Most Cultures Eat Fermented Foods So Can They Really Be Bad? : Great Health Debate Night 3 Snack Bites

Wednesday Feb 9 | BY |
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donna gates kevin annmarie gianni
Ann and I with Donna Gates two years ago!

The lectures last night were pretty important to me…

I’ve had some personal experience with Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet, so I was thrilled to have her on the program.

On the other side, I had interviewed Dr. Robert O. Young in Connecticut last winter, so had an opportunity to meet him and learn as well.

As you will see in today’s Snack Bites, I do have a bias when it comes to fermented foods.

Let’s get started…

1. Fermented foods rebuilt my digestion.

My story is long and convoluted, but let’s jump in the middle right around finding a circular rash on the back of my leg.

I had been bitten by a tick and now clearly saw the tick was carrying Lyme.

For treatment, I opted to take antibiotics for 3 weeks – as recommended by two of my NATURAL doctor colleagues.

After those 21 days, my digestion was ravaged.

I had destroyed all my gut flora and developed a massive intestinal yeast infection.

To bring back my flora balance, I tried herbs, the high fruit diet, and no sugar to help get rid of the infection, but the thing that worked the best was Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet.

I followed it for close to one year with some great results.

The acne I had developed due to the intestinal infection subsided and eventually went away, plus my digestion improved dramatically.

Her program, for me, worked.

With that said, I find it hard to believe – even with Dr. Young’s science – that all fermented foods are bad all the time.

(On top of my own experience, I’ve heard many similar stories like this over the last 4 years.)

2. Fermented foods have been eaten for centuries by people all around the globe.

Another argument to support the use of fermented foods is that many, many cultures have used fermentation as a tool to help preserve and nourish them for literally thousands of years.

Miso (from soy) from japan, sorghum (a grain) in Sudan, yogurt (from goat) from Pakistan, and shark (well, from shark) in Iceland all are traditional fermented foods.

In fact, it could be argued that many of the longest lived cultures each did have a fermented food – if not more than one – that they ate traditionally.

It may one of those common threads that we’re looking for to determine what works for longevity and what is hype.

It also makes me wonder… how did all of these cultures realize that slightly spoiled food could be good for them?

3. A different milk protein.

I’ve recently written about milk proteins – particularly casein – here on the blog, so I won’t cover this in great detail right now (you can read more here.)

What I will say, is that Donna Gates, has confirmed there are two different types of casein (A1 ad A2) that have different digestibility.

A1 beta-casein, more commonly found in your milk and cow dairy products, is difficult to digest.

A2 beta-casein, found commonly found in sheep, goat, and some cow’s milk, is easier to digest.

This may explain the argument – outside of lactose intolerance – that some people can’t handle cow’s milk, but sheep or goat’s milk is not a problem.

4. I like blood microscopy as a tool.

I love the fact that we have so many tools to use when we’re assessing our health.

Dr. Robert Young uses blood microscopy – which looks at your blood cells under a microscope – to identify the health of the whole person.

I’ve had this done about 3 times and each session I’m amazed at the sight of my own red and white blood cells.

To be sitting at a desk watching your blood perform its necessary duties on a screen makes you really think on a cosmic level about who (or what) you are. It can be surreal.

The practitioners I’ve met with have all been professional and have each pointed out different aspects of my blood that show if I’m hydrated, have enough iron and if my cells look healthy.

Luckily, they do look good.

That’s the good side of microscopy.

The other side is that each practitioner has pointed out structures and items in the blood that were the same and each said they were completely different with different health implications!

Who should I believe?

They all were well trained…

I don’t really know the answer to this.

So what I’m saying is that looking at your blood can provide you with some very good information about the health of your system, but keep in mind it is limited in its design as most tools are.

You can’t saw through wood with a hammer and can’t hammer a nail with a saw.

Also, you have to be aware that some well intentioned practitioners don’t know everything – which is not a flaw, it’s just a reality.

(I filmed a blood microscopy session for the Renegade Health Show a couple years ago that you can watch here.)

5. Dr. Young works with many patients who need healing, which changes the game.

A popular theory these days is that inflammation causes disease.

With inflammation comes heat and acidity in the body.

Once the body becomes more acidic in nature, it takes much different measures to regulate the blood and system pH – much more raw alkaline material.

Dr. Young works to help take the pressure off the body by providing it with external minerals in the form of supplement and mineral rich foods.

This, in turn, will give the body the best chance to heal.

When I interview those people who help the body heal from disease, I’ve noticed that they do tend to take more of a “my way or the highway approach.”

I have a feeling that if you or I worked with people who were dying all the time and they didn’t listen to your solution which works a significant portion of the time, we might be more firm about our recommendations.

On the flip side, sometimes those who don’t have disease, may not have to do all the things recommended since the body hasn’t already broken down.

6. Please don’t use QuackWatch.com as a reference for anything (except for this.)

I’ve seen this site referenced before as proof that so-and-so therapy doesn’t work or so-and-so natural doctor is a quack.

I saw a post on the blog (please no offense taken to the poster), that referenced Dr. Young and and article written about him on QuackWatch.

In Dr. Young’s defense, the agenda of this site is to discredit in any way anything natural – even to the extent of saying massage and eating nutrient rich foods are not an effective way to stay healthy.

The dude could have left massage and lettuce alone, don’t you think?

This clearly shows his bias.

