“Why does Dr. Christopher Mucusless Diet not reference or credit Prof. Arnold Ehret, the person who invented the term ‘mucusless’ almost 50 years prior?”

Prof. Arnold Ehret vs. Dr. Christopher Mucusless Diet

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Cover of the 1924 4th Edition of Ehret’s Mucusless Diet

When someone refers to the “Mucusless Diet,” most are talking about the dietary system first published by Prof. Arnold Ehret circa 1922 called the Mucusless Diet Healing System. Yet, the term “mucusless” was also used by John R. Christopher in his Three Day Cleansing Program: Mucusless Diet & Herbal Combinations, or Dr. Christopher Mucusless Diet.

The original printing of Christopher’s book is not clear. The earliest version I was able to confirm with copyright records on the Worldcat library catalog was 1976. Although it could have been a typo, the title of this version is spelled “mucousless” instead of “mucusless.” There is also a note in the catalog file that read: “A portion of this book has been censored through a court injunction dated November 8, 1976 Sacramento, California.” I attempted to find details about the injunction through Sacramento’s superior court filings, but was unable to locate the records.

The 1978 revised edition, and subsequent versions maintain the name and spelling Dr. Christopher’s Three Day Cleansing Program and Mucusless Diet. After some additional research, I found copies of the text on antique book websites that claimed to be from a 1969 original printing. It should be noted that quite of bit of content has been added to this edition, particularly in the section dedicated to herbal formulas. The 1969 version I’ve obtained has 28 pages, while the 2010 edition has 62. The following discussion will examine Christopher’s 2010 version, as well as Ehret’s 1924 edition of the Mucusless Diet Healing System.

Arnold Ehret vs. Dr. John Christopher’s Mucusless Diet

Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System is quite different from Dr. John Christopher’s Mucusless Diet. Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System is a complete course on eating that includes:

  • Transitional methods to move toward mucus- and pus-free foods
  • Full instructions for fasting (including an emphasis on 2 to 3 day intermittent fasting)
  • Articulation of a new theoretical paradigm of human physiology
  • Challenges to the widely accepted principles of nutrition
  • Clear descriptions of what foods are mucus and pus-forming, and what is not.
  • Discussion of additional therapies, such as enemas, herbs, sun-bathing, exercise, etc.

Christopher’s booklet focuses on what he describes as a 3 day cleanse that includes:

  • Juicing with emphasis on Apple, Citrus, Carrot, and Grape Juice Therapies
  • Continued Water Fasting option
  • Ingesting of Olive Oil during the juice fasting periods
  • A Mucusless Diet that include selected pus-forming foods, such as fish & chicken
  • Discussion of additional therapies and “corrective aids”
  • Descriptions of many herbal formulas
  • Embracing certain nutritional concepts

There are also elements that appear in both books. Some seem to be inspired, at least in part, by Ehret’s original works. There are also very clear differences:

  • Ehret said that “every cure, and especially every cure of diet, should start with a 2- or 3-day fast (Mucusless Diet Healing System).” In his lessons on fasting in the Mucusless Diet, Ehret outlines several methods of fasting that range from water with a little lemon to juice fasting. The 2 to 3 day juice or lemon water periods are to be followed by a mucusless diet. Christopher’s three day cleanse also includes three days of juicing followed by what Christopher identifies as a “mucusless diet.”
  • Christopher recommends using a series of supplements, including cayenne pepper, honey and apple cider vinegar, kelp, molasses, and wheat germ. Ehret does not recommend using any of these items in supplemental fashions. Ehret makes no distinction between apple cider and white vinegar, and strongly recommends against using vinegar even during his “transition diet.” Ehret discusses honey as a possible lemonade sweetener, but brown sugar or fruit juice could also be used for this purpose.
  • Ehret says that all cereals are mucus-forming, and if they are to be used at all during the transition it is best to cook the gluey properties from them (e.g. well toasted wheat bread). Ehret explains:

“Cereals and all flour products form mucus and acid. The worst of all is white flour, because it makes the best paste. Bran, graham, whole wheat, or rye bread are less harmful, because they have lost their sticky properties. When well done or toasted and well baked, they are much less harmful. Raw cereals, if toasted, are to some extent a mucus broom, but contain stimulants, wrongly believed to be ‘food value (Arnold Ehret, Mucusless Diet Healing System, all editions).'”

