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Health & Beyond Newsletter Review

by Tom Billings

SF-LiFE has subscribed to the newsletter "Health & Beyond" (H&B), which is put out by Chet Day. We also purchased a book that Chet publishes.

Before saying what H&B is, it is appropriate to say what it is not. H&B is not a simple repackaging/remarketing of what is often referred to as the Natural Hygiene "party line", i.e. the writings of Shelton, Fry, or other noted hygienists. Instead, H&B is true to the original spirit of the famous Herbert Shelton quote, "Let us have the truth, though the heavens fall.". What H&B does is to provide in-depth examination and current research on the assumptions and beliefs of modern natural hygiene. The result is a newsletter that often directly challenges the established beliefs of natural hygiene; the newsletter is also informative, thought provoking, and sometimes controversial. In my opinion, H&B, along with M2M and the e-mail list veg-raw, are the best things to happen to natural hygiene in years, because the re-examination of old beliefs, in the light of new information, is precisely what is necessary to keep a movement alive.

With that introduction, notes of interest on recent issues (plus some back issues purchased by/donated to SF-LiFE), are as follows.

October 1996 and December 1996. Parts 1 & 2 of a 3-part interview with Ward Nicholson, the founder of the M2M publication, on the topic of primate diets and our prehistoric diet. Ward has done some superb, thoroughly documented research in this area. He addresses questions regarding a number of assumptions made by fruitarianism and natural hygiene. A paraphrased summary:

Q: Is the diet of primates very similar to the diet of human fruitarians? A: No, most primates eat some raw animal flesh, with consumption of social insects (termites, ants, bee brood) being common, also bird eggs. Animal foods comprise 5-10% of modern chimp diets - wild primates are neither fruitarians nor vegans. Also, some primates, such as mountain gorillas, eat far more leaves than fruit - they are folivores, not frugivores. Q: Was the diet of our prehistoric ancestors fruitarian? A: No, the paleontological record is very clear on this. Our ancestors were omnivores who consumed both plant and animal foods. Q: Are there reasons to believe that humans have evolved genetically to adapt to a diet that includes some cooked food? A: Yes; for a lengthy, technical explanation, see the December newsletter. On other topics, Ward also discusses that chimps drink water, and practice a crude type of juicing. (Side remark: not mentioned in H&B, but chimps have been observed using herbs for purely medicinal purposes!)

Here we see that H&B can be very controversial, as Ward's research has debunked a number of assumptions that some raw fooders believe in strongly. These issues are highly recommended - they will certainly stimulate your thinking!

March 1995. Part 2 of an interview with the well-known hygienist, Dr. Ralph Cinque. If you think that only living fooders (like Brian Clement) notice the high sugar levels of modern fruits **, listen to Dr. Cinque: "Nobody knows for sure what ancient fruits consisted of, but there is reason to think they were lower in sugar and higher in fiber than modern cultivated fruits...There is no place in the world today where humans live exclusively on fruit, and there is no reason to think it was ever so in a previous time." Dr. Cinque answers questions on a wide range of topics, including fasting, juice diet, fat in the diet, etc.

** Side remark concerning modern fruit (not from H&B): the high sugar levels of modern fruit generally are the result of one or more of the following: years of varietal selection, artificial hybridization, vegetative (grafting, non-seed) propagation, and possibly even genetic engineering. Exposing seed to (nuclear) radiation is sometimes used to induce DNA mutations, and develop new varieties (a popular approach back in the 50's and 60's). This suggests that modern fruit is not as natural as some claim.

January 1996. Kombucha: a fermented tea made by growing a fungus in a culture of sugar and (regular) black tea. Chet gives detailed information on growing the fungus, alternative cultures that use honey and/or ginger to reduce the sugar/tea required, and discusses the effect the kombucha tea has on his meditation practice. Kombucha tea is a grow-at-home, low-cost B-vitamin source that is an attractive alternative to high priced algae. Very interesting!

November 1995. Algae. Speaking of high priced algae, Chet has also done an issue on Klamath Lake algae. SF-LiFE members will recognize the first section of this issue - it is the "Comments on Blue-Green Algae (Supplements) and Other Cyanobacteria" information sheet that I wrote and distributed first at SF-LiFE meetings, then later released to the Internet, using my previous work e-mail account: divine1@violet.Berkeley.EDU (I didn't choose the account name). The remainder of the issue is reports from users, including Chet, who use or have tried it. Some people found it had an effect, some did not. Chet provides cost and nutrient comparisons - algae versus dulse, collards, and oranges; the comparison shows that algae is not a cost effective source of nutrients.

