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Ralph Cinque remembers Herbert Shelton

Q: Tell us a little about Dr. Shelton.

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 had it.
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 doctor?

A: Not really. I had decided to become a NH doctor even before I went to Shelton's.
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 secretary.
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.
Ralph 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.
In his 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 flesh foods.


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?

A: 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 advertising.


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 the map".


Q: How did Fry get his training as a fasting supervisor, if he didn't intern with Shelton?

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 fasting supervisor.



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