Natural Health Gurus Ate Animal Foods

By Chet Day

Long-time readers of my work know I've been recommending a predominantly plant-based diet along with a judicious use of clean animal foods since January of 1999, when I began to realize that restrictive vegan diets, though helpful to many in the short-term, eventually lead to deficiencies and problems in the long term for many people.

Interestingly enough, most of the health writers who have guru status in the natural health movement either agree that a moderate use of animal foods is a sensible and healthful thing to do or else they flat out lied about what they really ate.

Let's look at a few of these writers and what they really wrote, shall we?

JOHN TILDEN and HERBERT SHELTON

Dr. John Tilden of Denver was a mentor and health hero of Dr. Herbert Shelton, the naturopath who popularized Natural Hygiene (a strict vegan and raw food diet -- though Shelton apparently didn't follow it himself as you'll learn later in this article).

Tilden was not a vegetarian or strict vegan, and he told his patients that animal foods were a necessary part of the human diet. I like Tilden's work because, unlike many health gurus, he speaks from the altar of common sense rather than the pulpit of egotism.

Writing about meat, Tilden says,

Those who labor should not eat meat oftener than once a day, and bread, potatoes, or other decidedly starchy foods once or twice a day.

Those of sedentary habits should not eat meat oftener than once every other day, or moderate every day when the temperature is ten above zero or lower.

When it is possible, meat should always be accompanied with a large plate of raw vegetable salad or a dish of slaw, and cooked non-starchy vegetables.

from Food: Its Influence as a Factor in Disease and Health, page 50.

Chet's Commentary on Tilden and Shelton

In general, Tilden recommended having a piece of meat the size of a silver dollar. He stressed a moderate and balanced approach to life, and that's one of the things I like and admire about him. Unlike the supposedly strict vegan Herbert Shelton, who spent the last ten years of his life beridden and suffering the agonies of an undiagnosed disease that resembles Parkinson's, Dr. Tilden lived and worked healthfully well into his 90's before he passed away.

When people tell me, "Shelton died of overwork. His raw vegan diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds was not the culprit," I like to point out that Dr. Tilden, Shelton's mentor, worked just as hard as Shelton, if not harder, and didn't end up an invalid for his last decade.

The main health factor I've been able to unearth regarding Shelton and Tilden lies with the fact that Tilden ate and approved of meat while Shelton only ate some dairy:

Dr. Ralph Cinque, who worked closely with Shelton, says:

Shelton's diet really wasn't that strict. He was a lactovegetarian; he never could get past the milk products in his diet, including cheese, clabbered milk, and butter. I had a man come to me once who had fasted with Shelton in the early 60s and kept a diary of all the meals he was fed by Shelton afterwards. It consisted of fruit in the morning, salad and nuts or cheese for lunch, and in the evening either salad with cooked vegetables and a starch, or sweet fruit with clabbered milk.


NORMAN WALKER

A strong advocate of fresh vegetable juice and regular colonics and enemas, Norman Walker stressed a predominantly raw plant-based dietary. Sensible man that he was, however, Walker also encouraged the eating of moderate amounts of goat's milk, pure cream, Swiss cheese, and cottage cheese.

Had Walker only gone a little further by recognizing the necessity of animal fats for the proper assimilation and use of fat-soluble vitamins and other factors, his program may well have become the answer to the disease problems of millions, as well as a long-term diet that maintained superior health.

Let's look at a couple of passages from two of Norman Walker's books:

The addition of some raw goat's milk or a little pure raw cream to the carrot juice gives it a somewhat exotic flavor and often serves to relieve the monotony when a reaction or distress many have a tendency to turn us against the plain juice. It is pertinent to remark that cream is a fat, pure and simple, while milk is definitely a concentrated protein food...

-- from Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices, page 35

and

While milk is a concentrated protein, cream is a fat purely and simply, and its digestion is entirely different. While of course it still is somewhat mucus-forming, it is nevertheless a fairly good fat, provided it is used in limited quantities.

