Naturopath Jonn Matsen's Eating Alive program looks to create natural health

Within the next 100 years, Vancouver will have its own naturopathic hospital. That’s according to Jonn Matsen, the founder of the Northshore Naturopathic Clinic and author of the Eating Alive book series. But even though more people on the West Coast embrace so-called alternative medicine than in other parts of the country, practitioners like him still face skepticism and opposition.

“Hospitals today kill hundreds of thousands of people every year—”˜Oops! Wrong drug!’—but nobody harasses them. Can you imagine if we did that? If we killed one person, we’d be executed,” Matsen says in an interview at his bustling Lower Lonsdale clinic.

Matsen—who says he’s treated almost 50,000 patients since he opened his clinic in 1983—was introduced to natural healing methods when he was in his early 20s and met Norma Meyers, a Mohawk medicine woman. She invited him to Alert Bay, and he ended up staying for a month. (At the time, the then–self-described ski bum was planning on becoming a journalist, and she seemed like a colourful character to write an article about.) Although he had his doubts about the healing power of herbs, he says he witnessed her curing people whom doctors had said were incurable.

“She really was pulling people out of the grave,” Matsen says. “It made me realize that there were a lot of people that doctors didn’t understand.”

Meyers made such an impression on him that he went on to become a certified herbalist. From there, he studied naturopathic medicine at Seattle’s Bastyr University.

Eventually, he met his mentor, the late Harold Dick. The Spokane-based naturopathic pioneer taught Matsen the principles upon which he bases his practice today: address people’s diet, digestion, and liver, and everything else will resolve.

“We see dramatic results almost right away,” Matsen claims. “By treating people’s digestive system and getting the toxins out of their blood, the body can heal itself.”

A prime source of those toxins, according to Matsen, is mercury. He doesn’t buy mainstream medicine’s view that mercury fillings are safe. Conversely, he says that about 50 percent of the amalgam in dental fillings is made up the metal, which leaks into the body and gradually accumulates in the kidneys, liver, and brain.

Mercury, he contends, can react with stomach acid and ultimately contribute to yeast overgrowth, digestive problems, and neurological and immunological disorders.

Matsen will be giving a talk called “Digestion, Mercury, and Your Health” on October 20 at a fundraiser for the Health Action Network Society. (It takes place at the Firefighters’ Club banquet and conference centre [6515 Bonsor Avenue] in Burnaby. For more details, see his Web site.)

Another way mercury ends up in people’s blood is through vaccines, some of which contain mercury in the form of thimerosal, a preservative. Matsen rejects prevailing medical opinion that vaccines with thimerosal are safe.

“In spite of billions of dollars of profit for the pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccines, no studies have been done on long-term side effects,” Matsen writes in Eating Alive II: Curing the “Incurable” (Goodwin, 2004).

Mercury is not the only harmful substance in vaccines, Matsen says. Aluminum hydroxide, in lab tests using mice, has been linked to neurological symptoms similar to those seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides mercury and aluminum hydroxide, people today are exposed to more metals and chemicals than ever before, Matsen says, from pesticides and herbicides to automobile exhaust and preservatives. But people’s organs simply aren’t able to handle such a toxic onslaught. Add in prescription medications, antibiotics, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, food additives, radiation from X-rays, and industrial pollutants, among other substances, and it’s no wonder that chronic disease plagues North Americans.

“A lot of times, doctors just prescribe different drugs that may or may not work,” Matsen says. “They might forget to take a drug away and then there are interactions, and drugs have side effects. People taking six, eight, 10 medications are impeding their ability to heal. That’s why we see lupus, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], rheumatoid arthritis, reflux, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, Crohn’s, colitis”¦”

To get people better, Matsen designed what he calls the Eating Alive program. Besides providing nutritional guidelines to help people find the right balance between eating poorly and eating “too well”, it focuses on improving intestinal flora and liver function—as he puts it, “getting yeast out of your gut and metals out of your liver and other organs”. Healthy lifestyle choices, like getting regular exercise and fresh air, are also vital to well-being.

The validity of naturopathic doctors as primary-care providers got a boost in B.C. in April 2009, when they were granted the right to prescribe certain medications as well as high-dose vitamins, amino acids, hormones, botanicals, supplements, and herbs. Naturopaths in Ontario acquired similar prescribing rights late last year.

Visits to a naturopathic doctor aren’t covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan.

When—not if—the day comes that B.C. opens a naturopathic hospital, Matsen envisions a place where naturopathic doctors have referral rights to specialists and access to diagnostic imaging.

“And there will be real food,” he says. “It will be a place where real healing can take place.”

Comments (15) Add New Comment
Skeptical, me?
This is the treatment "Dr." Matsen hypes. Who could be skeptical?

