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- How and When to Be Your Own Doctor - 5/55 -
Elizabeth would do nothing for herself, including going to the bathroom. I managed to get some nutrition into her, and change her clothes, but that was about all I could do. Eventually she wore me down; I drifted off for an hour's nap instead of watching her all night. Elizabeth slipped away in the autumn darkness and vanished. Needless to say, when daylight came I desperately searched the buildings, the yard, gardens, woods, and even the nearby river. I called in a missing person report and the police looked as well. We stopped searching after a week because there just wasn't any place else to look. Then, into my kitchen, right in front of our round eyes and gaping mouths, walked a smiling, pleasant, talkative young woman who was quite sane.
She said, "Hello I'm Elizabeth! I'm sorry I was such a hassle last week, and thank you for trying to take care of me so well. I was too sick to know any better." She said she had gone out our back door the week before and crawled under a pile of fallen leaves on the ground in our back yard with a black tarp over them. We had looked under the tarp at least fifty times during the days past, but never thought to look under the leaves as well.
This amazing occurrence made my head go bong to say the least; it was obvious that Elizabeth had not been 'schizophrenic' because of her genetics, nor because of stress, nor malnutrition, nor hypoglycemia, nor because of any of the causes of mental illness I had previously learned to identify and rectify, but because of food allergies. Elizabeth was spontaneously cured because she'd had nothing to eat for a week. The composting pile of leaves hiding her had produced enough heat to keep her warm at night and the heap contained sufficient moisture to keep her from getting too dehydrated. She looked wonderful, with clear shiny blue eyes, clear skin with good color, though she was slightly slimmer than when I had last seen her.
I then administered Coca's Pulse Test (see the Appendix) and quickly discovered Elizabeth was wildly intolerant to wheat and dairy products. Following the well known health gurus of that time like Adelle Davis, I had self-righteously been feeding her home-made whole wheat bread from hand-ground Organic wheat, and home-made cultured yogurt from our own organically-fed goats. But by doing this I had only maintained her insanity. Elizabeth was an intelligent young woman, and once she understood what was causing her problems, she had no trouble completely eliminating certain foods from her diet. She shuddered at the thought that had she not come to my place and discovered the problem, she would probably have died on the back ward of some institution for the chronically mentally ill.
As for me, I will always be grateful to her for opening my eyes and mind a little wider. Elizabeth's case showed me why Russian schizophrenics put on a 30 day water fast had such a high recovery rate. I also remembered all the esoteric books I had read extolling the benefits of fasting. I also remembered two occasions during my own youth when I had eaten little or nothing for approximately a month each without realizing that I was "fasting." And doing this had done me nothing but good.
Once when I was thirteen my mother sent my "little" brother and I to a residential fundamentalist bible school. I did not want to go there, although my brother did; he had decided he wanted to be a evangelical minister. I hated bible school because I was allowed absolutely no independence of action. We were required to attend church services three times a day during the week, and five services on Sunday. As I became more and more unhappy, I ate less and less; in short order I wasn't eating at all. The school administration became concerned after I had dropped about 30 pounds in two months, notified my mother and sent me home. I returned to at-home schooling. I also resumed eating.
I fasted one other time for about a month when I was 21. It happened because I had nothing to do while visiting my mother before returning to University except help with housework and prepare meals. The food available in the backwoods of central B.C. didn't appeal to me because it was mostly canned vegetables, canned milk, canned moose meat and bear meat stews with lots of gravy and greasy potatoes. I decided to pass on it altogether. I remember rather enjoying that time as a fine rest and I left feeling very good ready to take on the world full force ahead. At that time I didn't know there was such a thing as fasting, it just happened that way.
After Elizabeth went on her way, I decided to experimentally fast myself. I consumed only water for two weeks. But I must have had counter intentions to this fast because I found myself frequently having dreams about sugared plums, and egg omelets, etc. And I didn't end up feeling much better after this fast was over (although I didn't feel any worse either), because I foolishly broke the fast with one of my dream omelets. And I knew better! Every book I'd ever read on fasting stated how important it is to break a fast gradually, eating only easy-to-digest foods for days or weeks before resuming one's regular diet.
From this experiment I painfully learned how important it is to break a fast properly. Those eggs just didn't feel right, like I had an indigestible stone in my belly. I felt very tired after the omelet, not energized one bit by the food. I immediately cut back my intake to raw fruits and vegetables while the eggs cleared out of my system. After a few days on raw food I felt okay, but I never did regain the shine I had achieved just before I resumed eating.
