Paavo Airola - Nutrition Forum - Let's Live - February 1976 Index


Q. My primary problem is constipation. Although I am an otherwise healthy 27-year-old lady, my colon seems to have stopped working altogether. I use enemas twice a week but fear dependency. I eat bran every morning but nothing seems to help. I do not feel sick, but I know I would feel a lot better if I could get my bowels regulated. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. N.J.H., Lancaster, PA.

A. Regular, prolonged use of enemas can be harmful, although they are useful occasionally, and are a must during fasting.

With proper diet and adequate exercise, there is no need for anyone to suffer from constipation unless there is a definite pathological condition such as prolapsed organs, obstructed colon, degenerated peristalsis mechanism, hypothyroidism, or liver dysfunction, which are all unlikely at your age.

Here is a simple, harmless, and effective nine-point anti-constipation program, in a nutshell:

  1. First, cleanse your body and give your digestive and eliminative organs time to regenerate themselves, by means of a 7-to-10 day juice fast.
  2. After the fast, go on a high-residue vegetable, fruit, seed, and nut diet, with emphasis on sprouted seeds and grains. The following foods are especially anti-constipating: homemade sauerkraut or sauerkraut juice; sesame seeds or tahini; soaked prunes and figs; yogurt, kefir, or other soured milks; whey powder or tablets; honey; and all raw fruits and vegetables.
  3. Avoid all refined and processed foods. Avoid sugar, salt, and white flour in any form. Avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol - all constipating beverages. Avoid meat, eggs, bread even whole-grain wheat bread. Sour rye bread or corn bread is ok.
  4. Take 2 tbsp. of cold-pressed vegetable oil (olive or sesame) each day excellent on salads.
  5. Morning and evening, drink one glass of "Excelsior," made with vegetable broth, 1 tbsp. of whole flax seed and 1 tbsp. of raw bran for each glass. (Complete recipe in my books, Are You Confused? or How To Get Well, available at health food stores.)
  6. Drink lots of liquids: juices, herb teas, water. The best herb teas are: senna, slippery elm, raspberry leaf, and licorice.
  7. Exercise! Walk, swim, ride a bike or horse, dance, jog - anything! Plain walking, two or more hours a day, will remedy the problem in most cases.
  8. Avoid commercial laxatives. If needed, take natural herbal laxatives sold in health food stores.
  9. Take these supplements regularly: brewer's yeast, whey powder or tablets, flax seed, wheat bran, vitamins C, A, B-complex, choline, and inositol.
Remember: it is the combination of exercise and proper diet that will do the job, not one or the other!

Lactose Intolerance

Q. I get a heavy "mucus" reaction to milk and dairy products. Am I allergic to milk? If so, is there anything I can do about it? And just how important is milk? I've been a vegetarian for seven years. P. S.J., Tucson, Arizona

A. You don't say what your heredity is, but you could be "lactose intolerant" or allergic to dairy products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of the enzyme, lactase, which breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. Approximately 96% of those whose ancestors come from countries where milk has been part of the diet for many generations - such as Europe and the Middle East - have no difficulty with dairy products. On the other hand, those from areas which have not traditionally herded animals for milk are usually unable to digest it - such as those with a background of American Indian, Eskimo, Filipino, Chinese, or African. About 75% of American Blacks are lactose intolerant, though most of them probably use dairy products anyway and may be unaware of their situation. Those who should theoretically tolerate milk but don't, are usually allergic to it. Such allergy is often caused by feeding cow's milk to infants before the age of eight or nine months. Feeding children many foods before they are able to digest them when their primary food is meant to be mother's milk, is a frequent cause of allergies, and cow's milk is, of course, one of the major allergens.

As far as doing anything about intolerance, if you have a heredity that is not suited to milk it would take generations to change. My advice in such cases would be to eliminate milk from the diet completely. But if you are merely allergic because of improper feeding as a child, you may become tolerant by taking whey over a period of time, gradually introducing some dairy products, especially lactic-fermented ones such as clabber milk, kefir, and yogurt, which are easier to digest. Goat's milk, incidentally, is much superior to cow's milk as a human food and is better tolerated, even by those who cannot tolerate cow's milk well. Also, while cow's milk is restricted in certain conditions, such as cancer and arthritis, goat's milk is actually recommended and beneficial. Of course, milk should come from organically-fed, clean animals and be fresh raw, and free from chemical residues. Commercial milk of the pasteurized, homogenized, and fortified variety isn't good for anyone, milk tolerant or not. Making your own dairy products at home, such as kvark or cottage cheese, is enjoyable and helps assure their purity.

