How and When to Be Your Own Doctor
by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon
Steve Solomon, June, 1997.
Table of Contents
Forward by Steve Solomon Chapter One: How I Became a Hygienist Chapter Two: The Nature and Cause of Disease Chapter Three: Fasting Chapter Four: Colon Cleansing Chapter Five: Diet and Nutrition Chapter Six: Vitamins and Other Food Supplements Chapter Seven: The Analysis of Disease States—Helping the Body Recover Appendices
Tis a gift to be simple Tis a gift to be free, Tis a gift to come down Where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves In a place just right, It will be in the valley Of love and delight.
Old Shaker Hymn
Favorite of Dr. Isabelle Moser
I was a physically tough, happy-go-lucky fellow until I reached my late thirties. Then I began to experience more and more off days when I did not feel quite right. I thought I possessed an iron constitution. Although I grew a big food garden and ate mostly "vegetablitarian" I thought I could eat anything with impunity. I had been fond of drinking beer with my friends while nibbling on salty snacks or heavy foods late into the night. And until my health began to weaken I could still get up the next morning after several homebrewed beers, feeling good, and would put in a solid day's work.
When my health began to slip I went looking for a cure. Up to that time the only use I'd had for doctors was to fix a few traumatic injuries. The only preventative health care I concerned myself with was to take a multivitamin pill during those rare spells when I felt a bit run down and to eat lots of vegetables. So I'd not learned much about alternative health care.
Naturally, my first stop was a local general practitioner/MD. He gave me his usual half-hour get-acquainted checkout and opined that there almost certainly was nothing wrong with me. I suspect I had the good fortune to encounter an honest doctor, because he also said if it were my wish he could send me around for numerous tests but most likely these would not reveal anything either. More than likely, all that was wrong was that I was approaching 40; with the onset of middle age I would naturally have more aches and pains. 'Take some aspirin and get used to it,' was his advice. 'It'll only get worse.'
Not satisfied with his dismal prognosis I asked an energetic old guy I knew named Paul, an '80-something homesteader who was renowned for his organic garden and his good health. Paul referred me to his doctor, Isabelle Moser, who at that time was running the Great Oaks School of Health, a residential and out-patient spa nearby at Creswell, Oregon.
Dr. Moser had very different methods of analysis than the medicos, was warmly personal and seemed very safe to talk to. She looked me over, did some strange magical thing she called muscle testing and concluded that I still had a very strong constitution. If I would eliminate certain "bad" foods from my diet, eliminate some generally healthful foods that, unfortunately, I was allergic to, if I would reduce my alcohol intake greatly and take some food supplements, then gradually my symptoms would abate. With the persistent application of a little self-discipline over several months, maybe six months, I could feel really well again almost all the time and would probably continue that way for many years to come. This was good news, though the need to apply personal responsibility toward the solution of my problem seemed a little sobering.
But I could also see that Dr. Moser was obviously not telling me something. So I gently pressed her for the rest. A little shyly, reluctantly, as though she were used to being rebuffed for making such suggestions, Isabelle asked me if I had ever heard of fasting? "Yes," I said. "I had. Once when I was about twenty and staying at a farm in Missouri, during a bad flu I actually did fast, mainly because I was too sick to take anything but water for nearly one week."
"Why do you ask?" I demanded.
"If you would fast, you will start feeling really good as soon as the fast is over." she said.
"Fast? How long?"
"Some have fasted for a month or even longer," she said. Then she observed my crestfallen expression and added, "Even a couple of weeks would make an enormous difference."
It just so happened that I was in between set-up stages for a new mail-order business I was starting and right then I did have a couple of weeks when I was virtually free of responsibility. I could also face the idea of not eating for a couple of weeks. "Okay!" I said somewhat impulsively. "I could fast for two weeks. If I start right now maybe even three weeks, depending on how my schedule works out."
So in short order I was given several small books about fasting to read at home and was mentally preparing myself for several weeks of severe privation, my only sustenance to be water and herb tea without sweetener. And then came the clinker.
"Have you ever heard of colonics?" she asked sweetly.
"Yes. Weird practice, akin to anal sex or something?"
"Not at all," she responded. "Colonics are essential during fasting or you will have spells when you'll feel terrible. Only colonics make water fasting comfortable and safe."
Then followed some explanation about bowel cleansing (and another little book to take home) and soon I was agreeing to get my body over to her place for a colonic every two or three days during the fasting period, the first colonic scheduled for the next afternoon. I'll spare you a detailed description of my first fast with colonics; you'll read about others shortly. In the end I withstood the boredom of water fasting for 17 days. During the fast I had about 7 colonics. I ended up feeling great, much trimmer, with an enormous rebirth of energy. And when I resumed eating it turned out to be slightly easier to control my dietary habits and appetites.
Thus began my practice of an annual health-building water fast. Once a year, at whatever season it seemed propitious, I'd set aside a couple of weeks to heal my body. While fasting I'd slowly drive myself over to Great Oaks School for colonics every other day. By the end of my third annual fast in 1981, Isabelle and I had become great friends. About this same time Isabelle's relationship with her first husband, Douglas Moser, had disintegrated. Some months later, Isabelle and I became partners. And then we married.
My regular fasts continued through 1984, by which time I had recovered my fundamental organic vigor and had retrained my dietary habits. About 1983 Isabelle and I also began using Life Extension megavitamins as a therapy against the aging process. Feeling so much better I began to find the incredibly boring weeks of prophylactic fasting too difficult to motivate myself to do, and I stopped. Since that time I fast only when acutely ill. Generally less than one week on water handles any non-optimum health condition I've had since '84. I am only 54 years old as I write these words, so I hope it will be many, many years before I find myself in the position where I have to fast for an extended period to deal with a serious or life-threatening condition.
I am a kind of person the Spanish call autodidactico, meaning that I prefer to teach myself. I had already learned the fine art of self-employment and general small-business practice that way, as well as radio and electronic theory, typography and graphic design, the garden seed business, horticulture, and agronomy. When Isabelle moved in with me she also brought most of Great Oak's extensive library, including very hard to obtain copies of the works of the early hygienic doctors. Naturally I studied her books intensely.
Isabelle also brought her medical practice into our house. At first it was only a few loyal local clients who continued to consult with her on an out-patient basis, but after a few years, the demands for residential care from people who were seriously and sometimes life-threateningly sick grew irresistibly, and I found myself sharing our family house with a parade of really sick people. True, I was not their doctor, but because her residential clients became temporary parts of our family, I helped support and encourage our residents through their fasting process. I'm a natural teacher (and how-to-do-it writer), so I found myself explaining many aspects of hygienic medicine to Isabelle's clients, while having a first-hand opportunity to observe for myself the healing process at work. Thus it was that I became the doctor's assistant and came to practice second-hand hygienic medicine.
In 1994, when Isabelle had reached the age of 54, she began to think about passing on her life's accumulation of healing wisdom by writing a book. She had no experience at writing for the popular market, her only major writing being a Ph.D. dissertation. I on the other hand had published seven books about vegetable gardening. And I grasped the essentials of her wisdom as well as any non-practitioner could. So we took a summer off and rented a house in rural Costa Rica, where I helped Isabelle put down her thoughts on a cheap word-processing typewriter. When we returned to the States, I fired-up my "big-mac" and composed this manuscript into a rough book format that was given to some of her clients to get what is trendily called these days, "feedback."
But before we could completely finish her book, Isabelle became dangerously ill and after a long, painful struggle with abdominal cancer, she died. After I resurfaced from the worst of my grief and loss, I decided to finish her book. Fortunately, the manuscript needed little more than polishing. I am telling the reader these things because many ghost-written books end up having little direct connection with the originator of the thoughts. Not so in this case. And unlike many ghost writers, I had a long and loving apprenticeship with the author. At every step of our colaboration on this book I have made every effort to communicate Isabelle's viewpoints in the way she would speak, not my own. Dr. Isabelle Moser was for many years my dearest friend. I have worked on this book to help her pass her understanding on.
Many people consider death to be a complete invalidation of a healing arts practitioner. I don't. Coping with her own dicey health had been a major motivator for Isabelle's interest in healing others. She will tell you more about it in the chapters to come. Isabelle had been fending off cancer since its first blow up when she was 26 years old. I view that 30 plus years of defeating Death as a great success rather than consider her ultimate defeat as a failure.
Isabelle Moser was born in 1940 and died in 1996. I think the greatest accomplishment of her 56 years was to meld virtually all available knowledge about health and healing into a workable and most importantly, a simple model that allowed her to have amazing success. Her "system" is simple enough that even a generally well-educated non-medico like me can grasp it. And use it without consulting a doctor every time a symptom appears.
Finally, I should mention that over the years since this book was written I have discovered contains some significant errors of anatomical or psysiological detail. Most of these happened because the book was written "off the top of Isabelle's head," without any reference materials at hand, not even an anatomy text. I have not fixed these goofs as I am not even qualified to find them all. Thus, when the reader reads such as 'the pancreas secreates enzymes into the stomach,' (actually and correctly, the duodenum) I hope they will understand and not invalidate the entire book.