This is one of the many fine things about fasting, it allows you to get in much better communication with your own body, so that you can hear it when it objects to something you're putting in it or doing to it. It is not easy to acquire this degree of sensitivity to your body unless you remove all food for a sufficiently long period; this allows the body to get a word in edgewise that we are willing and able to listen to. Even when we do hear the body protesting, we frequently decide to turn a deaf ear, at least until the body starts producing severe pain or some other symptom that we can't ignore.
Within a few years after Elizabeth's cure I had handily repaired quite a few mentally ill people in a harmless way no one had heard of; many new people were knocking at my door wanting to be admitted to my drug free, home-based treatment program. So many in fact that my ability to accommodate them was overwhelmed. I decided that it was necessary to move to a larger facility and we bought an old, somewhat run-down estate that I called Great Oaks School of Health because of the magnificent oak trees growing in the front yard.
At Great Oaks initially I continued working with psychotics, employing fasting as a tool, especially in those cases with obvious food allergies as identified by Coca's Pulse Test, because it only takes five days for a fasting body to eliminate all traces of an allergic food substance and return to normal functioning. If the person was so severely hypoglycemic that they were unable to tolerate a water fast, an elimination diet (to be described in detail later) was employed, while stringently avoiding all foods usually found to be allergy producing.
I also decided that if I was going to employ fasting as my primary medicine, it was important for me to have a more intense personal experience with it, because in the process of reviewing the literature on fasting I saw that there were many different approaches, each one staunchly defended by highly partisan advocates. For example, the capital "N" Natural, capital "H" Hygienists, such a Herbert Shelton, aggressively assert that only a pure water fast can be called a fast. Sheltonites contend that juice fasting as advocated by Paavo Airola, for example, is not a fast but rather a modified diet without the benefits of real fasting. Colon cleansing was another area of profound disagreement among the authorities. Shelton strongly insisted that enemas and colonics should not be employed; the juice advocates tend to strongly recommend intestinal cleansing.
To be able to intelligently take a position in this maze of conflict I decided to first try every system on myself. It seems to me that if I can be said to really own anything in this life it is my own body, and I have the absolute right to experiment with it as long as I'm not irresponsible about important things such as care of my kids. I also feel strongly that it was unethical to ask anyone to do anything that I was not willing or able to do myself. Just imagine what would happen if all medical doctors applied this principal in their practice of medicine, if all surgeons did it too!
I set out to do a complete and fully rigorous water fast according to the Natural Hygiene model--only pure water and bed rest (with no colon cleansing) until hunger returns, something the hygienists all assured me would happen when the body had completed its detoxification process. The only aspect of a hygienic fast I could not fulfill properly was the bed rest part; unfortunately I was in sole charge of a busy holistic treatment center (and two little girls); there were things I had to do, though I did my chores and duties at a very slow pace with many rest periods.
I water fasted for 42 days dropping from 135 pounds to 85 pounds on a 5' 7" frame. At the end I looked like a Nazi concentration camp victim. I tended to hide when people came to the door, because the sight of all my bones scared them to death. Despite my assurances visitors assumed I was trying to commit suicide. In any case I persevered, watching my body change, observing my emotions, my mental functioning, and my spiritual awareness. I thought, if Moses could fast for 42 days so can I, even though the average length of a full water fast to skeletal weight for a person that is not overweight is more in the order of 30 days. I broke the fast with small amounts of carrot juice diluted 50/50 with water and stayed on that regimen for two more weeks.
After I resumed eating solid food it took six weeks to regain enough strength to be able to run the same distance in the same time I had before fasting, and it took me about six months to regain my previous weight. My eyes and skin had become exceptionally clear, and some damaged areas of my body such as my twice-broken shoulder had undergone considerable healing. I ate far smaller meals after the fast, but food was so much more efficiently absorbed that I got a lot more miles to the gallon from what I did eat. I also became more aware when my body did not want me to eat something. After the fast, if I ignored my body's protest and persisted, it would immediately create some unpleasant sensation that quickly persuaded me to curb my appetite.
I later experimented with other approaches to fasting, with juice fasts, with colon cleansing, and began to establish my own eclectic approach to fasting and detoxification, using different types of programs for different conditions and adjusting for psychological tolerances. I'll have a lot more to say about fasting.
After my own rigorous fasting experience I felt capable of supervising extended fasts on very ill or very overweight people. Great Oaks was gradually shifting from being a place that mentally ill people came to regain their sanity to being a spa where anyone
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