Dr. Tom Yarema is a pioneering physician…passionately committed to bridging the best of all systems of Medicine and delivering practical, cost-effective solutions to his patients.
Among the early physicians who established the specialty of Emergency Medicine in the US during the early 80’s, he appreciated Allopathy’s triumph in acute, life-threatening conditions, as well as its failings in reversing chronic, lifestyle-related disease.
At age 41, the sudden diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with no conventional risk factors motivated him to bridge Ayurveda, Traditional Oriental Medicine, and Western Biochemical Nutrition to find his own cure.
The eventual outcome was not only successful disease reversal, but also the self-publication of a 7-time, national award-winning patient guidebook & cookbook: EAT-TASTE-HEAL. Now in its 9th printing,
- The Fast Moving World of Western Emergency Medicine
- The Inferior, Average and Superior Physician
- Cancer Vaccines?
- How the Tissue Never Lies
- The 5 Life Secrets of an 85 Year Old Scoliosis and Cancer Survivor
- Cyclical Knowledge vs. Linear Reductionist Knowledge
- Getting a Food Prescription
- The Importance of Taste and the Eat-Taste-Heal Method
- Dummies Guide to Ayurveda
- Stubborn Midsection Fat – The Start of Disease?
- And Much More
For more from Tom:
- Eat-Taste-Heal Hardcover
- Eat-Taste-Heal for eReaders and Phones
- Find out more about Metabolic Syndrome and Diabisity at GetYourBodyBack.org
- Visit the clinic website at DrTomYarema.com
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.
The content found on the Vital Way podcast in Superman Herbs is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, for the diagnosis or treatment of a health condition or as a substitute for medical counseling. Please review any information with your qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions concerning your health. You assume all risk for use, misuse or disuse of this information.
Logan: Welcome to The Vital Way podcast. I’m Logan Christopher and I’m happy to have on the call, Dr. Tom Yarema. I know Tom through business groups that I attend and just seeing his experience, he’s not like most doctors and what we talked about in The Vital Way and that Superman Herbs, we take more of an alternative approach to medicine. There are certainly great aspects to Western Medicine but there are obviously some serious fallbacks to it. Dr. Tom Yarema, he really marries the two and he’s been in this game for a long time. He’s a pioneering physician passionately committed to bridging the best of all systems of medicine, delivering practical cost-effective solutions to his patients. Among the early physicians to establish the special field of emergency medicine in the US during the early ‘80s, he appreciated allopathy’s triumph in the acute life-threatening conditions as well as its failings in reversing chronic lifestyle-related disease.
At the age of 41, the sudden diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with no conventional risk factors motivated him to bridge Ayurveda, traditional oriental medicine and western biochemical nutrition to find his own cure. The eventual outcome was not only successful disease reversal but also the self-publication of a seven-time national award-winning patient guidebook and cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal, now in its ninth printing. We could go on and on and I really want to bring Tom, he’s a great storyteller so we’re going to get into some fine stuff. Thanks for joining us today, Tom.
Dr. Tom: Logan, it’s an honor to be here. Thank you.
Logan: So could you give a little more background, what led you to becoming a doctor and also what shifted you from the western allopathic approach into Ayurveda, Chinese medicine that sort of thing.
Dr. Tom: Yeah, sure. That’s always a great question, isn’t it? For each of us, what has us fall into our career and profession is I think kind of a combination of ancestral DNA and our own destiny. That was certainly the case for me. My mother was a registered nurse and my father was a military guy, a military engineer who then in the middle part of his life joined the space program. I actually grew up in Cape Canaveral and my dad literally turned the bolts on the rocket that went to the moon. I think from those two sides, there was this tremendous altruism that came from both my mother and my father and certainly a lot of humanism from my mother’s side being a medical professional. On my father’s side, there was this whole quality of taking on the impossible. Back in late ‘50s, early ‘60s going to the moon was just incomprehensible.
With those things kind of in my DNA, my own passions were the love of nature and this incredible curiosity. Those three things coming together, medicine seemed to be a shoe-in. I think I kind of came upon that even before I was ten years of age. But then as we grow, our parents funnel us into this level of curriculum or into these extra-curricular activities and you try out different things. There was some meandering there, of course, but eventually destiny kind of played a big role. When I left Cape Canaveral, Florida for my undergraduate education, being a really good student, being a really good athlete, being an honest citizen and all that kind of stuff, I went to West Point, the US Military Academy at West Point, especially since my father was such a strong military man.
