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The Nature and Cause of Disease

From: How and When to Be Your Own Doctor

From The Hygienic Dictionary

Toxemia. [1] "Toxemia is the basic cause of all so-called diseases.
In the process of tissue-building (metabolism), there is
cell-building (anabolism) and cell destruction (catabolism). The
broken-down tissue is toxic. In the healthy body (when nerve energy
is normal), this toxic material is eliminated from the blood as fast
as it is evolved. But when nerve energy is dissipated from any cause
(such as physical or mental excitement or bad habits) the body
becomes weakened or enervated. When the body is enervated,
elimination is checked. This, in turn, results in a retention of
toxins in the blood--the condition which we speak of as toxemia.
This state produces a crisis which is nothing more than heroic or
extraordinary efforts by the body to eliminate waste or toxin from
the blood. It is this crisis which we term disease. Such
accumulation of toxin when once established, will continue until
nerve energy has been restored to normal by removing the cause.
So-called disease is nature's effort to eliminate toxin from the
blood. All so-called diseases are crises of toxemia." _John H.
Tilden, M.D., Toxemia Explained._ [2] Toxins are divided into two
groups; namely exogenous, those formed in the alimentary canal from
fermentation and decomposition following imperfect or faulty
digestion. If the fermentation is of vegetables or fruit, the toxins
are irritating, stimulating and enervating, but not so dangerous or
destructive to organic life as putrefaction, which is a fermentation
set up in nitrogenous matter--protein-bearing foods, but
particularly animal foods. Endogenous toxins are autogenerated. They
are the waste products of metabolism. _Dr. John. H. Tilden, Impaired
Health: Its Cause and Cure, 1921._

Suppose a fast-growing city is having traffic jams. "We don't like
it!" protest the voters. "Why are these problems happening?" asks
the city council, trying to look like they are doing something about

Experts then proffer answers. "Because there are too many cars,"
says the Get A Horse Society. The auto makers suggest it is because
there are uncoordinated traffic lights and because almost all the
businesses send their employees home at the same time. Easy to fix!
And no reason whatsoever to limit the number of cars. The asphalt
industry suggests it is because the size and amount of roads is

What do we do then? Tax cars severely until few can afford them?
Legislate opening and closing hours of businesses to stagger to'ing
and fro'ing? Hire a smarter municipal highway engineer to
synchronize the traffic lights? Build larger and more efficient
streets? Demand that auto companies make cars smaller so more can
fit the existing roads? Tax gasoline prohibitively, pass out and
give away free bicycles in virtually unlimited quantities while
simultaneously building mass rail systems? What? Which?

When we settle on a solution we have simultaneously chosen what we
consider the real, underlying cause of the problem. If our chosen
reason was the real reason. then our solution results in a real
cure. If we picked wrongly, our attempt at solution may result in no
cure, or create a worse situation than we had before.

The American Medical Association style of medicine (a philosophy I
will henceforth call allopathic) has a model that explains the
causes of illness. It suggests that anyone who is sick is a victim.
Either they were attacked by a "bad" organism--virus, bacteria,
yeast, pollen, cancer cell, etc.--or they have a "bad" organ--liver,
kidney, gall bladder, even brain. Or, the victim may also have been
cursed by bad genes. In any case, the cause of the disease is not
the person and the person is neither responsible for creating their
own complaint nor is the victim capable of making it go away. This
institutionalized irresponsibility seems useful for both parties to
the illness, doctor and patient. The patient is not required to do
anything about their complaint except pay (a lot) and obediently
follow the instructions of the doctor, submitting unquestioningly to
their drugs and surgeries. The physician then acquires a role of
being considered vital to the survival of others and thus obtains
great status, prestige, authority, and financial remuneration.

Perhaps because the sick person is seen to have been victimized, and
it is logically impossible to consider a victimizer as anything but
something evil, the physician's cure is often violent,
confrontational. Powerful poisons are used to rejigger body
chemistry or to arrest the multiplication of disease bacteria or to
suppress symptoms; if it is possible to sustain life without them,
"bad," poorly-functioning organs are cut out.

I've had a lot of trouble with the medical profession. Over the
years doctors have made attempts to put me in jail and keep me in
fear. But they never stopped me. When I've had a client die there
has been an almost inevitable coroner's investigation, complete with
detectives and the sheriff. Fortunately, I practice in rural Oregon,
where the local people have a deeply-held belief in individual
liberty and where the authorities know they would have had a very
hard time finding a jury to convict me. Had I chosen to practice
with a high profile and had I located Great Oaks School of Health in
a major market area where the physicians were able to charge top
dollar, I probably would have spent years behind bars as did other
heroes of my profession such as Linda Hazzard and Royal Lee.

So I have acquired an uncomplimentary attitude about medical
doctors, a viewpoint I am going to share with you ungently, despite
the fact that doing so will alienate some of my readers. But I do so
because most Americans are entirely enthralled by doctors, and this
doctor-god worship kills a lot of them.