At the Clinic we use the shoulder muscle. Each substance that is being tested has its own energy which can flow through the container in which it is stored. If a substance is in harmony with your energy system (that is, if it does not disrupt or weaken your energy), the muscle will remain strong or “locked.” If the substance is not in harmony, your muscle will feel weak. Dr. Matsen and his assistants are trained to detect even slight fluctuations in the strength of your muscle.
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average rape ape
within the next hundred years we will be living on mars, what a demeaner
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Hardly
“Hospitals today kill hundreds of thousands of people every year—”˜Oops! Wrong drug!’—but nobody harasses them. Can you imagine if we did that? If we killed one person, we’d be executed,” Matsen says in an interview at his bustling Lower Lonsdale clinic.

We would be shocked Dr. Matsen, but no more so than if you successfully cured one person.
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Denise
I have been going to the Boucher Naturopathic school in New West this year for various treatments this year and I am doing much better with less pain. Don't knock it til YOU have tried it! Also, Naturopaths spend way more time getting to know you and your sympton than a regular G.P. and their treatments are atleast benign! Cannot say the same about pharmaceutical drugs.
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Loretta R
We urgently need REAL food in all long-term care facilities too. When you visit family and friends trapped in one, be sure to bring FRESH fruit and veggies with you.

Most people survive on their own reserves during a short stay in hospitals, eating fake chemical food substitutes as meals. Long term and your screwed! Right now frozen product is shipped from Ontario to BC and placed next to limp white head lettuce. Nonfat chocolate pudding is a mix that tastes like those gross bitter chemicals in bakers-whip. The meal plan is a 1 month rotation, with the same overcooked root vegetable 5 days out of 7. Fish is paper-thin and too dried out to swallow. No lemon for flavoring even. Most is wasted as it's inedible. But hey, someone's making a profit from this system. Patients and residents would be better off with a fresh avocado, or bowl of fresh berries.

To cut down on staffing costs, nurses/doctors are being encouraged to medicate. It's totally pathetic when the whole country's run by big business.

We should start a contest for winning 60 day (minimum) special diet/recipe plans, that involve local fresh and seasonal foods. That's the kind of food talent and championship I'd like to see on TV! How about some big sponsors chipping in with prizes and publicity for this food plan. Heck, the menu could be a regular in the paper, and TV, with daily instructions for everyone to have a chance at participating in. I bet some really practical chefs and nutritionists already have a plan like this to cut down on food costs.
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Teresa
Dr. Matsen diagnosed my son with a lactose allergy - his body turned lactose into high energy sugar. The school had wanted me to put my son in ritalin and labeled him as hyperactive. The dairy also triggered my son's asthma. He was a different kid after changing his diet. I was also food tested. I had terrible stomach pains my whole life and the regular doctors said 'there was nothing wrong.' My parents thought it was in my head. The 'attacks' were very painful. With changing my diet and cutting back on coffee, alcohol and sugar and some supplements to jumpstart my digestive system, I have not had a bad attack in 20+ years. I believe 100% in naturopathic medicine and have sent friends and family to Dr. Matsen with great results. If you have any ongoing medial problems, you should try it!
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Jesse
I have been on Dr. Matsen's program for the past 5 months and I feel the best I have in about 10 years. I have suffered from symptoms of Hypoglycemia since an early teenager (migraines, moodiness, irrational emotions, tremors, anxiety, and many more) and besides the tremors, which are slowly subsiding, all of my symptoms are gone and I feel better than ever. I reccomended Dr. Matsen to my neighbour who has suffered from digestive problems and something like IBS for 15 years or so. I tell you no lie, after the first week on the Eating Alive program, certain problems that had plagued her daily throughout the last 15 years, were no more. The program works and I am enjoying continually improving health with no need for prescription pills and continual visits to the doctor, so to the skeptics from the previous comments I suggest you actually do more research into a practice before you make a judgement. And the device used to test for food sensitivites is of the same technology as a lie-detector test, which is well accepted in mainstream society. Not only do the folks at Northshore Naturopathic help you get well, they also educate you on how to take control of your own health. Every time I have visited a GP throughout my life I have come away from them with nothing being done for me, and with the feeling that I wasn't actually being heard. When I came out of Dr. Matsens office for the first time I felt empowered and had an understanding of why I was experiencing the symptoms that were plaguing me.
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Glenys Jones
I wish i lived in Vancouver and i would definitely visit Dr Masten. My sister and I both followed his programme from his first Book and we both felt the best we have felt in many many years. I've adoped some bad habits lately and it shows, proof positive the principles he uses in his book does work
Glenys melbourne australia
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Marilyn Jones
Yay....that's my sis' comment above. We both get Dr Matsen's newsletter, hence me reading this article, and I believe 100% in his system of food combining, it has worked for me and I'm sure if I hadn't applied the principles from his book I'd be very ill now. I bought one his earlier books about 7 or 8 years ago . . . (it is called "Mysterious Causes & Cures of Illness"), the title fascinated me and it fell at my feet in a second hand book shop ...I value it above all my other books. I followed the program from his book and the result was nothing short of amazing. I don't believe in fad diets so never fell for them but this was different, sort of scientific and if you stick to the principles it doesn't let you down. I can't thank Dr Matsen enough and I've never even met him ! Thank you Dr Matsen
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Judith
Dr. Matsen was the only one that diagnose my problem, after I was sent to specialist, I got out of the doctor specialist feeling misunderstood, she didn't have a clue what she was doing. I wish I can remember her name so you don't waste your time. Dr. Matsen fianlly diagnose me, with Candidiasis, what an easy diagnose, the"real doctors" don't have a clue!
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Johan
I brought my autistic son to Dr. Matsen and he has made progress and there is hope for him to be cured. My family doctor and pediatrician did nothing to help my son and insisted that there wasn't anything physically wrong with him.
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Ryan T
Teresa,

