Mark S. Blackburn, MBA
An Introduction to Natural Hygiene
Have you wondered why some people die so young? Have you ever wondered whether humans were meant to be sick and diseased so much of the time? Have you ever wondered whether your diseases had causes and that by removing the cause you could cure the disease. Or, do you ever wonder whether the pills your doctor prescribes may, along with nasty side-effects only be treating symptoms and not resolving underlying causes? Do you sometimes think current medical practices are set up more for the benefit of doctors, hospitals, and drug companies than for patients? Do you wonder if widespread disease is normal? In the USA and most Western countries 90% of people die early from degenerative diseases. Yet, in some countries today, less than 4% do. Are we doing something wrong? Are they doing something right? Why don't our doctors know more about health around the world than they do about dispensing drugs? Do you wonder why when there is an exposure of a group of people to a disease, some people contract the disease, and some don't? Finally, does it bother you that every year US doctors kill more US citizens just through toxic drug prescriptions than were killed in the 14 year US debacle in Vietnam? In fact they kill 3x as many! And, death by doctors (Iatrogenic Disease) is the 3rd leading cause of death in America!
If you have ever pondered these questions and if you would like to assume more empowerment over your own life and health and well-being, I cordially invite you to examine Natural Hygiene.
Natural Hygiene is Scientific and Honest
Natural Hygiene is based upon Proven Principles or Laws
If a principle cannot be observed and proven, then Natural Hygiene will not adopt it. There are observable, repeatable, provable laws which govern human health. For instance--if you take two men of nearly identical size, athletic ability, mental acuity, health and age and give one 8 hours of sleep per night and the other only 1 hour, the one receiving 8 hours will outperform the other in physical and mental activities, and will be less prone to diseases. This is observable and provable. If you've ever spent a sleepless night, you've already proved this to yourself. There are but a few central laws to Natural Hygiene and they will sound so simple-minded and unsophisticated, that you may dismiss them as childish. Please ponder them carefully, though, as it is the ramifications of these laws which can start you on the path to a much more creative, meaningful, productive, and healthful life.
Wild Animals don't get Sick
In nature, animals seldom if ever suffer diseases. If we look at our own class of mammalia and order of primates it is extremely rare that a primate in the wild suffers any of the maladies Americans suffer from. The primates lucky enough to live in the wild are driven largely by instinct and availability of their native foods. With the onset of agriculture, refrigeration, factory farming, pesticides, preservatives, grocery stores, processed foods, and businesses driven by profit rather than human animals driven by instinct, the 'civilized' human race has put itself into a state of deplorable health. The US Surgeon General says 6 of the leading 10 causes of death are caused directly by improper diet. Many experts say the figure is 9 out of 10. (Leading cause of death number 3 is improper care from our Doctors). Logic should tell us that when 6 or more out of the 10 leading causes of death is diet, that something is terribly wrong with our diets). By observing the relationship between diet and health the early Natural Hygienists were able to draw conclusions easily. If they were alive today, they would be affirmed by the correctness of their observations, and horrified by the accelerated downturn in public health.
I will note here that while improper food (fuel) is a rampant problem for all humans today, it is especially so in western cultures such at the USA, Oceania, and Europe. However, improper care of the body includes more than dietary guidelines.
A Healthful Diet
We all learned as children that fruits and vegetables were good for us. We learned that as we cooked our food, it would lose vital nutrients and vitamins. We learned it was better to lightly steam vegetables than to, for instance, boil them. In other words, the more we cook, the less benefit we get (from our food). We all intuitively understand that it is better to eat ripe food, fresh food, whole food, raw (uncooked) food, organic food. But, understanding this, how many of us make it a point to insist that we eat a diet of predominately whole, fresh, ripe, raw organic plant food?
Americans think they eat the healthiest diet on the earth. The opposite is true. Imagine if I locked you in prison and fed you nothing but raw potatoes for 2 years. Would that be a healthy diet? Most Americans would intuitively say no. It would not have enough variety! Did you know that during the German occupation of Holland during WWII, that Hitler's occupying troops saved all the sugar and spices & milk (the dainty, tasty food) for themselves, and gave only potatoes to Dutch citizens. Firewood was tightly rationed, and it was very rare that cooked meals could be prepared. Most of the potatoes consumed by Hollanders were eaten raw....for two years. What do you suppose happened to the health of these poor potato-heads? It so happens that Holland kept fairly detailed health records before, during, and after the war. During the German occupation there was no meat or dairy consumed, and their diets consisted of primarily potatoes and edible weeds. The health statistics spiked on the charts. Disease rates plummeted, the death rate plummeted, and the birth rate shot up. The Dutch had never been healthier. As soon as the war was over and the normal rich modern Dutch diet returned, the death & disease rates increased back to pre-war levels. Americans, too, would thrive on a diet of uncooked potatoes and dandelions. (This is not to suggest that potatoes & dandelions would be the optimal diet....but it does correctly point out that such a diet is vastly superior to the average American diet).