However, before I get started on the medicos, let me state that one
area exists where I do have fundamental admiration for allopathic
medicine. This is its handling of trauma. I agree that a body can
become the genuine victim of fast moving bullets. It can be
innocently cut, smashed, burned, crushed and broken. Trauma are not
diseases and modern medicine has become quite skilled at putting
traumatized bodies back together. Genetic abnormality may be another
undesirable physical condition that is beyond the purview of natural
medicine. However, the expression of contra-survival genetics can
often be controlled by nutrition. And the expression of poor
genetics often results from poor nutrition, and thus is similar to a
degenerative disease condition, and thus is well within the scope of
natural medicine.

Today's suffering American public is firmly in the AMA's grip.
People have been effectively prevented from learning much about
medical alternatives, have been virtually brainwashed by clever
media management that portrays other medical models as dangerous
and/or ineffective. Legislation influenced by the allopathic
doctors' union, the American Medical Association, severely limits or
prohibits the practice of holistic health. People are repeatedly
directed by those with authority to an allopathic doctor whenever
they have a health problem, question or confusion. Other types of
healers are considered to be at best harmless as long as they
confine themselves to minor complaints; at worst, when naturopaths,
hygienists, or homeopaths seek to treat serious disease conditions
they are called quacks, accused of unlicensed practice of medicine
and if they persist or develop a broad, successful, high-profile and
(this is the very worst) profitable practice, they are frequently

Even licensed MDs are crushed by the authorities if they offer
non-standard treatments. So when anyone seeks an alternative health
approach it is usually because their complaint has already failed to
vanish after consulting a whole series of allopathic doctors. This
highly unfortunate kind of sufferer not only has a degenerative
condition to rectify, they may have been further damaged by harsh
medical treatments and additionally, they have a considerable amount
of brainwashing to overcome.

The AMA has succeeded at making their influence over information and
media so pervasive that most people do not even realize that the
doctors' union is the source of their medical outlook. Whenever an
American complains of some malady, a concerned and honestly caring
friend will demand to know have they yet consulted a medical doctor.
Failure to do so on one's own behalf is considered highly
irresponsible. Concerned relatives of seriously ill adults who
decline standard medical therapy may, with a great show of
self-righteousness, have the sick person judged mentally incompetent
so that treatment can be forced upon them. When a parent fails to
seek standard medical treatment for their child, the adult may well
be found guilty of criminal negligence, raising the interesting
issue of who "owns" the child, the parents or the State.

It is perfectly acceptable to die while under conventional medical
care. Happens all the time, in fact. But holistic alternatives are
represented as stupidly risky, especially for serious conditions
such as cancer. People with cancer see no choice but to do
chemotherapy, radiation, and radical surgery because this is the
current allopathic medical approach. On some level people may know
that these remedies are highly dangerous but they have been told by
their attending oncologist that violent therapies are their only
hope of survival, however poor that may be. If a cancer victim
doesn't proceed immediately with such treatment their official
prognosis becomes worse by the hour. Such scare tactics are common
amongst the medical profession, and they leave the recipient so
terrified that they meekly and obediently give up all
self-determinism, sign the liability waiver, and submit, no
questions asked. Many then die after suffering intensely from the
therapy, long before the so-called disease could have actually
caused their demise. I will later offer alternative and frequently
successful (but not guaranteed) approaches to treating cancer that
do not require the earliest-possible detection, surgery or poisons.

If holistic practitioners were to apply painful treatments like
allopaths use, ones with such poor statistical outcomes like
allopaths use, there would most certainly be witch hunts and all
such irresponsible, greedy quacks would be safely imprisoned. I find
it highly ironic that for at least the past twenty five hundred
years the basic principle of good medicine has been that the
treatment must first do no harm. This is such an obvious truism that
even the AMA doctors pledge to do the same thing when they take the
Hippocratic Oath. Yet virtually every action taken by the allopath
is a conscious compromise between the potential harm of the therapy
and its potential benefit.

In absolute contrast, if a person dies while on a natural hygiene
program, they died because their end was inevitable no matter what
therapy was attempted. Almost certainly receiving hygienic therapy
contributed to making their last days far more comfortable and
relatively freer of pain without using opiates. I have personally
taken on clients sent home to die after they had suffered everything
the doctors could do to them, told they had only a few days, weeks,
or months to live. Some of these clients survived as a result of
hygienic programs even at that late date. And some didn't. The
amazing thing was that any of them survived at all, because the best
time to begin a hygienic program is as early in the degenerative
process as possible, not after the body has been drastically
weakened by invasive and toxic treatments. Later on, I'll tell you
about some of these cases.

Something I consider especially ironic is that when the patient of a
medical doctor dies, it is inevitably thought that the blessed
doctor did all that could be done; rarely is any blame laid. If the
physician was especially careless or stupid, their fault can only
result in a civil suit, covered by malpractice insurance. But let a
holistic practitioner treat a sick person and have that person
follow any of their suggestions or take any natural remedies and
have that person die or worsen and it instantly becomes the natural
doctor's fault. Great blame is placed and the practitioner faces
inquests, grand juries, manslaughter charges, jail time and civil
suits that can't be insured against.

Allopathic medicine rarely makes a connection between the real
causes of a degenerative or infectious disease and its cure. The
causes are usually considered mysterious: we don't know why the
pancreas is acting up, etc. The sick are sympathized with as victims
who did nothing to contribute to their condition. The cure is a
highly technical battle against the illness, whose weapons are
defined in Latin and far beyond the understanding of a layperson.

