was very helpful and enabled Logan to get off of insulin faster.

The second week at the TOL is about mental health. A technique called 'zeropoint' is taught, which enables you to get rid of bad habits and disruptive thought patterns at will and quickly.

You learn to control your thoughts instead of having them control you.

You know, thoughts like "Gimme donuts now!"

Logan has been the training at 'the forum' and said the training was similar, but in reverse. In the forum, you uncover old traumas and eliminate the habits they caused. In zeropoint you uncover bad habits and go back the the trauma. It is effective and easy to do.

Also during this second week came supplements. Logan got off easy and was prescribed $650/month in supplements for the first 3 months. Others had bills like $4000/month. The prescriptions came from a combination of blood test, Gabriel looking at your blood under a microscope, and strength testing from Dr Tice.

Gabriel will look at your blood under a microscope and tell you things like "See how those red cells are sticking together, that's your thyroid." He can tell much from just looking at your blood under a microscope.

This actually makes sense to me. I'm surprised all doctors don't do it. It's not any crazier than a stethoscope. It seems obvious that much can be learned from your blood, from just looking at it.

Dr Tice uses strength testing similar to that performed by many
chiropractors to determine ailments and supplements that will help.

Many of the supplements come from Precision Labs here in Austin. They sell them at People's drug.

In the third week you learn how to prepare raw pizza, raw lasagna, cookies pasta, and many other items in a raw living food vegan style.

Having desserts that are 'phase 1' surprised me. Xylytol and Stevia are the secret. For someone who cannot cook, this food is no harder to prepare than traditional american food had you never learned how to cook it. In other words, a caveman could learn to cook bacon and eggs about as fast as raw zuccini noodle spaghetti with 'meet' balls about as quickly.

Much of this stuff is in one of Gabriel's books.

The Aftermath
As we were leaving we got the news that a blood test done in the 2nd week at the TOL showed Logan's insulin production was in the normal range.

His pancreas was healing. Yes, it can do that.

Any endocrinologist will tell you that doesn't happen. Ask them,
"Have you ever tried?"

We came back healthy and off drugs. Logan's sugars are still normal. He eats a mostly living food vegan diet. My wife has been infected with the philosophy and has been extremely supportive of Logan. He makes desserts at Casa de Luz at night (which he cannot eat) and when he eats cooked food, he mostly eats it at Casa. I eat breakfast there every day but focus mostly on the kale and tahini.

Come eat breakfast with me there at 730 any morning, and I'll tell you all about it. I don't care who your are. Just come.

Casa de Luz (in Austin) is where I first heard of the TOL.

My wife is getting younger by the day, her skin looks fantastic and she has more energy than ever. My stepdaughter is also getting converted. She's seen the improvements in her mom, and she wants some of that.

My daughter, who I'm hoping to prevent from getting IDDM (she's 17), is less of a fan of the raw vegan life.

But we'll wear her down.


Blogger tpascoe said...

Thanks for sharing Curt. I'll take you up on breakfast one of these days.


7:53 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Wow, Curt. Reading this article, especially as a parent, breaks my heart, then heals it right up (just like a good diet, I suppose). I am SO grateful that Logan has the character and fortitude to heal himself through food. I am definitely being "converted" myself and hope to offer my kiddos the benefits of a plant based diet. Thanks for the link to the restaurant. I will have to check it out. And (yes, I know this is the longest blog comment ever), you are such a great dad. No surprise there.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the information in your blog is inconsistent with Medical Terminology, such as blood that appears like thyroid? A thyroid is part of the endocrine system and can not be deciphered from a blood sample. However after reading your blog I'm very interested in your dietary habit and how your son is continuing with it. I hope, however, that enemas aren't necessary for someone to try this particular life style.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Marlene said...

I think what you did for Logan and yourself is commendable! You have done everything a father could do to try and save his son. Congratulations Curt! You are a wonderful father!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Laura J said...

Curt, what a write up! And so happy to hear how it has all worked out, in particular for Logan and for the rest of the family as well. If the focus was to get Logan to a healthy life the result appears to have reached further into a philosophy of well being and conscientious habits. It is wonderful, I am sure glad that I caught up with the writing, and you've told a clear and concise tale of the events.

