Our Renegade Health Heroes of 2012 : Best of Health 2013

Tuesday Jan 8 | BY |
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We love people who take action…

People who stand up for something — people who think more about the greater good than themselves.

There are plenty of people in the health space who are in this business to make a difference and today, we wanted to recognize two of them.

Since we were pretty active in our coverage of Proposition 37 — the GMO labeling movement in California — our two Renegade Heroes had a lot to do with this campaign. In fact, this campaign, is the biggest thing that happened in natural health / organics / food rights in 2012.

The proposition didn’t pass (the margin was just around a 3% difference), but it did bring widespread awareness to the fight for GMO labeling. The state of Washington is now petitioning to put a GMO labeling law on their ballot now, which hopefully will have even greater success than the CA proposition.

But enough about winning and losing, let’s reward some people for their efforts…

Renegade Health Hero Runner Up: Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been recognized by us in the past at Renegade Health. Last year, he made the list because of his contribution — along with Dr. Gabriel Cousens — to the Great Health Debate. They both put their egos aside and spoke frankly about the pros and cons of vegan vs. a non-vegan diet. I gained tremendous respect for both of them while working on this project.

This year, Dr. Mercola gets the runner-up slot for another contribution, but this time it was monetary.

As you may know, to defeat Prop 37, the food and biotech companies raised over $40 million dollars. This was enough to engineer a media blitz of untruthful commercials that eventually tipped the scales.

Those for Proposition 37 only managed to raise a fraction of that, but Dr. Mercola’s company was the lead donor — providing $1.1 million.

Donating this amount of money demonstrates a lot of things about Dr. Mercola. First and foremost, it shows you where his heart is, which I think is all I need to say. He could have bought a boat, another home, or invested it at 5-8% (which would be $50,000-80,000 a year in return), but he didn’t. He chose to fight a battle where there was no guarantee of winning.

His contribution and efforts clearly could be put him at “Top Dog” status, but if you know anything more about the Prop 37 story, you’ll find that if it wasn’t for a grandma from Chico, Dr. Mercola wouldn’t have had anywhere to give that money…

(You can find more about Dr. Mercola here: http://www.mercola.com)

Renegade Health Hero Top Dog: Pamm Larry

On September 20, 2011, Pamm Larry, a grandmother from Chico, California woke up and knew that it was her job from then until November 6, 2012 to do everything she could to get an initiative on the California ballot to label genetically engineered foods.

Annmarie and I met Pamm at a GMO training with Jeffrey Smith in Marin Country, north of San Francisco.

She mentioned that she was trying to get a GMO labeling law on the ballot in California. At the time, we’d really wanted to get involved with something political to see the inner workings of it and actually make some real change in our backwards health and food policies.

I told Pamm that I wanted to organize a group in the East Bay for her to talk to and get the word out about what she was trying to do. She agreed.

Our little event had about 20 attendees and was the start of a grassroots action group in the Bay Area. Pamm went on to visit just about every city in the state rallying foodies like you and I to spread the word about this initiative. She was successful.

Pretty soon, this became a movement. There were more people. There was money donated. Then a petition. Then there were enough signatures gathered. Then it was on the ballot. Then more money. Commercials. Then election day.

It would have been an even better story if the Proposition passed, but I think you and I both know how much heart and soul it takes to get something amazing done and I want to make sure Pamm is recognized for this effort (as well as all the other donors, volunteers and organizations involved.)

Pamm essentially started the whole thing — she possibly changed the GMO discussion forever in the United States. So for that, her grassroots effort just ever-so-slightly outshine Dr. Mercola’s contribution — but you and I both know, neither would have happened without the other.

(You can find more about Pamm and Label GMOs here: http://www.labelgmos.org/)

There, of course, are dozens of others I could have included on this list — but since this Proposition was so historical and gigantic in scale, it definitely takes the raw almond flour cake in 2012.

Your Question of the Day: Who is your health hero of 2012?

Live Awesome!

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.


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  1. Gale says:

    Donna Eden is my superhero. Energy Medicine can and should be the precursor to conventional medicine, taking care of people with blocked energies that cause symptoms. Pain is caused by stuck energy, and getting things moving cures a lot of problems.

    Richard Gordon’s Quantum touch is also a good candidate. Quantum touch can help heal us as well.

