230: Fasting For Healing

Dr. Alan Goldhamer and Ashley James

Fasting is a fantastic way to heal naturally from several health conditions. According to my guest today, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, fasting is safe and effective when done right. So read on to learn everything you need to know about this healing method.

Discovering Fasting

Dr. Alan Goldhamer recalls that when he was in 4th grade, his best friend Doug always beat him in basketball.  He wanted to get healthier to beat his best friend, and he happened to find a book about fasting by Herbert Shelton.

Herbert Shelton was  American author, naturopath, alternative medicine advocate, pacifist, and vegetarian. He was also a supporter of and fasting. But Dr. Alan Goldhamer still failed in beating Doug despite his efforts to fast and adopt a plant-based diet. Because apparently, his best friend Doug took the same program.

Pursuing A Medical Degree

As Dr. Alan Goldhamer got older, he met a chiropractor when he was 16 years old. That chiropractor said he had the best job in the world. He further explained that it's because the body did all the healing, the patient did all the work, and all he had to do was take credit for the good results. Since then, Dr. Alan Goldhamer decided that pursuing a medical degree was his calling.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer eventually went to a chiropractic school in Oregon. But he says it didn't give him the background that he wanted, which was to be able to take on certain kinds of treatments and specific conditions.

Due to his desire to learn more, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, later on, went to Pacific College of Osteopathic Medicine in Australia. He did his residency there and worked with hundreds of patients who kept getting well.

TrueNorth Health Center

In 1984, Dr. Alan Goldhamer felt it was time to go back to the United States with his wife who is also a doctor. Together they opened the TrueNorth Health Center. Fast forward today, it's been 33 years since they have been helping people recover their health using diet and lifestyle modification.

He shares that usually when people have diabetes, heart conditions or autoimmune disease, their physician will usually recommend taking 1 to 5 drugs. If you do exactly as you were told, Dr. Alan Goldhamer says those doctors will guarantee you'll never get well. According to him, that's the promise of conventional treatments for health conditions.

Track Record

“We have a program that ends the disease. But only if you also eat well, exercise and go to bed on time,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer. “Our alternative approach can get you healthy enough to eliminate the need for medications.”

Most of Dr. Alan Goldhamer's patients were entirely able to remove medications by eliminating the reason why they needed the medication. Dr. Alan Goldhamer says it's really because of a management strategy towards healthy living.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer's patients who have diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome have benefited from fasting. The TrueNorth Health Center has also dealt with patients suffering from kidney diseases, although their fasting program is modified.

Furthermore, Dr. Alan Goldhamer also reveals that his team has done a fasting safety study. Hence, they assure everyone that fasting is safe as long as you follow the appropriate protocols.

In Dr. Alan Goldhamer's center, patients are appropriately screened and then undergo a physical exam, lab assessment, and monitoring. The center's patients are also seen twice a day by the center's staff of doctors wherein they evaluate every patient's clinical presentation.

“We had 174 consecutive patients who underwent fasting, and we have seen a wide variety of conditions,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer.

What Is Fasting?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer says that fasting has been around for a long time. Virtually most religious traditions recognize it as an essential component for a good reason.

“Fasting is a biological adaptation. If it weren't for fasting and the ability to fast, our species could not have done what we have done, which is wandering away from the tropics,” Dr. Alan Goldhamer said.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer also reveals that because of the biological adaptation of fasting, human beings can go up to 70 days without eating. This is because our brain has changed from burning glucose to fat. So if you didn't burn fat, we would have to break our proteins down to provide glucose. And after a period, we would eventually die.

“We are capable of doing fasting. And at our TrueNorth Health Center, we have water fasting programs from 5 to 40 days. But we do not make our patients do fasting any longer than necessary to get the problem solved,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer.

The Truth About Salt

Dr. Alan Goldhamer says sodium is an essential nutrient without which we die. He says it is such a critical nutrient that our body is designed to detect it in minimal quantities. In fact, when you can taste natural sodium, you know that particular food is healthy for you.

