How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
By: Dr. Isabelle A. Moser, With: Steve Solomon
This is an excerpt from Dr. Moser's book, which is about the Natural Hygienic
philosophy and how Fasting allows the body to heal. It includes a detailed
personal account of an extended Fast by the author. 1997
The Nature and Cause of Disease
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
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.
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
I agree that a body can become the genuine victim of fast moving bullets. It
can be innocently cut, smashed, burned, crushed and broken.
Traumas 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
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
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
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
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 allopaths 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
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
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
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, 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
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 re-educate 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
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 allopaths. 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. 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."
Why People Get Sick
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Ptyalin 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. 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
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 ptyalin, so
any starch not converted to sugar in the mouth does not get properly
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.
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.
So with sufficient churning in an acid environment, with enough time (a few
hours), and enough enzymes, all the recently eaten proteins are decomposed
into amino acids and these amino acids pass into the blood where the body
recombines them into structures it wants to make. And we have health.
But when protein chains are heated, the protein structures are altered into
physical shapes that the enzymes can't "latch" on to. The perfect example of
this is when an egg is fried. The egg white is albumen, a kind of protein. When
it is heated, it shrivels up and gets hard. While raw and liquid, it is easily
digestible. When cooked, largely indigestible.
Stress also inhibits the churning action in the stomach so that otherwise
digestible foods may not be mixed efficiently with digestive enzymes. For all
these reasons, undigested proteins may pass into the gut, along with
undigested starches. Once they pass into the acid stomach starch digestion
is not as efficient.
If starches reach the small intestine they are fermented by yeasts. The
products of starch fermentation are only mildly toxic. The gases produced by
yeast fermentations usually don't smell particularly bad; bodies that regularly
contain starch fermentation usually don't smell particularly bad either.
In otherwise healthy people it can take many years of exposure to starch
fermentation toxins to produce a life-threatening disease.
But undigested proteins aren't fermented by yeasts; they putrefy in the gut
(are attacked by anaerobic bacteria). Many of the waste products of
anaerobic putrefaction are highly toxic and evil smelling; when these toxins
are absorbed through the small or large intestines they are very irritating to
the mucous membranes, frequently contributing to or causing cancer of the
Protein putrefaction may even cause psychotic symptoms in some
individuals. Meat eaters often have a very unpleasant body odor even when
they are not releasing intestinal gasses.
Adding a heavy toxic burden from misdigested foods to the normal toxic load
a body already has to handle creates a myriad of unpleasant symptoms, and
greatly shortens life.
But misdigestion also carries with it a double whammy; fermenting and/or
putrefying foods immediately interfere with the functioning of another vital
organ--the large intestine--and cause constipation.
Most people don't know what the word constipation really means. Not being
able to move one's bowels is only the most elementary type of constipation.
A more accurate definition of constipation is "the retention of waste products
in the large intestine beyond the time that is conducive to health."
Properly digested food is n Bot sticky and exits the large intestine quickly.
But improperly digested food (or indigestible food) gradually coats the large
intestine, making an ever-thicker lining that interferes with the intestine's
Far worse, this coating steadily putrefies, creating additional highly potent
toxins. Lining the colon with undigested food can be compared to the mineral
deposits filling in the inside of an old water pipe, gradually choking off the
In the colon, this deposit can become rock-hard, just like water pipe scale.
Since the large intestine is also an organ that removes moisture and water-
soluble minerals from the food and moves them into the blood stream, when
the large intestine is lined with putrefying undigested food waste, the toxins of
this putrefaction are also steadily moved into the bloodstream and place an
even greater burden on the liver and kidneys, accelerating their breakdown,
accelerating the aging process and contributing to a lot of interesting and
unpleasant symptoms that keep doctors busy and financially solvent.
The Progress Of Disease: Irritation, Enervation, Toxemia
Disease routinely lies at the end of a three-part chain that goes: irritation or
sub-clinical malnutrition, enervation, toxemia.
Irritations are something the person does to themselves or something that
happens around them. Stresses, in other words.
Mental stressors include strong negative emotional states such as anger, fear,
resentment, hopelessness, etc.
Behind most diseases it is common to find a problematic mind churning in
profound confusion, one generated by a character that avoids responsibility.
There may also be job stress or ongoing hostile relationships, often within the
Indigestible foods and misdigestion are also stressful irritations, as are mild
recreational poisons such as "soft" drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
Opiates are somewhat more toxifying, primarily because they paralyze the gut
and induce profound constipation.
Stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines are the most damaging
recreational drugs; these are highly toxic and rapidly shorten life.
Repeated irritations and/or malnutrition eventually produce enervation. The
old-time hygienists defined enervation as a lack of or decline in an
immeasurable phenomena, "nerve energy."
They viewed the functioning of vital organs as being controlled by or driven
by nerve force, sometimes called life force or élan vital. Whatever this vital
force actually is, it can be observed and subjectively measured by comparing
one person with another.
Some people are full of it and literally sparkle with overflowing energy. Beings
like this make everyone around them feel good because they somehow
momentarily give energy to those endowed with less. Others possess very
little and dully plod through life.
As vital force drops, the overall efficiency of all the body's organs
correspondingly decline. The pancreas creates less digestive enzymes; the
thymus secretes less of its vital hormones that mobilize the immune system;
the pituitary makes less growth hormone so the overall repair and rebuilding
of cells and tissues slows correspondingly; and so forth.