I have other articles on this website describing what I consider to be a proper diet:
However, let me say that the proper diet for homo sapiens is about 50% fruit, and 50% vegetables. All of these should be eaten in their whole, ripe, raw, natural, organic condition. This is the original and appropriate diet of man. Avoid grains, dairy, and meat, since the human species was never intended to eat any of these. Like most other primates we are not carnivores, omnivores, or gramnivores, but are frugivores (primary fruit-eaters).
What are Health-robbing things to avoid?
Avoid loud noise. Loud noises especially industrial noises (and music with syncopated beats which run contrary to your heartbeat) should be avoided. The loudspeaker at your gym---if it is blaring syncopated music as 90+% of them are, actually results in a significant, measurable loss of muscular strength. If this noise causes enough stress that your physical strength is hampered by 30% or more, it cannot be good for you.
Avoid toxic environments. Avoid, for instance, areas where there is exhaust gases from internal combustion engines, paint or industrial fumes, Hair Salons with heavy chemical odors. Avoid proximity to all electromagnetic energy (whether from radio transmitters, x-ray machines, cell phones, microwave ovens, etc.).
Avoid unhealthful foods: All Dairy, Baked Goods (Breads, Cakes, Crackers, Muffins, Pastries), Coffee, Meat, Fish, Fowl, Fermented foods (including Alcohol), and Grains. The human species was never designed to consider any of these as 'food,' nor do any of the primates with whom we share highly similar anatomy.
Avoid a sedentary life. We are beings created to be active and in motion. Sitting for extended hours in front of a TV or a computer is contrary to the biomechanical needs of our body.
What are some Healthy things to enjoy?
Breathe fresh air. Obviously, we were not meant to live indoors. This is not our natural environment. Get as much fresh air each day as possible. Sleep with windows open if possible.
Get adequate sleep. Now considered to cause 10x as many car accidents as alcohol (according to DOT & NHTSA) inadequate sleep and rest are pandemic to our modern society. You will function better and you will live a safer, healthier, longer life full of greater joy, accomplishment and satisfaction if you ensure that you get adequate sleep and rest.
Get adequate sunshine. Really? Doesn't sunshine cause skin cancer? No, a cancer-causing western diet (rich in dairy & meat & cooked, processed foods) causes cancer. Sunshine is a life-sustaining nutrient that is very healing and cleansing to your skin. Naturally I am not advocating sunburn. Moderation is fine. But, generous and frequent sun exposure is essential to optimum health. I take most of my vacation time in the winter when it is too cold to sun in Sacramento, and I head a lot closer to the equator where I can comfortably lay in the sun for two weeks. Australia has more skin cancer cases than any other country. My Natural Hygiene friends in Australia say that no one following a hygenic diet has a problem with skin cancer. Cancer is caused by eating toxic acid-forming American food which is full of pesticides, poisons, amines, and many other cancer-causing compounds.
Get regular, moderate, varied exercise. Ideally 30+ minutes a day at least 5 days per week. Try to not perform the same exercises all the time. Try to change your routine frequently. Exercise the entire body.
Enjoy Passion and Purpose in Life. Be a lifetime learner. Get your heart and mind engaged in worthwhile, fulfilling pursuits. Individuals who have purpose and who support positive causes invariably have better health.
Have a Partner in Life. Many related studies seem to confirm that all individuals do best with a partner in life. There are many physical and psychological benefits which accrue from loving and being loved. There are benefits which come from touching, and being touched. If you are not in such a relationship, you might make special effort to receive massages frequently. If you're in a bad relationship, try to make it work. If it cannot, end it and after some time find one that will work.
Practicing Natural Hygiene in Daily Life (A practical approach the next time you get sick):
Incidentally, as I write this I have not been sick in 4 years. That is the goal of Natural Hygiene: to live in such robust health, that you never get sick, or feel any discomfort at all (such as headaches, stomach aches, menstrual cramps, bad breath, dandruff, psoriasis, cold clammy feet or hands, body odor, etc.). And, since I have adopted and followed a Natural Hygiene regimen, I have never had any of the discomfort symptoms or disease of any kind.
If you are sick, remember that you have departed from health--the natural state of the body. The body is naturally self-healing. Only toxifying the body can cause illness. Therefore you may need to carefully audit what you have recently been doing which may have toxified the body. Probably you will know. You may have eaten something the body is rejecting like popcorn or cheese...two of the worst things any human can eat. You may be severely run down from lack of sleep & rest. Usually there are several factors at work. Yet, removing the most significant contributing causes should result in rapid improvement, since the body is naturally self-healing.
