By Dr. KIRSTINE NOLFI (Denmark)
Originally published around 1950
Originally published around 1950
BEFORE I realized the actual importance of raw vegetable food, my attitude was exactly the same as that of other doctors — to treat the symptoms of the disease without thinking of preventing it. It ought to be the duty of the medical profession in future to find means of preventing to a much higher degree than now, instead of having to cure later on.
That I, as a doctor, went in for exclusively raw vegetable food is due to the fact that I became ill, even seriously ill, myself. I developed cancer of the breast. The disease had, of course, been preceded bywrong nourishment and wrong habits in the course of my twelve years of hospital training, when I suffered from sluggish digestion and catarrh of the stomach all the time, disorders which are still of quite common occurrence among hospital staff members. Since that time, no change of the hospital diet has taken place in Denmark in this very important domain. On one occasion I was in a dying condition because of a bleeding gastric ulcer. This made me abandon meat and fish, and I became a vegetarian. Later, I took to eating a good deal of raw vegetable food. In this manner my digestion became regulated, and I felt better, though not completely well. In the winter of 1940 to 1941, I was exceptionally tired and dull, but I was unable to ascertain any specific disease. At that time I did not understand what was wrong with me, but in the course of the Spring I discovered a small node in my right breast.
Tired and dull as I was, I did not pay any attention to it until, five weeks later, I discovered that the node was the size of a hen’s egg. It had grown into the skin, a thing only cancer does. As a doctor, I had seen enough to be unwilling to submit to the treatment of cancer generally employed. I consulted my good friend, Dr. M. Hindhede, who dissuaded a trial microscopy. It would open up the blood streams and the cancer would spread; so I gave it up. And then I felt it as quite a natural thing that I would have to carry through a one hundred per cent raw vegetable diet.
I went in search of nature and lived for a time on a small island in the Kattegat, took sun-baths from four to five hours daily, slept in a tent, bathed several times a day, and lived exclusively on a raw vegetable diet. Later I introduced this habit of life at the sanatorium “Humlegarden.”
But I was still tired and continued to be so for the first two months, and during that period the node in the breast did not diminish; it remained unchanged.
But then the improvement came. The node diminished, my strength returned. Apparently I recovered and felt better than I had done for many years. When I had experienced good health in this manner for about a year, I tried by way of experiment (and urged to do so by Dr. Hindhede) to revert to a vegetarian diet supplemented by fifty per cent of raw vegetable food.
But it was no good. In three or four months I began to feel a stinging pain in the breast, in the sore-like tissue which the cancer had left where it had originally adhered to the skin. This pain increased much during the weeks that followed, and I realized that the cancer had begun to develop again.
Once more I reverted to a pure, raw food, which caused the pain to subside rapidly and the fatigue to become less pronounced. But, being a doctor, I realized that I would have to use the experience I had gained to help my sick fellow creatures. So I set up my home so that I could have four or five patients staying with me the next summer. We took a hundred per cent raw vegetable diet and all went well; but it was not satisfactory with so few patients. I understood that this cause would have to be advocated under quite different and larger conditions if any proofs were to be given. On my initiative, a joint stock company was then formed which bought a property, “Humlegarden,” well suited for the purpose; it was set up as a sanatorium, where I became the chief physician. Here, we eat only raw vegetable food, patients as well as employees, and the establishment is now in its sixth year.
Now, what is the reason why a one hundred per cent raw vegetable diet exerts such a beneficial effect on civilized individuals? First and foremost, because the raw food is live food as it is handed to us by nature. We all know that life on earth is completely dependent on our sun. If we had no sun, the earth would be without any life, dark and icy cold. Vital force is therefore identical with sun energy!
According to Dr. Hesselink, it is, however, only the plant with its widely unfolded thin green leaves, that is able to catch the sunlight and to deposit it in the form of roots and tubers, fruit and seeds. We human beings, and the animals, with massive bodies, are not able to utilize it to a sufficiently high degree. Therefore, both man and beast use plants as carriers between the sun and themselves. A fresh, raw vegetable diet is sunlight nourishment!
Dr. Bircher-Benner, of Zurich, realized this long ago. Dr. Hesselink, from Holland, believes that it is the atoms which are the carriers of the solar energy.