I’ve found when someone is so black and white to say all drugs work, and all natural things don’t, they’re not only a reliable source of information, they’re also completely unbearable to be around personally.

Take heed, my friends.

Please don’t use QuackWatch as a reference, unless you’re referencing stubborn, inflexible, and know-it-all allopathic doctors.

7. A mock one-on-one debate between Dr. Young and Donna Gates.

This is called The Great Health Debate and, in fact, I believe it has really turned into that.

Not only is there debate about the topics the experts present, there’s also debate about how the debate is structured. LOL!

I again, stand by the structure for many reasons, but I want to demonstrate something that I already know from experience (being around health experts who disagree) to give you a little insight on why I think this structure we’ve chosen is better.

Just for fun, let me give you the content of a debate between Donna Gates and Dr. Robert O. Young on fermented foods:

Donna Gates: Fermented foods are healing for the gut, I have thousands of cases that show this.

Dr. Robert Young: Fermented foods are toxic to the body. I have thousands of cases that show people heal without fermented foods.

Donna Gates: How could you say they’re toxic to the body? They rebuild the gut flora which support immune function.

Dr. Robert Young: Because my science says so and my patients get results, they’re immune systems repair without fermented food. How can you say they’re good for the body when my science says they’re not?

Donna Gates: Because my science says they are beneficial to the immune system, when my clients use them their immune systems improve and they get great results.

Kevin Gianni: OK, well that was useful [sarcasm], now on to the next question…

This mock debate, of course, is told jokingly, but believe me when you get two people in the same room (even in private) who fundamentally disagree on something – as much as you want them to come out the other end united- many times they just don’t.

I always say that I’d rather talk about politics and religion – at the same time – around the dinner table than I would nutrition. 🙂

If you want, please share some mock debate dialogue that you think would be fun to hear (I know some of you are pretty creative!)

**
Event Specials on Fermented Food Products – Save on Yogurt Makers, Culture Starters and Coconut Kefir!

Since the Debate is running all this week, we do have some specials in the store that will get you some great products at a great price.

Right now, we have specials on B12 patches, Vitamin D, chlorella and spirulina.

We also have specials on Yogurt makers, culture starters and coconut kefir which Donna Gates discussed on last night’s call.

Here’s where you can go to get these products at a discount now:

http://store.renegadehealth.com/cart.php?m=featured

These specials end on Monday, the day after the event does!

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

51 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. mark e says:

    Kevin,

    In regards to your section about quackwatch, I think a recommendation you made in one sentence was slightly mis-worded. What I mean is, I think someone could misread it and be confused.

    You said,

    “I’ve found when someone is so black and white to say all drugs work, and all natural things don’t, they’re not only a reliable source of information, they’re also completely unbearable to be around personally.”

    I think what you meant to say was,

    “I’ve found when someone is so black and white to say all drugs work, and all natural things don’t, they’re not only NOT a reliable source of information, they’re also completely unbearable to be around personally.”

    Just hoping to clear up potential confusion before it happens…

    -mark e

  2. I really enjoyed hearing the debate between Donna and Dr. Young…that is what it is all about! Now I would want to see both sets of data and make my own conclusion.

  3. Paul says:

    Kevin,
    Great Debate again! I had never heard Dr. Young, but found he had much to offer and some great takeabway information. Thanks again. This debate has been so informative and shows me I have just scratched the surface of healthy eating.

  4. Lisa says:

    Very pleased with all the information provied, your take it seems to me is very unbiased & balanced….keep up the good work Kevin & Anne Marie!

  5. Amber says:

    Mock Debate:

    Dr. Young: You will be immortal on my alkaline diet and fermented foods are toxic.

    Donna: I believe fermented foods have many benefits. Who has more gray hair?

    Dr. Young: I put my hair under the microscope and I found that gray hair is a sign of health due to my alkaline state and the large amount of Avocado I eat.

  6. “When I interview those people who help the body heal from disease, I’ve noticed that they do tend to take more of a “my way or the highway approach.”

    I have a feeling that if you or I worked with people who were dying all the time and they didn’t listen to your solution which works a significant portion of the time, we might be more firm about our recommendations.

    On the flip side, sometimes those who don’t have disease, may not have to do all the things recommended since the body hasn’t already broken down.”

    What a great perspective. I’ve felt the same vibe from Dr. Young, and some of his followers. It’s almost feels like a militant/fundamentalist attitude. However, very few of us are in the position where we deal with life or death situations like some of your guests do.

    Thanks Kevin for giving grace and seeing it from their perspective. It’s something I need to do a better job of.

    I really appreciate these snack bites by the way.

    Gabe

  7. Kuru says:

    I haven’t listened yet; I hope they covered salt!

  8. #1 My brother is taking a master in exercise nutrition (or something) and heres a discussion we had on the weekend:

    bro: coffee is the single most important source of antiox for men over 60
    me: this dosnt imply that coffee is healthy! caffeine is a stimulant (i referenced stuff ive read here etc) ..
    bro: eh, excuse me, ive read many reports on the health benefits of coffee etc etc
    (….)

    well the discussion ended when i walked away from a brother who knows best 😉

    i know the facts but i just dont know how to communicate and advocate it in a way that people can grasp..

    #2 wait what? why isnt fermented foodstuffs meant to be healthy??

    #3 i ask again (nag) When will the renegadehealth shop get more cinnamon bark in?? 😀

    LOVING THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE!!