It does not really matter if the re is or is not something called nerve energy that
can or cannot be measured in a laboratory. Vital force is observable to many
However, it is measurable by laboratory test that after repeated irritation the
overall functioning of the essential organs and glands does deteriorate.
Enervation may develop so gradually that it progresses below the level of
awareness of the person, or times of increased enervation can be
experienced as a complaint--as a lack of energy, as tiredness, as difficulties
digesting, as a new inability to handle a previously-tolerated insult like
Long-term consumption of poor-quality food causes enervation. The body is
a carbon/oxygen engine designed to run efficiently only on highly nutritious
food and this aspect of human genetic programming cannot be changed
significantly by adaptation.
Given enough generations a human gene pool can adapt to extracting its
nutrition from a different group of foods.
For example, a group of isolated Fijians currently enjoying long healthy lives
eating a diet of seafoods and tropical root crops could suddenly be moved to
the highlands of Switzerland and forced to eat the local fare or starve.
But most of the Fijians would not have systems adept at making those
enzymes necessary to digest cows milk. So the transplanted Fijians would
experience many generations of poorer health and shorter life spans until
their genes had been selected for adaptation to the new dietary.
Ultimately their descendants could become uniformly healthy on rye bread
and dairy products just like the highland Swiss were.
However, modern industrial farming and processing of foodstuffs
significantly contributes to mass, widespread enervation in two ways.
Humans will probably adjust to the first; the second will, I'm sure, prove
insurmountable. First, industrially processed foods are a recent invention
and our bodies have not yet adapted to digesting them.
In a few more generations humans might be able to accomplish that and
public health could improve on factory food. In the meanwhile, the health of
humans has declined.
Industrially farmed foods have also been lowered in nutritional content
compared to what food could be. I gravely doubt if any biological organism
can ever adapt to an overall dietary that contains significantly lowered levels
Secondary Eliminations Are Disease
However the exact form the chain from irritation or malnutrition to enervation
progresses, the ultimate result is an increased level of toxemia, placing an
eliminatory burden on the liver and kidneys in excess of their ability.
Eventually these organs begin to weaken. Decline of liver and/or kidney
function threatens the stability and purity of blood chemistry.
Rather than risk complete incapacitation or death from self-poisoning, the
overloaded, toxic body, guided by its genetic predisposition and the nature of
the toxins (what was eaten, in what state of stress), cleverly channels surplus
toxins into its first line of defense--alternative or secondary elimination
Most non-life-threatening yet highly annoying disease conditions originate as
secondary eliminations. For example, the skin was designed to sweat,
elimination of fluids. Toxemia is often pushed out the sweat glands and is
recognized as an unpleasant body odor.
A healthy, non-toxic body smells sweet and pleasant (like a newborn baby's
body) even after exercise when it has been sweating heavily.
Other skin-like organs such as the sinus tissues were designed to secrete
small amounts of mucus for lubrication. The lungs eliminate used air and the
tissues are lubricated with mucus-like secretions too.
These secretions are types of eliminations, but are not intended for the
elimination of toxins. When toxins are discharged in mucus through tissues
not designed to handle them, the tissues themselves become irritated,
inflamed, weakened and thus much more subject to bacterial or viral
Despite this danger, not eliminating surplus toxins carries with it the greater
penalty of serious disability or death. Because of this liability, the body, in its
wisdom, initially chooses secondary elimination routes as far from vital
tissues and organs as possible.
Almost inevitably the skin or skin-like mucus membranes such as the sinuses,
or lung tissues become the first line of defense.
Thus the average person's disease history begins with colds, flu, sinusitis,
bronchitis, chronic cough, asthma, rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis.
If these secondary eliminations are suppressed with drugs (either from the
medical doctor or with over the counter remedies), if the eating or lifestyle
habits that created the toxemia are not changed, or if the toxic load increases
beyond the limits of this technique, the body then begins to store toxins in fat
or muscle tissues or the joint cavities, overburdens the kidneys, creates cysts,
fibroids, and benign tumors to store those toxins.
If toxic overload continues over a longer time the body will eventually have to
permit damages to vital tissues, and life-threatening conditions develop.
Hygienic doctors always stress that disease is remedial effort. Illness comes
from the body's best attempt to lighten its toxic load without immediately
threatening its survival.
The body always does the very best it can to remedy toxemia given its
circumstances, and it should be commended for these efforts regardless of
how uncomfortable they might be to the person inhabiting the body.
Symptoms of secondary elimination are actually a positive thing because they
are the body's efforts to lessen a dangerously toxic condition.
Secondary eliminations shouldn't be treated immediately with a drug to
suppress the process.
If you squelch the body’s best and least-life-threatening method to eliminate
toxins, the body will ultimately have to resort to another more dangerous
though probably less immediately uncomfortable channel.
The conventional medical model does not view disease this way and sees the
symptoms of secondary elimination as the disease itself.
So the conventional doctor takes steps to halt the body's remedial efforts,
thus stopping the undesirable symptom and then, the symptom gone,
proclaims the patient cured. Actually, the disease is the cure.