How I Became a Hygienist
From The Hygienic Dictionary
Doctors.  In the matter of disease and healing, the people have been treated as serfs. The doctor is a dictator who knows it all, and the people are stupid, dumb, driven cattle, fit for nothing except to be herded together, bucked and gagged when necessary to force medical opinion down their throats or under their skins. I found that professional dignity was more often pomposity, sordid bigotry and gilded ignorance. The average physician is a fear-monger, if he is anything. He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may scare to death. Dr. John. H. Tilden, Impaired Health: Its Cause and Cure, Vol. 1, 1921.  Today we are not only in the Nuclear Age but also the Antibiotic Age. Unhappily, too, this is the Dark Age of Medicine—an age in which many of my colleagues, when confronted with a patient, consult a volume which rivals the Manhattan telephone directory in size. This book contains the names of thousands upon thousands of drugs used to alleviate the distressing symptoms of a host of diseased states of the body. The doctor then decides which pink or purple or baby-blue pill to prescribe for the patient. This is not, in my opinion, the practice of medicine. Far too many of these new "miracle" drugs are introduced with fanfare and then reveled as lethal in character, to be silently discarded for newer and more powerful drugs. Dr. Henry Bieler: Food is Your Best Medicine; 1965.
I have two reasons for writing this book. One, to help educate the general public about the virtues of natural medicine. The second, to encourage the next generation of natural healers. Especially the second because it is not easy to become a natural hygienist; there is no school or college or licensing board.
Most AMA-affiliated physicians follow predictable career paths, straight well-marked roads, climbing through apprenticeships in established institutions to high financial rewards and social status. Practitioners of natural medicine are not awarded equally high status, rarely do we become wealthy, and often, naturopaths arrive at their profession rather late in life after following the tangled web of their own inner light. So I think it is worth a few pages to explain how I came to practice a dangerous profession and why I have accepted the daily risks of police prosecution and civil liability without possibility of insurance.
Sometimes it seems to me that I began this lifetime powerfully predisposed to heal others. So, just for childhood warm-ups I was born into a family that would be much in need of my help. As I've always disliked an easy win, to make rendering that help even more difficult, I decided to be the youngest child, with two older brothers.
A pair of big, capable brothers might have guided and shielded me. But my life did not work out that way. The younger of my two brothers, three years ahead of me, was born with many health problems. He was weak, small, always ill, and in need of protection from other children, who are generally rough and cruel. My father abandoned our family shortly after I was born; it fell to my mother to work to help support us. Before I was adolescent my older brother left home to pursue a career in the Canadian Air Force.
Though I was the youngest, I was by far the healthiest. Consequently, I had to pretty much raise myself while my single mother struggled to earn a living in rural western Canada. This circumstance probably reinforced my constitutional predilection for independent thought and action. Early on I started to protect my "little" brother, making sure the local bullies didn't take advantage of him. I learned to fight big boys and win. I also helped him acquire simple skills, ones that most kids grasp without difficulty, such as swimming, bike riding, tree climbing, etc.
And though not yet adolescent, I had to function as a responsible adult in our household. Stressed by anger over her situation and the difficulties of earning our living as a country school teacher (usually in remote one-room schools), my mother's health deteriorated rapidly. As she steadily lost energy and became less able to take care of the home, I took over more and more of the cleaning, cooking, and learned how to manage her—a person who feels terrible but must work to survive.
During school hours my mother was able to present a positive attitude, and was truly a gifted teacher. However, she had a personality quirk. She obstinately preferred to help the most able students become even more able, but she had little desire to help those with marginal mentalities. This predilection got her into no end of trouble with local school boards; inevitably it seemed the District Chairman would have a stupid, badly-behaved child that my mother refused to cater to. Several times we had to move in the middle of the school year when she was dismissed without notice for "insubordination." This would inevitably happen on the frigid Canadian Prairies during mid-winter.
At night, exhausted by the day's efforts, my mother's positiveness dissipated and she allowed her mind to drift into negative thoughts, complaining endlessly about my irresponsible father and about how much she disliked him for treating her so badly. These emotions and their irresponsible expression were very difficult for me to deal with as a child, but it taught me to work on diverting someone's negative thoughts, and to avoid getting dragged into them myself, skills I had to use continually much later on when I began to manage mentally and physically ill clients on a residential basis.
My own personal health problems had their genesis long before my own birth. Our diet was awful, with very little fresh fruit or vegetables. We normally had canned, evaporated milk, though there were a few rare times when raw milk and free-range fertile farm eggs were available from neighbors. Most of my foods were heavily salted or sugared, and we ate a great deal of fat in the form of lard. My mother had little money but she had no idea that some of the most nutritious foods are also the least expensive.
It is no surprise to me that considering her nutrient-poor, fat-laden diet and stressful life, my mother eventually developed severe gall bladder problems. Her degeneration caused progressively more and more severe pain until she had a cholecystectomy. The gallbladder's profound deterioration had damaged her liver as well, seeming to her surgeon to require the removal of half her liver. After this surgical insult she had to stop working and never regained her health. Fortunately, by this time all her children were independent.
I had still more to overcome. My eldest brother had a nervous breakdown while working on the DEW Line (he was posted on the Arctic Circle watching radar screens for a possible incoming attack from Russia). I believe his collapse actually began with our childhood nutrition. While in the Arctic all his foods came from cans. He also was working long hours in extremely cramped quarters with no leave for months in a row, never going outside because of the cold, or having the benefit of natural daylight.
When he was still in the acute stage of his illness (I was still a teenager myself) I went to the hospital where my bother was being held, and talked the attending psychiatrist into immediately discharging him into my care. The physician also agreed to refrain from giving him electroshock therapy, a commonly used treatment for mental conditions in Canadian hospitals at that time. Somehow I knew the treatment they were using was wrong.
I brought my brother home still on heavy doses of thorazine. The side effects of this drug were so severe he could barely exist: blurred vision, clenched jaw, trembling hands, and restless feet that could not be kept still. These are common problems with the older generation of psycho tropic medications, generally controlled to some extent with still other drugs like cogentin (which he was taking too).
My brother steadily reduced his tranquilizers until he was able to think and do a few things. On his own he started taking a lot of B vitamins and eating whole grains. I do not know exactly why he did this, but I believe he was following his intuition. (I personally did not know enough to suggest a natural approach at that time.) In any case after three months on vitamins and an improved diet he no long needed any medication, and was delighted to be free of their side effects. He remained somewhat emotionally fragile for a few more months but he soon returned to work, and has had no mental trouble from that time to this day. This was the beginning of my interest in mental illness, and my first exposure to the limitations of 'modern' psychiatry.
I always preferred self-discipline to being directed by others. So I took every advantage of having a teacher for a mother and studied at home instead of being bored silly in a classroom. In Canada of that era you didn't have to go to high school to enter university, you only had to pass the written government entrance exams. At age 16, never having spent a single day in high school, I passed the university entrance exams with a grade of 97 percent. At that point in my life I really wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor, but I didn't have the financial backing to embark on such a long and costly course of study, so I settled on a four year nursing course at the University of Alberta, with all my expenses paid in exchange for work at the university teaching hospital.
At the start of my nurses training I was intensely curious about everything in the hospital: birth, death, surgery, illness, etc. I found most births to be joyful, at least when everything came out all right. Most people died very alone in the hospital, terrified if they were conscious, and all seemed totally unprepared for death, emotionally or spiritually. None of the hospital staff wanted to be with a dying person except me; most hospital staff were unable to confront death any more bravely than those who were dying. So I made it a point of being at the death bed. The doctors and nurses found it extremely unpleasant to have to deal with the preparation of the dead body for the morgue; this chore usually fell to me also. I did not mind dead bodies. They certainly did not mind me!
I had the most difficulty accepting surgery. There were times when surgery was clearly a life saving intervention, particularly when the person had incurred a traumatic injury, but there were many other cases when, though the knife was the treatment of choice, the results were disastrous.
Whenever I think of surgery, my recollections always go to a man with cancer of the larynx. At that time the University of Alberta had the most respected surgeons and cancer specialists in the country. To treat cancer they invariably did surgery, plus radiation and chemotherapy to eradicate all traces of cancerous tissue in the body, but they seemed to forget there also was a human being residing in that very same cancerous body. This particularly unfortunate man came into our hospital as a whole human being, though sick with cancer. He could still speak, eat, swallow, and looked normal. But after surgery he had no larynx, nor esophagus, nor tongue, and no lower jaw.
The head surgeon, who, by the way, was considered to be a virtual god amongst gods, came back from the operating room smiling from ear to ear, announcing proudly that he had 'got all the cancer'. But when I saw the result I thought he'd done a butcher's job. The victim couldn't speak at all, nor eat except through a tube, and he looked grotesque. Worst, he had lost all will to live. I thought the man would have been much better off to keep his body parts as long as he could, and die a whole person able to speak, eating if he felt like it, being with friends and family without inspiring a gasp of horror.
I was sure there must be better ways of dealing with degenerative conditions such as cancer, but I had no idea what they might be or how to find out. There was no literature on medical alternatives in the university library, and no one in the medical school ever hinted at the possibility except when the doctors took jabs at chiropractors. Since no one else viewed the situation as I did I started to think I might be in the wrong profession.
