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BC's Oldest Naturopath

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Eighty-six-year-old naturopath Fred Loffler has been known to kill time before a talk by standing on his head. It's not hard to imagine as the ex-wrestling champion and Olympic Marathon contender strides to the stage. He's wiry, bald and throws his arms out to punctuates his words.

Eighty-six-year-old naturopath Fred Loffler has been known to kill time before a talk by standing on his head. It’s not hard to imagine as the ex-wrestling champion and Olympic Marathon contender strides to the stage. He’s wiry, bald and throws his arms out to punctuates his words.

He’s attempted to retire twice, but his 50 years of experience and success have made him a popular man. He still agrees to consult with some patients and give talks, like the one Health Action Network Society (HANS) sponsored last October.

Loffler remembers the exact day he decided to become a health practitioner. It was February 5, 1937.

"I was in a hospital in Victoria, waiting for my dad to die after 20 years of ulcers, operations and drugs," he said. At this time the options for naturopathic school in North America were limited. He went to visit Western States University in Oregon in the US and was unimpressed.

"It didn’t look much like a college–It was a dump," he said with a smile. But he put aside his hesitation and went on to graduate from the school, which was far more credible than its shabby exterior had led him to believe. During this time he met and married his first wife, who completed her studies at the same school, and he began his lengthy practice. Over the years he has seen the acceptance of naturopathy grow and the number of schools increase, including a Naturopathic College opening in Western Canada.

Loffler is a firm believer in food combining. It is only natural that when asked by HANS to reflect on his career, he passes out detailed sheets with columns of foods and the best matches. And when the floor opens to questions, his answers always come back to food combining and when you eat what.

For example, in the morning it’s fruit–maybe grapefruit juice with garlic and vitamin E. In the evening, it’s vitamin B-complex and blood builders.

He has theories on common ailments–like his peanut theory. He says peanuts are the worst thing for kids, contributing to bronchial infections and excessive mucus.

He also has little patience for people who won’t help themselves by changing their lifestyles or diets. The force and conviction with which he speaks and his infectious energy is nearly all the convincing his audience needs. People tend to listen to a man who did a 40 kilometre overnight hike at Garabaldi when he was 85!

Looking forward, Loffler sees chlorella as the natural substance that may prove to be the answer to cancer in the next millennium, particularly in its ability to help build hemoglobin. What he thinks is the next immediate breakthrough, though, is B vitamins and folic acid for Alzheimer’s.

"You heard it here first," he said to the audience. Although Loffler’s experience is firmly rooted in the 20th century, he seems to have every intention of using it to explore the boundaries of health in the 21st.

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