A common pattern of symptom suppression under the contemporary medical
model is this progression: treat colds with antihistamines until the body gets
influenza; suppress a flu repeatedly with antibiotics and eventually you get
Or, suppress eczema with cortisone ointment repeatedly, and eventually you
develop kidney disease.
Or, suppress asthma with bronkiodialators and eventually you need cortisone
to suppress it.
Continue treating asthma with steroids and you destroy the adrenals; now the
body has become allergic to virtually everything.
The presence of toxins in an organ of secondary elimination is frequently the
cause of infection.
Sinuses and lungs, inflamed by secondary eliminations, are attacked by
viruses or bacteria; infectious diseases of the skin result from pushing toxins
out of the skin.
More generalized infections also result from toxemia; in this case the immune
system has become compromised and the body is overwhelmed by an
organism that it normally should be able to resist easily.
The wise cure of infections is not to use antibiotics to suppress the bacteria
while simultaneously whipping the immune system; most people, including
most medical doctors, do not realize that antibiotics also goose the immune
system into super efforts.
But when one chooses to whip a tired horse, eventually the exhausted animal
collapses and cannot rise again no matter how vigorously it is beaten.
The wise cure is to detoxify the body, a step that simultaneously eliminates
secondary eliminations and rebuilds the immune system.
The wise way to deal with the body's eliminative efforts is to accept that
disease is an opportunity to pay the piper for past indiscretions.
You should go to bed, rest, and drink nothing but water or dilute juice until the
condition has passed. This allows the body to conserve its vital energy,
direct this energy toward healing the disordered body part, and catch up on
its waste disposal.
In this way you can help your body, be in harmony with its efforts instead of
working against it, which is what most people do.
Given half a chance the body will throw off toxic overburdens and cleanse
itself. And once the body has been cleansed of toxemia, disagreeable
symptoms usually cease.
This means that to make relatively mild but unwanted symptoms lessen and
ultimately stop it is merely necessary to temporarily cut back food intake,
eating only what does not cause toxemia.
These foods I classify as cleansing, such as raw fruits and vegetables and
their juices. If the symptoms are extreme, are perceived as overwhelming or
are actually life threatening, detoxification can be speeded up by dropping
back to only dilute raw juices or vegetable broth made only from greens,
without eating the solids.
In the most extreme cases hygienists use their most powerful medicine: a
long fast on herb teas, or just water.
When acutely ill, the most important thing to do is to just get out of the body's
way, and let it heal itself. In our ignorance we are usually our own worst
enemy in this regard. We have been very successfully conditioned to think
that all symptoms are bad.
But I know from experience that people can and do learn a new way of
viewing the body, it allows you to be empowered in one more area of life
instead of being dependent and at the mercy of other people’s decisions
about your body.
Finally, and this is why natural medicine is doubly unpopular, to prevent the
recurrence of toxemia and acute disease states, a person must discover what
they are doing wrong and change their life.
Often as not this means elimination of the person's favorite (indigestible)
foods and/or (stress-producing) bad habits.
The accelerated healing process that occurs during fasting can scarcely be
believed by a person who has not fasted.
No matter how gifted the writer, the experiential reality of fasting cannot be
communicated. The great novelist Upton Sinclair wrote a book about fasting
and it failed to convince the multitudes.
But once a person has fasted long enough to be certain of what their own
body can do to fix itself, they acquire a degree of independence little known
Many of those experienced with fasting no longer dread being without health
insurance and feel far less need for a doctor or of having a regular checkup.
They know with certainty that if something degenerates in their body, their
own body can fix it by itself.
Like Upton Sinclair and many others who largely failed before me, I am going
to try to convince you of the virtues of fasting by urging you to try fasting
yourself. If you will but try you will be changed for the better for the rest of
your life. If you do not try, you will never know.
To prompt your first step on this health-freedom road, I ask you to please
carefully consider the importance of this fact: the body’s routine energy
budget includes a very large allocation for the daily digestion and assimilation
of the food you eat.
You may find my estimate surprising, but about one-third of a fairly sedentary
person’s entire energy consumption goes into food processing.
Other uses for the body’s energy include the creation or rebuilding of tissues,
detoxification, moving (walking, running, etc.), talking, producing hormones,
etc. Digestion is one aspect of the body’s efforts that we can readily control;
it is the key to having or losing health.
The Effort Of Digestion
Digestion is a huge, unappreciated task, unappreciated because few of us are
aware of its happening in the same way we are aware of making efforts to use
our voluntary muscles when working or exercising.
Digestion begins in the mouth with thorough chewing. If you don’t think
chewing is effort, try making coleslaw in your own mouth. Chew up at least
half a big head of cabbage and three big carrots that have not been
shredded. Grind each bit until it liquefies and has been thoroughly mixed with
I guarantee that if you even finish the chore your jaw will be tired and you will
have lost all desire to eat anything else, especially if it requires chewing.
Making the saliva you just used while chewing the cabbage is by itself, a huge
and unappreciated chemical effort.
Once in the stomach, chewed food has to be churned in order to mix it with
hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and other digestive enzymes.
Manufacturing these enzymes is also considerable work. Churning is even
harder work than chewing but normally, people are unaware of its happening.
While the stomach is churning (like a washing machine) a large portion of the
blood supply is redirected from the muscles in the extremities to the stomach
and intestines to aid in this process.