It also bothered me that patients were not respected, were not people; they were considered a "case" or a "condition." I was frequently reprimanded for wasting time talking to patients, trying to get acquainted. The only place in the hospital where human contact was acceptable was the psychiatric ward. So I enjoyed the rotation to psychiatry for that reason, and decided that I would like to make psychiatry or psychology my specialty.
By the time I finished nursing school, it was clear that the hospital was not for me. I especially didn't like its rigid hierarchical system, where all bowed down to the doctors. The very first week in school we were taught that when entering a elevator, make sure that the doctor entered first, then the intern, then the charge nurse. Followed by, in declining order of status: graduate nurses, third year nurses, second year nurses, first year nurses, then nursing aids, then orderlies, then ward clerks, and only then, the cleaning staff. No matter what the doctor said, the nurse was supposed to do it immediately without question—a very military sort of organization.
Nursing school wasn't all bad. I learned how to take care of all kinds of people with every variety of illness. I demonstrated for myself that simple nursing care could support a struggling body through its natural healing process. But the doctor-gods tended to belittle and denigrate nurses. No wonder—so much of nursing care consists of unpleasant chores like bed baths, giving enemas and dealing with other bodily functions.
I also studied the state-of-the-art science concerning every conceivable medical condition, its symptoms, and treatment. At the university hospital nurses were required to take the same pre-med courses as the doctors—including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. Consequently, I think it is essential for holistic healers to first ground themselves in the basic sciences of the body's physiological systems. There is also much valuable data in standard medical texts about the digestion, assimilation, and elimination. To really understand illness, the alternative practitioner must be fully aware of the proper functioning of the cardiovascular/pulmonary system, the autonomic and voluntary nervous system, the endocrine system, plus the mechanics and detailed nomenclature of the skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Also it is helpful to know the conventional medical models for treating various disorders, because they do appear to work well for some people, and should not be totally invalidated simply on the basis of one's philosophical or religious viewpoints.
Many otherwise well-meaning holistic practitioners, lacking an honest grounding in science, sometimes express their understanding of the human body in non-scientific, metaphysical terms that can seem absurd to the well-instructed. I am not denying here that there is a spiritual aspect to health and illness; I believe there are energy flows in and around the body that can effect physiological functioning. I am only suggesting that to discuss illness without hard science is like calling oneself a abstract artist because the painter has no ability to even do a simple, accurate representational drawing of a human figure.
Though hospital life had already become distasteful to me I was young and poor when I graduated. So after nursing school I buckled down and worked just long enough to save enough money to obtain a masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Then I started working at Riverview Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., doing diagnostic testing, and group therapy, mostly with psychotic people. At Riverview I had a three-year-long opportunity to observe the results of conventional psychiatric treatment.
The first thing I noticed was the 'revolving door' phenomena. That is, people go out, and then they're back in, over and over again, demonstrating that standard treatment—drugs, electroshock and group therapy—had been ineffective. Worse, the treatments given at Riverside were dangerous, often with long term side effects that were more damaging than the disease being treated. It felt like nursing school all over again; in the core of my being I somehow knew there was a better way, a more effective way of helping people to regain their mental health. Feeling like an outsider, I started investigating the hospital's nooks and crannies. Much to my surprise, in a back ward, one not open to the public, I noticed a number of people with bright purple skins.
I asked the staff about this and every one of the psychiatrists denied these patients existed. This outright and widely-agreed-upon lie really raised my curiosity. Finally after pouring through the journals in the hospital library I found an article describing psycho tropic-drug-induced disruptions of melanin (the dark skin pigment). Thorazine, a commonly used psychiatric drug, when taken in high doses over a long period of time would do this. Excess melanin eventually was deposited in vital organs such as the heart and the liver, causing death.
I found it especially upsetting to see patients receive electroshock treatments. These violent, physician-induced traumas did seem to disrupt dysfunctional thought patterns such as an impulse to commit suicide, but afterwards the victim couldn't remember huge parts of their life or even recall who they were. Like many other dangerous medical treatments, electroshock can save life but it can also take life away by obliterating identity.
According the Hippocratic Oath, the first criteria of a treatment is that it should do no harm. Once again I found myself trapped in a system that made me feel severe protest. Yet none of these specialists or university professors, or academic libraries had any information about alternatives. Worse, none of these mind-doctor-gods were even looking for better treatments.
Though unpleasant and profoundly disappointing, my experience as a mental hospital psychologist was, like being in nursing school, also very valuable. Not only did I learn how to diagnose, and evaluate the severity of mental illness and assess the dangerousness of the mentally ill, I learned to understand them, to feel comfortable with them, and found that I was never afraid of them. Fearlessness is a huge advantage. The mentally ill seem to have a heightened ability to spot fear in others. If they sense that you are afraid they frequently enjoy terrorizing you. When psychotic people know you feel comfortable with them, and probably understand a great deal of what they are experiencing, when they know that you can and intend to control them, they experience a huge sense of relief. I could always get mentally ill people to tell me what was really going on in their heads when no one else could get them to communicate.
A few years later I married an American and became the Mental Health Coordinator for Whatcom County, the northwestern corner of Washington State. I handled all the legal proceedings in the county for mentally ill people. After treatment in the state mental hospital I supervised their reentry into the community, and attempted to provide some follow up. This work further confirmed my conclusions that in most cases the mentally ill weren't helped by conventional treatment. Most of them rapidly became social problems after discharge. It seemed the mental hospital's only ethically defensible function was incarceration—providing temporary relief for the family and community from the mentally ill person's destructiveness.
I did see a few people recover in the mental health system. Inevitably these were young, and had not yet become institutionalized, a term describing someone who comes to like being in the hospital because confinement feels safe. Hospitalization can mean three square meals and a bed. It frequently means an opportunity to have a sex life (many female inmates are highly promiscuous). Many psychotics are also criminal; the hospital seems far better to them than jail. Many chronically mentally ill are also experts at manipulating the system. When homeless, they deliberately get hospitalized for some outrageous deed just before winter. They then "recover" when the fine weather of spring returns.
After a year as Mental Health Co-ordinator, I had enough of the "system" and decided that it was as good a time as any to return to school for a Ph.D., this time at University. of Oregon where I studied clinical and counseling psychology and gerontology. While in graduate school I became pregnant and had my first child. Not surprisingly, this experience profoundly changed my consciousness. I realized that it had perhaps been all right for me to be somewhat irresponsible about my own nutrition and health, but that it was not okay to inflict poor nutrition on my unborn child. At that time I was addicted to salty, deep-fat fried corn chips and a diet pop. I thought I had to have these so-called foods every day. I tended to eat for taste, in other words, what I liked, not necessarily what would give me the best nutrition. I was also eating a lot of what most people would consider healthy food: meat, cheese, milk, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits.
My constitution had seemed strong and vital enough through my twenties to allow this level of dietary irresponsibility. During my early 20s I had even recovered from a breast cancer by sheer will power. (I will discuss this later.) So before my pregnancy I had not questioned my eating habits.
As my body changed and adapted itself to it's new purpose I began visiting the libraries and voraciously read everything obtainable under the topic of nutrition—all the texts, current magazines, nutritional journals, and health newsletters. My childhood habit of self-directed study paid off. I discovered alternative health magazines like Let's Live, Prevention, Organic Gardening, and Best Ways, and promptly obtained every back issue since they were first published. Along the way I ran into articles by Linus Pauling on vitamin C, and sent away for all of his books, one of these was co-authored with David Hawkins, called The Orthomolecular Approach to Mental Disorders.
This book had a profound effect on me. I instantly recognized that it was Truth with a capital "T", although the orthomolecular approach was clearly in opposition to the established medical model and contradicted everything I had ever learned as a student or professional. Here at last was the exciting alternative approach to treating mental disorders I had so long sought. I filed this information away, waiting for an opportunity to use it. And I began to study all the references in The Orthomolecular Approach to Mental Disorders dealing with correcting the perceptual functioning of psychotic people using natural substances.
In the course of delving through libraries and book stores, I also came across the Mokelumne Hill Publishing Company (now defunct). This obscure publisher reprinted many unusual and generally crudely reproduced out-of-print books about raw foods diets, hygienic medicine, fruitarianism, fasting, breathairianism, plus some works discussing spiritual aspects of living that were far more esoteric than I had ever thought existed. I decided that weird or not, I might as well find out everything potentially useful. So I spent a lot of money ordering their books. Some of Mokelumne Hill's material really expanded my thoughts. Though much of it seemed totally outrageous, in every book there usually was one line, one paragraph, or if I was lucky one whole chapter that rang true for me.
Recognizing capital "T" Truth when one sees it is one of the most important abilities a person can have. Unfortunately, every aspect of our mass educational system attempts to invalidate this skill. Students are repeatedly told that derivation from recognized authority and/or the scientific method are the only valid means to assess the validity of data. But there is another parallel method to determine the truth or falsehood of information: Knowing. We Know by the simple method of looking at something and recognizing its correctness. It is a spiritual ability. I believe we all have it. But in my case, I never lost the ability to Know because I almost never attended school.
Thus it is that I am absolutely certain How and When to Be Your Own Doctor will be recognized as Truth by some of my readers and rejected as unscientific, unsubstantiated, or anecdotal information by others. I accept this limitation on my ability to teach. If what you read in the following pages seems True for you, great! If it doesn't, there is little or nothing I could do to further convince.