Hygienic medicine presents an opposite view. To the naturopath,
illness is not a perplexing and mysterious occurrence over which you
have no control or understanding. The causes of disease are clear
and simple, the sick person is rarely a victim of circumstance and
the cure is obvious and within the competence of a moderately
intelligent sick person themselves to understand and help
administer. In natural medicine, disease is a part of living that
you are responsible for, and quite capable of handling.

Asserting that the sick are pitiable victims is financially
beneficial to doctors. It makes medical intervention seem a vital
necessity for every ache and pain. It makes the sick become
dependent. I'm not implying that most doctors knowingly are
conniving extortionists. Actually most medical doctors are genuinely
well-intentioned. I've also noticed that most medical doctors are at
heart very timid individuals who consider that possession of a MD
degree and license proves that they are very important, proves them
to be highly intelligent, even makes them fully qualified to
pontificate on many subjects not related to medicine at all.

Doctors obtain an enormous sense of self-importance at medical
school, where they proudly endured the high pressure weeding out of
any free spirit unwilling to grind away into the night for seven or
more years. Anyone incapable of absorbing and regurgitating huge
amounts of rote information; anyone with a disrespectful or
irreverent attitude toward the senior doctor-gods who arrogantly
serve as med school professors, anyone like this was eliminated with
especial rapidity. When the thoroughly submissive, homogenized
survivors are finally licensed, they assume the status of junior

But becoming an official medical deity doesn't permit one to create
their own methods. No no, the AMA's professional oversight and
control system makes continued possession of the license to practice
(and the high income that usually comes with it) entirely dependent
on continued conformity to what is defined by the AMA as "correct
practice." Any doctor who innovates beyond strict limits or uses
non-standard treatments is in real danger of losing their livelihood
and status.

Not only are licensed graduates of AMA-sanctioned medical schools
kept on a very tight leash, doctors of other persuasions who use
other methods to heal the sick or help them heal themselves are
persecuted and prosecuted. Extension of the AMA's control through
regulatory law and police power is justified in the name of
preventing quackery and making sure the ignorant and gullible public
receives only scientifically proven effective medical care.

Those on the other side of the fence view the AMA's oppression as an
effective way to make sure the public has no real choices but to use
union doctors, pay their high fees and suffer greatly by
misunderstanding of the true cause of disease and its proper cure.
If there are any actual villains responsible for this suppressive
tragedy some of them are to be found in the inner core of the AMA,
officials who may perhaps fully and consciously comprehend the
suppressive system they promulgate.

Hygienists usually inform the patient quite clearly and directly
that the practitioner has no ability to heal them or cure their
condition and that no doctor of any type actually is able to heal.
Only the body can heal itself, something it is eager and usually
very able to do if only given the chance. One pithy old saying among
hygienists goes, "if the body can't heal itself, nothing can heal
it." The primary job of the hygienic practitioner is to reeducate
the patient by conducting them through their first natural healing
process. If this is done well the sick person learns how to get out
of their own body's way and permit its native healing power to
manifest. Unless later the victim of severe traumatic injury, never
again will that person need obscenely expensive medical procedures.
Hygienists rarely make six figure incomes from regular, repeat

This aspect of hygienic medicine makes it different than almost all
the others, even most other holistic methods. Hygiene is the only
system that does not interpose the assumed healing power of a doctor
between the patient and wellness. When I was younger and less
experienced I thought that the main reason traditional medical
practice did not stress the body's own healing power and represented
the doctor as a necessary intervention was for profit. But after
practicing for over twenty years I now understand that the last
thing most people want to hear is that their own habits, especially
their eating patterns and food choices, are responsible for their
disease and that their cure is to only be accomplished through
dietary reform, which means unremittingly applied self-discipline.

One of the hardest things to ask of a person is to change a habit.
The reason that AMA doctors have most of the patients is they're
giving the patients exactly what they want, which is to be allowed
to continue in their unconscious irresponsibility.

The Cause Of Disease

Ever since natural medicine arose in opposition to the violence of
so-called scientific medicine, every book on the subject of hygiene,
once it gets past its obligatory introductions and warm ups, must
address The Cause of Disease. This is a required step because we see
the cause of disease and its consequent cure in a very different
manner than the allopath. Instead of many causes, we see one basic
reason why. Instead of many unrelated cures, we have basically one
approach to fix all ills that can be fixed.

A beautiful fifty cent word that means a system for explaining
something is paradigm, pronounced para-dime. I am fond of this word
because it admits the possibility of many differing yet equally true
explanations for the same reality. Of all available paradigms,
Natural Hygiene suits me best and has been the one I've used for
most of my career.

The Natural Hygienist's paradigm for the cause of both degenerative
and infectious disease is called the Theory of Toxemia, or

Before explaining this theory it will help many readers if I digress
a brief moment about the nature and validity of alternative
paradigms. Not too many decades ago, scientists thought that reality
was a singular, real, perpetual--that Natural Law existed much as a
tree or a rock existed. In physics, for example, the mechanics of
Newton were considered capital "T" True, the only possible paradigm.
Any other view, not being True, was False. There was capital "N"
natural capital "L" law.