Anyone who has tried to go for a run, or take part in any other strenuous
physical activity immediately after a large meal feels like a slug and wonders
why they just can’t make their legs move the way they usually do.
So, to assist the body while it is digesting, it is wise to take a siesta as los
Latinos do instead of expecting the blood to be two places at once like los
After the stomach is through churning, the partially digested food is moved
into the small intestine where it is mixed with more pancreatin secreted by the
pancreas, and with bile from the gall bladder.
Pancreatin further solubilizes proteins. Bile aids in the digestion of fatty
foods. Manufacturing bile and pancreatic enzymes is also a lot of effort.
Only after the carbohydrates (starches and sugars), proteins and fats have
been broken down into simpler water soluble food units such as simple
sugars, amino acids and fatty acids, can the body pass these nutrients into the
blood thorough the little projections in the small intestines called villi.
The leftovers, elements of the food that can’t be solubilized plus some
remaining liquids, are passed into the large intestine. There, water and the
vital mineral salts dissolved in that water, are extracted and absorbed into the
blood stream through thin permeable membranes.
Mucous is also secreted in the large intestine to facilitate passage of the
dryish remains. This is an effort. (Intestinal mucous can become a route of
secondary elimination, especially during fasting.
While fasting, it is essential to take steps to expel toxic mucous in the colon
before the poisons are re adsorbed.) The final residue, now called fecal
matter, is squeezed along the length of the large intestines and passes out the
If all the digestive processes have been efficient there now are an abundance
of soluble nutrients for the blood stream to distribute to hungry cells
throughout the body.
It is important to understand the process at least on the level of
oversimplification just presented in order to begin to understand better how
health is lost or regained through eating, digestion, and elimination. And most
importantly, through not eating.
How Fasting Heals
Its an old hygienic maxim that the doctor does not heal, the medicines do not
heal, only the body heals itself. If the body can’t heal then nothing can heal it.
The body always knows best what it needs and what to do.
But healing means repairing damaged organs and tissues and this takes
energy, while a sick body is already enervated, weakened and not coping with
its current stressors.
If the sick person could but somehow increase the body’s energy resources
sufficiently, then a slowly healing body could heal faster while a worsening
one, or one that was failing or one that was not getting better might heal.
Fasting does just that. To whatever degree food intake is reduced the body’s
digestive workload is proportionately reduced and it will naturally, and far
more intelligently than any physician could order, redirect energy to wherever
it decides that energy is most needed.
A fasting body begins accessing nutritional reserves (vitamins and minerals)
previously stored in the tissues and starts converting body fat into sugar for
During a time of water fasting, sustaining the body’s entire energy and
nutritional needs from reserves and fat does require a small effort, but far less
effort than eating.
I would guess a fasting body used about five percent of its normal daily
energy budget on nutritional concerns rather than the 33 percent it needs to
process new food.
Thus, water fasting puts something like 28 percent more energy at the body’s
disposal. This is true even though the water faster may feel weak,
I would worry if sick or toxic fasters did not complain about their weakness.
They should expect to feel energyless. In fact, the more internal healing and
detoxification the body requires, the tireder the faster feels because the body
is very hard at work internally.
A great deal of the body’s energy will go toward boosting the immune system
if the problem is an infection. Liberated energy can also be used for healing
damaged parts, rebuilding failing organs, for breaking down and eliminating
deposits of toxic materials.
Only after most of the healing has occurred does a faster begin to feel
energetic again. Don’t expect to feel anything but tired and weak.
The only exception to this would be a person who has already significantly
detoxified and healed their body by previous fasting, or the rare soul that has
gone from birth through adulthood enjoying extraordinarily good nutrition
and without experiencing the stressors of improper digestion.
When one experienced faster I know finds himself getting "run down" or
catching a cold, he quits eating until he feels really well. Instead of feeling
weak as most fasters do, as each of the first four or five days of water fasting
pass, he experiences a resurgence of more and more energy.
On the first fasting day he would usually feel rotten, which was why he started
fasting in the first place. On the second fasting day he’d feel more alert and
catch up on his paper work. By his third day on only water he would be out
doing hard physical chores like cutting the grass, splitting wood or weeding
his vegetable garden.
Day four would also be an energetic one, but if the fast extended beyond that,
lowering blood sugar would begin to make him tired and he’d feel forced to
begin laying down.
After a day of water fasting the average person’s blood sugar level naturally
drops; making a faster feel somewhat tired and "spacey" so a typical faster
usually begins to spend much more time resting, further reducing the amount
of energy being expended on moving the body around, serendipitously
redirecting even more of the body’s energy budget toward healing.
By the end of five or six days on water, I estimate that from 40 to 50 percent of
the body’s available energy is being used for healing, repair and
The amount of work that a fasting body’s own healing energy can do and
what it feels like to be there when it is happening is incredible. But you can’t
know it if you haven’t felt it. So hardly anyone in our present culture knows.
At Great Oaks School I apprenticed myself to the traveling masters of virtually
every system of natural healing that existed during the ‘70s.
I observed every one of them at work and tried most of them on my clients.
After all that I can say with experience that I am not aware of any other healing
tool that can be so effective as the fast.
Essentials of a Successful, Safe Fast
1. Fast in a bright airy room, with exceptionally good ventilation, because
fasters not only need a lot of fresh air their bodies give off powerfully
2. Sun bathe if possible in warm climates for 10 to 20 minutes in the morning
before the sun gets too strong.