I return now to the time of my first pregnancy. In the face of all these new Truths I was discovering concerning health and nutrition, I made immediate changes in my diet. I severely reduced my animal protein intake and limited cooked food in general. I began taking vitamin and mineral supplements. I also choose a highly atypical Ph.D. dissertation topic, "The Orthomolecular Treatment of Mental Disorders." This fifty cent word, orthomolecular, basically means readjusting the body chemistry by providing unusually large amounts of specific nutrient substances normally found in the human body (vitamins and minerals). Orthomolecular therapy for mental disorders is supported by good diet, by removal of allergy-producing substances, by control of hypoglycemia, plus counseling, and provision of a therapeutic environment.
My proposed dissertation topic met with nothing but opposition. The professors on my doctoral committee had never heard of the word orthomolecular, and all of them were certain it wasn't an accepted, traditional area of research. Research in academia is supposed to be based on the works of a previous researchers who arrived at hypothesis based on data obtained by strictly following scientific methodology. "Scientific" data requires control groups, matched populations, statistical analysis, etc. In my case there was no previous work my dissertation committee would accept, because the available data did not originate from a medical school or psychology department they recognized.
Due to a lot of determination and perseverance I finally did succeed in getting my thesis accepted, and triumphed over my doctoral committee. And I graduated with a dual Ph.D. in both counseling psychology and gerontology. My ambition was to establish the orthomolecular approach on the west coast. At that time I knew of only two clinics in the world actively using nutritional therapy. One was in New York and the other, was a Russian experimental fasting program for schizophrenics. Doctors Hoffer and Osmond had used orthomolecular therapy in a Canadian mental hospital as early as 1950, but they had both gone on to other things.
The newly graduated Dr. Isabelle Moser, Ph.D. was at this point actually an unemployed mother, renting an old, end-of-the-road, far-in-the-country farmhouse; by then I had two small daughters. I strongly preferred to take care of my own children instead of turning them over to a baby sitter. My location and my children made it difficult for me to work any place but at home. So naturally, I made my family home into a hospital for psychotic individuals. I started out with one resident patient at a time, using no psychiatric drugs. I had very good results and learned a tremendous amount with each client, because each one was different and each was my first of each type.
With any psychotic residing in your home it is foolhardy to become inattentive even for one hour, including what are normally considered sleeping hours. I have found the most profoundly ill mentally ill person still to be very crafty and aware even though they may appear to be unconscious or nonresponsive. Psychotics are also generally very intuitive, using faculties most of us use very little or not at all. For example one of my first patients, Christine, believed that I was trying to electrocute her. Though she would not talk, she repeatedly drew pictures depicting this. She had, quite logically within her own reality, decided to kill me with a butcher knife in self-defense before I succeeded in killing her. I had to disarm Christine several times, hide all the household knives, change my sleeping spot frequently, and generally stay sufficiently awake at night to respond to slight, creaky sounds that could indicate the approach of stealthily placed small bare feet.
With orthomolecular treatment Christine improved but also became more difficult to live with as she got better. For example, when she came out of catatonic-like immobility, she became extremely promiscuous, and was determined to sleep with my husband. In fact she kept crawling into bed with him with no clothes on. Either we had to forcefully remove her or the bed would be handed over to her—without a resident man. Christine then decided (logically) that I was an obstacle to her sex life, and once more set out to kill me. This stage also passed, eventually and Christine got tolerably well.
Christine's healing process is quite typical and demonstrates why orthomolecular treatment is not popular. As a psychotic genuinely improves, their aberrated behavior often becomes more aggressive initially and thus, harder to control. It seems far more convenient for all concerned to suppress psychotic behavior with stupefying drugs. A drugged person can be controlled when they're in a sort of perpetual sedation but then, they never get genuinely well, either.
Another early patient, Elizabeth, gave me a particularly valuable lesson, one that changed the direction of my career away from curing insanity and toward regular medicine. Elizabeth was a catatonic schizophrenic who did not speak or move, except for some waxy posturing. She had to be fed, dressed and pottied. Elizabeth was a pretty little brunette who got through a couple of years of college and then spent several years in a state mental hospital. She had recently run away from a hospital, and had been found wandering aimlessly or standing rigidly, apparently staring fixedly at nothing. The emergency mental health facility in a small city nearby called me up and asked if I would take her. I said I would, and drove into town to pick her up. I found Elizabeth in someone's back yard staring at a bush. It took me three hours to persuade her to get in my car, but that effort turned out to be the easiest part of the next months.
Elizabeth would do nothing for herself, including going to the bathroom. I managed to get some nutrition into her, and change her clothes, but that was about all I could do. Eventually she wore me down; I drifted off for an hour's nap instead of watching her all night. Elizabeth slipped away in the autumn darkness and vanished. Needless to say, when daylight came I desperately searched the buildings, the yard, gardens, woods, and even the nearby river. I called in a missing person report and the police looked as well. We stopped searching after a week because there just wasn't any place else to look. Then, into my kitchen, right in front of our round eyes and gaping mouths, walked a smiling, pleasant, talkative young woman who was quite sane.
She said, "Hello I'm Elizabeth! I'm sorry I was such a hassle last week, and thank you for trying to take care of me so well. I was too sick to know any better." She said she had gone out our back door the week before and crawled under a pile of fallen leaves on the ground in our back yard with a black tarp over them. We had looked under the tarp at least fifty times during the days past, but never thought to look under the leaves as well.
This amazing occurrence made my head go bong to say the least; it was obvious that Elizabeth had not been 'schizophrenic' because of her genetics, nor because of stress, nor malnutrition, nor hypoglycemia, nor because of any of the causes of mental illness I had previously learned to identify and rectify, but because of food allergies. Elizabeth was spontaneously cured because she'd had nothing to eat for a week. The composting pile of leaves hiding her had produced enough heat to keep her warm at night and the heap contained sufficient moisture to keep her from getting too dehydrated. She looked wonderful, with clear shiny blue eyes, clear skin with good color, though she was slightly slimmer than when I had last seen her.
I then administered Coca's Pulse Test (see the Appendix) and quickly discovered Elizabeth was wildly intolerant to wheat and dairy products. Following the well known health gurus of that time like Adelle Davis, I had self-righteously been feeding her home-made whole wheat bread from hand-ground Organic wheat, and home-made cultured yogurt from our own organically-fed goats. But by doing this I had only maintained her insanity. Elizabeth was an intelligent young woman, and once she understood what was causing her problems, she had no trouble completely eliminating certain foods from her diet. She shuddered at the thought that had she not come to my place and discovered the problem, she would probably have died on the back ward of some institution for the chronically mentally ill.
As for me, I will always be grateful to her for opening my eyes and mind a little wider. Elizabeth's case showed me why Russian schizophrenics put on a 30 day water fast had such a high recovery rate. I also remembered all the esoteric books I had read extolling the benefits of fasting. I also remembered two occasions during my own youth when I had eaten little or nothing for approximately a month each without realizing that I was "fasting." And doing this had done me nothing but good.
Once when I was thirteen my mother sent my "little" brother and I to a residential fundamentalist bible school. I did not want to go there, although my brother did; he had decided he wanted to be a evangelical minister. I hated bible school because I was allowed absolutely no independence of action. We were required to attend church services three times a day during the week, and five services on Sunday. As I became more and more unhappy, I ate less and less; in short order I wasn't eating at all. The school administration became concerned after I had dropped about 30 pounds in two months, notified my mother and sent me home. I returned to at-home schooling. I also resumed eating.
I fasted one other time for about a month when I was 21. It happened because I had nothing to do while visiting my mother before returning to University except help with housework and prepare meals. The food available in the backwoods of central B.C. didn't appeal to me because it was mostly canned vegetables, canned milk, canned moose meat and bear meat stews with lots of gravy and greasy potatoes. I decided to pass on it altogether. I remember rather enjoying that time as a fine rest and I left feeling very good ready to take on the world full force ahead. At that time I didn't know there was such a thing as fasting, it just happened that way.
After Elizabeth went on her way, I decided to experimentally fast myself. I consumed only water for two weeks. But I must have had counter intentions to this fast because I found myself frequently having dreams about sugared plums, and egg omelets, etc. And I didn't end up feeling much better after this fast was over (although I didn't feel any worse either), because I foolishly broke the fast with one of my dream omelets. And I knew better! Every book I'd ever read on fasting stated how important it is to break a fast gradually, eating only easy-to-digest foods for days or weeks before resuming one's regular diet.
From this experiment I painfully learned how important it is to break a fast properly. Those eggs just didn't feel right, like I had an indigestible stone in my belly. I felt very tired after the omelet, not energized one bit by the food. I immediately cut back my intake to raw fruits and vegetables while the eggs cleared out of my system. After a few days on raw food I felt okay, but I never did regain the shine I had achieved just before I resumed eating.
This is one of the many fine things about fasting, it allows you to get in much better communication with your own body, so that you can hear it when it objects to something you're putting in it or doing to it. It is not easy to acquire this degree of sensitivity to your body unless you remove all food for a sufficiently long period; this allows the body to get a word in edgewise that we are willing and able to listen to. Even when we do hear the body protesting, we frequently decide to turn a deaf ear, at least until the body starts producing severe pain or some other symptom that we can't ignore.
