The Beauty of Simplicity – An Interview with Kevin McDonald

Recently I travelled home to NZ for a family wedding. During my visit I was shopping at a health food shop and purchased a little book called “Learn to Listen”. I read the book and was fascinated with the content. When checking the author’s details I found that he lived just a few minutes from my parents’ home in Taranaki. I called to see if I could schedule a last minute interview on the morning of the wedding and the conversation below is the result of that meeting.

Kevin McDonald is a natural practitioner who uses copper dowsing rods to assist him with diagnoses and patient monitoring. His dowsing accuracy is legendary to the extent that one of the wedding guests had apparently called him in desperation after the loss of a purebred puppy. Kevin told them the exact location of the lost pup and they drove directly to that spot to find their hungry, frightened pet.  I found his book to be a breath of fresh air in the complex world of biochemistry and nutritional requirements. If his theories are correct, then anyone anywhere can adopt these principles and change their lives. Here is a brief quote from Kevin’s book that highlights his philosophy. “We have been blessed with a fantastic vehicle to live in while we are on this earth. It is a very special, sacred vessel. Enjoy it and have fun with it but most of all give it respect and love. It is the only one you have. If it is looked after correctly it will give you many years of quality use, free of degeneration and pain and allow the spirit living within it to completely flourish to its full potential”.  These concepts make sense to me and I am sure that they will resonate with many others. During this 4 hour interview Kevin generously checked out some of my recent health issues and I intend to adopt his recommended game plan. If you decide to take his advice and embrace any of these simple programs I would love to hear your reports as to their efficacy.

Graeme: I thoroughly enjoyed your book, “Learn to Listen”. It represents simple, achievable solutions that address the quagmire of confusion that many feel when confronted with multiple diagnostic and treatment options. What inspired you to write the book?

Kevin: Well, your response pretty much wraps up my rationale for writing this book. People are invariably confused and the most common response to confusion is to do nothing. I want people to take charge of their own health and to do this they need a simple game plan with clear guidelines. I have tested thousands of people over many years and retested many of them to chart their progress. In the process I feel that I have identified the root causes of some of the key health issues and I felt compelled to share that information. Getting started is not really that hard and if you can understand the reasons for your problems, and if the solution is achievable, then there is much more likelihood of meaningful change. I was also hopeful that the book might help to allay fear. In many cases it involves simple common sense. So many people hit the Internet to diagnose their issues and there is so much information available that it is hard to determine the relevance for them. Much of the information may be truthful but they need to work out what is relevant for them. The biggest disease on the planet is fear and it has become an integral part of conventional medicine. The doctors commonly use the fear statement, “if you don’t”. I try to determine the relevance so that we can treat root causes instead of symptoms.

Graeme: I felt that you delivered your message brilliantly but the book had the feel of a first time writer. There is a charming innocence about your style. Have you published much of your work before?

Kevin: No this is my first effort. English was my one weak link during my schooling so it was a daunting process. I started out by using a ghostwriter but soon discovered that I was rewriting everything anyway so I did it myself.

Graeme: Well done! It’s amazing what passion can drive; you may have discovered a new career path. New Zealand has a relatively clean, green reputation and one could assume that these rich volcanic soils would deliver nutrient-dense medicinal food to help sustain a particularly healthy population. However, New Zealand has the second highest rates of heart disease on the planet and I understand the cancer rates are right up there. What have you found in your work?

Kevin: Well, interestingly, New Zealand has the highest rates of colon cancer in the world and I suspect a link to the misuse of phosphate fertiliser. This country is the biggest user of super phosphate in the world and the nearest challenger is a distant second.

Graeme: I see that NZ has a very popular supplement based on an Australian formula called “Percy’s Powders”. Percy Weston was a Victorian farmer who noticed that the health of his livestock declined following the introduction of super phosphate on his farm. Family members were also affected by cancer and Percy reasoned that the oversupply of this most acidic of all minerals could have created the acidity where degenerative diseases like cancer can flourish. He developed a super alkalising mineral formula, which has proven very successful in both Australia and New Zealand. Incidentally, I noted in the book that you are not a big fan of chicken meat and I wondered if that was linked to the fact that chicken is ten times more acidifying than lamb (due to the level of phosphate fed to the caged birds in their short life span)

Kevin: Yes, this is partly the reason but there are other factors. The birds are pumped up with antibiotics and overfed to achieve the required weight within 38 days. I have found that when I measure this meat from an energetic perspective, it comes up really low. I feel that a key reason is the fact that these birds don’t see sunlight in their short life and sunlight is hugely important in the production of energized food. Chicken is extremely low quality meat. In my testing I find that a budget priced, supermarket sausage has roughly the same pitiful food value as chicken. There is this hype out there about the value of white meat vs. red meat when in fact pork and chicken are the worst meats you could consume. However, we should still factor in the importance of variety. We need small amounts of meat from time to time and the more variety the better. It’s about having fun and enjoying what you eat. Salami or bacon might have no food value at all but the value can come in the fun that you might gain from these flavours. If small amounts are involved, the pleasure involved will outweigh any negatives. We were meant to enjoy life.

Graeme: You have identified three root causes of illness including poor digestion, poor kidney function and poor liver function. How much of degenerative and infectious illness can be linked to the performance of this “big three”?

Kevin: Well it’s hard to put a figure on it but a large percentage of health problems is linked to the failure of these three systems. In my testing I find that more than half of my clients have kidneys that are under performing. 80% of people have livers that measure low and 95% of clients have less than optimum digestion. In NZ the most consumed drug is Losec, and this highlights the scale of digestion problems. Degenerative disease is largely linked to insufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrients within the cell to keep them vibrantly healthy. There is much more likelihood of problems in the face of stressors when the cell is lacking nutrition. Whether these stress sources are based on chemicals, genetic predisposition, lack of sleep, emotional issues or poor quality food, the undernourished cell is far more susceptible. It all comes back to the inability to get nutrients to the cell. For me there are four aspects to digestion:

1) The quality and quantity of food

2) How well do we absorb the nutrients from our food into our blood from the intestine and colon?