3. Scrub/massage the skin with a dry brush, stroking toward the heart,
followed by a warm water shower two to four times a day to assist the skin in
eliminating toxins. If you are too weak to do this, have an assisted bed bath.
4. Have two enemas daily for the first week of a fast and then once daily until
the fast is terminated.
(Editors Note: Herbert Shelton, considered by many to be the foremost
authority on the subject of Fasting, gave up using enemas early in his
practice, Shelton stated:
“I accepted the enema, especially as a measure to be employed during the fast,
and employed it for the first five years of my practice. But I could not close my
eyes to its many evils and it's unpleasantness.
Finally, I began to think the matter over. I recalled that fasting animals did not
use enemas. If they do not need them, I asked, why do my fasting patients
I began a search of fasting literature. I discovered that Jennings, Graham,
Trall, Dewey, Tanner and others had not employed it in caring for their fasting
I was told that their patients would have recovered sooner had they employed
the enema. In view of the known and admitted enervating effect of enemas,
this did not seem reasonable.
I still employed the enema when I wrote Fundamentals as Nature Cure (1922) I
advised the enema during the fast. When Dr. Claunch reviewed this book in
Health First, he questioned the use of the enema. It is not a natural method, he
pointed out. This was obvious.
I decided to try omitting the enema during the fast. I did so cautiously at first,
and for only short periods. Gradually I lengthened the periods between the
enemas. Then, at the end of 1924, I discontinued their use.
Did I find that my patients required longer time in which to get well? Did I find
that they developed symptoms of intestinal poisoning? No. I found they
recovered in less time, that they are more comfortable without than with the
enema, and that bowel function after the fast is much more efficient if enemas
have not been used.” Herbert M. Shelton
5. Insure a harmonious environment with supportive people or else fast alone
if you are experienced. Avoid well-meaning interference or anxious criticism
at all cost. The faster becomes hypersensitive to others emotions.
6. Rest profoundly except for a short walk of about 200 yards morning and
7. Drink water. At least three quarts every day. Do not allow yourself to
8. Control yourself. Break a long fast on diluted non-sweet fruit juice such as
grapefruit juice, sipped a teaspoon at a time, no more than eight ounces at a
time no oftener than every 2 or 3 hours.
The second day you eat, add small quantities of fresh juicy fruit to the same
amount of juice you took the day before no oftener than every 3 hours.
By small quantities I mean half an apple or the equivalent. On the third day of
eating, add small quantities of vegetable juice and juicy vegetables such as
tomatoes and cucumbers.
Control yourself. The second week after eating resumed add complex
vegetable salads plus more complex fruit salads. Do not mix fruit and
vegetables at meals. The third week add raw nuts and seeds no more than 1/2
ounce three times daily. Add 1/4 avocado daily.
Fourth week increase to 3 ounces of raw soaked nuts and seeds daily and 1/2
avocado daily. Cooked grains may also be added, along with steamed
vegetables and vegetable soups.
The Prime Rules Of Fasting
Another truism of natural hygiene is that we dig our own graves with our
teeth. It is sad but true that almost all eat too much quantity of too little
Dietary excesses are the main cause of death in North America. Fasting
balances these excesses. If people were to eat a perfect diet and not overeat,
fasting would rarely be necessary.
There are two essential rules of fasting. If these rules are ignored or broken,
fasting itself can be life threatening. But if the rules are followed, fasting
presents far less risk than any other important medical procedure with a far
greater likelihood of a positive outcome.
And let me stress here, there is no medical procedure without risk. Life itself
is fraught with risk; it is a one-way ticket from birth to death, with no certainty
as to when the end of the line will be reached.
But in my opinion, when handling degenerative illness and infections, natural
hygiene and fasting usually offer the best hope of healing with the least
The first vital concern is the duration of the fast. Two eliminatory processes
go on simultaneously while fasting. One is the dissolving and elimination of
the excess, toxic or dysfunctional deposits in the body, and second process,
the gradual exhaustion of the body’s stored nutritional reserves.
The fasting body first consumes those parts of the body that are unhealthy;
eventually these are all gone. Simultaneously the body uses up stored fat and
other reserve nutritional elements.
A well fed reasonably healthy body usually has enough stored nutrition to fast
for quite a bit longer than it takes to "clean house."
While house cleaning is going on the body uses its reserves to rebuild organs
and rejuvenate itself. Rebuilding starts out very slowly but the repairs
increase at an ever-accelerating rate. The "overhaul" can last only until the
body has no more reserves.
Because several weeks of fasting must pass by before the "overhaul" gets
going full speed, it is wise to continue fasting as long as possible so as to
benefit from as much rejuvenation as possible.
It is best not to end the fast before all toxic or dysfunctional deposits are
eliminated, or before the infection is overcome, or before the cause for
complaint has been healed.
The fast must be ended when most of the body’s essential-to-life stored
nutritional reserves are exhausted. If the fast goes beyond this point,
starvation begins. Then, fasting-induced organic damage can occur, and
death can follow, usually several weeks later.