  9. Jeri Reid says:

    I did not hear any debating between Dr. Young and Donna Gates…She told her story and Kevin did not direct any questions in general about ferments. WHY?

    Dr. Young did not even explain why ferments are not good for the gut, nor did he explain about systemic internal environment toxicity from ferments.

  10. Veronika says:

    Haha, Kuru, Dr. Young sure does cover salt in that interview. It’s quite amusing.

    Kevin, I’m surprised you didn’t ask him what he thinks about salt and hypertension. And then there’s the “our cells don’t run on sugar, they run on electricity” statement.

  11. claudia says:

    I have made cultured foods several times (cabbage, coconut yogurt and coconut keifer)- and it just doesn’t “sit” right with me.

    I followed Gates’ protocol (pre biotics and probiotics) to help before going back to fermented foods– no luck.

    However, rejuvelac and Kombucha don’t seem to cause any side effects (however, I no longer make them because I am not sure how helpful they really are to us nutritionally).

    Kevin: Bravo on this series. No need to continue to try to convince people it is better as a ‘no debate’ debate…. it makes sense, and we get loads of more information this way.

    Thank you!

  12. Max says:

    The whole alkalinity will cure everything is a myth. Some people have the complete opposite problem. If you are overly alkaline, you will be extremely tired. Alkalinity is a sgin of an anabolic state. We need a balance.
    Almost every traditional culture uses fermented foods and have radiant health. There really is no argument here. I think there are other subjects more worthy of discussion. It is almost like arguing whether vegetables are good or bad for us.
    Saying gray hair is a sign of health really shows ignorance. There are many factors in gray hair but one of the nmain ones is a decreased amount of catalase enzyme in the body. It is a metabolic enzyme that neutralizes the free radicals produced by the natural hydrogen peroxide in our body. Aging, nutrient deficiencies and hormone imblances are factors in the level of this enzyme.

  13. AlanRoy says:

    I value Dr. Young’s talk. He has re-inspired me to watch my acid/base balance more closely. He also makes me wonder why he is so humorless. I fully understand what you mentioned about how frustrating it can be when people don’t follow your recommendations, but with all the success he’s had, and his conviction that he is right, he should be happy by now. Sure he could choose to be unhappy about people who disagree with him or who don’t take his advice, but I would rather be happy about all the people I’ve helped, and be happy that people are listening, even if they are skeptical.

  14. Kevin, You should be a diplomat. Really! Good job; what you do is so important! Thanks

  15. JW says:

    Thanks Kevin for all your great work in bringing this debate together and providing a forum for learning. I appreciate your points about Quackwatch and for the most part I agree. All sources of information need to be viewed with discernment. Although Quackwatch is biased, I do believe it and other sites can be useful in pointing to pertinent issues that can be further explored elsewhere. My post was prompted by concern from reading the blog posts and that because Dr. Young was so adamant and convincing, some may be inclined to adopt his recommendations wholesale without investigating further. I appreciated what Dr. Young shared and found it intriguing but would like to find documented evidence and references in support of his recommendations, especially since some of his conclusions differ greatly from many other experts. Do you have any reputable sources for vetting so called experts and their work? Thanks Much!

  16. Mock Debate:

    Donna Gates: Well as you can see I’m 64, don’t have any gray hair and eat a lot of fermented veggies and drinks, what can you argue about that?

    Dr. Young: Well we should wait and see if you achieve immortality with that, because that’s what my diet promotes

    Donna Gates: Why don’t you try my fermented foods and see if you can get rid of your gray hair?

    Dr. Young: I won’t mind my gray hair when I’m 150 years old.

    As we say in Mexico waca-waca

  17. Tracy says:

    Kevin: Thanks so much for this whole event! So fantastic.
    Unfortunately I missed the first couple calls, but I’m glad I got in now. I’ve been furiously taking notes.
    I wasn’t that familiar with either of these experts, Donna Gates, or Dr Young. Of the two, I found Donna to take a more reasonable approach, despite Dr. Young’s scientific findings. Although I respected his stance, something about his ‘my way or the highway’ approach just didn’t sit well with me as I was listening. It was a bit much. so I really enjoyed reading this follow up from you and to see that you at least kind of felt the same way.
    Thanks again! Can’t wait for Wolfe vs Vitalis tonight!

  18. David Klappstein says:

    Kevin;

    Great work as always. You should run for politics.
    In the case of fermented foods, good or bad, I just wanted to make one point very clear. Both sides gave a lot of anecdotal evidence to prove both sides of the argument, but that is not science. There was no scientific explanation covering this topic at all, so there is simply no resolution on this point.
    Where is the proof!!!!!!!!
    How many uncontrolled variables are in their anecdotal evidence, and who knows for sure why the results were achieved.

