I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but then again, neither is Jordan Rubin, author of “The Maker’s Diet,” one of the top 10 best-selling books in LifeWay Christian Store’s health section. Since I am not a physician, I will not claim to make a wholesale scientific and medical judgment on Rubin’s book. But as a reporter I can diagnose how something is said and how Rubin’s case for a healing and healthful lifestyle left me questioning the credibility of his claims and his credentials.
Rubin says he was cured of a life-threatening case of Crohn’s disease, as he outlines in the first chapter of his book. When he finally found healing and restored good health, he gave God the glory and sharing the results with others became his passion. But just as an antibiotic treatment will give healing to one individual and a rash to another, no single dietary program can be the answer to everyone’s health concerns.
Rubin uses a broad brush to tout the efficacy of his healing discoveries and with that same brush backhands doctors and conventional medicine using hyperbolic statements to, presumably, warn readers of the customary villains of poor health?pork, vaccinations, corn, hormone-laced milk, bottom feeders and more. Rubin even goes so far as to call commercially raised animal products “downright dangerous.”
His exaggerations border on the outrageous as he makes claims with no pretense of substantiation. Such examples include, but are not limited to:
“Though conventional medicine ‘declared war’ on cancer, heart disease, and other killer diseases, it is definitely losing these battles despite vast expenditures on research. Some might convincingly argue that conventional medicine?as it is currently practiced in the United States?is actually shooting itself (and us) in the foot,” and “Unless I’m forced at gunpoint, I will never knowingly take another vaccination,” and “fluoride is extremely poisonous?especially the salt-based form used in toothpaste and mouthwash.”
Rubin does nothing to bolster his argument by demonizing the use of these products?including calling chlorinated tap water “dangerous” for drinking and showering. He makes the case for his diet and lifestyle plan with sparsely footnoted claims, some of which are based on medical research that is 80-100 years old. He dips back to the same well of resources throughout the book, extolling the work of “renowned nutritional researcher?,” “renowned diabetes expert?,” “Eminent neuroimmunologist,” and other people well known to Rubin and, presumably, others in the alternative medicine field. But their renown outside such circles is questionable as are the credentials of at least one source.
Throughout one chapter Rubin cites the late Steven Byrnes, Ph.D., N.D. (degree in Naturopathic Medicine). Byrnes “operated an unaccredited degree granting institution under the name of Academy of Natural Therapies,” according to the state of Hawaii, which charged Byrnes in 2002 with operating the school in violation of Hawaii’s consumer protection laws. He was ordered to close the institution and pay restitution.
The name of the academy is mentioned elsewhere in Rubin’s “The Maker’s Diet”?on the jacket. Rubin’s Ph.D. in nutrition was earned from the unaccredited Academy of Natural Therapies, a school with no campus. A cursory Internet search found no such academy. The Peoples University of Americas School of Natural Medicine where Rubin earned his doctorate in naturopathic medicine was also nowhere to be found. What the Web search did reveal was several blogs and watchdog organizations declaring these institutions and, by association, Rubin’s degrees spurious.
The book is filled with claims of the healing power of the Maker’s Diet, surmising that the dietary and ceremonial laws God gave the Israelites thousands of years ago can restore and maintain the health of the modern man. But Rubin fails to address the elephant in the room?as followers of Christ we are not beholden to the law. There are two very specific declarations?one to Peter and another from Paul (Acts 10 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1)?stating Christians can eat whatever God has declared clean within the bounds of courtesy for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is disappointing that a fellow believer who has a marvelous testimony of recovery would use the scare tactics of the secular media and poorly sourced assertions to make his point. And a Ph.D. after a person’s name carries the weight of years of post-graduate research, study, and a professor-guided dissertation and published work. To earn the moniker from an unaccredited school that cannot even be found on the Internet should warn the reader to get a second opinion.