You may or may not know that this last season we had a Raw & Vegetarian restaurant at the hotel, inspired in part from my personal health improvement which started in India at the Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences Institute (INSY) outside Bangalore. I had heard and experiences many of the benefits from eating raw, from a steady yoga practice, and from a new understanding of what discipline means as far as habits go, but Logan's story as you tell it is truly amazing. At INSY they treat and cure the common modern man diseases: High blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, insomnia, rheumatic fever, all with treatments as you mention and a diet of mostly raw food, and yes, fasting.

It is curious that until we get to an extreme situation we rarely consider the simple fact that we are what we eat... what else could we be?

Best to you all. Hope to catch up soon.

Laura J.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous curt finch said...

Thanks for the good wishes Laura, Anon, and others. Logan is still off insulin, off drugs, with normal sugar. We're all mostly eating foods that are alive.

2:30 AM  
Blogger Vegan Letters said...

Awesome and inspirational story! Thank you! This is the most detailed description of Dr. Cousens' program I have seen. He is also a psychiatrist and helped a friend of mine who was a former heroin addict attain peace of mind through diet changes (see one of his other books "Depression Free for Life" which details the link between addictive habits and poor nutrition).

4:11 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

Hey Curt its Jen from fedloan servicing. I told you I would check out your blog and I am truly wowed. You've started the spark in me and now I want to start that spark in my to the movies on netflix! We will be talking soon.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He wasn't saying his blood was thyroid. He was saying his blood revealed a thyroid problem.

9:52 PM  
Blogger ~*>Godly<*~ said...

This is very inspirational, and I'm glad I stumbled upon it. I am 23 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 14. This has been incredibly difficult for me... before I was finally diagnosed with diabetes, I was very ill for two weeks before, and had gone to the doctor several times before they finally decided to test my sugar levels, and when they did, my bsl reading was around 400. I have been taking insulin injections (both short and long acting) since then, and have still never been able to get my sugar level to be near the normal range. It's typically somewhere between 150 and 350. I recently lost my health insurance and in the last few months have managed to create a stockpile of insulin so I'm not in a dire situation, but I need a better solution to this - something better than worrying about having access to insulin, better than being dependent on insulin, better than being overweight and better than feeling sick on a regular basis. I'm too young for this, and I have a lot of living to do.

I want to ask - do you have any suggestions in regard to going about with this type of diet without it getting too expensive? I don't have the money to go to the place you referenced, and I don't have a whole lot of money available for food, and food is getting expensive.

Do you know of any online groups that can provide support with this kind of diet? I have kind of gotten into a place where I have little motivation anymore... I feel stuck... but this post just ignited something within me... some hope that something can change and this can be conquered.

Sorry to write you a novel here, unloading a bit, but it just kind of... set me off.

I am happy to hear about your family's success in changing your lives. Beautiful. I hope to tell the same story someday soon.

10:01 PM  
Blogger project timesheet said...

Dear Godly,

Eat only green things, raw (unroasted) nuts and seeds for 1 week, all organic. Watch how your insulin needs change. Then just keep it up. You can do it. Wrap your mind around it. I know you can do it.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Sugar Testing Machine said...

rocking story keep posting it inspired people to maintain their health as you know health is wealth we also make diet chart so visit to our site Diabetic Food Diet Plan

3:15 AM  
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8:00 AM  
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8:35 AM  
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5:08 AM  
Anonymous Pattianna Harootian said...

I would love to share this amazing story in a book I'm writing, Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Illness with Nutrition. I've profiled about 25 people so far and would LOVE to include this story as well. You can reach me at: Maura Nevel-Thomas referred me to you-we were college roommates. Hope to hear from you.

9:26 AM  
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10:37 AM  
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9:47 PM  
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1:21 AM  
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2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obesity and being over-weight are not related to T1DM. Nor is a lack of breast feeding or poor diet. It is an auto-immune disease with as yet undefined triggers. It cannot be 'contracted'. My daughter developed T1DM aged 23. She was breast fed for two years, had a good quality mostly organic diet as a child and has never been over weight. In contrast type 2 diabetes is related to obesity. Potentially the diagnosis of T1DM was not correct. Having said that, I am sure a good diet with raw, organic food can only be good for managing this disease.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:25 PM  
Blogger project timesheet said...

dear anon,

The statement 'obesity not related to type 1' is similar to saying
that your body chemistry doesn't affect it. Diet affects everything. Profoundly. Take your kid to the tree. There are tests to determine how much insulin you are producing. It is probably not zero. Find out.

10:39 AM  

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