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Author: Diana Milne
Title: The Complete Organic Woman

In my late teens, I met a boy who was a vegetarian. I had never met a vegetarian before. He also made his own bread, which tasted a good deal better than anything normally available. I was impressed with the logic of his arguments.Then I came on Doris Grant's inspiring books (Dear Housewives, Housewives Beware, Your Daily Bread etc), written after she had recovered from serious illness by changing her diet to fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and by adopting the Hay Diet, which is essentially not mixing acid fruit with starch or starch with meat.

Doris Grant's books made so much sense to me that I followed them rigorously, though combining them with the pleasure of providing interesting meals from good and fresh ingredients so wonderfully evoked by the cookery writer, Elizabeth David.

I had always had a love of working the land, wild life and the seasons (I had helped on a farm and later on a market garden in my school holidays) so wherever I have been in my life, I have usually had some sort of garden, growing what vegetables I could. The miracle of the earth and the dependence of all creatures upon its bounty helped me to throw off the very strong shackles of religion binding me from boarding school (although not its moral imperatives.)

The sheer joy of being part of the seasons' rhythms, following their progress in planting, growing, harvesting and hibernation have given a stability to my life, recognizing the symptoms of disfunction when hectic work and play schedules overcame me. From disfunction there comes optimism as the body responds positively to self-healing (usually a short fast and/or a compress), having long ago realized that a dose of aspirin and the usual catalogue of drugs only made matters worse.

The quite astonishing fact is that urbanization in the western world (in aspiration, if not in fact) have distanced people from the source of their food and from the crucial role the earth plays in our lives ('dust to dust' etc). Even Nature Cure Practitioners ( with one or two honourable exceptions) do not feel the affinity with the earth or grow their own food).

Even more astonishing is the fact that the medical profession, upon whom most people rely for guidance also appear to overlook the basic tenets for a healthy life: wholesome food, exercise and rest. Science is being made a mockery of by the elusive search for the one vitamin, mineral etc. which will cure cancer (this week's miracle is beer) or heart problems, ignoring entirely the basic tenets. Nature Cure adherents have a duty to remind those in charge of the apparatus of society - health centres, hospitals,schools etc. - of these tenets whenever they can.

While a life that is nourished by food that is natural, wholesome, fresh gives it a strong immune system, society's present day use of so many polluting substances (with their residues in unsuspected places) can create infection that demands a short sharp suppression with an antibiotic, and many in the Nature Cure movement recognize this.

The general failure of orthodox medicine to reduce the incidence of health problems has given rise to many 'alternative' practices, such as homeopathy, acapuncture, reflexology, etc. many of them ancient disciplines from across the world. In recognizing the vital necessity of living in harmony with the earth, there are threads that get overlooked in the so-called 'straight' Nature Cure world (whatever that is). Obviously there are rhythms that most of us do not understand; flows of energy that can become blocked. Most of us have had minor or major accidents that can upset the proper functioning of parts of our bodies, and my feeling is that the world of Nature Cure, while always preaching the basic tenets, should be looking into these individual disciplines as well.

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