Lactose is a sugar, composed of glucose and galactose. I find it amazing that every diagnosis for every patient is that you are allergic to almost everything.It is a sugar in every one's body. Beware of snake oil salesmen and quackery. This "doctor" also says there is mercury in vaccines - there hasn't been in most vaccines since the 1980's. Countless studies have also proved there is no link between vaccines and autism and in fact out right lies and fabrications by the vaccine-austism supporters. Most people going to naturopaths are in my opinion hypochondriacs looking for a silver bullet and paying for high priced unregulated vitamins. How natural is that getting everything from a bottle from the naturopath.
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Believer
After undergoing a nasty surgery that led to a Staph infection, I developed countless food sensitivities, and abdominal discomfort that never seemed to go away even on an empty stomach. I was always tired and was sure I had chronic fatigue. I also had a hormone imbalance that caused night sweats and an irregular menstrual cycle. None of the GP's I went to could figure out what was wrong and they figured I was peri-menopausal and had irritable bowel syndrome. One even went so far to suggest that I have a hysterectomy. I tried naturopathic medicine but the naturopaths I went to didn't really work for me. They, like the GP's, only tried treating the symptom, but didn't get to the root of the problem. In my mind I knew that all of the problems I was having were somehow interconnected. I learned of Dr. Matsen, from a friend and at first I was skeptical since everyone else I saw just missed the mark on what was wrong yet I couldn't believe that curing the problems could be as easy as simply changing my diet. I first read his books to understand his healing ideals and get an idea of what treatment might consist of. I admit, the first week was absolute hell. I actually felt worse, but I was warned that could happen. I called his office with questions and concerns in that first week and was so grateful for the support and encouragement he and his staff would offer. It helped me over that hurdle and kept me from getting discouraged. I stuck it out ( as difficult as it was)and after two weeks I was noticing dramatic improvement. After about 6 weeks, I was slowly re-introducing foods into my diet that I once couldn't even think of eating and my energy levels improved. Dealing with the hormones took a little longer but I ceased having the hot flashes and my cycles returned to normal. After about 2 years on the program, I 'fell off the wagon', so to speak. Life got un-managably hectic and I slipped back into my old patterns and went off the 'Eating Alive' principles. After about 8 months of that, all of the old symptoms started to come back again. I'm back 'Eating Alive' and once again feeling so much better. I owe Dr. Matsen a huge thank you for helping me bring my life back into balance when no one else could and teaching me to take charge of my own health!
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suzanne mules
i know for a fact that this works. i have seen it for myself, at first i was skeptible, but when i saw the results on my 2yr old baby i had no choice but to believe and i still believe today.
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North Delta Resident
I was not a believer until my daughter who had increasing rashes, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, ear infections, early puberty and you name it, had all of her symptoms disappear within 3 weeks of going on a strict Matsen-guided diet with proper supplements. She had been told by mainstream doctors that she a. had nothing wrong b. had appendicitis c. needed steroidal treatment d. should take daily pills. We did unfortunately have an operation on her ear drum and insert tubes to let out the congestion which caused painful ear infections which countless antibiotics only could stop. Our daughter never had another infection or asthma attack.

I was desperate and that's the only reason I tried a naturopath, who had been recommended by two separate people who didn't know each other but who said he was the best. Unless people have had a severe health trauma which no other doctors can fix, and they are desperate to try anything, they cannot understand. Truly sad for them and the wasted money government throws on a health care system and pharmaceutical products which mask the problem.
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