PENDLETON - More than 50 people listened to Mary Bernt on each of four evenings as she presented ways to stay healthy through nutrition and prayer.

Her eight "doctors" are Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust in the Lord (New Start).

She suggested natural remedies for depression, headaches, skin problems and fatigue. Doctors medicate illnesses, she said. They only treat the disease; they do not help you stay healthy.

"What we eat affects our mental health as well as physical health," she said.

Eating processed foods with added sugars and chemicals has contributed to many of our problems, she pointed out. People walked nearly everywhere they went 150 years ago and they drank water. They had no pop or processed foods. They did a hard day's work without the help of computers.

"It's amazing when you put them all together how they work," she said. "I have more energy now at 45 than when I was 24. You drink three quarts of water a day and you will have as much energy as I do," she said.

At 24, she was addicted to caffeine and cigarettes and decided that since she was trying to figure out if she was addicted to alcohol, she probably was. Because she didn't want to do anything to harm her three children and her neice and nephew who lived with her, she changed her lifestyle.

She had always been an avid reader, so instead of reading trashy novels, she started reading her Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (Bible.) When her youngest son, who had been diagnosed as hyperactive and learning disabled, began to learn, she connected it with the removal of dairy products from his diet.

She had a deep conviction that God wanted her to open a health food store, so although she and her husband both had good jobs, she started selling healthy foods and reading medical journals and books on nutrition.

For eight years she ran the health food store from her restaurant where she prepared and sold healthy food. Her patrons shared successes they had had with diet changes and natural remedies. Here are some health remedies she recommends at classes and seminars: a charcoal poultice to draw out infection; tofu to soothe burns; and slippery Elm bark twice a day to prevent heart attack.

She talked about a friend and probation officer, Barbara Reid, who had put teens attending an alternative school on a whole food diet. Reid removed the pop and candy machines from the school and added a raw vegetable and fruit machine and a juice machine. She replaced the former cafeteria food with a salad bar and healthy hot food. With that one change, Bernt said, Reid experienced no dropouts, no drug problems, suicides or teen pregnancies among the students who actually changed their diets. The percentage rate among students not changing their diet remained the same.

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