3) How well does the blood carry the nutrition around the body? – this is all about circulation and blood quality 4) Then, once the food gets into that cell, how well does the cell use these nutrients? That is technically called metabolism. In your case it’s all about number two, it’s about digestion, and the liver is the root cause of your digestive issues.

Graeme: Until recently Zantac was the largest selling pharmaceutical drug on the world stage until the lipid lowering drugs took the pole position. A visit to an American chemist shop (or “drug store” as they call it) reveals a massive array of digestive remedies, which indicates the size of the problem.

Kevin: The best thing about Losec is that it works; it relieves symptoms and allows people to get on with their lives. However, this is also the worst thing about Losec because they have not addressed the root cause of the problem and are now less inclined to do so. I have found that probiotics can be great for relief of symptoms but we need something to switch on the digestive system to improve its efficiency. The answer is prebiotics, specialist stimulants, which feed and nurture your own gut organisms. Your beneficial biology shares the same DNA as every other cell in your body and when your own gut organisms break down your food, they break it down to be compatible with every other cell in your body. The introduced probiotics can also break the food down but they don’t make it fully compatible with your cells and if you stop taking them the old problems often resurface. You need to make your system breed more of your organisms and the product that achieves this most dramatically is made by an American MLM company called Usanna. They are not even aware of how good their product is as a kick-start to the digestive system. It is marketed as a blend of fibers to keep you regular and hence the name, “Fibrogy”. In actual fact, this blend contains protein extracts that have a profound effect upon beneficial organisms and I find that it is the best way to switch on the digestive system.

Graeme: You place a large emphasis upon keeping the body alkaline but you have a different take on the use of alkaline inputs. You suggest that these inputs can sometimes prove counterproductive – that alkaline inputs can actually make the digestive tract more acidic. Can you please elaborate on this idea?

Kevin: Well, in your case, for example, we have determined that you are very acidic and the root cause of that acidity is a low liver. Most of your symptoms of indigestion are related to this fact. The popular approach is to throw every thing alkaline at this problem but this is often not the solution. The problem begins when the acidity in the stomach is not sufficiently neutralized due to an undersupply of bile from the liver. That acidity compromises the entire digestive tract, and eventually the entire system, and can be linked to all sorts of inflammatory issues, including the joint and tendon pain that you are experiencing. Lemon juice in hot water would be a good thing for you. The acidity of the citric acid, first thing in the morning, basically tells the stomach, “I don’t have to make so much acid today”. By contrast, people often drink alkaline water or take alkalizing powders to counteract their acidity and this sends the message to increase acid production. The liver is already not supplying enough bile to neutralise the existing acid so the end result is to worsen the situation. These alkaline inputs can be OK for short periods but can cause problems when consumed long term. The stomach is supposed to be acidic and will self balance if you over alkalise. However this still does not address why you are acidic in the first place and that comes back to the liver. The liver is not producing enough bile or perhaps there are some bile ducts blocked in either the liver or the gallbladder. The gallbladder is basically a bag that stores and delivers the bile produced by the liver.

Graeme: Do you think it is a good idea to do a liver/gallbladder cleanse with epsom salts and olive oil to remove any stones that may be blocking ducts?

Kevin: Sometimes the stones that are produced from this detox are actually created from the materials used. The more you use, the more stones appear. However, for some people this technique is legitimate. It can dislodge stones but it very rarely serves to turn on the liver. If you eat the right foods and take a couple of specific herbs the liver will usually detox itself.

Graeme: What are the right foods?

Kevin: Well the rule of thumb is to avoid eating anything with eyes. The liver loves plants and the more diversity the better. Find some natural, plant-based foods that you enjoy and eat them in good amounts. Eggs and dairy are usually okay even though they are animal based. Whole foods with no man made intervention are the simple secret. The best herb for the liver is ginger in the form of ginger tea.

Graeme: I notice that you suggest the addition of a few slices of fresh ginger root to a cup of boiling water and then leave it for ten minutes before drinking. I add ginger to many foods. Wouldn’t that be sufficient or does the tea offer something different?

Kevin: There is something about infusion that delivers the benefits more efficiently. I guess that is why herbal teas have been used by all cultures for centuries. When you cook the ginger, or even eat it raw for that matter, it doesn’t have the same effect. It doesn’t turn the liver on like the tea does. Even drinking pure ginger juice does not have the same benefits as the tea according to my testing. Something happens at that boiling point. You don’t want to boil it to pieces if you are making it in a pot. Just boil the water first and then add the herbs and boil for a few more minutes. Ginger juice can be a good cleanser but we are talking about “turning on” and that is the function of the tea. People assume that if you cleanse the three key systems, the liver, the kidney and digestion, that you will automatically turn them back on, but often that is not the case. If you can “turn them on” and then supply the right food, they cleanse themselves.

Graeme: You have mentioned ginger tea as one of your favourite tools to restart the liver. There were a couple of other herbs involved. What were they?

Kevin: Yes, I use dandelion root tincture and ginger for the kick start and then I find that there is a greater benefit when I introduce milk thistle, which is the most effective of the liver detox herbs. It’s important to use dandelion root rather than leaf for the liver. I use dandelion leaf tincture for the kidneys.

Graeme: Would it be a good idea to drink a coffee substitute based on dandelion root?