Interestingly enough while I was there, I was among the first people in the United States that learned transcendental meditation. Can you imagine learning transcendental meditation at a military academy? It was very interesting. With that practice, I really, really honor that lineage and that practice for kind of like saving my mind and my emotional body and my soul and the indoctrination that was going on at West Point and also giving me access to levels of being-ness with my mind and my mind/body that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. So that was kind of cool.
Then ultimately I finished my undergraduate career at University of Virginia. By that, I was among some of the early, truly, kind of southern Chinese kung fu systems that came to the United States. We all, of my generation, remember David Carradine in the television show Kung Fu and all these mystical powers of both protection and physical force but also healing that that employed. What we were being taught was a lot different than the typical taekwondo that we had and the kind of Chuck Norris beat-them-up karate that had whitewashed the United States in these franchises. This was the real authentic stuff. So that practice of meditation and that practice of true Eastern martial and healing arts coming together at a tender age of late teens to early twenties, I start to actually perceive things and feel things in my own body quite naturally that I had no prejudice against that were more than what I think my parents had the benefit of experiencing in their lifetime.
Then there was a real pivotal thing that happened. By that time, I was already falling into a pre-medical curriculum and I actually dual majored in studio art as well as premed so I was really kind of intuitively engaged in both the science and art of medicine. My last year at University of Virginia, I was working in this research institute, this wound healing research center for the Burn Unit at the University of Virginia. One of my fellow researchers was living in the Tibetan Health. University of Virginia was one of two universities in the United States that had a Tibetan studies program. He said, “Hey Tom, this weekend right near your apartment is going to be this lecture by this guy named His Holiness Dalai Lama.” This was like back around 1978, I believe, ’78 to ‘79. I said well, who’s that? And he says, “This guys is to Buddhism what the Pope is to Catholicism.” I said well, that sounds pretty cool.
So I went and sat at this guy’s feet in an audience of about 475 people on his Holiness’ very, very first discourse in the west or at least in the United States. Just listening to that gentleman speak that was transformative for me as well. As an act of gratitude for one of the professors arranging his Holiness’ Visa to come to the United States, he left behind his personal physician to teach a course on Tibetan Medicine, a semester-long course and I was one of the 11 people that took the first course of Tibetan Medicine taught in the United States by Dr. Yeshi Dhonden.
These kind of events that kind of fall in our laps, these destined events, these divine interventions along with our ancestral DNA I think really set the stage for me of being nurtured at a very early age for what was going to befall me as a practicing physician later on.
Logan: It’s funny. Every time I talk to you, I feel like I learn more of these details and more of these amazing things you’ve gotten to do over your life. You’ve studied Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda. I know this is kind of a big question and you can take it where you want to go with it but what are some of the big ideas in any one of those different systems that really sort of changed your philosophy of how you work with people and how you practice medicine?
Dr. Tom: That’s a fabulous question. If I look back and I look at those young tender years and this very inquisitive mind and this very, very altruistic heart and trying to figure out how to get tools to do what we want to do in our life, to be of service to others, at that early age I may have been a little bit aware of the politics of the education or the politics of science or things like that but mostly it was just trying to learn stuff, memorize stuff, learn stuff, do well on tests, kind of test it in life, that kind of stuff and getting through premed and then getting into medical school. I have to say I went to a fabulous medical school, a place called Eastern Virginia Medical School in north of Virginia which was I think probably the first holistic allopathic medical school in the United States. I had a fabulous, fabulous education there with a fabulous faculty.
As I went through my medical school training, I was just completely overwhelmed by the voluminous memorization that I had to do. I was like gosh, is there an easier way of doing this? Is there any way I can hold this information in my head in an easier way? I really struggled with that. It got to a point where it was like my brain won’t hold anymore; I need to get out and I need to start learning hands-on. So I actually left my post-graduate training before I completed and one of my professors came to me and he said, “Yarema, what the heck are you doing?” and I said quite frankly, I don’t know but I know it’s not this. We all come to crossroads in our life sometimes where we know we can’t keep going down the same route but we don’t quite know what we are going to do.
He was very compassionate about that and he said, “Well Yarema, I’ve been watching you and listening to the questions that you ask during grand rounds and listening to the answers that you give to the other professors. You’re an extraordinary clinician just waiting to happen but you need to get some really, really good practical experience.” I said yeah, that’s what I think too. I’ve got to many words bouncing around inside my head. He says, “Well, I’ve got a bunch of contracts to staff ERs, emergency rooms in this particular area,” we were in New Orleans at the time and he says, “Why don’t you come work for me in my emergency room?” I said well, that sounds good. I’ve got student loans to pay off all that. He says, “You’ll get a lot of broad experience and that’s what you need.” I said well, that’s what I want to learn. I don’t want to become a left eyeball doctor or a right kidney doctor. I just wanted to become the best doctor I can become.