“Salt tells you vegetables are good. But when you concentrate it, it artificially stimulates the dopamine production in the brain, and that leads to overeating. That's why people are fat and sick cause they eat salt or sugar,” explains Dr. Alan Goldhamer.

Furthermore, Dr. Alan Goldhamer says salt has a whole bunch of problems when it is introduced in high concentration. Typically we'd be getting about have a milligram of sodium per calorie. But Dr. Alan Goldhamer says people in our culture are often eating 2 to 5 milligrams of sodium per calorie or even more.

“When we put salt in the food, the body has to hold fluid to neutralize and compensate for it. That's why blood pressure goes up. And it is also why many people aged 65 or older have hypertension,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer also shares that salt also helps us get fat. Salt makes us eat more before we feel satisfied. And there's a lot of physiological consequences of excess sodium.

Among the physical effects of salt include:

  1. Fluid retention
  2. Joint pains
  3. Edema
  4. Swelling
  5. Non-healing of wounds
  6. Congestive heart failure
  7. Respiratory issues

“Avoid added salt. Get all the salt you need by eating whole plant foods, seeds, nuts, and fruits. You don't have to add highly processed foods which are full of chemicals,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer.


In episode 133 of the Learn True Health, Jeffrey Smith was my guest.  He is the creator of anti-GMO documentaries and GMO awareness.

Jeffery Smith discussed that there was a study in Canada. The study found that eating GMO foods, specifically B2 corn, created the B2 toxin which explodes the stomach of insects. They discovered that when we eat that type of corn, GMO genes get into the bacteria of the gut.

Over time, the gut started creating the B2 toxin inside of people. Even if they no longer eat corn, their body was still very concentrated with the B2 toxin.

“We have to figure out how to make plants more resistant to chemicals produced by companies. A great way to reset is through fasting and whole foods plant diet. Only then will clinical symptoms begin to improve,” Dr. Alan Goldhamer said.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer also shares that his team just completed a study with their colleague, Luigi Fontana at Washington University. For the first time, they looked at the microbiome before and after fasting. They are already done with sample collection and data is currently being processed.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer's Diet

Dr. Alan Goldhamer usually eats any of the following for breakfast: fresh fruit, leafy greens like lettuce, cucumber, and celery. Sometimes he alternates between oatmeal, cornmeal, nuts or seeds.

For lunch or dinner, he usually indulges in large salads and steamed vegetables. He pairs it with a serving of complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice beans, sweet potato, and squash. If he goes hungry between mealtimes, he usually satisfies his hunger pangs with another salad.

Ideally, the diet has to be very nutrient-rich and low density. Dr. Alan Goldhamer stresses that whether raw or cooked, he is more concerned about what his patients are eating rather than how they are preparing it.

Best Diet Choices

Dr. Alan Goldhamer believes that raw foods and vegetables are not always possible to get enough total calories in, without overdoing the sugar or the fat. He says that it is vital to see sufficient calories in the diet which is 10 to 12% of calories from protein, 5 to 18% from fat, and the balance of complex carbohydrates.

As far as juicing is concerned, Dr. Alan Goldhamer believes that it is indeed suitable for people who can't eat whole foods. But he says the best solution to gain optimal health is to eat whole foods.

“We're advocating a whole plant food diet with limited amounts of concentrated high-fat foods,” said Dr. Alan Goldhamer. “You also have to eliminate foods like meat, fried foods, eggs, salt, oil, and sugar. It's not about changing the food that you have to worry about but rather changing the palate.”


Dr. Alan Goldhamer is a graduate of Western States Chiropractic College and the Pacific College of Osteopathic Medicine and for 34 years has been the director of the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa CA. TrueNorth is the largest facility in the world specializing in medically supervised water-only fasting. He is the author of the Health Promoting Cookbook and the co-author of The Pleasure Trap.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer is the principal investigator in numerous studies involving fasting that have been published in the peer-reviewed medical literature.

Get To Know Dr. Alan Goldhamer!

Official Website

Books by Dr. Alan Goldhamer

The Health Promoting Cookbook

The Pleasure Trap

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Learn True Health – Episode 133

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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