Barbaro I was impressed. Here was a young guy who was
diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but instead of just surrendering to
that, he made the
effort to switch to a low-fat raw vegan diet, decrease his insulin use
through good food choices, and start living a healthy life.
Watching him measure all his food, I realized just how different his
chosen path was from one followed by the average type 1 diabetic.
What’s more impressive is that he’s doing it without a clear idea of
where that path will lead him. Type 2 diabetics bring
the disease on themselves through diet and lifestyle choices and can usually
reverse it with a low-fat diet, as studies have demonstrated many
times. Type 1 diabetes, however, is a different creature.
Some researchers point
to a possible connection with animal milk consumption or other reasons,
but there's no definitive anwer for why type 1 diabetes occurs.
there appear to be rare cases of people reversing type 1 diabetes
through dietary changes, and Robby was inspired by those, there has
never been a method proven to be regularly successful.
Content with getting healthier, an improved carb-to-insulin ratio, and
generally feeling great, Robby has set out to inspire type 2 diabetics
to get rid of their disease forever, even if he still has to deal with
his own. His nonprofit organization, Robby Barbaro, Inc., seeks to
educate diabetics about their options.
I decided that Robby would be a great addition to the raw
food success stories on this site, and I’m pleased he agreed to an
For those looking for more information on a low-fat raw vegan diet
(which involves lots of fruit, lots of vegetables, and not much overt
fat), and some of the other concepts discussed in this interview,
please see the bottom of the interview for relevant links.
Robby Barbaro: Stats
Date of Birth: March 26, 1988 Occupation:
Marketing Associate for Monica Beach Media Education:
University of Florida, Gainesville— Bachelor of Science in Recreation,
Parks & Tourism Specialization:
Event Management Minor: Business
Administration Home: Santa Monica,
California Favorite Fruits:
Mangos, Cherimoyas, Figs
Robby Barbaro: Growing Up Diabetic
Andrew Perlot: Tell us a bit about growing up with type 1
diabetes. How did it affect you and your worldview?
Robby Barbaro: I
was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 13. It has been a blessing in
disguise. I buy into the belief that absolutely nothing happens by
accident and there is no such thing as victimhood. I think my
experience with type 1 diabetes is teaching me lessons that I need to
learn. If I was not having this experience, I am not sure I would have
gone down the path of applying healthy habits to all areas of my life.
My experience as a type 1 diabetic has given me a sense of purpose for
my life, and I do my best to live that purpose moment by moment, day by
day. Type 1 diabetes is a great challenge and the opportunity to
overcome it is an undertaking that I welcome.
Andrew Perlot: When
and why did you start waking up to the possibility that a low-fat raw
vegan diet based around fruits and vegetables might be better for
managing type 1 than the usual American Diabetes Association
suggestions of restricting calories and using lots of insulin and/or
Robby Barbaro: As I
mentioned, my diagnosis was at age 13. I followed the standard American
diet without ever thinking twice about what I ate; nothing was off
Over the following years I began experimenting with a number of ideas.
By age 14, I was a huge supporter of supplements, because I was sold on
the idea that our soil is depleted and I needed high-quality
pharmaceutical-grade supplements to be healthy. I had a shake
containing special powders every morning. By age 15, I started seeing
an electrodermal screening test (EDST) professional, who told me to
avoid certain foods. I no longer believe the EDST machine is effective,
but at the time I followed his list of NO foods and YES foods
At about this time I stumbled upon Kevin Trudeau’s book Natural Cures
“They” Don’t Want You to Know About. A paragraph in that book said
something about people healing from type 1 diabetes. That was the first
time I had ever even heard such a thing, and it started me down a path
where the more I learned about how poorly we treat our bodies, the more
I believed my body could heal itself.
At age 17 I became a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I came
to believe that raw milk and grass-fed meat were healthy. By this time
I had become more aware of other topics such as the benefits of organic
and local food and the dangers of GMOs, pasteurization, MSG, soy
products, heavy metals, food additives, preservatives, and the like.
Robby Barbaro: Discovering
Robby Barbaro: By the time
I was 18 I had stumbled upon an online discussion forum where the
contributors were espousing the benefits of a typical (high-fat) raw
vegan diet. I chimed in with my Weston A. Price beliefs,
and they kindly suggested that I watch the movie Earthlings.
I watched it on Google Video and I was genuinely
ill for the next few days; the movie had a profound impact on my soul.
My level of ignorance shocked me, and I told myself “these people on
the forum know stuff that I don’t know. I am going to follow through on
suggestions and see what I learn.”
After reading numerous books on raw food diets, I was sort of confused
by the conflicting information, but the trailer for the film Raw for 30
Days made me eager to do exactly what (raw author) Gabriel Cousens was
teaching. I was especially inspired by type 1 diabetic Kirt Tyson, one
of the six subjects of the film.
