Another early patient, Elizabeth, gave me a particularly valuable lesson, one that changed the direction of my career away from curing insanity and toward regular medicine. Elizabeth was a catatonic schizophrenic who did not speak or move, except for some waxy posturing. She had to be fed, dressed and pottied. Elizabeth was a pretty little brunette who got through a couple of years of college and then spent several years in a state mental hospital. She had recently run away from a hospital, and had been found wandering aimlessly or standing rigidly, apparently staring fixedly at nothing. The emergency mental health facility in a small city nearby called me up and asked if I would take her. I said I would, and drove into town to pick her up. I found Elizabeth in someone's back yard staring at a bush. It took me three hours to persuade her to get in my car, but that effort turned out to be the easiest part of the next months.
Elizabeth would do nothing for herself, including going to the bathroom. I managed to get some nutrition into her, and change her clothes, but that was about all I could do. Eventually she wore me down; I drifted off for an hour's nap instead of watching her all night. Elizabeth slipped away in the autumn darkness and vanished. Needless to say, when daylight came I desperately searched the buildings, the yard, gardens, woods, and even the nearby river. I called in a missing person report and the police looked as well. We stopped searching after a week because there just wasn't any place else to look. Then, into my kitchen, right in front of our round eyes and gaping mouths, walked a smiling, pleasant, talkative young woman who was quite sane.
She said, "Hello I'm Elizabeth! I'm sorry I was such a hassle last week, and thank you for trying to take care of me so well. I was too sick to know any better." She said she had gone out our back door the week before and crawled under a pile of fallen leaves on the ground in our back yard with a black tarp over them. We had looked under the tarp at least fifty times during the days past, but never thought to look under the leaves as well.
This amazing occurrence made my head go bong to say the least; it was obvious that Elizabeth had not been ‘schizophrenic' because of her genetics, nor because of stress, nor malnutrition, nor hypoglycemia, nor because of any of the causes of mental illness I had previously learned to identify and rectify, but because of food allergies. Elizabeth was spontaneously cured because she'd had nothing to eat for a week. The composting pile of leaves hiding her had produced enough heat to keep her warm at night and the heap contained sufficient moisture to keep her from getting too dehydrated. She looked wonderful, with clear shiny blue eyes, clear skin with good color, though she was slightly slimmer than when I had last seen her.
I then administered Coca's Pulse Test (see the Appendix) and quickly discovered Elizabeth was wildly intolerant to wheat and dairy products. Following the well known health gurus of that time like Adelle Davis, I had self-righteously been feeding her home-made whole wheat bread from hand-ground Organic wheat, and home-made cultured yogurt from our own organically-fed goats. But by doing this I had only maintained her insanity. Elizabeth was an intelligent young woman, and once she understood what was causing her problems, she had no trouble completely eliminating certain foods from her diet. She shuddered at the thought that had she not come to my place and discovered the problem, she would probably have died on the back ward of some institution for the chronically mentally ill.
As for me, I will always be grateful to her for opening my eyes and mind a little wider. Elizabeth's case showed me why Russian schizophrenics put on a 30 day water fast had such a high recovery rate. I also remembered all the esoteric books I had read extolling the benefits of fasting. I also remembered two occasions during my own youth when I had eaten little or nothing for approximately a month each without realizing that I was "fasting." And doing this had done me nothing but good. Once when I was thirteen my mother sent my "little" brother and I to a residential fundamentalist bible school. I did not want to go there, although my brother did; he had decided he wanted to be a evangelical minister. I hated bible school because I was allowed absolutely no independence of action. We were required to attend church services three times a day during the week, and five services on Sunday. As I became more and more unhappy, I ate less and less; in short order I wasn't eating at all. The school administration became concerned after I had dropped about 30 pounds in two months, notified my mother and sent me home. I returned to at-home schooling. I also resumed eating. I fasted one other time for about a month when I was 21. It happened because I had nothing to do while visiting my mother before returning to University except help with housework and prepare meals. The food available in the backwoods of central B.C. didn't appeal to me because it was mostly canned vegetables, canned milk, canned moose meat and bear meat stews with lots of gravy and greasy potatoes. I decided to pass on it altogether. I remember rather enjoying that time as a fine rest and I left feeling very good ready to take on the world full force ahead. At that time I didn't know there was such a thing as fasting, it just happened that way.
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