So I started working in his emergency rooms and I loved it. That was in the days where emergency medicine wasn’t a specialty yet. I was of this generation of physicians who we just started working and said hey, we can really change the landscape for Americans with regard to poisonings and with regard to burns and with regard to trauma and with regard to all these things that are like the leading causes of death for both adults and for children.
So we created a specialty, we created a system and we created political lobbies and we even did like prevention. Smokey the bear, the poison control centers, Red Cross CPR training and all that stuff, that came out of our specialty. It was a very, very exciting time and most of us can remember those old television shows ER and Grey’s Anatomy. We were literally leaving work and going home and writing down 250 to 400 word synopses of what we saw and sending them off to Hollywood and getting $50 a pop so they can make them into television shows. It was a really, really dramatic, fast-moving and exciting time where we were using the powers of our perception, our intuition and science and all bringing them together to create these really, really beneficial treatments for people. That was an amazing era of American medicine.
As that kind of progressed, it got to a point where we kind of handled the big emergency killers. Then I saw that what I was doing day to day more and more in the ER was not really rescuing the dying person from the grim reaper but I was just rubber stamping prescriptions for chronic disease states like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritic joints, chronic gastrointestinal problems or chronic respiratory disease. I wasn’t really doing that high-adrenaline stuff so much. I thought this was very interesting. We’ve kind of like handled what we came in here to do, both in acute treatment and prevention and I’m putting a lot of time, energy and effort into these chronic disease states. Yes, these medicines that I’m writing prescriptions for are improving the quality of life. They’re taking away pain or making people able to breathe or do other things but it’s not affecting the underlying disease process.
I said I’m not sure I can continue to do this because I had this kind of little thing that I had somehow assimilated from reading very, very old doctors’ memoirs that said something like the mediocre physician treats symptoms, the better physician treats diseases but the superlative physician does all of that and educates their patients on how to live in their bodies so that they can actually reverse their disease and live throughout their lifespan preventing what they’re prone to get. It was another one of those crossroads where looking at myself in the mirror in the morning, I said I’ve got to make a change and what the heck am I going to do?
Fortunately, destiny kind of provided in my lap some good mentors. I began to study traditional Chinese medicine, began to study Ayurveda, began to study homeopathy, began to study herbalism and began to study environmental medicine. I even got to study really hard science stuff on spiritual healing where we would take these purported psychic healers and put them in these Faraday cages and wire them up to EEGs and EKGs and do these state-of-the-art Sony electronic biophoton counters on their chakras while they were doing or supposedly doing remote healing on someone in another Faraday box, another Faraday cage in the other end of the building and doing simultaneous electrophysiological monitoring on them as well. It was just incredible science.
Then what I did was again, I got to this point where I had so much information clanking around in my head that I used to say if I leaned over too far to one side my head would take me over onto the floor. How can I possibly integrate all of this and how can I test it on my patients? I started kind of thinking I’ll start doing this or that in the emergency rooms and I could kind of get away with that on the night shifts because the nurses and I got along really well and they were kind of curious and fascinated by it. But then I started to realize I was actually violating hospital bylaws by bringing some of these alternative medicine into the ivory tower of allopathy so I said I’d better not do that. What else can I do?
Now being 8, 10, 12 years into my career, I said anytime we start implementing some new technique in medicine, the first few go-around tend to be a little bit clumsy. I really don’t want to be injuring people with clumsy applications of these new and exciting sciences that I’ve learned from all these other disciplines. So I had this very, very naïve notion. Well, I’m in San Diego at the time and I said there are these alternative cancer clinics in Tijuana and I’ll just go down there and I’ll start practicing at these alternative cancer clinics because those cancer patients are already dying. If I’m clumsy then it won’t be such a glaring mistake. It may sound a little bit perverse but was kind of my take on it all, how to be the least harmful in implementing these new clumsy methods.
As it turned out, I didn’t even have to go to Tijuana. There was an alternative cancer clinic just right around the corner from the hospital ER that I was working at that had never gotten chased south of the border. I walked in there, they hired me on the spot and I started seeing patients during the day while I worked the nightshift in the ER. It was the most eye-opening experience that I may have ever had with patients. What I saw was this whole chain of patients that were being treated through all sorts of different alternative medicines or they were patients that had not one, not two but maybe three different primary cancers in their lifespan and the original treatment was done way back in the ‘30s or ‘40s with radon, which was a terrible radiation treatment that was very clumsy but the patient survived and then they got another cancer 15 years later. Then they were treated this way and then they got a third cancer. I was going, you mean you’re not dying of these cancers?
