October 7, 2016
Interview of Dr. Alan Goldhamer by NW VEG Member and Volunteer Jamie Loken Portland VegFest is October 22 and 23 at the Oregon Convention Center. Click here to see this year's fantastic lineup of speakers. You don't have to be nice to be vegan. That's a message Dr. Alan Goldhamer would like to communicate. He doesn't care if you're vegan to save the animals, the environment, or your place in heaven. He wants you to save yourself. Vegans are stereotyped as bleeding hearts for a reason. It can be a difficult to hear we need to stand up for ourselves and our health, but that's exactly what VegFest 2016 speaker, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, wants you to do. Usher in the semi-rebel vibe. Though co-author of The Pleasure Trap and founder of the largest medically-supervised fasting center in the world, TruthNorth Health Center, it seems Goldhamer's name is only commonplace in certain circles. With the powerful messages he imparts, it's mysterious that he’s not more well-known. Step back and cue the guitar riff? He doesn't seem the type to hype himself, and that's what also lends hints of rebellion to his vibe. The intelligent, down-to-earth personality and subtle sense of humor draws people to his Youtube videos and over 10,000 have sought treatment at TrueNorth. A vegan doctor who heralds the benefits of water fasting, advocates plant-based diets and draws awareness to how unhealthy diet choices kill us, Goldhamer's fascination with health started young. Disgruntled that he couldn't beat a friend at basketball as a kid, he researched and implemented natural hygiene solutions to give himself an edge. Unfortunately, his friend implemented the same procedures, and Goldhamer never got the upper hand on the court. That experiment, though, inspired him to obtain a chiropractic degree, launch TrueNorth in 1984 with his wife Dr. Jennifer Marano, and devote his career to changing lives through diet and fasting. He also co-authored The Pleasure Trap with that childhood basketball buddy, Dr. Doug Lisle. "[Implementing natural hygiene to gain an edge against Doug] was a complete and total failure, but it got me interested in this whole idea that health was controllable," commented Goldhamer. "You know, under medical care, for example, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes or if you have autoimmune disease or you have lymphoma, you are told that you will be sick for the rest of your life and that you will take drugs forever. That if you do what you’re told you will never get well. That just didn’t seem logical to me." Starting TrueNorth allowed Goldhamer to successfully shape nutritional treatment methods for his patients. He's a firm water fasting advocate, and The Pleasure Trap highlights human biology and motivation. It spotlights often ignored truths about desire, dopamine, and how the body's reactions to certain foods push people into craving traps much like those affecting drug and alcohol addicts. "When I started learning about natural healing, I became interested in the fact that the body can actually heal itself. You just have to get out of the way," Goldhamer remarked. "Medicine is just giving people what they want. What people want is a way to be able to continue to indulge in short term, pleasure seeking, self-indulgent, addictive behaviors, but not pay the price for it. What people need is to understand the nature of the pleasure trap and figure out how to escape it." Goldhamer has methods to help people do just that with great success. Fittingly, the food categories he warns against spell out a universal distress call: SOS. Salt. Oil. Sugar. Goldhamer's teachings educate people on body processes in easy-to-understand terms. With this rebel-ish doctor as your guide, you don’t need a medical dictionary or a biology degree to grasp the dangerous reactions SOS consumption sets in motion. Though a proponent of plant-based diets, he also has a straightforward message for those already living as vegans. "You not only have to stop eating dead, decomposed flesh and its bi-products, but you need to also avoid the highly processed pleasure trap chemicals added to food - including sugar, oil, and salt - if you want to maximize your health," he mentions with certainty. "The beautiful thing is that you don't have to be a nice person or a spiritually aware person or an environmentally conscious person to justify adopting a vegan, SOS free diet,” Goldhamer says with a tone that reveals that dry humor at work. “You can be a selfish, greedy person and still see the tremendous benefit to yourself and not compromise your health with animal-based products or highly processed chemicals that are added to our food." Though he's not afraid to cast a flippant hue around his words, it's obvious Goldhamer cares deeply enough for people to build a health center devoted to championing veganism and well-being. Vegan or non-vegan, earnest or narcissistic, catching Dr. Goldhamer at VegFest 2016 is a must. No matter where you are on your path, Goldhamer's insight will help you move one step closer to being a healthier human. We can't promise a rebellious guitar riff, but you can imagine one as he takes the stage if you'd like.