The stronger the cheese, the greater is its acid-forming effect on the body, and the more mucus-forming it is. Cottage cheese (preferably the home-made kind) is probably the least mucus-forming, while the seasoned Swiss cheese, the kind that is made in huge round pieces about 3 feet across, and 8 or 10 inches thick, with large holes all through it, is the next best.

-- from Diet and Salad, page 43

Chet's Commentary on Walker

Like many natural health writers, Walker said goat's milk was an excellent choice for nursing babies, as well as a worthy food for adults. So why is that a few contemporary health gurus preach that goat's milk is fine for babies, but not fine for anyone else?

If animal products are poison to adults then surely they must be even worse poison for the sensitive and pure systems of babies. If goat's milk is the next best thing to mother's milk, how can it hurt adults? I'm glad Norman Walker recognized the value of having some animal food in the diet. That would perhaps explain why he lived as long as he did, though of course his age (cited as variously 109, 113, 118 and 4 months, 120, and even 130 years) at his death remains questionable.

Addendum December 2006: Click here for definitive proof that Norman Walker died in his 99th year.


PAUL BRAGG

For years, from the accounts I'd read, Paul Bragg died a robust and healthy man in his 90's in a swimming accident in Hawaii.

In April of 2006, however, I was pointed to a link on Google Answers that reports of Bragg dying at the age of 81 in a car accident.

Regardless of his age and cause of death, I've always appreciated Bragg's work because of his emphasis on two things: exercise and listening to one's body.

Bragg listened to his body and, as he writes on page 78 of his book, The Miracle of Fasting, has a lot to teach us:

Over the years of following a program of fasting, and with a diet containing an abundance of raw fruit and raw vegetables, my body has become so keen that it practically tells me what to eat at every meal. Over the years on this diet, my body has lost the desire for meat and fish, and my diet is composed of raw fruits and vegetables, cooked fruit, and cooked vegetables with nuts, nut-butters, seeds, raw wheat germ, Brewer's yeast, and legumes.

This is what my body seems to thrive on, but as I said, I don't like the word 'Never,' because there are times when my body tells me to eat a piece of meat or a piece of fish, or to have some natural cheese or a few fertile eggs. In other words, my body has developed an instinct for the selection of foods.

Chet's Commentary on Bragg

Well, my experience since 1993 has been that the serious health seeker's body will develop this same keen instinct for eating the right foods.

Instead of letting some ego-driven health guru tell you his/her system is the only system, why not listen to the voice that really knows what's right for your body, the voice within, the voice of desires for foods that speaks clearly once you learn to listen to it.

And Paul Bragg apparently ate more meat than he let on, as two readers of my newsletter reported in 2002:

PAUL BRAGG LIKED BURGERS

Chet, good article on the health gurus who have switched from vegan/vegetarian to adding meat to their diets. We were vegetarians in the 70's and changed in the 80's when we studied Dr. Ray Peat's work. We noticed our patients that took the longest to respond to treatment were the vegans and vegetarians.

Regarding Paul Bragg, we always saw him at a restaurant in the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki. His favorite meal was a char-broiled hamburger according to the waitresses that served him. At that time, he professed to be a vegetarian. He was a nice man and ran a free exercise class on the beach.

He reminded me of my father-in-law who wrote a book called, "If Man Made It, Don't Eat It," and Haal always told people he was a vegetarian, but we knew he enjoyed a good steak 2-3 times a week.

Now if we could only get people of the polyunsaturated fats and soy....

Aloha.

-- Sharie

and

PAUL BRAGG LIKED BURGERS CONFIRMED

Chet: A short note to let you know that the info on Paul Bragg that Sharie reported about eating burgers is correct. You know I live in Honolulu. I've run into a couple of older guys at the gym who used to exercise with Bragg at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki in the mornings. They told me the same thing about the burgers.