Christopher agrees that flour and flour products are mucus-forming, but suggests that low heated whole-grain cereal that’s been soaked for hours and then slightly heated is mucusless. Perhaps the logic of this could be compared to Ehret’s statement about raw cereals as potential mucus-brooms, although he still recognized them to be mucus-forming. In one instance, Ehret also suggests that if rice is to be used at all during one’s transition, they should soak it in water to allow some of the mucus-forming properties to be removed. The soaked rice can then be formed into patties and fried. In “Lesson 16” Ehret says:

“Raw cereals should be roasted first, whenever desired, and will be found to work as a good intestinal broom, although they contain stimulants. Rice is a great mucus-former because it makes the best paste, but it can be improved by soaking overnight in water (you will notice that the water becomes very sticky and slimy and of an awful odor). Pour off the water from the rice and either fry or bake it a little (Ehret, Mucusless Diet, all editions).”

Contrary to Ehret, Christopher emphasizes that “wheat contains all of the potential nutrient values needed in the human body (p.9).” This statement is diametrically opposed to Ehret’s views that cereals have no “food value.”

  • Ehret’s work includes a wide range of transitional menu options. Some mucuslean items do include grains, but there are also very important menus such as baked mucus-free vegetables and stewed fruit. Christopher offers several “low-heated grains recipes.”
  • Ehret is very clear that all fats, even those of vegetable origin, are mucus-forming and should eventually be transitioned away from:

All fats are acid forming, even those of vegetable origin, and are not used by the body. You will like, crave, and use them only as long as you can still see mucus in the “magic mirror.” What doctors call heat calories is caused by the fats in friction, obstruction in the circulation; they constipate the small blood vessels (Ehret, Mucusless Diet Healing System, all editions).”

Although Ehret does not specifically talk about avocadoes because they were not yet commercially available food items, he is clear that nuts, and any other plant-based fatty foods, are mucus-forming (keep in mind that some fatty items can be used during the transition. For more on avocadoes and nuts, CLICK HERE.

Christopher does not talk much about fats, although he suggested avocado as a potential dressing ingredient (pg. 10)

  • Christopher is most widely known as a herbalist, and a number of herbal formulas are featured in his pamphlet. And many more formulas have been added in newer editions. Ehret does not discuss herbs in much detail, but offers an intestinal herbal formula. Following the original publication of his book, Ehret’s formula came to be called Innerclean.
  • Both authors discuss enemas. Ehret strongly advises the use of enemas every day during a fast. He also explains in the section called “Internal Baths” that enemas can be done regularly if a person chooses to do them:

“During the transition period, even though you have regular bowel movements, it is advisable to wash out the lower colon. The sticky waste, slimy mucus, and various poisons which Nature is attempting to eject should be helped along as much as possible. . . Try to have a natural bowel movement before injecting the water (Arnold Ehret, Mucusless Diet Healing System, all editions).”

Christopher said that enemas should only be used in cases of emergencies or for someone with a weak appendix.

Is Fish and Chicken Part of the Mucusless Diet?

dr. john christopher

One of the most jarring differences between the two texts are the author’s stances on meat products being a part of the diet. Ehret is very clear that all meat decomposes into pus, mucus, and acids within the body and should be eliminated as soon as possible on a mucusless diet. For Ehret, meat has no place within a mucusless, much less a human, diet:

“I said 20 years ago and repeat it again and again, that most of these foreign matters are paste produced from wrong foods, decomposed—to be seen when it leaves the body as mucus. Meat decomposes into pus (Ehret, Mucusless Diet).”

“All are in a decomposing state, producing cadaver poisons, uric acid in the body and mucus; fats are the worst, even butter is unusable for the human body. No animals eat fat (Ehret, Mucusless Diet).”

“But the medical error even grows by teaching metabolism, claiming that you must replace cells (which are not used up as you can plainly see) with high protein food from a cadaver, partly decomposed meat, and which has gone through a most destructive heat process of cooking!” (Ehret, Mucusless Diet)

“High protein foods [especially meat] act as stimulation for a certain time, because they decompose at once in the human body into poison. It is a commonly known fact that any kind of animal substance becomes very poisonous as soon as it enters into oxidation with air, especially at a higher temperature as exists in the human body (Ehret, Mucusless Diet).”

