Diabetes And Its Nutritional Treatment
( Originally Published 1954 )
Diabetes is a disease that has been known to medical science for a long time. It is now understood much better than it was a half a century ago. In the last fifty years, diabetes has been studied with modern methods, which have been developed as a result of the fact that the chemistry of the body has been investigated more thoroughly than in the past.
Two great medical men, Drs. Banting and Best, even won the Nobel Prize in medicine for original research on the problem of diabetes, leading to the discovery of insulin therapy. These great scientists performed some brilliant research on dogs with the objective of investigating the role of the pancreatic hormone, insulin, and its relation to body health.
The discovery of insulin as a weapon to fight diabetes was undoubtedly a very important discovery. Even vegetarians must admit that vivisection served a useful purpose in prolonging and saving the lives of many diabetics. The scientists who experimented with dogs on the problems of diabetes loved those animals and were sorry to inflict necessary suffering on them in the course of searching for a cure of this disease.
In orthodox medical practice, insulin has been used to excess in most cases of diabetes. The patient has been allowed to take many liberties with regard to food intake because insulin is supposed to burn up excess blood sugar.
I have studied diabetes from the point of view of the chemistry of the living cells of the body and its vital fluids. The science of biochemistry has revealed some important facts about the body, facts that throw important light on this disease.
The healthy body is regulated by a system of chemicals that are known as blood buffers or electrolites. These blood buffers regulate the constant reaction of the blood and of the lymph. For a long time the blood and lymph maintain normality, even in such serious chronic diseases as diabetes and cancer.
The blood of the diabetic shows one characteristic abnormality, an increased amount of blood sugar. Normal blood sugar varies between 90 to 130 mgs. per volume of 100 c.c. Diabetic blood may have a sugar content that ranges between 200 and 500 mgs.
Insulin is a drug that quickly chemicalizes and neutralizes or burns up the excess blood sugar. In fact, many diabetics are often given excess doses of insulin which result in abnormally reducing the blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This results in a typical complication known as insulin shock. The diabetic in insulin shock goes into a convulsion which is similar to an epileptic attack. A spoonful of honey, given by the mouth (which often has to be opened by force), or an injection of glucose in water into the blood, soon brings the patient out of this state of convulsion.
There is another complication in diabetes, diabetic coma. Coma results when the tissues of the body, particularly the cells of the brain, become saturated with diabetic wastes. This condition causes a serious complication which in many instances has fatal consequences. Diabetic coma, as well as insulin shock, is caused by a treatment procedure which is based on trial and error.
Food as medicine is in its infancy as an applied art and science. The physician is trained to prescribe drugs in accurate dosages, but he is not well-trained to prescribe food in accurate amounts and combinations. The conventional methods of calculating caloric food values in haphazard selections of food products result in unscientific feeding of the sick as well as of the healthy. The New Knowledge of Nutrition is a basic science that can be applied as a fine art in food preparation and combination.
Menu planning today is usually based on habit. Habits are not always health-building. Many chronic diseases are prevalent because people do not know how to exercise correct judgment in food selection.
The diabetic sufferer is trained to a certain extent to take care of this health impairment. Even juvenile diabetics are trained to give themselves a daily injection of insulin. All diabetics are trained to do a simple qualitative test on urine. All these things are excellent weapons in the hands of the diabetic.
The important knowledge that the diabetic needs is how to live on a diet that will prevent the saturation of the tissues by end-products of sugar wastes and fatty wastes which in many cases lead to the dreaded and dreadful terminal stage of gangrene. Gangrene cannot occur in healthy limbs. The blood, being a transport medium, sends diabetic tissue waste into the cells of the muscles, skin, bones, and nerves of the terminal structures, the toes, feet and legs. Diabetic gangrene can be arrested by better choice of foods than those which some conventional medical practitioners endorse and prescribe for the diabetic.
The raw fresh vegetables are the safest foods for the diabetic. Freshly made salads of raw lettuce, cabbage, celery, radishes and tomatoes, seasoned with lemon juice only, are far better food staples for the diabetic than mixtures such as cooked vegetables, meats, bread, etc. The diabetic should eat raw salad for breakfast, dinner and supper.