    Dave

  19. Advanced, high-level mock debate:

    DONNA: Dr. Young, with all due respect, you are misguided in thinking that anything that is acidic or that has bacteria is bad for us, even in therapeutic quantities that our bodies can handle. Some of the bacteria in fermented foods stays in the gut and helps us digest other foods; the rest of the bacteria get safely eliminated by the body. Mushrooms are a fungus and acidic, so they should be unequivocally bad for us as well by your reasoning, but clearly there are certain mushrooms whose beneficial physiological impact on the body – when taken in modest amounts – far outweighs any negative effect from their acidity. Furthermore, giving the body small doses of certain things that might technically be “bad” in large quantities helps to make the body stronger. Similarly, weight training might destroy a little muscle tissue and make you tired and weaker temporarily, but the body recovers quickly and becomes stronger. In fact, perhaps one reason why so many studies have shown wine to have longevity-enhancing effects might be that if one consumes it in a modest enough amount so that it merely challenges the liver and does not overwhelm the liver, maybe the liver becomes stronger as a result. The body can respond to challenges and has an ability to achieve internal balance if given a nutritionally complete diet. The body’s functioning is not as simple as “all alkaline foods are good” and “all acidic foods are bad, even in small quantities”; this is not just an oversimplification, it is just plain wrong. Of course, I am not suggesting that anyone should makes fermented foods (or mushrooms, or any acidic foods) the majority of their diet, but when eaten in modest amounts, as a condiment, for their therapeutic benefits, it is clear from the experience of countless individuals and societies around the world, throughout history, that they are generally beneficial.

    DR YOUNG: Donna, you are misguided in thinking that fermented foods – and acidic foods in general – have a beneficial effect on the body in the long run. Your clients may feel better in the short run after eating these foods, but that is because they have a short-term stimulating effect on the body – and that stimulating effect is largely because the immune system gets activated in order to kill the bacteria you have put in your body, and because the body has to get to work to neutralize (alkalize) the acidic food you gave it. Another factor is that most people are used to getting a certain amount of acidic foods, protein, meat, and bacteria, so they are used to the stimulation that these foods provide. For optimal health and longevity, and minimal stress on the body, one should wean oneself off of these foods, just as most health experts would agree that it makes sense to wean oneself off coffee. All stimulants and acidic foods contribute to aging. The temporary feel-good effect is a result of the body speeding up its metabolism temporarily in order to deal with the offensive food you are giving it; once that effect wears off, the body needs more of the same food to get that stimulation again. With respect to native, indigenous populations, I have to say that, to be frank, these populations all generally had lower life expectancies than they could have had if they had been able to truly optimize their diets, but this simply was not an option for most people until very recently due to lack of refrigeration and lack of access to the full range of fruit and vegetables (including avocados and leafy greens) all year around, as we have access to now. These societies may have needed to ferment certain foods in order to preserve them out of necessity, to survive and avoid nutritional deficiencies during the winter when less food was available, or during the summer when there was no refrigeration. Certainly we ought to be aspiring to something much higher than any indigenous culture of 100 or 1000 years ago could possibly have achieved. If you can wean yourself off the artificial stimulation that comes from eating acidic foods and learn to stimulate the body in even more natural ways – by exercising and doing things that you love and that make you excited – then you will be much better off in the long run. Your body will be under less stress and you will age much more slowly.

  20. Linda B-B says:

    A totally alkaline diet would tend to give one an alkaline personality. Alkaline is cooling, it’s not warm and uplifting. I feel that if Dr. Young would add some balance to his diet, his humour and joie de vivre would return. Diet affects our moods and expression. This is going beyond science and looking at the ‘whole’; at the things that no test tube or microscope can show us.

    Given we are all totally ‘personal’ animals, some metabolisms suit an alkaline abundance, other’s have to have the balance, and others function OK on a slightly more acid condition. Too much either way though, will provoke physical and personality issues.

  21. Ela Harrison says:

    Thank you so much for your gracious comments about the cause of a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. Dr Young was the first speaker to be like that: so far, I’ve been really impressed by how balanced a view everyone has been offering. You’re right, the scenario you mention does make it understandable.

    I love that you offer room for discussion also. Hoping there will be a lot of it going on all over the ‘sphere–I’ll post more on my blog tonight too.

    I can’t think of a culture (no pun intended) that hasn’t used cultured foods (except modern western). Was talking to my husband about it last night and he said ‘the Eskimos didn’t’ (we live in AK). I pointed out that they did–they ferment(ed) caribou stomach contents, and whale meat–and then he remembered that they ferment seal oil and some other things too.

    I also agree with your points about the indeterminacy of blood microscopy, fascinating tool though it is.
    thanks,
    Ela

  22. Ken Gray says:

    Listening to these “experts” has been intriguing to say the least.

    Just when I get excited about a new “finding” or approach, the next guru tells me that following that approach is like sticking a 12 gauge in my mouth and running a string from the trigger to my big toe…

    Will continue to listen nightly–however the overall effect is becoming sorta dispiriting.

    Maybe the gift Kevin (unknowingly) is giving us with this debate is finally freeing us from all of these people by having their opinions and science cancel each other out like target-less bullets flying in an East L.A. drive-by…

  23. For anyone wondering, after reading my “mock debate” above (#19), which side I think is right, I believe that clearly there is some element of truth to both sides. I do think that Dr. Young is a little bit too extreme in his opposition to fermented foods, because I believe such foods can be valuable for someone who is trying to improve their digestion and elimination; they can help to normalize their digestive tract. But they should be eaten in small amounts due to the acidity and bacteria. And for someone without digestive issues, I’m not sure fermented foods are needed (and I eat them only very rarely myself).

    I think that eating the most alkaline diet that one can handle is best from both a longevity and spiritual development standpoint, but I think one has to transition towards it gradually, and one has to exercise and live a fulfilling life in order to stay stimulated on such a diet, otherwise one may start to feel tired and drained and in need of the quick-fix that eating more acidic food can provide.

