with Dr. Ben Kim:
Healthier from the Inside Out
from Chet: In September of 2004, Dr. Ben Kim graciously
agreed to serve as the professional natural health resource for
Health & Beyond Online subscribers and readers.
happy to recommend Dr. Kim to you because of his credentials
and his wise approach to natural health.
here to subscribe to Dr. Kim's informative and entertaining
weekly newsletter. It's free for the asking.
here to visit Dr. Kim's website and to learn more about his
approach to health.
Kim, how did you become interested in fasting and natural hygiene?
When I was 19 years old, I began losing skin pigmentation throughout
my body, a condition called vitiligo. For the next few years, I
consulted with physicians in Canada and the U.S., all of whom told
me that there was no known cause or cure for my condition, and that
my best chance for recovery was a combination of steroids and light
treatment. While I received these treatments, I found myself wondering
about the root causes of my health challenge. In doing so, I began
to develop a desire to understand the root causes of health and
disease so that I could take more responsibility for my well-being.
Years later while working as a chiropractor in a small Inuit village
at the northern tip of Alaska, I found myself with a lot of free
time in the evenings, as it was too cold to go outdoors much of
the time. It was then that I began reading Herbert Shelton's books
on health and fasting and felt an emergence of hope for better health.
I eventually left my position in Alaska to pursue a supervised fast,
which marked the beginning of my path to becoming a hygienic physician.
was your fasting experience like?
Quite simply, it was a life-changing experience. The first five
days were difficult, as I experienced headaches, gnawing emptiness
in my stomach, lightheadedness, and hoarseness. But with each passing
day, I noticed that my skin stopped itching, my intestines felt
more comfortable, and my chronically congested sinuses were clearing
up. In short, I could feel myself getting healthier from the inside
out. Also, I noticed a wonderful sense of calm come over my spirit.
After two weeks of fasting and several days of eating raw fruits
and vegetables, I felt incredibly free and empowered.
does fasting help a person recover from illness?
When going about our daily lives, we are not always aware of the
damage that certain foods and habits cause to our bodies. In the
case of a cut on our skin, we quickly learn that in order for our
self-healing mechanisms to heal the cut, we need to avoid sharp
objects. With internal health challenges, it's not quite as easy
to identify which of our food and lifestyle choices are aggravating
our inner tissues. So we tend to keep up the same habits that created
our illnesses to begin with. A properly conducted fast provides
an opportunity to avoid many of the root causes of illness, which
gives the body's self-healing mechanisms a chance to successfully
Do most people experience discomfort during a water-only fast?
It depends on a person's health status and how well they have prepared
to fast. Many people tend to feel hungry during the first 1-3 days,
but this feeling disappears as the body begins to burn fat for energy.
Common symptoms of detoxification that can arise during a fast include
headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
skin rashes, itchiness, and various bodily aches and pains. I have
worked with people who have experienced minimal discomfort throughout
their entire fasts. I have also worked with people who have struggled
through many days with one or more of the above symptoms. People
typically tend to feel more comfortable with each passing day. The
ideal goal is to break the fast when a person feels close to how
she would like to feel for the rest of her life.
How long do health improvements from fasting last for?
Fasting provides an ideal foundation on which to build lasting
health improvements. These improvements last for as long as we consistently
make healthful food and lifestyle choices. Rather than view health
as an ultimate physical state that we attain, it's important to
understand that it is a state of wellness that we earn each day
through our thoughts and behavior.
Does fasting increase our sensitivity to various stimuli?
Absolutely. Many people are amazed at how sweet romaine lettuce
is, how flavorful a crisp apple is, and how satisfying a baked potato
is following a fast. Fasting allows us to more clearly see and feel
how our bodies react to different foods and stimuli. If we eat something
that doesn't serve our health, we are more likely to receive feedback
from our bodies right away through symptoms like itchiness, nasal
congestion, diarrhea, headaches, and coughing. This feedback is
essential to guiding our food and lifestyle choices.
there any drawbacks to fasting?
As I've already mentioned, some symptoms of detoxification are
not pleasant or easy to endure. It's also true that it can take
some time for a person to gradually regain energy and strength following
a fast. Ultimately, a person is likely to experience even greater
strength and energy levels than she did prior to her fast. With
these points in mind, if a person understands the role that fasting
can play in establishing a foundation for a healthful existence,
it can be an immensely valuable experience.
