The Wonderful World of Ann Wigmore

By Daniel Lilienfeld

Ah yes, welcome, welcome! Hold on campers because the Ann Wigmore story can and does fill volumes of health books! We have a story here of tragedy, triumph, miracles, innovation, inspiration and even a conspiracy theory or two. You're gonna love this one so lets get to it!

As I first heard it...

Now, as I first heard it from my friend, Jai, with a creative story telling talent, the story was summed up for me like this:

Ann Wigmore lived in Boston. She was suffering from gangrene and the doctors wanted to amputate her legs. She said no to the amputation and crawled out by the railroad tracks to die. There the dandelions spoke to her and said "Eat the WEE-EEE-EEEDS!" So she ate the weeds and cured herself.

This story is more or less true depending upon your spiritual beliefs.... but we'll just leave it at that.

I told you that story to tell you this one: Although Ann tells her own story with much more detail and emotion, I will attempt to cover the main points here. I'll start by pointing out the distinct differences between the story I first heard and the story as Ann tells it.

First of all, she sat in the backyard and didn't crawl out to the railroad tracks. Second, she had the weeds and herbal background from her grandmother. And third, she makes no mention of 'talking dandelions'. Good story anyway, Jai. I'll treasure it always.

All right, lets get down to the facts, shall we? In her autobiography, Why Suffer?: How I Overcame Illness & Pain Naturally , Ann tells of growing up in war torn Lithuania. She grew up with her grandmother and watched her as she used herbs and weeds to heal wounded WWI soldiers. In her mid-teens, Ann moved to America where she quickly adopted the 'new worlds' habits and customs. Her new American diet resulted in colon cancer and then a disastrous automobile accident crushed her legs and resulted in gangrene. It was at this point that the doctors recommended amputation and Ann refused, while her family sided with the doctors. At home, Ann struggled to move and feed herself. She spent endless hours in her backyard in the sun, eating weeds and herbs and applying them to her wounds as she learned from her grandmother back in Europe. Slowly, Ann regained her strength and devised a plan for indoor greens to sustain her through the cold Boston winter. Ann eventually returned to her doctors after she was up and about again, her wounds gone and her legs healed. Ann recalls that the doctors "made no comment when X-ray films showed that the bones had knitted firmly."

Ann adjusted her live food program to include sprouts, raw fermented foods, and her signature drink; rejuvelac. Made from sprouted wheatgrass seeds fermented in water, rejuvelac is said to replenish healthy intestinal flora; vital to proper digestion. The Living Foods Diet was ready and Ann shared it with the world in 1958 by opening the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston.

Hippocrates Health Institute attracted people from all walks of life and from around the world. Politicians, actors, celebrities, etc. all were treated as fairly and compassionately as the nameless and penniless who were as equally welcome at H.H.I. for healing and learning.

Ann invented the wheatgrass juicer by adding a sieve to a meat grinder, thus making it possible for folks to grow and juice their own wheatgrass. Wheatgrass, she found, was easiest and cheapest to grow, as well as containing one of the highest nutritional contents of the grasses.

Her work at Hippocrates produced testimonial after testimonial of guests who had cured themselves of a multitude of various ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, gastritis, stomach ulcers, pancreas and liver troubles, asthma, glaucoma, eczema, skin problems, constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, fatigue, female problems, arthritis, athlete's foot, anemia, bad breath/body odor, etc. etc. etc.

Fighting the American Medical Industrial Complex proved too much for Ann but she continued to spread her good word by starting living food programs abroad in India, Sweden, Finland and Canada.

In 1994, Ann Wigmore died of smoke inhalation during a fire that destroyed the original home of the Hippocrates Health Institute. Her work is still alive to this day in the programs of several healing centers here in the U.S. such as the Optimum Health Institutes of San Diego and Austin, the Creative Health Institute in Michigan, the new(er?) Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach Florida (see Buddhamoose O.T.L. #5), and the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico. But to find Ann's spirit at it's strongest Buddhamoose O.T.L. recommends with heart the Ann Wigmore Foundation in San Fidel New Mexico!

[The preceding eight paragraphs are creatively condensed and paraphrased with permission from Steve "Sproutman" Meyerowitz's outstanding book Wheatgrass; Nature's Finest Medicine, pages 31-34. Check your health food store or surrender to corporate cyber monger by clicking here... ALSO, Sproutman's Kitchen Garden Cookbook and Sprouts: The Miracle Food both by Steve Meyerowitz available from]   

The Ann Wigmore Foundation

Offering 2 week programs on the Living Food Diet, the Ann Wigmore Foundation in San Fidel, New Mexico, is at the center of the Ann Wigmore legacy. The Foundation's director, Shu Chan was chosen personally by Ann. In an effort to preserve the program in its original form, Ann singled out Shu, who worked side by side with Ann for many years.

One of the first appealing details of the A.W.F. is the remote location. Approximately 40 miles west of Albuquerque, the 3 building complex of the A.W.F. has no commercial neighbors. In other words, you can't slip off down the road for an easy walk to fast foods. Contrast this with the Optimum Health Inst. in San Diego or Esser's ranch in Florida where Burger King, Taco Bell or I.H.O.P. are just around the corner. Not that you or I would go for it, but it's so much nicer when you don't even have to see that crap. The one story kitchen/common ground building and two octagon-shaped two story living quarters are nestled in a crevasse between two adjoining mesas in the mountainous deserts of northwest New Mexico. Stunning countryside just off of the legendary Route 66!