Raw fruits that are low in sugar are also wholesome foods for the diabetic. Grapefruits, apples that are not too sweet, peaches and pears are all good foods for the diabetic. The sub-acid and acid fruits help to burn up excess sugar from the blood and tissues. The raw salad materials provide alkaline mineral ash which tends to soak up cellular wastes; thus these foods can help to prevent such complications as diabetic gangrene.
In my experience with the chronic diseases that I have treated in my small sanitorium, the Health Rest, I have often encountered the diabetic problem. I have treated diabetics of all ages. I found that dietetic treatment can be very potent therapeutically. By feeding my patients a breakfast of sour fruits, such as lemon juice slightly diluted, grapefruit and raw apple, I was able to reduce sugar in the blood and urine to an impressive extent.
In some cases I succeeded in eliminating insulin therapy because the diet was so planned as to exclude starches and sugar. This method of treatment accomplished the objective of reducing dangerous amounts of blood sugar and sugar in the urine. Even fresh sweet milk is excluded from my diabetic diets. Sour milk, in which the milk sugar is reduced to lactic acid, is better tolerated than fresh milk, I found. Very often diabetics suffer from such complications as skin rash. Under my dietetic management, skin rash cleared up within two or three weeks.
Before insulin was discovered, a great internist and surgeon, Da Costa, made use of lemon juice as a medicine to oxidize excess blood sugar in the body of the diabetic. It is still an excellent procedure. The diabetic relishes pure lemon juice. It quenches thirst bet-ter than gallons of water, because it burns up excess blood sugar with-out causing such accidents as insulin shock.
As mentioned, I have treated a considerable number of diabetic patients. The principle of treatment is the same with all of these patients. The food intake must be so planned as to oxidize cellular and fluid wastes and eliminate them from the body.
Fasting is of great help in the treatment of the diabetic. The fast is used alternately with raw-salad and raw-fruit feeding. During the fast, lemon juice slightly diluted is the only food intake. The patient is given the juice of four lemons in enough water to make one glassful, as often as it can be taken without forcing.
Two enemas a day are also given. The enema consist of a quart to three pints of warm water with the juice of a lemon. This kind of enema is superior to the conventional medical "soapsuds" enema. The two enemas a day clean out colon waste that might otherwise be absorbed into the blood and tissues.
The raw-food diet helps to burn up tissue fats and provides proteins to maintain and nourish the body. Raw vegetables and fruits together with bodily protein and fat, make a kind of balanced food ration. The diabetics, living on his own diseased flesh, can prevent a future accident such as indolent ulceration or gangrene.
When the diabetic is ready for food other than raw fruits or vegetables, leafy green vegetables and other varieties that ripen above ground, slightly cooked without any seasoning, are also permissible foods. Butter, oil and other fats must be used with great discretion in cases of diabetes, because the diabetic cannot metabolize fat as normally as does a healthy person. Fats can break down in the blood and tissues into more severe poisons than excess sugar. A fat-free diet is therefore the indicated diet for the diabetic. Many diabetics are overweight, and this is another reason to eat fat-free foods.
The diabetic who is thin also requires a low-fat or a no-fat intake for a time. When the thin diabetic is permitted any fat, it must be used in moderation. Fatty fruits such as avocado (alligator pear) make a very good spread on starchless breadóbetter than butter.
Proteins, when permissible, are best selected from nuts and freshly made cottage cheese or buttermilk. juvenile diabetics particularly must get a certain amount of dairy protein such as buttermilk and cheese, because these products are easily digestible. They are also sugar-free and fat-free and they tend to promote growth. Starchy foods must of necessity be used with discretion, in the young particularly. Older people are better off without starch, even non-diabetics. The young diabetics who want to participate in youth activities must have energy-producing foods, and starches are excellent sources of energy.
It is much easier to regulate the older diabetic sufferer without insulin therapy. Young children and youths who suffer from diabetes must be given insulin. However, they require smaller insulin dosages with a balanced dairy-vegetarian diet than with an ordinary meatbread-and-potato diet.
Insulin shock as well as coma can be prevented by correct feeding, with careful knowledge of the blood picture and the imperative insulin requirement.
The diabetic condition is caused by some organic or functional impairment of the pancreas or liver or both these vital organs. Careful dietetic management and a food intake that excludes dead animal matter is safer and sounder than the conventional hodge-podge feeding of the diabetic.