Kevin: Interestingly, I have never seen these drinks achieve the same response as the tinctures. Perhaps it relates to the level of processing involved. My treatments are not necessarily the best possible treatment available but they are simple, easily available, inexpensive treatment options that work. Anyone can walk out into the garden and change their health with these fresh herbs, or they can buy the dried version in any supermarket. The easier the solution, the more likely people will embrace the protocol. Many people are basically lazy. The three herbs for the liver usually do the job but there is also the emotional link that should be addressed. The liver is the main centre for emotional attachments and you may need to shed that excess baggage to achieve full recovery.

Graeme: Would the Emotional Freedom Technique, involving tapping on acupuncture points while repeating affirmations and statements of intent, be of benefit in clearing emotional attachments that are affecting liver health?

Kevin: Yes. You don’t even have to know the actual cause of the problem with these kinds of techniques. Sometimes it is sufficient to state that you wish to be free from all emotional attachments that are affecting the liver and this will neutralize those issues.

Graeme: You mentioned in the book that it is not just a matter of eating live foods but that we should try to improve our connection to that food. I am a big fan of the concept of gratitude in relation to food. In this context we lost a lot when we stopped saying grace at the dinner table. Both the production and consumption of food have traditionally been a sacred process but we have lost that reverence. Shoving a burger down your throat and slurping on your shake with your mobile phone up to your ear while you drive to your next appointment is not sacred appreciation of food! However, you are suggesting that it is more than just reclaiming gratitude and appreciation. You are including the concept of intent. Could you explain this further?

Kevin: Mind over matter is a big player when it comes to optimum utilization of your food. If food had a job description it would involve the chief role of keeping you healthy and disease free and there is a benefit in transmitting that to the food. Be grateful and thankful for it, but also gracefully request that it does its job and offers maximum wellness benefits. This connection – this combination of gratitude and the polite, respectful expression of intent can hugely change the way that food affects your body. This is also important at the preparation stage. That is why homegrown food is the most powerful of all because it has been grown lovingly and it is therefore more likely to connect with your intent. I learnt the value of intent from a woman patient a few years ago. I had been dealing with her for some time with some pretty big health issues and we were slowly making progress. Suddenly, in the space of a month she showed dramatic improvement. When I analysed what she was doing differently, it was all about the food. Something was completely different about her food so I asked her what she had changed in her diet. To my amazement the only change involved the addition of a request that her food do its job really well to provide maximum health benefits. She had always said grace but now she added intent to her gratitude and it had a huge impact. I have found that it is important not to be too specific with this intent as you can limit the healing potential of good food. Don’t ask the food to heal your sore joints because there is a much wider range of benefits that the food may be able to offer. You always need to be careful about what you ask for.

Graeme: From a mind body perspective it was interesting to hear of the strong emotional link to liver health issues. I thought the heart was the emotional centre?

Kevin: The liver is the emotional centre of the body so when the liver is down we can be more easily affected by emotions. The other issue relates to emotional trauma. If that trauma is to become an attachment, it tends to favour the liver. In fact, in some cases this can be the main reason that the liver goes low in the first place. It is common to see liver problems begin 18 months to two years after a major emotional event like a marriage breakdown or the death of a loved one.

Graeme: I have friends and family who suffer problems with their thyroid or prostate glands. Can this have a liver connection?

Kevin: Acidity can often be linked to both glands. This highlights a fatal flaw in modern medicine in that the question “Why?” is so rarely asked. Why is your prostate inflamed? Why is your thyroid malfunctioning? It is extremely rare to find someone with a bad thyroid who has a perfect liver. PSA tests for the prostate are horribly inaccurate and this highlights the fact that the medical profession does not have all the answers.

Graeme: It’s a ludicrous situation that a strategy called “watchful waiting” is now more successful than the interventionist approach when it comes to the management of prostate problems. I do many prostate talks around the world and I have heard so many stories about biopsy core samples taken following PSA tests that have subsequently resulted in septicemia. In most cases there was no sign of cancer but the diagnostic test almost killed them!

Kevin: It is fear that drives the decision to over-react to the PSA data. Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real” and it is particularly prevalent in relation to cancer. Sometimes if you hear it enough and think about it enough, it can become real! The mind over matter thing can work both positively and negatively. It is not just the negative experiences that can affect your liver, positive thoughts are like fertiliser for your liver. That’s why laughter is so important.

Graeme: I was fascinated during a recent visit to Bali to note the locals meditating on the beach each morning with eyes closed and big wide smiles on their faces. A friend informed me that they were smiling on their livers. It sounds like something worth trying.

Kevin: That’s fascinating. We know the term “shitty liver” in relation to temperament but this other side of the equation has been ignored.

Graeme: What’s your opinion on the relative importance of supplementing according to what you have been able to monitor?

Kevin: There are three key things about supplementing and most of them cannot be easily monitored by the person taking the supplements. The first of these is; “how good is the supplement?”. The second is, “do I need this supplement?”. The third is “am I able to utilize this supplement?” If you can answer those questions then supplementing can be very beneficial but most people can’t. Even when we look at food we need to be able to utilize that food. I see people on amazingly healthy diets who are literally starving because they are not utilising that food. It all comes back to digestion.

Graeme: You suggest in the book that, ideally, fresh, live food should comprise 80% of our diet but you are also concerned with the way we cook our food. In this context, you believe that microwaves are a destructive menace. I am familiar with the damning research that led to the banning of microwaves in the USSR, but you have a different take on this technology. Can you explain your objection to this device?

Kevin: It’s interesting because all people don’t respond the same to the consumption of microwaved food. Some people seem to be able to get away with it, while it can have a major impact on others. I guess it is a bit like the people who can get away with smoking throughout their lives without suffering the normal consequences. The bottom line though is that we should not be using microwave ovens to cook our food. There is no reason to take risks when there are other safe alternatives. You may have seen the study where plants were watered with water that had been previously boiled in a microwave and they died within a week.