  2. James says:

    My vote goes to Dr Chris Zaino, former Mr America and now Chiropractor, health and nutritional advisor who works tirelessly for the good of literally thousands of people. he changed my life and my family through education about nutrition and how we look after ourselves so much, I now help others improve their lives through eating and living more healthily. Be well

  3. My mom. As a senior citizen she just wrote a best selling story book to help kids go bananas over healthy fruit!

    The iPad version has music to get kids moving, read to me, video of life on a farm, and more.

    So cool to see my mom helping promote healthy living for kids in a fun way. She lives a healthy, active, med-free life. Helping is ageless.

    Check out http://www.DancingFruitBook.com.

  4. I found your site very interesting and informative, Have learned a lot about raw food and GMO s. A real eye opener. Thanks for all you and your family do..

  5. barbara says:

    The health heros are the people who read the blogs and help themselves heal. Joe Mercola is pretty special. Nice to know he helped with prop 37. I collected signatures to get prop 37 on the CA ballot. We all can try again to get it passed. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

  6. In no doubt , the hero in Health field for me would be Dr Robert Morse. With his complex but simple to understand view , he claims his clinics have 95% rate of success healing cancer.

    He started answering questions on youtube In 2011 and does this daily consistently for 1-2 hours. 839 30min or longer videos uploaded 6280 followers. Also Imeadeately fan club gathered around him . Check his concept out http://www.youtube.com/user/robertmorsend

  7. Melissa says:

    Frankly, i would champion a few Canadian acupuncturists in the Toronto area who began Community Acupuncture Clinics and started training others to start community clinics in 2012. Noami Frank, Chris Pickerell, N.D.; Ash Lang… to name a few. Toronto now has 3 clinics in the downtown area, offering pay what you’re able to services. Though Canada has gov’t funding for health care, it does not include any alternative care: energy medicine, acupuncture, physiotherapy, masssage, etc. …. very little in the preventative realms at all. So though we have some internationally known doctors, Dr. Zoltan Rona, M.D., and the late Dr. Abrams (orthomolecular medicine), … we are behind in terms of funding.

    Thanks for the shout out about dr. mercola. i’m always referring very conservative people to his website FIRST so they can see that there are Renegade M.D.s ‘out there!’. Its nice to see that he really does put his pocketbook next to his ‘breastplate of faith’. Not everybody has that kind of generosity. I’m praying that this bill 37 is resurrected and passed. IF California passes it, here in Ontario Canada, … we will have an extra boost of legitimacy!! Bravo!

    • Naomi Frank says:

      Many thanks for the shout-out, Melissa! Just wanted to add that community acupuncture is a growing movement, and readers looking for affordable acupuncture can check the Locate-a-Clinic tab at http://www.pocacoop.com for clinics all over North America, or http://acmac.net/acu/ for UK and Australia. Just a few days ago, a patient told me that after we put out a link to POCA (People’s Co-operative of Community Acupuncture), she was able to connect various members of her family with clinics in different cities. POCA is full of members who – in addition to running busy clinics – volunteer their time to further community acupuncture and nurture new clinics.

      Now that’s a lot of healing power!

    • Liam Vogel says:

      Hi Melissa, as far as I know, Dr. Mercola is an osteopath, not an M.D. And that is not a put-down of any sort!

    • Ira Edwards says:

      Thank you for thinking of Dr. Abram Hoffer, who applied biochemistgry to psychiatry. He, along with Dentist Weston A. Price, are among the worlds greatest scientists. If only the establishment had not ignored them, we would have a healthier nation.

  8. Linda says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Kevin. Pitch-perfect picks.

  9. Mry says:

    I have to give a heads up to Ronnie Cummins, who heads the Organic Consumers Association, for his tireless work with everything organic, including what he considered the biggest deal, the CA GMO labeling bill, Prop 37.

    I do think it speaks grandly of Dr. Mercola and Pamm. And, of course, the lower profiled people who have made a big difference.

    And to you guys for your first meeting about this! Thanks!


  10. Susan says:

    Kevin and Annmarie,

    Thank you for recogizing Pamm Larry and Dr. Mercola. Dr. Mercola puts his neck on the chopping block everyday trying to bring us news about medical and dental fraud. He opened my eyes to not only GMOs but to the fluoride fraud perpetuated on the public and their pocketbooks as well as constantly reinforcing what a person needs to do to stay healthy. He is really trying to get the word out about fermented foods and gut health.

    He, along with you and Annmarie, will get my conssumer dollars.