Almost anyone not immediately close to death has enough stored nutrition to
water fast for ten days to two weeks. Most reasonably healthy people have
sufficient reserves to water fast for a month. Later I will explain how a faster
can somewhat resupply their nutritional reserves while continuing to fast, and
thus safely extend the fasting period.
The second essential concern has to do with adjusting the intensity of the
fast. Some individuals are so toxic that the waste products released during a
fast are too strong, too concentrated or too poisonous for the organs of
elimination to handle safely, or to be handled within the willingness of the
faster to tolerate the discomforts that toxic releases generate.
The highly toxic faster may even experience life-threatening symptoms such
as violent asthma attacks. This kind of faster has almost certainly been
dangerously ill before the fast began.
Others, though not dangerously sick prior to fasting, may be nearly as toxic
and though not in danger of death, they may not be willing to tolerate the
degree of discomfort fasting can trigger.
For this reason I recommend that if at all possible, before undertaking a fast
the person eat mostly raw foods for two months and clean up all addictions.
This will give the body a chance to detoxify significantly before the water fast
is started, and will make water fasting much more comfortable.
Seriously, dangerously ill people should only fast with experienced guidance,
so the rapidity of their detoxification process may be adjusted to a lower level
A fast of only one week can accomplish a significant amount of healing.
Slight healing does occur on shorter fasts, but it is much more difficult to see
or feel the results.
Many people experience rapid relief from acute headache pain or digestive
distress such as gas attacks, mild gallbladder pain, stomachaches, etc., after
only one day’s abstention from food.
In one week of fasting a person can relieve more dangerous conditions such
as arthritic pain, rheumatism, kidney pain, and many symptoms associated
with allergic reactions.
But even more fasting time is generally needed for the body to completely
heal serious diseases. That’s because eliminating life-threatening problems
usually involve rebuilding organs that aren’t functioning too well. Major
rebuilding begins only after major detoxification has been accomplished, and
this takes time.
Yes, even lost organ function can be partially or completely restored by
fasting. Aging and age-related degeneration is progressive, diminishing
Organs that make digestive enzymes secrete less enzymes. The degenerated
immune system loses the ability to mobilize as effectively when the body is
Liver and kidney efficiency declines. The adrenals tire, becoming incapable of
dumping massive amounts of stress-handling hormones or of repeating that
effort time after time without considerable rest in between.
The consequences of these inter-dependent deterioration’s is a cascade of
deterioration that contributes to even more rapid deterioration’s. The name
for this cascading process is aging. Its inevitable result–death.
Fasting can, to a degree, reverse aging. Because fasting improves organ
functioning, it can slow down aging.
Fasters are often surprised that intensified healing can be uncomfortable.
They have been programmed by our culture and by allopathic doctors to think
that if they are doing the right thing for their bodies they should feel better
I wish it weren’t so, but most people have to pay the piper for their dietary
indiscretions and other errors in living. There will be aches and minor pains
and uncomfortable sensations. More about that later.
A rare faster does feel immediately better, and continues to feel ever better by
the day, and even has incredible energy while eating nothing, but the majority
of us folks just have to tough it out, keeping in mind that the way out is the
It is important to remind yourself at times that even with some discomfort and
considering the inconvenience of fasting that you are getting off easy–one
month of self-denial pays for those years of indulgence and buys a
Length Of The Fast
How long should a person fast? In cases where there are serious complaints
to remedy but where there are no life threatening disease conditions, a good
rule of thumb is to fast on water for one complete day (24 hours) for each year
that the person has lived.
If you are 30 years old, it will take 30 consecutive days of fasting to restore
complete health. However, thirty fasting days, done a few days here and a few
there won’t equal a month of steady fasting; the body accomplishes
enormously more in 7 or l4 days of consecutive fasting, than 7 or 14 days of
fasting accumulated sporadically, such as one day a week.
This is not to say that regular short fasts are not useful medicine. Periodic
day-long fasts have been incorporated into many religious traditions, and for
good reason; it gives the body one day a week to rest, to be free of digestive
obligations, and to catch up on garbage disposal.
I heartily recommend it. But it takes many years of unfailingly regular brief
fasting to equal the benefits of one, intensive experience.
Fasting on water much longer than fifteen consecutive days may be
dangerous for the very sick, (unless under experienced supervision) or too
intense for those who are not motivated by severe illness to withstand the
discomfort and boredom.
However, it is possible to finish a healing process initiated by one long water
fast by repeating the fast later.
My husband’s healing is a good example of this. His health began to
noticeably decline about age 38 and he started fasting. He fasted on water 14
to 18 days at a time, once a year, for five consecutive years before most of his
complaints and problems entirely vanished.
The longest fast I ever supervised was a 90-day water fast on an
extraordinarily obese woman, who at 5" 2" weighed close to 400 pounds.
She was a Mormon; generally members of the LDS Church eat a healthier diet
than most Americans, but hers included far too much of what I call
"healthfood junkfood" in the form of whole grain cakes and cookies, lots of
granola made with lots of honey, oil, and dried fruit, lots of honey heaped atop
heavily buttered whole grain bread. (I will explain more about the trap of
healthfood junkfood later on.)
A whole foods relatively meatless diet is far superior to its refined white flour,
white sugar and white grease (lard) counterpart, but it still produced a serious
heath problem in just 30 years of life. Like many women, she expressed love-
for-family in the kitchen by serving too-much too-tasty food.