Graeme: It seems that plants respond in much the same way as people. Follow-up research has revealed that not all plants respond that negatively. Some can handle the microwaved water better than others. People often think that they will be OK if they just use the device to defrost or warm food but a study published in “Pediatrics” magazine showed that the simple act of warming previously expressed breast milk to body temperature, was enough to destroy the antibodies, enzymes and protective compounds in the breast milk.

Kevin: We have got too used to evaluating food in terms of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and carbohydrates. It is the living part of the food that we lose in a microwave and this is a serious loss.

Graeme: I can use a radionics device to measure the General Vitality of a plate full of food and then microwave that food and monitor the difference. If the food started with a General Vitality of 350 it can fall as low as 60, following a few minutes in the microwave. Consuming this food will lower the vitality of the consumer every time!

Kevin: There are three main issues I have with microwaved food if people still insist on using the device. The number one issue is using the microwave to heat the baby’s bottle. Often the formula in the bottle is the only food that the baby is receiving so it will have a much bigger impact when that food is compromised. Number two involves the use of the microwave to make porridge. That is a popular practice in NZ and it is a mistake. If you are using a microwave to cook any food, you should always wait for a few minutes after cooking to allow the radiation that can remain in the cooked food to dissipate. Porridge has the capacity to store and retain this radiation for much longer than other foods. Not only do you achieve a nutritionally inferior porridge after microwaving but you are also consuming toxic radiation with your oats! Porridge holds microwave radiation better than any other food. In the morning, you have had nothing to eat for 12 hours and every morning the enzymes are treated to a minute, but significant, whack of radiation. This happens day after day after day and can compromise digestive enzymes. Any thing that is done regularly can be a problem. The other common one is to use the microwave to make coffee at the office. They zap it and rezap it to heat it up, and again they are consuming minute amounts of radiation that can, over time, have a negative effect. Some people just use their microwave to warm those grain-based heat packs. Unfortunately this should also be avoided as the radiation remains in the grain. It’s really not a big issue. Just get rid of your microwave!

Graeme: Your basic food guidelines include fresh, local, living, whole foods that you enjoy. Avoid anything with a label, a high GI, and eat small meals often. There is nothing too confrontational from a habit changing perspective. Was that intentional?

Kevin: No, it was not intentional. I think it’s great to change habits from time to time. I mentioned the importance of variety in food. I’m still puzzled why breakfast has become the meal with the least variety. If we ever needed to change habits it is here!

Graeme: It’s funny you should mention that because it is the hardest thing I have had to adjust to during this very restrictive diet. I have changed my diet to address my liver, my acidity and candida and it hasn’t been easy. Why do we feel we have to have cereal, juice, toast and coffee for this important first meal of the day? I feel strangely unsatisfied with anything else. When I’m in Asia, I struggle with the idea of curry or noodles for breakfast. It is something I need to work on.

Kevin: Yes, we are not so rigid about any other meal and I don’t know why that is.

Graeme: Part of the current dietary dogma is about reducing the size of the evening meal, as there is no calorie burning activity that follows this meal. You suggest that 60% of our energy is expended during the regenerative processes that occur during sleep. In this context, you suggest that the evening meal should supply the fuel for these processes. Can you expand upon this?

Kevin: A lot of that dogma is just about getting fat. It’s not food that makes you fat. Its systems in your body that make you fat and then the type and timing of your meals can influence those systems. Again it comes down to poor digestion. If, at the cellular level, your cells cannot get all of the nutrient they require from your food, and this has been a long-term issue, then the body tends to turn food into fat. It’s a way to store food that is essentially a survival mechanism. Carbohydrates are the easiest and simplest things to convert. Putting on weight is often a side effect of having an unhealthy system. We need to get the systems functioning better. Most of the repair work happens while we are sleeping and we need the nutritional support for this. There is an assumption that if you are overweight you are unhealthy and if you lose weight then you are more healthy, This is simply not true. Cancer is our number one killer and there is no correlation between this disease and bodyweight. However it is the type of carbs that are consumed that will be a key. Most people should reduce consumption of refined carbohydrates at any time of the day.

Graeme: It is clear that you see poor digestion as a huge issue. What is it that has compromised our digestion so dramatically?

Kevin: There are several things. The stomach wasn’t designed to deal with highly processed foods. These foods are nutrient depleted and they can contain a vast array of chemicals. Microwaving and associated enzyme damage can contribute. Simple over-consumption of food can reduce digestive efficiency as the digestive tract comes to expect a constant flow, so there is no urgent requirement for efficiency. Commercial orange juice is a big factor. It is so widely consumed these days and it is doing major damage. It is terribly acidic when it is drunk regularly throughout the day. Orange juice is much worse than any other fruit juice. Even a daily grapefruit can be acidifying due to the amount and regularity of the citric acid. We are consuming much more of these than the small amount of lemon juice we might have in the morning. A poison is often determined by its volume. The volume of these citrus juices can be the problem. So many foods have been altered, then the use of pharmaceutical and recreational drugs further compromises the stomach. Then of course we have the impact of emotional stress and its effect upon the liver, as we have discussed. Another issue relates to our approach to food consumption. In this time starved world, some people are now seeing food as an interruption. We need to relax to digest well. We need to chew well, as the mouth is the initiation of digestion. I feel that the stomach is under-emphasised in terms of its importance. People have colonics and do various cleanses but nothing changes long term if you have not addressed problems in the stomach. Poorly digested food and acidity will continue to compromise the rest of the system if the problem in the stomach remains.

Graeme: Cellular metabolism, or the efficiency of food utilization by cells is a major end goal in digestion. You suggest that many of us are compromised in this regard. Sage tea is apparently the solution. Can a simple herb tea really be this effective?