More recently, great uncertainty has entered science; it has become
indisputable that a theory or explanation of reality is only true
only to the degree it seems to work; conflicting or various
explanations can all work, all can be "true." At least, this
uncertainty has overtaken the hard, physical sciences. It has not
yet done so with medicine. The AMA is convinced (or is working hard
to convince everyone else) that its paradigm, the allopathic
approach, is Truth, is scientific, and therefore, anything else is
Falsehood, is irresponsibility, is a crime against the sick.

But the actual worth or truth of any paradigm is found not in its
"reality," but in its utility. Does an explanation or theory allow a
person to manipulate experience and create a desired outcome. To the
extent a paradigm does that, it can be considered valuable. Judged
by this standard, the Theory of Toxemia must be far truer than the
hodgepodge of psuedoscience taught in medical schools. Keep that in
mind the next time some officious medical doctor disdainfully
informs you that Theory of Toxemia was disproven in 1927 by Doctors
Jeckel and Hyde.

Why People Get Sick

This is the Theory of Toxemia. A healthy body struggles continually
to purify itself of poisons that are inevitably produced while going
about its business of digesting food, moving about, and repairing
itself. The body is a marvelous creation, a carbon, oxygen
combustion machine, constantly burning fuel, disposing of the waste
products of combustion, and constantly rebuilding tissue by
replacing worn out, dead cells with new, fresh ones. Every seven
years virtually every cell in the body is replaced, some types of
cells having a faster turnover rate than others, which means that
over a seven year period several hundred pounds of dead cells must
be digested (autolyzed) and eliminated. All by itself this would be
a lot of waste disposal for the body to handle. Added to that waste
load are numerous mild poisons created during proper digestion. And
added to that can be an enormous burden of waste products created as
the body's attempts to digest the indigestible, or those tasty items
I've heard called "fun food." Add to that burden the ruinous effects
of just plain overeating.

The waste products of digestion, of indigestion, of cellular
breakdown and the general metabolism are all poisonous to one degree
or another. Another word for this is toxic. If these toxins were
allowed to remain and accumulate in the body, it would poison itself
and die in agony. So the body has a processing system to eliminate
toxins. And when that system does break down the body does die in
agony, as from liver or kidney failure.

The organs of detoxification remove things from the body's system,
but these two vital organs should not be confused with what
hygienists call the secondary organs of elimination, such as the
large intestine, lungs, bladder and the skin, because none of these
other eliminatory organs are supposed to purify the body of toxins.
But when the body is faced with toxemia, the secondary organs of
elimination are frequently pressed into this duty and the
consequences are the symptoms we call illness.

The lungs are supposed to eliminate only carbon dioxide gas; not
self-generated toxic substances. The large intestine is supposed to
pass only insoluble food solids (and some nasty stuff dumped into
the small intestine by the liver). Skin eliminates in the form of
sweat (which contains mineral salts) to cool the body, but the skin
is not supposed to move toxins outside the system. But when toxins
are flowed out through secondary organs of elimination these areas
become inflamed, irritated, weakened. The results can be skin
irritations, sinusitis or a whole host of other "itises" depending
on the area involved, bacterial or viral infections, asthma. When
excess toxemia is deposited instead of eliminated, the results can
be arthritis if toxins are stored in joints, rheumatism if in muscle
tissues, cysts and benign tumors. And if toxins weaken the body's
immune response, cancer.

The liver and the kidneys, the two heroic organs of detoxification,
are the most important ones; these jointly act as filters to purify
the blood. Hygienists pay a lot of attention to these organs, the
liver especially.

In an ideal world, the liver and kidneys would keep up with their
job for 80 years or more before even beginning to tire. In this
ideal world, the food would of course, be very nutritious and free
of pesticide residues, the air and water would be pure, people would
not denature their food and turn it into junk. In this perfect world
everyone would get moderate exercise into old age, and live
virtually without stress. In this utopian vision, the average
healthy productive life span would approach a century, entirely
without using food supplements or vitamins. In this world doctors
would have next to no work other than repairing traumatic injuries,
because everyone would be healthy. But this is not the way it is.

In our less-than-ideal world virtually everything we eat is
denatured, processed, fried, salted, sweetened, preserved; thus more
stress is placed on the liver and kidneys than nature designed them
to handle. Except for a few highly fortunate individuals blessed
with an incredible genetic endowment that permits them to live to
age 99 on moose meat, well-larded white flour biscuits, coffee with
evaporated milk and sugar, brandy and cigarettes (we've all heard of
someone like this), most peoples' liver and kidneys begin to break
down prematurely. Thus doctoring has become a financially rewarding

Most people overburden their organs of elimination by eating
whatever they feel like eating whenever they feel like it. Or, they
irresponsibly eat whatever is served to them by a mother, wife,
institution or cook because doing so is easy or expected. Eating is
a very habitual and unconscious activity; frequently we continue to
eat as adults whatever our mother fed us as a child. I consider it
unsurprising that when people develop the very same disease
conditions as their parents. they wrongly assume the cause is
genetic inheritance, when actually it was just because they were
putting their feet under the same table as their parents.

Toxemia also comes about from following the wrongheaded
recommendations of allopathic-inspired nutritional texts and
licensed dietitians. For example, people believe they should eat one
food from each of the four so-called basic food groups at each meal,
thinking they are doing the right thing for their health by having
four colors of food on every plate, when they really aren't. What
they have actually done is force their bodies to attempt the
digestion of indigestible food combinations, and the resulting
indigestion creates massive doses of toxins. I'll have a lot more to
say about that later when I discuss the art of food combining.