Fresh, raw vegetable food possesses the highest nutritive value, and this cannot be increased or improved; anything else, such as heating, drying, storing, fermentation or preservation, will tend to reduce and destroy its value. Boiled vegetables taste of nothing, so something must be done to make them palatable. We mix many different things together; we add salt, sugar, spices and butter. We remove the germ and the husk from the wheat to use the flour for baking. We polish the rice, we refine the sugar; we remove the skin, seeds, and cores of apples and pears, we peel the potatoes and scrape the carrots. Meat, fish, eggs and cheese supply us with an enormous surplus of animal protein. We make beverages of coffee and cocoa beans, and tea, which contain stimulating poisons.
We use the grapes for wine and brandy — intoxicating poisons — which first stimulate the gray cortex of the brain, and later paralyze it. We preserve food with chemicals, such as benzoic acid, salicylic acid, nitrates, boric acid and sulphurous acid in order that it may keep well, and look attractive. Further, we take anodynes, hypnotics, sedatives, and aperients–all strong chemical poisons — or at any rate, substances that are foreign to the organism. Among drugs which are misused to a great extent, tablets for headache, hypnotics, and aperients are much too predominant. In a small country like Denmark, the adviser on pharmacological matters of the Public Health Authorities is able to give us the following figures: consumption of drugs for headache 150 tons, aperients 15 tons, hypnotics 9 tons–annually.
Nicotine, too, is a ruinous stimulant, a still stronger poison than spirits; it causes sclerosis of the heart and the cardiac musculature to become undernourished. The heart becomes a flaccid bag instead of a firm muscle. Many busy men who die about the age of fifty years die of heart failure caused by chronic nicotine poisoning. Here, too, I have experienced that patients on a pure, raw vegetable diet gradually lose their taste for tobacco completely.
The ground, too, is wrongly cultivated when it is fertilized too much and too uniformly with chemical manure. We may run the risk that the ground becomes just as diseased as man — over-acidified, overnourished, and that it yields sick plants which are not fit for human food.
Raw food is termed live food by me, in contrast with such food as has been treated by heating, which I consider dead food. Care should be taken that the food does not include substances which counteract the chemistry of the organism, so that the waste products are not retained too long and putrefy in the large intestine. The best food is therefore completely natural food which has not been subjected to denaturation of any kind. To this must be added that live food is much easier to digest; it helps in the digestion itself just as the living baby co-operates in its delivery. Raw vegetables have been digested in the stomach and the intestines in an hour; boiled vegetables require almost three hours and leave more waste products, also offensive stools, impure blood, and poisoned and gradually impaired organs, whereas the raw food — live food — the sunlight nourishment, dissolves and excretes these poisons. Raw food is easy to digest, it spares and strengthens the organism in every respect because of its content of life, bases, and vitamins in their natural, living combination and relationship to one another. Everybody who can think, must be able to understand that our present nutrition is highly destructive — and is the most common and most serious cause of physical and psychic diseases and constitutional degeneration. We must seek more wholesome nourishment and more wholesome habits of life if we are to live better now and in the future.We cannot afford to compromise when life and health are concerned. We must follow the only right way — the one hundred per cent raw vegetable diet.
Let us consider for a moment how it influences our many different diseases. In the individual case it will always, on the one hand, depend on how good a constitution the patient has and how old he is, and on the other hand how poisoned, weakened and broken this constitution has gradually become because of preceding wrong nutrition and wrong habits. But it may be said, largely, that if, in spite hereof, the organism is fairly fit for work and able to utilize the exclusively raw diet, the latter will exert a curative effect on almost all our diseases, both those we have acquired during our span of life and those determined by hereditary predispositions.
Even the baby unborn may be injured in various ways. The impaired germ may determine both physical and psychic diseases. The baby may be injured by the wrong nutrition of the mother, because it is nourished through the impure blood of the mother. This may pave the way for disease so that the baby is born ill. After its birth the condition is aggravated, mostly because the mother’s milk is not as good, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Children all over the civilized world are born weaklings in a mild or severer degree, and who can estimate the future consequence thereof? Therefore, the sooner we go in for exclusively raw vegetable food, the sooner and better it will exert its effect. Children are assisted by nature, older individuals are rather opposed by nature. When a mother goes in for pure raw food, her milk secretion is immediately increased, the child thrives in all respects, the vitality is increased, and the mother can soon begin to give even young babies an addition of finely chopped fruit and vegetables; never, however, fruit and vegetables at the same time–always separately. It borders on the incomprehensible that a change can be effected so rapidly, just by giving the child wholesome mother’s milk, as much as it requires, and afterwards fruit and vegetables.