Kevin: It can. Most of the time 6 cups is enough and we are talking just two or three sage leaves per cup. Two cups a day for three days is all that is required. Sage should not be overused as it can affect endocrine balance. It can be used specifically to reduce the symptoms of menopause because of this hormonal effect. If there was a need for improved cellular metabolism then people will usually feel increased energy within 5 days. Incidentally, if any of these teas have been microwaved there will be no response. There is usually only one major reason why cellular metabolism gets low and that’s poor kidney function. Chemicals and toxins can sometimes be involved but not often. If you have poor kidney function you will have poor cellular metabolism!

Graeme: Cellular hydration is often more about kidney function than a lack of water. I understand that you see the correction of this function as being more important than forcing back 8 glasses of water a day, regardless of your relative thirst?

Kevin: It comes back to a widely held assumption that if you put X amount into your mouth then your body’s got it. It’s no different to food, you don’t necessarily utilize what you eat. Most people who are really thirsty and drink a lot are really dehydrated. These people will often remain dehydrated no matter how much they drink. Kidneys control hydration.

Graeme: It is often suggested that good quality water is the only acceptable way to hydrate. My parents rarely seem to drink water but they have several cups of tea a day. Will the tea serve to hydrate them sufficiently?

Kevin: I don’t mean to knock the pure water brigade. We should all be drinking good quality water but we have overdone it. The tea will hydrate although it would be better if it was a herbal tea, as standard tea is a diuretic. However, the most valuable fluid your cells will ever get, will come via a plant, not from a glass of water. You can pick up the equivalent of 5 or 6 glasses of water a day from your food if your diet is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Realistically, the cleansing capacity of pristine water is a myth. People picture this crystal, pure water cleansing the cells, but most liquids are absorbed via the transverse colon. By the time they arrive at that point in the digestive tract they are anything but pure, clear water. There are a lot of Eastern practitioners that are suggesting that we are overdoing the water in the West. It’s true, we are putting too much pressure on the kidneys having to filter that much water.

Graeme: Brain health, blood pressure, cellular oxygenation, muscle integrity, skin health and lung performance are all intimately related to the kidneys and you suggest a simple solution from the home garden to address these issues. A tea made from parsley, rosemary and sage, consumed three times a day for no more than three days is your solution. Sorry for my incredulity, but could something this basic really be this effective?

Kevin: I’ve seen it work thousands of time. Kidney health is a huge issue in NZ. Five years ago the Department Of Health estimated that between 30% and 50% of patients who end up in intensive care have kidney issues and half of these will die because of this (although this may not be reflected on the death certificate).

Graeme: The parsley solution is interesting. My human health seminars are often attended by natural health practitioners and I love it when they choose to contribute. A couple of years ago a highly regarded, elderly German naturopath stood up during a discussion on high blood pressure. She stated that she recommended parsley tea, three times a day to all patients with high blood pressure and it was successful for over half of them. I thought she might be exaggerating until I read your book.

Kevin: The liver also contributes to high blood pressure but the kidneys are a very common reason. The kidneys are predominantly filters but there is no definitive medical test that thoroughly monitors their filtration capacity. You can measure filtration of a few things, but in many cases the medical profession is driving blind for want of a more definitive or more complete test. I find that parsley tea works remarkably well. Not in all cases, but in many. It is as simple as adding a few sprigs of fresh parsley to a cup of boiling water.

Graeme: Wouldn’t it work better if you chopped the parsley finely and boiled it for a few minutes in a pot?

Kevin: Yes it would but most people wouldn’t go to the trouble so I try to keep it simple.

Graeme: What’s wrong with the lazy bastards! Surely we haven’t reached that level of apathy. What else do you find effective to restore kidney function?

Kevin: Dandelion leaf tincture is the next best thing and nettle teas can also be really good. Cranberry is a good repair tool but it doesn’t turn the kidneys on. As I mentioned earlier, “turning on” and “repairing” are two quite different things. Parsley is a switch, as are most herbal supplements, but it is usually vitamins, minerals and amino acids that do the repair. There are not many other food items that are specific to the kidney. There are several that are for the blood and this, in turn will help the kidneys. Things like asparagus and beetroot are great for the blood.

Graeme: What’s the deal about rosemary in the three herb tea for the kidneys?

Kevin: Rosemary is about increasing hydration at the cellular level. The rosemary is great for stimulating some life into the renal glands so as to correct the hydration. The rosemary can be fresh or dried. It can be combined with the other herbs for three days and can be used once or twice a week after that, if desired.

Graeme: You view the liver as the centerpiece of holistic health. Why is this organ so profoundly important?

Kevin: Most cultures have seen the liver as the core of the human body. It is such a multi-function organ. It does many completely different jobs. Most of the organs are more specialized. The spirit, soul and emotion of a person are based in that general area as well. It is also unique in that you can remove a part of it and it can re-grow.

Graeme: You are the third natural health practitioner who has come up with the same diagnosis linking my acidity to poor liver function and yet I had a liver function test recently and there was no apparent problem.  My doctor admitted that sometimes your liver has to be seriously ill before it even registers as a problem on this test. Are these tests a waste of time?

Kevin: Sometimes my test mirrors the conventional liver function test but just as often there is no relationship. One female client who measured very low on my test related a story that highlights the unreliability of these tests. She had recently had her gallbladder removed and the surgeon informed her that her liver was in a terrible state. In fact, he said it was the worst he had seen from a visual perspective. She subsequently requested tests from her GP and the liver function test showed no problems.

Graeme: You are also not too keen about gallbladder removal. What is the alternative strategy?

Kevin: Well it’s pretty much the same as the liver. Ginger tea, dandelion root extract and St Mary’s thistle. It’s far better to use these as a preventative because in my experience, by the time you are scheduled for gallbladder removal it is often too far gone to turn it around.

