In March, Heather Mills McCartney wrote an article in which she claimed that her vegetarian diet stopped an infection she received after having her leg amputated following a motorcycle accident and cured her cancer. McCartney did not speculate on whether or not vegetarianism can also make the crippled walk and the blind see.
Writing in the London Evening Standard, McCartney claims,
As I watched more and more of my leg disappear [from infection] I decided to discharge myself from hospital. . . A girlfriend of mine had breast cancer. Although not scientifically proven, she believed she went into remission after following a vegetarian program at America’s Hippocrates centre in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In desperation, I went to the States. The moment I arrived they took me off all my medication . . . Just 10 days of a strict vegetarian diet, wheatgrass juice and placing garlic poultices on my wound (Owwww!) and I was healed — as were scores of people around me, from addicts to cancer sufferers and non-insulin dependent diabetics.
Presumably, if she’d have just drank enough wheatgrass juice and garlic rather than relying on those toxic medications which she campaigned against, Linda McCartney could have cured her breast cancer and would be with us still.
Anyway, as the National Council Against Health Fraud puts it, though in slightly different terms, the whole wheatgrass-as-cure nonsense was started by a raw food nutcase named Ann Wigmore. Wigmore believed wheatgrass and raw foods were a Biblically ordained treatment,
The notion that wheatgrass can benefit serious disease sufferers was conceived by Ann Wigmore, a Boston area resident. Wigmore (1909-94) was born in Lithuania and raised by her grandmother who, according to Wigmore, gave her an unwavering confidence in the healing power of nature. Wigmore believed in astrology, and described herself (a Pisces) as a dreamer who saw life from the spiritual viewpoint to the neglect of the physical. Wigmore’s theory on the healing power of grasses was predicated upon the Biblical story of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who spent seven insane years living like a wild animal eating the grass of the fields. Because he recovered, Wigmore presumed that the grasses had cured his insanity. [The Bible says that a prescribed seven years of insanity was visited upon the King as Divine punishment for his arrogance. (Dan 4:31-7)]
The common observation that dogs and cats nibble on grass, presumably when they feel ill, also strengthened Wigmore’s belief in the healing power of grasses . Wigmore theorized that rotting food in the intestine forms toxins that circulate in the bloodstream (aka, the intestinal toxicity theory) and cause cancer . She taught that the life span of the wheatgrass juice was less than three hours, so it had to be cut from growing plants, juiced and consumed fresh. She speculated that the enzymes found in raw wheatgrass were alive and could “detoxify” the body by oral ingestion and by enemas. Wheatgrass is prepared by sprouting wheat berries and growing them until they form chlorophyll. It was the chlorophyll in wheatgrass that enthused Wigmore. She called chlorophyll “the life blood of the planet.” Wigmore believed that cooking foods “killed” them because this deactivates enzymes. She held that the moment the “sacred” 7.4 acid-alkaline balance (the same as human blood) is “killed” that its effectiveness would be reduced . (For information on exaggerations about the similarities between hemoglobin and chlorophyll see NCAHF’s statement on chlorophyll.)
In the 1980s, Wigmore took to claiming that her “enzyme soup” could cure AIDS and rendered childhood immunization necessary, which led to her unsuccessful prosecution for fraud by the state of Massachusetts. A judge ultimately ruled that Wigmore’s claims that AIDS could be cured through her methods were protected by the First Amendment. She was ordered, however, to stop fraudulently claiming that she was an accredited physician.
The Hippocrates Life Change Center bases its “treatment” regimen on Wigmore’s nutty views. Like Wigmore, the HLCC emphasizes the wonders that are supposed to be accomplished from enzymes. What they can’t get into their brains is that the enzymes from food are quickly broken down into amino acids by the digestive system and as such don’t play much of a role at all in affecting human health for good or ill.
Moreover, as the NCAHF’s William Jarvis notes that it is surprising that wheatgrass fanatics fail to note that “grass-eating animals are not spared from cancer, despite their large intake of fresh chlorophyll,” and, course, since chlorophyll isn’t absorbed by the human body, it does even less for humans.
Of course, who are you going to believe — some evil animal torturing scientists or some nutcase who fraudulently passes herself off as a physician while claiming that raw foods can cure AIDS?
Heather: Vegetarian diet saved me from cancer. Daily Mail, March 23, 2005.
Wheatgrass Therapy. William Jarvis, 1998.