reasons for plant-based diet • reverse heart diseaseQ10Flax OilB12ResveratolEnzymesprobioticsvitamin Dwheatgrassapple cider vinegar and honeytumericwhite teavitamin pill • questions Pain FreeIndian Rope Trick movieacupotomyhydro-therapymeditationsleeporganic foodsQ-linkAlternative Medicine for Cancer and Other Diseases

Tom Riddle's Guide to Health and Long Life.

Also see Tom Riddle's Guide to Staying healthy in India.
September 2016

Although my name is on this page, it was in fact mostly written by the late Dennis Ferrman. Dennis died in August of 2016. He was 74 years old. I've put together some notes about Dennis here.

james and
Nicky Knoff and her husband James Bryan in 2009, and in the 1980s.

My yoga guru, Nicky Knoff, is now 76. She claims that she may not, in her words “fall off the perch” until she is 120. She has a wonderful saying, “Not diamonds, no fur coats, supplements!” Naturally some people will say that a good plant-based diet is all one needs. Others of us agree with Nicky. Many of us can definitely feel the difference that supplements make even if we can't always pinpoint what does what.

I've had a few health gurus. Joan Baez came to my school when I was a kid and told us to read Louis Fisher's Life of Mahatma Gandhi. I did and became a vegetarian. Later, one of my vegetarian guru friends, Tavi, had a stroke and died, probably from all of the skimmed-milk powder he ate. One of my other health gurus who was with me 35 years ago in the Peace Corps in Tonga, met up with me again a couple years ago at Ngawha Springs, New Zealand, site of some of the most therapeutic hot springs on earth. (If you're sick, check them out.) Anyway, he had just read The China Study and urged me to have a look. It makes a very convincing case for a plant-based diet. I read it and stopped milk products. Later I met a patient of Bill Clinton's health guru and decided to take the vegan diet one step further and adopt more of a protect-your-heart diet giving up most nuts, oil, and fruit juices. That was good news in that I then lost the 5 pounds I'd been trying to lose for more than 10 years. I also felt physically stronger and mentally more alert than I had in years.

Here are my suggestions:

arrow upAdopt a plant-based diet. If it's good enough for Bill Clinton, it's good enough for you. Lose weight, feel good, and be in less pain. Some people say that you won't get Alzheimer's and you certainly won't be contributing to All Gore's most inconvenient inconvenient truth, that was so inconvenient he refused to touch on it in his movie: the immense damage that the milk and meat industries do to the planet. For a convincing case to go plant-based read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son. (But Al Gore, like Bill Clinton, became vegan thereby losing 50 pounds.)

For a quick introduction to The China Study have a look at the trailer to the documentary Forks Over Knives where Dr. Campbell suggests that "most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods."

arrow upConsider taking Coenzyme Q10 as Ubiquinol which is the 3rd most popular dietary supplement in the United States after Omega-3 and multivitamins. It helps your heart and a whole bunch more. Check out what the University of Maryland Medical Center says about it at

I now take at least 50 mg. a day. Increased age and a vegetarian diet create a greater need for this supplement. And taking statin drugs demands even more.

arrow upTAKE FLAX OIL. You can think of this as vegetarian fish oil. As with everything, not everyone is sure that it does everything that other people say it does. But it appears to help with high cholesterol, heart disease, and the functions of the brain. It is a rich source of essential fatty acids—the omega's 3 and 6. Flaxseed oil and linseed oil are the same and flax has been cultivated since Egyptian times. A few times I've broken open my flax seed capsules and used the oil to polish wood or lubricate squeaky doors. If things go well, I take one after each meal. You can find flax oil everywhere. The high lignan type is better, and grinding your own seeds fresh with a small coffee bean grinder at each meal is the best ($14 grinder at Amazon).

Somewhat more expensive, but an even better source of omega-3 are chia seeds. Soak them a couple of minutes in juice, tea, etc. Once they expand, they are ready to eat. If you take a tablespoon of chia seeds a day, you can skip the flax oil. Chia seeds have a history, which you can read below.