Within a few years after Elizabeth's cure I had handily repaired quite a few mentally ill people in a harmless way no one had heard of; many new people were knocking at my door wanting to be admitted to my drug free, home-based treatment program. So many in fact that my ability to accommodate them was overwhelmed. I decided that it was necessary to move to a larger facility and we bought an old, somewhat run-down estate that I called Great Oaks School of Health because of the magnificent oak trees growing in the front yard.
At Great Oaks initially I continued working with psychotics, employing fasting as a tool, especially in those cases with obvious food allergies as identified by Coca's Pulse Test, because it only takes five days for a fasting body to eliminate all traces of an allergic food substance and return to normal functioning. If the person was so severely hypoglycemic that they were unable to tolerate a water fast, an elimination diet (to be described in detail later) was employed, while stringently avoiding all foods usually found to be allergy producing.
I also decided that if I was going to employ fasting as my primary medicine, it was important for me to have a more intense personal experience with it, because in the process of reviewing the literature on fasting I saw that there were many different approaches, each one staunchly defended by highly partisan advocates. For example, the capital "N" Natural, capital "H" Hygienists, such a Herbert Shelton, aggressively assert that only a pure water fast can be called a fast. Sheltonites contend that juice fasting as advocated by Paavo Airola, for example, is not a fast but rather a modified diet without the benefits of real fasting. Colon cleansing was another area of profound disagreement among the authorities. Shelton strongly insisted that enemas and colonics should not be employed; the juice advocates tend to strongly recommend intestinal cleansing.
To be able to intelligently take a position in this maze of conflict I decided to first try every system on myself. It seems to me that if I can be said to really own anything in this life it is my own body, and I have the absolute right to experiment with it as long as I'm not irresponsible about important things such as care of my kids. I also feel strongly that it was unethical to ask anyone to do anything that I was not willing or able to do myself. Just imagine what would happen if all medical doctors applied this principal in their practice of medicine, if all surgeons did it too!
I set out to do a complete and fully rigorous water fast according to the Natural Hygiene model—only pure water and bed rest (with no colon cleansing) until hunger returns, something the hygienists all assured me would happen when the body had completed its detoxification process. The only aspect of a hygienic fast I could not fulfill properly was the bed rest part; unfortunately I was in sole charge of a busy holistic treatment center (and two little girls); there were things I had to do, though I did my chores and duties at a very slow pace with many rest periods.
I water fasted for 42 days dropping from 135 pounds to 85 pounds on a 5' 7" frame. At the end I looked like a Nazi concentration camp victim. I tended to hide when people came to the door, because the sight of all my bones scared them to death. Despite my assurances visitors assumed I was trying to commit suicide. In any case I persevered, watching my body change, observing my emotions, my mental functioning, and my spiritual awareness. I thought, if Moses could fast for 42 days so can I, even though the average length of a full water fast to skeletal weight for a person that is not overweight is more in the order of 30 days. I broke the fast with small amounts of carrot juice diluted 50/50 with water and stayed on that regimen for two more weeks.
After I resumed eating solid food it took six weeks to regain enough strength to be able to run the same distance in the same time I had before fasting, and it took me about six months to regain my previous weight. My eyes and skin had become exceptionally clear, and some damaged areas of my body such as my twice-broken shoulder had undergone considerable healing. I ate far smaller meals after the fast, but food was so much more efficiently absorbed that I got a lot more miles to the gallon from what I did eat. I also became more aware when my body did not want me to eat something. After the fast, if I ignored my body's protest and persisted, it would immediately create some unpleasant sensation that quickly persuaded me to curb my appetite.
I later experimented with other approaches to fasting, with juice fasts, with colon cleansing, and began to establish my own eclectic approach to fasting and detoxification, using different types of programs for different conditions and adjusting for psychological tolerances. I'll have a lot more to say about fasting.
After my own rigorous fasting experience I felt capable of supervising extended fasts on very ill or very overweight people. Great Oaks was gradually shifting from being a place that mentally ill people came to regain their sanity to being a spa where anyone who wanted to improve their health could come for a few days, some weeks or even a few months. It had been my observation from the beginning that the mentally ill people in my program also improved remarkably in physical health; it was obvious that my method was good for anyone. Even people with good health could feel better.
By this time I'd also had enough of psychotic people anyway, and longed for sane, responsible company.
So people started to come to Great Oaks School of Health to rest up from a demanding job, to drop some excess weight, and generally to eliminate the adverse effects of destructive living and eating habits. I also began to get cancer patients, ranging from those who had just been diagnosed and did not wish to go the AMA-approved medical route of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, to those with well-advanced cancer who had been sent home to die after receiving all of the above treatments and were now ready to give alternative therapies a try since they expected to die anyway. I also had a few people who were beyond help because their vital organs had been so badly damaged that they knew they were dying, and they wanted to die in peace without medical intervention, in a supportive hospice cared for by people who could confront death.
Great Oaks School was intentionally named a "school" of health partially to deflect the attentions of the AMA. It is, after all, entirely legal to teach about how to maintain health, about how to prevent illness, and how to go about making yourself well once you were sick. Education could not be called "practicing medicine without a license." Great Oaks was also structured as a school because I wanted to both learn and teach. Toward this end we started putting out a holistic health newsletter and offering classes and seminars to the public on various aspects of holistic health. From the early 1970s through the early 1980s I invited a succession of holistic specialists to reside at GOSH, or to teach at Great Oaks while living elsewhere. These teachers not only provided a service to the community, but they all became my teachers as well. I apprenticed myself to each one in turn.
There came and went a steady parade of alternative practitioners of the healing arts and assorted forms of metapsychology: acupuncturists, acupressurists, reflexologists, polarity therapists, massage therapists, postural integrationists, Rolfers, Feldenkries therapists, neurolinguistic programmers, biokinesiologists, iridologists, psychic healers, laying on of handsers, past life readers, crystal therapists, toning therapists in the person of Patricia Sun, color therapy with lamps and different colored lenses a la Stanley Bourroughs, Bach Flower therapists, aroma therapists, herbalists, homeopaths, Tai Chi classes, yoga classes, Arica classes, Guergieff and Ouspensky fourth-way study groups, EST workshops, Zen Meditation classes. Refugee Lamas from Tibet gave lectures on The Book of the Dead and led meditation and chanting sessions, and we held communication classes using Scientology techniques. There were anatomy and physiology classes, classes on nutrition and the orthomolecular approach to treating mental disorders (given by me of course); there were chiropractors teaching adjustment techniques, even first aid classes. And we even had a few medical doctors of the alternative ilk who were interested in life style changes as an approach to maintaining health.
Classes were also offered on colon health including herbs, clays, enemas, and colonics. So many of my client at Great Oaks were demanding colonics in conjunction with their cleansing programs, that I took time out to go to Indio, Calif. to take a course in colon therapy from a chiropractor, and purchase a state of the art colonic machine featuring all the gauges, electric water solenoids and stainless steel knobs one could ask for.
During this period almost all alternative therapists and their specialties were very interesting to me, but I found that most of the approaches they advocated did not suit my personality. For example, I think that acupuncture is a very useful tool, but I personally did not want to use needles. Similarly I thought that Rolfing was a very effective tool but I did not enjoy administering that much pain, although a significant number of the clients really wanted pain. Some of the techniques appealed to me in the beginning, and I used them frequently with good results but over time I decided to abandon them, mostly because of a desire to simplify and lighten up my bag of tricks.
Because of my enthusiasm and successes Great Oaks kept on growing. Originally the estate served as both the offices of the Holt Adoption Agency and the Holt family mansion. The Holt family had consisted of Harry and Bertha Holt, six of their biological children, and eight adopted Korean orphans. For this reason the ten thousand square foot two story house had large common rooms, and lots and lots of bedrooms. It was ideal for housing spa clients and my own family. The adjoining Holt Adoption Agency office building was also very large with a multitude of rooms. It became living space for those helpers and hangers-on we came to refer to as "community members." My first husband added even more to the physical plant constructing a large, rustic gym and workshop.
Many "alternative" people visited and then begged to stay on with room and board provided in exchange for their work. A few of these people made a significant contribution such as cooking, child care, gardening, tending the ever-ravenous wood-fired boiler we used to keep the huge concrete mansion heated, or doing general cleaning. But the majority of the 'work exchangers' did not really understand what work really was, or didn't have sufficient ethical presence to uphold the principle of fair exchange, which is basically giving something of equal value for getting something of value and, perhaps more importantly, giving in exchange what is needed and asked for.
I also found that community members, once in residence, were very difficult to dislodge. My healing services were supporting far too much dead wood. This was basically my own fault, my own poor management.
Still, I learned a great deal from all of this waste. First of all it is not a genuine service to another human being to give them something for nothing. If a fair exchange is expected and received, positive ethical behavior is strengthened, allowing the individual to maintain their self-respect. I also came to realize what an important factor conducting one's life ethically is in the individual healing process. Those patients who were out exchange in their relationships with others in one or more areas of their life frequently did not get well until they changed these behaviors.