I have often experienced how a large family of brothers and sisters living exclusively on a raw vegetable diet became healthy, happy, lively and nice children in the course of a few months, so good is the effect of the exclusively raw vegetable diet in childhood, which is still assisted by nature and has not yet been ruined. The effect does not appear quite as soon in adults, but it is indisputable that raw vegetable food exerts a good effect on adults too, even psychically it brings about equanimity and harmony, kindnessand sympathy.
But what of the elderly sick or the very sick people who have gone in for this diet too late? How about them?
Well, they have to be patient, energetic, and very interested, and they must be able to rest much, at any rate to begin with. The first few days may be troublesome until they have become accustomed to this different food and habit of life. But they will soon do better; the bowels open regularly — two or three times daily — and this is a great encouragement to many. At the “Humlegarden” garlic has its great share in this improvement. Just one clove with every fruit meal is of effect, but it is, of course, better to eat a medium-sized garlic (from five to ten cloves) with the fruit meals. A number of works by various investigators have been published, dealing with the bactericidal effect of garlic, which people of former times guessed. According to investigations reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1944, a substance known as allicin, which exerts a great inhibitory effect on bacteria, has been found in garlic. This substance has been compared with penicillin in a number of experiments, and it appeared that allicin exerts its effects on practically all bacteria in contrast with penicillin, the effect of which is certainly stronger but much more limited. The use of garlic is rendered difficult because of its peculiar odor; therefore, people in Denmark often return to the “Humlegarden” to undergo a course of treatment with garlic. In the company of others who eat garlic themselves, the odor cannot be smelt at all.
Raw vegetable food, and in particular raw potatoes, exert an excellent effect on all forms of rheumatismand rheumatic arthritis when these diseases have not progressed too far. A good effect is also seen on the diseases related to those just mentioned and of the same causation, namely, loading with uric acid; it applies to psoriasis, hemicrania, stone-formation in the gallbladder, the renal pelvis and the urinary bladder. Almost all diseases of the skin are cured, in many cases even rapidly. Loss of hair, fat formation, and dandruff cease. All infectious diseases are cured or improve.
The garlic we eat exerts an excellent effect on putrefaction in the large intestine, and a clove of garlic in either side of the mouth, placed between the cheek and the teeth, will greatly accelerate the expurgation and cure of diseases in the upper respiratory tract, first and foremost ordinary colds if dealt with in time. Diseases such as catarrh of the nose, the throat and the larynx, bronchitis and tuberculosis of the lungs, inflammation of the frontal sinus or the maxillary sinus, chronic inflammation of tonsils and gums, inflammation of the middle ear, and others, are cured completely in most cases. Gastric catarrh, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, catarrh of the large intestine, and hemorrhoids too.
Women who carry through the raw diet during pregnancy feel well — delivery takes place readily and rapidly and almost without pain, the slender, healthy, strong baby cooperates. The raw food produces copious and good milk for the child during the first year if the mother continues with this diet.
When a person is on an exclusively raw vegetable diet, it will, as a rule, be easy to stop smoking and drinking. Liquor does not taste well with raw vegetables. Smoking does not agree with garlic. On an exclusively raw vegetable diet no stimulants of any kind will be needed any more.
When cancer occurs, the organism is, as a rule, thoroughly destroyed. Cancer is the terminal stage. Here a one hundred per cent raw vegetable diet may prove helpful, alleviate the pain, prolong the life to some extent, because it agrees well with the patient. In the most favorable cases, when the cancer is dealt with in time, it may perhaps also be checked even for many years in some cases. I am an example of this myself, but then the seat of the cancer must not be in vital organs, such as the lungs, liver or stomach. And the treatment with raw food should be commenced as soon as the cancer is discovered, and it is an absolutely necessary condition that it is carried through one hundred per cent.
I want now to tell a little about my own case from 1942 to the present year. Up to 1946 I was doing well on my exclusively raw diet — the cancer of the breast was completely quiescent, and my general health was good.
