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The Beauty of Simplicity ~ An Interview with Kevin McDonald

Recently I travelled home to NZ for a family wedding. During my visit I was shopping at a health food shop and purchased a little book called “Learn to Listen”. I read the book and was fascinated with the content. When checking the author’s details I found that he lived just a few minutes from my parents’ home in Taranaki. I called to see if I could schedule a last minute interview on the morning of the wedding and the conversation below is the result of that meeting.

Kevin McDonald is a natural practitioner who uses copper dowsing rods to assist him with diagnoses and patient monitoring. His dowsing accuracy is legendary to the extent that one of the wedding guests had apparently called him in desperation after the loss of a purebred puppy. Kevin told them the exact location of the lost pup and they drove directly to that spot to find their hungry, frightened pet.  I found his book to be a breath of fresh air in the complex world of biochemistry and nutritional requirements. If his theories are correct, then anyone anywhere can adopt these principles and change their lives. Here is a brief quote from Kevin’s book that highlights his philosophy. We have been blessed with a fantastic vehicle to live in while we are on this earth. It is a very special, sacred vessel. Enjoy it and have fun with it but most of all give it respect and love. It is the only one you have. If it is looked after correctly it will give you many years of quality use, free of degeneration and pain and allow the spirit living within it to completely flourish to its full potential.  These concepts make sense to me and I am sure that they will resonate with many others. During this 4 hour interview Kevin generously checked out some of my recent health issues and I intend to adopt his recommended game plan. If you decide to take his advice and embrace any of these simple programs I would love to hear your reports as to their efficacy.

Graeme: I thoroughly enjoyed your book, “Learn to Listen”. It represents simple, achievable solutions that address the quagmire of confusion that many feel when confronted with multiple diagnostic and treatment options. What inspired you to write the book?

Kevin: Well, your response pretty much wraps up my rationale for writing this book. People are invariably confused and the most common response to confusion is to do nothing. I want people to take charge of their own health and to do this they need a simple game plan with clear guidelines. I have tested thousands of people over many years and retested many of them to chart their progress. In the process I feel that I have identified the root causes of some of the key health issues and I felt compelled to share that information. Getting started is not really that hard and if you can understand the reasons for your problems, and if the solution is achievable, then there is much more likelihood of meaningful change. I was also hopeful that the book might help to allay fear. In many cases it involves simple common sense. So many people hit the Internet to diagnose their issues and there is so much information available that it is hard to determine the relevance for them. Much of the information may be truthful but they need to work out what is relevant for them. The biggest disease on the planet is fear and it has become an integral part of conventional medicine. The doctors commonly use the fear statement, if you don’t. I try to determine the relevance so that we can treat root causes instead of symptoms.

Graeme: I felt that you delivered your message brilliantly but the book had the feel of a first time writer. There is a charming innocence about your style. Have you published much of your work before?

Kevin: No this is my first effort. English was my one weak link during my schooling so it was a daunting process. I started out by using a ghostwriter but soon discovered that I was rewriting everything anyway so I did it myself.

Graeme: Well done! It’s amazing what passion can drive; you may have discovered a new career path. New Zealand has a relatively clean, green reputation and one could assume that these rich volcanic soils would deliver nutrient-dense medicinal food to help sustain a particularly healthy population. However, New Zealand has the second highest rates of heart disease on the planet and I understand the cancer rates are right up there. What have you found in your work?

Kevin: Well, interestingly, New Zealand has the highest rates of colon cancer in the world and I suspect a link to the misuse of phosphate fertiliser. This country is the biggest user of super phosphate in the world and the nearest challenger is a distant second.

Graeme: I see that NZ has a very popular supplement based on an Australian formula called Percy’s Powders. Percy Weston was a Victorian farmer who noticed that the health of his livestock declined following the introduction of super phosphate on his farm. Family members were also affected by cancer and Percy reasoned that the oversupply of this most acidic of all minerals could have created the acidity where degenerative diseases like cancer can flourish. He developed a super alkalising mineral formula, which has proven very successful in both Australia and New Zealand. Incidentally, I noted in the book that you are not a big fan of chicken meat and I wondered if that was linked to the fact that chicken is ten times more acidifying than lamb (due to the level of phosphate fed to the caged birds in their short life span)

Kevin: Yes, this is partly the reason but there are other factors. The birds are pumped up with antibiotics and overfed to achieve the required weight within 38 days. I have found that when I measure this meat from an energetic perspective, it comes up really low. I feel that a key reason is the fact that these birds don’t see sunlight in their short life and sunlight is hugely important in the production of energized food. Chicken is extremely low quality meat. In my testing I find that a budget priced, supermarket sausage has roughly the same pitiful food value as chicken. There is this hype out there about the value of white meat vs. red meat when in fact pork and chicken are the worst meats you could consume. However, we should still factor in the importance of variety. We need small amounts of meat from time to time and the more variety the better. It’s about having fun and enjoying what you eat. Salami or bacon might have no food value at all but the value can come in the fun that you might gain from these flavours. If small amounts are involved, the pleasure involved will outweigh any negatives. We were meant to enjoy life.

Graeme: You have identified three root causes of illness including poor digestion, poor kidney function and poor liver function. How much of degenerative and infectious illness can be linked to the performance of this big three?

Kevin: Well it’s hard to put a figure on it but a large percentage of health problems is linked to the failure of these three systems. In my testing I find that more than half of my clients have kidneys that are under performing. 80% of people have livers that measure low and 95% of clients have less than optimum digestion. In NZ the most consumed drug is Losec, and this highlights the scale of digestion problems. Degenerative disease is largely linked to insufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrients within the cell to keep them vibrantly healthy. There is much more likelihood of problems in the face of stressors when the cell is lacking nutrition. Whether these stress sources are based on chemicals, genetic predisposition, lack of sleep, emotional issues or poor quality food, the undernourished cell is far more susceptible. It all comes back to the inability to get nutrients to the cell. For me there are four aspects to digestion:

1) The quality and quantity of food

2) How well do we absorb the nutrients from our food into our blood from the intestine and colon?