Because it was a residential place where people would come for several hours a day like six to eight hours a day, they would eat there, they would do classes there and we would consult with them. We had our own laboratory and our own blood bank. We were making autologous vaccines. We were taking the tumor from the patient grinding it up and making it into a vaccine and giving it back to them. That was one of the hallmarks of what we were doing. This vaccine had been given for 30 or 40 years and had quite a lot of history and a lot of science behind it that was published and whatnot and this was not taught to me in medical school at all.
What I’ve been studying in all of these alternative disciplines all of a sudden had credence with these patients. Listening to them, it was like wow. I would ask them, what do think helped you? And they would tell me these most amazing stories that were either alternative treatments or psycho-emotional features or spiritual healing that had helped them. I wasn’t in a position to argue science against the reality of their life.
This one particular patient, I would never ever forget this one particular patient. This patient came in. She was in her mid-80s. She was about 4’6” and she was one of these patients that had had a lot of cancer in her lifetime and was an incredible survivor. She had these really, really just shining eyes and her skin was absolutely beautiful. She had this tremendous scoliosis of her spine. That’s the kind of S-shaped curvature of her spine. With that, one side of her rib cage was literally buried down into her pelvis. So I knew that that side of her thorax, of her chest, the lungs would be quite compressed and she would probably have excess fluid there and chronic pneumonia or chronic atelectasis and that would probably influencing this and that in her.
So I examined her and I was all of a sudden shocked that based upon my physical exam, I said Tom, her tissues are healthier than the tissues of the 40 year-olds that are coming into the emergency room one block away where you’re rubber stamping the prescriptions for high blood pressure medicine. Her tissue is healthier at 85. She has no fluid in the bottom of her lungs. Her tissues, her skin, her mucosa, her tear film, her hair, her nails, they’re all healthier. In medicine, among doctors we have this private joke that we teach interns early on where you send two or three interns to take a history from a patient. They come out and have them recite the histories and each history is different. It’s like spreading the rumor. As rumors go, the story changes over time.
There’s kind of a mean joke that professors of medicine teach young interns. They say, “You all talked to the same patient. You’re all telling us different histories. We believe that each of you is not lying. To underscore this is the principle that patients lie. Know that patients always lie. So rely on the tissue to tell you what’s really going on. Rely on your physical exam. Yes, we take histories but patients are going to tell their story one way or another.”
So I was sitting and I go you know what, tissue never lies. I’m kind of curious of this woman. What is it that has really made a difference for you in this long and glorious life? She started telling me what she thought had really made a difference. She says, “I’ve got to tell you, Dr. Tom, number one, number one, number one is nutrition. Number two is how I breathe because you can see I’ve only got one and a third of a lung because the other two-thirds are kind of collapsed so how I breathe. And number three is how I move while I’m breathing. So I go out dancing two or three times a week. Here’s this 85 year old lady who’s just absolutely radiantly beautiful and I’m going oh man, I bet she’s knocking them dead on the dance floor.
Then she said, “I really, really believe in this vaccine that you guys are doing. I think there’s great benefit to using intelligent treatment of the immune system. I don’t necessarily go out and get other vaccine but the vaccine that you guys make at your own ranch up in Northern San Diego County from the blood and from the samples that you take from me here in this laboratory, I really believe in the benefit of that vaccine.
And the other thing is I take just a little tiny bit of whisky a couple of times a week and sometimes I’ll have a little bit of an herbal wine instead. I said an herbal wine? I’ve never heard of an herbal wine before. She says, “Well, my great grandmother taught me how to make dandelion wine and sometimes I’ll make that. I’ll literally go out and pull the weeds in my backyard, mash them up and let them ferment and self-generate their own alcohol. When I have that availability, I’ll take a tablespoon of that every night before I go to bed.”
I think I found myself in places where in some practices of my craft like emergency rooms where I was seeing a patient about every 90 seconds and just having to move people through on a human conveyer belt through the river of human suffering. And there have been other times where I’ve had great luxury to really listen to people’s stories and to really go deep into what their truth is and so I’ve been very blessed.