The Mormons have a very strong family orientation and this lady was no
exception, but she was insecure and unhappy in her marriage and sought
consolation in food, eaten far in excess of what her body needed.
On her 90-day water fast she lost about 150 pounds, but was still grossly
overweight when the fast ended.
Toward the end it became clear that it was unrealistic to try to shrink this
woman any closer to normal body weight because to her, fat represented an
invaluable insulation or buffer that she was not prepared to give up.
As the weight melted away on the fast and she was able to actually feel the
outline of a hip bone her neurosis became more and more apparent, and the
ability to feel a part of her skeleton was so upsetting to her that her choice
was between life threatening obesity and pervasive anxiety.
Her weight was still excessive but the solace of eating was even more
important. This woman needed intensive counseling not more fasting.
Unfortunately, at the end she chose to remain obese. Fat was much less
frightening to her than confronting her emotions and fears.
The positive side was that after the fast she was able to maintain her weight at
225 instead of 375, which was an enormous relief to her exhausted heart.
Another client I fasted for 90 days was a 6" 1" tall, chronic schizophrenic man
who weighed in at 400 pounds. He was so big he could barely get through
my front door, and mine was an extraordinarily wide door in what had been an
This man, now in his mid twenties, had spent his last seven years in a mental
institution before his parents decided to give him one last chance by sending
to Great Oaks School.
The state mental hospitals at that time provided the mentally ill with cigarettes,
coffee, and lots of sugary treats, but none of these substances were part of
my treatment program so he had a lot of immediate withdrawal to go through.
The quickest and easiest way to get him through it was to put him on a water
fast after a few days of preparation on raw food.
This was not an easily managed case. He was wildly psychotic, on heavy
doses of chloropromazine, with many bizarre behaviors. Besides talking to
himself continuously in gibberish, he collected bugs, moss, sticks, piles or
dirt, and switched to smoking oak leaves instead of cigarettes.
He was such a fire hazard that I had to move him to a downstairs room with
concrete floor. Even in the basement he was a fire hazard with his smoking
and piles of sticks and other inflammables next to his bed, but all of this
debris was his "precious."
I knew that I was in for trouble if I disturbed his precious, but the insects and
dirt piles seemed to be expanding exponentially.
One day the dirt exceeded my tolerance level. To make a long story short he
caught me in the act of cleaning up his precious. Was he furious. All 350
pounds of him.
(By this time he had lost 50 pounds.) He barreled into me, fists flying, and
knocked me into the pipes next to the furnace and seemed ready to really
teach me what was what.
I prefer to avoid fights, but if they are inevitable, I can really get into the spirit
of the thing. I’d had lots of childhood practice defending myself because I
was an incurable tomboy who loved to wrestle; I could usually pin big boys
who considered themselves tough.
So I began using my fists and what little martial arts training I had to good
use. After I hurt him a bit he realized that I was not going to be easily
intimidated, and that in fact he was in danger of getting seriously damaged.
So he called a truce before either of us were badly beaten up. He had only a
few bruises and welts, nothing serious.
After that he refrained from collecting things inside the building (he continued
to collect outside). This compromise was fine with me, and the incident
allowed me to maintain the authority I needed to bully him into co-operating
with the program: taking his vitamins, and sticking to his fast until he finally
reached 200 pounds.
After 90 days on water he actually looked quite handsome, he no longer
smoked, he was off psychotropic medication, and his behaviors were within
an acceptable range as long as your expectations were not too high.
He was well enough to live outside a hospital and also clear-headed enough
to know that if he let too many people know how well he really was, he might
have to give up his mental disability pension and actually become responsible
for himself. No way, Jose. This fellow knew a good thing when he saw it.
So he continued to pull bizarre stunts just often enough in front of the right
audience to keep his disability checks coming in, while managing to act sane
enough to be allowed to live comfortably at home instead of in the hospital.
By keeping to my program he could stay off mind-numbing psychotropic
medication if he kept up his megavitamins and minerals. This compromise
was tolerable from his point of view, because there were no side effects like
he experienced from his tranquilizers.
It is very rare for a mentally ill person who has spent more than a few months
in a mental hospital to ever usefully return to society because they find
"mental illness" too rewarding.
My Own 56 Day Long Fast
Fasters go through a lot of different emotional states; these can get intense
and do change quite rapidly. The physical body, too, will manifest transitory
conditions. Some can be quite uncomfortable.
But, I don’t want to leave the reader with the impression that fasting is
inevitably painful. So I will now recount my own longest fast in detail.
When I did my own 42 day water fast followed by two weeks on carrot juice
diluted 50/50 with water, which really amounted to 56 consecutive days, my
predominant sensation for the first three days was a desire to eat that was
mostly a mental condition, and a lot of rumbling and growling from my
This is not real hunger, just the sounds the stomach likes to make when it is
shrinking. After all, this organ is accustomed to being filled at regular
intervals, and then, all of a sudden, it gets nothing, so naturally the stomach
wants to know what is going on.
Once it realizes it is on temporary vacation, the stomach wisely decides to
reduce itself to a size suitable for a retired organ. And it shuts up. This
process usually takes three to five days and for most people, no further
"hunger pangs" are felt until the fast is over.