In the Annotated Mucusless Diet, I add the following note about the concept of “pus”:

“The word “pus” is from late fourteenth-century Latin “pus” (related to puter [putrid] “rotten”), from Proto-Indo-European *pu- compared to Sanskrit puyati “rots, stinks,” putih “stinking, foul.” Pus often refers to a thick white, yellowish, or greenish opaque liquid produced in infected tissue, consisting of dead white blood cells, bacteria, tissue debris, and serum. It also refers to the substance that dead animal flesh is chemically changed to after being consumed or while rotting. Thus, the ingestion of meat and dairy products create pus residue in the body (Prof. Spira, endnote in the Annotated Mucusless Diet, 2014).”

For Ehret, fat and starch-free fruits and vegetables consisted of the mucusless diet, i.e. mostly fruits and green-leafy vegetables. However, slightly mucus-forming items were recommended to be used during periods of transition (See the Mucusless Diet Healing System for more details about these important methods).

Under Christopher’s Mucusless Diet, he claimed it was okay to eat a little fish or chicken:

4. Meat. Eliminate all red meats from the diet. A little white fish once a week, or a bit of young chicken that has not been fed commercial food or inoculated with formaldehyde and other anti-spoilaage serums, would be all right (as these are the higher forms of edible flesh), but do not use them too often. (Christopher, Three Day Cleansing Program and Mucusless Diet, 2010 ed., p. 7)

dr. john christopher

It cannot be overemphasized how problematic this statement is from the perspective of Arnold Ehret in his Mucusless Diet Healing System. MEAT HAS NO PLACE IN A MUCUSLESS DIET OR PERIOD OF CLEANSING. Ehret does mention a couple slightly pus-forming foods that could be used in extreme circumstances during the earliest stages of the transition period of a very sick person, including egg-based mayonnaise, but they are not to be used for any extended period of time (see this post to learn more about Ehret’s “Vegetarian” recommendations: CLICK HERE). Christopher asserts that eggs should not be used for any reason.

Further, many Mucusless Diet Healing System practitioners assert that fish is the worst meat that can be consumed by humans. The decomposing pus of dead fish is significantly more concentrated than that of an animal that breaths oxygen with lungs. Ultimately, an animal that breaths air with lungs is much cleaner, per say, than an animal that resides in water and only absorbs oxygen through gills. In other words, the more oxygen an animal breaths and effectively assimilates, the cleaner they are.

dr. john christopher

Why does Christopher not give credit to Ehret?

What is particularly perplexing is that Christopher fails to acknowledge Ehret’s role in creating the term and original mucusless diet concept. Yet, Christopher provides a detailed reference section at the end of the book (p. 47, 2010) where he notes a Post Graduate Course from H. Nowell in 1926, Shook’s Advanced Treatise in Herbology, Michael Tracy’s The Mild Food Cook Book, and Dr. Norman Walker’s Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices. How could he include a reference section without acknowledging Ehret?

Why does Christopher not reference or credit Prof. Arnold Ehret, the person who invented the term “mucusless” almost 50 years prior to Christopher’s publication? Some of his followers assert that Christopher contributed to Ehret’s work, or took the Mucusless Diet, as a dietary practice, to another level. One problem with this argument is the fact that Christopher seems to of consciously refused to acknowledge Ehret’s work. Even if he had disagreements with Ehret, it would have been congenial at least point out that his version is going to be quite different from that of the concept’s originator. Failing to do so has led readers not familiar with Ehret’s work to mistakenly assume that Christopher originated the “Mucusless Diet.”

I have not been able to find much information about Christopher’s relationship to Ehret’s work, or any potential interactions he had with Fred S. Hirsch, who continued to promote Ehret’s books until the 1970s. It would also be interesting to learn about Benedict Lust’s relationship to Christopher, who also claimed copyrights to Ehret’s work and published versions of the Mucusless Diet Healing System through his company in the past. I’ve been told by reliable sources in the past that Hirsch and Lust had some legal battles regarding copyrights to Ehret’s work, although Fred Hirsch is the only publisher with his copyright listed with the Library of Congress. I would be interested to learn of Christopher’s relationship with these two naturopaths.