Do you do blood work and other diagnostic studies during a fast?
I rely mainly on urine testing, vital signs, and close observation
of each person's physical and emotional progress in guiding people
through fasts. I rarely use blood studies – only when clinically
What are your views on food combining?
I think that proper food combining is essential to experiencing
But what about the view that there is no scientific support for
the merits of food combining?
While I appreciate the merits of the scientific process, I think
it's important to realize that some things in life are difficult
to measure. Or, there are some things that people don't have interest
in measuring. In these cases, we have to rely on experiential evidence
to guide us in our decision-making processes. Let's not forget that
scientific investigations cost money, and not all of them are undertaken
with a completely unbiased foundation. In speaking about the merits
of food-combining with a hygienic physician like Dr. Keki Sidhwa,
who has helped tens of thousands of people recover their health
over the past several decades, one is compelled to believe that
it deserves appropriate attention. I consider this kind of experiential
evidence in the absence of motivation for profit or recognition
to be immensely valuable.
Would you share an important lesson or two that you've learned
through your experiences with fasting?
Towards the end of my first water fast, I remember almost begging
the doctor to let me break my fast and have some watermelon juice.
He and I both knew that from a physiological perspective, I could
have benefited from a few more days on water. In an effort to encourage
me to continue with the fast, he said, "Don't you want to see more
of your skin color come back? It's embarrassing for you." Thinking
about his question allowed me to realize how attached I was to the
belief that unless all of my skin color returned, I wasn't going
to be good enough. It was then that I realized that I didn't want
to wait for my skin color to completely return before giving myself
permission to live as fully and meaningfully as I could. I think
that many people can relate to this idea. We have a tendency to
believe that things will be so much better once we have financial
security, a healthier body, a life partner who values us, and respect
from our family and friends. Perhaps the most important lesson that
I've learned thus far is that we don't have to wait for just the
right circumstances to feel blessed. Each moment is a new chance
to experience something special.
What is the principal message you want to impart to your patients?
It is not my intention to impart a principal message to anyone.
In the process of sharing thoughts and memories, I have noticed
that people create opportunities to learn lessons from their own
unique life experiences. Also, I prefer not to refer to people as
patients. I believe that I learn from people who come to me with
health challenges, just as they might learn from me.
How can you be so sure that fasting and natural hygiene are the
ways to optimal health?
I've often wondered about this expression, "optimal health".
If we are strong and well conditioned, but our minds and hearts
are consistently filled with worry, frustration, anger, sadness,
apathy, jealousy, and loneliness, are we, in fact, optimally healthy?
Beyond physical indicators of good health like a strong and flexible
body and well-conditioned organs, I think that "optimal health"
includes a feeling of emotional well being that each individual
must learn to experience on his own. I believe that fasting and
a hygienic lifestyle can be immensely helpful in attaining this
feeling and state of health.
What is your long-term vision for your clinic?
the same as my short-term vision for the clinic: to help one person
at a time.
Ben Kim's Background
and Professional Credentials
Ben Kim studied at the University of Toronto before going
on to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at the
National University of Health Sciences in Illinois. He graduated
summa cum laude and class salutatorian.
graduating, he travelled to the arctic of Alaska where he
helped to establish a chiropractic clinic for a group of Inuit
villages. Following his time in Alaska, Dr. Kim completed
a residential internship at the TrueNorth Health Center in
northern California for board certification in therapeutic
fasting supervision by the International Association of Hygienic
Kim has a special interest in natural hygiene and the impact
that our food and lifestyle choices have on the environment.
An enthusiastic tennis player, he also has a special interest
in sports medicine and injury rehabilitation. He is a graduate
of the Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program at McMaster
University and is in his eighth year of clinical practice.
Chuong-Kim, M.A., completed her undergraduate training
at York University in Toronto, Ontario, graduating with an
Honours B.A. in psychology. She went on to earn her Master
of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology at the Toronto campus
of The Adler School of Professional Psychology, based
in Chicago, Illinois.
has a special interest in Adlerian and Solutions-Focused approaches
here to visit Dr. Kim's
website and to learn more
about his approach to health
Kim's interview was originally published in the Summer 2003 Edition
of Health Science magazine.
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