3) How well does the blood carry the nutrition around the body? this is all about circulation and blood quality 4) Then, once the food gets into that cell, how well does the cell use these nutrients? That is technically called metabolism. In your case it’s all about number two, it’s about digestion, and the liver is the root cause of your digestive issues.

Graeme: Until recently Zantac was the largest selling pharmaceutical drug on the world stage until the lipid lowering drugs took the pole position. A visit to an American chemist shop (or drug store as they call it) reveals a massive array of digestive remedies, which indicates the size of the problem.

Kevin: The best thing about Losec is that it works; it relieves symptoms and allows people to get on with their lives. However, this is also the worst thing about Losec because they have not addressed the root cause of the problem and are now less inclined to do so. I have found that probiotics can be great for relief of symptoms but we need something to switch on the digestive system to improve its efficiency. The answer is prebiotics, specialist stimulants, which feed and nurture your own gut organisms. Your beneficial biology shares the same DNA as every other cell in your body and when your own gut organisms break down your food, they break it down to be compatible with every other cell in your body. The introduced probiotics can also break the food down but they don’t make it fully compatible with your cells and if you stop taking them the old problems often resurface. You need to make your system breed more of your organisms and the product that achieves this most dramatically is made by an American MLM company called Usanna. They are not even aware of how good their product is as a kick-start to the digestive system. It is marketed as a blend of fibers to keep you regular and hence the name, Fibrogy. In actual fact, this blend contains protein extracts that have a profound effect upon beneficial organisms and I find that it is the best way to switch on the digestive system.

Graeme: You place a large emphasis upon keeping the body alkaline but you have a different take on the use of alkaline inputs. You suggest that these inputs can sometimes prove counterproductive that alkaline inputs can actually make the digestive tract more acidic. Can you please elaborate on this idea?

Kevin: Well, in your case, for example, we have determined that you are very acidic and the root cause of that acidity is a low liver. Most of your symptoms of indigestion are related to this fact. The popular approach is to throw every thing alkaline at this problem but this is often not the solution. The problem begins when the acidity in the stomach is not sufficiently neutralized due to an undersupply of bile from the liver. That acidity compromises the entire digestive tract, and eventually the entire system, and can be linked to all sorts of inflammatory issues, including the joint and tendon pain that you are experiencing. Lemon juice in hot water would be a good thing for you. The acidity of the citric acid, first thing in the morning, basically tells the stomach, I don’t have to make so much acid today. By contrast, people often drink alkaline water or take alkalizing powders to counteract their acidity and this sends the message to increase acid production. The liver is already not supplying enough bile to neutralise the existing acid so the end result is to worsen the situation. These alkaline inputs can be OK for short periods but can cause problems when consumed long term. The stomach is supposed to be acidic and will self balance if you over alkalise. However this still does not address why you are acidic in the first place and that comes back to the liver. The liver is not producing enough bile or perhaps there are some bile ducts blocked in either the liver or the gallbladder. The gallbladder is basically a bag that stores and delivers the bile produced by the liver.

Graeme: Do you think it is a good idea to do a liver/gallbladder cleanse with epsom salts and olive oil to remove any stones that may be blocking ducts?

Kevin: Sometimes the stones that are produced from this detox are actually created from the materials used. The more you use, the more stones appear. However, for some people this technique is legitimate. It can dislodge stones but it very rarely serves to turn on the liver. If you eat the right foods and take a couple of specific herbs the liver will usually detox itself.

Graeme: What are the right foods?

Kevin: Well the rule of thumb is to avoid eating anything with eyes. The liver loves plants and the more diversity the better. Find some natural, plant-based foods that you enjoy and eat them in good amounts. Eggs and dairy are usually okay even though they are animal based. Whole foods with no man made intervention are the simple secret. The best herb for the liver is ginger in the form of ginger tea.

Graeme: I notice that you suggest the addition of a few slices of fresh ginger root to a cup of boiling water and then leave it for ten minutes before drinking. I add ginger to many foods. Wouldn’t that be sufficient or does the tea offer something different?

Kevin: There is something about infusion that delivers the benefits more efficiently. I guess that is why herbal teas have been used by all cultures for centuries. When you cook the ginger, or even eat it raw for that matter, it doesn’t have the same effect. It doesn’t turn the liver on like the tea does. Even drinking pure ginger juice does not have the same benefits as the tea according to my testing. Something happens at that boiling point. You don’t want to boil it to pieces if you are making it in a pot. Just boil the water first and then add the herbs and boil for a few more minutes. Ginger juice can be a good cleanser but we are talking about turning on and that is the function of the tea. People assume that if you cleanse the three key systems, the liver, the kidney and digestion, that you will automatically turn them back on, but often that is not the case. If you can turn them on and then supply the right food, they cleanse themselves.

Graeme: You have mentioned ginger tea as one of your favourite tools to restart the liver. There were a couple of other herbs involved. What were they?

Kevin: Yes, I use dandelion root tincture and ginger for the kick start and then I find that there is a greater benefit when I introduce milk thistle, which is the most effective of the liver detox herbs. It’s important to use dandelion root rather than leaf for the liver. I use dandelion leaf tincture for the kidneys.

Graeme: Would it be a good idea to drink a coffee substitute based on dandelion root?

Kevin: Interestingly, I have never seen these drinks achieve the same response as the tinctures. Perhaps it relates to the level of processing involved. My treatments are not necessarily the best possible treatment available but they are simple, easily available, inexpensive treatment options that work. Anyone can walk out into the garden and change their health with these fresh herbs, or they can buy the dried version in any supermarket. The easier the solution, the more likely people will embrace the protocol. Many people are basically lazy. The three herbs for the liver usually do the job but there is also the emotional link that should be addressed. The liver is the main centre for emotional attachments and you may need to shed that excess baggage to achieve full recovery.

Graeme: Would the Emotional Freedom Technique, involving tapping on acupuncture points while repeating affirmations and statements of intent, be of benefit in clearing emotional attachments that are affecting liver health?