In Mayan, the word "Chia" means strength, and it is interesting that these ancient people recognized the invigorating qualities of the Chia Seed. Chiapas, the Mexican state, is named after this member of the mint family – Chiapas means "River of Chia". After the Aztecs had conquered most of what is now Mexico, they used their agricultural practices to cultivate Chia on a large scale. As their capital, Tenochtitlan, was located on very marshy ground, the Aztecs actually used this to their advantage. They would weave mats from tree bark, float these platforms on the water, cover the mats with soil, and then plant them with Chia, among other crops. It was an ingenious system that made use of an otherwise difficult agricultural site. As the Aztecs had an aggressive, expansive culture, they often went on missions of conquest to neighboring areas. They were already well acquainted with the high energy value of Chia Seeds, and their warriors carried these with them on their journeys. After a tribe had been conquered, the Aztecs would demand Chia Seeds as part of the tribute that would be paid to them.


arrow upTAKE Vitamin B12. If you don't eat meat, you're out of luck for this guy and if you don't get enough, it's serious. Don't believe me? Read up on it. .

Methylcobalamin is a better form of B12 than cyanocobalamin. Take a 1000 mcg pill once or twice a week and that should be adequate.

arrow upConsider taking Resveratrol. You can buy it cheaply in the local drug store, but it seems a micronized version of resveratrol at lower doses crosses into cells more effectively and is safe even at mega-doses, unlike standard resveratrol. The brand Longevinex is the most researched form of resveratrol and that research is showing benefits in macular degeneration, protecting the heart, countering cancer, brain function, etc., with more research being published all the time. Longevinex Advantage has added ingredients that help protect the skin and keep it looking younger. A friend with chronic skin cancers says this has improved his skin health.

Here is a recent newsletter with research archives included:

Longevinex isn't cheap, but for a dollar a day it gives positive results with no side-effects.  One of the positive results is reversal of blindness from macular degeneration.  Here is Dr. Stuart Richer, O.D., PhD, giving details.

The Longevinex company has developed an allicin supplement from garlic that will not be destroyed by stomach acid as is typical of most allicin. It gives no body odor. And allicin has many health benefits besides longevity including being anti-cancer. Garlizyme at about 30 cents a capsule is less than one-third the cost of Longevinex.

arrow upConsider taking an Enzyme Formula. Enzymes help you digest food and help get the most bang for your buck from food. Raw foods are full of them, but often we don't get enough. They are depleted in refined foods. As we get older our bodies cannot make them as easily, which adds to our need to take them as a supplement.

I take the ones sold by Baseline Nutritionals whose products are designed by a health guru, Jon Barron. He calls his brand "pHi-Zymes." He writes that these stimulate our immune systems to destroy and clean out such things as inflammation, bacteria, viruses, fungi, chemical toxins, and dying cells that can become cancerous -- from a few to over a thousand a day.

arrow upHe also has a free bi-monthly newsletter you can receive from his website: On that page is a search box where if you search for ailments, medicines, supplements, organs, glands, etc., and you can often find in-depth articles examining these topics. For example, put "borage oil" into the Search and see what the GLA it contains does for you.

If you are looking for a more main stream search, you can try .

arrow upConsider taking a Probiotic supplement. If you eat yogurt regularly, you're set with this one. If you are on the plant-based-diet bandwagon, you can consider a supplement. In Thailand and some other countries there is a snake-oil company called Yakult that has a fleet of people on motorcycles who will deliver their probiotic formula to your door. I prefer a non-dairy supplement. The Wikipedia makes a convincing case for probiotics. You can get them here: and lots of other places.

arrow upConsider taking vitamin D as 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Also for vitamin D, get daily, direct sunshine for 10 to 20 minutes on your skin without sunscreen. For further background on D3 versus D2 and vitamin D research, you can read this by Jon Barron.

If you take the Longevinex Advantage version of resveratol, you're set on vitamin D.

arrow upConsider taking Wheatgrass. Cruising the Internet, I read about an American Yogi who advised his students not to drink coffee and to take wheat grass. Wheat grass isn't expensive, is recommended by all kinds of people, and doesn't taste bad. So I bought a some from the local health food store. A week or two later a muscle injury in my calf that had been bothering me for two years cleared up. In the USA I buy this kind.

arrow upConsider taking apple cider vinegar and honey. Mix them one-to-one and take one or more big spoonfuls a day. Some people hate vinegar and others don't like honey. I have always liked apple-cider vinegar and honey, which was introduced to me by a black South African woman who told me that it was traditional medicine in her family. Later I learned that New Englanders make the same claim. If you Google it, you'll be amazed. Here's one site on it. When I was a kid honey was honey. Now a lot of honey has pollutants and additives. Go for the natural stuff.