Graeme: What about coffee? It is often frowned upon as it is said to negatively affect the immune system. It is also said to be acidifying even though it is a rich source of the alkalizing mineral, potassium. Should I give up my beloved morning cup of coffee?

Kevin: I rarely see problems with coffee unless people are having several cups a day and even that varies from person to person. The delicious smell, the social nature of the drink and the other pleasures outweigh any of the negatives as long as you don’t overdo it. As I said, life is supposed to be fun!

Graeme: Type 2 diabetes has recently been termed “the coming plague”, as one in three American adults are now considered to be pre-diabetic. You claim that it is relatively easy to manage and prevent this disease. I read research recently where frequent cures were achieved with the consumption of raw food. How do we avoid this disease and can it be cured?

Kevin: Well it is about choice of foods and addressing digestion and liver. It is very rare to find someone with diabetes who has a good liver. Low GI foods, preferably raw, can work wonders when you also address your liver. Type 2 diabetes is the most lifestyle-determined of any of the degenerative illnesses and it can be cured. A low GI diet is the key to reducing both obesity and diabetes. You need to lose weight and become healthy at the same time. Many weight loss programs do not improve your health and may even have the reverse effect.

Graeme: I know that this is not covered in the book but I was wondering what your testing had revealed about vaccinations.

Kevin: Wow! That’s the million-dollar question. My main issue relates to the difficulty parents have in obtaining unbiased information. You are either a neglectful parent for not vaccinating or you are poisoning your children by going ahead. It is so hard for a parent to make a decision and I really feel for them. I’m not a fan of vaccinations particularly the newer ones like Swine Flu but if you decide to go ahead, at least make sure you have maximized the health of the child beforehand. Never get a sick deficient baby vaccinated. It is not worth the risk. I will stand up and say that I am anti-vaccination but I respect anyone’s personal decision. We have moved on so much in terms of understanding health that I question the validity of this strategy in many cases.

Graeme: I always stress that if you are not going to vaccinate you do need to take good care of the child’s nutrition to ensure good immune response. If you are feeding the child soft drink and donuts it may not be appropriate. The other issue is that it would be much better to wait a couple of years like the Japanese do. It would not be such an assault at that point.

Kevin: The problem is that it can be an assault at any age if you are not healthy. I witnessed this during the meningitis vaccination campaign five years ago in NZ. I saw so many teenagers hit the wall. From day one, kids developed chronic fatigue type symptoms.

Graeme: The book covered some herbal alternatives for both bacterial infections and viral infections. Ginger tea appears again. This is an amazing herb. Ginger contains shagaol, which has been shown to kill the cold virus at just 1 part per million. A tablespoon of grated ginger theoretically contains sufficient shagaol for this purpose. Ginger is also the single most alkalizing food. Have you found ginger effective against flu?

Kevin: I use both ginger and mullein tea as anti-virals and they both can be effective. I don’t find any basic difference, from a vibrational perspective, between the common flu and swine flu. I hate to generate fear on this issue, as there has been no shortage of fear mongering in relation to swine flu and the need to vaccinate. However, I do feel that viruses pose our biggest threat. They are so cunning and they can mutate and change. I see so many people affected by viruses. I am seeing increasing cases of a different type of virus that our immune systems cannot detect. They have a completely different vibration and the body does not know how to handle them. These viruses can potentially stay in the body for long periods.

Graeme: Some of the conventional viruses can also become long time residents. The herpes virus is a good example.

Kevin: Actually herpes doesn’t stay forever. Many times I see that long-term herpes infections are liver based. If you address the liver you can get rid of this virus. There is a difference between infection and ongoing sensitivity. It is common to see the body produce herpes symptoms when stressed, even though the virus itself no longer lives in the body. It is like some of the recent research on chemical sensitivity. Usually a person comes into serious contact with a chemical and then their body develops sensitivity to chemicals. This can develop to the point that they will exhibit symptoms when they see a neighbor spraying chemicals, even if the spray tank just contains water. Herpes symptoms can be related to an ongoing sensitivity and the virus may no longer be present.

Graeme: That’s interesting. You also have a solution for bacterial infections and it is particularly effective to counter bladder infections.

Kevin: Yes, and again this solution can be picked fresh from your garden, free of charge. I use chive tea with great success for a variety of bacterial problems. It involves a couple of tablespoons of chopped chives in a large cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least ten minutes before drinking. The idea with these herbal teas is to use them three times a day for no more than three or four days.

Graeme: What is your opinion of the principle tool to fight heart disease – the lipid lowering drugs? Twenty three billion dollars worth of these drugs were sold last year. Was that a good health investment?

Kevin: My biggest issue with heart disease is that they treat symptoms and they don’t get back to why you have heart disease. The most common primary cause links back to kidney and liver performance and/or poor circulation. Many people these days are concerned about the side effects of drugs, and rightly so, but I always try to impress two things. Firstly, the more healthy you are the less likely you are to be negatively affected by the drugs and, of course, the more healthy your body, the less likely you are to need the drugs. The first step is to use high doses of flax seed oil and other omega 3 sources to improve circulation.

Graeme: That is something else I was meaning to ask you. I am aware of the critical importance of the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. We should ideally have a 2 to 1 ratio between these fatty acids but in Australia that ratio is out to 20 to 1 and in the US it is 26 to 1. The problem with this imbalance relates to inflammation. The inflammatory cascade involves protein messengers that direct the initial inflammation response and this is followed by an anti- inflammatory healing response, which is directed by a different group of protein messengers. Omega 6 fatty acids are the building blocks for the inflammatory messengers and omega 3 acids build the messengers (prostaglandins) that trigger the healing. What happens when you have ten times more of the building blocks for the triggers of inflammation? Well, you have inflammatory issues and inflammation has been linked to every degenerative disease. There is a particularly powerful link to heart disease. Anyway, my question relates to your different emphasis on the reasons for omega 3 supplementation. You see it more as a pipe cleaner than a healing agent, with regards to heart disease.