One of the things that came out of that was that there are some very simple principles that we can use in the practice of medicine. As we go into these more ancient systems whether it’s traditional Chinese medicine or into Ayurveda or unani or shamanistic medicine, the underlying principles in all of these systems there’s a lot of similarity to. They’re time-tested and they’ve proven themselves over the centuries, things like breathing and movement and the use of certain plant material in alcohol or in water as tea, the use of food as medicine. So kind of bridging that gap between those very, very simple but highly impactful treatments and modern pharmacology was a really big challenge. How do you bridge those two things? It’s not like you necessarily have too much information clanking around in the head but there’s this tremendous disparity that has to be bridged.
So I said well, how can I study those? The crossover is probably going to be herbology. The European-Western modern approach to herbology that I could find in herbal textbooks was all biochemical. When I went and studied with indigenous healers that were literally going out and picking herbs, they didn’t know any modern biochemistry. They were doing things by taste or by cosmology. As I started going into Ayurveda and traditional Chinese Medicine, I could see that those systems were based upon what I call cyclical knowledge rather than reductionistic linear knowledge.
A big, big insight for me was that what I learned in the west was when you go to school, you start off with this non-knowingness and then you start stacking facts, or theories, or premises and you learn in a linear way from not knowing to what is known to the fringes of what we don’t know yet but we’re experimenting on and it’s very, very linear. Then if you want to learn something else then you start on another radial from where you are and go out on that direction until you reach the limits of the atmosphere of what’s known. Then you start on another radial and keep going out. That kind of linear learning on radials from that which we know to that which is not known gives great credence to the expert but it leads to a fragmentation of knowledge. That’s what we were suffering from in those days of medicine. It was the hyper-specialization of medicine and what was really being called forth was holism.
As I looked at these systems that were ancient and by nature holistic, they had cyclical systems of information where everything looped back upon itself. I go well, this is fascinating. If I learn the basic components of the cycle then the more times I go around the block, the more the hologram gets resolved over the time and what I learn actually gets married with my experience of learning or of observation and that always has helped me learn. So I kind of stuck my stake in the ground at that time when I had that insight and I said okay, from this point forward, I’m going to commit myself to cyclical learning. Even if I get sidetracked into these radials of biochemistry or electrophysiology or even spiritual hierarchies, I’m going to plug it into this framework that is cyclical.
At that time, we were just starting to get traditional Chinese medicine textbooks being translated into English. We were beginning to get Ayurveda books coming into the West. There was a lot of shift towards being this linear learning rather than the holistic learning. So I retired from my practice of Emergency Medicine and I set up the first cash-based primary care practice of medicine in the State of Hawaii. I said I’m going to move to a place that’s very naturalistic where there are all these different ethnicities, there are all these different ages, there’s all these East people, West people, North people, South people. It’s going to be this great human laboratory and I’m going to learn from my patients. I’m going to study on my own but I’m going to really, really learn from my patients and I’m going to try to put this into a naturalistic cycle of information. It was fascinating. That’s what I did and my patients did teach me.
Then I came down at age 41 with type 2 diabetes with no diabetes in my family, not being overweight. I had a good diet. I was exercising. From a western viewpoint, I had absolutely no risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It was out of the box and it frightened the bejeezus out of me because I figured I’m 41, I’m probably like a little bit less than one half of my lifespan and from my experience, taking care of patients with diabetes in the emergency room, I know what the second half of my life is going to be like. I know what drugs I’m going to be on. I know what’s going to happen to my toes. I know what’s going to happen to my eyesight. I know what’s going to happen to my kidneys. I know about the heart attacks and the strokes I’m going to have and this is not a pretty picture. It doesn’t fit what I know diagnostically from my Western mind of allopathic medicine. So I said I got to go back into these eastern sciences really hard and heavy now. So I went into those systems and started bridging the vernacular, bridging the vocabulary of the types of syndromes that are associated with type 2 diabetes from traditional Chinese medicine, the types of syndromes those are associated from Ayurveda and bridging that with that kind of emerging field of functional nutrition that was starting to sprout in western mind parallel to pharmaceutical medicine.
In about 14 months, I completely regressed my type 2 diabetes and had developed and tested these hypotheses on myself based upon the cyclical systems of thinking that were based on the cycles of nature. That was exciting. I was like wow, I don’t know of anyone else who has reversed type 2 diabetes. I’ve done it myself. I wonder if I could take these same principles and apply them to my patients with rheumatoid arthritis, my patients with heart disease, my patients with degenerative arthritis and my patients with asthma. So I started applying those principles and I got traction.