Sodium bicarbonate, also called baking soda, has interesting potential for health, though no profit for pharmaceutical companies, by countering colds and flu, and even cancer.  Here is a historical perspective on this claim during the flu epidemic of 1918.

You might even mix the baking soda with apple cider vinegar and honey or stevia in green tea, but put it in a large mug or bowl since it will bubble up.  Take 2 tbsp ACV and 1/2 tsp baking soda with a little sweetener in the tea.  You get multiple benefits taking it this way.

arrow upConsider including turmeric in your diet. It is a natural anti-inflammatory.
From an article in the New York Times, "A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 compared the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, with ibuprofen for pain relief in 107 people with knee osteoarthritis. The curcumin eased pain and improved function about as well as the ibuprofen." The NYT article also states:

While many people may encounter turmeric only in curry dishes and South Asian restaurants, Dr. Santos advises her patients to find it in health food stores in pill or capsule form. She recommends a dose of 1,000 milligrams a day. The benefit of buying it in a bottle, she said, is that it’s usually combined with a compound called piperine, which aids absorption.

“In India, whenever they use turmeric they usually have pepper in the meal,” said Dr. Santos. “Piperine is a pepper. It helps the turmeric get absorbed so that it goes into your bloodstream versus staying in your gut.”

Dr. Santos said she recently suggested to her father that he try turmeric after an operation on his hip. He was undergoing rehab and was experiencing pain and stomach issues, another area in which the use of turmeric has been studied.

“He was skeptical,” she said. “But he called me up a few days later and said he was pain-free.”

If you Google "turmeric and black pepper" you'll find much more.

                            upConsider drinking green or white tea with stevia. White tea has even more antioxidants than green tea, with less caffeine. Stevia is a natural sweetener with no sugar or calories to spike blood sugar. It is very sweet, but some don't like its taste. You can buy Stevia from, among other places, Walmart.

arrow upConsider taking a vitamin pill. Yes, after everything else, the old vitamin pill still covers some bases. But take a food-based supplement if you can. Take chemical-vitamin-based pills only occasionally, when you are feeling depleted, fatigued, or stressed.

More things to do for a Long Life

                            upIf you are dealing with aches, pains, sports injuries, physical stresses, and strains, consider realigning your body through simple, basic exercises as found in the book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue.

Pete was wounded in Vietnam and after six months in the hospital he still had physical problems that doctors said would never go away. Pete proved them wrong by going to physical therapists, yoga teachers, chiropractors, and other such health practitioners and found that nature can indeed heal complex physical problems if given a chance with proper body alignment. It does not require sophisticated yoga exercises to benefit from these exercises. I heard of an 80-year-old with Parkinson's Disease who could not hold his head up straight. After trying these exercises for a few days, he regained control of his head and posture.

And for those of you who have that modern lifestyle in front of your computer, exercises to correct chronic posture problems can be found in Pete's book: Pain Free at Your PC.

                            upFrom another book comes the inspiration for yours truly to demonstrate the Downward-Facing Dog Pose with a rope.. This is good for scoliosis and compressed discs/disks.

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                            upIf you have more serious chronic bodily aches and pains, you might want to consider acupotomy, a distant cousin of acupuncture. Unfortunately, I don't know of any acupotomy doctors in the US even though acupotomy is showing up in NIH research. China is training many acupotomists every year.

In Adelaide, Australia Dr. Steven Woo practices acupotomy and acupuncture. At You can read amazing stories that his patients have written about the treatment he has given them.

There is an acupotomy doctor working in Mexico City. If you write, I can send information about him.

Here is an hour of programs on acupotomy broken into four segments, each of which is about 14 1/2 minutes long. It is set in Chengdu, China. This link is to Part 1. One can click on the other parts listed on the right. People from many parts of the world are going there for treatment.

arrow upHydro-therapy. Always finish a hot shower with a cold-water rinse and experience the benefits of the lost art of hydrotherapy. The cold water will tone your muscles, wake up your brain, give you healthy skin, and help you tolerate cold weather better. If you have the time, spend two weeks in the best mineral springs in the world. For more details of the hot springs read . When I was at the hot springs, in the morning the temperature would be near freezing. After a few days, when I had some confidence, I would finish an hour in the hot springs by rinsing off in a near-freezing shower. I found that with the shower, after I got dressed, I felt warmer than when I skipped the shower. I also felt like I could wrestle an alligator. Here is more:

Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy - Showers

One's circulation can be given a tremendous boost by taking a shower and alternating the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 7 times in a row. The result is invigorating and extremely healthful. This is how to do it:

1. Make sure that the water used does not contain chlorine, fluoride or other highly toxic chemicals commonly used in public water supplies. It is counter-productive to greatly increase one's circulation and at the same time drive in a large dose of toxic chemicals. If you cannot readily filter these chemicals out of the water before it comes into your home, install a shower head filter that is truly effective in this regard. We know of one sold at Home Depot for about $30 that uses replaceable carbon cartridges.