Kevin: It does achieve that much needed anti-inflammatory effect perfectly but good doses of omega 3 are also a great tool to clean out any blocked blood vessels. It is the simplest way I know of to clear out plaque and fatty deposits. A good dose involves double the label rate for about three weeks. I prefer oil to capsules.

Graeme: Cod-liver oil is my favourite as it contains high omega 3s and luxury levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. The secret to avoiding the fish flavoured reflux that can put people off this oil, is to take your tablespoon with some lemon juice. Then there is no unpleasant taste and no reflux.

Kevin: I have also had good results with emu oil and flaxseed is great. The main problem I see with oil supplementation is about volume. People rarely take enough to do the job. A tablespoon of oil is equivalent to 5 or 6 capsules in volume. We need good volumes for three weeks to achieve the benefits we are seeking. A tablespoon morning and night is easier than taking 12 capsules a day. I recommend that oil and joint supplements be taken at double the dose for three weeks to get a good response. The label recommendations are usually more about maintenance and are not therapeutic rates. We should all be taking omega 3 oils on a daily basis. Back to the heart disease issue. I have often seen people remain on the drugs while they are addressing their health. When they return to the GP he will say that the drugs are doing a great job because everything is improving, so they had better stay on their medication. The fear thing kicks in with “if you don’t”, and people get confused. The best strategy is to buy your own blood pressure monitor so you can monitor your own progress. You can find out what lowers and raises your blood pressure. Parsley tea, ginger, dandelion root and leaf and omega 3 fatty acids will usually have a good impact on high blood pressure. If you want to get off the medication, then you can monitor yourself accurately to ensure that you no longer need the medication.

Graeme: I am noticing a major change in people as I travel around the world. There is a huge thirst for information and people seem much more open to all kinds of ideas. It could even be linked to the mind shift that has been forecast for this point in our history. Have you noticed anything similar?

Kevin: Yes I have. There is a change underway and I am seeing it in ordinary people. It’s not just the beads and jandals (thongs) brigade. I don’t buy into the doomsday predictions and conspiracy theories. I love to live in the now and accept that what will be, will be. It’s fascinating to observe this mind shift happening though.

Graeme: Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your findings. I am sure that the information you have offered will help a great many people.

Kevin: No problem, it’s been a pleasure.

23 Responses to “The Beauty of Simplicity – An Interview with Kevin McDonald”

  1. Annie Clark Says:

    I loved this interview, read most of it, and appreciated the wisdom… its right up my street this sort of information. thank you. Annie Clark.

  2. Evan McIntyre Says:

    A very interesting interview full of truth. I regularly use many of these principles and applications in my life and diet and I definitely have experienced the benefits over the past 15 years since I began to make these changes. Just have the courage and determination to make a change. I particularly enjoyed the reference to acknowledging the source of our provision through the giving thanks,GRACE, before each meal. We are definitely spiritual beings with a higher calling.CHOOSE LIFE! His Name is JESUS!

  3. Robin Adams Says:

    Thanks Graeme and Kevin – a great interview with so much wisdom shared. The article has been circulated to many people on Norfolk Island and two of my friends and I have each purchased Kevin’s book from New Zealand. Just loved the concept of needing to first turn on the “low” organs before being able to repair. Makes such sense.

  4. Dennis Daniels Says:

    The only problem with the saying, simple common sense is that it can’t be measured. The other saying, there is none so blind as those who will not see applies to the great majority. Graeme, I agree with your comment , the lazy bastards. I found the information excellent and my wife made a ginger tea while I was reading the interview. Could you please tell me how many cups per day and for how long. I had a problem with triglycerides and couldn’t handle statin drugs. I found 9 fish oil tabs per day reduced it lower than the drugs did. I had a before and after blood test to prove this to my GP. I started weight training at 15 now I’m 66 and have had a interest in health all my life. I drive my 5 kids crazy with information on health. Thank God they listen They all exercise and my 34 year daughter just completed the 89km run called Comrades in Africa.
    Kind Regards Dennis

  5. anonymous (sorry) Says:

    Grame,
    I am *REALLY* impressed with your book and with this site!!

    I have been working with local “organic” farmers. Most are minimalists! How little
    can I get away with!! I would be MOST interested in your comments and measurements
    of the micronutrient connection from soil -> plant tissue -> animal (what can be
    really measured here?) -> human measurements (RBTI, others?)

    warm regards to you and your amazing staff,
    wiz (pen name NH USA) — (above e-mail address is OK.)

  6. David abraham Says:

    thank you very much for this most interesting and informative interview.
    I will be applying most of what I have learned.
    Where and how do I buy the book??

  7. Graeme Sait Says:

    Hi Wiz,

    it is too common to find organic growers who are neglecting nutrition. i call it “organic by neglect”. If you have no reliance upon chemical crutches there is actually a greater need to optimise nutrition to build the protective potential of the soil and plant.

    We should not be paying premiums for substandard organic produce. It may be free of the toxins that compromise immunity but it lacks the minerals that support the immune system. Organic standards are all about what you can’t do but there is barely a word about what you should be doing to produce nutrient dense, medicinal food

    There is a tremendous parallel between plant nutrition and human nutrition. The same rules apply and it becomes obvious that plants should be the major food source for humans.

    There are many references to the links between micronutrients and welllness throughout the NTS site. Im pleased to hear that you are enjoying it.

    Kind regards, Graeme Sait

  8. Graeme Sait Says:

    Hi Dennis,

    It sounds like you are a great Dad.