Kevin: Yes. You don’t even have to know the actual cause of the problem with these kinds of techniques. Sometimes it is sufficient to state that you wish to be free from all emotional attachments that are affecting the liver and this will neutralize those issues.

Graeme: You mentioned in the book that it is not just a matter of eating live foods but that we should try to improve our connection to that food. I am a big fan of the concept of gratitude in relation to food. In this context we lost a lot when we stopped saying grace at the dinner table. Both the production and consumption of food have traditionally been a sacred process but we have lost that reverence. Shoving a burger down your throat and slurping on your shake with your mobile phone up to your ear while you drive to your next appointment is not sacred appreciation of food! However, you are suggesting that it is more than just reclaiming gratitude and appreciation. You are including the concept of intent. Could you explain this further?

Kevin: Mind over matter is a big player when it comes to optimum utilization of your food. If food had a job description it would involve the chief role of keeping you healthy and disease free and there is a benefit in transmitting that to the food. Be grateful and thankful for it, but also gracefully request that it does its job and offers maximum wellness benefits. This connection this combination of gratitude and the polite, respectful expression of intent can hugely change the way that food affects your body. This is also important at the preparation stage. That is why homegrown food is the most powerful of all because it has been grown lovingly and it is therefore more likely to connect with your intent. I learnt the value of intent from a woman patient a few years ago. I had been dealing with her for some time with some pretty big health issues and we were slowly making progress. Suddenly, in the space of a month she showed dramatic improvement. When I analysed what she was doing differently, it was all about the food. Something was completely different about her food so I asked her what she had changed in her diet. To my amazement the only change involved the addition of a request that her food do its job really well to provide maximum health benefits. She had always said grace but now she added intent to her gratitude and it had a huge impact. I have found that it is important not to be too specific with this intent as you can limit the healing potential of good food. Don’t ask the food to heal your sore joints because there is a much wider range of benefits that the food may be able to offer. You always need to be careful about what you ask for.

Graeme: From a mind body perspective it was interesting to hear of the strong emotional link to liver health issues. I thought the heart was the emotional centre?

Kevin: The liver is the emotional centre of the body so when the liver is down we can be more easily affected by emotions. The other issue relates to emotional trauma. If that trauma is to become an attachment, it tends to favour the liver. In fact, in some cases this can be the main reason that the liver goes low in the first place. It is common to see liver problems begin 18 months to two years after a major emotional event like a marriage breakdown or the death of a loved one.

Graeme: I have friends and family who suffer problems with their thyroid or prostate glands. Can this have a liver connection?

Kevin: Acidity can often be linked to both glands. This highlights a fatal flaw in modern medicine in that the question Why? is so rarely asked. Why is your prostate inflamed? Why is your thyroid malfunctioning? It is extremely rare to find someone with a bad thyroid who has a perfect liver. PSA tests for the prostate are horribly inaccurate and this highlights the fact that the medical profession does not have all the answers.

Graeme: It’s a ludicrous situation that a strategy called watchful waiting is now more successful than the interventionist approach when it comes to the management of prostate problems. I do many prostate talks around the world and I have heard so many stories about biopsy core samples taken following PSA tests that have subsequently resulted in septicemia. In most cases there was no sign of cancer but the diagnostic test almost killed them!

Kevin: It is fear that drives the decision to over-react to the PSA data. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and it is particularly prevalent in relation to cancer. Sometimes if you hear it enough and think about it enough, it can become real! The mind over matter thing can work both positively and negatively. It is not just the negative experiences that can affect your liver, positive thoughts are like fertiliser for your liver. That’s why laughter is so important.

Graeme: I was fascinated during a recent visit to Bali to note the locals meditating on the beach each morning with eyes closed and big wide smiles on their faces. A friend informed me that they were smiling on their livers. It sounds like something worth trying.

Kevin: That’s fascinating. We know the term shitty liver in relation to temperament but this other side of the equation has been ignored.

Graeme: What’s your opinion on the relative importance of supplementing according to what you have been able to monitor?

Kevin: There are three key things about supplementing and most of them cannot be easily monitored by the person taking the supplements. The first of these is; how good is the supplement? The second is, do I need this supplement?. The third is am I able to utilize this supplement? If you can answer those questions then supplementing can be very beneficial but most people can’t. Even when we look at food we need to be able to utilize that food. I see people on amazingly healthy diets who are literally starving because they are not utilising that food. It all comes back to digestion.

Graeme: You suggest in the book that, ideally, fresh, live food should comprise 80% of our diet but you are also concerned with the way we cook our food. In this context, you believe that microwaves are a destructive menace. I am familiar with the damning research that led to the banning of microwaves in the USSR, but you have a different take on this technology. Can you explain your objection to this device?

Kevin: It’s interesting because all people don’t respond the same to the consumption of microwaved food. Some people seem to be able to get away with it, while it can have a major impact on others. I guess it is a bit like the people who can get away with smoking throughout their lives without suffering the normal consequences. The bottom line though is that we should not be using microwave ovens to cook our food. There is no reason to take risks when there are other safe alternatives. You may have seen the study where plants were watered with water that had been previously boiled in a microwave and they died within a week.

Graeme: It seems that plants respond in much the same way as people. Follow-up research has revealed that not all plants respond that negatively. Some can handle the microwaved water better than others. People often think that they will be OK if they just use the device to defrost or warm food but a study published in Pediatrics magazine showed that the simple act of warming previously expressed breast milk to body temperature, was enough to destroy the antibodies, enzymes and protective compounds in the breast milk.

Kevin: We have got too used to evaluating food in terms of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and carbohydrates. It is the living part of the food that we lose in a microwave and this is a serious loss.

Graeme: I can use a radionics device to measure the General Vitality of a plate full of food and then microwave that food and monitor the difference. If the food started with a General Vitality of 350 it can fall as low as 60, following a few minutes in the microwave. Consuming this food will lower the vitality of the consumer every time!

