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on October 19, 2003
First of all the book is excellant. The concept of acid/alkaline in the body and its central role has been around for a long time, however he has perhaps uniquely extended the concept as unifying theory of the health/disease continuum.
Yet I have to say nice try, but the best unified theory of disease (or the disease/health continuum) resides with Dr.J.H. Tilden's concept of enervation/toxemia which predates you by 100 years or more. Acid/alkaline is not only controlled by specific foods but by (in general terms) all excesses of normally wholesome things (like sunlight, rest, food, exercise etc) and all insufficiencies of same and by emotions and toxin habits. Toxin habits would include some obvious ones like cigarette smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc plus indigestible food combinations.
Where Dr. Young emphacises the acids produced from foods and some of the stresses mentioned above, Dr.Tilden points out that as the body loses vitality through various bad habits of living and becomes enervated (exhausted) at least two large categories of body functions specifically excretions and secretions become impaired. The individual cell normally excretes CO2, ammonia, and other toxins which along with toxins produced from bacterial decay of food (due to impaired secretion) in the stomach do not get efficiently removed in an exhausted body. Thus impaired elimination through the lungs, kidneys, skin, and gastrointestinal tract result in acid waste buildup ie toxemia along with acid producing foods etc. that constitute Dr. Youngs acidity. Enervation ie lowered vitality and functioning power in a body would not only affect the physiological status of the body as a whole but the functioning power of the individual parts or organs, thus the increased acidity due to checked ellimination and retained waste.
What makes Tildens theory the "grand classic unified theory of disease" is that it works with Dr. Youngs concepts as well as Hans Selya, Bechamp, Naesans, Issac Jennings, Russel Trall, Herbert Shelton and many others. You can explain the simplest diseases to mass epidemics without resorting to the pathetically failed germ theory of Pasteur. What are epidemics? Epidemics are result of mass enervating occurrances. For example mass poor sanitation(contaminated water and/or little or no waste removal), cold spells, drought, failure of food distribution, insufficient food, mass overeating and drinking (as in U.S.holidays), mass decay of food, mass emotional stress (due to war, famine, displacement), mass drugging (as in vaccination, fluoridation etc) or mass polluting etc,etc. Often times the above list occurs in groups of negative occurrances as in periods of war (example: after WWI and the great flu epidemic). Also
the interpretation that as Dr.Shelton stated "disease itself is the remedial process and not something that should be cured, killed, subdued, suppressed, or thwarted but is something that sould be allowed to complete its purification work" preferrably in wholesome conditions like complete rest, clean water, quite, warmth, and no food is "simplicity itself". Also obviously to correct mass sickness from continuing the mass causes have to be addressed. These concepts have been around but largely unrecognized since the 19th century when it was originally called the Hygienic System which today is known as Natural Hygiene. Some of the older authors such as Tilden, Trall, Jennings, Bechamp, Shelton et al can be obtained from various sites on the internet under Natural Hygiene or at [...]
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on July 21, 2001
If fruit was acidifying to the body, you would see people on tropical islands dropping dead from disease at age 40. These people consume fruit voraciously and are specimens of health. Fruit is NOT acidifying, and I don't buy the concept proposed in this book.
Other than the fruit issue, this book is right on target. It is yet another book in the string of Acid/Alkaline books and the information is nothing new, but the layout, and the way Dr. Young puts it into words is extremely easy to comprehend. I have already known of the benefits of Alkalizing the body from following the Bragg's Healthy Living Lifestyle, but there was a lot of information in this book that I hadn't known.
I have the genetic tendancy to store most of my acid in my gut (intestines), and my liver. Being Acid also makes me LOSE tons of weight, just like it makes Millions of people gain tons of weight. By taking care of my two problem areas, and living an alkalizing lifestyle (exercise, raw foods, deep breathing, etc), I have reached a new level of health. This information is for real, and there is no reason why anyone should feel deprived on this kind of diet. The most delicious foods in the world are the ones God created.
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on April 30, 2002
Some VERY GOOD !! (and some not so good....)
This book was for me, a lesson in patience. The main dietary ideas put forth I have found to be insightful and of real benefit to me physically. However, I found some of the philosophy and appendix material a bit discrediting at times (of course we all have our own opinions about what's credible).
Some Very Good: Central to Dr. Young's approach to health is the philosophy that your inner terrain (i.e. the health of your cells) determines to the quality of your overall health. So, if you examine your blood and have acidic and parasitic constituents present, it is likely that you have a breeding ground for disease. I think this is an enlightened view, considering the cause of problems rather than just treating the symptoms of an already developed disease condition.