    Also, I think there is some wisdom in Linda B-B’s post (#20), so thanks, Linda, for your insights, that makes sense! I think that what might be theoretically optimal from a pure physical longevity standpoint might not be optimal in terms of how it makes us feel….but perhaps we can try to transition towards what is theoretically optimal, transition at a slow enough pace that we feel good, and make changes and adjustments along the way (2 steps forward, 1 step back).

  24. Emily says:

    I think Linda B-B has a valid point about Dr Young’s temperament. I have found when I followed a high alkaline diet, I am mellow, almost “stoned”. If you watch videos of people who promote the alkaline diet, this super mellow vibe seems to be the norm.

    Anyway , after last nights debate I have bought some kefir.

    Props to Kevin for arranging yet another fascinating and free source of entertaining information 🙂

  25. Mel says:

    I appreciate your comments, Kevin, about live blood cell analysis. I worked for a live blood microscopist in the past. I was able to see other peoples blood and my own. I began to feel that it was not an exact science too. Sometimes a person would get blood taken twice (one right after the other) and would actually have a substantially different reading the second time. Also, I have had my blood read by 4 different blood microscopists and noticed they interpreted things quite differently. I have even had my blood read by one that was trained by Dr. Young and strangely when I switched the alkalarian protocol some of my red blood cells turned to the lemon shapes he was talking about as not being good. It seems to me that if your bowel health is really poor (so poor that your poop is loose and green like he described as being good) then you will need to avoid many foods in order to feel good because you cannot process other food correctly. This is not to say that Dr. Young does not have some good points. I think he has a good understanding of proper ph and I know that I feel better when I keep my ph in the range he describes. However, I found that his protocol did not heal my digestion (I did it for a year).
    Adding in different approaches has made a difference with that.

  26. It has been my understanding that grass fed beef if it is RAW is alkaline, the same when it comes to fish. RAW fish and meat and alkaline until they are cooked, the cooking is what makes them acid. Has that been addressed at all on these dabates?

  27. QC says:

    I would love for Donna Gates to be correct, cause I love the taste of fermented food, but I do have problems with them. I guess it’s because I have an autoimmune disease which cannot tolerate acidity well, even eating a tablespoonful of cultured vegetable would cause my rash to get worse and my body to ache… maybe that’s the main reason why some people don’t do well on fermented food?

  28. I agree that the tone of Dr Young can be a bit arrogant.
    However, we may be talking about a couple different paradigms.
    Dr Young appears to be speaking in extremes in the sense of working with the very ill and with working with the intention of
    VERY long life. In that way he may be correct, the creating of a totally new body based on original potential of a human being, which is said to be 135 years.
    Donna Gates is more about creating health and eliminating disease , but not so sure she thinks about living to be 135 or more??!!
    we shall see as the years unfold
    I do appreciate Dr Youngs knowingness that we can be fully alive and healthy with out the use of animal products at all.
    Why kill to live if not necessary

  29. Catiya says:

    This has been a fascinating, rich, valuable and timely discussion, but it seems to me, that as useful and interesting as much of this information is from all these educated, devoted and passionate experts, the playing field is uneven in this “Great Debate”. It is not clear (and therefore, uneven) whether we are discussing what is the optimal diet is for the average person to be eating on a daily basis to create and maintain optimal health, appropriate body weight and fitness, or are we discussing the best and most appropriate diet for people with serious illnesses – like Diabetes and Cancer – who are trying to recover their health or save their lives. I think these are two very different subjects and should ideally be divided into different debates, making it easier for us to come to useful conclusions and make dietary decisions based on the information presented.

  30. zyxomma says:

    Dr. Young’s The pH Miracle was the first nutrition book I’d read in DECADES that actually taught me anything (the second was Dr. Cousens’ There Is A Cure for Diabetes). When a friend was ashen grey and I asked what was wrong, he ‘d just received a diabetes diagnosis. I told him to buy a copy of the book on his way home, and gave him a website to order Inner Light Super Greens and a few supplements, and told him to call me if he needed help doing The Cleanse. Next time I saw him, a few months later, he was the picture of health, wearing a medium shirt for the first time since high school (he’d been an extra large).

    However, in my own healing practice, I usually recommend that clients read the book, and follow its principles for those five days a week they’re least socially active. On the remaining consecutive two days, they can have a “weekend” to eat and drink whatever they want. I advise them that, as they grow accustomed to nutrient-dense, alkalizing food, their cravings will change. It’s almost always the case.

    In general, for people who just need to drop some weight or improve their energy levels, that’s enough. Unlike Dr. Young’s clients, they don’t have cancer or MS or lupus; they just want to feel a little better, which is why they find their way to me. For debilitating illness, being really strict can bring about radical improvement, whether it’s Dr. Young’s protocol or Dr. Cousens’. Frankly, many people can’t (or won’t) handle a healing protocol long term; as they heal, they start examining their lives and finding much disharmony — wrong jobs, bad relationships, etc., and usually they’ll give up healing foods rather than make radical changes in their lives. No judgment here, that’s just the way most people are wired. Unless they’re threatened with death (and sometimes even when they are), they’d rather maintain the status quo. For them, baby steps are often the only steps they can take.

    And Kevin, I agree with you about Quackwatch. If it’s not a front for Big Pharma and Big Ag, I’d be shocked. Health and peace, everyone.

  31. RoyceA says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzHbqsifqqE

    This woman is now dead because she followed Dr Young’s advice and decided to implement his program.