Kevin: There are three main issues I have with microwaved food if people still insist on using the device. The number one issue is using the microwave to heat the baby’s bottle. Often the formula in the bottle is the only food that the baby is receiving so it will have a much bigger impact when that food is compromised. Number two involves the use of the microwave to make porridge. That is a popular practice in NZ and it is a mistake. If you are using a microwave to cook any food, you should always wait for a few minutes after cooking to allow the radiation that can remain in the cooked food to dissipate. Porridge has the capacity to store and retain this radiation for much longer than other foods. Not only do you achieve a nutritionally inferior porridge after microwaving but you are also consuming toxic radiation with your oats! Porridge holds microwave radiation better than any other food. In the morning, you have had nothing to eat for 12 hours and every morning the enzymes are treated to a minute, but significant, whack of radiation. This happens day after day after day and can compromise digestive enzymes. Any thing that is done regularly can be a problem. The other common one is to use the microwave to make coffee at the office. They zap it and rezap it to heat it up, and again they are consuming minute amounts of radiation that can, over time, have a negative effect. Some people just use their microwave to warm those grain-based heat packs. Unfortunately this should also be avoided as the radiation remains in the grain. It’s really not a big issue. Just get rid of your microwave!

Graeme: Your basic food guidelines include fresh, local, living, whole foods that you enjoy. Avoid anything with a label, a high GI, and eat small meals often. There is nothing too confrontational from a habit changing perspective. Was that intentional?

Kevin: No, it was not intentional. I think it’s great to change habits from time to time. I mentioned the importance of variety in food. I’m still puzzled why breakfast has become the meal with the least variety. If we ever needed to change habits it is here!

Graeme: It’s funny you should mention that because it is the hardest thing I have had to adjust to during this very restrictive diet. I have changed my diet to address my liver, my acidity and candida and it hasn’t been easy. Why do we feel we have to have cereal, juice, toast and coffee for this important first meal of the day? I feel strangely unsatisfied with anything else. When I’m in Asia, I struggle with the idea of curry or noodles for breakfast. It is something I need to work on.

Kevin: Yes, we are not so rigid about any other meal and I don’t know why that is.

Graeme: Part of the current dietary dogma is about reducing the size of the evening meal, as there is no calorie burning activity that follows this meal. You suggest that 60% of our energy is expended during the regenerative processes that occur during sleep. In this context, you suggest that the evening meal should supply the fuel for these processes. Can you expand upon this?

Kevin: A lot of that dogma is just about getting fat. It’s not food that makes you fat. Its systems in your body that make you fat and then the type and timing of your meals can influence those systems. Again it comes down to poor digestion. If, at the cellular level, your cells cannot get all of the nutrient they require from your food, and this has been a long-term issue, then the body tends to turn food into fat. It’s a way to store food that is essentially a survival mechanism. Carbohydrates are the easiest and simplest things to convert. Putting on weight is often a side effect of having an unhealthy system. We need to get the systems functioning better. Most of the repair work happens while we are sleeping and we need the nutritional support for this. There is an assumption that if you are overweight you are unhealthy and if you lose weight then you are more healthy, This is simply not true. Cancer is our number one killer and there is no correlation between this disease and bodyweight. However it is the type of carbs that are consumed that will be a key. Most people should reduce consumption of refined carbohydrates at any time of the day.

Graeme: It is clear that you see poor digestion as a huge issue. What is it that has compromised our digestion so dramatically?

Kevin: There are several things. The stomach wasn’t designed to deal with highly processed foods. These foods are nutrient depleted and they can contain a vast array of chemicals. Microwaving and associated enzyme damage can contribute. Simple over-consumption of food can reduce digestive efficiency as the digestive tract comes to expect a constant flow, so there is no urgent requirement for efficiency. Commercial orange juice is a big factor. It is so widely consumed these days and it is doing major damage. It is terribly acidic when it is drunk regularly throughout the day. Orange juice is much worse than any other fruit juice. Even a daily grapefruit can be acidifying due to the amount and regularity of the citric acid. We are consuming much more of these than the small amount of lemon juice we might have in the morning. A poison is often determined by its volume. The volume of these citrus juices can be the problem. So many foods have been altered, then the use of pharmaceutical and recreational drugs further compromises the stomach. Then of course we have the impact of emotional stress and its effect upon the liver, as we have discussed. Another issue relates to our approach to food consumption. In this time starved world, some people are now seeing food as an interruption. We need to relax to digest well. We need to chew well, as the mouth is the initiation of digestion. I feel that the stomach is under-emphasised in terms of its importance. People have colonics and do various cleanses but nothing changes long term if you have not addressed problems in the stomach. Poorly digested food and acidity will continue to compromise the rest of the system if the problem in the stomach remains.

Graeme: Cellular metabolism, or the efficiency of food utilization by cells is a major end goal in digestion. You suggest that many of us are compromised in this regard. Sage tea is apparently the solution. Can a simple herb tea really be this effective?

Kevin: It can. Most of the time 6 cups is enough and we are talking just two or three sage leaves per cup. Two cups a day for three days is all that is required. Sage should not be overused as it can affect endocrine balance. It can be used specifically to reduce the symptoms of menopause because of this hormonal effect. If there was a need for improved cellular metabolism then people will usually feel increased energy within 5 days. Incidentally, if any of these teas have been microwaved there will be no response. There is usually only one major reason why cellular metabolism gets low and that’s poor kidney function. Chemicals and toxins can sometimes be involved but not often. If you have poor kidney function you will have poor cellular metabolism!

Graeme: Cellular hydration is often more about kidney function than a lack of water. I understand that you see the correction of this function as being more important than forcing back 8 glasses of water a day, regardless of your relative thirst?

Kevin: It comes back to a widely held assumption that if you put X amount into your mouth then your body’s got it. It’s no different to food, you don’t necessarily utilize what you eat. Most people who are really thirsty and drink a lot are really dehydrated. These people will often remain dehydrated no matter how much they drink. Kidneys control hydration.

Graeme: It is often suggested that good quality water is the only acceptable way to hydrate. My parents rarely seem to drink water but they have several cups of tea a day. Will the tea serve to hydrate them sufficiently?