As time went on, my patient pool grew considerably and more and more people on the island that I was living on would come to see me. On that island there was all different socio-economic strata and I became confronted with a new problem that I’d never expected and that was, “Doctor, I’ve saved my nickels and dimes to come pay for your consultation but I have no money for any medicine.” I was like, wow. I’m flat-footed. I’m dead in the water. I can give this person advice but they can’t purchase my encapsulated little this or my alcohol-based tincture of that. We’re both in trouble here.
So I started looking at this whole economy of health care. What’s the true economy of healthcare and how am I going to model that in a cash-based practice of medicine? In the Hawaiian Islands, food is very, very expensive in the grocery store but we have these farmer’s markets where local people are growing their own food and bringing them to the market. Quite frankly they kind of scare me because when I go to the farmer’s market, I know less than 25% of all the food that are there because there’s food from the Philippines, there’s food from Tahiti, there’s food from China and Korea and there’s food maybe from Mars and other planets. I don’t know. I look at these food and it looks to me like a fruit but I’ve never seen any kind of food like that and if I tasted it, oh my goodness. It tastes really good but it smells to high heaven. I can’t believe that God would make a fruit like that.
I said well, what if we went back to that ancient principle of using food as medicine? I’ve got a lot to learn here. So we started to study and catalogue all the foods but then the question was how are we going to catalogue these foods? Are we going to catalogue them biochemically and do that linear based information on it? Or are we going to do in a different way? Are we going to do in that cyclical model?
Quite fortunately for me, one of my patients again gave me a great lesson. There was a woman who was a cafeteria worker at the local elementary school. When you think about it, it’s like come one, elementary school workers have got to get paid about the least of anyone in the formal workforce and a cafeteria worker is probably getting paid less than a teacher so I could just imagine how little she was getting paid. She came in to me with this intractable vertigo, this spinning sensation in her head that was having her lose more than 20 days of work every month. She said, “I’ve tried pharmaceuticals. I’ve tried acupuncture. I’ve tried homeopathy. I’ve tried herbs and nothing has benefitted me and you’re my only hope.”
So I brought her in and I examined her. I said well, you work in a cafeteria and you have access to a lot of different food, right? She goes yeah, and we use mostly local food because we can’t pay the prices for the safe way and or for the imported food from the mainland. I said okay, I’m going to give you a food prescription to use and I want you to try that. She says, “Well, I can do that.” So she came back after a few weeks and she says, “I’m better. I’m better, I’m better.” and I’m going yeah, this was a placebo effect. Let’s bring her back another two weeks. Two weeks later, she came in and she says, “I’m even better still. I lost only about five days of work in the last month. I said well, that is profound but let’s see if that continues. I said come back to see me in another two weeks. So another two or three weeks come by and she doesn’t show up. I kind of think oh, she didn’t get better so she’s not going to come back to see me. I didn’t have that much confidence if I was not a good enough doctor in my prescribing a food to really heal her condition.
Then another few weeks went by and she showed up. I go wow, I’m kind of surprised to see you. She was very, very sheepish walking in. I was like I wonder what’s up here? She said, “Doctor, I’m kind of embarrassed.” I said well, why are you embarrassed? She said, “Well, I didn’t do what you asked me to do perfectly. Even after I’d seen it was working. I did it really perfectly for four weeks and I got better, but then I quit doing it and I got worse. Then I would do it again and I would get better and then I would stop doing it, I would get worse.” I go wow, it really was working then.
Then she like dropped her eyes to the floor and she almost like started crying. I’m getting teared up just remembering this. She said, “Doctor, I’m really embarrassed now.” I’m going wow, what could be more embarrassing than what you already told me?” She says, “You know, even for me, living on this island for as long as I have, I don’t know all the foods that are here” I said really? She said, “Yeah, I went into the Safeway and they have that really expensive food there at the Safeway.” I go yeah, I know; I can hardly shop there.” She goes, “Well, I went in there and I saw this kind of food in the produce department that I never ever have seen before. Something drew me like a magnet to that food. I went over and I picked it up and I was looking at it, trying to figure out what it was and then in a split second, I broke off part of that raw food and I stuck it in my mouth and I chewed it and swallowed it.” And she started crying. She said, “Dr. Tom, that’s stealing, you know.”
I was like wow, she’s confessing to me now. I’m like a priest. And I said, what did you do then? I try not to be judgmental. She says, “Well, I went ahead and bought. I took it home and I cooked it up and boy, it’s really helped dramatically.” I said wow, this is really, really fascinating. This woman was intuitively, magnetically drawn to the food that was the most powerful thing on the island that could heal her and her subtle sense of perception and the sense of taste actually is integral to her healing.
