_Tis a gift to be simple

Tis a gift to be free,

Tis a gift to come down

Where we ought to be.

And when we find ourselves

In a place just right,

It will be in the valley

Of love and delight._

Old Shaker Hymn

Favorite of Dr. Isabelle Moser

I was a physically tough, happy-go
lucky fellow until I reached my

late thirties. Then I began to experience more and more off days

when I did not feel quite right. I thought I possessed an iron

constitution. Although I grew a big food garden and ate mostly

"vegetablitarian" I thought I could eat anything with impunity. I

had been fond of drinking beer with my friends while nibbling on

salty snacks or heavy foods late into the night. And until my health

began to weaken I could still get up the next morning after several

homebrewed beers, feeling good, and would put in a solid day's work.

When my health began to slip I went looking for a cure. Up to that

time the only use I'd had for doctors was to fix a few traumatic

injuries. The only preventative health care I concerned myself with

was to take a multivitamin pill during those rare spells when I felt

a bit run down and to eat lots of vegetables. So I'd not learned

much about alternative health care.

Naturally, my first stop was a local general practitioner/MD. He

gave me his usual half-hour get-acquainted checkout and opined that

there almost certainly was nothing wrong with me. I suspect I had

the good fortune to encounter an honest doctor, because he also said

if it were my wish he could send me around for numerous tests but

most likely these would not reveal anything either. More than

likely, all that was wrong was that I was approaching 40; with the

onset of middle age I would naturally have more aches and pains.

'Take some aspirin and get used to it,' was his advice. 'It'll only

get worse.'

Not satisfied with his dismal prognosis I asked an energetic old guy

I knew named Paul, an '80-something homesteader who was renowned for

his organic garden and his good health. Paul referred me to his

doctor, Isabelle Moser, who at that time was running the Great Oaks

School of Health, a residential and out-patient spa nearby at

Creswell, Oregon.

Dr. Moser had very different methods of analysis than the medicos,

was warmly personal and seemed very safe to talk to. She looked me

over, did some strange magical thing she called muscle testing and

concluded that I still had a very strong constitution. If I would

eliminate certain "bad" foods from my diet, eliminate some generally

healthful foods that, unfortunately, I was allergic to, if I would

reduce my alcohol intake greatly and take some food supplements,

then gradually my symptoms would abate. With the persistent

application of a little self-discipline over several months, maybe

six months, I could feel really well again almost all the time and

would probably continue that way for many years to come. This was

good news, though the need to apply personal responsibility toward

the solution of my problem seemed a little sobering.

But I could also see that Dr. Moser was obviously not telling me

something. So I gently pressed her for the rest. A little shyly,

reluctantly, as though she were used to being rebuffed for making

such suggestions, Isabelle asked me if I had ever heard of fasting?

"Yes," I said. "I had. Once when I was about twenty and staying at a

farm in Missouri, during a bad flu I actually did fast, mainly

because I was too sick to take anything but water for nearly one


"Why do you ask?" I demanded.

"If you would fast, you will start feeling really good as soon as

the fast is over." she said.

"Fast? How long?"

"Some have fasted for a month or even longer," she said. Then she

observed my crestfallen expression and added, "Even a couple of

weeks would make an enormous difference."

It just so happened that I was in between set-up stages for a new

mail-order business I was starting and right then I did have a

couple of weeks when I was virtually free of responsibility. I could

also face the idea of not eating for a couple of weeks. "Okay!" I

said somewhat impulsively. "I could fast for two weeks. If I start

right now maybe even three weeks, depending on how my schedule works


So in short order I was given several small books about fasting to

read at home and was mentally preparing myself for several weeks of

severe privation, my only sustenance to be water and herb tea

without sweetener. And then came the clinker.

"Have you ever heard of colonics?" she asked sweetly.

"Yes. Weird practice, akin to anal sex or something?"

"Not at all," she responded. "Colonics are essential during fasting

or you will have spells when you'll feel terrible. Only colonics

make water fasting comfortable and safe."

Then followed some explanation about bowel cleansing (and another

little book to take home) and soon I was agreeing to get my body

over to her place for a colonic every two or three days during the

fasting period, the first colonic scheduled for the next afternoon.

I'll spare you a detailed description of my first fast with

colonics; you'll read about others shortly. In the end I withstood

the boredom of water fasting for 17 days. During the fast I had

about 7 colonics. I ended up feeling great, much trimmer, with an

enormous rebirth of energy. And when I resumed eating it turned out

to be slightly easier to control my dietary habits and appetites.

