On the advice of Dr. Michael Klaper, in November 2014 I emailed Dr. David Klein about whether to try fasting. I had heard fasting was helpful for ulcerative colitis, I wrote–but would it be safe for my slender frame?
Dr. Klein responded quickly, recommending that I first buy his book.
Glad to help you, Katie. My best advice is order and study Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s and apply the Vegan Healing Diet Plan in Section 5 right away and get my guidance. Fasting is not usually the way to start. See http://www.colitisandcrohnscenter.com and get the paperback or ebook and let’s talk!
As always, it was a relief to hear from someone experienced and confident, however wary I felt about the rapid sales pitch. Following the link to his website and skimming its statements, though, my wariness persisted.
The site states that Dr. Klein and his associate, Dr. Azar, are “the world leaders in guiding clients with colitis, Crohn’s, IBS and other bowel disorders to disease-free health without medicines since 1993.” I had been researching IBD for several months, so if they really were the world leaders, then their publicity needed work–I hadn’t heard of them till now. Even more troublesome was the announcement that “Ninety-nine percent of our clients heal completely via the Vegan Healing Diet Plan we teach.” By now, I was certain that if anyone had truly found a way to heal ninety-nine percent of the country’s 1.4 million IBD patients, that person would have made headlines.
But Dr. Klaper’s faith in Dr. Klein, and my friend Alison’s faith in Dr. Klaper, overrode my hesitation for now. I crossed my fingers and forked over the $23.95, plus shipping, for the book.
Upon receiving it a week later, I discovered it to be a mixed experience like the website. Many paragraphs or pages gave me long moments of tantalizing hope…which would then be dashed by grandiose or erroneous statements that compounded my doubts as I read.
The cover alone provides a glimpse of what I mean. The book’s title provides a bright, shiny twinkle of hope, promising exactly what every IBD patient is seeking:
Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s: The Complete Wholistic Guide to Healing the Gut & Staying Well
But the next statement raises a big, fat red flag of skepticism:
With the 100% effective Vegan Diet Healing Plan, based upon the Natural Hygiene Self-Healing System
One hundred percent effective? One hundred percent?! (Whatever happened to ninety-nine percent?) Again: with IBD, there is simply no way that any single diet can be perfectly effective for everyone. That’s because unfortunately, different bodies need different solutions–so you have to experiment on your own body until you find out which diet works for you. This was why the Specific Carbohydrate Diet hadn’t worked for me despite its efficacy for many other people.
Moving down the cover, there are more hope twinkles: three quotes recommending the book, all from M.D.s. But one of those quotes–from none other than Dr. Klein’s colleague, Dr. Azar–makes another ridiculous, sweeping claim that the book’s plan is “The only true way for healing colitis and almost all other health problems.”
Hope twinkle: Dr. Klein is described as a patient, himself, who successfully healed himself on this plan and has stayed in remission for 27 years.
Red flag: “Dr.” Klein turns out to be a Ph.D. doctor, not an M.D. doctor. Also, the book is self-published.
(Maybe it’s just me, but with medical-advice books, I take self publication as a bad sign.)
Despite my many reservations, I continued to humor Dr. Klaper and Dr. Klein and proceeded to the forward. In it, Klein expounds on the body as a wondrous, self-healing instrument, with disease as just the body’s natural response to toxicity. I largely agreed with all of this. But intermingled with that wisdom are various erroneous statements–for instance, Klein dismisses the very idea of autoimmunity (“The body only works to heal itself and never creates any physiological process that would harm itself”) and describes a colostomy as “surgical removal of [the] colon.” (The term he means is colectomy.)
In a book so full of errors, it is difficult to take any advice very seriously.
I flipped to the Vegan Healing Diet Plan in Section 5, which Klein had recommended starting “right away.” At a glance, it is a bit like an extreme version of macrobiotics, the diet I was currently on. Both philosophies recommend eating in a state of calm relaxation, and chewing food thoroughly–these practices help with digestion. While macrobiotics is largely vegan and emphasizes steamed, cooked vegetables, Klein calls for the cessation of all animal products including fish, which macrobiotics allows on occasion. Rather than cooked veggies, Klein emphasizes raw fruit. While macrobiotics recommends minimizing oils and nut butters, Klein’s diet eliminates them altogether, begging the question of where the dieter’s intake of fat will come from.
It would have taken a great deal of faith in David Klein for me to follow his recommendations. By now, I was convinced that my inflamed colon did not tolerate sugar or fiber well at all, and both are abundant in raw fruit. I also knew that, without the fatty nuts and oils he mentions, I would feel weak and likely lose more weight. I couldn’t imagine this diet being good for me in any way.
And needless to say, by the time I got to the Vegan Healing Diet Plan, I was awash in skepticism about David Klein, so I was not about to experiment with his bizarre diet on my already weakened body.
I did a quick Google search for “David Klein criticism” and found that he is a polarizing figure. On Amazon.com, his book has four stars and many rave reviews, mixed with various dismal reviews that handily demolish his claim of 100% effectiveness. Here are just three of those:
Method can kill. Self healing worked for three weeks then put me in the hospital for 12 days… Bs if you are very ill with UC
Diet is important, but this diet is not the right one for UC. I’ve had a lot of success on other diets, but this diet made me so much worse. I would highly recommend trying any other diet…before this.
Approach with caution… I weaned myself off mesalazine and underwent a profound detoxification. I did not, however, achieve the symptom free status I expected and lost a lot of weight in the process. I am still underweight, but regaining it with a different dietary approach…
Klein is also lambasted on HealingWell.com, the premier patient forum for Crohn’s and UC. One user named “subdued” writes simply:
A fraud. Don’t trust anyone who claims to cure you by following their treatment. People have UC for different reasons. What works for one, may not work for another.
HealingWell users who mention trying Klein’s diet generally say that it did not work for them, although one says that it did. Several users discuss whether his reviews on Amazon are even genuine, since many of the reviews appear to be from users who have only ever reviewed this single product. Another HealingWell skeptic notes that Klein’s PhD is from the University of Natural Health, which only requires a handful of courses and a 3000 word thesis.
After this digging, my impression of David Klein was that his methods might work for some people, but not nearly for the numbers of people who he claims to help. And regardless of his efficacy, Klein’s errors and dishonesty eliminate his credibility for me. I concluded that he was mostly just selling false hope, and making money by exploiting desperate people…like me.
I shelved Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s in my growing stack of health books, disappointed that Dr. Klaper had sent me in this direction. I still had no answer on fasting, but for now, I would shelve that idea, too. It seemed I had reached my latest dead end.