I called ahead and made arrangements for a one week stay. My timing was off (Murphy's Law) but due to my background Shu consented to allow me to join them for the second week of the two week program. According to the workbook, the first week I missed consisted of many classes teaching the science behind live foods as well as sprouting and wheatgrass classes etc... Fortunately for me, the second week classes consisted mainly of food-prep classes with a few random classes like composting and natural beauty care.

The program places a large emphasis on wheatgrass therapies and mornings usually begin with an informal gathering around the wheatgrass juicers in the kitchen.

Breakfast is sometimes melon and more often it is raw energy soup which is used at most meals. Salads are quite good here and there is always some fermented sauerkraut and soaked dulse too. Also lots of good dehydrated crackers.

Rejuvelac is always available. What the hell is rejuvelac, you ask? Ann invented rejuvelac as a way to reintroduce healthy stomach flora in the system. First you sprout some wheat or rye etc. Then you soak it and let it ferment. Strain and drink. Yum Yum! Well, not really. I think rejuvelac tastes nasty and stubborn-ass Taurus that I am I refuse to drink it. I'm also siding with the teachings of natural hygiene here which suggests that your taste buds are one of the body's first lines of defense and if something doesn't taste good to you, you probably shouldn't be eating it. Not that caramel custard is good for you since it tastes good but I think you get the idea. Once again that is my own personal decision and if you try the Ann Wigmore program here or anywhere else you should try it ALL and decide for yourself. I understand Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida has dropped rejuvelac from its program due to controversy over its effectiveness. Again, you should always decide for yourself.

Classes are very relaxed and informal but you learn about the body's different systems of digestion, assimilation, elimination etc. including food combining and the 'why's and 'how to's. There are sprouting classes, wheatgrass and indoor gardening classes. A good indoor/outdoor composting class is taught by Robert who is the master gardener there. Robert also worked directly with Ann in Boston before her passing.

Evening classes are more geared toward things like massage, reflexology, chi gong, meditation and that sort of thing. This is a good opportunity to learn a broad introduction to personal relaxation techniques.

As I said, the second week classes are focused on live-food preparation. We learned seed loaves, seed cheeses, dressings, dehydrated foods, fermented foods, and many other delicious recipes. I'd love to share a few here but I don't want to steal any of Ann's recipes to do so. There are many good raw recipe books out there. Look into it!!

The friends I make at each of these retreats are always inspirational. One woman who was there had been there for 6 weeks and looked great although I was told she showed up with cancer, gray skin and zero energy for tasks as simple as climbing the stairs. By the time I got there she had switched to an upstairs room, her skin was a lovely tone of copper and her enthusiasm was through the roof! She told me she had spent literally tens of thousands of dollars at other spas and nothing worked like the simple inexpensive program here at the Foundation.

But, of course, where would we be if I neglected to mention another key element to the program. The ever controversial stop 'em in their tracks enema debate! Well, I'm not taking you there this issue. It's a story for another day folks and what a wacky story it is! Anyway, the enemas and wheatgrass implants will be explained to you in full at any institute following the Wigmore program.

Not surprisingly, the environment here is very close and intimate and everyone gets to know each other quite well.[ Don't get me wrong, enemas are done in private, you silly] The loving compassionate tone makes for a wonderful supportive atmosphere and by the end of the week we were one small happy family!! Amidst tears of joy and laughter of love we celebrated our "graduation" with a veritable live food feast!!

Shu admits that food combing goes out the window for the graduation dinner. The idea is to show how to create a plethora of dishes that will be enjoyed by anyone, live foodists or otherwise. Dishes include live pasta, seed and nut loaves, nut butter balls for dessert, and believe it or not a tasty rejuvelac 'pink champagne' that actually gives you a slight buzz! Scouts honor! That recipe is closely guarded by Shu, but I'm sure she will share it if you go there!

Before leaving I had the opportunity to record an interview with Foundation director Shu Chan. Now if I can only find that tape.... When it finally turns up, as I'm sure it will, I promise to share it!!

Oh yes, before I forget, I promised a good conspiracy theory here. Some say that the fire that claimed Ann's life was deliberately set by agents of the new world odor in an attempt to cover up the fact that Ann, who was approx. 90 years old, was positively youthing! [Among other turn arounds in her health, Ann's gray hair returned to her natural color!] The theory here is that this program and information is so challenging to the existing medical power structure that Ann, the living miracle and proof of it's effectiveness, was rubbed out to cover up the evidence of the power of reclaiming your own health. However, those close to Ann assured me that was nonsense. Unfortunately, Ann was a brilliant, compassionate healer but a terrible electrician. Apparently, Ann had a bad habit of plugging far too many electric cords and power strips into a single electric outlet. The building in Boston that housed the old Hippocrates institute was an old converted mansion and badly in need of rewiring. The tragic result of these factors is the electrical fire that claimed Ann's life. It would be a discredit to Ann's memory and legacy to back away from the truth. As the old adage goes; Speak no ill of the dead. Amen.

The conspiracy theory I'd like to see addressed is this: Why would the new Hippocrates Institute in Florida charge an exorbitant price compared to the 'accessible to most' prices of the Ann Wigmore Foundation. But that's just me and my anti-elitist poor man on the street attitude. Ah, c'est la vie....

The Ann Wigmore Foundation
San Fidel, New Mexico 87049-0399
(505) 552-0595
One week price: ~$500

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