Table 1: The Actual Food Groups

Starches Proteins Fats Sugars Watery Vegetables
bread meats butter honey zucchini
potatoes eggs oils fruit green beans
noodles fish lard sugar tomatoes
manioc/yuca most nuts nuts molassas peppers
baked goods dry beans avocado malt syrup eggplant
grains nut butters maple syrup radish
winter squash split peas dried fruit rutabaga
parsnips lentils melons turnips
sweet potatoes soybeans carrot juice Brussels sprouts
yams tofu beet juice celery
taro root tempeh cauliflower
plantains wheat grass juice broccoli
beets "green" drinks okra
spirulina lettuce
algae endive
yeast cabbage
dairy carrots

Standard dietitians divide our foods into four basic food groups
and recommend the ridiculous practice of mixing them at every meal.
This guarantees indigestion and lots of business for the medical
profession. This chart illustrates the actual food groups. It is
usually a poor practice to mix different foods from one group with
those from another.

The Digestive Process

After we have eaten our four-color meal--often we do this in a
hurry, without much chewing, under a lot of stress, or in the
presence of negative emotions--we give no thought to what becomes of
our food once it has been swallowed. We have been led to assume that
anything put in the mouth automatically gets digested flawlessly, is
efficiently absorbed into the body where it nourishes our cells,
with the waste products being eliminated completely by the large
intestine. This vision of efficiency may exist in the best cases but
for most there is many a slip between the table and the toilet. Most
bodies are not optimally efficient at performing all the required
functions, especially after years of poor living habits, stress,
fatigue, and aging. To the Natural Hygienist, most disease begins
and ends with our food; most of our healing efforts are focused on
improving the process of digestion.

Digestion means chemically changing the foods we eat into substances
that can pass into the blood stream and circulate through the body
where nutrition is used for bodily functions. Our bodies use
nutritional substances for fuel, for repair and rebuilding, and to
conduct an incredibly complex biochemistry. Scientists are still
busily engaged in trying to understand the chemical mysteries of our
bodies. But as bewildering as the chemistry of life is, the
chemistry of digestion itself is actually a relatively simple
process, and one doctors have had a fairly good understanding of for
many decades.

Though relatively straightforward, a lot can and does go wrong with
digestion. The body breaks down foods with a series of different
enzymes that are mixed with food at various points as it passes from
mouth to stomach to small intestine. An enzyme is a large, complex
molecule that has the ability to chemically change other large,
complex molecules without being changed itself. Digestive enzymes
perform relatively simple functions--breaking large molecules into
smaller parts that can dissolve in water.

Digestion starts in the mouth when food is mixed with ptyalin, an
enzyme secreted by the salivary glands. Pylatin converts insoluble
starches into simple sugars. If the digestion of starchy foods is
impaired, the body is less able to extract the energy contained in
our foods, while far worse from the point of view of the genesis of
diseases, undigested starches pass through the stomach and into the
gut where they ferment and thereby create an additional toxic burden
for the liver to process. And fermenting starches also create gas.

As we chew our food it gets mixed with saliva; as we continue to
chew the starches in the food are converted into sugar. There is a
very simple experiment you can conduct to prove to yourself how this
works. Get a plain piece of bread, no jam, no butter, plain, and
without swallowing it or allowing much of it to pass down the
throat, begin to chew it until it seems to literally dissolve.
Pylatin works fast in our mouths so you may be surprised at how
sweet the taste gets. As important as chewing is, I have only run
into about one client in a hundred that actually makes an effort to
consciously chew their food.

Horace Fletcher, whose name has become synonymous with the
importance of chewing food well (Fletcherizing), ran an experiment
on a military population in Canada. He required half his
experimental group to chew thoroughly, and the other half to gulp
things down as usual. His study reports significant improvement in
the overall health and performance of the group that persistently
chewed. Fletcher's report recommended that every mouthful be chewed
50 times for half a minute before being swallowed. Try it, you might
be very surprised at what a beneficial effect such a simple change
in your approach to eating can make. Not only will you have less
intestinal gas, if overweight you will probably find yourself
getting smaller because your blood sugar will elevate quicker as you
are eating and thus your sense of hunger will go away sooner. If you
are very thin and have difficulty gaining weight you may find that
the pounds go on easier because chewing well makes your body more
capable of actually assimilating the calories you are consuming.

A logical conclusion from this data is that anything that would
prevent or reduce chewing would be unhealthful. For example, food
eaten when too hot tends to be gulped down. The same tends to happen
when food is seasoned with fresh Jalapeno or habaneo peppers.
People with poor teeth should blend or mash starchy foods and then
gum them thoroughly to mix them with saliva. Keep in mind that even
so-called protein foods such as beans often contain large quantities
of starches and the starch portion of protein foods is also digested
in the mouth.

Once the food is in the stomach, it is mixed with hydrochloric acid,
secreted by the stomach itself, and pepsin, an enzyme. Together
these break proteins down into water-soluble amino acids. To
accomplish this the stomach muscles agitate the food continuously,
somewhat like a washing machine. This extended churning forms a kind
of ball in the stomach called a bolis.