Thus began my practice of an annual health-building water fast. Once

a year, at whatever season it seemed propitious, I'd set aside a

couple of weeks to heal my body. While fasting I'd slowly drive

myself over to Great Oaks School for colonics every other day. By

the end of my third annual fast in 1981, Isabelle and I had become

great friends. About this same time Isabelle's relationship with her

first husband, Douglas Moser, had disintegrated. Some months later,

Isabelle and I became partners. And then we married.

My regular fasts continued through 1984, by which time I had

recovered my fundamental organic vigor and had retrained my dietary

habits. About 1983 Isabelle and I also began using Life Extension

megavitamins as a therapy against the aging process. Feeling so much

better I began to find the incredibly boring weeks of prophylactic

fasting too difficult to motivate myself to do, and I stopped. Since

that time I fast only when acutely ill. Generally less than one week

on water handles any non-optimum health condition I've had since

'84. I am only 54 years old as I write these words, so I hope it

will be many, many years before I find myself in the position where

I have to fast for an extended period to deal with a serious or

life-threatening condition.

I am a kind of person the Spanish call _autodidactico,_ meaning that

I prefer to teach myself. I had already learned the fine art of

self-employment and general small-business practice that way, as

well as radio and electronic theory, typography and graphic design,

the garden seed business, horticulture, and agronomy. When Isabelle

moved in with me she also brought most of Great Oak's extensive

library, including very hard to obtain copies of the works of the

early hygienic doctors. Naturally I studied her books intensely.

Isabelle also brought her medical practice into our house. At first

it was only a few loyal local clients who continued to consult with

her on an out-patient basis, but after a few years, the demands for

residential care from people who were seriously and sometimes

life-threateningly sick grew irresistibly, and I found myself

sharing our family house with a parade of really sick people. True,

I was not their doctor, but because her residential clients became

temporary parts of our family, I helped support and encourage our

residents through their fasting process. I'm a natural teacher (and

how-to-do-it writer), so I found myself explaining many aspects of

hygienic medicine to Isabelle's clients, while having a first-hand

opportunity to observe for myself the healing process at work. Thus

it was that I became the doctor's assistant and came to practice

second-hand hygienic medicine.

In 1994, when Isabelle had reached the age of 54, she began to think

about passing on her life's accumulation of healing wisdom by

writing a book. She had no experience at writing for the popular

market, her only major writing being a Ph.D. dissertation. I on the

other hand had published seven books about vegetable gardening. And

I grasped the essentials of her wisdom as well as any

non-practitioner could. So we took a summer off and rented a house

in rural Costa Rica, where I helped Isabelle put down her thoughts

on a cheap word-processing typewriter. When we returned to the

States, I fired-up my "big-mac" and composed this manuscript into a

rough book format that was given to some of her clients to get what

is trendily called these days, "feedback."

But before we could completely finish her book, Isabelle became

dangerously ill and after a long, painful struggle with abdominal

cancer, she died. After I resurfaced from the worst of my grief and

loss, I decided to finish her book. Fortunately, the manuscript

needed little more than polishing. I am telling the reader these

things because many ghost-written books end up having little direct

connection with the originator of the thoughts. Not so in this case.

And unlike many ghost writers, I had a long and loving

apprenticeship with the author. At every step of our colaboration on

this book I have made every effort to communicate Isabelle's

viewpoints in the way she would speak, not my own. Dr. Isabelle

Moser was for many years my dearest friend. I have worked on this

book to help her pass her understanding on.

Many people consider death to be a complete invalidation of a

healing arts practitioner. I don't. Coping with her own dicey health

had been a major motivator for Isabelle's interest in healing

others. She will tell you more about it in the chapters to come.

Isabelle had been fending off cancer since its first blow up when

she was 26 years old. I view that 30 plus years of defeating Death

as a great success rather than consider her ultimate defeat as a


Isabelle Moser was born in 1940 and died in 1996. I think the

greatest accomplishment of her 56 years was to meld virtually all

available knowledge about health and healing into a workable and

most importantly, a simple model that allowed her to have amazing

success. Her "system" is simple enough that even a generally

well-educated non-medico like me can grasp it. And use it without

consulting a doctor every time a symptom appears.

Finally, I should mention that over the years since this book was

written I have discovered contains some significant errors of

anatomical or psysiological detail. Most of these happened because

the book was written "off the top of Isabelle's head," without any

reference materials at hand, not even an anatomy text. I have not

fixed these goofs as I am not even qualified to find them all. Thus,

when the reader reads such as 'the pancreas secreates enzymes into

the stomach,' (actually and correctly, the duodenum) I hope they

will understand and not invalidate the entire book.