Lots of people write books about diabetes (myself included). Few have made diabetes movies. But only Gabriel Cousens, M.D., did both this year.
First came his book, There is a Cure for Diabetes (North Atlantic Books, ISBM 978-1-55643-691-8). Then on June 5 the Newport International Film Festival previewed his documentary, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days."
Scott Mader, one of the film's executive producer, subsequently sent me a "screener copy." This 91-minute documentary just got here, and I have enjoyed watching it again and again in the last couple of days.
This film that focuses on the experiences -- both positive and negative -- and interactions of six people with diabetes
from around the country who went to Dr. Cousens's "Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center"
in Patagonia, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Tucson. One of the
participants couldn't handle the diet and quit part way through.
Another one got drunk on an unauthorized outing south of the border 20
miles from the center, but recovered. None of the other four participants had major problems with the program.
Watching the film was a lot more fun than reading his 446-page book. The personal and emotional aspects of the movie put a human face on how to control diabetes.
The film struck me as honest and sincere. Near the beginning of the film, one of the participants, Austin, says, "I am a defective human being."
"Not everything that is good for you tastes good," Michelle says.
"I don't see why the doctors don't know about this," Pam says. "I'm going to tell mine when I get back." In the event, her doctor appeared completely supportive in the movie, when she returned home.
I say that I "control" my diabetes. I don't claim that I have cured it. The movie starts in fact with an implicit challenge to the American Diabetes Association by flashing a quote from the ADA that, "Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure."
But Dr. Cousens
says "reversing" and "cure." He even claims that his raw food diet can
cure type 1 diabetes. However, a disclaimer at the end carefully notes
that, "This film does not intend to imply that type 1 diabetes can be
healed with any predicable regularity."
The book is essential background for the movie. Dr. Cousens
reports in the book (pages 144-5) that one young man with type 1
"experienced what is considered medically impossible." Two years after
completing Dr.Cousens's program, "He is in perfect health and diabetes-free" with his A1C down to 6.0. This young man is apparently Kirt, one of the people in the film.
When I first heard of this claim, my immediate reaction was that this young man might have had type 2 instead of type 1. Dr. Cousens, however, addressed this question directly in his book.
"One way to explain his rapid response to the Tree of Life program is to claim he was misdiagnosed," Dr. Cousens writes. "But that ignores the typical rapid onset and acute transition to a potentially life threatening blood sugar of 1,200."