-- Dr. Stephen Brynes



LESTER ROLOFF

Christian evangelist and natural health teacher Lester Roloff helped many people regain their health. He did it by encouraging them to use fresh vegetable juice as well as a moderate, predominantly plant-based diet that included moderate amounts of animal foods. I liked Roloff's health teachings when I first read them because he recognized the body's need for a balanced diet, and he ate and told people to eat some animal foods like eggs and cottage cheese in moderate amounts. Let's go directly to one of his two fine pamphlets on health, where he wrote:

For meat, eat fish, fowl, wild game, avocado, egg yolks, nuts, cheese, and cottage cheese, sunflower seed, and a minimum of other meats. Drink a lot of juices, always unsweetened, forty-five minutes to an hour before the meal, or a couple of hours after the meal.

-- from Food, Fasting, and Faith

Chet's Commentary on Roloff:

Like so many others, Lester Roloff cured his own chronic health problems by going on a healthy diet that was predominantly uncooked and plant-based. But, to his credit, he also recognized the importance of including moderate servings of animal foods for lasting health.

Unfortunately, Lester Roloff died in a plane crash, so we don't have his personal long-term testimony of health, but given the fact that he did include some animal foods in his diet, I'm confident he would still be with us today, free of blood pressure problems, free of shaking hands, free of memory lapses, free of deep and premature facial wrinkles, and free of any of the other ailments so common in those who stubbornly stick with strict vegan diets for too many years.


HARVEY DIAMOND

Let's turn now to Harvey Diamond, the co-author of the best-selling Fit for Life books, who, in his most recent book (The Fit for Life Solution), rejects veganism as well as vegetarianism. One of my newsletter readers shared with me a section of a Harvey Diamond interview in the July/August 2000 issue of Mind and Muscle Power.

Question: "Assuming that today, we have a new generation of organic meats, chickens and eggs, and assuming that when I cook, I find a way to trim all the fat, is it still so bad?"

Diamond: "Oh, no. I don't know what has given you that impression. I make it very clear in the book (The Fit for Life Solution) I myself am not a vegetarian any longer. I eat meat, chicken, fish and eggs. I eat everything. But it is as you say, I seek out pasture-grazed animals. I don't just put anything into my body. I try to find the very best, the very finest, the very cleanest. And, most importantly I don't eat it with the frequency that I did in my younger years, which is what I feel made me sick in the first place. I generally have meat, chicken or fish maybe two or three times a week. Sometimes more. But basically it's on an every-other-day basis."

Chet's Commentary on Diamond

I respect Harvey Diamond for publicly reversing his earlier vegetarian, Natural Hygiene position and for acknowledging the long-term limitations of vegan and vegetarian programs.

By sharing his changed position with others, Diamond joins the ranks of honorable health heroes, former vegetarians like Upton Sinclair who realized a diet devoid of all animal foods did not lead to long-term health and energy.

CONCLUSION

Also, do keep in mind that Max Gerson, the originator of the famed Gerson Institute program, used liver extracts. After detox, Gerson added cottage cheese and other products derived from animal sources at one point or another in his protocol. His daughter, Charlotte, keeper of the Gerson flame, has a host of animal-derived substances in the current version of the Gerson program, for which in-patients now pay $4900 a week. Click here to visit the Gerson website.

Isn't it unfortunate that some natural health gurus quote other health writers as promoting a restrictive vegan diet without bothering to tell you that these same writers have always recommended, or have come to allow, a moderate use of animal products?

It's unfortunate, but massive egos will stoop low enough to sacrifice the health of expectant mothers and babies and children, as well as the long-term health of loyal followers, rather than adjust to the moderate stance taken by the very gurus they cite as their own sources for restrictive veganism that will eventually lead to serious deficiencies, disease, and accelerated aging.

Sadly, many deficiency problems remain undetected until irreparable damage has been done.

And for those who base their health decisions on the Bible... yes, Genesis 1:29 ("Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed... to you it shall be fore meat") held true for Eden, but humans were driven from the Garden, so it makes scriptural sense to adhere to Genesis 9:3 when God says, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." My understanding of this text is that God meant for us to eat from both the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

In closing, as usual, I urge you to not take any single health writer's word as gospel.

Instead, seek out original sources and determine the truth for yourself.

It's your life and your health.

You must take sole responsibility.





Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.