Ulcerative colitis is one of two common inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs; the other is Crohn’s disease. The major symptoms of ulcerative colitis are generally inflammation and ulcerations in the colon, bowel dysfunction, abdominal pain and sometimes bleeding. IBD usually has a life-ruining effect, and prolonged suffering with it can result in colon cancer. By the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s estimate, there are 2 million IBD sufferers in the United States.
During my eight-year consuming debacle with ulcerative colitis, I consulted seven gastroenterologists from Manhattan to Boston. They all offered ineffective and devitalizing medicines, attempted to raise my hopes by saying that some day research will find a medicinal cure, and advised me that there is no plausible therapy for ulcerative colitis other than medicine and surgery. That all added misery to my misery. In the eighth year of my debacle, with my colon ravaged with ulcerations and my health in ruins, I was given two options: radical drug treatment, or surgical removal of my colon.
To my great fortune, shortly after I was given those options, I came to a clear understanding about the nature of my disease and beheld an enlightening vision: On a natural diet of mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, the diet my body and colon were designed for, I would be able to heal up and build new health. I immediately applied that vision by divorcing myself from all medical intervention and beginning a raw, fruit-based diet. The result was rapid healing. And I have not only fully recovered but have gone on to build superior health.
Regaining my health was my only course; giving in to pressures to accept my illness and follow medical guidance violated my spiritual essence. It is sadly apparent that medical doctors attempt to solve biological problems with illogical technological solutions, an unnatural course that perpetuates human suffering.
So, I hope that my story can be a bridge to a higher plane of thought for the 2 million IBD sufferers and others at risk who are being kept in the dark in a place where I used to live that I call Medicland.
Medicland, the place where I used to live, is reminiscent of Flatland, the metaphorical land of limited thought in Edwin A. Abbott’s classic of the same name. In Flatland, a thoughtful inhabitant’s will to enlighten his country folk about a dimension of higher thought is repressed by his leaders’ status quo complacency. For his ambition, the Flatlander is tragically branded a heretic and condemned to purgatory.
Health truth seekers in Medicland are similarly repressed. When most Mediclanders are ill, they go to a medical doctor who offers them only medicines and then surgery if the medicines don’t work. And the M.D. renounces the higher concept of self-healing as heresy. Unfortunately, Medicland is a real place, where disease and suffering are a way of life.
As an unwitting prisoner of Medicland, I endured ulcerative colitis for eight catastrophic years beginning in 1976, when I was 18. I am now in my mid-50s and have been completely free of disease for more than 30 years, owing to the changes in thinking, diet and lifestyle I made at age 26. I often wonder, however: If some caring person had told me, when I first became ill, about a higher dimension of thought where the truth about the body’s natural ability to heal itself is revealed, might that have saved me from almost a decade of unnecessary hell? I believe so.
Many people have asked me, “Colitis, isn’t that an emotional thing?” To that, I say emotions were part of it for me, and you have to look at the related role that diet plays; there is a diet-mind-body connection. The standard American diet, or SAD, I was eating before and during my illness was incompatible with my physiology—it was mostly cooked, heavy in toxins and low in quality nutrients and fiber. The toxins were responsible for weakening my body’s defense system, decreasing my vitality, unbalancing my brain chemistry and irritating and poisoning my colon tissue. The lack of nutrients did not adequately support my nervous system, which became weakened, increasingly eroding my ability to handle stress. The mushy, fiber-poor foods led my colon to become bound up with compacted waste.
Synergistically, those factors lead to increasingly “dis-eased” emotions. My colon to become enervated, then toxic, then irritated, then inflamed, then ulcerated. The healthful love that was once in my tummy was smothered by waste and contracted emotions. The workings of the disease process is a mystery to the medical establishment, even though this knowledge has been known by natural hygienists and naturopaths for two centuries.
At the beginning of 1984, the eighth year of my debacle, commercials for bran cereals began to appear on television. This was the first diet-bowel health concept I had heard of. While it conflicted with the diet advice I was given, I tried adding some bran cereal to my standard diet. This small change did not make any difference. When I asked one gastroenterologist what the current consensus was on diet and colitis, he told me that diet does not play a causative role in colitis and that no dietary changes could help anyone overcome the illness.
But, intrigued by the diet angle, I sought help from an M.D. who is also a nutritionist in Manhattan. Because of heavy traffic and a restroom stop at a gas station, I arrived 30 minutes late. I was given a lengthy form to fill out and handed it in only to be told that the doctor had left the building for lunch. Disappointed, I went home.
Next, I tried a nutritional consultant named Dr. Laurence Galant, a doctor of Natural Hygiene, based in Staten Island. Natural Hygiene (literally defined as the science of natural health), is a wholistic health system based on the laws of biology, and it holds that the body will self-heal if the conditions of health are provided. Natural Hygiene teaches that our digestive physiology is designed and best suited for a diet of raw, or uncooked, fresh fruits and vegetables, and that we can be biologically classified as frugivores, or fruit eaters.
Laurence pointed out that the medicines I was taking were not helping me. As I was entrenched with the medical establishment, however, I continued using them. Laurence also suggested a diet plan of mostly raw food: fruits and vegetables. I believed such a diet of “rabbit and monkey food” would only make me lose weight and aggravate my colon, and could not support anyone. But, as this diet was apparently working for Laurence, who appeared to be in excellent health, I considered it and studied his handout describing principles of proper food combining for optimal digestion.
The Healing Vision
While browsing through books at a health food store, I came across one $2.95 paperback, the title of which I have forgotten. It contained one sentence that appeared to me in 10-foot-tall letters: “Some people do not ever overcome colitis until they stop eating meat.” Seeing that in print was it—the big clue! Home I went and phoned Laurence. “You can do it,” he encouraged.
During the next few days I pondered my last barbecued chicken meal, throwing away the drugs and divorcing myself from the M.D.’s. Then, one night, I was studying T.C. Fry’s Natural Hygiene lessons and thought about the assertion that fruit is our most natural food and a vital part of the pathway to optimum health. Then I beheld a wondrously clear vision: Human beings, the preeminent and most elegant beings on this planet, could have developed to such lofty stature only on a diet of mostly sweet, luscious and pure fruit—not on the SAD garbage I had always eaten. I understood that if I had nothing but digested fruit in my bowels, then surely the poison that was making my colon sick would be displaced and my body would gratefully heal itself. I also envisioned that on a “fruitarian” diet, my body would be able to totally purify itself, enabling me to ascend to my optimal state of being; all of my dreams would come to fruition if I ate my natural biological diet.
Emotionally and spiritually, I was soaring. I had found the “Rosetta Stone”: I am a fruitarian! I was now going to take full control of my destiny, and it would be only a matter of time until I regained my health. The next day, I announced to my family that I was giving up meat and the drugs, and with their support, I began a three-day fresh-made juice cleanse.
By the second day of the juice cleanse, the results told me that it was all going to happen as I understood it would. I was coming back to life! My senses became keener and keener. I was seeing vivid colors again. My tummy was beginning to feel soothed and happy. My energy was increasing. My mind was becoming clearer and clearer. And I was feeling younger and younger. Once again, I was feeling comfortable with my world and in love with life. My overflowing joy drove my family and friends crazy!