Sooner or later in life most of us will need to confront a health wake up call.
For me it came in my forties with an assortment of vague, persistent, and seemingly unrelated symptoms including lethargy, recurrent headaches and mouth ulcers.
Scans and blood tests found no cause, and antibiotics had no effect.
Thus began a lengthy process of learning why for me, at least in this case, modern medicine was so ineffective.
It led me eventually to Ross Horne who, over a period of 20 years, had studied the works of many eminent health practitioners of the past century, and reached conclusions, 80% of which appealed to my common sense.
Horne was an airline pilot whose interest in health was initiated by his observation that so many of his fellow pilots who had passed rigorous annual health checks were dying within 5 years of retiring at age 60.
His academic research focusses on the much earlier work of Max Gerson, Pritikin and others, and theories regarding "homeostasis" …the health and function of individual cells within the body.
Horne's findings and recommendations in effect lead us to understand that we all have significant power to control our own health simply by what we choose to eat.
Accordingly he was never very popular with modern medical practitioners.
He suggests that our body cells and immune systems benefit greatly from regular "de-sludging" to remove accumulated fat and toxins, and choosing a diet to keep them in optimum functioning condition.
In practical terms, for most western diets, this means a drastic reduction in fat and protein intake and a reliance on fruit and vegetables (preferably raw).
He also recommended a "sure fire" cure for those with a collection of vague symptoms similar to those I was experiencing.
I am a sceptic of the first order, but I had nothing to lose.
Four days of fasting (water only) or for those a little undisciplined like me, small amounts of a single variety of fruit for 4 days. (eg grapes or watermelon).
He warned that the first 2 or 3 days would be tough….even worse headaches and weakness as the body cells detoxified.
The results for me were nothing short of miraculous. Three days were tough, but as promised, all the symptoms disappeared, and even without food on the fourth day I had a strength and energy I had not known for many years.
Occasionally since then I have reverted to bad eating habits and drunk a little more coffee than was good for me, and the symptoms resurfaced.
A serious hour of bone thumping therapeutic body massage, followed by 4 days of raw fruit and vegetables, has, to this time in my life, always provided an energising and curative solution.
It would be irresponsible of me to suggest that this is a guaranteed cure for serious health disorders, although it may well have a significant preventative value for many of our "lifestyle diseases".
It should also be noted that fasting for longer periods should only be done under supervision.
P.S. Ross Horne's findings are to be found in several books including "Health and Survival in the Twenty First Century" which is now available free of charge as an online document here
For anyone interested in an overview of his work I would recommend initially reading the Authors Preface, Introduction, then Chapters 15 and 16 on how diet relates to health.
P.P.S. I realise that a post of this nature might well be tempting fate, and that the Great Universal Combine Harvester may choose to include me in tomorrows reaping schedule.
Nevertheless I wish to acknowledge Ross Horne as a major contributor to my understanding of human health and nutrition.
It is my hope that others may also find some enlightenment from his work.