Years ago, I went into cultural shock
after a seminar in Chicago where I had been put up in a once fashionable
hotel that had become a retirement home. This was in the 70s and
I was, believe it or not, young then. What upset me was that people,
evidently unaware of their real relationships, felt I had come
to visit them. Most residents were watching mindless television
or gawking into space.
At the time, I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii
which was then predominately Oriental. I have great respect for
the manner in which people in some cultures age (and almost none
for our own culture aside from someone like Joseph Campbell and
a rare and inspiring person here and there.) Our aging is freaky,
but from my observations of people in India and Japan and Hawaii,
I thought we might have a choice about how to age.
By the 80s, I had friends my age whose parents
had Alzheimer's and most of my peers did not want to end up in
the same condition. I brooded on sociological and medical reasons
for the loss of quality of life among the elderly and, in 1986,
coined the term "kitchen doctor" because I had come to
understand the relationship between diet, life style, and health
choices to complications that rob many creative people of the opportunity
to express their wisdom in their retirement years.
Early reports on Alzheimer's tended to link
the disease to aluminum or mercury
poisoning, risks that are accelerated by use of processed
foods, unsafe dental materials, vaccines, and perhaps even cooking
As my observations mounted and I began connecting
the dots, I came to realize that in our society, we often take
better care of our cars than our bodiesnot to mention our
emotions and wits. With a car, we change the oil, filters, spark
plugs; rotate the tires; tune up the carburetor, etc. However,
very few people do the same for themselves as for their possessions.
So, I developed a concept of periodic maintenance that would depend
on individual motivation but require very little more than can
be concocted by a good cook. I coined the term "kitchen doctor" and
developed a tune up program that could be performed at regular
intervals or as needed.
As fate would have it, a man from Colombia asked
me to consult at retirement home. The first months that I went
to his residence for the elderly, people were superficially eager
to connect; but they obviously had no idea who I was nor whether
or not we had any relationship. Though I accept that synaptic responses
and other neurological impediments may cause this kind of incoherence,
my psyche headed another direction.
I believe that everything is contextual and a
lot that we do on a daily basis is phony, including some of our
so-called relating, much of which is merely an effort to impose
certain behaviors on others or obtain something for our own benefit,
anything as simple as acceptance to as complex as advantages. It
is no wonder that when the external mechanisms deteriorate that
utterly different behaviors manifest.
Alzheimer's, Senility, and other Problems
The two main behaviors that I observed at the
retirement home were the (1) desire to connect meaningfully, and
(2) sexual inappropriateness.
(1) Most of the people I saw had extremely poor
communication skills. Faced with the termination of life, they
were spiritually bankrupt and emotionally impoverished. By this,
I mean that people in their primes often claim that they are
working in order to support someone else, not because their egos
require them to exert themselves in some particular fashion.
Then, after sacrificing themselves for family and careers, they
are abandoned and isolated from everything they worked to create.
The values that guided them in earlier years fail them completely
as they age and old age can then be miserable and lonely.
(2) Where sexuality was concerned, I saw blatant
lasciviousness that I was convinced was utterly divorced from
any physical capacity to act on the fantasies that crowded the
sphere of behavior. In a sailor on leave, one might expect
such behavior; but in an elderly person, the obsessions were
simply odd. However, they suggested to me a serious depletion
of nerve force; and I was grateful to my Ayurvedic studies for
the concept of ojas.
The Colombian man was not authorized to administer
supplements much less medications, but he had a free hand in the
kitchen. I suggested that he add seaweed to whatever he could.
He said that most of the residents did not know what they were
eating and that they would eat whatever was put in front of them.
After 3-4 months, several people said, "Oh,
Dr. Naiman, you've come to visit us again. Won't you sit down." Many
people had begun to engage in normal conversationand I was,
of course, encouraged.
This simple dietary adjustment had become the
basis for a lot of hope, but periodic preventative maintenance
as well as profound practice of the art of the living are the longer
term solutions to the depressing state of affairs among the aging
in our society.
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of the hype
around modern medicine is
the well-implanted notion that there is a vaccine or pill for everything.
If one watched the Millennium prophecies, one saw scientists predicting
a 208-year life expectancy through genetically modified everything.
One program on Discovery Channel stated that over halfyes
folks, despite our efforts, the figure was over 50%of all
foods consumed on the planet today have some genetic component;
i.e., the tomato flavoring in soup or ketchup or whatever would
be from a bioengineered tomato, this regardless of the rest of
So, unless we trust the people who are meddling
with the food supply and environment, survival of the fittest depends
on wise choices in the area of food and medicine.
Many people are born with great potential, but
this potential is obstructed through undermining dietary regimes
and physical practices that compromise our capacity to carry out
what we were born to do. As a word of warning to everyone,
before proper treatment can be determined, there usually has to
be some understanding of the causes. Using Alzheimer's again
as an example, we have to know whether there is lack of oxygen
flow to the brain, toxicity, or damage to the brain. If the causes
of the apparent debility are different, the treatments should also
It is likely that some ischemia is diagnosed as
Alzheimer's. If the problem is simply oxygen deprivation, we have
to find out whether the deprivation is due to blockage or impaired
red blood cell function or perhaps even poor breathing habits.
Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulations could probably relieve
certain physical obstructions to circulation; but if the problem
is due to anemia or defective transport of oxygen by red blood
cells, the treatment has to reflect the difference in causes. There
are tonics that build red blood cells and improve oxygenation. For
example, beverages that are high in chlorophyll may improve mental
acuity quickly; but if infection, chronic or acute, or toxicity
are impairing red blood cell function, the cure has to be in supplements
and changes in diet that address the actual condition. Likewise,
if toxic metal deposits are
the culprit, then we have a right to expect improvements after
chelating the metals out of the body, this whether by intravenous
or oral methods. However, if the brain is dying cell by cell, we
might suspect some other pathology and develop an entirely different
strategy to arrest degeneration.
This is how the thinking behind this
site evolved: by looking at the issues that are depriving us of
the enjoyment we all seek in our mature years.
Welcome to kitchendoctor.com and
may I offer each of you my personal blessings for the upcoming
Age of Curiosity and Questioning!
Tune Up Program