Toward the end of 1982, after providing a decade of services to a great many clients, many of these in critical condition, I reached to point where I was physically, mentally, and spiritually drained. I needed a vacation desperately but no one, including my first husband, could run Great Oaks in my absence much less cover the heavy mortgage. So I decided to sell it. This decision stunned the community members and shocked the clientele who had become dependent on my services. I also got a divorce at this time. In fact I went through quite a dramatic life change in many areas—true to pattern, a classic mid-life crisis. All I kept from these years was my two daughters, my life experiences, and far too many books from the enormous Great Oaks library.
These changes were however, necessary for my survival. Any person who works with, yes, lives on a day-to-day basis with sick people and who is constantly giving or outflowing must take time out to refill their vessel so that they can give again. Failure to do this can result in a serious loss of health, or death. Most healers are empathic people who feel other peoples' pains and stresses and sometimes have difficulty determining exactly what is their own personal 'baggage' and what belongs to the clients. This is especially difficult when the therapy involves a lot of 'hands on' techniques.
After leaving Great Oaks it took me a couple of years to rest up enough to want to resume practicing again. This time, instead of creating a substantial institution, Steve, my second husband and my best friend, built a tiny office next to our family home. I had a guest room that I would use for occasional residential patients. Usually these were people I had known from Great Oaks days or were people I particularly liked and wanted to help through a life crisis.
At the time I am writing this book over ten years have passed since I sold Great Oaks. I continue to have an active outpatient practice, preferring to protect the privacy of my home and family life since I was remarried by limiting inpatients to a special few who required more intensive care, and then, only one at a time, and then, with long spells without a resident.
The Nature and Cause of Disease
From The Hygienic Dictionary
Toxemia.  "Toxemia is the basic cause of all so-called diseases. In the process of tissue-building (metabolism), there is cell-building (anabolism) and cell destruction (catabolism). The broken-down tissue is toxic. In the healthy body (when nerve energy is normal), this toxic material is eliminated from the blood as fast as it is evolved. But when nerve energy is dissipated from any cause (such as physical or mental excitement or bad habits) the body becomes weakened or enervated. When the body is enervated, elimination is checked. This, in turn, results in a retention of toxins in the blood—the condition which we speak of as toxemia. This state produces a crisis which is nothing more than heroic or extraordinary efforts by the body to eliminate waste or toxin from the blood. It is this crisis which we term disease. Such accumulation of toxin when once established, will continue until nerve energy has been restored to normal by removing the cause. So-called disease is nature's effort to eliminate toxin from the blood. All so-called diseases are crises of toxemia." John H. Tilden, M.D., Toxemia Explained.  Toxins are divided into two groups; namely exogenous, those formed in the alimentary canal from fermentation and decomposition following imperfect or faulty digestion. If the fermentation is of vegetables or fruit, the toxins are irritating, stimulating and enervating, but not so dangerous or destructive to organic life as putrefaction, which is a fermentation set up in nitrogenous matter—protein-bearing foods, but particularly animal foods. Endogenous toxins are autogenerated. They are the waste products of metabolism. Dr. John. H. Tilden, Impaired Health: Its Cause and Cure, 1921.
Suppose a fast-growing city is having traffic jams. "We don't like it!" protest the voters. "Why are these problems happening?" asks the city council, trying to look like they are doing something about it.
Experts then proffer answers. "Because there are too many cars," says the Get A Horse Society. The auto makers suggest it is because there are uncoordinated traffic lights and because almost all the businesses send their employees home at the same time. Easy to fix! And no reason whatsoever to limit the number of cars. The asphalt industry suggests it is because the size and amount of roads is inadequate.
What do we do then? Tax cars severely until few can afford them? Legislate opening and closing hours of businesses to stagger to'ing and fro'ing? Hire a smarter municipal highway engineer to synchronize the traffic lights? Build larger and more efficient streets? Demand that auto companies make cars smaller so more can fit the existing roads? Tax gasoline prohibitively, pass out and give away free bicycles in virtually unlimited quantities while simultaneously building mass rail systems? What? Which?
When we settle on a solution we have simultaneously chosen what we consider the real, underlying cause of the problem. If our chosen reason was the real reason. then our solution results in a real cure. If we picked wrongly, our attempt at solution may result in no cure, or create a worse situation than we had before.
The American Medical Association style of medicine (a philosophy I will henceforth call allopathic) has a model that explains the causes of illness. It suggests that anyone who is sick is a victim. Either they were attacked by a "bad" organism—virus, bacteria, yeast, pollen, cancer cell, etc.—or they have a "bad" organ—liver, kidney, gall bladder, even brain. Or, the victim may also have been cursed by bad genes. In any case, the cause of the disease is not the person and the person is neither responsible for creating their own complaint nor is the victim capable of making it go away. This institutionalized irresponsibility seems useful for both parties to the illness, doctor and patient. The patient is not required to do anything about their complaint except pay (a lot) and obediently follow the instructions of the doctor, submitting unquestioningly to their drugs and surgeries. The physician then acquires a role of being considered vital to the survival of others and thus obtains great status, prestige, authority, and financial remuneration.
Perhaps because the sick person is seen to have been victimized, and it is logically impossible to consider a victimizer as anything but something evil, the physician's cure is often violent, confrontational. Powerful poisons are used to rejigger body chemistry or to arrest the multiplication of disease bacteria or to suppress symptoms; if it is possible to sustain life without them, "bad," poorly-functioning organs are cut out.
I've had a lot of trouble with the medical profession. Over the years doctors have made attempts to put me in jail and keep me in fear. But they never stopped me. When I've had a client die there has been an almost inevitable coroner's investigation, complete with detectives and the sheriff. Fortunately, I practice in rural Oregon, where the local people have a deeply-held belief in individual liberty and where the authorities know they would have had a very hard time finding a jury to convict me. Had I chosen to practice with a high profile and had I located Great Oaks School of Health in a major market area where the physicians were able to charge top dollar, I probably would have spent years behind bars as did other heroes of my profession such as Linda Hazzard and Royal Lee.
So I have acquired an uncomplimentary attitude about medical doctors, a viewpoint I am going to share with you ungently, despite the fact that doing so will alienate some of my readers. But I do so because most Americans are entirely enthralled by doctors, and this doctor-god worship kills a lot of them.
However, before I get started on the medicos, let me state that one area exists where I do have fundamental admiration for allopathic medicine. This is its handling of trauma. I agree that a body can become the genuine victim of fast moving bullets. It can be innocently cut, smashed, burned, crushed and broken. Trauma are not diseases and modern medicine has become quite skilled at putting traumatized bodies back together. Genetic abnormality may be another undesirable physical condition that is beyond the purview of natural medicine. However, the expression of contra-survival genetics can often be controlled by nutrition. And the expression of poor genetics often results from poor nutrition, and thus is similar to a degenerative disease condition, and thus is well within the scope of natural medicine.
Today's suffering American public is firmly in the AMA's grip. People have been effectively prevented from learning much about medical alternatives, have been virtually brainwashed by clever media management that portrays other medical models as dangerous and/or ineffective. Legislation influenced by the allopathic doctors' union, the American Medical Association, severely limits or prohibits the practice of holistic health. People are repeatedly directed by those with authority to an allopathic doctor whenever they have a health problem, question or confusion. Other types of healers are considered to be at best harmless as long as they confine themselves to minor complaints; at worst, when naturopaths, hygienists, or homeopaths seek to treat serious disease conditions they are called quacks, accused of unlicensed practice of medicine and if they persist or develop a broad, successful, high-profile and (this is the very worst) profitable practice, they are frequently jailed.
Even licensed MDs are crushed by the authorities if they offer non-standard treatments. So when anyone seeks an alternative health approach it is usually because their complaint has already failed to vanish after consulting a whole series of allopathic doctors. This highly unfortunate kind of sufferer not only has a degenerative condition to rectify, they may have been further damaged by harsh medical treatments and additionally, they have a considerable amount of brainwashing to overcome.
The AMA has succeeded at making their influence over information and media so pervasive that most people do not even realize that the doctors' union is the source of their medical outlook. Whenever an American complains of some malady, a concerned and honestly caring friend will demand to know have they yet consulted a medical doctor. Failure to do so on one's own behalf is considered highly irresponsible. Concerned relatives of seriously ill adults who decline standard medical therapy may, with a great show of self-righteousness, have the sick person judged mentally incompetent so that treatment can be forced upon them. When a parent fails to seek standard medical treatment for their child, the adult may well be found guilty of criminal negligence, raising the interesting issue of who "owns" the child, the parents or the State.
It is perfectly acceptable to die while under conventional medical care. Happens all the time, in fact. But holistic alternatives are represented as stupidly risky, especially for serious conditions such as cancer. People with cancer see no choice but to do chemotherapy, radiation, and radical surgery because this is the current allopathic medical approach. On some level people may know that these remedies are highly dangerous but they have been told by their attending oncologist that violent therapies are their only hope of survival, however poor that may be. If a cancer victim doesn't proceed immediately with such treatment their official prognosis becomes worse by the hour. Such scare tactics are common amongst the medical profession, and they leave the recipient so terrified that they meekly and obediently give up all self-determinism, sign the liability waiver, and submit, no questions asked. Many then die after suffering intensely from the therapy, long before the so-called disease could have actually caused their demise. I will later offer alternative and frequently successful (but not guaranteed) approaches to treating cancer that do not require the earliest-possible detection, surgery or poisons.
