A: I first met Dr. Shelton in 1971. In 1972, I went out to his Health School
and fasted with him. Then after Chiropractic college, I went back there
and worked from 1976 to 1978. And I remained in touch with him until his
death in 1985.
He was a very warm, funny man, could get testy sometimes
but was essentially very affectionate and generous. He lived close to 90
years old, but the last twenty years were rough because he had a spastic
nerve disorder that limited his mobility. He had suffered a severe neck
injury and that may have had something to do with it. It
never affected his mind; he was mentally sharp until the end, but it did
wreck his body. In that case also there was a strong genetic tendency to
Parkinson's disease because several family members including his father
But most people say that
it was the overwork and lack of sleep that really did him in, because
besides running his health school, he wrote over 50 books and most of it
was done at night when he should have been sleeping. Don't ask me to
explain the contradiction of that- I can't.
Q: What about his health retreat and school in Texas?
A: The Health School in San Antonio
was built in the 1950s and it was a gift from the man who invented the
Frito corn chip, a man named John Doolen. He had had a heart condition
and was fasting for it, and while he was fasting he got the brainstorm
that since there are potato chips, why not have a chip made of corn, and
he made such a fortune from it, that he felt compelled to do something
for Dr. Shelton.
There were about 45 beds in the main building, but
later on they added trailers out in the woods to accomodate more people.
People came there from all over the world.
They ordered organically
grown fruits and vegetables from California that were air-freighted in to
San Antonio. That was before organically grown was commonly available as
it is today. The food they served there was fruits, vegetables, steamed
vegetables, nuts and starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams. Dr.
Shelton was not big on grains.
Throughout most of his life, Dr. Shelton
ran the place by himself, doing everything including picking people up at
the airport and picking up the food, and at night he would compose and
type his 57 books. The amount of work he put out was prodigous. The
building was very plain, no frills, but it was airy and clean and sunny
and extremely peaceful.
Unfortunately, after the business was closed,
the building was ransacked by hooligans and was eventually torn down.
Today the 45 acres of land is being developed into residential lots by
the new owner. But it certainly was a mecca for Hygienic health-building
for many decades.
Q: Why was he not better known in San Antonio? We have a member from there, who never heard of him.
A: Who knows? The health interest in San Antonio, as opposed to Austin, is not known to be particularly high. That may be one reason.
Q: Tell us more about Dr. Shelton's diet.
A: Shelton's diet really wasn't that strict. He was a
lactovegetarian; he never could get past the milk products in his diet,
including cheese, clabbered milk, and butter.
I had a man come to me once who had
fasted with Shelton in the early 60s and kept a diary of all the meals he
was fed by Shelton afterwards. It consisted of fruit in the morning,
salad and nuts or cheese for lunch, and in the evening either salad with
cooked vegetables and a starch, or sweet fruit with clabbered milk.
Q: How did you first meet Dr. Shelton?
A: The way I met Shelton was interesting. I was in college at UCLA at the
time and I had recently found out about NH and I was reading Dr.
Shelton's books. As I read the books, various questions would enter my
mind, and I noticed that the books were self-published by Dr. Shelton's
Health School and there was an address in San Antonio. So, on a lark, I
wrote to him at the address and sure enough he wrote back to me, and
eventually we became penpals. We met in person for the first time in
1971 when I made a trip to San Antonio just to meet him, and my fiance at
the time, Margaret, went with me.
Q: Was there some experience at Shelton's that made you decide to become a
A: Not really. I had decided to become a NH doctor even before I went to
I was there as a patient in the summer of 1972. There were about 40
people there. One of them is a man from Chico California, now age 70,
who was fasting for hemmorhoids, and he became one of my closest friends,
and I just spoke with him at length the other day. Strong friendships
are often made at Hygienic institutions. There is something about going
through a long fast together that bonds you for life.
Q: What about the rooms and the staff? Were there interning
doctors on a regular basis?
A: Most of the rooms had 2 or 3 beds. There were practically no private
rooms. There was a staff of about 8 Mexican women, and some of them spoke
very little English. Of course, Dr. Vetrano was there, and she was in
charge. Her daughter, Tosca, was there and she was Dr. Shelton's
No, they rarely took intern doctors at that time. They sort
of made an exception for me.
Q: Was there a regular "schedule" for each patient every day?
A: Since most of the people were fasting or had recently fasted, there
wasn't much activity. Those eating took walks around the grounds. (there
were 40+ acres in the Texas Hill Country). Dr. Vetrano gave lectures
several times a week. There was no television. Talking and reading was
the main way people passed the time.