2. Get completely wet with a temperature of water that is comfortable.

3. Slowly increase the temperature up to the point that you can barely stand it. Quickly expose all the parts of the body to this hotter water including the top of your head and your face.

4. Now turn the water temperature down to the coldest tolerable setting. No matter how cold the water is, at its coldest, it cannot harm you in any way. The only thing stopping you from going to the coldest setting is your ability to confront the experience. Make sure all parts of your body get this cold water exposure.

5. Next turn the water to hot again but make it a little hotter than you had it before. Again, get each part of your body good and hot before reversing the temperature to the coldest setting.

6. Repeat the procedure seven times - seven times hot, seven times cold. Always begin with hot and end off with cold. Make the temperatures as hot and as cold as you can tolerate.

Why Hot and Cold Therapy Works

When the body is subjected to cold external temperatures, the flow of circulation is directed inward toward the internal organs. As the outside temperature gets hot, the flow of circulation goes outward toward the skin. Alternating hot and cold makes the circulation move in and out like an accordion. This has the effect of unblocking stuck flows, increasing the rate of detoxification and moving nutrients more readily to various parts of the body.

Folks can use hot and cold showers to "get into gear" in the morning or, ironically, use it at the end of the night to get an unusually restful night's sleep.

Hot and cold showers can be taken 2 or 3 times a day as a therapeutic measure to enhance the effectiveness of a natural health repair program. These showers can be a godsend in that they are inexpensive, convenient, never cause any harm and always make you feel better. And if you find you wake up in the morning feeling blah, or if during the day you feel down or depressed, a couple of rounds of hot and cold water in the shower are a quick, effective way to change your body chemistry and perk you up. Give this routine a try and see!

But for those of you with limited time before you rush off to work, consider this abbreviated version that still gives great benefits: Take your usual warm shower followed by a pleasantly cool shower. Then go back to a hot water shower followed by a cold, but not unpleasant, final rinse. Experiment a little and see what works for you.

* * *

buddhaarrow upConsider Meditation. As we all know, all kinds of studies were done with the Maharishi Yogi's Transcendental Meditation and it was found to be a big help. As a former TM'er, I can say that after a while, it's not enough. I'm not in contact with a single long-term TM'er, so I can't say more about it. Anyway, to give you some idea of what you can expect from Buddhist meditation (vipassana), here are some quotes from a recent New York Times article:

Those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. . . . M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes. . . . a 2009 study suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease. And a 2007 study found that meditators have longer attention spans....a 2008 study found that when meditators heard the sounds of people suffering, they had stronger activation levels in their temporal parietal junctures, a part of the brain tied to empathy, than people who did not meditate."

I find that meditation, especially when I do it in periods of ten days or longer can help press the forgiveness button and the "erase unhappy endings" switch. All kinds of other stuff can happen as well. I'm always amazed to meet people who haven't the slightest intention of ever forgiving anyone and who love their countless unhappy endings. Christians often find that meditation beings them closer to the teachings of Christ.

Here is a muscle relaxation technique that quickly and directly helps to relax the mind and body.  It requires no training, just follow the instructions on the video.  The resulting better state of mind not only makes one more relaxed and happier, it improves one's biochemistry which helps one's health.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation for 10:32 minutes.
You might try it after a period of stress by just sitting in a chair and playing the video.  Another time would be right before bedtime to relax and enable you to have better sleep.

For the past 35 years years I've tried all kinds of meditation timers from wind-up watches to the same time piece the astronauts carried. Recently I've been using my MP3 player as my timer. You can see the timers at

Here's something else you can try to press the happiness button: gratitude. If you already have enough happiness, jump to the next topic.

Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages.

As Drs. Blaire and Rita Justice reported for the University of Texas Health Science Center, "a growing body of research shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits."

In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more tehnically, their "pro-social" motivation.