About this time, my patients were asking me to write a book to codify what I was telling them to do. They say, we keep saving our nickels and dimes in order to pay for these consultations and learning comes through repetition. Could you like write us a book? So a couple of my patients and myself, we self-published this book and I intentionally took that word from that woman’s experience, the word of taste and sandwiched it in between eating and healing. So the name of the book is Eat-Taste-Heal with hyphens in between because it all runs together and I really, really am internally grateful for that lesson that that one patient taught me and her trust to confess to me one of her most shameful experiences of “stealing food” in a Safeway.
Bringing things into a cyclical system, bringing in things to a system based on taste and yes, maybe using some reductionistic discovery or paradigms to learn flavonoids, antioxidants, enzymes, cofactors and minerals but to really have this ability to understand the cycles of nature and go around the block with the cycles of nature a few times so that we learn nature’s grace, this was a fascinating thing because as we started writing this book, we wrestled with how we were going to teach this to lay people, how we were going to teach this to the common Joe and Joanne, how to use this method.
And I said well, if we go into traditional Chinese medicine their cyclical system has five elements and I can’t hold five things in my mind. I just don’t have that kind of mind. I applaud those that do. But Ayurveda had a three-dosha system and I can hold three things in my mind – hot, cold, temperate, yes, no, maybe, black, white, gray. So for my best bet as a writer/teacher, I said let’s use the Ayurvedic system as the model for teaching this stuff. That’s what we did and we’re very happy and pleased with the fact that we’re now on our 9th printing and the book has gone out all over the world and we’ve done no marketing at all. It’s a book that will continue to help people long after my lifespan. Every few weeks, I get emails from people that say you know what, I was in a really, really bad way and then someone passed that book onto me and by reading it and just kind of like dabbling in that a little bit, my life has been changed for the better. That’s a great reward for those of us that live and work as public servants.
Logan: I think it’s really important, like you were saying about the name of the book Eat-Taste-Heal, going back to any of these systems, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, the taste is such an important part and it’s reflecting so much. It’s that idea of the cycles, too. What are the sort of the properties of the food or the herb and what is that going to then go do in your body? Besides things tasting sweet and tasting good, generally most people don’t even think about taste at all and especially not in those terms.
Dr. Tom: Yeah. It was very interesting because I had the great honor of being the personal physician for a monastery on the island. People that spend two or four hours a day in meditation every day and eat very simply, well they still get sick like all of us do but their bodies’ sensitivity to sensory input is a lot more profound. I can remember in certain of those cases at certain points in time where I was attending some of the monastics and I said we just need to give you this one particular herb married with this one particular food and because it has this particular taste constellation, this is what’s going to harmonize your physiology.
I would go out to the formulary and it’s like the last bottle of that herb just disappeared and it’s not available locally. It’s not in season or whatever. So I go back and gosh, I don’t know what to do. They would say, “Dr. Tom, do you have any pictures of the herb? Do you have any descriptions of the herb that I can read? I may have experienced it at my lifetime.” And, “Oh I know exactly. That’s the herb. That’s cilantro. That used to grow as a weed in my backyard. I know exactly what that is. I’ll just meditate on the taste of that herb when I’m eating that particular meal that you wanted me to marry it to and I bet that will work.” The powers of the mind and the powers of the senses to realign ourselves is actually quite profound.
Logan: Yeah, those are pretty amazing stories because once you have had that experience, there are ways meditating on it bringing it back and that is then affecting your physiology. That’s pretty profound. So where can people pick up a copy of Eat-Taste-Heal?
Dr. Tom: Well, I would prefer you to go is to a website called MyTabletBooks. This is the least expensive way of getting a copy of the book. It’s in digital format. If you go to MyTabletBooks and type in Eat-Taste-Heal, you’ll find it there. I think it’s like $9.95 or something. If you do that then I will actually get your email address so that as we update the book in the future, you’ll get notifications of the changes that we do to the book and the expansions that we do to the book. You could also go to Amazon.com. You can go to local bookstores and buy it in hard copy form. It’s 357 pages, hardbound, full color. For $29.95, it’s a steal. We have all sorts of award-winning food photography even before we published the book. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful book. When you purchase it that way, please do register. Go ahead and purchase the digital edition or at least register your hardbound copy so that we have your email and we can stay in touch with you as we add new chapters as we go on.
