Dr. Bernard Jensen–nutrition expert with over 60 years of clinical experience, author of some 55 books, world lecturer, philosopher/humanist made a triumphant return to the 1996 FACT Annual Cancer/ Nutrition Convention in Elizabeth, New Jersey. A frequent and much beloved speaker at the podium in times past, the doctor had been conspicuously absent for several years because of what many might aptly call “a bizarre confluence of events” which thrust him into circumstances deemed irreversible by conventional practitioners, but from which he made a remarkable recovery. Dr. Jensen related this amazing health odyssey to the convention audience and while all were inspired to see the 88-year-old doctor looking so joyful and robust, none were perhaps as delighted as the good doctor himself! This is his story.
About 3 years ago at the age of 85, Dr. Jensen began having chronic hip pain. He thought perhaps it stemmed from an old injury he’d incurred many years ago while riding his favorite horse. The horse had stumbled and fallen, rolling over Dr. Jensen in the process, resulting in hip pain which eventually subsided. Assuming this was the origin of his current pain, Dr. Jensen tried for a while to live with it, but after months of no respite, he decided to go for a check-up. He was given all kinds of tests MRI, X-rays, even the PSA conventional test for prostate cancer (which, incidentally, is acknowledged not to be accurate 100% of the time). As it turned out, the attending team of physicians had little to offer on the hip situation, nothing broken, nothing to “fix.” But what they did say took Dr. Jensen totally by surprise. They said that he had prostate cancer and recommended only chemotherapy and radiation!
Now, Bernand Jensen is a man who has practiced, as well as preached, the well-rounded natural lifestyle for most of his long, fruitful life. He thought his only problem was falling off the horse, but it seemed fate had something else in mind. As might happen to most anyone suddenly confronted with an out-of-the-blue cancer diagnosis, he was momentarily stunned. As he put it, “I wondered about being old for the first time in my life. What was going on? And what to do about it?” For an instant he even asked himself if he ,was perhaps being punished for some terrible thing he’d done.
When the doctors finished their dire prescription, Dr. Jensen asked what they thought about not taking chemo or radiation. The answer: “Then we give you 6 months to live!”
Well, that seems to have been enough to jolt Dr. Jensen back to reality. He said, “Well, doctor, I’ve been following nutrition for about 60 years and I feel I’m going to try the nutritional way first What do you think?”
One doctor replied that he didn’t think nutrition would do any good, but added, “Of course, I don’t know anything about nutrition. I’m a doctor.”
And so it was that Bernard Jensen set out on his new life as a patient. He went back home to Escondido, California, with his wife, Marie, and lived on carrot juice and water. It wasn’t easy, but it did give him a chance to clear his mind and get his head straight about the whole thing (as well as detoxify his body). He reasoned that with his constant travels and impatience to write and carry on with his work, he had allowed his body to run down to a point of imbalance – a state of exhaustion where things just don’t work as well as they should, particularly the primary functions of digestion and elimination. While his whole heart and soul were always focused on sharing his knowledge with others, he had neglected his own body!
His first step to recovery was to accept the FACT that, indeed, he had a problem that had to be taken care of, if he was to go on. He learned that despite all of his great knowledge and worldly accomplishments, he had to look deep inside himself to find exactly what he was made of. What he found was a mighty determined spirit, “I’m on this powerful thing. I’m going to beat this thing and I’m going to overcome it!” It was an exceedingly difficult, but crucial time.
Feeling weak and suffering with the unrelenting hip pain, he decided to go with Marie to stay at the home of a good friend, Dr. Piller, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to try to get well. After about 6 months of taking only juices to nourish his body, Dr. Jensen had lost 70 pounds, going down to 85 pounds. He realized that, though his head was clear and his spirits strong, his body had no energy. He felt cold constantly and the hip pain was still quite severe. He decided to go back to the hospital for more tests to see what he had accomplished As luck would have it, he was inadvertently dropped on the x-ray table right onto the aching hip!