If holistic practitioners were to apply painful treatments like allopaths use, ones with such poor statistical outcomes like allopaths use, there would most certainly be witch hunts and all such irresponsible, greedy quacks would be safely imprisoned. I find it highly ironic that for at least the past twenty five hundred years the basic principle of good medicine has been that the treatment must first do no harm. This is such an obvious truism that even the AMA doctors pledge to do the same thing when they take the Hippocratic Oath. Yet virtually every action taken by the allopath is a conscious compromise between the potential harm of the therapy and its potential benefit.
In absolute contrast, if a person dies while on a natural hygiene program, they died because their end was inevitable no matter what therapy was attempted. Almost certainly receiving hygienic therapy contributed to making their last days far more comfortable and relatively freer of pain without using opiates. I have personally taken on clients sent home to die after they had suffered everything the doctors could do to them, told they had only a few days, weeks, or months to live. Some of these clients survived as a result of hygienic programs even at that late date. And some didn't. The amazing thing was that any of them survived at all, because the best time to begin a hygienic program is as early in the degenerative process as possible, not after the body has been drastically weakened by invasive and toxic treatments. Later on, I'll tell you about some of these cases.
Something I consider especially ironic is that when the patient of a medical doctor dies, it is inevitably thought that the blessed doctor did all that could be done; rarely is any blame laid. If the physician was especially careless or stupid, their fault can only result in a civil suit, covered by malpractice insurance. But let a holistic practitioner treat a sick person and have that person follow any of their suggestions or take any natural remedies and have that person die or worsen and it instantly becomes the natural doctor's fault. Great blame is placed and the practitioner faces inquests, grand juries, manslaughter charges, jail time and civil suits that can't be insured against.
Allopathic medicine rarely makes a connection between the real causes of a degenerative or infectious disease and its cure. The causes are usually considered mysterious: we don't know why the pancreas is acting up, etc. The sick are sympathized with as victims who did nothing to contribute to their condition. The cure is a highly technical battle against the illness, whose weapons are defined in Latin and far beyond the understanding of a layperson.
Hygienic medicine presents an opposite view. To the naturopath, illness is not a perplexing and mysterious occurrence over which you have no control or understanding. The causes of disease are clear and simple, the sick person is rarely a victim of circumstance and the cure is obvious and within the competence of a moderately intelligent sick person themselves to understand and help administer. In natural medicine, disease is a part of living that you are responsible for, and quite capable of handling.
Asserting that the sick are pitiable victims is financially beneficial to doctors. It makes medical intervention seem a vital necessity for every ache and pain. It makes the sick become dependent. I'm not implying that most doctors knowingly are conniving extortionists. Actually most medical doctors are genuinely well-intentioned. I've also noticed that most medical doctors are at heart very timid individuals who consider that possession of a MD degree and license proves that they are very important, proves them to be highly intelligent, even makes them fully qualified to pontificate on many subjects not related to medicine at all.
Doctors obtain an enormous sense of self-importance at medical school, where they proudly endured the high pressure weeding out of any free spirit unwilling to grind away into the night for seven or more years. Anyone incapable of absorbing and regurgitating huge amounts of rote information; anyone with a disrespectful or irreverent attitude toward the senior doctor-gods who arrogantly serve as med school professors, anyone like this was eliminated with especial rapidity. When the thoroughly submissive, homogenized survivors are finally licensed, they assume the status of junior doctor-gods.
But becoming an official medical deity doesn't permit one to create their own methods. No no, the AMA's professional oversight and control system makes continued possession of the license to practice (and the high income that usually comes with it) entirely dependent on continued conformity to what is defined by the AMA as "correct practice." Any doctor who innovates beyond strict limits or uses non-standard treatments is in real danger of losing their livelihood and status.
Not only are licensed graduates of AMA-sanctioned medical schools kept on a very tight leash, doctors of other persuasions who use other methods to heal the sick or help them heal themselves are persecuted and prosecuted. Extension of the AMA's control through regulatory law and police power is justified in the name of preventing quackery and making sure the ignorant and gullible public receives only scientifically proven effective medical care.
Those on the other side of the fence view the AMA's oppression as an effective way to make sure the public has no real choices but to use union doctors, pay their high fees and suffer greatly by misunderstanding of the true cause of disease and its proper cure. If there are any actual villains responsible for this suppressive tragedy some of them are to be found in the inner core of the AMA, officials who may perhaps fully and consciously comprehend the suppressive system they promulgate.
Hygienists usually inform the patient quite clearly and directly that the practitioner has no ability to heal them or cure their condition and that no doctor of any type actually is able to heal. Only the body can heal itself, something it is eager and usually very able to do if only given the chance. One pithy old saying among hygienists goes, "if the body can't heal itself, nothing can heal it." The primary job of the hygienic practitioner is to reeducate the patient by conducting them through their first natural healing process. If this is done well the sick person learns how to get out of their own body's way and permit its native healing power to manifest. Unless later the victim of severe traumatic injury, never again will that person need obscenely expensive medical procedures. Hygienists rarely make six figure incomes from regular, repeat business.
This aspect of hygienic medicine makes it different than almost all the others, even most other holistic methods. Hygiene is the only system that does not interpose the assumed healing power of a doctor between the patient and wellness. When I was younger and less experienced I thought that the main reason traditional medical practice did not stress the body's own healing power and represented the doctor as a necessary intervention was for profit. But after practicing for over twenty years I now understand that the last thing most people want to hear is that their own habits, especially their eating patterns and food choices, are responsible for their disease and that their cure is to only be accomplished through dietary reform, which means unremittingly applied self-discipline.
One of the hardest things to ask of a person is to change a habit. The reason that AMA doctors have most of the patients is they're giving the patients exactly what they want, which is to be allowed to continue in their unconscious irresponsibility.
The Cause Of Disease
Ever since natural medicine arose in opposition to the violence of so-called scientific medicine, every book on the subject of hygiene, once it gets past its obligatory introductions and warm ups, must address The Cause of Disease. This is a required step because we see the cause of disease and its consequent cure in a very different manner than the allopath. Instead of many causes, we see one basic reason why. Instead of many unrelated cures, we have basically one approach to fix all ills that can be fixed.
A beautiful fifty cent word that means a system for explaining something is paradigm, pronounced para-dime. I am fond of this word because it admits the possibility of many differing yet equally true explanations for the same reality. Of all available paradigms, Natural Hygiene suits me best and has been the one I've used for most of my career.
The Natural Hygienist's paradigm for the cause of both degenerative and infectious disease is called the Theory of Toxemia, or "self-poisoning."
Before explaining this theory it will help many readers if I digress a brief moment about the nature and validity of alternative paradigms. Not too many decades ago, scientists thought that reality was a singular, real, perpetual—that Natural Law existed much as a tree or a rock existed. In physics, for example, the mechanics of Newton were considered capital "T" True, the only possible paradigm. Any other view, not being True, was False. There was capital "N" natural capital "L" law.
More recently, great uncertainty has entered science; it has become indisputable that a theory or explanation of reality is only true only to the degree it seems to work; conflicting or various explanations can all work, all can be "true." At least, this uncertainty has overtaken the hard, physical sciences. It has not yet done so with medicine. The AMA is convinced (or is working hard to convince everyone else) that its paradigm, the allopathic approach, is Truth, is scientific, and therefore, anything else is Falsehood, is irresponsibility, is a crime against the sick.
But the actual worth or truth of any paradigm is found not in its "reality," but in its utility. Does an explanation or theory allow a person to manipulate experience and create a desired outcome. To the extent a paradigm does that, it can be considered valuable. Judged by this standard, the Theory of Toxemia must be far truer than the hodgepodge of psuedoscience taught in medical schools. Keep that in mind the next time some officious medical doctor disdainfully informs you that Theory of Toxemia was disproven in 1927 by Doctors Jeckel and Hyde.
Why People Get Sick
This is the Theory of Toxemia. A healthy body struggles continually to purify itself of poisons that are inevitably produced while going about its business of digesting food, moving about, and repairing itself. The body is a marvelous creation, a carbon, oxygen combustion machine, constantly burning fuel, disposing of the waste products of combustion, and constantly rebuilding tissue by replacing worn out, dead cells with new, fresh ones. Every seven years virtually every cell in the body is replaced, some types of cells having a faster turnover rate than others, which means that over a seven year period several hundred pounds of dead cells must be digested (autolyzed) and eliminated. All by itself this would be a lot of waste disposal for the body to handle. Added to that waste load are numerous mild poisons created during proper digestion. And added to that can be an enormous burden of waste products created as the body's attempts to digest the indigestible, or those tasty items I've heard called "fun food." Add to that burden the ruinous effects of just plain overeating.
The waste products of digestion, of indigestion, of cellular breakdown and the general metabolism are all poisonous to one degree or another. Another word for this is toxic. If these toxins were allowed to remain and accumulate in the body, it would poison itself and die in agony. So the body has a processing system to eliminate toxins. And when that system does break down the body does die in agony, as from liver or kidney failure.
The organs of detoxification remove things from the body's system, but these two vital organs should not be confused with what hygienists call the secondary organs of elimination, such as the large intestine, lungs, bladder and the skin, because none of these other eliminatory organs are supposed to purify the body of toxins. But when the body is faced with toxemia, the secondary organs of elimination are frequently pressed into this duty and the consequences are the symptoms we call illness.