Real hunger comes only when the body is actually starving. The intense
discomforts many people experience upon missing a meal are frequently
interpreted as hunger but they aren’t. What is actually happening is that their
highly toxic bodies are taking the opportunity presented by having missed a
meal or two to begin to cleanse.
The toxins being released and processed make assorted unpleasant
symptoms such as headaches and inability to think clearly. These symptoms
can be instantly eliminated by the intake of a bit of food, bringing the detox to
a screeching halt.
Two weeks into the fast I experienced sharp abdominal pains that felt like I
imagine appendicitis feels, which compelled me toward the nearest toilet in a
state of great urgency where I productively busied myself for about half an
As I mentioned earlier, I was experimentally adhering to a rigid type of fast of
the sort recommended by Dr. Herbert Shelton, a famous advocate of the
Natural Hygiene School.
Shelton was such a powerful writer and personality that there still exists a
Natural Hygiene Society that keeps his books in print and maintains his
The words "Natural Hygiene" are almost owned by the society like a
trademark and they object when anyone describes themselves as a hygienist
and then advocates any practice that Dr. Shelton did not approve of.
Per Dr. Shelton, I was going to fast from the time hunger left until the time it
returned and I was not going to use any form of colon cleansing.
Shelton strongly opposed bowel cleansing so I did no enemas nor colonics,
nor herbs, nor clays, nor psyllium seed designed to clean the bowel, etc.
Obviously at day 14 the bowel said, enough is enough of this crap, and
initiated a good house cleaning session. When I saw what was eliminated I
was horrified to think that I had left that stuff in there for two weeks.
I then started to wonder if the Sheltonites were mistaken about this aspect of
fasting. Nonetheless, I persevered on the same regimen because my hunger
had not returned, my tongue was still thickly coated with foul-smelling, foul-
tasting mucus and I still had some fat on my feet that had not been
Shelton said that cleansing is not complete until a skeletal condition is
reached–that is, absolutely no fat reserves are left.
(Editors Note: I am quite familiar with Shelton’s writing and procedures for
fasting and I never read anything written by him that suggests fasting till the
patient reaches a “skeletal condition” he has always advocated that the
patient fast until the tongue clears up and true hunger returns.)
Up until that time I did not even know that I had fat on my feet, but much to my
surprise, as the weeks went on, not only did my breasts disappear except for
a couple of land marks well-known to my babies, but my ribs and hip bones
became positively dangerous to passersby, and my shoes would not stay on
my feet. This was not all that surprising because I went from 135 pounds
down to 85 on a 5" 7" frame with substantial bone structure.
Toward the end of the fast my eyes became brighter and clearer blue, my skin
took on a good texture, my breath finally became sweet, my tongue cleared up
and became pink, my mind was clear, and my spiritual awareness and
sensitivity was heightened.
In other words, I was no longer a walking hulk of stored-up toxemia. I also felt
quite weak and had to rest for ten minutes out every hour in horizontal
position. (I should have rested much more.) I also required very little sleep,
although it felt good to just lie quietly and rest, being aware of what was going
on in various parts of my body.
During the last few weeks on water I became very attentive to my right
shoulder. Two separate times in the past, while flying head first over the
handlebars of my bicycle I had broken my shoulder with considerable tearing
of ligaments and tendons.
At night when I was totally still I felt a whole crew of pixies and brownies with
picks and shovels at work in the joint doing major repair work. This activity
was not entirely comfortable, but I knew it was constructive work, not
destructive, so I joined the work crew with my mind’s eye and helped the
It seemed my visualizations actually did help. Ever since, I’ve had the fasters I
supervised use creative imagery or write affirmations to help their bodies
There are lots of books on this subject. I’ve found that the techniques work
far better on a faster than when a person is eating normally.
After breaking the fast it took me six weeks to regain enough strength that I
could run my usual distance in my regular time; it took me six months to
regain my full 135 pound weight because I was very careful to break the fast
slowly and correctly.
Coming off water with two weeks on dilute carrot juice I then added small
portions of raw food such as apples, raw vegetables, sprouts, vegetable
juices, and finally in the fourth week after I began drinking dilute carrot juice, I
added seven daily well-chewed almonds to my rebuilding diet.
Much later I increased to 14 almonds, but that was the maximum amount of
such highly concentrated fare my body wanted to digest at one time for over
I found I got a lot more miles to the gallon out of the food that I did eat, and did
not crave recreational foods. Overall I was very pleased with my educational
fast, it had taught me a great deal.
If I had undertaken such a lengthy fast at a time when I was actually ill, and
therefore had felt forced into it, my experience could have been different.
A positive mental attitude is an essential part of the healing process so fasting
should not be undertaken in a negative, protesting mental state. The mind is
so powerful that fear or the resistance fear generates can override the healing
capacity of the body.
For that reason I always recommend that people who consider themselves to
be healthy, who have no serious complaints, but who are interested in water
fasting, should limit themselves to ten consecutive days or so, certainly never
more than 14.
Few healthy people, even those with a deep interest in the process, can find
enough personal motivation to overcome the extreme boredom of water
fasting for longer than that.
Healthy people usually begin protesting severely after about two weeks. If
there is any one vital rule of fasting, one never should fast over strong,
personal protest. Anytime you’re fasting and you really desire to quit, you
probably should. Unless, of course, you are critically ill. Then you may have
no choice–its fast or die.