Dr. Ralph Cinque
Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Interview By: Hygiene Network
Hygiene Network: Tell us a little about
Dr Cinque: I first met Dr. Shelton in 1971.
In 1972, I went out to his Health School
and fasted with him. Then after
Chiropractic College, I went back there and worked from 1976 to 1978. And I
remained in touch with him until his death in 1985.
He was a very warm, funny man, could get testy sometimes but was essentially
very affectionate and generous. He lived to be close to 90 years old, but the
last twenty years were rough because he had a spastic nerve disorder that
limited his mobility.
He had suffered a severe neck injury and that may have had something to do
with it. It never affected his mind; he was mentally sharp until the end, but it did
wreck his body.
There was a strong genetic tendency to Parkinson's disease because several
family members including his father had it.
But most people say that it was the overwork and lack of sleep that really did
him in, because besides running his health school, he wrote over 50 books and
most of it was done at night when he should have been sleeping. Don't ask me
to explain the contradiction of that- I can't.
Hygiene Network: What about his health retreat and school in Texas?
Dr Cinque: The Health School in San Antonio was built in the 1950s and it was
a gift from the man who invented the Frito corn chip, a man named John
Doolen. He had had a heart condition and was fasting for it, and while he was
fasting he got the brainstorm that since there are potato chips, why not have a
chip made of corn, and he made such a fortune from it, that he felt compelled to
do something for Dr. Shelton.
There were about 45 beds in the main building, but later on they added trailers
out in the woods to accommodate more people. People came there from all
over the world.
They ordered organically grown fruits and vegetables from California that were
airfreighted in to San Antonio. That was before organically grown was
commonly available as it is today. The food they served there was fruits,
vegetables, steamed vegetables, nuts and starchy vegetables like potatoes and
yams. Dr. Shelton was not big on grains.
Throughout most of his life, Dr. Shelton ran the place by himself, doing
everything including picking people up at the airport and picking up the food,
and at night he would compose and type his books. The amount of work he
put out was prodigious. The building was very plain, no frills, but it was airy
and clean and sunny and extremely peaceful.
Unfortunately, after the business was closed, the building was ransacked by
hooligans and was eventually torn down. Today the 45 acres of land is being
developed into residential lots by the new owner. But it certainly was a Mecca
for Hygienic health-care for many decades.
Hygiene Network: Why was he not better known in San Antonio? We have a
member from there, who never heard of him.
Dr Cinque: Who knows? The health interest in San Antonio, as opposed to
Austin, is not known to be particularly high. That may be one reason.
Hygiene Network: Tell us more about Dr. Shelton's diet.
Dr Cinque: Shelton's diet really wasn't that strict. He was a lacto-vegetarian; he
never could get past the milk products in his diet, including cheese, clabbered
milk, and butter.
I had a man come to me once who had fasted with Shelton in the early 60s and
kept a diary of all the meals he was fed by Shelton afterwards. It consisted of
fruit in the morning, salad and nuts or cheese for lunch, and in the evening
either salad with cooked vegetables and a starch, or sweet fruit with clabbered
Hygiene Network: How did you first meet Dr. Shelton?
Dr Cinque: The way I met Shelton was interesting. I was in college at UCLA at
the time and I had recently found out about Natural Hygiene and I was reading
Dr. Shelton's books. As I read the books, various questions would enter my
mind, and I noticed that the books were self-published by Dr. Shelton's Health
School and there was an address in San Antonio. So, on a lark, I wrote to him
at the address and sure enough he wrote back to me, and eventually we
became pen pals. We met in person for the first time in 1971 when I made a trip
to San Antonio just to meet him, and my fiancee at the time, Margaret, went
Hygiene Network: Was there some experience at Shelton's that made you
decide to become a doctor?
Dr Cinque: Not really. I had decided to become a Natural Hygienist doctor even
before I went to Shelton's.
I was there as a patient in the summer of 1972. There were about 40 people
there. One of them is a man from Chico California, now age 70, who was
fasting for hemorrhoids, and he became one of my closest friends, and I just
spoke with him at length the other day. Strong friendships are often made at
Hygienic institutions. There is something about going through a long fast
together that bonds you for life.
Hygiene Network: What about the rooms and the staff? Were there interning
doctors on a regular basis?
Dr Cinque: Most of the rooms had 2 or 3 beds. There were practically no
private rooms. There was a staff of about 8 Mexican women, and some of them
spoke very little English. Of course, Dr. Vetrano was there, and she was in
charge. Her daughter, Tosca, was there and she was Dr. Shelton's secretary.
No, they rarely took intern doctors at that time. They sort of made an exception
Hygiene Network: Was there a regular "schedule" for each patient every day?
Dr Cinque: Since most of the people were fasting or had recently fasted, there
wasn't much activity. Those eating took walks around the grounds (there were
40+ acres in the Texas Hill Country). Dr. Vetrano gave lectures several times a
week. There was no television. Talking and reading was the main way people
passed the time. There were closed solariums for men and women where
people could sunbathe in the nude if they so desired.
Doctor Ralph Cinque D.C. is a Natural Hygiene professional who specializes in
Houston, TX. www.drcinque.com
Article: Ralph Cinque Remembers Herbert M. Shelton