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Grandma Was Right

Granny the Doctor


If Grandma ate collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, beet greens, pigweed, or chard, don't dismiss her as an eccentric old fogey. If you, you-health-nut-you, enjoy crisp alfalfa sprouts on big green salads, or mung bean sprouts in Chinese food, great!  These sprouts and greens are loaded with minerals and vitamins. As my great uncle often said, they're "good for what ails you."

This is especially true when such foods are eaten fresh and uncooked. Did you know that sprouts provide virtually every vitamin, are a source of complete protein, and contain more vitamin C ounce for ounce than most fruits? Did you know that sprouts contain, pound for pound, nearly as much protein as meat? Hundreds of enzymes may be present in one sprouted wheat grain. Sprouts are very good for you. They are also economical. A tablespoon of alfalfa seeds will grow into a cup of sprouts in four to six days. "All you do is add water."  Well, they're not quite that instant, but nearly so. Soak the seeds in water overnight, and drain the next morning. Thereafter, rinse and drain twice a day until ready to eat. The only equipment needed is a few wide-mouthed jars.
A lot of garden greens get thrown away each year that could be eaten for better health. Weeds like lamb's quarter (pigweed), redroot, and dandelion are quite tasty when young and tender. When you thin out your beets or turnips, you can cook up the greens as you go.  Raw Swiss chard, kale or leaf lettuce is the basis a fine salad, and is simple to grow even in the smallest and most casual gardens. Any raw greens supply roughage (fiber) and many vitamins to your diet. Raw foods are especially good for your body. Did you know that Garnett Cheney, M.D. treated one hundred peptic ulcer patients with raw cabbage juice every day?  Relief from pain was rapid, as was total time to heal.  Said Dr. Cheney:

"Relief of pain occurred in this series of cases without the continued use of any form of drug therapy and without frequent feedings of food... The rapidity of healing is emphasized when the average (cabbage juice) healing times of 14 days for gastric ulcer and 12.9 days for duodenal ulcer are compared with the 42 days and 37 days cited from the literature." (Cheney, 1952, p. 252)

Dr. Cheney's findings were published in California Medicine. The Journal of the American Medical Association (163:14, April 6, 1957, p. 1311) was not overly impressed, but Dr. Cheney's cured patients certainly were.

Raw foods and their enzymes have a definite effect on the digestive tract and the entire body's response to diet. Dr. Ralph Bircher, in an undated address in Wisconsin entitled "A Turning Point in Nutritional Science," said: 

"There exists a reaction which normally happens every time a person begins to eat; we call it the digestive leucocytosis. Some message sent by the palate to the marrow through the vegetative nerve system releases a deployment of leucocytes which swarm out to the walls of the intestines, especially of the colon, as if to defend a frontline... Kouchakoff of Lausanne discovered that it does not happen whenever a meal consists of, or even begins with raw vegetable food. This fact was confirmed by several other research workers. Then Tropp, Wurzburg, added another discovery. There are specific enzymes in fresh and living plant cells which are very delicate. They perish when the plants are heated or even seriously wilted. They were thought, therefore, to be of no consequence to human health.But Tropp found out that this is not true.  The human organism knows how to protect and escort these enzymes throughout the digestive tract, so that they can reach the colon without harm, and there they perform a basic change in the bacterial flora by attracting and binding what oxygen there is. Thus, they remove the aerobic condition which is responsible for putrefaction, fermentations, dysbacteria and intestinal toxemia." (Bircher, p 7-8)

Raw foods do not elicit the stockpiling of white blood cells (leucocytes) in the digestive tissues, nor do raw foods signal the bone marrow to generate more of the white cells. This may be of the greatest significance to persons suffering from the disease which Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary describes as "An acute or chronic disease in man and other warm-blooded animals characterized by an abnormal increase in the number of leukocytes in the tissues and often in the blood." The disease just described is leukemia. 

Could leukemia possibly be a result of a diet of always-cooked foods? Naturopaths have always emphasized raw foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains and raw milk. If raw foods fail to stimulate the excess production of white blood cells, then perhaps an all-raw-foods diet should be insisted on in leukemia cases. From now on, when we talk of nature-cure therapies used against such diseases in Europe and other countries, we will see more clearly the basis for raw foods in them.

The enzymes that Dr. Bircher mentions as helpful to digestion and the prevention of intestinal toxemia fit right into the naturopathic approach to health. Pollution or toxemia throughout the body has its basis in what we eat and how we use it. Intestinal toxemia, abnormal colon bacteria populations, constipation, and putrefaction from an overcooked, starch and meat diet are all root causes of illness.  To prevent and cure illness we therefore stop eating meat, we eat whole, mostly raw foods and we clean out body wastes. These are my "Three Quick Steps to Health." Raw food enzymes and the body's special response to them are a time-honored key to nature-cure.

Dr. Bircher cited a paper by Swiss medical doctor Paul Kouchakoff entitled "The Influence of Food Cooking on the Blood Formula of Man" which was presented in Paris at the First International Congress of Microbiology way back in 1930. (If my references to early- to mid-20th century research bugs you, remember that Einstein's Theory of Relativity has held up pretty well, and that's not any more recent.) 

Further therapeutic benefits of raw foods diets are discussed in the much more recent Survival Into The Twenty-First Century by Viktoras Kulvinskas (1975), Diet and Salad Suggestions (1971) by N.W. Walker, D.Sc., Encyclopedia of Health and Nutrition by Max Warmbrand (1962), and all works by Ann Wigmore (1964, 1982, 1983).  Read more; cook less; feel better!

Copyright 1981, 2000 Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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