His green-based alkalizing diet, and his justification for it, seem rational and well considered to me. I have lost weight, gained overall stamina and resisted colds and flu DRAMATICALLY, compared to my past history, and to my family (who are not on the plan)... and I am what anyone would call "a skeptic". The explanation of the pH balance of my blood and its effect on my body were compelling, and the tables and recipes made the application of the theory fairly easy.
Some Not So Good: Just a few points about the book that at times, taxed my patience. I think that Dr. Young has solid scientific evidence indicating the effectiveness of his recommended diet plan, however he alludes to, at times, spiritual connections which I find distracting. Everyone has unique spiritual perspectives, so when Dr. Young alludes to his own in conjunction with the scientific material, I find it unnecessary and inappropriate. In an interview, Dr. Young indicated thoughts and music (acid rock) can be acid producing. I certainly think emotional stress contributes to disease, but music ? Music and emotion are linked by association, if Mozart were playing when some tragedy occurred in your life then it's more likely that it will be more of an emotional contributor to stress than Born to Be Wild... the type of music is irrelevant, and while this seems obvious to me, it puzzles me why so obvious a fact seemed to escape Dr. Young. The Case Studies are really patient testimonials, I would rather have prefered a larger number of cases with more scientific data.
In the appendix material of the book, some of the "resource" material presented was of doubtful value in my opinion: Biomagnetics, Geopathic Stress (and professional dowsers of all things !), etc.
OVERALL - I think the book is extremely valuable. If I had a family member with a serious illness I would be sure to put them on this diet, the material is that compelling. Of course Dr. Young's whole point is that if you live according to the plan, it will be comparatively unlikely that you will contract serious illness...he really makes a very compelling case. I would also add that Dr. Young comes across to me as a deeply caring and committed researcher, and not someone who 's primary interest is to sell me something for their own profit. I would be very interested in buying a follow on book by Dr. Young detailing (not in patient's testimonials, but scientifically), case studies.. with some successes (and even some failures). I recommend this book highly.
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on April 17, 2001
I read this book because: I've been into vegetarianism and raw foods for the past four years, and I've heard about it from Tony Robbins. At first I must say I was quite impressed. Dr. Young offers us a new Biology and new way to look at health and disease. According to him, diseases come from imbalances inside of us, not from outside ennemies in the form of germs and viruses. He has been observing people's blood for years and came up with the following theory: terrain (as he calls it) imbalances arise from the acidification of the body. This leads to the DEGENERATION of the cells which MUTATE into fungus, bacteria, and, later on, mold. He calls it polyphorphism and, apparently, it can be observed when one studies live blood. These fungus produce their own acids, which further acidifies the body, leading to a vicious circle of imbalances. Diseases are manifestations of this imbalance. The diet recommended by the author to come out of disease and stay health is a totally vegan, vegetable-based diet. It looks like a anti-candida diet but stricter. Vegetables, raw and fresh, are the basis of it. He says that fruit is actually acid-forming because of its sugar content, which is absolutely wrong in my opinion. I tried his diet for a few weeks and it made me feel... sick and tired! However it would be a major improvement for most people. But I pefer my hygienic diet of fruits and vegetables with little oil and no condiments. My overall feel is that a lot of information in this book makes sense, except for the diet recommendations. Also, the importance of living foods, although emphasized in the book, is in my opinion of greater significance. Overall a great book full of controversial information.
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on January 26, 2004
I am an M.D. and the author of a textbook on acid-base balance (pH balance). I have also published several technical pieces in medical journals on the pH consequences of diet, and the relationship between dietary ash-acidity/alkalinity and bone disease. A friend who had just spent $400 getting a kit from Dr. Young's organization asked me to give her an opinion. I should also add that I am open-minded and have a special interest in nutrition and holistic medicine; I personally spend close to a thousand dollars a year on nutrients; I have studied chi kung and yoga; and I have much skepticism about aspects of modern medicine. I say all this to make clear that I am not opposed to nutritional or holistic approaches to health.
I focused my attention on the parts of this book that pertain directly to pH balance, which is the center of Dr. Young's theory. I read with special care the part of the book that purports to explain the fundamentals of pH to the non-scientist. This section contains basic errors that suggest to me that Dr. Young is not very knowledgable about this area; his understanding of basic chemistry seems limited. His definitions of fundamental terms such as "hydrogen ion" are poor, and his explantion of what table salt (NaCl) is and how it dissociates in water is incorrect. He gives the same pH values for blood that comes from arteries and veins; in reality, venous blood is more acidic than arterial blood.