Kevin: I don’t mean to knock the pure water brigade. We should all be drinking good quality water but we have overdone it. The tea will hydrate although it would be better if it was a herbal tea, as standard tea is a diuretic. However, the most valuable fluid your cells will ever get, will come via a plant, not from a glass of water. You can pick up the equivalent of 5 or 6 glasses of water a day from your food if your diet is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Realistically, the cleansing capacity of pristine water is a myth. People picture this crystal, pure water cleansing the cells, but most liquids are absorbed via the transverse colon. By the time they arrive at that point in the digestive tract they are anything but pure, clear water. There are a lot of Eastern practitioners that are suggesting that we are overdoing the water in the West. It’s true, we are putting too much pressure on the kidneys having to filter that much water.

Graeme: Brain health, blood pressure, cellular oxygenation, muscle integrity, skin health and lung performance are all intimately related to the kidneys and you suggest a simple solution from the home garden to address these issues. A tea made from parsley, rosemary and sage, consumed three times a day for no more than three days is your solution. Sorry for my incredulity, but could something this basic really be this effective?

Kevin: I’ve seen it work thousands of time. Kidney health is a huge issue in NZ. Five years ago the Department Of Health estimated that between 30% and 50% of patients who end up in intensive care have kidney issues and half of these will die because of this (although this may not be reflected on the death certificate).

Graeme: The parsley solution is interesting. My human health seminars are often attended by natural health practitioners and I love it when they choose to contribute. A couple of years ago a highly regarded, elderly German naturopath stood up during a discussion on high blood pressure. She stated that she recommended parsley tea, three times a day to all patients with high blood pressure and it was successful for over half of them. I thought she might be exaggerating until I read your book.

Kevin: The liver also contributes to high blood pressure but the kidneys are a very common reason. The kidneys are predominantly filters but there is no definitive medical test that thoroughly monitors their filtration capacity. You can measure filtration of a few things, but in many cases the medical profession is driving blind for want of a more definitive or more complete test. I find that parsley tea works remarkably well. Not in all cases, but in many. It is as simple as adding a few sprigs of fresh parsley to a cup of boiling water.

Graeme: Wouldn’t it work better if you chopped the parsley finely and boiled it for a few minutes in a pot?

Kevin: Yes it would but most people wouldn’t go to the trouble so I try to keep it simple.

Graeme: What’s wrong with the lazy bastards! Surely we haven’t reached that level of apathy. What else do you find effective to restore kidney function?

Kevin: Dandelion leaf tincture is the next best thing and nettle teas can also be really good. Cranberry is a good repair tool but it doesn’t turn the kidneys on. As I mentioned earlier, turning on and repairing are two quite different things. Parsley is a switch, as are most herbal supplements, but it is usually vitamins, minerals and amino acids that do the repair. There are not many other food items that are specific to the kidney. There are several that are for the blood and this, in turn will help the kidneys. Things like asparagus and beetroot are great for the blood.

Graeme: What’s the deal about rosemary in the three herb tea for the kidneys?

Kevin: Rosemary is about increasing hydration at the cellular level. The rosemary is great for stimulating some life into the renal glands so as to correct the hydration. The rosemary can be fresh or dried. It can be combined with the other herbs for three days and can be used once or twice a week after that, if desired.

Graeme: You view the liver as the centerpiece of holistic health. Why is this organ so profoundly important?

Kevin: Most cultures have seen the liver as the core of the human body. It is such a multi-function organ. It does many completely different jobs. Most of the organs are more specialized. The spirit, soul and emotion of a person are based in that general area as well. It is also unique in that you can remove a part of it and it can re-grow.

Graeme: You are the third natural health practitioner who has come up with the same diagnosis linking my acidity to poor liver function and yet I had a liver function test recently and there was no apparent problem.�  My doctor admitted that sometimes your liver has to be seriously ill before it even registers as a problem on this test. Are these tests a waste of time?

Kevin: Sometimes my test mirrors the conventional liver function test but just as often there is no relationship. One female client who measured very low on my test related a story that highlights the unreliability of these tests. She had recently had her gallbladder removed and the surgeon informed her that her liver was in a terrible state. In fact, he said it was the worst he had seen from a visual perspective. She subsequently requested tests from her GP and the liver function test showed no problems.

Graeme: You are also not too keen about gallbladder removal. What is the alternative strategy?

Kevin: Well it’s pretty much the same as the liver. Ginger tea, dandelion root extract and St Mary’s thistle. It’s far better to use these as a preventative because in my experience, by the time you are scheduled for gallbladder removal it is often too far gone to turn it around.

Graeme: What about coffee? It is often frowned upon as it is said to negatively affect the immune system. It is also said to be acidifying even though it is a rich source of the alkalizing mineral, potassium. Should I give up my beloved morning cup of coffee?

Kevin: I rarely see problems with coffee unless people are having several cups a day and even that varies from person to person. The delicious smell, the social nature of the drink and the other pleasures outweigh any of the negatives as long as you don’t overdo it. As I said, life is supposed to be fun!

Graeme: Type 2 diabetes has recently been termed the coming plague, as one in three American adults are now considered to be pre-diabetic. You claim that it is relatively easy to manage and prevent this disease. I read research recently where frequent cures were achieved with the consumption of raw food. How do we avoid this disease and can it be cured?

Kevin: Well it is about choice of foods and addressing digestion and liver. It is very rare to find someone with diabetes who has a good liver. Low GI foods, preferably raw, can work wonders when you also address your liver. Type 2 diabetes is the most lifestyle-determined of any of the degenerative illnesses and it can be cured. A low GI diet is the key to reducing both obesity and diabetes. You need to lose weight and become healthy at the same time. Many weight loss programs do not improve your health and may even have the reverse effect.

Graeme: I know that this is not covered in the book but I was wondering what your testing had revealed about vaccinations.