However, milk is not absolutely necessary in the human diet. Although some of the world's healthiest people such as Scandinavians, Russians, and Bulgarians eat a dairy-product-rich diet, one can, with proper attention to needed nutrients, maintain optimum health on a milk-less diet by using seeds, grains, beans, and nuts as the staples, with added food supplements, such as brewer's yeast and vitamin mineral tablets, as outlined in my books. If you are a vegetarian and want to avoid milk, you must include in your diet such high-quality protein foods as almonds, millet, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and other beans. Even foods that do not contain complete proteins, such as corn and beans, for example, if they are combined in the same meal, become good sources of high-quality proteins. Some vegetarian recipe books contain the information on how to make tasty dairy substitutes - anything from cashew and almond milk to soy cheese.

Juice Drinking

Q. How much juice should I drink each day? Mrs. C.L., Kansas City, Mo.

A. Not knowing your age or your general health condition, or specific illnesses you may suffer from, it is very difficult to answer your question. It is amazing (and amusing) how many ladies write to me asking advice and telling about their various health problems and what has been done for them so far (in length sometimes 20 pages or more!) but totally omitting mentioning their age! You see, if you are beginning to feel the early symptoms of arthritis, it would help me tremendously to know your age. If you are 82, I might suggest getting down on your knees and thanking the good Lord that your arthritis didn't set in until now. But if you are 18, I would probably suggest very drastic and dramatic measures aimed at preventing you from developing this crippling condition so early in your life.

Well, this applies even to such a seemingly simple question on how much juice you should drink. If you are very young and reasonably healthy, I would say: eat your fruits and vegetables, don't drink them. Those who go all out for natural, whole, unprocessed foods often forget that there is nothing whole or natural about juices. They are fragmented, isolated and very concentrated foods. Gorging indiscriminately on carrot juice, for example, (some juice freaks drink as much as 2-4 quarts per day!) can cause too much stress on the pancreas, adrenals and liver, and can even contribute to the development of hypoglycemia and diabetes. Many juices are extremely rich in sugars, which can only play havoc with your metabolism and have a detrimental effect if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, if you are young, and/ or relatively healthy, use juices sparingly not more than a half glass at a time, and dilute them 50-50 with water if they are sweet.

Now, having said that, I must add that juices have their rightful place in many therapeutic and fasting programs. For example, I advise juice fasting for practically every metabolic and degenerative illness, recommending as much as 4-6 glasses of various juices each day. Especially for older people, whose digestion, chewing ability, and assimilation are not very efficient, juices can be life-saving. Many juices possess therapeutic, medicinal properties. Specific juices should be used for specific conditions. For example, citrus juices are not advisable for arthritic and rheumatic conditions; raw potato juice and cabbage juice are specific for stomach ulcers, etc.

Melanin, Gray Hair, and Stress

Q. I've read in a book (not yours) that melanin, the coloring matter in hair, is affected by stress. What exactly is melanin? And where or in what foods can melanin be found? J.E.M. Williamsburg, Iowa

A. Melanin is the dark brown pigment that occurs in the skin, in hair, and in other organs, such as the eyes, etc. It is not a nutrient, and cannot be obtained from foods - it is manufactured in the body for its own needs. The thought that severe mental stress can affect the color of the hair is medically substantiated. There are recorded cases where severe traumatic mental shock resulted in a rapid graying of the hair. I am sure you are aware of the fact that severe and prolonged mental stress can contribute to the development of virtually every disease in medical books.

Loss of Taste and Smell

Q. Do you have any suggestions for my problem, the loss of taste and smell, which seems to be increasing as I get older (I am in my mid-50's)? My diet and supplementation conform closely to the ideas in your book, How To Get Well, and I feel wonderful, but this particular problem baffles me. Mrs. J.H. , So. Pasadena, CA.