The manner in which Dr. Young writes suggests a religious fervor that has nothing to do with science. I saw no footnotes that support his extreme views; in fact, judging by the titles of the journal articles he cites, I saw no citations in either this or another book by him that pertain specifically to the effect of pH on disease. Further, Dr. Young does not describe any of his own experiments that might lead one to think he has a valid scientific basis for his ideas. He makes many extreme statements without any supporting evidence.
From what I can see, Dr. Young does not have any interest in actually *testing* whether his ideas are correct. For example, the simple way to test his assertions about the effects of pH on disease would be to give sick people a couple of teaspoons of baking soda per day mixed with water. Baking soda (NaHCO3) is a base and will alkalinize the person's blood at least as well as any of the dietary manipulations Dr. Young suggests. But he appears not to have done this, or even to have studied the medical literature to see if other's have.
I also listened to Dr. Young on a marketing-oriented group phone call, which one of the distributors of his diet plans invinted me to listen in on. Dr. Young repeats the phrase "alkalinize and energize" like a mantra, many times; yet he provides no evidence that I can see that "alkalinizing" the blood through dietary or any other means actually increases energy. I have nothing against an ash-alkaline diet; in fact, I personally believe such a diet might have a positive impact on bone strength. But if someone is to make broad assertions about the benefits of an ash-alkaline diet, they should have persuasive evidence; but I didn't see any evidence for his claims.
As Dr. Young correctly points out in his book, there is a long history of science and medicine making errors and going down the wrong paths; and sometimes these wrong turns are not identified for decades or perhaps even centuries (some surely have yet to be identified). However, what he seems to fail to recognize is that there is also a long (really, much longer) history of non-scientific healing going down the wrong paths. Both scientific and non-scientific healers have made mistakes, and these mistakes have sometimes gone uncorrected for long periods. The only way to catch these mistakes is to test one's ideas, to see if they actually work; this applies to both conventional medicine and holistic medicine. Dr. Young seems to have an almost paranoid skepticism about many aspects of accepted medical practice, yet he is entirely credulous about much that falls outside of the mainstream. He seems to be entirely credulous about his own ideas.
I accepted my friend's request to check out Dr. Young's ideas thinking that he might have something interesting to say. I didn't expect perfection, but I did at least expect enough evidence that one might think he has framed a plausible hypothesis, an idea that is interesting and worth exploring further. But I did not find even that. Instead I found an almost religious fervor, an inadequate grasp of the fundamentals of the very field that is central to his ideas (pH balance), and no evidence that he has any real interest in testing his ideas to see if they actually work.
To say this, however, is not to rule out the possibility that some of the particular dietary or nutritional interventions he recommends might be beneficial. For instance, he seems to recommend a low-carbohydrate diet (a la Atkins), various nutrients (which are supported by some valid studies), and the like. Some of these things might actually be good for a person. Perhaps doing many of them together will be even better for a person. But the point is this: Dr. Young believes and claims that these things all work through a common pathway: that they work *because* they alkalinize the body. For example, the low-refined carbohydrate diet is not effective, Dr. Young seems to believe, because it prevents rapid release of insulin, etc.; he believes the diet is effective because it (allegedly) alkalinizes the body. This emphasis on pH and alkalinization as the supposed common pathway behind a seemingly unrelated group of nutritional strategies lies at the core of Dr. Young's ideas. It is this emphasis that differentiates his approach from the approaches of many others who focus on nutrition. Yet it is precisely this aspect of his theory that appears to be almost entirely unsupported by evidence.
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on October 11, 2001
When I was advised by an ayurvedic practitioner to read this book I was initially very excited -- after all, it was recommended by Tony Robbins and it certainly is impressive in its wild claims. I have had a fair amount of science and the deeper I thought about the basic ideas Mr. Young propounds, the more doubtful I became. And then I bounced these ideas off my daughter who has much more science than I have (she is an MD), and I was truly embarrassed that I fell for this scam. My daughter was able to immediately refute these ideas. For example, Mr. Young claims that most of us are all but hopelessly infested with deadly microorganisms in the blood. But blood cultures are easily able to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi and viruses. The idea of "live tissue" samples is total hog-wash. Similarly, his attempt to refute the germ theory simply does not pass scientific muster. If Tony Robbins understood science better he would realize that this program is a total scam. What unduly influences people is the fact that the diet Mr. Young prescribes is mostly very healthy (but not for the reasons he ascribes) and therefore some people are bound to feel a little better. But his very wild claims that he has found the reason for ALL health problems are nothing more than a pseudo-scientific attempt to make money!
