NEGAUNEE - For many people, a diabetes diagnosis means living tied to a variety of medications.
However, a recently formed group is trying to raise awareness of the benefits a different type of diet can have when dealing with health problems.
U.P. Veg Resource was recently organized by LuAnne Crupi and her husband Kevin to provide information on vegetarian and vegan diets.
"Veg Resource is going to be encouraging people to make better choices," LuAnne Crupi said.
A group of about 40 people gathered recently in Negaunee Township to view a presentation of the film "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days," organized by the Veg Resource group.
The documentary follows six diabetics - both Type 1 and Type 2 - as they spend a month at the Tree of Life Center in Arizona. While at the center, the participants are placed on a 100 percent raw foods diet - no animal products, no sugar, no foods cooked above 118 degrees.
"It's incredible how fast it happens and toward the end how good they feel," Crupi said.
Within a week of starting the raw foods diet, all six of the participants were taken off their routine insulin injections and their blood sugar levels were down to the level of non-diabetics.
While switching to a completely raw diet might seem extreme, Crupi said she wanted to encourage people to take small steps toward eating better.
"Can you do one meal a day that is totally plant based?" she said. "Even if you're not ready to make the step to full vegetarian, these little steps can help a lot."
Crupi herself has been making the move toward a raw diet and her husband is following a vegan diet. Both have seen big results in their own lives and the lives of family members due to the change in diet.
"Both my parents are Type 2 diabetics. My mom finally decided to go vegan ... and she feels better," Crupi said.
While adjusting to a raw diet is a big of a challenge - the six participants in the film all experienced detox-like symptoms as their bodies adjusted to no preservatives and no processed food - sticking to the diet in a world where many do not follow it may be harder.
"The social aspects are the hardest," Crupi said. "It's become a lot more popular and you just have to make that choice."
With the Marquette Food Co-op and the various farmers markets in the area, Crupi said it is getting easier to find fresh produce to accommodate a raw or vegan diet. In addition, local libraries are beginning to stock vegan or raw "uncook" books.
Crupi said she plans to donate several recipe books to the Peter White Public Library in the next few weeks.
Those wishing to learn more about the "Simply Raw" film can check out www.rawfor30days.com.