During my first few years following Natural Hygiene principles, I would follow the following protocol during sickness and I found I would recover about twice as fast as when I would go to a doctor and go the 'pill' route. When sick, I would immediately restrict my food to only fruit. Ideally you might eat just one fruit per meal or one fruit per day. But, the key point is to eat only fruit. Absolutely no vegetables, nuts, etc. If you have never tried this, you are in for a pleasant surprise. You will find yourself bouncing back very quickly if you eat only fruit. Why is this? Fruit is the easiest to digest of our foods. Fruit requires much less energy to be converted into fuel. Due to this, it puts very little strain on your body to digest. Digestion, by the way, is a huge energy drain on the body. Minimizing this drain by eating the perfect food for humans (fruit) you will recover very quickly.
What if you have no appetite?
This is fine and no cause for alarm. Your Aunt Margaret would bring you chicken soup in such an instance and force you to eat. Can I let you in on a valuable secret? Do you want to do much better in the future? The body expends 60% of it's daily energy digesting foods! That's a huge amount. When the body gets sick it will try it's best to heal you. And, it will if you cooperate! For instance, if your temperature elevates to 105, your body is doing this for a reason. Taking aspirin to reduce the 'fever' merely disables the body's natural self-healing intelligence which is absolutely superior to any physician, drug, or pill. So, if you have a loss of appetite, the body is saying to you: 'please do NOT eat anything until I switch back on your hunger.' Why would the body do this? In nature almost all animals if injured, in shock or trauma, will go for several days without eating. This natural fasting allows (in the case of humans) the 60% of your energy which gets directed towards digestion to be directed to much more important tasks. In essence the body is saying, "we have an emergency here. It is much more important to conserve & direct energy now than it is to take in food. If I can save enough energy by not digesting, I can overcome this toxification (disease)." The average adult human can go about 40 days without eating anything with no harm (and often with considerable benefit).
To eat when you do not have appetite is very harmful, and substantially compromises the self-healing process. During a fast, the constantly working digestive system can rest and reinitialize. Fasting has been a regular part of many religious traditions. During a time of fasting the mind and spirit of man often move into heightened states. Fasting is widely followed in the animal kingdom during crisis, injury, or disease. It is a very beneficial practice, and millions of people around the world fast regularly. It is only in the obese & sickly United States that fasting is considered strange or even unhealthy. In September, 2000 I suffered the only serious injury of my adult life. The doctors could only recommend an expensive, invasive, potentially debilitating surgery, and suggested that I would probably never fully recover the use of my knee. I live in a downtown bungalow up 3 flights of stairs. The knee injury was a huge issue for me. After several discouraging months, I decided to voluntarily fast for 10 days. During this fast my knee healed rapidly and remarkably. There are numerous books detailing remarkable recoveries from injury and disease through extended fasting. Fasting is a regular part of the Essene's religion. They fast one day per week, they fast 3 consecutive days per month, 10 consecutive days per quarter, and once a year they fast for a few weeks. Essenes are the healthiest religious group in the world. They only eat living plant foods, ideally that they have grown themselves. They do not kill any animals or plants to feed themselves. They are at peace with the universe as they dispense no violence to any living being. Lastly, in a natural environment, fasting was sometimes necessary as seasons changed and food became unavailable. It has always been a part of the natural human existence until recently (especially in the USA).
Natural Hygiene is a protocol for healthy living with a tradition of over 100 years. It has a fascinating history, and at one time was the dominant health & healing protocol in America. It was overcome by the drug companies who did not want health to stand in the way of their profits. Logically, Natural Hygiene could & should be called simply "Natural Health." Interestingly the ANHS (American Natural Hygiene Society) recently renamed themselves to the American Natural Health Society. The ANHS has suffered the loss of many members during the past 15 years because they compromised Hygenic principles and recommended eating lightly cooked foods. Now, many Raw Food groups are springing up all over the country which are essentially following the Natural Hygiene (original) diet of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic plant food.
But, many people do not know or well understand the Natural Hygiene principles for health. There is an extensive body of knowledge, and Hygenic Doctors have equivalent training to medical doctors. There are several Schools of Natural Hygiene in the USA, and one notable correspondence school (over the web) run by my friend Dr. Robert Sniadach. For the individual who wishes to empower himself and gain a new appreciation for the wonderful body they have, such a correspondence course is highly recommended. It gives a superb grounding in NH principles.
Here are a few Natural Hygiene Links:
Books dealing Expressly with Natural Hygiene:
Awakening Our Self Healing Body by Arthur Baker (The best book**)
Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond
Best NH Advice on specific maladies & conditions:
Dr. Bernarr's Site: http://www.HealSelf.org
Dr. Bernarr will help diagnose and suggest proper NH care to support your body to heal over the phone for very reasonable fees.
A Consortium of Natural Hygiene Sites:
Houston Area NH Site (superb site detailing history & philosophy of NH)
Natural Hygiene Institute An Online School of NH Dr. Robert Sniadach is Dean
Mark S. Blackburn, MBA
1310 E Street Victorian
Sacramento, CA 95814
Last Updated: February 14, 2010