Kevin: Wow! That’s the million-dollar question. My main issue relates to the difficulty parents have in obtaining unbiased information. You are either a neglectful parent for not vaccinating or you are poisoning your children by going ahead. It is so hard for a parent to make a decision and I really feel for them. I’m not a fan of vaccinations particularly the newer ones like Swine Flu but if you decide to go ahead, at least make sure you have maximized the health of the child beforehand. Never get a sick deficient baby vaccinated. It is not worth the risk. I will stand up and say that I am anti-vaccination but I respect anyone’s personal decision. We have moved on so much in terms of understanding health that I question the validity of this strategy in many cases.

Graeme: I always stress that if you are not going to vaccinate you do need to take good care of the child’s nutrition to ensure good immune response. If you are feeding the child soft drink and donuts it may not be appropriate. The other issue is that it would be much better to wait a couple of years like the Japanese do. It would not be such an assault at that point.

Kevin: The problem is that it can be an assault at any age if you are not healthy. I witnessed this during the meningitis vaccination campaign five years ago in NZ. I saw so many teenagers hit the wall. From day one, kids developed chronic fatigue type symptoms.

Graeme: The book covered some herbal alternatives for both bacterial infections and viral infections. Ginger tea appears again. This is an amazing herb. Ginger contains shagaol, which has been shown to kill the cold virus at just 1 part per million. A tablespoon of grated ginger theoretically contains sufficient shagaol for this purpose. Ginger is also the single most alkalizing food. Have you found ginger effective against flu?

Kevin: I use both ginger and mullein tea as anti-virals and they both can be effective. I don’t find any basic difference, from a vibrational perspective, between the common flu and swine flu. I hate to generate fear on this issue, as there has been no shortage of fear mongering in relation to swine flu and the need to vaccinate. However, I do feel that viruses pose our biggest threat. They are so cunning and they can mutate and change. I see so many people affected by viruses. I am seeing increasing cases of a different type of virus that our immune systems cannot detect. They have a completely different vibration and the body does not know how to handle them. These viruses can potentially stay in the body for long periods.

Graeme: Some of the conventional viruses can also become long time residents. The herpes virus is a good example.

Kevin: Actually herpes doesn’t stay forever. Many times I see that long-term herpes infections are liver based. If you address the liver you can get rid of this virus. There is a difference between infection and ongoing sensitivity. It is common to see the body produce herpes symptoms when stressed, even though the virus itself no longer lives in the body. It is like some of the recent research on chemical sensitivity. Usually a person comes into serious contact with a chemical and then their body develops sensitivity to chemicals. This can develop to the point that they will exhibit symptoms when they see a neighbor spraying chemicals, even if the spray tank just contains water. Herpes symptoms can be related to an ongoing sensitivity and the virus may no longer be present.

Graeme: That’s interesting. You also have a solution for bacterial infections and it is particularly effective to counter bladder infections.

Kevin: Yes, and again this solution can be picked fresh from your garden, free of charge. I use chive tea with great success for a variety of bacterial problems. It involves a couple of tablespoons of chopped chives in a large cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least ten minutes before drinking. The idea with these herbal teas is to use them three times a day for no more than three or four days.


Graeme: What is your opinion of the principle tool to fight heart disease the lipid lowering drugs? Twenty three billion dollars worth of these drugs were sold last year. Was that a good health investment?

Kevin: My biggest issue with heart disease is that they treat symptoms and they don’t get back to why you have heart disease. The most common primary cause links back to kidney and liver performance and/or poor circulation. Many people these days are concerned about the side effects of drugs, and rightly so, but I always try to impress two things. Firstly, the more healthy you are the less likely you are to be negatively affected by the drugs and, of course, the more healthy your body, the less likely you are to need the drugs. The first step is to use high doses of flax seed oil and other omega 3 sources to improve circulation.

Graeme: That is something else I was meaning to ask you. I am aware of the critical importance of the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. We should ideally have a 2 to 1 ratio between these fatty acids but in Australia that ratio is out to 20 to 1 and in the US it is 26 to 1. The problem with this imbalance relates to inflammation. The inflammatory cascade involves protein messengers that direct the initial inflammation response and this is followed by an anti- inflammatory healing response, which is directed by a different group of protein messengers. Omega 6 fatty acids are the building blocks for the inflammatory messengers and omega 3 acids build the messengers (prostaglandins) that trigger the healing. What happens when you have ten times more of the building blocks for the triggers of inflammation? Well, you have inflammatory issues and inflammation has been linked to every degenerative disease. There is a particularly powerful link to heart disease. Anyway, my question relates to your different emphasis on the reasons for omega 3 supplementation. You see it more as a pipe cleaner than a healing agent, with regards to heart disease.

Kevin: It does achieve that much needed anti-inflammatory effect perfectly but good doses of omega 3 are also a great tool to clean out any blocked blood vessels. It is the simplest way I know of to clear out plaque and fatty deposits. A good dose involves double the label rate for about three weeks. I prefer oil to capsules.

Graeme: Cod-liver oil is my favourite as it contains high omega 3s and luxury levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. The secret to avoiding the fish flavoured reflux that can put people off this oil, is to take your tablespoon with some lemon juice. Then there is no unpleasant taste and no reflux.

Kevin: I have also had good results with emu oil and flaxseed is great. The main problem I see with oil supplementation is about volume. People rarely take enough to do the job. A tablespoon of oil is equivalent to 5 or 6 capsules in volume. We need good volumes for three weeks to achieve the benefits we are seeking. A tablespoon morning and night is easier than taking 12 capsules a day. I recommend that oil and joint supplements be taken at double the dose for three weeks to get a good response. The label recommendations are usually more about maintenance and are not therapeutic rates. We should all be taking omega 3 oils on a daily basis. Back to the heart disease issue. I have often seen people remain on the drugs while they are addressing their health. When they return to the GP he will say that the drugs are doing a great job because everything is improving, so they had better stay on their medication. The fear thing kicks in with if you don’t, and people get confused. The best strategy is to buy your own blood pressure monitor so you can monitor your own progress. You can find out what lowers and raises your blood pressure. Parsley tea, ginger, dandelion root and leaf and omega 3 fatty acids will usually have a good impact on high blood pressure. If you want to get off the medication, then you can monitor yourself accurately to ensure that you no longer need the medication.