It would be speculation on my part as to why Christopher decided to publish his own “Mucusless Diet” that was so radically different from Ehret’s without acknowledging those differences. If he wanted to use the word “mucusless,” which did have a following thanks to Ehret, Hirsch, and Lust, why did Christopher fail to mention that he wanted to borrow the term, but that his idea of the Mucusless Diet was vastly different from that of the term’s originator?

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Ehret and Christopher’s Followers

Another interesting thing I found is a disconnect between the followers of Ehret’s legacy and that of Christopher’s. Many followers of Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System have never heard of Christopher and are shocked to hear that his diet is nothing like Ehret’s, despite using “Mucusless Diet” in the title. After having studied and lived with Ehret’s work, they cannot believe that Christopher recommended eating dead animal flesh (fish and chicken) in any amount for any reason.

I’ve noticed that many of Christopher’s followers know little about Ehret’s work or the original Mucusless Diet Healing System. This is just an observation based on my interaction with many followers of Christopher’s work on forums and other social media platforms. As mentioned above, there are some who claim that Christopher and Ehret’s mucusless diets are similar, and that Christopher contributed to Ehret’s work and modernized it. These comments suggest that the person making the claim has not read or analyzed Ehret’s work. I’ve received this assertion on at least two occasions, and in each instance the individuals admitted that they’d not read Ehret’s version of the Mucusless Diet. They just assumed that Christopher’s was similar or an improvement because they had deep respect for his writings and herbal programs.

There are also some people that hear the term “Mucusless Diet” and find information about Christopher’s version before Ehret’s. I’ve seen questions of confused health seekers on “Yahoo Answers” forums of people asking if Christopher’s Mucusless Diet is the original Mucusless Diet, because what they had heard differs from what they read.

Many of Christopher’s followers are aspiring or practicing herbalists. In 1953 Christopher formed the School of Natural Healing and have educated thousands of herbalists and homeopathic practitioners. Today, online courses are available for those interested in studying Christopher’s methods. Ehret’s work attracts many herbalists, but there is no herbalist training tradition tied to Ehret, outside of his stomach and bowel formula.

Followers of Ehret’s work come from all walks of life. People suffering chronic illnesses often seek out Ehret’s methods as a last resort, while athletic raw foodists and aspiring vegans praise Ehret’s work for its brilliant simplicity, his revolutionary views on human physiology/nutrition, and for forming a transitional system that helps people from any dietary background move toward a plant-based, mucus-free diet.

Beware of Free Mucusless Diet PDFs Online

There is a strange PDF circulating online that claims to be an “AUTHENTIC copy of the ORIGINAL version” of Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System. However, the first 15 pages cherry pick excerpts from Ehret’s Mucusless Diet, and then add 5 pages lifted from Christopher’s Mucusless Diet, under the heading “Mucusless Supplement.” In the future I plan to dedicate an entire post to this. The following images are excerpts from the bootleg PDF:

dr. christopher mucusless diet
Above is the first page from the bootleg PDF masquerading as the Mucusless Diet.

Above is page 16 of the Internet knock off PDF that takes material from Christopher’s works. Yet, no mention of Christopher is anywhere in the document and readers assume that Arnold Ehret also authored this material. 

I learned of this document from a confused health-seeker who had downloaded the bootleg PDF and thought that it was Ehret’s Mucusless Diet. The person assured me that Ehret said that apple-cider vinegar was okay to use. Not only does this document combine Ehret and Christopher’s work, but does not attribute Christopher for the “Supplement” portion. Thus, people are finding and reading this document thinking that it is Ehret’s Mucusless Diet. 

In Conclusion

My hope is the above article sheds light on the differences between Arnold Ehret’s original Mucusless Diet Healing System and Dr. Christopher’s Mucusless Diet. I encourage you to study versions of all the various texts to better understand the differences and consider the historical contexts. For an article with in-depth analysis about changes made to Ehret’s original Mucusless Diet click HERE. For a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the principles found in Christopher’s work, click HERE. Moving forward, we may all benefit from a more critical analysis of these works.

Peace, Love, and Breath!

Prof. Spira

All quotes used for educational purposes in accordance with Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, 107.