Fortunately, I’m blessed with a sound foundation for my ladder. This bedrock is the wisdom and habits my mother passed along to me. She is from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where her father, Dr. GeorgeV. Harris, was an osteopath. He was known around town as “The Blind Doctor” and practiced only manipulation, due to his blindness. He was an avid follower of the work of Dr. D.C.Jarvis, best known for his book Folk Medicine. Dr.Jarvis advocated an alkaline diet, so the Harris kitchen was always filled with organic vegetables-which they often traded with local farmers for my grandfather’s medical services-and the sprouts my grandmother grew. They ate very little meat and never ate at restaurants. My mother brought many of these habits to our dinner table when I was growing up. These habits, enforced at an early age, gave me the substructure I needed to build a wondrous healing ladder.
Even with my strong foundation, it would be a while before I began constructing my ladder. I went through the same trials most young people do: peer pressure, the desire to try new things like alcohol when I got to art school, the temptation to grab that 99C fast food sandwich after work once I’d entered the career world. My constitution cracked a bit under these pressures and I picked up some bad habits. It seemed the busier I got at work, the worse my diet became and the more lethargy set in. I had also developed a nasty cigarette and beer habit. My weight was Up to 225 pounds-way too heavy for my 5’10” frame-and my size 38 pants were getting tight. The road I was heading down became very clear. It was an expressway to deteriorated health and an early grave. I realized I needed to exit while I still could.
I searched the internet for information and was bombarded with advertisements. I saw tablets purporting they would shed over 30 pounds of fat from my body in a mere month and gadgets that promised to make me lose weight as I watched television. I knew better, though.This is where my solid foundation came in handy I knew anything worthwhile only came from hard work and I generally distrusted medicine that came in pill form, particularly diet pills. I found an e-book by a personal trainer who sounded like a straight shooter. His book taught me how to recondition my mindset to become more positive and let go of the negative self image I’d cultivated. He also touted whole foods. Those lessons were invaluable. 1 had yet to learn the negative aspects of his third lesson-the animal proteins he prescribed.
Armed with newfound enthusiasm, I was ready to start building my healing ladder. I constructed one side member of my ladder with aerobic exercise and the opposite one with resistance training.These side members would be reinforced with practices I’d learn about much later, such as yoga and meditation. Giving up the alcohol and cigarettes was a no-brainer and I built the lowest rungs of my ladder predominantly with things I’d learned from the e-book. I stopped consuming red meat, soda and refined carbohydrates. These were undoubtedly good lessons, but I would soon discover The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and realize that stopping at the elimination of red meat fell quite short of optimum heath.
As I continued to ascend and ate more and more whole foods, I felt a clarity I never had before. This clarity-and the desire for more of it-is what kept me climbing. I felt like I was already getting pretty high on my ladder, but I could still hear the people below talking to me about moderation.”An occasional beer wouldn’t harm you,” some said.”A cheeseburger once in a while is okay,” another said. Ironically, moderation for these folks was drinking four beers after work instead of six-or opting for the third-pound cheeseburger instead of the half-pound. The air was getting sweeter at the higher elevation and I decided it was time to heed Dr. Campbell’s warnings and give up animal products altogether.
After giving up all meat, dairy, eggs, and fish, as well as the majority of the cooked foods I’d been eating (thanks to Ann Wigmore’s The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program), I was reaching an emotional and spiritual level on my healing ladder I’d never thought possible. I had climbed to the point where I could no longer hear those negative voices below me. instead I heard a new set of voices above me-voices of more experienced members of the living food movement. These positive voices pulled me upward instead of trying to drag me down. They taught me new things and made each successive rung easier to grasp.
One of the most exciting aspects of this upward journey is that it never ends.There’s always room to climb another rung and reach a greater level of health, a higher level of consciousness. The ascension isn’t only about food or exercise-it radiates in every aspect of life.
I am now at a point where I want to use my talents and skill sets to help people start building their own healing ladders. I know that with the right foundation of knowledge, individuals can erect their ladders anywhere in the world. I feel strongly that joining the team at Hippocrates Health Institute is the perfect place for me to do just that. I know I’ll be an asset to the institute and the ripe soil of South Florida would be a great place to plant my healing ladder. In fact, I’ve already got it strapped to the top of my pickup truck.
Vol 30 Issue 2 page 7