There were closed solariums for men and women where people could sunbathe
in the nude if they so desired.
Doctor Ralph Cinque D.C. is one of the nearest Natural Hygiene professionals to us here in Houston.
He specializes in therapeutic fasting, especially for addictions and weight problems.
He is a founding member of IAHP, and is also a former president of IAHP.
Dr. Cinque's current diet, 2002, is lots-of-raw vegetarian most of the time.
But he also eats fish a couple of times per year. Visit his residential health retreat
south of Austin via this link.
Ralph Cinque remembers T.C. Fry
Q: Tell us a little about T.C. Fry.
A: T.C. Fry advocated all raw foods, and I'm sure that there were periods
that he did eat nothing but raw food, but I also know for a fact that
much of the time he did consume some cooked food.
The cause of his death
at age 70 is still a mystery to me. I know that he had been declining
for some months before he died. Shortly before he died he developed a
blood clot in his leg. He went to the hospital and they wanted to give
him anticoagulants, and they warned him that he could develop an embolus
(a travelling blood clot) if he didn't take the therapy, but he refused.
A few days later he did develop an embolus and it went straight to his
lungs and killed him. I do not know why he developed the blood clot in
the first place. I do know that there was a strong genetic tendency in
his family to develop cardiovascular disease. His brother and his
father died of heart attacks pretty young.
Of course you would think
that his Hygienic lifestyle would have prevented it even if he had the
tendency, so I don't know what to tell you.
Q: How do you know about his diet?
A: I had many meals with T.C. Fry. He loved fruit, and he often would go days
at a time eating nothing but fruit. Vegetables he was less fond of. He
didn't eat salad every day, but when he did eat it, he would eat it in
prodigious amounts. He loved pecans and ate a lot of those. He loved
dried fruits, like dried pineapple, raisins, dates and Turkish figs. And
I would see him eat cooked the yellow Finnish potatoes and yams.
later years, he had this girlfriend named Andi, and she would cook
various soups and stews and various things and he would eat what she
prepared. However, I never saw him eat any milk products or eggs or any
Q: When did he discover Natural Hygiene?
A: To the best
of my knowledge, Fry was in his late 30s (I do believe that 39 was his
exact age) when he first discovered NH. At that stage of life he was
quite overweight, had digestive troubles and minor arthritis, but no
illnesses that are considered major.
He worked in marketing his whole
life and founded several large marketing companies. At the time he
discovered NH, he was involved with marketing classical music tapes and
his company was called "Musical Heritage Society". He eventually sold
it, but it is still a going concern today. Fry never worked at
Shelton's, but he operated several different health retreats: in the
Austin area as well as a large one up in Missouri.
Q: Was he from Texas?
He lived in various cities and towns in Texas, including Yorktown where I
used to live. However, he was born in Oklahoma and he spent his early
adult life on the East Coast, mostly in New Jersey.
Q: Life Science, wasn't that Fry's invention?
A: Yes, T.C. thought of
the name "life science" and he market-tested it before he went with it.
His Natural Hygiene course was meant
to provide general useful information about health and also prepare
people to be health counselors.
Publishing and educating were his
main things, but T.C. had his hand in many endeavors. He ran his health
retreats, actually opened a college campus for Life Science here in
Austin at a very prestigious location, went into the fruit-growing
business commercially (although that flopped) tried his hand at opening a
health restaurant, opened a full-fledged health resort in Missouri, tried
to start a Hygienic community in Belize, Central America. He was all
over the map.
Q: Where did you first meet him? Did you work together?
A: I first met him in 1976 at a meeting for people who were
involved with a proposed Hygienic community known as Sheltrano.
Unfortunately, it never materialized.
T.C. and I did work together. I
provided him with articles for his magazine, and he provided me with
Q: It is said that Fry was always very stressed, and couldn't really rest
and slow down. Is that your impression?
A: Yes, T.C. was excited and hyper most of the time. He had a lot of boyish
enthusiasm and was optimistic to a fault. He was always swooning about
some big idea, some new venture that was going to "put Natural Hygiene on
Q: How did Fry get his training as a fasting supervisor, if he didn't intern
A: Fry spent a lot of time at Shelton's and he learned a lot from Dr.
Vetrano, and I would like to think that he learned a lot from me,
although we didn't agree on everything. But he was a voracious reader,
and he was not afraid to crack open medical text books or do research at
medical libraries. He was never actually certified in any way as a