    Three cups of ginger tea a day is suggested for 7 days and then a few cups a week can act as maintenance and, of course, ginger is also an excellent anti-inflammatory. Inflammation has been linked to all degenerative disease, so ginger tea becomes a genuine superfood.
    It was a lucky break for you that you couldn’t handle the statins as they are causing more issues than they are curing. Fish oil is certainly a great supplement.

    You might also look at digestive enzymes that contain lipase, as triglycerides will increase in the absence of this enzyme. Kevin would no doubt link that back to the liver. Remember the two triggers for the liver are ginger tea and dandelion root tincture which you can find in many pharmacies and all good health food stores.

    Kind regards, Graeme Sait

  9. Roy Buck Says:

    A very interesting interview with Kevin McDonald. I’ve looked for his book, Learn to Listen, on Amazon.com without success. Any suggestions where I might be able to get a copy?

  10. Kevin Twigg Says:

    Enjoyed immensley your article. One thing noone seems to adress is that when a soluble salt is used the plant can then no longer take in sunlight as nature intended. Just look at clover that has been heavily fertilised with solubile salts how the leaves are buckled with the extra water it must carry. a bio-dynamic concept. What does it mean to health that the plant can not adequately take in sunlight? Kevin Twigg

  11. morag Says:

    Does Kevin do consultations????? I would love to do one. Thanks Morag

  12. Graeme Sait Says:

    Hello!

    To contact Kevin McDonald, please email heartlands@clear.net.nz. He will be able to let you know where to find the book, consultations, etc. We will also be offering the book online soon.

  13. Kevin McDonald Says:

    Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback.
    A very big thanks to Graeme for the interview. It really was a pleasure to meet you. You are another great product of Taranaki. Keep up the good work. You are changing the world.
    I am in the proccess of getting the book available through Amazon. It may take a few more weeks.
    And ,yes, I do consult. Both face to face and over the phone. If anyone wants to know more please don’t hesitate to contact me via email, heartlands@clear.net.nz

    Cheers Kevin

  14. Pacifiers Says:

    Great job on the blog, it looks outstanding. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check weekly

  15. Noel Tolson Says:

    Hello Graeme, I really appreciated your lecture at the Noosa Permaculture meeting last night. I have been afruit and vegetable grower in Nth Qld,a CSIRO technician and cotton and grain grower on the Ord in the 1960s, an agricultual advisor in PNG in the 1970s and avocado grower at Woombye in the 1980s and you confirmed everything I had observed with my own experiences. I will always recall the feedback I received from my customers at my pick your own farm at Major Creek near Townsville where I produced strawberries papayas,tomatoesas my major crops and a variety of other vegetables. These were all grown using wet season cover crops to protect thesoil from wet season erosion and boost the organic level of sandy alluvial soil. During the dry season all crops were drip irrigated and fertigated through the system. This was in 1970s. Ialso designed and marketed drip irrigation systems and at the time . I remember the pensioners who came out to our farm each fortnight and commented on the flavour and keeping quality of our produce. I was fortunate to have contact with a wise old DPI advisor who understood the need for trace elements. Unlike today as you have made clear much of our knowledge was not as accurate or confirmed. I have visited your establishment at Yandina recently. Thank you for your presentation and your website. I value and appreciate your interview with Kevin and will be

  16. Noel Tolson Says:

    passing on your website to my daughter and family in Bend Oregon who grow as much of their own food as possible on the little town block. Regards.

  17. Graeme Sait Says:

    Hi Noel,

    I was pleased to hear that you enjoyed my presentation to the permaculture group. It sounds like you were well ahead of your time when producing nutrient dense produce at Townsville. Kevin’s interview contains some valuable insights. I suspect that there are many who would benefit from some of his simple strategies. How easy and inexpensive it is to include parsley or ginger tea in your wellness regime. Thanks for your feedback.

    Warm regards,
    Graeme

  18. Alexandrin Aalders Says:

    I love this. Do you have fan facebook page for your site ?

  19. Graeme Sait Says:

    Hi, you can visit our facebook page at facebook.com/ntshealth.

    We have great 10 second health tips added every few days.

  20. Mart Rutten Says:

    Hello Graeme,

    I read your interview with Kevin Mc Donald, it was very interresting, but can you explain how to make dandelion tincture.

    Kind Regards Mart

  21. Marg O'Brien Says:

    Tena koe Kevin and Graeme

    I have two family members who take losec, my partner and his 11 year old son which does concern me. I will definitely be starting everyone on hot lemon drinks in the mornings and we will be detoxing our livers with ginger tea.

    Thank you for this informative interview. I came by this article via a cousin of Kevins who told me about his work so I hope to get down to New Plymouth for a check up very soon:)

    Cheers
    Marg

  22. Maria Thangaraj Says:

    I’m glad I consulted with Kevin McDonald today! I am on the road to recovery now. I’ve been unwell for more than a year now and have had so many visits to the doctor and very recently with a specialist. I was dosed with more antibiotics which probably did more damage to my well-being and my liver function. Tests after tests have been done on me and no one picked up till very recently that I had poor liver fuction. I came down with pneumonia in May this year and since then have been have issues with my respiratory system as well. I have become one tired and miserable woman, who cannot get through my day without coughing and grunting and saying a million prayers. Thanks to Kevin for his spot on diagnosis today. He amazed me! For a person who knew absolutely nothing about my health, his diagnosis was so accurate. He told me I had a virus in my lungs, a poorly functioning liver and digestive system. I now believe in him completely and I know that the treatment he has recommended will help me recover completely. I can’t wait to be free again, to be full of energy again, to live again! With Kevin on my side, I’m sure to win!

  23. Shavon Valotta Says:

    Appreciate it You have no clue how much I like your post. It’s very beautiful. I like it very much.

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