Graeme: I am noticing a major change in people as I travel around the world. There is a huge thirst for information and people seem much more open to all kinds of ideas. It could even be linked to the mind shift that has been forecast for this point in our history. Have you noticed anything similar?

Kevin: Yes I have. There is a change underway and I am seeing it in ordinary people. It’s not just the beads and jandals (thongs) brigade. I don’t buy into the doomsday predictions and conspiracy theories. I love to live in the now and accept that what will be, will be. It’s fascinating to observe this mind shift happening though.

Graeme: Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your findings. I am sure that the information you have offered will help a great many people.

Kevin: No problem, it’s been a pleasure.

 Article written by Graeme Sait with the help of Natural Practitioner Kevin McDonald

Cellulite solutions

More than 90 per cent of all women are reported to have cellulite. The good news is that by living a balanced lifestyle and following a comprehensive skin care program, your cellulite can be significantly improved.

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is a non-medical term used to describe the fat deposits under the skin that are characterised by a dimpled or orange peel affect. The skin is connected by strands of fibrous tissue to deeper tissue layers and compartments that contain fat cells. When fat cells increase in size, these compartments bulge and create the dimpled appearance on the skin, especially around the hips, bottom and thighs. It is thought that genetics, hormones, lack of exercise, an unbalanced diet, pregnancy and aging, can all contribute to the cellulite problem.

Does the right diet help?

Eating the right food can help your skin become firmer. Really this comes down to making sure you consume a well-balanced diet, with a focus on fresh fruit and vegetables from organic or biodynamic farms and unprocessed foods. Your body’s acid-alkaline balance is also important as it plays a key role in the functioning of your connective tissue.

Remember to eat foods rich in capillary strengthening antioxidants such as berries, cherries and grapes. If your capillaries are strong your blood can flow freely to the fat cells and reduce cellulite forming.

Does exercise help?

Physical exercise combats cellulite by stimulating blood circulation and fat burning. When it comes to exercise, aim for regular and sustainable physical activities. Never miss an opportunity to walk rather than take the car or elevator. Well-trained muscles in your bottom make your skin tissues firmer.

Your Three Step Plan to smoother thighs

1. Gently exfoliate

Be cautious of harsh exfoliants which can disturb the skin’s regeneration rhythm and damage its protective barrier and immune functions. Gentle, natural treatment is what is needed. A Birch body scrub will stimulate circulation and eliminate toxins via the skin, gently massaging away only dead skin cells. When used regularly it may help to reduce the signs of cellulite, leaving your skin feeling silky, cleansed and ready to receive oils and lotions. It is ideal to get a scrub containing Birch and other organic ingredients to not only detoxify the skin but replenish and support the skin’s regenerative process.
2. Revitalising massage

Next, massaging troublesome areas with organic birch oil can help to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Organic birch oil is well known for its purifying and detoxifying effects, the plant encourage metabolic activity and the excretion of fluids. In fact, results from an independent trial conducted by a team of German dermatologist showed, elasticity and smoothness after just 28 days. (Source: Results from 20 women, as compared to the initial skin condition, DC Derma Consultant GmbH 10/2003)

3. Internal support

While diet and exercise can diminish cellulite, a large part of the condition is due to toxins and the fat that accrue within the body, so improving your lymphatic system will also help. The lymphatic system is a specialised network of connective tissues that control your body’s waste removal system and fat metabolism. You can help stimulate your lymphatic system by drinking lots of water to flush out toxins, aim for at least eight glasses of pure water daily. Adding organic silver birch juice, a lymphatic cleanser, to your water will cleanse your system and leave your skin looking clear and healthy.

Why Birch?

The birch tree was one of the first trees to re-establish itself after the last Ice age. It has a great need for water, but it does not store water, instead it continuously circulates water through its system by draining water up from the roots and then evaporating it from its leaves. This ‘flushing out’ effect is the same principle by which it works in the body, whereby the circulator, lymphatic and detoxification systems are stimulated.

The pH Miracle – Acid/Alkaline Balance

There is now a wealth of scientific data accumulating that demonstrates how important acid/alkaline balance is for long-term health and vitality. Test strips for pH levels can be easily acquired and used to test a person’s acid/alkaline balance, with a first morning, fasting urinary pH giving the most accurate, convenient indicator of overall physiological acid/alkaline balance. Optimal results should be around pH 6.5 – 7.5; any result of pH 6.0 or less indicates some degree of metabolic acidosis, and requires attention.

An increased acid load will impair healing

Metabolic acidosis is unfortunately, very common in people today. This chronic, low level of metabolic acidosis is primarily caused by diet, and can have some serious long-term repercussions for some people. Acidosis can also interfere with your treatments, reducing the clinical efficiency of some of the best naturopathic interventions. In particular, make sure to evaluate the acid/alkaline balance of a person undergoing treatment for:

  • Toxicity
  • Fatigue
  • Stress Management
  • Pain Management
  • Osteoporosis
  • Body composition (i.e. muscle gain)

Alkalisation for Detoxification

Improving elimination of toxins requires repair of the digestive tract and restoration of healthy gut flora, with rebalancing of hepatic Phase I, II and III detox enzymes to facilitate the chemical biotransformation of toxins into water-soluble metabolites for excretion in the urine. This process generally gets people feeling great. A good detox program will yield even greater clinical results for a person if they would also work to alkalise their system, as renal excretion of toxins is greatly enhanced by urinary alkalization. This is why a detox program containing alkalising nutrients such as potassium citrate and glutamine.

Fatigue people may be acidic

Metabolic acidosis may impair cellular metabolism and reduce ATP production, thereby worsening existing fatigue. Further, patients with impaired mitochondrial function may not be able to effectively produce ATP aerobically, thereby relying more heavily on anaerobic metabolism. Unfortunately, anaerobic metabolism, as well as being relatively inefficient, is also an acidifying metabolic process. This therefore contributes to their net acid load, potentially further impairing ATP production. This reciprocal relationship between metabolic acidosis and fatigue may rapidly become a self-perpetuating cycle that needs to be addressed through dietary alkalization.

