A debate between two nineteenth century French researchers ended up creating the core belief of the modern medical system.
Nearly everyone has heard of Louis Pasteur, but very few have heard of Claude Bernard.
Modern medicine is built on the germ theory proposed by Pasteur. Yet there is mounting evidence that Bernard, who had a different theory, was correct. In fact, Pasteur was reported to have blurted out the words “Bernard is right!” shortly before he died. The medical profession and mainstream scientific establishment claim that Pasteur never said this.
Why is the controversy still important? Because the modern medical system, built on the Pasteur theory of germs being the cause of most disease, fails many people. Some of those people who found no help from conventional medicine turned to the Bernard theory without even knowing it, and restored their health.
With one important addition—eating real food.
I am one of those people, and I know many others.
The Two Theories
Most people are familiar with the germ theory of disease advocated by Pasteur. This theory claims that most illness is caused by germs, tiny organisms like bacteria and viruses. Since these organisms are the cause of illness, the way to cure illness is to kill the germs. This can aggressively be done through medication, sanitation, radiation, and other methods outside the natural defenses of the body.
In fact, the symptoms of disease are attacked by outside interventions such as surgery, drugs, and radiation—all aimed at killing the organisms that are blamed for the disease. This approach, which is the cornerstone of modern medicine, often does great harm to the patient, and often fails to cure them.
It can work, but it is common for the symptoms to return at a later date.
Bernard believed that the most important part of defeating disease was what he called “the terrain.”
The terrain is the body of the patient, and the natural functions of that body. Bernard taught that the body is full of bacteria, which are benign and helpful if the body is working properly. But if the body becomes weakened, or injured, or malnourished, some of these bacteria change and become dangerous, causing disease.
To Pasteur, killing the pathogens through outside intervention was the way to heal. To Bernard, strengthening the “terrain,” the body, enabled the body to heal itself, creating a condition where the bad bacteria became benign and helpful again.
What We Know Now
We know that killing outside germs through basic hygiene helps prevent disease. Yet we also know that the body needs beneficial bacteria to live, and killing too many of these bacteria has bad effects on the body, and they are often replaced with harmful organisms.
We know that antibiotics and other aggressive medical interventions can relieve symptoms, but they usually fail to treat the cause of the symptoms, which often return at a later date.
Yet we also know that many people who have no medical intervention recover from every kind of illness, and often do not see the symptoms return.
My Experience, and the Role of Food
I have had many illnesses over most of my life. I have had a lot of medical treatment for various conditions. At first, the treatment relieved the symptoms. But my body became weaker from the prescription drugs and other treatments. After some time, the symptoms always returned, and I would need more treatment. Eventually, I reached a point where the medical interventions did not work.
What saved me was an unwitting turn toward Bernard’s theory. I strengthened my body by switching to real food, and avoiding toxins. The real food and grassfed meat gave my body the nutrition it needed to function properly. As my terrain became stronger and stronger, I became healthier and healthier. I have not needed any medical intervention in over ten years.
I do practice hygiene, which gives my body less to fight off, and I believe there is a proper place for medical intervention when it is truly needed. But the best path I have found for myself is to nourish my terrain by avoiding toxins, including dangerous bacteria, and eating real food only. That way, the natural functions of my body keep it healthy. Many of my friends in the real food movement have had a similar experience.
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