Kirt made lifestyle changes so soon after being diagnosed with diabetes
that he hadn’t even received his initial bloodwork back before leaving
to film the movie at Gabriel Cousens Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center.
While at the facility he became free of all medications, and when he
returned home to visit his doctor the blood work showed that his
c-peptide level was indicative of an official type 1 diabetes diagnosis.
So, by fact, Kirt Tyson reversed type 1 diabetes and to the best of my
knowledge is free of all medication to this day. I was fortunate enough
to get in touch with Kirt via phone. He was incredibly generous and
offered to support me in any way that I needed. So, I followed Gabriel
Cousens phase 1 program to a “T” for 28 days. During that time, my
combined daily insulin intake (long- and short-acting) was as low as
six units per day. (I currently take ~44 units a day.) I was very
enthusiastic and believed I was on my way to reversing type 1 diabetes.
Robby Barbaro: Facing
the phase 1 diet as taught by Gabriel Cousens. I
had lost a lot of weight, felt chronically low on energy, and was
having blackouts during the day.
Looking back I think I made it through the 28 days on adrenaline and
excitement that I was going to change the world and show people how to
reverse type 1 diabetes. Kirt was the example of how it could be done
if you make lifestyle changes quickly after being diagnosed, and I was
going to be the example of how it could be done after years of living
with the condition.
I went back to the EDST practitioner, who gave me information
completely contradictory to what I had been learning. I found myself
very lost and confused. After the appointment I went to the food court
at my university and ate everything in sight: pizza, cereal, pastries,
cookies, … I told myself I’m just going to give up and be a normal
college student. I was deeply disappointed that I had not found a
sustainable solution for reversing type 1 diabetes.
My hard work of strict adherence to the Gabriel Cousens program left me
in a place where I genuinely could not move forward. It wasn’t a matter
of just sticking with it longer, I couldn’t physically continue without
doing damage to my health.
The idea of giving up lasted for a few days. I felt so awful the day
after my binge at the food court that I told myself I have to keep on
trying to figure this out.
Robby Barbaro: A Plan That Works
My quest eventually led me to Dr.
Doug Graham, a few days before I was about to commit to a weekly
chelation program. I heard Dr. Graham on a radio interview, and
everything he said was very logical. So, I ordered his book and eagerly
awaited its arrival.
I read The 80/10/10 Diet straight through and then contacted Dr.
Graham. We did a consultation for 90 days straight. I sent him an email
each morning, and he sent me one back every afternoon. We got to know
each other very well, and he taught me how to live a healthy lifestyle,
such that my diet became an afterthought. I started the first week by
eating just bananas; the second week was bananas and celery or romaine
I slowly added one fruit at a time (Dr. Graham’s diet is centered on
sweet fruit) and have not looked back.
Robby Barbaro: A Successful
Type 1 Diabetes Diet
Traditionally, type 1 diabetes is seen as a disease that cannot be
healed, only managed. Do you think it’s within the range of possibility
that your body will heal on your raw food regimen, at least to some
degree, allowing you to produce more insulin or use the insulin it has
with more efficiency?
Robby Barbaro: Yes,
I do believe it is possible for type 1 diabetics to become free of
medication, no matter how long they have been taking insulin. At this
time, that is a belief, not a fact. To the best of my knowledge, there
is no program that consistently reverses type 1 diabetes. There are
exceptions, but nobody is claiming to have a program that works
I am doing my best to be the example and show what is possible. Roger
Banister showed us that a 4-minute mile is possible, when the most
intelligent people of his time said it was not.
As I said earlier, type 1 diabetes has been a blessing for me. It has
encouraged me to go down a path of increased self-awareness. This path
is about a lot more than diet. It is not practical for me to explain my
entire worldview in this interview, but essentially, we humans are
waking up to the fact that we are energy.
The field of energy psychology and the work of
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. are providing a lot of hope for people with
diseases that are currently classified as irreversible. I do believe
that damaged beta cells, or even scar tissue cells, can be healed and
restored to their optimal state of functionality. I hope that my
efforts will lead to real-life results, so others can achieve a
Robby Barbaro: The Raw Diet vs SAD
Andrew Perlot: What
low-fat raw vegan diet bring to life with
type 1 diabetes that someone eating a standard American diet or ADA
diet would lack? How is a low-fat raw diet better than low-fat cooked
First, a low fat raw vegan
diet (LFRV) vs. the standard American diet (SAD): For
objectivity and simplicity, let’s define LFRV diet as the 80/10/10
diet, meaning that “low fat” is defined as having 10% or fewer calories
coming from fat over the course of a year. At least 80 percent of
calories should come from
carbohydrates, and no more than 10 percent from protein.