    I think I and others in other states should have done more about spreading the news about GMOs in order to break past the propaganda that was being put out in California. I put a couple of articles by Dr. Mercola on a list serv that I belong to and sent the article to people with California connections but I think I should have spoken directly to people in my own state whether they had or didn’t have California connections. After the defeat of Prop 37, I was at a dinner function and I was speaking to someone who eats regularly at a macrobiotic restaurant and drinks alkaline water and I made the comment about how it was awful that Prop 37 didn’t pass. He was not aware of the battle that took place in California on GMOs. I was stunned. This needs to be a nationwide effort. Maybe we should start a campaign called, “By the way, have I talked to you about GMOs today?…..”

    Thank you for the work you do. You have also opened my eyes to many issues. From stopping me from jumping on every health craze to expanding my knowledge on cancer prevention. You have done that by taking personal risks in exposing your own story and flaws and doing extensive research and sharing it.

    May you, Pamm Larry and Dr. Mercola always be protected the Univeral Life Force Energy and that your blessings be infinite (A little dramatic but sincere nevertheless). You don’t have spellcheck so hopefully I didn’t mangle too many words.

  11. Warren says:

    Don Tolman is my 2012 Health Hero, his depth of knowledge and help to those in need is amazing!

  12. Bill says:

    While Dr. Mercola is one of my favorites, I am partial to Mike Adams. Mike not only talks about physical and emotional health but about freedom health and liberty health. He takes holistic health to every aspect of the human body and mind and politics and economics. Its not just about body health as we all know. If there is no freedom and liberty for humans then there surely would be no choice in what ones is allow to take into their bodies no matter how good, or bad, it would be. I cannot believe that the two can be separated. Mike Adams does a good work at explaining that on his site. I mention economics here for the simple reason that health, true health, cost money. Yes,we can forage in the plants and animals for good things for the body but the amount of time we would have to spend is simply not economical. My personal food habits has greatly changed over the last 15 years, I don’t think I am spending that much more with Dr. Mercola, Mike and others but I only buy what is good for the body. I like to buy from people who know and can explain through the scientific method what is good and what is bad. I want evidence before I will buy from anyone. In a way it is hard to pin-point one individual for everything dealing with the human body. There are so many individuals that I believe are contributing in so many ways, Each are contributing with their knowledge and professionalism. One of the tasks that we all have is to seek out those who would deceive and lie to us for their own economic betterment. For instance Dr. OZ. These people will be found out. It is up to each of us to be impeccable with our own integrity, and those who are not need to be exposed to us as well as we would tell someone about a dangerous chemical that will harm us.

    I was reading the comments of Gale below where the statement is made; “Pain is caused by stuck energy….” Now explain the word “stuck”, utter nonsense. If pain can be “stuck” then what is it stuck to. Can we see that pain being “stuck”? I point this out as the type of wording that people use without considering what they are saying, If anyone can explain the “stuck” then why not just use the explanation? Why try to throw in words that make no sense in a feeble way to explain something.

  13. Marcus Freudermann (spelling?)
    His work, “Cancer Is Curable Now”, is amazing and he is so good at talking to people, not above them. He represents the common man with a passion and his passion is our health. He exudes kindness and compassion. He is approachable and knowledgable. If you haven’t seen his free online five part seminar – check it out.

  14. Rachel says:

    My hero is Mike Adams the Health Ranger.

  15. Dr.Joel Fuhrman is and will always be my hero. He was100% there for me after my stroke and my husbands leukemia diagnosis.He has stood for and teaches pristine health through nutritional excellence.

    With his guidance I have become a better nurse and am able to pass his work to others and watch them literally become well again.

    Through this mans tireless example we can become a healthier nation.

  16. Liam Vogel says:

    Hey Kev, I guessed Pamm was one of the winners! I had Jeffrey Smith as the other, but I won’t argue with your runner-up! All the best in the new year!

  17. Flora says:

    My heroes are Matt and Angela Monarch. I like to see people de-mystify health practices and even their own “guru” status, available to make mistakes and do the hard work to remedy them and also go deep into themselves. To do this on display for others to learn to me is heroic. To champion love, in all its distress at expressing in this world, is such a triumph to me. I quietly do this in my own life and find their public everydayness so refreshing and comforting. I don’t need info — that i find all around me; rather I need spirit to keep going while those around me clog themselves with junk. The Monarchs share such spirit with me and it truly brings me a lift of strength to continue my own and my community’s healing journey.
    Uptown New Orleans

  18. My health hero is Dr. Brian Clement. Sure he gets criticized for the expense of HHI, but there is no better place than this and he is brilliant. I really feel that the real fight against cancer and all issues is led by Brian and he should be commended for his research and help he is giving to so many.