  32. JV says:

    First and foremost, I would like to point out that among the “experts” participating in this event, a few of them have done very little real research, if any, of their own. What they have mostly done is compile information from other sources, and some even claim it as their own research (this is the case with Dr. Young, verifiable example to follow). At least some of these folks have clinical experience, so they are conscious of the ambiguities and unknowns when dealing with real people, many of them who just want to improve their health and many of them who are very sick. No one has all the answers, and if someone claims he or she does, please get out your BS meter right away.

    So moving on to Dr. Young, and claims that all cancers (and all disease, really) are caused by acid in the body, I would like to point out that this is not just BS, it is right down dangerous. A lot of people have tried to treat cancer by raising their pH, and a good proportion of those people are dead. Of course, many people have a pH imbalance, but that can go either way. Yes, you can actually be too alkaline (if you don’t believe me, check what the pH of a dead body is). Needless to say, for people who are too acid (and this is a good number of the population these days), becoming more alkaline will help a great deal with their health problems, maybe even successfully treat cancer. But for people who are too alkaline, following this pH miracle dogma can be extremely harmful, even deadly. Back in the 50’s, a real doctor by the name of Emmanuel Revici (one of the most successful ones in treating cancer to ever walk this planet, who also happened to live to 101, practicing medicine for seven decades and putting in 16 to 20 hour days till the end) discovered conjugated trienic fatty acids, which 30 years later were rediscovered and called leukotrienes. These are catabolic pro-inflammatory lipids that are behind dyschlorobiosis – i.e., chlorides that get fixed inside of cells causing tissues to go extremely alkaline which can lead, among other things, to highly sensitive ALKALINE pain. Yes, folks, you can actually be too alkaline. I would encourage anyone buying the pH miracle dogma to look into real research; while it can be a good thing to alkalize yourself if you are too acid, you better start by knowing where you are (and you may very well be too alkaline) so you know how to help yourself. And on the subject of alkalizing yourself, I would like to add that using buffers to raise the pH (particularly just based on pH paper measurements for your urine or even saliva) is like wagging the dog by the tail. Look at other homeostatic systems upstream (pH is more of a downstream result of the others) such as electrolyte balance (excess vs. deficiency), lipid oxidation (catabolic vs. anabolic), energy production (beta oxidation vs. tricarb) and autonomic nervous system balance (sympathetic vs. parasympathetic dominance), among others, correct any imbalances, and you may never have to worry about correcting your pH again; your body will do it for you. Of course diet, and particularly fixing digestion to work properly, play a very important role in balancing those systems, but it is not as simple as “eat alkaline foods” or “alkalize your body”… not by a long shot.

    Most of Dr. Young’s microscopy teachings (or should I say preachings?) are based on Enderlein’s concepts that are outdated, and many of them proven incorrect or just plain wrong. As an example, just because red blood cells look great on the microscope, all plump with oxygen, doesn’t mean other tissues are getting any of this oxygen. There is a little something called the Bohr effect, which states that if the pH of the blood is too high (over alkaline), red blood cells will not be able to properly release oxygen to the tissues (which is the main purpose of carrying this oxygen). Yet, they will look great under a microscope. Overfilling red blood cells with oxygen and creating both impressive live blood flow and gorgeous dry blood layer pictures under the microscope is easily accomplished with a few sessions of IV ozone; yet, this doesn’t necessarily translate into health (the subject may very well be bed ridden at the time) or longevity. I actually showed this some years ago to Jeffery Arnson, personally trained by Dr. Young, and president of the International Microscopy Association at the time (no baking soda needed, folks).

    As for how thorough Dr. Young’s “research” is, and also addressing the issue of salt raised by a previous post, here is a good example. Back in 2006, he conducted a seminar over the phone that was a series of four 1-hour lectures followed by Q&A. The first of these lectures was about salt, and using his usual preaching style, he proceeded to read something that was very familiar to me. I realized that for the past 30 minutes he had been reading verbatim from a book (and he proceeded to do that for the entire lecture) that had just come out at the time on the subject and I had read recently called Water and Salt: The Essence of Life (very good book on the subject, IMHO). He was claiming this as his research, never giving credit to the authors. And he was charging $300 for this seminar. I don’t know a single real researcher (or professional, for that matter) with integrity that would do that. I did contact his office to call him on it, and he apologized to me personally on the phone (to say he was embarrassed would be an understatement) and gave me a refund. I am not sure if Kevin could get the transcripts or recordings for that event (assuming he hasn’t buried them), if anyone needs to verify this story. Maybe even someone looking at this blog was part of the seminar as well and either has the recordings or at least remembers it. In addition to this, one can follow (as I have) Dr. Young’s materials over the years and see that he mostly picked popular issues (on health, diet, supplements, etc.) that made sense and were aligned with the rest of his teachings (and were not quite mainstream when he picked them, therefore he claims some of them as his own research), but then just ended up contradicting them without even addressing this, while still using his “preacher” style of “I am 100% right” (of course his own contradictions over time would negate that).

    So in closing this long post, please do the research, both on the subject matter and the “expert” it comes from before following blindly some dogma just because it seems to make sense, especially if you have serious health problems.

    I have nothing but respect for Donna Gates, the products she sells, how she goes about things (I have followed her teachings for a number of years as well) and particularly her efforts with autism in children.

    To Kevin: thanks for putting the event together!

  33. Johann says:

    Thank you Mel, that was exactly the info I was looking for!

