The raw ambition of a driven health crusader
Brian Clement is eager to spread the word about the dangers of processed foods and underwired bras
Brian Clement: firmly of the view that environment counts for much more than genetics
How our modern diet and lifestyle – and indeed many accepted medical, pharmaceutical and food industry practices – damage our health is what exercises the mind of Brian Clement.
The director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida talks fluently about the dangers of eating fish from polluted waters, drinking fluoridated water, taking synthetic food supplements, undergoing standard cancer treatments and women wearing bras with underwiring.
Many of these topics are not new for debate but Clement continues to travel the world for more than 200 days a year, spreading his central message about the role of raw or living foods in preventing disease and nurturing good health.
All the other topics become add-ons in the search for the holy grail of optimum health as we age.
Tonight, he will speak in Dublin – again – brought here by Bernadette Bohan, Dublinbased author and advocate of raw foods who teaches people how to grow their own wheat grass and make meals from raw foods.
Now in his 60s, Clement lives his message. “I exercise regularly, eat like a saint and find solace in the love of my wife, children and grandchildren and my own contribution,” he says, speaking from his home at 7am in advance of his visit here.
“In my 20s, I was a big fat American who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. I was on my way to having a heart attack before I changed my diet to plant-based eating,” he explains.
Through personal experimentation, he admits it took him about three years to get used to a vegan diet.
When not meeting those on residential programmes at Hippocrates or giving talks around the world, Clement keeps busy by researching health-enhancing or health-depleting aspects of our lives.
His books range from Supplements Exposed to Killer Clothes , Killer Fish and The Seven Keys to Lifelong Sexual Vitality .
The internet is full of video clips of his talks or his advice on blended foods, digestive enzymes, food combining and food supplements.
His professional title is “licensed” nutritionist in the state of Florida and his academic qualifications in nutrition come from the University of Science, Arts and Technology in Montserrat.
On food supplements, he says, “I have been watching how the larger pharmaceutical companies in Europe have been pushing smaller producers of food supplements out of the market with regulations.
“There is as much corruption in the health food industry as in other areas. Eighty per cent of what you can now buy in health stores is garbage.”
Hippocrates formulates and sells its own-brand supplements made, according to Clement, from powdered food and produced by small companies in the western part of the United States.
Clement also has strong words for the organic movement. “The United States organic standards have been prostituted by a new law here which allows growers to put pesticides on organic food,” he says.
However, he assures Hippocrates advocates that much of the food eaten at Hippocrates is grown on the centre’s farm.
Clement is also firmly of the view that environment counts for much more than genetics when it comes to getting sick or staying healthy and many conventional cancer treatments carry as much risk as some alternative ones.
That said, the centre has a medical team who monitor all participants on programmes there.
At the Hippocrates Health Institute, Clement says that “the most willing participants are those who’ve had a health scare – either personally or due to a sick or deceased family member”.
Clement also says the most important aspect of the programme for participants is their attitude and the personal responsibility they take for their health during and after being there.
“Their mindset is number one. Not just being positive for the sake of it but having a purpose and a reason to live.”
The institute’s website has plenty of personal testimonies but unsurprisingly not a note of criticism of its approach can be found.
He says that the University of Washington and the University of California have carried out research but his manager tells me later that the in-house research carried out by Hippocrates itself to refine the programme is “intentionally” not published.
After speaking to him on the phone for almost an hour, I can’t help but wonder if, like many other advocates of alternatives, Brian Clement were less dismissive of mainstream approaches and more campaigning about integrating nutritional medicine into mainstream medicine, his legacy might be greater and those who attended his talks would be better able to approach illness and health in a truly holistic way.