How I Learned Nutrition
Here is an overview of the main influences in my nutritional education. This is but a first draft so please forgive me if it is not well written in spots.
In 1969 at the age of 23 I read my first book on nutrition, The Mucusless Diet Healing System and Rational Fasting by Professor Arnold Ehret. This was the first time in my life I had heard that illness is not something outside of us that invades us for no reason. Rather illness is caused primarily by the ways we eat and live. I immediately recognized and was deeply moved by these ideas. They were so compelling to me that I had to embrace them.
Some of my personal experiences since then are the following:
I was a vegan/vegetarian for seven years. During that time my weight dropped to 128; the lowest of my life, for a sustained period. My normal weight is 145. Otherwise I felt well. Compared to now, I had many more colds and upper respiratory inflammations. However my discipline was not near then what it is now and I ate many more carbs and wholesome sweets which I’ve since discovered injure my metabolism.
I have eaten primarily raw foods for most of my adult life. This is due to the influences of Natural Hygiene, The Essenes and Instinctive Nutrition. The latter includes animal products and is not vegan like the Essenes and Hygienists.
My Fasting experiences:
I have fasted and done modified fasts many, many times for 1 to 7 days. I have fasted on air only for 7 days, water for 21 days once and on water only for 7 to 10 days probably 15 times. I fasted on vegetable juices for 17 days once and many times for shorter periods.
I have closely studied the effects of fasting on a wide variety of both acute and chronic illnesses. I have led almost every one of my clients through at least one purification regimen (a fast or a modified fast). For most clients purification is essential for them to regain their Health. My wife and I used to open our home to our clients who neededlong term fasts. We guided several clients through 21 day water fasts and several through 50 day water fasts. These fasts brought about improvements that were hardly believable. I still occasionally lead certain select clients through long fasts but I have found that if one has not yet learned sustainable ways of eating on a day to day basis that they will eventually undo the benefits of the long term fasts.
Some of my other Nutritional “experiments”:
MEAT DIET, i.e. eating only raw or minimally cooked meat for 7 t0 14 days around 5 times.
MILK DIET same.
Mono diets of carrots, cherries, apples, peaches, brown rice, for 3 to 7 days. Many times.
My Experiences In Clinical Nutrition:
For the first 20 years of my career I worked as a family practitioner of Naturopathic Medicine. Since 1977 I have spent my career working with patients very intimately. I have spent one full hour at almost every visit with each client. I have carefully studied their eating journals and searched for connections between their eating, and their symptoms. I have designed an eating regimen specifically adapted to their needs and abilities.
Often I would call my students daily to know what is taking place with them. I have questioned thousands of clients on specific details of how they were effected by making very refined, detailed adaptations to their eating. I have learned how to feed infants, athletes, elders and animals with all forms of illnesses from acute infections to cancer. For over 10 years I worked with many clients using Max Gerson, M.D.’s nutritional regimen for cancer.
I used to have a full pharmacy of herbal and homeopathic medicines, supplements, hormones and other natural medicines.
I used to perform physical examinations, gyn exams, blood, urine, stool and hair analysis, live blood cell analysis, ph testing, allergy testing and many other forms of laboratory testing.
For some years my interest has waned in understanding the biochemical pathways by which supplements act. I admire and sometimes envy those who have trained themselves in this understanding, however my attraction to this path has been outshone by my attraction for teaching and empowering people to heal themselves using real food. I appreciate the value in supplementation and other natural, non-harmful therapies and I regularly refer people for such therapies when I see they would be beneficial to them.
I doubt it would be possible to have studied nutrition too much more avidly than I have. That said, there are many, many scientists and researchers and doctors whose academic understanding is far beyond mine. I admire them greatly, however my education has taken me on a different path. Much of the education and information that enables one to prescribe supplements I find to beof practical use only in prescribing supplements. I do not find such information to help me much in designing therapies that use real food
Human Nutrition and Animal Nutrition:
Human nutrition is a completely different study than is animal nutrition. In working with a dog or cat, all I have to do is prescribe a corrective eating regimen and it is followed unquestioningly. With human beings it is a very small part of my work to determine what nutritional regimen would be of greatest benefit. That is easy. The skill comes in helping my clients to be able to actually integrate into their lives the nutritional and lifestyle changes that, if embodied, will Heal them.
My clients often say to me, “I didn’t know that you were a counselor. I thought you just told me what to eat.”
Other details about my studies in nutrition.
I began immediately to work diligently at improving my own eating. For the next 6 years I studied everything I could obtain on nutrition. I became a patient of Henry Bieler, M.D. and received personal instruction in his methods by both him and his assistant, Marian Menke. I was strongly influenced by Natural Hygiene, which I still love and admire. I became a vegetarian, ate no salt, carefully watched my food combinations and began fasting periodically.
In these years I was young, had little self knowledge and lots of enthusiasm and strong beliefs. I had only recently given up drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana way in excess. My eating was erratic and uncontrollable with huge swings from pure to degenerate. I was ashamed that I could not control my eating in the manner it seemed all the authors did or at least recommended.
I would fast and then gorge myself. For a period of time I was bulemic although the word “bulimic” did not exist at the time. I knew in my heart that eating enormous amounts and then vomiting was harmful to me and I was able to quit without much difficulty. Fortunately I had no trusted medical authority to tell me that I was a victim of a “disease” which was very dangerous and which I could do very little about. Otherwise I may have never healed my “bulemic” behavior.
The mental, emotional anguish that resulted from my seemingly uncontrollable behavior led me to undertake morning and evening practices of self-study and deep prayer. For a period I kept an eating journal of everything I ate and each morning I would write out my prayers and intentions for what I would eat that day. I had little understanding in how to control my behavior by strengthening my self love and my understanding of myself. I had been trained in shame, guilt, self-criticism and downright self-hatred.
My wife, Betsy was the only person who understood me and she shared my ideas and embraced many of the same changes as I did.
The rest of my family and friends tolerated me. I had no other source of affirmation or support for my principles and practices until I entered Naturopathic College in 1975. That was a tremendous affirmation and validation of who I was and what I loved. I learned firsthand the value of a supportive environment. ***
National College of Naturopathic Medicine was a fabulous education for me. I am deeply grateful for the broad exposure it gave me to Natural therapies and to excellent training in the science of medicine. My two main influences on nutrition were Raymond Peat, PhD., and Jeffrey Bland, PhD. Both brilliant.
I no longer embrace any one school of nutrition. I find each school to offer valuable benefits. I now have developed my own system/approach to nutrition which draws on all the approaches I have studied. While there is much that is common that I do with each person, the art and power lies in adapting timeless principles to the needs and abilities of each individual.
*** I have seen many, many of my clients work hard to restore their Health, then literally have it destroyed by the skeptical, and self-righteous hostility of ignorant family members. Most backslide into illness and remain diseased the rest of their lives due to the corrosive influences of their family members.