The lungs are supposed to eliminate only carbon dioxide gas; not self-generated toxic substances. The large intestine is supposed to pass only insoluble food solids (and some nasty stuff dumped into the small intestine by the liver). Skin eliminates in the form of sweat (which contains mineral salts) to cool the body, but the skin is not supposed to move toxins outside the system. But when toxins are flowed out through secondary organs of elimination these areas become inflamed, irritated, weakened. The results can be skin irritations, sinusitis or a whole host of other "itises" depending on the area involved, bacterial or viral infections, asthma. When excess toxemia is deposited instead of eliminated, the results can be arthritis if toxins are stored in joints, rheumatism if in muscle tissues, cysts and benign tumors. And if toxins weaken the body's immune response, cancer.
The liver and the kidneys, the two heroic organs of detoxification, are the most important ones; these jointly act as filters to purify the blood. Hygienists pay a lot of attention to these organs, the liver especially.
In an ideal world, the liver and kidneys would keep up with their job for 80 years or more before even beginning to tire. In this ideal world, the food would of course, be very nutritious and free of pesticide residues, the air and water would be pure, people would not denature their food and turn it into junk. In this perfect world everyone would get moderate exercise into old age, and live virtually without stress. In this utopian vision, the average healthy productive life span would approach a century, entirely without using food supplements or vitamins. In this world doctors would have next to no work other than repairing traumatic injuries, because everyone would be healthy. But this is not the way it is.
In our less-than-ideal world virtually everything we eat is denatured, processed, fried, salted, sweetened, preserved; thus more stress is placed on the liver and kidneys than nature designed them to handle. Except for a few highly fortunate individuals blessed with an incredible genetic endowment that permits them to live to age 99 on moose meat, well-larded white flour biscuits, coffee with evaporated milk and sugar, brandy and cigarettes (we've all heard of someone like this), most peoples' liver and kidneys begin to break down prematurely. Thus doctoring has become a financially rewarding profession.
Most people overburden their organs of elimination by eating whatever they feel like eating whenever they feel like it. Or, they irresponsibly eat whatever is served to them by a mother, wife, institution or cook because doing so is easy or expected. Eating is a very habitual and unconscious activity; frequently we continue to eat as adults whatever our mother fed us as a child. I consider it unsurprising that when people develop the very same disease conditions as their parents. they wrongly assume the cause is genetic inheritance, when actually it was just because they were putting their feet under the same table as their parents.
Toxemia also comes about from following the wrongheaded recommendations of allopathic-inspired nutritional texts and licensed dietitians. For example, people believe they should eat one food from each of the four so-called basic food groups at each meal, thinking they are doing the right thing for their health by having four colors of food on every plate, when they really aren't. What they have actually done is force their bodies to attempt the digestion of indigestible food combinations, and the resulting indigestion creates massive doses of toxins. I'll have a lot more to say about that later when I discuss the art of food combining.
Table 1: The Actual Food Groups
Starches Proteins Fats Sugars Watery Vegetables bread meats butter honey zucchini potatoes eggs oils fruit green beans noodles fish lard sugar tomatoes manioc/yuca most nuts nuts molassas peppers baked goods dry beans avocado malt syrup eggplant grains nut butters maple syrup radish winter squash split peas dried fruit rutabaga parsnips lentils melons turnips sweet potatoes soybeans carrot juice Brussels sprouts yams tofu beet juice celery taro root tempeh cauliflower plantains wheat grass juice broccoli beets "green" drinks okra spirulina lettuce algae endive yeast cabbage dairy carrots
Standard dietitians divide our foods into four basic food groups and recommend the ridiculous practice of mixing them at every meal. This guarantees indigestion and lots of business for the medical profession. This chart illustrates the actual food groups. It is usually a poor practice to mix different foods from one group with those from another.
The Digestive Process
After we have eaten our four-color meal—often we do this in a hurry, without much chewing, under a lot of stress, or in the presence of negative emotions—we give no thought to what becomes of our food once it has been swallowed. We have been led to assume that anything put in the mouth automatically gets digested flawlessly, is efficiently absorbed into the body where it nourishes our cells, with the waste products being eliminated completely by the large intestine. This vision of efficiency may exist in the best cases but for most there is many a slip between the table and the toilet. Most bodies are not optimally efficient at performing all the required functions, especially after years of poor living habits, stress, fatigue, and aging. To the Natural Hygienist, most disease begins and ends with our food; most of our healing efforts are focused on improving the process of digestion.
Digestion means chemically changing the foods we eat into substances that can pass into the blood stream and circulate through the body where nutrition is used for bodily functions. Our bodies use nutritional substances for fuel, for repair and rebuilding, and to conduct an incredibly complex biochemistry. Scientists are still busily engaged in trying to understand the chemical mysteries of our bodies. But as bewildering as the chemistry of life is, the chemistry of digestion itself is actually a relatively simple process, and one doctors have had a fairly good understanding of for many decades.
Though relatively straightforward, a lot can and does go wrong with digestion. The body breaks down foods with a series of different enzymes that are mixed with food at various points as it passes from mouth to stomach to small intestine. An enzyme is a large, complex molecule that has the ability to chemically change other large, complex molecules without being changed itself. Digestive enzymes perform relatively simple functions—breaking large molecules into smaller parts that can dissolve in water.
Digestion starts in the mouth when food is mixed with ptyalin, an enzyme secreted by the salivary glands. Pylatin converts insoluble starches into simple sugars. If the digestion of starchy foods is impaired, the body is less able to extract the energy contained in our foods, while far worse from the point of view of the genesis of diseases, undigested starches pass through the stomach and into the gut where they ferment and thereby create an additional toxic burden for the liver to process. And fermenting starches also create gas.
As we chew our food it gets mixed with saliva; as we continue to chew the starches in the food are converted into sugar. There is a very simple experiment you can conduct to prove to yourself how this works. Get a plain piece of bread, no jam, no butter, plain, and without swallowing it or allowing much of it to pass down the throat, begin to chew it until it seems to literally dissolve. Pylatin works fast in our mouths so you may be surprised at how sweet the taste gets. As important as chewing is, I have only run into about one client in a hundred that actually makes an effort to consciously chew their food.
Horace Fletcher, whose name has become synonymous with the importance of chewing food well (Fletcherizing), ran an experiment on a military population in Canada. He required half his experimental group to chew thoroughly, and the other half to gulp things down as usual. His study reports significant improvement in the overall health and performance of the group that persistently chewed. Fletcher's report recommended that every mouthful be chewed 50 times for half a minute before being swallowed. Try it, you might be very surprised at what a beneficial effect such a simple change in your approach to eating can make. Not only will you have less intestinal gas, if overweight you will probably find yourself getting smaller because your blood sugar will elevate quicker as you are eating and thus your sense of hunger will go away sooner. If you are very thin and have difficulty gaining weight you may find that the pounds go on easier because chewing well makes your body more capable of actually assimilating the calories you are consuming.
A logical conclusion from this data is that anything that would prevent or reduce chewing would be unhealthful. For example, food eaten when too hot tends to be gulped down. The same tends to happen when food is seasoned with fresh Jalapeno or habaneo peppers. People with poor teeth should blend or mash starchy foods and then gum them thoroughly to mix them with saliva. Keep in mind that even so-called protein foods such as beans often contain large quantities of starches and the starch portion of protein foods is also digested in the mouth.
Once the food is in the stomach, it is mixed with hydrochloric acid, secreted by the stomach itself, and pepsin, an enzyme. Together these break proteins down into water-soluble amino acids. To accomplish this the stomach muscles agitate the food continuously, somewhat like a washing machine. This extended churning forms a kind of ball in the stomach called a bolis.
Many things can and frequently do go wrong at this stage of the digestive process. First, the stomach's very acid environment inactivates pylatin, so any starch not converted to sugar in the mouth does not get properly processed thereafter. And the most dangerous misdigetion comes from the sad fact that cooked proteins are relatively indigestible no matter how strong the constitution, no matter how concentrated the stomach acid or how many enzymes present. It is quite understandable to me that people do not wish to accept this fact. After all, cooked proteins are so delicious, especially cooked red meats and the harder, more flavorful fishes.
To appreciate this, consider how those enzymes that digest proteins work. A protein molecule is a large, complex string of amino acids, each linked to the next in a specific order. Suppose there are only six amino acids: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. So a particular (imaginary) protein could be structured: 1, 4, 4, 6, 2, 3, 5, 4, 2, 3, 6, 1, 1, 2, 3, etc. Thus you should see that by combining a limited number of amino acids there can be a virtually infinite number of proteins.
But proteins are rarely water soluble. As I said a few paragraphs back, digestion consists of rendering insoluble foods into water-soluble substances so they can pass into the blood stream and be used by the body's chemistry. To make them soluble, enzymes break down the proteins, separating the individual amino acids one from the other, because amino acids are soluble. Enzymes that digest proteins work as though they are mirror images of a particular amino acid. They fit against a particular amino acid like a key fits into a lock. Then they break the bonds holding that amino acid to others in the protein chain, and then, what I find so miraculous about this process, the enzyme is capable of finding yet another amino acid to free, and then yet another.