A. One of the common contributing causes of the loss of taste and smell is a chronic sinus condition. Allergies are also often involved. You must avoid all synthetic cosmetics and household chemicals. Many of my patients who have fasted on juices for two weeks or longer, reported that their sense of smell and taste improved dramatically. juice fasting is also an excellent therapy for a chronic sinus condition.

An Optimum Diet with emphasis on raw foods is essential, along with the usual vitamin and mineral supplements. The supplements that are directly involved with the sense of smell and taste are vitamin A and zinc. You should try at least 60 mg. of zinc daily.

Diet for Arthritis

Q. Do you have a diet to help my arthritis? I have it in my feet and hands. I take vitamins, but I don't think I assimilate them. What do you think of cod liver tablets? I cannot take the oil. Mrs. A.S.M., Colfax, Wash.

A. The best diet for arthritis is a vegetarian diet, with the emphasis on cooked and raw vegetables particularly potatoes and all available greens. Alfalfa, fresh or in tablets, as well as alfalfa sprouts are of specific benefit. Raw potato and celery juices are also excellent. The beneficial fruits are: pineapple, cherries, bananas, and apples. Avoid meat, fish, fowl, cow's milk and cheese, wheat bread (even whole grain), salt, and sugar. Use honey for a sweetener, and kelp as a salt substitute. Raw or soured goat's milk is okay. Millet, rice and corn are the best grains. Juice fasting is an excellent biological treatment for arthritis. If you cannot take cod-liver oil capsules, cod liver tablets can be used. Also take the following supplements: vitamins C, E, B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, B-complex, as well as bromelain, potassium, yucca extract, brewer's yeast, and multiple mineral tablets (preferably in chelated form). The complete biological and dietary program for arthritis (more than I can possibly squeeze into the Forum) can be found in my book, How To Get Well (available at health food stores).

Natural Deodorants

Q. I have read so much about the dangers of using modern cosmetics - the toxic chemicals they contain, etc. I am especially concerned about sprays and deodorants. I have eliminated all aerosol sprays, but what can I do about deodorants? I just can't stop using them. I perspire profusely. Please help! How toxic are deodorants and under-arm sprays? Which are the least harmful - roll-ons, dusting powders, or sprays? Or, still better, are there any natural, totally harmless under-arm deodorants? Mrs. P.K., Egan, S. Dak.

A. As far as I'm concerned, all commercial deodorants are undesirable and harmful, whether they are roll-ons, sprays, or powders. They contain harsh and toxic chemicals which provoke allergic response in many people, and can even be carcinogenic - not to mention the carcinogenic propellants all aerosol products contain. But, do not despair! I have found two 100% natural, completely harmless and remarkably effective deodorants.

  1. Baking soda. Use regular baking soda that is sold in supermarkets (bicarbonate of soda, USP). Stir one teaspoonful of powder in a glass of water. Wet a washcloth or a piece of cotton in the solution, and rub under the arms after a thorough wash with soap and water. The solution can be saved as long as it lasts.
  2. Vinegar. Use full strength. Again, after a bath, apply vinegar with a wash cloth or a piece of cotton. Baking soda is odorless, but vinegar will leave you smelling like a salad for a few minutes, after which the odor completely disappears. Both deodorants work by changing the pH condition, or acid-alkaline ration of the skin, so that the odor-producing bacteria cannot thrive.

Hiatus Hernia

Q. I am 68 years old, still working and active. Due to a hiatus hernia I cannot eat roughage. As most diets call for raw vegetables and salads, I would like to know what kind of a diet would help me lose 10 pounds. Thank you so much for your help. Mrs. R. J., Centerville, Ohio.

A. First, it is not true that because of a hiatus hernia all raw vegetables and whole (high-roughage) foods should be excluded from your diet. The magic words are: Small Meals! You can eat practically any natural foods, including raw vegetables, if you eat 6-8 small meals a day, instead of the usual 2 or 3. Regarding losing 10 pounds, the other two magic words are: Juice Fasting. Being overweight definitely aggravates a hiatus hernia. You must, therefore, bring your weight down. A fourteen-day juice fast (outlined in detail in most of my books) can be undertaken on your own, if you are relatively healthy, have a reasonable amount of will power, and follow my instructions 100%. You will lose about 10 pounds on a fourteen-day fast. If you can get your fast supervised by a doctor so much the better.