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on January 11, 2000
Sick and Tired? is important because it describes a "lost chapter" in the history of biomedicine, whose missing information has severely impacted health, especially in the West; but the book is sullied by areas of careless exposition, inconsistencies, and false claims of discovery.
I give it five stars for subject matter, but two for presentation. Much of what is presented as revolutionary is merely relatively obscure; what is touted as "Empowering New Biology" turns out to be old, ignored biology.
A seemingly original aspect is the clotted-blood diagnostic, the Mycotoxic/Oxidative Stress Test. There is a good, but occasionally confused, technical essay about it. If valid, the test, along with "live blood analysis," could be valuable. Another new aspect is Dr. Young's hypothesis that viruses are not pathogens, but "repair proteins" that appear because the body needs them. A fascinating idea, but supported only by conjecture. It is plausibly suggested that much of what is thought to be free radical damage is actually done by toxins of yeast, fungus and mold, and, importantly, that these toxins also underlie most degenerative symptoms.
The book opens by discussing some scientists ignored by the mainstream, among them nineteenth century genius, Antoine Béchamp. His important discoveries were effectively lost when the French Academy of Science adopted Louis Pasteur's superficial germ theory, and when biology and medicine became based upon that dangerous partial truth. Pasteur plagiarized Béchamp and trumped him because germ theory seemed easily demonstrable and because Pasteur was politically connected. Essentially it seems that vested interests preferred the financial potential of germ theory to Béchamp's view, which precluded vaccines and other drugs while emphasizing individual responsibility and one's internal terrain (ecology). Young has adopted Béchamp's view that disease "causes" germs (it certainly precedes their proliferation in us). This apparently paradoxical view helps to explain certain observations, such as why one person gets sick while the next does not, apart from immune function.
Microzyma is Béchamp's term for an imperishable microscopic anatomical element whose existence he inferred from exhaustive experimentation. According to Béchamp: preceding genetic material, it is the "builder and destroyer of cells." It participates in illness and death, making astounding changes in form and function: it can evolve into germs when our terrain is unbalanced (diseased), and can revert to its original form; this theory is called pleomorphism.
Béchamp's microscope couldn't show the microzyma in detail, though he claimed to have seen "swarms" of them. No one since has scientifically demonstrated its existence. Young writes as though he has, yet he has not. Not with any proof presented or referenced here. Whether or not the microzyma exists, Béchamp's great contribution was the emphasis on inner ecology, as opposed to the germ, in infectious illness. The book emphasizes 1) that we have within us all conditions and elements necessary for the internal evolution of microorganisms, no "invasion" needed (microzymian theory); and 2) the toxins of these "morbidly evolved" (Béchamp's term) forms, especially yeast and fungus (Young's emphasis), lead to the symptoms we usually call the disease, especially degenerative ones).
Though credit is given to some key pioneers in the lost chapter, Young can't seem to resist gilding his scientific lily with false claims. His "New Biology" is outlined on p. 22. It says, "From my research, I have discovered the following:" (a list follows). Apparently, he doesn't grasp the difference in science between "discover," "confirm," "observe" or even "believe." A reader familiar with the lost chapter will know the first item is not Young's discovery, but Béchamp's theory, that degeneration and regeneration originate from the same basic anatomical element (the microzyma). The second item is also not his discovery, as Young himself implies in a later chapter. Such misappropriation could discredit him.
Two potentially momentous "discoveries" are left dangling: he claims that human cells can become microorganisms (bacteria), but offers no substantiation. He repeats this later and vaguely promises, "More in Appendix E" (four sections, and about 82 pages-I couldn't find the "more"). The same neglect applies to the claim that red blood cells can become any cell needed by the body, such as bone, muscle or skin. I have to give him an "A" for audacity! He also boldly asserts that cancer is mold. Hold on there, Doc!
Another list item: "Cellular disturbance can be caused by physical, emotional, and/or spiritual stress." This is a discovery? A Holistic truism, perhaps. It's unfortunate that a work which could be an emissary for Béchamp's important science threatens to do it harm with such irresponsible, even childish, presentation. It's almost like there's a lack of scientific discipline and quality training, but the bio doesn't reveal this background.
