Most Americans are full of crap!

Ok, I’ve gotten your attention, and I will expand on that idea in a bit, but first a word about who I am. As might be obvious from the title of this column, I’m a university professor (married, three kids, mortgage, etc.) Now, I’m a professor of psychology, not medicine or biology or health, so why am I writing a column on a site dedicated to the activities and ideas of a naturopathic physician? First, I always take a broad interdisciplinary view of whatever I study and teach. Then again, my B.A. is in chemistry, so I do know a little bit about the hard sciences. My main qualification, though, for writing this column is that I’ve been a patient—and friend—of Dr. David for over 10 years. As part of my own journey from illness to health, I’ve read a lot, as professors do; and I’ve thought a lot, as professors do; and now in “The Professor’s Corner” I’d like to write about what I’ve observed, experienced, read, and thought.

Since nothing grabs a reader’s interest more than a story, let me relate a bit of my own personal experience with naturopathy. When I first came to see Dr. David in April of 1992, I was in ghastly shape, physically and mentally (as if these are two separate things). One of my many symptoms was that I lost 25 pounds in six months without even trying! If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know immediately that this means something is drastically wrong! For six miserable months I went from doctor to doctor receiving virtually no help whatsoever. The allopathic (“against symptoms”) doctors I saw literally did not have a clue. I often felt worse after leaving their office. A few alternative healers I sought out had a clue or two, but not much more. What they all failed to realize was that I needed to seriously detoxify my system. In other words, I was a typical American, that is, full of crap—no wonder I felt like crap! Through a series of twists of fate I wound up in Dr. David’s office, rather reluctantly, since I knew nothing of naturopathy and had been disappointed by a number of alternative healers already. When I asked Dr. David if he knew my diagnosis, he responded, “I don’t treat illnesses, I treat people.” I was immediately struck by that statement. Furthermore, Dr. David made it clear that he does not treat mind and body separately; he works with the whole person. This was a novel approach since the allopathic doctors I visited, having found nothing obviously physical to pin my woes on, asserted that my problems were “all in my head.” I felt intuitively that this simply could not be true; I may have my psychological issues, but feeling “poisoned” didn’t seem to be one of them. And Dr. David did not have that “dismissive” attitude I had encountered all too frequently in my quest for help; he actually listened to me. That first session took about 5 hours! At the end of the initial session, Dr. David gave me a huge list of dietary and other “dos and don’ts,” plus a long list of supplements to take. This demanded an almost total lifestyle change, and since I was so out of it I could barely function, I decided to make my life easier and do only about half the prescribed program for starters. Fortunately, the detoxification part of the regime was in that half and I started to improve. I started to phase in more and more of the regime and after two months the most horrible of the symptoms disappeared and never returned! Interestingly, if I deviate from the program for a few days, which occasionally happens when I’m on the road, I often wake up with just a hint of the old misery. So when people ask me how I have the discipline to stay on such a demanding program, I tell them that my body simply won’t allow me to stray for very long. When you are not full of crap, you become sensitive to crap! Am I in perfect health today? No, but I’m in pretty good condition for a 57 year old guy and, remember, I had 45 years of bad choices to atone for and even naturopathy has its limits. But I’m doing a lot better than I was in 1992! And I’m doing a hell of a lot better than the 15 or so friends and colleagues who, in the intervening years, have died from what I believe are preventable and treatable illnesses, primarily cancer. None of them followed a naturopathic regime, or if one or two did, they inexplicably did not stick with it. (The idea that a person would voluntarily stop following a life-saving health regime—for whatever reason—seems incomprehensible to me. As a student of psychology for 35 years, I guess I should know better!) One thing I did as I regained my health, perhaps out of a sense of gratitude for being given a second chance, was write an academic paper which took theoretical concepts from developmental psychology and used them to contrast allopathic and naturopathic medicine. I presented this paper, entitled “Naturopathic and Allopathic Healing: A Developmental Comparison,” at a psychology conference in 1994 and it eventually got published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors. Dr. David has