Many things can and frequently do go wrong at this stage of the
digestive process. First, the stomach's very acid environment
inactivates pylatin, so any starch not converted to sugar in the
mouth does not get properly processed thereafter. And the most
dangerous misdigetion comes from the sad fact that cooked proteins
are relatively indigestible no matter how strong the constitution,
no matter how concentrated the stomach acid or how many enzymes
present. It is quite understandable to me that people do not wish to
accept this fact. After all, cooked proteins are so delicious,
especially cooked red meats and the harder, more flavorful fishes.

To appreciate this, consider how those enzymes that digest proteins
work. A protein molecule is a large, complex string of amino acids,
each linked to the next in a specific order. Suppose there are only
six amino acids: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. So a particular (imaginary)
protein could be structured: 1, 4, 4, 6, 2, 3, 5, 4, 2, 3, 6, 1, 1,
2, 3, etc. Thus you should see that by combining a limited number of
amino acids there can be a virtually infinite number of proteins.

But proteins are rarely water soluble. As I said a few paragraphs
back, digestion consists of rendering insoluble foods into
water-soluble substances so they can pass into the blood stream and
be used by the body's chemistry. To make them soluble, enzymes break
down the proteins, separating the individual amino acids one from
the other, because amino acids are soluble. Enzymes that digest
proteins work as though they are mirror images of a particular amino
acid. They fit against a particular amino acid like a key fits into
a lock. Then they break the bonds holding that amino acid to others
in the protein chain, and then, what I find so miraculous about this
process, the enzyme is capable of finding yet another amino acid to
free, and then yet another.

So with sufficient churning in an acid environment, with enough time
(a few hours), and enough enzymes, all the recently eaten proteins
are decomposed into amino acids and these amino acids pass into the
blood where the body recombines them into structures it wants to
make. And we have health. But when protein chains are heated, the
protein structures are altered into physical shapes that the enzymes
can't "latch" on to. The perfect example of this is when an egg is
fried. The eggwhite is albumen, a kind of protein. When it is
heated, it shrivels up and gets hard. While raw and liquid, it is
easily digestable. When cooked, largely indigestable.

Stress also inhibits the churning action in the stomach so that
otherwise digestible foods may not be mixed efficiently with
digestive enzymes. For all these reasons, undigested proteins may
pass into the gut.

Along with undigested starches. When starches convert best to sugars
under the alkaline conditions found in the mouth. Once they pass
into the acid stomach starch digestion is not as efficient. If
starches reach the small intestine they are fermented by yeasts. The
products of starch fermentation are only mildly toxic. The gases
produced by yeast fermentations usually don't smell particularly
bad; bodies that regularly contain starch fermentation usually don't
smell particularly bad either. In otherwise healthy people it can
take many years of exposure to starch fermentation toxins to produce
a life-threatening disease.

But undigested proteins aren't fermented by yeasts, they putrefy in
the gut (are attacked by anaerobic bacteria). Many of the waste
products of anaerobic putrefaction are highly toxic and evil
smelling; when these toxins are absorbed through the small or large
intestines they are very irritating to the mucous membranes,
frequently contributing to or causing cancer of the colon. Protein
putrefaction may even cause psychotic symptoms in some individuals.
Meat eaters often have a very unpleasant body odor even when they
are not releasing intestinal gasses.

Adding a heavy toxic burden from misdigested foods to the normal
toxic load a body already has to handle creates a myriad of
unpleasant symptoms, and greatly shortens life. But misdigestion
also carries with it a double whammy; fermenting and/or putrefying
foods immediately interfere with the functioning of another vital
organ--the large intestine--and cause constipation.

Most people don't know what the word constipation really means. Not
being able to move one's bowels is only the most elementary type of
constipation. A more accurate definition of constipation is "the
retention of waste products in the large intestine beyond the time
that is conducive to health." Properly digested food is not sticky
and exits the large intestine quickly. But improperly digested food
(or indigestible food) gradually coats the large intestine, making
an ever-thicker lining that interferes with the intestine's
functioning. Far worse, this coating steadily putrefies, creating
additional highly-potent toxins. Lining the colon with undigested
food can be compared to the mineral deposits filling in the inside
of an old water pipe, gradually choking off the flow. In the colon,
this deposit can become rock-hard, just like water pipe scale.

Since the large intestine is also an organ that removes moisture and
water-soluble minerals from the food and moves them into the blood
stream, when the large intestine is lined with putrefying undigested
food waste, the toxins of this putrefaction are also steadily moved
into the bloodstream and place an even greater burden on the liver
and kidneys, accelerating their breakdown, accelerating the aging
process and contributing to a lot of interesting and unpleasant
symptoms that keep doctors busy and financially solvent. I'll have
quite a bit more to say about colon cleansing later.

The Progress Of Disease: Irritation, Enervation, Toxemia

Disease routinely lies at the end of a three-part chain that goes:
irritation or sub-clinical malnutrition, enervation, toxemia.
Irritations are something the person does to themselves or something
that happens around them. Stresses, in other words.

Mental stressors include strong negative emotional states such as
anger, fear, resentment, hopelessness, etc. Behind most diseases it
is common to find a problematic mind churning in profound confusion,
one generated by a character that avoids responsibility. There may
also be job stress or ongoing hostile relationships, often within
the family.