Many of the book's photomicrographs aren't clear. Some need explanation and/or comparison, especially for lay readers, and some are so poor they were better left out. One pair is in reverse to the caption. Such unprofessionalism is regrettable. Perhaps lack of clarity is planned, since his major tenet is that the blood of sick people, even otherwise asymptomatic ones, is chronically inhabited by microorganisms, including yeast and fungus. He claims to have videos, but one wonders what he's looking at, since he doesn't mention culturing blood samples to prove this. There are known blood infections, such as septicemia, but they're accompanied by intense, acute symptoms, including sudden death.
For those to whom a wellness protocol is most important, the book could have its greatest value. I didn't read in full detail, but scanned enough to see that, despite some inconsistencies, it addresses the fundamentals of getting, and staying, well-cleansing, pH balancing, nutrifying, and balancing the enclaves of microflora in the digestive tract. However, I've done some checking, and if you want to use Young's proprietary health products, you either need to be wealthy or prepared to engage the multilevel marketing plan. "Expensive" puts it mildly, and you must "sign up" to buy them. But, typical of the book's inconsistencies is the failure to provide a resource for "discovering" this information!
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on August 31, 2000
I found this book after hearing Anthony Robbins talk about Dr. Young on his newest tape/CD set. The concept of Alkalizing and energizing seemed attractive, but I wanted more information.
After reading this book, I am very disappointed. If you want a diet that consists of vegetables (and only certain ones) for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, then follow his diet. We're talking NO meat, NO dairy, NO eggs, NO bread, crackers or cookies, NO peanuts, NO corn, NO fruit (except for tomatoes, lemon, lime and grapefruit, NO mushrooms, NO cereals, NO alcohol, and even NO mustard, kethup, or Mayo. The only salad dressing you can use is one that he recommends which is a simple plain oil.
You can eat from a small list of green and yellow veggies (and they have to be "organic" , and that's it, except for the vitamins, minerals and green drinks that he sells. Not very practical.
Also, I am very suspicious of books that contantly have a "conspiracy theory" basis. He basically implies, over and over, that modern medicine is completely wrong and his medicine, based on "findings" of researchers from long ago, is correct.
In addition, the book is filled with errors right from the title page which lists the author as a "Medical Nutrional Microbiologist". Should be nutritional. Maybe a minor point, but the whole book if filled with errors. E.g., on page 103, there are two pictures of blood before and after dietary changes. They are reversed. The author and publisher were very careless in putting this book together.
The information in the book is scattered and the author rambles on about the great conspiracies going on. It is very hard to make any sense out of it.
Although I like a lot of Anthony Robbins ideas, following this ideas is impossible.
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on February 12, 2002
After several friends recommended the book, I picked it up. To keep it short: If Young has "years and years of research" to his credit, why are there no peer-reviewed papers by him on this subject? This is more pseudo-science, written in that Oprah-testimonial style. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not Anthony Robbins endorsements and man on the street testimonials.
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on January 20, 2002
I have no problem with Robert Young's platitudes on the "conspiracy in medicine," because a movement truly exists that suppresses information regarding valid "alternative" and "natural" remedies, while preserving the scientifically unsound medical procedures like bypass surgery. Bypass has NEVER been proven scientifically, yet doctors perform 500,000+ of these dangerous procedures annually. But I digress. I read Young's book in its early stages YEARS ago and I find it astonishing that people on this very page are promoting it as Nobel-prize winning research!! Anabolic/Catabolic information has been readily available for 15-20 years, and Young's work has its merits, but let's not be frivoulous here: Young is NO Linus Pauling, nor will he ever be. And for the vast majority of Americans, like the man who said he "had lost 3 inches off my waist in six weeks," congratulations, but don't you think that not eating meat and sticking basically with raw vegetables and fruits had everything to do with it? If we ALL stopped eating meat, and just ate vegetables and fruit, we would ALL lose weight. This invention is hardly Young's genius. As for Tony Robbins endorsing this book, he is not God, he is not a genius, except for perhaps, his marketing skills and ability to inspire. However, he IS an opportunistic "guru," a man who tells us we can "fix our marriages, and fix our lives," when he himself has 2-3 failed marriages and a few kids who (at least used to be) QUITE overweight. He has one thing right, though: it is each of us--as individuals-- who must "make a commitment" to creating powerful change for ourselves. If people want to go for this book, fine. We need "medical freedom of choice." But save yourself the 22 bucks and use it to buy organic fruits & veggies.
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