Is Metabolic Acidosis stressing you out?

Anxious, hyperadrenalised people will struggle to relax and unwind if they are in a state of metabolic acidosis as tissue acidity stimulates glucocorticoid production and promotes an endocrine stress response. Conversely, administration of alkalising mineral supplements has been shown to reduce plasma cortisol. As well as the dietary changes discussed, consider supplementing with a product to promote more rapid tissue alkalization and relaxation of the stress response in agitated, anxious people. The magnesium and potassium within a formula combine very effectively with taurine and glutamine to increase acid excretion, alkalise the body and moderate the stress response.

Acid = Pain

Drops in physiological pH activate neuronal acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs). ASICs specifically sense acidic shifts within the neuronal synaptic cleft, triggering nociceptive signals and sensitizing pathways. Therefore, any person suffering from chronic pain who is in a state of metabolic acidosis may only ever experience limited relief unless their acid/alkaline balance is addressed. Restoring healthy physiological pH through dietary changes and/or supplementation with an alkalising mineral supplement can yield dramatic results. For example, a recent study in patients with chronic lower back pain, found that a 4 week alkalising supplement regime reduced pain by 50% in more than 90% of subjects.

Like acid eating away at bone…

The human skeleton is a great reservoir of alkalising minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Bone tissue is involved in maintaining a healthy pH balance by providing alkalising minerals to effectively buffer systemic acidosis. These minerals are released into systemic circulation via osteoclast activity. Acidosis is a key trigger for osteoclast activity, with osteoclast being virtually inactive at pH 7.4 but being increasingly active at lower pHs. Metabolic acidosis can, therefore cause increased bone demineralisation, contributing to osteoporosis and reduced bone mineral density.

Wanting to attain an ideal body composition?

If a person wants to gain muscle, acidosis is an important consideration. Metabolic acidosis can contribute to muscle wasting as muscle tissue is a primary source of glutamine, and glutamine is used to excrete acid via the kidneys. Therefore, in people who are having difficulty gaining or maintaining lean muscle mass, consider alkalising.

Eat yourself Alkaline

Dietary changes are essential for alkalization to be a long-term achievement. This basically requires a patient to reduce their intake of acid-forming foods (e.g. grains and dairy), whilst increasing their intake of foods high in alkalising minerals such as magnesium and potassium. These nutrients are found in a variety of whole, unrefined foods, especially fruit and vegetables.

Go green and rebalance your body

If you own a swimming pool you regularly check the pH balance, but how many of us think about our body’s pH or acid/alkaline balance? There are some important health reasons why you should!
Symptoms of mild acidosis

  • Lack of energy
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Anxiety, nervousness, irritability
  • Ovarian cysts, polycystic ovaries, benign breast cysts
  • Headache

PH is basically a measure of how acid or alkaline a substance is. All organic matter, including the human body has a pH level. The pH scale covers a range from zero to 14, where seven is neutral, less than seven is acidic, and above seven is alkaline. The ideal blood pH is 7.4, very slightly on the alkaline side of neutral. Healthy metabolic processes require an alkaline environment.
Too much acid
Unfortunately modern diet and lifestyles are making our bodies overly acidic. Meat, pasta, sugar and processed foods are all highly acidic. Even protein, cereals and grains can cause what is known as metabolic acidosis. This is where the body is forced to neutralise excess acid by using minerals such as calcium which, if not available elsewhere in the body, is taken from our bones!
When acid levels build up to intolerable levels, the bloodstream deposits the acid as crystals in the body’s various joints. Here they form spurs that literally cement the joints together, replacing the natural synovial fluids that lubricate joints and causing the telltale symptoms of arthritis. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and all disease-producing organisms flourish in an acidic medium and die in alkaline conditions. So once our body pH starts to drop below neutral, we are opening the door to disease.
Increasing alkalinity
Thankfully, high acid levels are easy to correct with simple dietary changes: eat more alkaline food, such as raw vegetables, fruits and nuts, and cut back on processed foods, meat and sugar. You can also take the following alkaline-forming supplements.
Liquid Chlorophyll: Plants produce chlorophyll through a chemical process called photo-synthesis, liquid chlorophyll has the same effect on the body as iron, building blood naturally. It is a powerful tonic, purifying the liver and removing toxins from bones, blood, tissues and intestines while building up red blood cells. Because liquid chlorophyll helps to thicken and strengthen cell walls, it also benefits the immune system. Liquid chlorophyll helps the body heal faster, deodorises the bowel and keeps the colon healthy by destroying disease causing bacteria. It is non-toxic and soothes body tissues, so is considered very safe for people of all ages. Always choose an ethanol or alcohol-free brand. Liquid chlorophyll has increased in popularity since well-known Australian model Megan Gale announced she finds it great for her skin: ‘I drink two to three litres of water a day and, whenever possible, I add chlorophyll to it.’ Gale says she has been drinking chlorophyll with her water for over a year now, adding 30 ml of the dark green supplement to her water bottle each day. ‘I enjoy it more than just drinking plain water, so it actually helps me drink more water,’ she adds. ‘It’s nothing I can show or prove, but it makes me feel clean from the inside and I do feel like my complexion is a bit better and my eyes are a bit clearer.’
Spirulina: This natural plant algae is extremely alkalising and a fantastic source of energy. It is also a rich source of minerals, vitamins and essential nutrients and can even be taken during pregnancy.
Alfalfa: If you don’t want to munch on alfalfa sprouts all day, you might prefer taking them in capsule form. Alfalfa, like liquid chlorophyll, is a systemic alkaliser. Alfalfaalso provides a complete source of protein, which is very useful for vegetarians. So it’s worthwhile keeping your acid/alkaline balance in check, if for no other reason than to keep your bones healthy and your energy level at an optimum.
So it’s worthwhile keeping your acid/alkaline balance in check, if for no other reason than to keep your bones healthy and your energy level at an optimum.