When I came up with the name Eat-Taste-Heal, I said you know this is a nice formatting for continuation of books, Eat-Taste-Heal Your Arthritis, Eat-Taste-Heal Your Diabetes, Eat-Taste-Heal Your Heart Disease or whatever. Right now, we’re working on translations into other languages and we’re expanding the recipes in it so there’s a lot more to come. We self-published this book about seven years ago and eBooks and digital publishing has really accelerated tremendously. We want to make sure that this gets out to as many people as possible and in as many languages as possible. We can only do that if we have your contact information. So either digital format or hardbound. We don’t have a paperback. It’s a glorious book. It will make an excellent gift to anyone you know who’s a foodie or anyone you know who’s involved in natural healing.
The first half of the book is a kind of like a dummy’s guide for Ayurveda. We’ve taken the basic and fundamental Ayurvedic principles and simplified them for the Western mind. We’ve gotten reviews from all around the world saying that this is the best primer on Ayurveda even within the country of India from which Ayurveda originated. We did a really, really thoughtful job in the way we presented the information. There have been some things that I’ve learned as a physician-clinician since then where this method that I call Eat-Taste-Heal method, although it is very ancient and very revered, the actual method of it that I’m presenting—constitutional analysis and constitutional harmonization through using food and lifestyle as medicine in a doshacally applied way—what I find is that there’s a certain disease condition that’s epidemic right now that that method works too slowly for my desire with patients.
We live in a lifestyle in a time in history right now where things are moving very fast and probably accelerating greatly. There is this emerging epidemic occurring not only in the United States and not even only occurring in the developed countries of the world but it’s a worldwide epidemic, something that we call metabolic syndrome. The Eat-Taste-Heal method is extremely useful for that but it’s not getting the traction as fast as what most people in the United States at least in terms of treatment.
So about three years ago, I created another educational system. It’s called Get Your Body Back. It’s on the internet under GetYourBodyBack.org. My wife and I stared a nationwide organization committed to the reversal of this epidemic of diabesity. Diabesity is type 2 diabetes collapsed in on obesity. It’s something that medically, scientifically we call metabolic syndrome. We first called it Syndrome X. Now we renamed it metabolic syndrome. It might get another name in another few years. Right now, I’m calling it diabesity. Its feature is stubborn midsection spread. That’s what lay people need to know. If you have a midsection that has more mass in it than what you feel comfortable with, you have a disease process going on in your body. Depending upon your genetics, that could lead you to heart disease, it could lead you to diabetes, it could lead you to arthritis and it could lead you to chronic respiratory conditions. It could lead you in a lot of different ways according to your genetics. It’s a common denominator pathophysiology, if you will.
We have the nutritional and lifestyle technology to very, very rapidly reverse that. The rapid reversal of stubborn midsection fat is a fascinating science right now fraught with great political and economic agendas. So I invite you all to go and visit GetYourBodyBack.org. There I have a webinar, a recorded webinar on there you can watch. It runs about 45 minutes that I go through and discuss some of these myths that are circulating in our informational culture about what the appropriate treatment for this is. I think you’ll find that very interesting. People that are in the State of California, you are more than welcome, I invite you to call my office and schedule a free consultation with me. If you want to know the office’s phone number, I’ll give it to you right now. It’s 831-462-3776 and you can call and schedule a free consultation. You can also go to my clinic website which is DrTomYarema.com and you can get the phone number off that website as well.
Logan: I’ll make sure there are links to everything in the show notes for people as well so they can find that all in one place on your website.
Dr. Tom: Yeah, absolutely.
Logan: All right, there are so many more things I could ask you but we’ve already run a little long here so I’d love to have you back some other time where you can dive a little bit deeper into some of these different topics in Ayurveda, talking about the doshas, the constitutions and how these tastes can affect the metabolic syndrome and everything. We could talk a lot more about that but I just want to take a moment right now to say thank you very much, Dr. Tom.
Dr. Tom: Well, it’s been an honor and I want to thank you personally, Logan, for Superman Herbs and its commitment to unleashing the power of nature. We’re right there behind you as one of your great supporters. Thank you so much.
Logan: Thank you. Any final closing thoughts?
Dr. Tom: One of my great mentors, when I asked him what the best thing I could do for every one of my patients is, he said, “Bless them and teach them to Bless others.” So I bless each and every one of you that is listening and invite you to just take one step towards that which will give you, your loved ones, your family members the ability to witness the miracle of healing. God bless.
Logan: Well, thank you very much and thanks everyone for listening. Like I mentioned before, you can find more details about this as well as we will have the full transcript available over at Superman Herbs.com. If you really enjoyed the podcast, we always appreciate a review on iTunes. Thanks everyone for listening.