But in the spring of 1946 we got some dried fruit from Sweden (raisins, dates, prunes, and figs). I thought then that it would be all right to eat it; but it was not. These are fruits which have been treated with chemical poisons in order to preserve them and to make them look attractive. Having taken them for three or four months, I suddenly developed violent pains in the scar-like tissue in the breast, and on closer examination; I found a small node in the right breast, in the same place as before. Once more I reverted to the fresh raw food, and the node disappeared.
The last and most dangerous thing for me was, however, the trial microscopy against which I had been dissuaded by Dr. M. Hindhede. I had to let it be done because so many — doctors in particular — maintained that I had never been suffering from cancer. It was made at the Radium Center in Copenhagen, in January, 1948. This trial microscopy was positive; there were cancer cells in the scar-like tissue in the skin of the right breast, but it was a benign form called scirrhus. My originally malignant, rapidly growing form of cancer had thus, under the influence of raw food, been converted into a benign form of cancer, which remains quiescent. But still this interference was just on the point of stirring up the cancer so much as to frighten me seriously. For the first time I developed metastases (two small nodules) in the armpit; and about six months on the exclusively raw diet were required to make them subside again. But it went well this time. Since then I have been in excellent health — all through last summer I was up at sunrise, and in my garden where I have been working hard several hours daily. This was far more wholesome than sitting indoors working as a doctor. Not only had I the patients at the “Humlegarden,” but also a large practice and correspondence out of town; this was more than I could manage.
On January 1st, 1949, I stopped practicing and took up gardening again, which had always been my great interest. For this purpose I had acquired about half a hectare (about one-and-a-quarter acres) of land near the “Humlegarden,” and here I learned how right it was to grow both fruit and vegetables biologically, that is, according to the laws of life. For manure I use only compost, seaweed, straw or hay; no chemical manure, no dung.
In conclusion, just a few words about the practical conditions and the everyday use of raw vegetable food. I am glad to be able to refer to my book Live Food,* which has just been brought out by a Dutch publishing house and which gives a detailed picture of the procedure to be followed when changing to a pure raw vegetable diet. (* not available in English)
It would be of great consequence if the medical profession would acquire greater knowledge in this field to a higher degree than is actually the case. Doctors from Denmark and from foreign countries have visited the “Humlegarden” for shorter or longer periods and have utilized their experience in their practice. The “Humlegarden” is visited by about one thousand patients annually. Here the patients, as well as the members of the staff, live exclusively on food that has not been treated by heating, and our experience is that a transition diet is quite superfluous. The raw vegetable diet can only be varied according to the seasons, and consists of three meals daily. We get a fruit meal in the morning and in the evening, and a vegetable meal in the middle of the day. Fruit and vegetables are never mixed. If the condition of the teeth permits it, the raw food is taken whole, otherwise it must be grated and reduced to small particlesimmediately before the meal. Once the raw food has been grated or chopped, it will not keep because it loses its content of vitamins. The raw food should be carefully chewed, preferably so well that it passes down all by itself, and even the grated raw food should at any rate be mixed well with saliva. We drink raw whole milk with all our meals, from half a liter to one liter daily (one liter equals one-and-three quarter pints approx.). Germinating corn, or dried corn, crushed or ground immediately before the meal is taken with the fruit. Garlic is medicine and is eaten with fruit and milk, cut into small pieces in varying quantities. All kinds of nuts provide a good supplement. The vegetable meal consists of green leaves, roots and tubers, with an admixture of a spoonful of honey. Potatoes are eaten with the peel because of the presence of an element, fluorine, which preserves the enamel of the teeth. Similarly, all fruit is eaten with the peel. In the cases of diseases such as gastric catarrh, gastric ulcer and the like, care should, however, be taken during the initial stages.
If the exclusively raw food with its associated sound habits of life prevails, a variety of things will improve. Diseases will gradually be obviated. Obesity, the most dangerous of all diseases, will become a rarity.
The housewife’s work will be reduced to half the time–and the leisure hours thus gained will be an invaluable advantage and joy for husband, children and home. The slender build, the erect carriage, the supple gait, the fresh complexion, the white, sound teeth and the vigorous hair will dominate the picture. When the body is healthy, the result will invariably be a sound mind. Our negative thoughts will be changed into positive ones, and develop the great cultural progress which the world is waiting for. Only then will life be worth living.