published Monday, November 30th, 2009

Filmmaker advocates natural, fresh diet


For more information on the documentary "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days," visit


To read biographies, watch video interviews and follow the weekly progress of contestant's from "Chattanooga's Biggest Loser," visit

Coming Tuesday

LifeSpring Clinic is putting children's focus on nutrition and fitness.

A change in diet may be all it takes to reverse the effects of diabetes, according to filmmaker Keith Lyons.

"In my opinion, diabetes is a preventable and curable disease, but the American Diabetes Association says there's no cure," he said.

Mr. Lyons is executive producer of "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days," which documents the journey of six individuals who reverse the effects of their Type II diabetes.

The group spent a month at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Ariz., where Mr. Lyons said they were cured of the disease by switching to a raw, organic, vegan diet.

He presented a trailer of the video and took questions Sunday from finalists of "Chattanooga's Biggest Loser," an intensive 10-week diet and exercise competition. His daughter Kim Carson is a finalist in the competition.

He said the American diet -- high in processed foods and sugar -- has changed drastically in the past half-century, creating serious problems for the human body.

"Our pancreas just gives out," he said. "It says, 'Uncle.'"

Mr. Lyons, a vegan, advocates a natural diet heavy in grains, beans and raw leafy, green vegetables. A switch to grass-fed beef, wild fish and pesticide-free fruits are easy changes people can make without going to a vegan diet, Mr. Lyons said. He also recommends not heating vegetables above 115 degrees Fahrenheit to keep enzymes intact.

Kristen Harvey, who organizes the Biggest Loser competition with her husband, Kevin, said she's seen firsthand how a wholesome diet can cure some diseases.

"I believe that lifestyle diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes can be prevented, reversed and even cured in most cases through food," Dr. Harvey said. "People need to learn how to use food as medicine and think more about what they put in their mouths."

Ms. Carson said she hasn't switched to an entirely vegan diet like her father, but she has cut her meat intake down by about 50 percent and switched to more organic foods.

"I don't necessarily care about being vegan," she said. "I care about being healthy."

Mr. Lyons, who joined in the "Biggest Loser's" Sunday community workout, said he sees similarities between the Arizona group and contestants of the local competition.

"There's some parallels in developing that esprit de corps," he said. "It's about the group, not the individual."

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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