Books. Chet publishes a number of books, one of which is in the library. I have put discussion of it last, as the book reviews animal experimentation. Readers offended by such discussion should skip the rest of this article. The book in question is "Discovery of the Ultimate Diet: Testing Nutritional Theories on Mice", Volume 2, by Dr. Stanley S. Bass. As you can tell from the title, Dr. Bass tested a wide range of diets on mice, including many raw food diets. Some remarks on a few of the diets are as follows; numbers refer to the diet number assigned by Dr. Bass in the book.

3, 3a - Fruitarian. Fruit is the "highest" and best diet? If you are a mouse, the answer is a resounding no. The mice died rapidly when on this diet, and the dead mice were eaten by the survivors. Also, the surviving mice had long- lasting, negative physical aftereffects from the fruit diet, even after they were switched to different diets. 5 - 100% raw diet, including lots of sprouts (wheat, others). The mice were alert, active, but also possibly oversexed: the males were chasing the females, and many females were pregnant. Interesting! 19 - 100% raw diet, with legume/seed sprouts but no grain sprouts. The mice did very well on this diet, but later when babies were born, the babies were eaten. Dr. Bass says this suggests the presence of some deficiencies. 30, 31 - Fasting the mice. This was fatal, unlike the results obtained by other researchers. Dr. Bass attributes the deaths to his cages being kept in rooms that were too cold. 43 - raw soaked grains, lentils, veggies. The mice thrived on this diet, however, two mice managed to become obese on this diet! This is surprising as the diet is similar to human raw food diets, on which gaining weight can be difficult. 45 - 100% raw lentil/sunflower sprouts, plus greens and raw starch foods. The mice did very well on this, a nearly ideal diet for mice; similar to the living foods diets that are promoted as being anti-cancer. 48 - diet 45 plus cheese (diet 45 plus vitamins B-12, D). The babies born under this diet were very healthy and were not eaten.

Based on this research, Dr. Bass developed what he considers to be the ultimate diet, for which sample menus are given as appendices. This book is interesting reading - highly recommended!

February 1995. Part 1 of the interview with noted hygienist, Dr. Ralph Cinque. Dr. Cinque advocates eating some cooked food, and is critical of fruitarianism; these are controversial positions in the Natural Hygiene movement. A few excerpts follow, with explanatory information in brackets []: "There are no raw food societies and there are no fruitarian societies. Period. That's significant to me. Don't tell me that something is healthful until generations of people have done it successfully." "What really is the case against cooking? It is essentially that it is unnatural ...That argument is irrelevant because naturalism is not, and never has been, an absolute value for human beings...modifying nature is what humans do in order to survive." "I agree with [Dr.] Stanley [Bass] that a fruitarian diet does produce deficiencies, and I have seen this in my own practice...I have seen growth failure in children on fruitarian diets, and I have seen profound weakness and feebleness in babies born of fruitarian mothers. I am no fan of Arnold Ehret [author of books on fruitarianism]. He was the ultimate extremist..." Dr. Cinque also discusses enemas and the "morbid" practice of testing your urine pH. [Side remark: I have seen healthy, and sick/weak fruitarian children - from the same fruitarian mother! The sick child had serious B-vitamin deficiencies, and was actually hospitalized for treatment.]

January 1994. Interview with Anthony and Deborah Boyar, who operate "A Taste for Life", a raw food educational service, in Southern California. Their interview touches on many interesting points. In response to a question on cooked foods, Deborah makes a comment that has a much broader scope, as it reflects on the tendency towards dogmatism in the raw foods movement: "I really am tired of the whole dogmatic approach of trying to conform a living being into an idea or philosophy rather than working with that living being to find out what's the right thing for it to do. I have suffered myself and I've seen other people suffer from trying to be too rigid and too idealistic..." Those of us who can see the danger of zealotry will surely agree with Deborah here. What is right for one person might be wrong for another, in the area of diet/health.

