BB: When did you become interested in nutrition and health?
GS: We talk about it as if it were something new. I remember my great grandparents one was French and one was German I remember that food on the table was very important.
But then this was when food was natural, when there was no such thing as pasteurized milk, no such thing as homogenized milk.
They didn’t gas bananas, they didn’t dye oranges first gas them to get the green out of the peel and then dye them and wax them and bleach them and I don’t know what all. None of that was going on.
We didn’t eat 200 pounds of sugar a year. When we had ice cream we had it once a week, it wasn’t Christmas or party everyday. And we didn’t go down the street stuffing something down the hatch every two minutes.
Everybody is so starved for nutrition that they overeat today. They are stuffing, stuffing, constantly.
Nutrition is what they are looking for for their bodies and their hunger pains. Not just fillers. And when you think of what they fill things with wood in the bread for fiber! Can you imagine?
BB: So have you been conscious of good health all your life?
GS: Well, it happened I was producing pictures in the 20’s and thought I had ulcers because if you are a producer, you are supposed to have ulcers. So I described my tummy ache to this stranger over the phone, a doctor in Pasadena, and made an appointment.
When I got there, he didn’t say, “Hello, how are you?” or anything else; he just motioned to a chair opposite his desk and said: “Take your earrings off.”
I thought: “How did I get in here?”
There was no nurse around and I thought I was in the presence of a maniac. Take my earrings off! What did that have to do with the pain I came in with?
But later on I found out that if you have good ear lobes, you have good adrenal glands ones that sit on top of our kidneys and if you have good adrenal glands, you have good stamina and you can survive an awful lot of abuse and you can overwork and get by on little sleep.
His next words were: “What did you have to eat last night?” Well, if you went in today, holding your belly with pain, a doctor wouldn’t say,
“‘What did you eat?” He’d probably say, “Here take this; it will stop the pain.”
That’s as insane as having the fire department come in and turn off the alann and go away without finding out where the fire is. We have these alarms pain to tell us something. I am interested in cause; I’m like a detective.
. So I told him what I’d had the night before. It took me sometime to tell it. Finally, at the very end, he said: “Now I want you to close your eyes and mentally picture each item as I call it out.”
But a deviled egg wasn’t just a deviled egg. He put mustard and pepper and caviar and I don’t lcnow what all and mixed it up and put it back in the egg.
As he called each item out, I mentally put it on a plate in front of me. When we had succeeded in going through six or seven courses of this mess of food, he said, “Now I want you to mentally picture putting all this in a pail and then tell me what animal including a pig, would eat it.”
With that I said, “Oh, Dr. Bieler, I felt sick when I came in here and now I think I am going to throw up.”
And he said, “Well, why do people use their bodies like garbage pails?” So that’s where it all started. I then became very interested in whatever I put in my body.
BB: Do you feel that this is responsible for your good health now?
GS: Yes. I think I would have been dead long ago if I had eaten the way the average person eats. They go to a restaurant; they don’t know what that kitchen is like.
The pots and pans are probably aluminum which is not the thing to cook in as far as I am concerned and many authorities agree. Their kitchens are sprayed. The food is from farms where, again, it has been sprayed and where the soil is depleted and the poor farmer has been sort of run by the government, the agricultural department, and sold a bill of goods about insecticides.
So they have succeeded in ruining the soil; the earthworms can’t even live in it anymore. And by the time you get the food, after it is shipped in a refrigerated car, the vitamins and the energy and the life are gone out of it.
BB: By the time you cook it you only get about 25 percent of its original value.
GS: I don’t think you can get 25 percent with heat. Heat practically kills everything. For my oatmeal and my grains I put on boiling water and put the top on and just let them steam. It’s not really cooking them at all. That way you keep a lot Of the enzymes and the life of whatever it is that your are eating.
When there was no such thing as “health food,” I remember they had paper that you wrapped your vegetables in so when you put them in boiling water you kept all the juice. In those days I had to cook and this is the way we had our vegetables steamed, so that they weren’t floating around in water.
BB: What about vitamins? Do you take supplements?
GS: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t have supplements for weeks. When I am traveling, I fmd it difficult to get the proper food that I need so I want to be sure that I have had enough C and enough B and things that I think my particular body needs.
For goodness sake, everybody must remember that they are different even from their own relatives. This business of the doctor giving you a pill because it saved so and so or because it did great things for Johnny!
Well, that doesn’t mean that it is going to do the same for you it might do just the opposite.