  34. Johann says:

    Oh, and thank you JV, for even more info on this topic. I was looking forward to almost every speaker in the debates. I did have great doubt about Young and I am glad to have the comments here to back up my suspicions.

  35. Brent says:

    Jerry, Jerry, Jerry..but on a lighter note great debate! I eat alkaline rich foods and have also benefited from fermented foods.

    Im not fruitarian but im in Bali right now and enjoying the durians and bananas whilst listening in on the debate, he,he:)

  36. Cita says:

    @Jeri Reid: Word! Exactly my question, too!

    I love fermented foods, and I’m much into Donna Gates stuff, but I also like Dr. Young’s approach a lot, and it makes much sense to me. I do believe in alkalinity (I know – I have joint problems!).
    So I would have LOVED to hear his approach to fermentation and WHY it is not good for us!
    As it is I’m just as dumb as I was before these lectures…

    Also, as someone else mentioned. It would have been VERY interesting if he had been put even a tiny winy little question about HOW he defends salt in such doses, and how it affects our body! I’m sure he would be able to say at least something to explain/defend it – IF he got the question, that is…

  37. Sue says:

    Thanks JV.

  38. oreganol says:

    I am glad that you are summarizing these debates, because for many people it can be very confusing when so-called experts have the complete opposite view. Obviously if one person gets results using fermented foods and another gets similar results without using fermented foods, it just means that there’s more than one way to achieve the results in question. I think many so-called experts think their way is the only way. They just aren’t open-minded enough to see that there are other options.

  39. RE: Post #31 from RoyceA about a woman who “is now dead because she followed Dr. Young’s advice,” it appears upon researching this further that the woman had advanced breast cancer that spread, and that she was actually able to keep it under control and even shrink the cancer and survive for several years using Dr. Young’s protocol, but then she developed liver cancer (probably the same cancer that had metastasized there) and died a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving last year. Apparently she admitted to Dr. Young that she had GONE OFF HIS DIET and had been eating acidic foods. Of course, if Dr. Young’s program “cures” people in such a way that they are at risk of getting worse if/when they come off his diet, then this is important to be aware of and one should be careful about how one come’s off his diet.

    It seems to me that the key thing to be aware of in regards to Dr. Young’s program is that while following such a pure, clean, low-acidity program might give the body a chance to heal (and thereby temporarily improve the immune system), following such a diet over time might actually weaken the body – or at least weaken the immune system – by putting it in a very relaxed state in which it doesn’t have to work very hard. I think that Dr. Young’s program can probably be very useful for someone in terms of overcoming an inflammatory condition (including cancer), BUT that it is ESSENTIAL that upon going off Dr. Young’s program, one do so GRADUALLY and CAREFULLY, perhaps taking specific immune-boosting supplements (maybe immune-boosting mushroom extracts, for instance, alternating with immune-boosting herbs like Echinacea) if one wants to transition back to a more normal diet.

    AND if one chooses NOT to come off his program entirely, then I think it is important to nevertheless stimulate the immune system sometimes with things like fermented foods, mushrooms, or animal food occasionally in order to avoid getting so “clean” and “pure” (and having the immune system get so weak and lazy) that we can’t handle any sort of toxicity if we are exposed to it. I have heard stories of raw vegans who get very sick when they suddenly eat a burger or some other similar food. I think it is VITAL to recognize that while cleansing oneself with raw vegan foods and an “alkaline” diet can be great for healing, one needs to be careful in how one goes about coming off such a diet, and one needs to be careful about becoming “too clean” to be able to handle potential toxicity that one might get exposed to.

    We don’t live in a bubble and we are inevitably going to be exposed to bacteria, viruses, and other toxins – and the danger is that we might not be able to handle this if our bodies have become too clean, for example if we have followed a pure Dr. Young protocol (with no cheating) for too long. Nevertheless, this only appears to be a risk for someone who is adhering very strictly to such a diet, and the vast majority of the population could probably benefit from eating less acidic foods (although the benefit might not be immediately obvious since one might need to wean oneself off the acidic foods since they can be stimulative and addictive).

  40. Chris says:

    Donna Gates I could not listen to for more than a few minutes.. Her philosophy of health would not work for me, at all. And her statement that she had to add fish back to her diet to heal her candida is ABSURD and ridiculous!! Clearly wrong.

    Dr. Young however was BRILLIANT!!! If I couldn’t hear any more lectures.. I’m pleased that I heard the best in both Gabriel Cousens and Robert O. Young. Wow!!!

    I did heal serious illness with diet and cannot slack off without disastrous results. Perhaps if you’re not coming from serious illness it doesn’t matter too much. . . .at least, not now. But one day it may. Its not what you know that gets you in trouble. . . its what you know, that just ain’t so, that gets you in trouble.

  41. Javy says:

    Kevin I think you should go to Dr. Young Ranch and spend a day there with all his knowledge and then post a video of that. I saw the video of your live blood and by the microscope he was using I think he was trained in biomedx which they don go as deep as Dr. Young. Your blood looks good, not bad, but you should see how the blood must really look. You should read Bechamp or Pasteur about pleomorphism about Antoine Bechamp and that will help you to understand that you don’t need to focus on the germ but in the terrain.

  42. Sharon Summers says:

    I was so shocked at Dr. Young’s recommendation of 12 grams of salt per day that I went to Barnes and Noble today to look at his book. While I didn’t have time to get to the bottom of the salt issue (and I didn’t see that the book would do so to my satisfaction), I did notice that his book does not read as dogmatically as he sounded in the debate. In fact, he lists many grains as foods he constantly keeps on hand and even mentioned cooking rice overnight so that it’s ready for breakfast when he wakes up.