While in Idaho, Dr. Jensen decided that goat’s milk would be good for him. It turned out that a goat on a farm about 25 miles away from the Piller home was about to kid, so Marie, his wife and “Little Angel,” as he most reverently calls her, made the trip at least once a day to get fresh, warm milk which was added to his carrot juice regimen. Four days after starting on the goat’s milk, he noticed an amazing thing. He began to warm up and the pain in the hip went away, returning only briefly once or twice in the next couple of days, before it completely disappeared! While at first it seemed like a miracle, Dr. Jensen realized that all his professional life he had been teaching his patients the miraculous healing powers of foods like goat’s milk. Yet it was as a patient himself that the wonder of it truly came home to him.
As time went on, he added other whole, fresh foods to his diet He began to gain weight and strength. He learned to relax and not fret about all the work undone. He took each day at a time, trying to do all the good things for himself he’d been telling his patients to do for so many years.
Finally, having regained his normal weight and vigor, he felt ready to get back to his work. Just about a year had passed since he’d received his diagnosis.
He decided to return to the doctors for another PSA test. This time it was down from a very high point of 1600 to 2! Needless to say, the doctors who had delivered their dire prognosis were quite astonished!
At this point, Dr. Jensen felt he had the situation under control and was anxious to get back home and into his regular schedule. On the way home to Escondido, feeling in something of a celebratory mood after the long ordeal, he and Marie decided to take a couple of weeks off in Palm Springs just to relax a bit and then get back to normal. On their last night there, Gavin McCloud, the actor who played the Captain on the TV series, “The Love Boat,” an old friend, invited them out to dinner. They had a lovely meal, and as they were heading back in the car to the condominium, they were hit in the rear by a truck. As Dr. Jensen puts it, “Unbelievable! It accordioned Gavin’s Cadillac. My wife and his wife sat in the back seat and had to climb out over the front seat to get out.. .1 was tied, buckled in in the front seat.” With great difficulty, Dr. Jensen was freed from the car. He had no feeling in his legs. They wanted to take him immediately to the hospital, but he adamantly refused, saying, “No, you can’t take me to the hospital. I just came out of a hospital a couple of months before because I wanted these extra tests because I wanted to see what was going on, and of all the things, in the hospital they dropped me on the x-ray table right on the hip and brought a lot of that hip trouble back again!”
One can only imagine the thoughts that must have been running rampant in the head of this gentle, recently recovered octogenarian. Deja vu all over again! He just got finished with one life-boggling problem, only to be hit with another one. It was a double whammy!
When Dr. Jensen decided to have some tests done, the doctors who conducted the tests found no nerve activity in his legs. They told Dr. Jensen he would never walk again! A lesser man might have indulged in a little self-pity at this point, but Dr. Jensen seems to be made of different stuff. At that moment, he heard a soft voice say, “He’ll walk again.” It was Marie, his “Little Angel” sitting beside him. And then, as he tells it, he heard a divine voice echo, “You can walk again.”
That is the thought that sustained him as he lay in bed for several months with no movement in his lower extremities whatsoever. Then one day, contemplating his immobility, he noticed that he could move his big toe. He began working on the other toes, each day concentrating on a different one until he could move all ten. He proudly showed the wagging toes to his doctors and asked, “How about getting well here?”
The response of the doctor was, “Only if you’re a lucky boy!”
Well, that was all the motivation Dr. Jensen needed. A friend put up a sign on the wall at the footside of his bed that read, “You are a lucky boy!” And he believed it. He believed he deserved to recover from this thing and that was perhaps the key to his recovery. He was on his way!
The doctors offered him a new drug, but Dr. Jensen told them that the foods would do the job better the fresh, whole foods that had enabled him to come back from the cancer. He worked daily with a physical therapist to try to spread mobility to his legs and each day he felt some small, hard-fought success. Perhaps the lessons he’d learned in recovering from the cancer enabled him to get down to business More quickly with this latest “challenge,” to take each day at a time, to trust unequivocally in the body’s amazing healing ability, to be forgiving of himself while taking full responsibility for his recuperation, to appreciate anew the wondrous healing powers of foods which he had “prescribed” to patients throughout his long clinical career.
