Patients often ask me how I became interested in naturopathy. I’m going to take a break from my usual patient cases and share that story today.
When I was 12½, my family took a trip to California to visit relatives, one of whom was the movie producer Jerry Bresler, famous for The Vikings and the Gidget movies among others. On a tour of the back lot at Universal Studios, we were passing through a western set where the series Rawhide was being filmed. Cousin Jerry stopped the golf cart that we were riding in and called over a young, bare-chested cowboy who was on lunch break.
Jerry said, “Clint, come over here and meet my family.” He then whispered to us, “I think that this guy will be famous someday.” So this broad-shouldered, sun-drenched, sweaty young man—bare chested wearing chaps with two “six guns” on his belt and a cowboy hat—ambled over and shook our hands.
When Eastwood was standing alongside of me, towering over my 12 ½-year-old self, shaking my hand, my father quipped, “So if my son wants a physique like yours, what should he do?” Clint replied, “Just stay away from those cheap imitation breakfast cereals.” He then grinned at me with his signature crooked smile and ambled back to the chest-style Coca-Cola cooler that he had been sunning himself on, pulled his hat over his face and continued his nap.
Sometime later, when I was starting to be aware of the wisdom of proper eating, I found that Eastwood had been an early supporter of Paul Bragg, an informally schooled “naturopath” credited as the founder of the Health Movement in America by opening the first health food store. Eastwood credited Bragg’s regime for his health and vigor. I remember seeing the initials “ND” after Bragg’s name and wondering what that meant.
It turns out that Clint Eastwood is still a Bragg advocate and endorses Bragg Live Food Products, now run by Paul’s daughter Patricia, who also sports the “ND” title. In this day of myriads of “alternatives and compliments” to conventional medicine, the ND title is almost exclusively reserved for those who completed formal medical training in naturopathic medicine. There are, however, a few self-taught experts that our community recognizes supporting much of the time-honored wisdom embraced by the modern naturopathic physician. Paul and Patricia are among those few and, judging from Clint Eastwood’s longevity and robust health, I’d say that he manifests the wisdom of his warning to me almost 60 years ago. I’d love to reconnect and see if he remembers the encounter. But whether or not he does, I am proud of and grateful for all I’ve accomplished in my years of practice inspired by this chance encounter.