Paying it Forward: How Going Raw Saved My Life
I have been a carpenter for about 30 years and a diagnosed diabetic for more than 20 years. At age 51, I was kicked out of a diabetes study at Baylor Diabetes Research Center, Dallas Texas, for being too well!
That’s right, according to the allopathic medical doctors, I am no longer a diabetic!
When I was diagnosed at age 33, I was 421 lbs – nearly 250 pounds overweight. My blood pres-sure was averaging 220/160 (normal is 110/80) and my blood sugars were often in the 200 – 300’s (normal is 70). I was also experiencing diabetic neuropathy (tingling in the hands and feet, lack of grip-strength in my hands and Restless Leg Syndrome).
To make matters worse, I had been incapacitated and bedridden from the complications of a work- related accident for approximately two years. I had fallen three stories, landing straight down on my legs. The impact compacted my neck and severely injured my legs. I had to undergo double reconstructive knee surgery.
Once I was able to move around again, I began assisting a couple of guys with some raw food potlucks. The raw food concept was all new to me, but it seemed interesting and I wanted to help out. Before long, they decided to open a restaurant and offered me the carpentry project. Just like that, I was building “The Organic Garden Café” in Beverly, Massachusetts, a new raw foods restaurant. At that time, I was just building a restaurant— juicing and the raw food lifestyle were still “someone else’s thing.“
The extensive knowledge of the owner, Robert Reid, piqued my interest, opened my mind and inspired me to look deeper. Although still foreign, the concept of eating mainly raw foods was an awakening for me. One 17 year old art student was so full of compassion and willingness to help me explore this new way of eating, that I was floored. The folks I met were pleasant, patient and open to guide me along a new path to health.
After building the “cafe that saved my life” and learning more about eating raw foods, I stopped working carpentry and went to work in the restaurant. I began by learning the art of sprouting. After that, I worked in the prep area and eventually graduated to making food. Before long, I got all the equipment for myself (Vita-Mix, dehydrator etc.) and began to use it.
I learned the raw food philosophy from these good people and it has literally saved my life. I lost a couple of hundred pounds, evened out my blood sugar, lowered my cholesterol and changed my lifestyle. The knowledge really got to me.
It took seven years of aggressive action, following the raw food philosophy and taking the exercise outside, rather than the traditional in-the-gym method. Through hiking, swimming, rock climbing and enjoying high-energy dancing, I managed to make the progress I have made. The doctors said I would never walk normally and never return to my trade. Had I continued on with my old path, they would have been correct and I probably would not be alive today! However, because of my choices of therapy, I can walk, ride a bike, drive and do all manners of work.
Taking the alternative path was not an easy journey, but perseverance has paid off BIG! Beginning with living foods and herbs to replace conventional medicines, then learning about homeopathic, ayurvedic and naturopathic philosophies and finally doing much rehabilitative exercise, I managed to lose 200+ pounds and repair or reverse many of my previous conditions. My leg injuries and other complications from the accident have virtually disappeared along with the diabetes and its complications, including the diabetic neuropathy, high cholesterol and more. I have achieved an unprecedented state of health and movement, beyond what I could ever have imagined. Today, I feel better than I have ever felt in my life!
I returned to carpentry for a few years, only to find that I’d rather find ways to share this healthy path with others. I use what I have learned over the past 10-plus years to work with individuals, such as helping the elderly to age well and assisting children and adults with diabetes to live a healthy life without drugs.
In my new life, I spend my off-work hours hiking more than 30 miles a week, both on land and sea. (Yes, I actually bike in the ocean by mounting my bicycle onto a pontoon!) I go Reggae, Hip-Hop and Ska dancing 2-3 nights a week. I practice outdoor yoga….and I work full time! I work like I am 25 years old! I run up and down 30 ft ladders, doing carpentry work five days a week (when I am not helping someone turn around their health). Who needs a gym?
As for the study, in the end the numbers for my blood sugar are now in the 70-80 range (as opposed to the hundreds), a phenomenal change. The clinicians said my resting heart rate was 47 and that I had the heart strength of a 25 year old athlete! My diabetes A-1C test showed a 4.9! It had been in the double digits, up around 11 or 12.
Dealing with my diabetes head-on has really taken my experience of life to the next level. I juice every morning, eat monster sized salads for lunch and drink juice again or eat banana coconut I-scream for supper. Although in the kitchen, I am still Chef-Boy-R Duh; inexperienced, clumsy and messy. I usually manage to make some things that satisfy my penchant for elaborate foods – although I often end up eating all the ingredients before the recipe is complete.
I have navigated my way through many learning adventures as a diabetic, but by far the raw food lifestyle has achieved the most results, both in my life and in the lives of those I am privileged to help. As I retire from carpentry, I am positioning myself to become a diabetes coach.
I have been studying to get certified. I have certifications so far in herbology, iridology and naturopathy. I am also a massage/movement therapist. I continue to study and gain knowledge because it is time to take what I have learned and “pay it forward.”
Mother Teresa said “We are pencils in the hands of a loving God, who is writing love letters to the world.”