May 1995. Interview with Rev. Brother David Owen, the head of the Essene Church of Christ. This issue provides an excellent summary of the Essene principles, with some historical background also. The basic premise of the Church is that Jesus was an Essene, a Jewish sect that followed a raw/living foods diet. Rev. Owen makes the important observation that raw foods are a step in a process, not the end of a process: "The progress of spiritual nutrition is an ongoing, progressive ascension into ever less-dense, ever more-light, ever less-violent forms of vegetarian diet... Angels eat no physical food; they live on subtle, etheric energies. And I tell you truly, it is the destiny of human beings to evolve into angelic beings of light. Basic vegetarianism is the first step. Raw foods are NOT the last step." [capitalization mine, for emphasis].

March 1994 and April 1994. Interview with Dr. Stanley Bass, who has practiced Natural Hygiene for nearly 50 years. Dr. Bass was a fruitarian for several years, but is now quite critical of that diet. He is an expert on fasting, and is the author of the book, "Discovery of the Ultimate Diet", which was discussed in the previous SF-LiFE newsletter article. Below are some provocative excerpts from the interview with Dr. Bass, with supplemental comments. "...speaking of fasting, I have personally fasted more than any living human being, including Dick Gregory. I've done maybe over 2000 days in my life... Something peculiar happens to fasters. When they break a fast the appetite gets ravenous for about 7-10 days, depending on the length of the fast. It's very, very difficult to control yourself then, and you wind up overeating and bingeing".  "...The problem with fasting is that it leads to extremes. Like the pendulum of a clock, the further you swing one way, the further you swing the other way...I wound up living a seesaw existence of fasting and over-eating, fasting and over- eating. This is the danger of fasting." Dr. Bass then discusses the psychology of fasting, and recommends: "...Rather than depending on the fast to change your lifestyle, develop the habit of good lifestyle...then when you fast you'll do the right thing afterwards..."
Side remark: I have mentioned this aspect of fasting - that it can promote a psychological sense of deprivation, leading to over-eating. This is the first time I have ever seen the issue openly discussed by a hygienist, as the usual response of fasting advocates is to ignore this serious problem!
On to fruitarianism - Dr. Bass believes that fruits, fruit acids demineralize the body: "Oh, people say fruits are alkaline...If you examine the end point of fruits in the urine and in the bowels and stool, you get an alkaline ash, but what about the acid in the fruit?...It [your body] gets the bases to neutralize the acids in the fruit from your own body and it pulls the minerals out of your skeleton and tissues to neutralize it. So it is dangerous to overeat of fruits, especially citrus...vegetables are more important than fruit. Gorillas will eat 55-65 pounds of food, and that's about 97% vegetables and only 3% fruit. [sour fruit, not sweet]... When I told T.C. Fry about the book I read about this lady who lived with the gorillas and who was killed years later [Diane Fossey], I quoted the part from the book and sent it to him where it said gorillas lived on 3% fruit and 97% vegetation. He wrote back and told me the gorillas were perverted. And these were mountain gorillas in Africa. So it just goes to show you can rationalize anything you want..."
Side remark, not from H&B: The remarks of Mr. Fry shows the difference in definition of the word natural: an intellectually honest definition is that natural = what really happens in nature, whereas many raw fooders use the definition natural = according to the pre-conceptions and biases of certain "experts". The first definition can be confirmed by direct observation, the second is simply someone's delusions.
Dr. Bass then discussed his experiments with feeding mice a fruitarian diet. He believes that the high sugar levels of fruit can upset the body metabolism, and fruitarianism can cause deficiencies as the diet is unbalanced. Dr. Bass makes the frank observation, one that will upset some readers: "Unfortunately, a lot of these people who write books on a fruitarian diet do not follow a 100% fruitarian diet. They are cheating and they won't admit it. They don't realize they're being impelled by their own bodies to cheat, if you want to call it cheating, because the body's rebelling against that lifestyle and they're forced to cheat. So, rather than admit to what they see as their own personal weakness, they think it's their own weakness that's causing them to fail, they become hypocritical and start lying to themselves and other people."
Side remark, not from H&B: as a former long-time fruitarian, I must be honest and agree with Dr. Bass. Many former fruitarians agree with Dr. Bass, many current fruitarians [presumably] do not. Consider and decide for yourself who/what to believe.
I hope the above is an interesting sample of the thought-provoking information found in H&B. I encourage you to read H&B, and to think about the assumptions that underlie your raw food practice. In this world, information is power - use it to find what is right, what is best, for you. H&B is an excellent source of information on diet and health, and I give it my highest recommendation.

For More information on H&B visit http://www.chetday.com

 

 

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