Indigestible foods and misdigestion are also stressful irritations,
as are mild recreational poisons such as "soft" drugs, tobacco and
alcohol. Opiates are somewhat more toxifying, primarily because they
paralyze the gut and induce profound constipation. Stimulants like
cocaine and amphetamines are the most damaging recreational drugs;
these are highly toxic and rapidly shorten life.

Repeated irritations and/or malnutrition eventually produce
enervation. The old-time hygienists defined enervation as a lack of
or decline in an unmeasurable phenomena, "nerve energy." They viewed
the functioning of vital organs as being controlled by or driven by
nerve force, sometimes called life force or elan vital.
Whatever this vital force actually is, it can be observed and
subjectively measured by comparing one person with another. Some
people are full of it and literally sparkle with overflowing energy.
Beings like this make everyone around them feel good because they
somehow momentarily give energy to those endowed with less. Others
possess very little and dully plod through life.

As vital force drops, the overall efficiency of all the body's
organs correspondingly decline. The pancreas creates less digestive
enzymes; the thymus secretes less of its vital hormones that
mobilize the immune system; the pituitary makes less growth hormone
so the overall repair and rebuilding of cells and tissues slows
correspondingly; and so forth. It does not really matter if there is
or is not something called nerve energy that can or cannot be
measured in a laboratory. Vital force is observable to many people.
However, it is measurable by laboratory test that after repeated
irritation the overall functioning of the essential organs and
glands does deteriorate.

Enervation may develop so gradually that it progresses below the
level of awareness of the person, or times of increased enervation
can be experienced as a complaint--as a lack of energy, as
tiredness, as difficulties digesting, as a new inability to handle a
previously-tolerated insult like alcohol.

Long-term consumption of poor-quality food causes enervation. The
body is a carbon/oxygen engine designed to run efficiently only on
highly nutritious food and this aspect of human genetic programming
cannot be changed significantly by adaptation. Given enough
generations a human gene pool can adapt to extracting its nutrition
from a different group of foods. For example, a group of isolated
Fijians currently enjoying long healthy lives eating a diet of
seafoods and tropical root crops could suddenly be moved to the
highlands of Switzerland and forced to eat the local fare or starve.
But most of the Fijians would not have systems adept at making those
enzymes necessary to digest cows milk. So the transplanted Fijians
would experience many generations of poorer health and shorter life
spans until their genes had been selected for adaptation to the new
dietary. Ultimately their descendants could become uniformly healthy
on rye bread and dairy products just like the highland Swiss were.

However, modern industrial farming and processing of foodstuffs
significantly contributes to mass, widespread enervation in two
ways. Humans will probably adjust to the first; the second will, I'm
sure, prove insurmountable. First, industrially processed foods are
a recent invention and our bodies have not yet adapted to digesting
them. In a few more generations humans might be able to accomplish
that and public health could improve on factory food. In the
meanwhile, the health of humans has declined. Industrially farmed
foods have also been lowered in nutritional content compared to what
food could be. I gravely doubt if any biological organism can ever
adapt to an overall dietary that contains significantly lowered
levels of nutrition. I will explain this more fully in the chapter
on diet.

Secondary Eliminations Are Disease

However the exact form the chain from irritation or malnutrition to
enervation progresses, the ultimate result is an increased level of
toxemia, placing an eliminatory burden on the liver and kidneys in
excess of their ability. Eventually these organs begin to weaken.
Decline of liver and/or kidney function threatens the stability and
purity of blood chemistry. Rather than risk complete incapacitation
or death from self-poisoning, the overloaded, toxic body, guided by
its genetic predisposition and the nature of the toxins (what was
eaten, in what state of stress), cleverly channels surplus toxins
into its first line of defense--alternative or secondary elimination

Most non-life-threatening yet highly annoying disease conditions
originate as secondary eliminations. For example, the skin was
designed to sweat, elimination of fluids. Toxemia is often pushed
out the sweat glands and is recognized as an unpleasant body odor. A
healthy, non-toxic body smells sweet and pleasant (like a newborn
baby's body) even after exercise when it has been sweating heavily.
Other skin-like organs such as the sinus tissues, were designed to
secrete small amounts of mucus for lubrication. The lungs eliminate
used air and the tissues are lubricated with mucus-like secretions
too. These secretions are types of eliminations, but are not
intended for the elimination of toxins. When toxins are discharged
in mucus through tissues not designed to handle them, the tissues
themselves become irritated, inflamed, weakened and thus much more
subject to bacterial or viral infection. Despite this danger, not
eliminating surplus toxins carries with it the greater penalty of
serious disability or death. Because of this liability, the body, in
its wisdom, initially chooses secondary elimination routes as far
from vital tissues and organs as possible. Almost inevitably the
skin or skin-like mucus membranes such as the sinuses, or lung
tissues become the first line of defense.

