As I point out in my book Action! Nothing Happens Until Something Moves, the worldwide medical establishment has long been known for its vigilance in defending the status quo) against maverick truth messengers.

One of the earliest truth messengers to feel the sting of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) attacks was Dr. Max Gerson, a German immigrant born October 18, 1881 in Wongrowitz, Germany. Gerson attended the Universities of Breslau, Wurzburg, Berlin, and Freiburg from 1901 to 1906. He then served as an intern at a number of hospitals and clinics throughout Germany.

In 1910, Dr. Gerson, who had suffered from severe migraine headaches for years, came across a book written by an Italian doctor who claimed that some migraine headaches could be relieved by a milk diet, while others could be relieved by a fresh-fruit-and-vegetable diet.

Gerson first tried the milk diet, but without success. He then put himself on the fruit-and-vegetable diet, with an emphasis on apples, both raw and cooked. In a short period of time, his migraines disappeared. He further experimented by adding salt and a variety of other substances to the fruits and vegetables, only to find that his migraines returned very quickly, sometimes within a half-hour.

After serving in World War I, Dr. Gerson set up practice in Bielefeld, Germany as an internist and specialist in nervous diseases. Expanding his experimentation with diet, he was successful in curing 446 out of 450 supposedly incurable cases of lupus (an autoimmune disorder characterized by skin lesions).

For his work in this area, Dr. Gerson was hopeful that he might earn the Nobel Prize for Medicine. To his disbelief, he instead was challenged by the German medical establishment and hauled into court. The charge was that he was not a specialist in skin disorders, and therefore his work in this area was in violation of the German medical code.

After having similar success with “incurable” tuberculosis, he again was challenged by the establishment medical community. Unfortunately, before he was able to prove that his natural diet therapy did, in fact, cure tuberculosis, Dr. Gerson, who was Jewish, had to flee his homeland because of the increasingly dangerous political situation.

After his escape from Germany, Dr. Gerson lived in Vienna and then moved to Ville d’Avray near Paris to become chief of staff of a sanatorium. Finally, after a short stay in England, he emigrated to the United States.

In New York, at age fifty-five, Dr. Gerson had to go to school with first and second graders to learn how to speak English, a prerequisite for his earning a medical license. (He received his license in January 1936 after passing the New York State Board examination.) After setting up practice in New York City, he continued his diet experiments with incurable arthritis and cancer patients. His success rate was astonishing even to him, and it made the medical establishment very uneasy.

On July 3, 1946, Dr. Gerson demonstrated his healing techniques before a U.S. Senate subcommittee headed by Senator Claude Pepper, bringing with him five cancer patients whom he had cured with his organic fruit-and-vegetable therapy. The AMA went berserk – to put it mildly.

In its November 16, 1946 edition, the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, “Fortunately for the American people, this presentation received little, if any, newspaper publicity.” Later, in its January 8, 1949 edition, the same publication declared, “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to indicate that modifications in the dietary intake of food or other nutritional essentials are of any specific value in the control of cancer.”

The AMA pressured hospitals, laboratories, and other doctors not to do business with Dr. Gerson. This made it difficult for him to document his work, because he was prevented from bringing his patients to established medical facilities for testing.

The final blow, however, was when Dr. Gerson was invited to be a guest on a radio talk show hosted by the popular Long John Nebel. The show lasted for several hours, and the public’s response was overwhelming. The result? The radio network was threatened by the AMA, and Nebel was fired the next day.

Finally, on March 8, 1959, after years of harassment from the AMA and other segments of the establishment medical community, Dr. Max Gerson, the ultimate medical messenger, died of pneumonia.

In reflecting on Dr. Gerson’s work, Albert Schweitzer, the renowned doctor and humanitarian who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 (and whose wife Gerson had cured of tuberculosis) said, “I see in him one of the most eminent medical geniuses in the history of medicine. …Unfortunately, he could not engage in scientific research or teach; and he was greatly impeded by adverse political conditions.

“In ordinary times he would have been able to expound his ideas for many years as a professor at one of the important German universities; would have taught pupils who could carry on his research and teachings; would have found recognition and encouragement. … All this was denied him.

“His was the hard lot of searching and working as an uprooted immigrant, to be challenged and stand as a fighter. We who knew and understood him admired him for working his way out of discouragement again and again, and for undertaking to conquer the obstacles.”

Dr. Gerson was the most hated kind of messenger, because the message he delivered threatened not only the incomes of doctors, but also of hospitals, clinics, and those involved in the manufacture and sale of pharmaceuticals and surgical equipment. After all, if people ate healthy food, where would the medical community get its patients?

That’s why, long after the silencing of Dr. Gerson, corporate giants in the dairy, beef, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries, along with the American Medical Association, continued to shoot down one medical messenger after another in an effort to repress the hated, profit-killing truth.

Today, of course, every halfway intelligent, rational person recognizes that alcohol, drugs, and foods loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar are the very things that lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

The importance of a natural diet for the prevention, and even cure, of most diseases is now pretty well accepted, thanks to modern medical messengers such as Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Roy Walford, who have the luxury of being able to stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. Gerson.

Thus, the problem is no longer a lack of knowledge. The relationship between what a person eats and his health and longevity is well known to all. The real problem, particularly in America, is the renunciation of self-discipline and the addiction to instant gratification on the part of the general public.

This is graphically demonstrated every time another obese woman appears on television, sobbing and telling the world that it’s not her fault that she vacuums down two Big Macs, a large order of fries, and a milkshake every morning at 10:00 a.m. It’s because “McDonald’s makes it look so good in its ads.” In other words, the devil (or the clown?) made her do it.

The reality is that the only thing the devil really made her do was file a frivolous lawsuit, and the devil I’m referring to is usually sitting right next to her on the talk show where she’s venting and lamenting. And that devil isn’t Ronald McDonald. He’s that money-grubbing humanoid we have all come to lovingly refer to as a “personal injury attorney.”

Of course, all of these frivolous lawsuits will ultimately be lost, because lethal food doesn’t kill people any more than guns do. Sorry, gun-control advocates, but the reality is that it’s people who kill people (and sometimes themselves). And they don’t just do it with guns. They also use ropes, knives, lead pipes, and even their own hands. Which is why the whole notion of gun control is irrational, if not idiotic.

And it’s the same with food. Fast-food can’t kill you unless you choose to eat it. If the object is to kill as many Americans as possible, Al Qaeda is not the enemy we need to worry about. Nor is it the fast-food killing machines that try to make deep-fried food look so delectable.

The real enemy is our own lack of self-discipline, which, along with self-delusion, is the number-one killer on earth. These two culprits are not only killers in the absolute sense, they can also kill a person, figuratively speaking, in many other ways – including financially, spiritually, and emotionally.

To end on a high note, the good news is that, as a human being, you have the capacity to choose to employ self-discipline and think and act rationally. And you can be certain that the results of self-discipline and rational action are a lot more fun than crying, playing the role of victim, and disrobing yourself in front of millions of people on Oprah.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron’s, and The New York Times.