kindly agreed to add this paper to his website, so you can read it here if you so choose.1 It’s a bit technical in spots, but not overly so. If you do read or skim it, you can get a deeper sense of why I believe natural, holistic healing is the route to take. In either event, I can summarize my conclusion in a sentence: Although we need allopathic healing (especially for emergencies and when natural methods are not working), overall, naturopathic medicine is inherently a higher, more developed mode of healing, more developed in a cognitive, ecological, moral, and spiritual sense. For example, I maintain in the essay that naturopathy requires a level of conceptualization that developmental theorists refer to as “systemic” or “systematic,” whereas allopathy rarely reaches above the pre-systemic “linear” or “formal” level. (That’s why allopathy focuses on symptoms of illness rather than on the more complex systemic processes producing health or illness.) And that’s only one of the 18 points of comparison made in the essay. In this column, however, I have the opportunity to write in a more informal, less academic tone, something I’ve wanted to do for years. After all, health issues affect everyone, not just academicians. So, to return to my original point. What did I mean above when I said that most Americans are full of crap? Nothing really new or surprising, but it needs to repeated until the message sinks in. Here’s my spin on it. Due to the depletion of soils by agribusiness farming methods, and to the over-processing and devitalizing of foods by agribusiness “manufacturing” methods, and to the typically very poor dietary choices made by most Americans, and to the many pesticides, herbicides, and thousands of industrial waste products polluting our environment and ultimately our bodies, and finally to the lack of a real conception of health on the part of the allopathic doctors, most of us eventually wind up full of crap! That is, toxins, parasites, harmful bacteria and numerous chemical poisons (including prescribed pharmaceuticals) accumulate in and infiltrate our system, crapping up in particular the liver and colon (the two main organs responsible for detoxification) as well as the lymphatic system. These poisons then leak into our bodies and make us ill in a myriad of ways. Regardless of the location and nature of the particular disease(s) we get, however, the true source lies deeper. Naturopathic healer Bernard Jensen, citing Hippocrates, said that death begins in the colon. Unfortunately medical schools ignore this fundamental truth, so that most allopathic doctors don’t concern themselves with the colon unless there are obvious symptoms there, e.g., colitis or colon cancer. For example, I didn’t have any major complaints about my colon per se, so it was not until I saw Dr. David that cleansing the colon even came up as a subject. Well, to be fair, there was one nutritionist who attempted to rid me of a candida infection he thought was the root of my problems. I don’t know whether I had candida or not, but his program did not work. My take on it is that his focus was far too narrow—he didn’t deal with the question of why the candida was there (if it in fact was) and what else I needed to do to rebuild my depleted resources. Bernard Jensen lived until 93. The average life span of MD’s is about 58 or so. Whose example and whose advice would you rather follow when it comes to your health and life? So until more of us wake up and start making saner health choices—and this includes environmental and political, as well as medical choices—most Americans will remain, literally and metaphorically, full of crap! Fortunately, there is a groundswell towards natural healing as more and more people realize that allopathy is not the total solution. Let me leave you with one final thought: According to one of my favorite websites, when Elvis died he had about 20 pounds of undigested food in his colon; John Wayne allegedly had over 40 pounds!2 Does this make you wonder about your own innards? Or, to paraphrase a recent credit card ad, “What’s in your gullet?” {Next time: Inconvenience stores and stupid markets—we’ll start with some everyday observations on the daily choices that contribute to the crapping up of Americans and expand into the politics and sociology of health.}



1For an even broader philosophical comparison between allopathic and naturopathic healing, I heartily recommend the chapter Conventional Medicine vs. Holistic: A World of Difference on the wonderful website of Tim O’Shea, www.thedoctorwithin.com. While you’re there, you’d be doing yourself a favor by reading his chapters on Sugar, The Sweet Thief of Life and Water. In fact, read as much of the website as you can! 2See To the Cancer Patient also on the Tim O’Shea website, www.thedoctorwithin.com. While you’re there take a look at Journey to the Center of Your Colon to get a detailed look at colon problems, leaky gut syndrome, reflux, and related issues explaining how and why we become full of crap.

Joel Funk, Ph.D.