Thus the average person's disease history begins with colds, flu,
sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic cough, asthma, rashes, acne, eczema,
psoriasis. If these secondary eliminations are suppressed with drugs
(either from the medical doctor or with over the counter remedies),
if the eating or lifestyle habits that created the toxemia are not
changed, or if the toxic load increases beyond the limits of this
technique, the body then begins to store toxins in fat or muscle
tissues or the joint cavities, overburdens the kidneys, creates
cysts, fibroids, and benign tumors to store those toxins. If toxic
overload continues over a longer time the body will eventually have
to permit damages to vital tissues, and life-threatening conditions

Hygienic doctors always stress that disease is remedial effort.
Illness comes from the body's best attempt to lighten its toxic load
without immediately threatening its survival. The body always does
the very best it can to remedy toxemia given its circumstances, and
it should be commended for these efforts regardless of how
uncomfortable they might be to the person inhabiting the body.
Symptoms of secondary elimination are actually a positive thing
because they are the body's efforts to lessen a dangerously toxic
condition. Secondary eliminations shouldn't be treated immediately
with a drug to suppress the process. If you squelch the bodies best
and least-life-threatening method to eliminate toxins, the body will
ultimately have to resort to another more dangerous though probably
less immediately uncomfortable channel.

The conventional medical model does not view disease this way and
sees the symptoms of secondary elimination as the disease itself. So
the conventional doctor takes steps to halt the body's remedial
efforts, thus stopping the undesirable symptom and then, the symptom
gone, proclaims the patient cured. Actually, the disease is the

A common pattern of symptom suppression under the contemporary
medical model is this progression: treat colds with antihistamines
until the body gets influenza; suppress a flu repeatedly with
antibiotics and eventually you get pneumonia. Or, suppress eczema
with cortisone ointment repeatedly, and eventually you develop
kidney disease. Or, suppress asthma with bronkiodialators and
eventually you need cortisone to suppress it. Continue treating
asthma with steroids and you destroy the adrenals; now the body has
become allergic to virtually everything.

The presence of toxins in an organ of secondary elimination is
frequently the cause of infection. Sinuses and lungs, inflamed by
secondary eliminations, are attacked by viruses or bacteria;
infectious diseases of the skin result from pushing toxins out of
the skin. More generalized infections also result from toxemia; in
this case the immune system has become compromised and the body is
overwhelmed by an organism that it normally should be able to resist
easily. The wise cure of infections is not to use antibiotics to
suppress the bacteria while simultaneously whipping the immune
system; most people, including most medical doctors, do not realize
that antibiotics also goose the immune system into super efforts.
But when one chooses to whip a tired horse, eventually the exhausted
animal collapses and cannot rise again no matter how vigorously it
is beaten. The wise cure is to detoxify the body, a step that
simultaneously eliminates secondary eliminations and rebuilds the
immune system.

The wise way to deal with the body's eliminative efforts is to
accept that disease is an opportunity to pay the piper for past
indiscretions. You should go to bed, rest, and drink nothing but
water or dilute juice until the condition has passed. This allows
the body to conserve its vital energy, direct this energy toward
healing the disordered body part, and catch up on its waste
disposal. In this way you can help your body, be in harmony with its
efforts instead of working against it which is what most people do.

Please forgive another semi-political polemic here, but in my
practice I have often been amazed to hear my clients complain that
they have not the time nor the ability to be patient with their
body, to rest it through an illness because they have a job they
can't afford to miss or responsibilities they can't put down. This
is a sad commentary on the supposed wealth and prosperity of the
United States. In our country most people are enslaved by their
debts, incurred because they had been enthralled by the illusion of
happiness secured by the possession of material things. Debt slaves
believe they cannot miss a week of work. People who feel they can't
afford to be sick think they can afford to live on pills. So people
push through their symptoms by sheer grit for years on end, and keep
that up until their exhausted horse of a body breaks down totally
and they find themselves in the hospital running up bills to the
tune of several thousand dollars a day. But these very same people
do not think they can afford the loss of a few hundred dollars of
current income undertaking some virtually harmless preventative
maintenance on their bodies.

Given half a chance the body will throw off toxic overburdens and
cleanse itself. And once the body has been cleansed of toxemia,
disagreeable symptoms usually cease. This means that to make
relatively mild but unwanted symptoms lessen and ultimately stop it
is merely necessary to temporarily cut back food intake, eating only
what does not cause toxemia. These foods I classify as cleansing,
such as raw fruits and vegetables and their juices. If the symptoms
are extreme, are perceived as overwhelming or are actually
life-threatening, detoxification can be speeded up by dropping back
to only dilute raw juices or vegetable broth made only from greens,
without eating the solids. In the most extreme cases hygienists use
their most powerful medicine: a long fast on herb teas, or just
water. I will have a lot to say about fasting, later.

When acutely ill, the most important thing to do is to just get out
of the body's way, and let it heal itself. In our ignorance we are
usually our own worst enemy in this regard. We have been very
successfully conditioned to think that all symptoms are bad. But I
know from experience that people can and do learn a new way of
viewing the body, an understanding that puts them at cause over
their own body. It allows you to be empowered in one more area of
life instead of being dependent and at the mercy of other peoples
decisions about your body.

Finally, and this is why natural medicine is doubly unpopular, to
prevent the recurrence of toxemia and acute disease states, person
must discover what they are doing wrong and change their life. Often
as not this means elimination of the person's favorite
(indigestible) foods and/or (stress-producing) bad habits.
Naturally, I will have a lot more to say about this later, too.

Next: Fasting

Previous: How I Became a Hygienist

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