Another study on gratitude was conducted with adults having congenital and adult-onset neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), with the majority having post-polio syndrome (PPS). Compared to those who were not jotting down their blessings nightly, participants in the gratitude group reported more hours of sleep each night, and feeling more refreshed upon awakening. The gratitude group also reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more optimism about the upcoming week, and felt considerably more connected with others than did participants in the control group.

Perhaps most tellingly, the positive changes were markedly noticeable to others. According to the researchers, "Spouses of the participants in the gratitude (group) reported that the participants appeared to have higher subjective well-being than did the spouses of the participants in the control (group)."

There's an old saying that if you've forgotten the language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking terms with happiness. It turns out this isn't just a fluffy idea. Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls.

Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end.

With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude).

Apparently, positive vibes aren't just for hippies. If you want in on the fun, here are some simple things you can do to build positive momentum toward a more happy and fulfilling life:

1) Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed.

2) Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day.

3) Look in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth, and think about something you have done well recently or something you like about yourself.

Sure this world gives us plenty of reasons to despair. But when we get off the fast track to morbidity, and cultivate instead an attitude of gratitude, things don't just look better -- they actually get better. Thankfulness feels good, it's good for you and it's a blessing for the people around you, too. It's such a win-win-win that I'd say we have cause for gratitude.


arrow upConsider Yoga, jogging, weights, bicycling, aerobics, tai chi, jazzercise, etc. People can talk forever about what is the best exercise routine. The bottom line though is actually doing it. If I miss my yoga routine two days in a row, I feel it.

                            upConsider getting more Sleep. For many years I was strongly influenced by the Burmese and Thai forest tradition that views sleep as an impediment to good meditation practice. For years and years I slept no more than 6 hours a night. During all of that time, I don't recall ever staying awake during yoganidra, the deep relaxation done after a yoga workout and I was always surprised that some people stayed awake during it. I thought it was natural to sleep. Recently though, I've come to understand that lying down and not being able to ever stay awake is a sign of deep exhaustion. A teacher that I respect told me that one should be able to recline and watch one's breathing for 45 minutes.

 If you miss your sleep or need extra sleep, consider napping for 20 to 30 minutes.  Napping Tips: 7 Expert Strategies For Maximizing Your Naptime.  

                            upConsider organic foods.  For those of you who can't afford or can't easily get organic foods, you might want to buy those organic foods that are the most polluted by pesticides.  Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluates fruits and vegetables to determine their levels of pesticides and publishes the 12 worst, called The Dirty Dozen, and they also give the Clean 15.  For example, in 2011 the three worst of The Dirty Dozen were Apples, Celery, and Strawberries, while the best of the Clean 15 were Onions, Sweet Corn, and Pineapples.

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce: Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 In 2014 avocados were the cleanest and apples had the most pesticides.

One should also remember that besides avoiding pesticides, organic foods have much higher levels of nutrients because the soil is not depleted and need chemical fertilizers to grow the crops.

arrow upq-linkConsider wearing the Q-link Pendant. The makers of the Q-link claim that it can can balance your "bio-field." Here is some research on how Q-Link can counter the EMF forces we are surrounded by in using computers and other electrical devices.

Q-Link tested by the BBC -- 3-minute video

My experience is this: I paid $100 for it, put it on, and two weeks later found that I was drinking less coffee, and feeling more alert, especially in the late afternoons which were typically the most low-energy period of the day for me. About a month after I started wearing the Q-link I joined intensive four-hour, with one 15-minute break, Spanish language classes. For the entire six weeks I never drank a single cup of coffee during class time and my concentration remained excellent. I felt that my concentration was better than it had ever been in my life. After those classes ended I stayed up for a few days while traveling from Mexico to Houston, to New York, to Tokyo and finally Bangkok. I seriously wore myself out. Now, two months later, for a lot of reasons, including two months of travel in India, I feel that my energy is still not back to normal. Later, I'll put the Q-link back on and see what happens. It comes with a 90-day money back guarantee. About 2% of the people who order it, send it back.

Another device for EMF is the Shieldite pendant for about $35. Different approach to same EMF problem.

And, of course, maintain a well-balanced diet. Avoid excess sugar and refined foods. Consider high-grade proteins from South America such as quinoa and kiwicha, also known as amaranth.

I'm not a doctor, a chemist, or a salesman. I'm just a guy who was asked by a few friends how he keeps going and this is my response. I hope it helps.

Dennis Ferman, an old friend who passed away in August of 2016, wrote, also on this website, an Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Other Diseases section. Check it out.

most sincerely,