The most relevant advantage for the diabetic in this case is the
control of blood sugar. In my experience, a consistent low-fat diet
leads to very predictable blood sugars, whereas the SAD diet is higher
in fat, which leads to less predictability and more volatile blood
The benefits go far beyond better diabetes control. I am not
overexaggerating when I say my choice to follow an LFRV diet has
positively affected every area of my life. Physically, I stopped having
yearly sinus infections; I stopped taking Claritin D; I reversed
clinically diagnosed plantar fasciitis;, I stopped using expensive
orthotics;my skin cleared up (I had such bad acne that I took Acutane,
and had numerous skin dermabrasion and laser treatments), ); and I feel
very energetic on a daily basis.
Words cannot describe what this lifestyle has done for my spiritual,
mental, and social health. People constantly tell me that I have a
permanent smile on my face. I am eternally optimistic, my friends are
incredibly inspiring and supportive, I have the energy to pursue
spiritual goals … I just flat-out feel great!
Second, low-fat raw vegan
vs. low-fat cooked vegan (LFCV): I don’t have any experience
applying the LFCV diet to my life. Based on my studies of the work of
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., Neal Barnard, M.D.,
John McDougall, M.D., Matt Lederman, M.D., and others, I believe that
an LFCV diet is a very healthy diet.
In terms of objective diabetes management, I theorize that an LFCV diet
would likely yield similar results to those of an LFRV diet, assuming
all other variables were the same.
To be more specific, I think that people can easily reverse type 2
diabetes on any low-fat diet based on whole unprocessed plant foods.
With reference to reversing type 1 diabetes, I theorize that an LFRV
diet offers spiritual and physical advantages that an LFCV diet does
not have. I follow an LFRV diet because I feel great and don’t see how
moving towards a diet that less resembles the way foods appear in
nature could make me feel any better.
A Diabetic Questions Robby
Andrew Perlot: I
decided to recruit a type 1 diabetic former colleague of mine, Jason
Vallee, to ask Robby some questions from the diabetic perspective.
Although on top of his insulin needs, Jason is very much a SAD eater,
guzzling plenty of Mountain Dew and eating chips and processed foods
daily. He was diagnosed at age 4 and has served as a counselor at the
Eliot P. Joslin Camp in Charlton, Mass., the #1 accredited diabetic
camp in the world, where he gained a lot of experience working with
He was curious about living on a low-fat raw diet, and wanted to know a
Jason Vallee: What
were your last few A1C readings was before you went raw, compared to
afterward? (A1C essentially measures one’s “average” blood sugar over a
Robby Barbaro: The
majority of my A1C's have been good, although there was a period where
I had an A1C of 8.2. Before choosing to follow the LFRV diet, my
A1C's ranged from 5.5 to 8.2. Since following the LFRV Diet I
have not had an A1C aboive 6.2. My most recent A1C readings were both
Jason Vallee: How,
if at all, did you change your exercise habits and total carbohydrate
intake when converting to a raw food diet? (In addition to insulin,
diet and exercise have large impacts on diabetes management.)
Robby Barbaro: My
exercise habits have decreased slightly since starting the low-fat raw
vegan diet. I was a competitive tennis player from the ages of 10 to
18. In college I did not have any kind of formal, consistent training
program, and now that I am out of college I still don’t have a formal
training program like I did as a competitive tennis player.
Physical activity is critical for diabetes management, but in my case,
my successful A1C numbers are not due to some kind of unique rigorous
exercise program. My A1C numbers are a result of average physical
activity, a consistent LFRV diet, as well as the proper insulin-to-carb
My total daily carb intake nowadays is ~720 grams a day. My average
insulin intake is ~44 units. So, that averages out to 1 unit of insulin
for every 16g of carbohydrates.
Jason Vallee: If you’re physically active, how
often do you eat and in what methods/amounts, particularly in regards
to protein? For something like running, how do you avoid having your
blood sugar drop from burning carbs too quickly?
Robby Barbaro: My
website has 810 food consumption images, which contain photos and
macronutrient breakdowns for each meal. For 365 consecutive days, I
thoroughly documented everything I ate, as well as every blood sugar
reading and insulin shot I took.
Please take a look at those images for
the most objective answers I can possibly offer you here.
In general, I eat 3 or 4 meals and a total of about 3,000 calories. I
consume an average of 50g of protein a day.
I match my meals with my physical activity. For example, let’s say that
I plan on working at the office from 9-5 and playing tennis at 7:00 PM.