  19. Barbara says:

    I do not agree with Flora about the Monarchs. I used to listen to them. One time I made a comment that did not agree with what they were saying and they banned me from posting comments on their YouTube channel! They delete all comments that are not lovey dovey towards them. How childish is that! Besides Matt is becoming more and more weird and rumbling. He cannot get to a point if his life depended on it (LOL).

  20. Hi guys, I’m a rural Australian and born again foodie. I would just like to endorse your choice of Dr Mercola. I read his artcles almost everyday and every day he brings me a new insight into a myriad areas of health (as opposed to disease!).
    My one amazement is that his countless well-heeled adversaries have not sued him out of business yet. That gives me hope. We see America as offering the world the worst of the worst and the best of the best. When it comes to nutrition and becoming healthy it is Americans who have shown us the light… including you Kevin!!
    Best wishes and be assured our eyes remain on you!!
    Hess Strengers

  21. My Health Hero is Dee McCaffrey. She has a non-profit in Arizona to teach kids and families how to eat healthy. She also has written 2 amazing books the latest “The Science of Skinny”. Sklnny meaning “optimal health”. Her website is Processed-Free America.com. She also lost over 100lbs and has kept them off for 20 years. This book explains in simple language the path to optimal health and weight loss. She also answers our questions through e-mail and has free telephone conference calls. I have changed my health and she is my Hero.

  22. Hi, Kevin: I live in Seattle, WA and we were really disappointed that the GMO labeling law didn’t pass in California. After hearing about all the money that was put in to make it fail by the big corporations who are poisoning our food supply, we weren’t surprised. What does surprise me is that people can be so easily fooled. We are collecting signatures in Washington State to require GMO labeling. I hope we will be successful and inspire other states to do the same. Thanks for all you do to share your knowledge and wishes for optimal health for all. All good wishes from Anne

  23. sharon says:

    My health hero is my sister, Susan! Susan Lavandar is one of the most smartest people I know regarding health and other issues. She runs The Ann Wigmore Foundation in San Fidel, New Mexico. She puts her heart and soul into that place, to help others learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, with all of her hand grown organic foods in her garden! She is such a hard worker and I love her very much! She has a vision of obtaining property in Virginia and have a Living Foods Garden Village where there can be a large community on a beautiful piece of property where a Raw Foods Lifestyle is the best choice for all. She needs help though. Anyone willing to help her move her center to Virginia would be greatly appreciated! You can find out more at livingfoodsgardenvillage.com Thanks!

  24. Pamm Larry says:

    Well thanks for this honoring, Kevin! You guys were so supportive in all aspects of the campaign, from donating to helping host events to spreading the word, to networking..you guys rocked!

    The whole nation is now on a roll because of the faith of the people on the ground in CA who grew Labelgmos.org, then Prop 37 to the huge success it was. GMOs are now on the map in the US where they weren’t before. And our narrow vote loss at the ballot (due to their dishonest campaign) gives them notice that labeling will be in the US soon.

    Thanks and health to all in 2013!

  25. fred says:

    I don’t know of anyone who lays it all out the way Dr. Joe Mercola does. I don’t always follow his advice to the letter, but his advice is very appreciated.

    I was told by my Washington State reps. last year (I’m in Spokane.) that the GMO initiative would be put back into session this year (yawn), but looks like some people (similar to Pam Larry and the Giannis) got the successful petition drive going instead.

    And, since Kevin and Annmarie don’t toot their own horn, I’m gonna toot it for them and call them health heroes too…they do a lot of good, and I dare anyone to disagree. A big thanks to those two!

  26. Dr. Mitchell says:

    With my interests being in changing the way we approach food in this country, I am quite in support of the Proposition and labeling GMO as well, and still given her clout I feel Mrs. Michele Obama deserves a huge recognition. Without even knowing all the programs she has instituted throughout the US, the number of lives she has benefited by her initiatives and school lunch programs, gardens that are now being tended to and kids eating fresh food they never would have considered before, I feel deserves a mention.
    Thank you Kevin and staff for all your work in this crazy fast food world. I plan on making an impact myself some day soon. Sincerely, Mitchell Kershner ND

  27. kt mm says:

    Easy question, you and AnnMarie are my health heroes! 🙂

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