I don’t think you should take more vitamins than you do food although they really are food. And I take them with food unless it is something to take before, or first thing in the morning. [Edit. Note: It is my opinion that her doctor, Dr. Bieler, prescribed vitamins which were actually food in pill form. There are many vitamins on the market which are synthetic, have coloring, preservatives and binders and, therefore, are not food.]
There is a Professor Kevin, who wrote the book Biological Transmutation, who says the soil is the same way our body is. One thing helps you to make another and so he claims that horsetail is a silica which helps you make your own calcium. So I would prefer that to the average supplement.
BB: Do you think that your stomach dictates what it needs, that you know intuitively what to eat? GS: Yes, I think so, especially when you are clean inside when you have been fasting. Your brain is so much faster and quicker then. I remember one fast I was on for 10 days I swore I’d never eat again. I was just going to eat petals of flowers. I felt when I was walking, I was just not touching the ground.
BB: Do you fast regularly or instinctively?
GS: Instinctively. And that also goes for my cleansing program you lcnow, cleansing myself out with water.
BB: Are there any main staples that you rely on in particular?
GS: Well, I think that brown rice is a very good one and a very natural one. lt’s a whole food. Around here we don’t have any such thing as flour. If we want to make anything with wheat flour, we will grind our own little berries.
Once in a while my husband will make an onion pie, and to make the crust for this he will put the berries in a little grinder until he gets the consistency that he wants in the flour. If he is using corn, he will do the same thing. He loves to cook. He didn’t know how to boil water before I growled at him!
BB: Do you and your husband prepare your own meals?
GS: Yes. We eat at home most of the time. BB: Do you exercise?
GS: I make myself walk. But it is hard to walk on cement. There is not enough grass or sand. When I was in Mexico, I would roll out of bed and walk, doing mental exercises, eye exercises, breathing deeply and batting my eyes at the sun, getting some honest to God sunlight in my eyes.
BB: So you believe in exercise?
GS: Yes, I think it is very important. But I don’t do exactly what you call exercises. I did yoga for a while, but I travel so much, I found it very difficult. Every hotel I was in I had to find a comer to stand on my head so I gave that up a long time ago.
BB: Have you ever been conscious of how much you eat?
GS: No. I can be starving to death, but I am revolted if a plate is piled high with food mislunash food. If I go to a buffet, I want to be able to try this and try that and see what I am eating. I may go back for more of that particular thing or I might try something else. But the average person has got his first,.second, third helpings and dessert on top of that.
When I see these commercials where people look like camibals with a sandwich that looks the size of their head, I am revolted. They don’t even chew it. And, you lcnow, you digest your grains in your mouth, not in your stomach; 50 percent of digestion is in the mouth with the saliva.
BB: What would you advise people to eat, or be conscious of in their diets, in order to slow down the aging process?
GS: The average person’s fare candy bars, commercial ice cream, soft drinks, things that are artificially colored, artificially flavored isn’t real food. I was in a business of make believe to entertain people but I’ll be darned if I want to eat make believe food! I want a real potato, I don’t want one made from plaster. I want a real, honest to God, orange that has been ripened on the tree. It’s important to be sure you are not toxic inside and try to keep yourself clean
If you can keep yourself cleaner inside than you are outside, your body will heal itself.
It is so magnificent, it is so incredible think of seven trillion cells working their little heads and ears off constantly and never sleeping and if something breaks down, they run and take care of it.
I got so tired of talking to older people, so impatient with them. There was a time when I was a fanatic I practically stopped strangers and said: “Don’t, please don’t eat that.”
That’s how I met my husband. He was a total stranger, sitting next to me and I said that sugar is poison, I wouldn’t have it in my lcitchen, much less my stomach.
But now, frankly, you could chew ground glass in front of me and I could listen to it and I wouldn’t give a damn. If you are that stupid and you know that little about yourself, then that is your destiny and your life.
If you ask: “Do you think this is good for me?” I might say: “No, it is not,” but common sense should tell you that.
Young people are the only ones that are going to save this planet. And if we can teach them in school that they are the most beautiful, unique thing in the whole solar system then we will have something to cling to. They will be responsible for themselves and their destiny.
BB: If they could only start taking pride in their bodies as a temple…
GS: They would. If our houses get cobwebs or mice or termites or bad plumbing we can always move out but you can’t move out of your body. It is a shame to destroy it!
Dr. Henry Bieler was Ms. Swanson’s doctor. He was the author of Food Is Your Best Medicine, which is available on the FACT Book List.