It would be easy for someone in his position to become totally absorbed in himself and his own predicament But Dr. Jensen, though a very humble man, is not an ordinary person, and perhaps above all, he is a giver. In the midst of adjusting to his new situation, he was thinking about how his experience could be of help to others. So certain was he of his recovery that he arranged for a friend to record his daily progress on video. Some of the tape was shown at the convention and it is, indeed, an incredible thing to watch the struggles this man put himself through. We see him go from an extremely gaunt and feeble-looking “old person” who could barely sit up without assistance to where he could move his legs toward the edge of the bed and then, eventually, swing them over to the floor to stand up on a walker. We view him working out with weight machines, so fragile at first, and then with increasing vigor, but always a big smile on his face. We observe his body gradually filling out to where he looks solid and rosy again. He seems to be enjoying his progress immensely, excited about the changes each day brings. It’s plain to see that he truly feels like a lucky boy! In his words, “I’ll do a little more today than I did then and I’ll keep improving. You can’t stop now!.” I don’t believe we’ve ever seen such a dramatic true life journey documented like this. Through the miracle of video tape we see him literally bringing himself back to life. Viewing the tape, the words “awe-inspiring” came often to mind.
It took nearly 2 full years for Dr. Jensen to build his body back to glowing health. Of prime importance in his recovery: “This is the greatest thing I will tell you today: the physical, mental and spiritual must be balanced. It’s not a matter of being a churchgoer. It’s not a matter of being a goody boy or a goody girl. It’s a matter that you better decide how you’re going to respect this body. You have to respect what goes into it You have to respect how you treat it”
And how did he respect what goes into his body? By providing it with a balanced diet of whole, fresh foods, especially the “builders” like raw seeds that are capable of making a whole plant. He found that sesame butter (tahini)a tablespoon a day was essential to his building back program. He found that eggs which contain all the materials necessary to create a whole life (a chicken) are a wonderful source of balanced vitamins and minerals, as were the raw goat’s milk and the raw salads”the natural, the pure and the whole foods.”
He took particular care to avoid the “five sins in civilization”: Wheat, one of the highest catarrh producers in the body; cow’s milk; refined sugar, fats: too much concentrated fats rather than fats naturally occurring in whole foods like nut butters, avocados, and too much heated oil which produces harmful byproducts; and last, table salt: obtaining his sodium from vegetables rather than the irritant sodium chloride used as table salt.
Dr. Jensen was also ever mindful of the care of the four elimination channels: the Kidneys (“We die when the kidneys don’t work anymore.”); the lungs; the skin which “eliminates 2 pounds of toxic material everyday…invisible evaporation, uric acid, mucus all coming out through the skin”; and the colon (“When the bowel structure isn’t eliminating anymore, then you’re in trouble!”).
To help the kidney elimination he used a teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll’, nature’s cleanser, in water every morning, followed by a glass of goat whey, to help digestion and bowel balance. He found that a half cup of shredded carrot and beet was a “most wonderful thing for fiber in the bowel.” Plenty of water is also vital to help the body rid itself of toxic wastes: “When you’re all dried up inside, with arthritis and hardness in your body, it’s going to take a lot of liquid to go in there to dissolve it.” Water is also necessary to dissolve nutrients and, thus, facilitate entry into the cells.
Right up there in importance, next to nutrition and elimination, was his daily exercise regimen to restore strength, muscle tone, and range of motion. Every day before his workout he had someone help him with dry skin brushing until he could do it himself and he marveled at the soft wrinkle-free new skin that was coming in. It was taut and rosy like that of a young person. Mobility gradually returned to his limbs and his hips. “I found that I could move my hips in all directions!”
His doctors were astounded: “It’s an absolute miracle! You have made a complete rejuvenation. You’ve come out and made new tissue right from the beginning. To make this right from the Beginning!”
And so it is that this soft-spoken but strong-willed dotor – looking fit and fine – came to make his victorious “homecoming” to the FACT Convention this last October. At the conclusion of his talk, standing before an enthralled audience, a radiant smile on his face, he said that now that he had been given a second chance, he was “going to do better things than I ever did before and I’m going to do it now and I’m going to do it for one reason and that is that I love you all very much.” Need we mention the standing ovation?
Bernard Jensen is one 88 year old who is on the move! We look forward to hearing a whole lot more from this very lucky boy.