Feel Like a Million: the Catharyn Elwood Interview

Nutritionist Catharyn Elwood, author of "Feel Like a Million," discusses the health problems created by nutritional deficiency, the hazards of modern industrially processed food, and the health value of natural whole foods.

| March/April 1972

Feel Like a Million - Catharyn Elwood

Catharyn Elwood's nutrition book "Feel Like a Million" became a best seller following its publication in 1956.


Nutritionist Catharyn Elwood is the gracious, camera-shy author of Feel Like a Million, a book on nutrition and health which still sells briskly after ten printings and a circulation of over half a million copies. A slight lady who wears her hair braided in a ponytail down to her hips and volunteers that she's "one year younger than Adelle Davis,"  Miss Elwood seems to take the quotation from Socrates on the title page of that book — "One cannot get closer to the gods than to bring health to one's fellow men" — as the credo of her life.

Catharyn graduated from the Agricultural College in Logan, Utah (now Utah State University), continued her studies at Cornell and received an M.S. in food and nutrition from the University of Maryland. She now teaches at Montgomery Junior College in Washington, D.C. and at the University of Northern Virginia Community College.

The following interview with Miss Elwood was conducted last September by Hal Smith at the School of Living's "Conference on Adequate Action for a Human Future" held near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

PLOWBOY: You were sick and frail as a child, Miss Elwood. Other authorities in your field such as George Oshawa and Michel Abehsera were also very ill before they began to concern themselves with nutrition. Does it take a knock-down drag-out bout with sickness to really turn us on to the value of proper foods and good health?

ELWOOD: Yes, it does seem to work that way. I often find people who had radiant health as children falling to pieces as 40 and 50-year-olds from bad eating habits, whereas someone brought up in a delicate condition someone who had to struggle for the answer to his health problems  has probably learned the value of eating well to supply his body with the necessary repair and building materials. The people who are fortunate enough to learn this later in life can sometimes make themselves even more robust than those who are born with good health and lose it.

In my own case, I didn't walk until I was 19 months old, and even then they had to put special shoes on my feet because my ankles turned. My baby teeth decayed (of course that was because of an indulgent father who always brought me candy) and I had something wrong with me every year in school. Sometimes I was out for two or three months at a time. I had pneumonia, smallpox, measles, chickenpox the whole gamut of childhood diseases and always very serious cases.

Even today, my face tells a story of nutritional crippling from childhood. My face is pinched and my dental arch is narrow. This caused my teeth to crowd one another as they came in, and some had to be pulled. Such crippling will show throughout life.

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