    If anyone knows of good research on the salt issue, I would love to have that information.

    And, thank you JV for all your valuable information.

  43. Javy says:

    Sharon Summers look for a book called Salt Your Way To Health and google search good salt vs bad salt or something like that.

  44. Jensey says:

    As the saying goes … to each his/her own. I found Dr. Young to be exactly the sort of person one might find on a quackwatch.com site (though I have never felt the need to visit this site). He came across as a total fundamentalist and consistently made some wild assertions. I was stunned … and very happy that I had already read and made some use of his book. Having never heard him speak before, once was enough.

    Donna Gates has such a rambling delivery … and watching videos of her is painful … she brings out the latent type A personality in me … I want to cut her off in traffic and get going. However, I am glad when I can make it through all of that and stick with her … because I think she has some good things to contribute to my health. Again, I much prefer to read her work rather than listen.

    I’ll continue to take in lots of greens AND fermented foods. The combo works for me!

  45. Javy says:

    Jensey when people are not educated comments like this emerge. Keep researching that some day you will find the true. If you eat fermented food you are fermenting you self, and that’s the ugly combo.

  46. Gail says:

    Some terrific comments!
    I have not been listening to the debates the last few days – have had severe weather and just being able to make it home has been the priority.
    However, I am already familiar with both of the experts mentioned.
    My take on most anything is that every individual needs to be ‘diagnosed’ first: what’s their problems; what would restore their health; and what would make the best sense for that person for longterm optimal health? It won’t be the same each time.
    I’m turned off by the ‘blinders on’, preachy types who ‘know everything’ and won’t budge; and found Donna to really have an ‘understanding’ of many things I can appreciate. (I do laugh at “Jensy No 44 who ALSO finds Donna painful to listen to. I have to turn her off each time and just read her stuff, too!)
    I hope I can listen to the tapes for 24/48 hrs afterwards.
    Just have to get through these weather issues.

    Thanks Kevin for everything!

  47. Hi

    I believe both sides are right (and wrong). There is no one truth and every diet works of the person on the diet used to be on a worse diet (and that’s why even Atkins might be beneficial for some in the short term).

    When it comes to which one of these approaches that is THE GREATEST, does it really matter if both brings people to great long term health? Do you think “fighting” over it will not make anyones health better?

  48. Steve D. says:

    Upon having listened to Dr. Bruce Lipton speak about genes and how perception and belief can literally alter them, I wonder if each individual’s mind/mindset doesn’t as well affect the efficacy of a particular protocol. We see this in many psychiatric patients with phobias and other psychological issues where the therapy is only as good as the patient’s willingness and/or ability to adhere themselves mindfully to it. And yet never do we see a “one size fits all” when it comes to curing or treating these issues.

    I’m an avid fan of Dr. Young’s work, but try whole-heartedly not to be so staunch that I deny others their science or say. Hence, I try to be very liberal with my “amateur” assertions because I’m not the one making the discoveries. I’m not that pretentious or self-serving.

    I see some people here taking pot shots for or against a particular scientist based on the fact that they don’t care for the way he or she talks or presents themselves. This is indicative of the self alone and not those we seek to perceive. This as well leads to unnecessary bias often times. If we can’t keep our focus on the science instead of mannerisms, then we’re selling both ourselves and these brilliant scientists short.

    If, as a protocol, these sciences are implemented in each stage of health we must look at the outcome, as well as the long term effect/s it has on unhealthy individuals, healthy individuals — and as a means of prevention for those seemingly more susceptible or prone to certain diseases. This will give us a better grasp as to what science works for which individuals.

    I believe we can piecemeal these sciences into many different protocols that will work. Naturally each scientist can’t base their conclusions/opinions beyond what the scientific facts conclude as this would be in direct contradiction of the discovery itself. Therefore the heart and opinion must be left wayside more times than not. It’s when these scientists begin projecting ahead as well in light of all they’ve yet to discover that the confusion and differing opinions come to light, otherwise all would be cut and dry presumably if we assume all anatomy and physiology functions the same — which again may or may not be the case if what Dr. Lipton proposes is true. This, we must assume, would open the playing field up a great deal.

    We must however not allow our biases to supersede facts and/or probability. I heard of Dr. Young long before I’d ever heard of Donna Gates, so the tendency is to immediately shun her work and cling to Dr. Young’s work. I try, however, not do be so close-minded because who knows what others have to offer that I might miss out on.

  49. Niklas says:

    Donna Gates looks way better for her age than Dr. Young….. I’ve tried both diets and personally I feel better on the BED…

  50. Helen says:

    I bought Donna gates Body ecology book.I love eating Fermented vegies.they help my Gut problems. But they mad my teeth extremely sensitive, to the poit now I can,t chew food.
    Please help me. Your suggestions will be valued greatly.
    Thanking you in anticipation. Helen

  51. Tash says:

    This post is still so helpful! I love to eat fermented foods daily, especially kim chi and homemade sour kraut. For anyone interested in making your own pickled/fermented foods at home I highly recommend buying a Japanese pickle press because the press keep your veggies under the brine (very important!). It’s so convenient! I also recommend picking up the book “Wild Fermentation”…super handy and has tons of recipes! Great post as always Kev!

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