I will have a salad for my first meal of the day. I will have a fruit
meal for lunch, a fruit snack before I play tennis, and a large fruit
meal after I play tennis. I seek to eat 2-4% of my calories coming from
tender greens each day, and I believe that lettuce, specifically
romaine lettuce, is an important part of a healthy diet.
I have not had any issues with low blood sugars while exercising. My
ability to predict exactly what my blood sugar will do is based solely
on the consistency of my low-fat diet. I simply alter my
insulin-to-carb ratios based on my activity.
Describe the experience of going from cooked food to raw food. Was it
problematic or hard? How did your body adjust? How does a diabetic
effectively make the transition if they want to adjust to a raw foods
Robby Barbaro: My
physical transition was very smooth. I did not have any intense
cleansing symptoms. My overall insulin-to-carb ratio changed from 1
unit for every 8g of carbs to 1 unit for every 16g of carbs. I had a
lot of low blood sugars, but it didn’t take long to figure out the new
My emotional transition was smooth as well, but I don’t want to come
across as saying it was a breeze. I am human just like everybody else.
I am not some kind of enlightened individual whose conscious desires
always become realities just as I planned.
Just like everybody else, I participate in emotional eating. The only
difference is the degree. Like anyone, I can successfully suppress a
certain feeling by overeating, eating late at night, eating fruit that
isn’t fully ripe, or even by combining fruits poorly.
For example, there were plenty of late college nights where I felt
anxious about a test and ate tomatoes and sweet peppers at midnight.
When I did that, I did not feel good the next morning and was not proud
I use these experiences as growth opportunities. I
tell myself that next time I will do a better job of getting in touch
with my inner experience and see how I can get my emotional needs met
in other ways. This is just one example. The point is that I’m human
and I’m working on the same challenges as everyone else. The only
difference is the degree, but they’re the same fundamental challenges.
To make a graceful physical and emotional transition, I highly
recommend that people seek support and invest time, money, and energy
in studying the Nonviolent
Communication work of Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, a body of
knowledge that has made me keenly aware of my inner processes.
Robby Barbaro: Measuring Food Intake And Spreading The
Andrew Perlot: It sounds
like you manage your food intake with extreme care, measuring just
about everything so you know what you’re taking in. Do you find this
way of eating restrictive, or did you measure
your previous diets in the same way?
Robby Barbaro: I
did measure my previous meals in the same way I measure my LFRV meals.
I don’t find this way of eating restrictive, because I don’t follow it
for any kind of dogmatic reasons. If I want to eat something else, I
will. I like measuring out my meals because it leads to a more
day in just about every way.
Andrew Perlot: Tell
us about your organization, Robby Barbaro, Inc. Why did you start it
and what do you do with it? Why does it focus on type 2 diabetics?
Robby Barbaro: I
made a short (3:20) video covering this exact topic. Please watch it here.
In general, the educational materials I create apply to all diabetics,
but I focus on type 2 because it affects far more people, and an
abundance of peer-reviewed scientific articles can back up my tagline:
Type 2 diabetes is a choice. Make an educated decision.
Andrew Perlot: What
are you passionate about? What gets you excited to be alive?
Robby Barbaro: I am
passionate about being part of the solutions that will bring harmony to
this planet. I am excited about the endless opportunities to contribute
to life. Marshall
Rosenberg helped me confirm that nothing in life feels better than
contributing to the well-being of other people.
Andrew Perlot: Tell
us about your future goals for yourself.
Robby Barbaro: The
universe is dynamic. I am not sure exactly what the future will bring,
but I know I will be ready to make adjustments as necessary. If
everything goes according to plan, I will run multiple permaculture
located all over the planet. These operations will not have my name on
them, and they will stand the test of time.
CocaCola is the most recognizable brand in the world. They did not
achieve this by mistake. I like learning from them and other successful
brands. I envision a future where the world’s most recognizable brands
are restoring the health of the planet, as opposed to destroying it.
The permaculture brand that I envision will be one of many successful,
financially bulletproof brands that will provide meaningful jobs,
healthy food, sustainable fuel, beautiful spaces for people to heal,
and much more.
In the meantime, I seek to achieve excellence in three areas:
Loving my girlfriend Ally through presence and
consistent actions, and allowing myself to receive love from her.
Going above and beyond my commitments as a
marketing associate for Monica Beach Media.
Fulfilling the mission of my nonprofit
organization:Robby Barbaro, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization dedicated to educating type 2 diabetics and interested
others about reversing the disease via healthy lifestyles choices. We
offer this education first and foremost through Robby’s personal
example, and secondarily by way of focused teachings, made available in
Anything else that you’d like to add?
Robby Barbaro: I am
grateful for the opportunity to do this interview. Please share this
with others: Type 2 diabetes is choice. Make an educated decision.