November 1999 Hungerstrike Diary - commenced 7 November, 1999
(SHORTCUT: Click on day to go there!)
11-07-1999 DAY 1 - In the beginning...
11-08-1999 DAY 2 - Wheat grass juice and enemas.
11-09-1999 DAY 3 - Doctor's visit and learning about fasting
11-10-1999 DAY 4 - I welcome your support!
11-11-1999 DAY 5 - Fasting is a healing process.
11-12-1999 DAY 6 - Hungerstrike.com bumper stickers
11-13-1999 DAY 7 - The price of milk falls
11-14-1999 DAY 8 - Potassium broth added to my fast
11-15-1999 DAY 9 - Climbing Mount Everest
11-16-1999 DAY 10 - Newspaper covers NOTMILK
11-17-1999 DAY 11 - New York Television appearance
11-18-1999 DAY 12 - My FDA appearance in Chicago
11-19-1999 DAY 13 - FDA insults Americans
11-20-1999 DAY 14 - My Cincinnati lecture
11-21-1999 DAY 15 - My Lexington, Kentucky Earthsave lecture
11-22-1999 DAY 16 - A "Jewish mother's" advice to her son
11-23-1999 DAY 17 - Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA
11-24-1999 DAY 18 - Details of yesterday's meeting
11-25-1999 DAY 19 - Thanksgiving day; Here's to the Pilgrims!
11-26-1999 DAY 20 - My senses are heightened
11-27-1999 DAY 21 - Contact the FDA
11-28-1999 DAY 22 - Juicing apples
11-29-1999 DAY 23 - FDA invites me to be on a biotechnology panel
11-30-1999 DAY 24 - I appear in Washington and on C-SPAN
Sunday, November 7 - Day 1
Today begins the first day of my hunger strike. Many people have asked
what foods or liquids will go into my mouth. Since this is a hunger
strike, the answer is "no food," and let me tell you this, I'm pretty
hungry. Right now, I am thinking about an apple I see sitting on my
counter. That Macintosh looks delicious, and I am salivating.
Salivation is a natural response to a desire for food.
I begin my fast with 120 supporters. Five other people have pledged to
continue this hunger strike for the "duration."
My goals have been clearly stated, but for the purpose of this diary, I
shall simply repeat my goal: FDA removes Posilac. The Food & Drug
Administration revokes the approval for the cancer-causing, genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone.
Today I began by drinking distilled water. At noon, I faced my first
challenge-a little hill that I climb. Its name is prune juice. After
running over the hill, I am certain to get the "runs."
I am now writing five hours after drinking a 32-ounce container of prune
juice. My 5-minute intervals to the toilet have now decreased to once
every 20 minutes as the natural colonic frees my GI tract of previous
meals. I am hungry but the distilled water is filling. I have
tremendous energy and intensity of thought. I intend to go to bed early
this evening and will try not to imagine visions of sugarplums and tofu.
Monday, November 8 - Day 2
I woke up today feeling no hunger and feeling refreshed. My normal
morning routine includes a trip to the bathroom. A gallon of distilled
water passes its therapeutic journey through my body but there was
little or nothing of any digested food. I began my day and will
continue to do so throughout this hunger strike with the fresh juice of
a whole lemon in a tall glass of distilled water.
I am not in this hunger strike to make a two-week statement and then
die. I will remain alert and be filled with energy as a result of
drinking fresh juice. However, I will limit what I ingest to only that
amount of juice that is necessary to continue neural and cellular
While humans do not eat grass, I have chosen the juice of one substance
that provides more nutrition than any other food on planet.. Earth-wheat
grass. The juice from wheat grass is life, and I intend to visit my
local health food store and drink one ounce of this sustaining substance
each day in addition to the distilled water.
In 1930, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to Dr. Hans Fischer
who noted that chlorophyll and blood hemoglobin are nearly identical.
The major difference is in the center atom. Chlorophyll contains as its
center atom magnesium while hemoglobin has as its center atom iron. This
one ounce a day will sustain me as it has many others on similar fasts.
Today I had to deal with a dilemma. Many husbands and wives have signed
pledges to fast for at least one day. My wife, Lisa, has also offered
to do so. She has mixed feelings about my hunger strike. On one hand,
the insurance money would be real nice should FDA decide not to revoke
the use of the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH). On
the other hand, my wife pointed out to me that Jennifer (14), Sarah
(13), and Elizabeth (10) need a father and she needs a husband and they
cannot support my decision which will lead me to a point in time, in the
not so far future, when I look death in the face.
The most pleasant and unpleasant aspects of a hunger strike are the
changes that occur within the body. On one hand, I will cleanse my
system and rid myself of diseased and not-so-needed layers of fat. On
the other hand, my intestinal tract will be the depository for the by-
product resulting from cellular metabolism of fat cells. How do I get
rid of this gunk?
The answer is in using daily enemas. Not a pleasant thought, but an
absolute necessity for a hunger striker. Should I simply experience a
hunger strike on just plain water with no enemas, I will shortly be
bedridden and become too ill to communicate with the press.
Our chances of victory are made greater by my ability to remain alert
and to travel to various audiences.
My pledge, I will not eat until Monsanto's poison is taken out of our
Tuesday, November 9 - Day 3
I started my day with my usual glass of lemon juice in freshly distilled
water. I feel stronger and more alert than I did yesterday and am
highly motivated to begin today's work.
The first thing on my schedule is a visit to my physician, David
Goldstein, MD, a personal friend and gastroenterologist. Dr. Goldstein
will give me a physical and draw blood samples so as to monitor my
entire physiology during the duration of this fast.
On the way back from his office, I will stop at my local health food
store for my first one-ounce shot of wheat grass juice. (I hate the
taste of this stuff, but it will sustain me as my body loses one pound
per day for the next 100 days.)
I have been reading books and searching the Internet for information
about fasting. I will look in the book section of my health food store
for additional information regarding fasting.
Wednesday, November 10 - Day 4
Today I received a letter from Scott Campbell who subscribes to an
Internet talk group. He was actually admonishing many of the members of
the group who were urging me not to continue my hunger strike because
I'd be better alive than dead. Scott wrote:
"Is this really necessary? This isn't the message we need to be sending
Robert right now. It's fine what you think, but by telling him he's
going to die and filling him with the dismay that people who share his
ideals don't have faith in him does not help anyone."
I responded to his letter:
I want your support! I welcome your doubts! I admire your passions!!!
Every comment fuels me.
Those who begin hunger strikes hope for tremendous publicity. They
sacrifice their health with expectations that those who run things be
connected to the universal wisdom associated with their goal and cause.
Yesterday, my doctor drew blood and suggested that he also do a
physical. I agreed and we set the appointment for next Monday. On the
way out, we shook hands goodbye and I asked, "Why am I taking a
physical? I am fasting to the death." He smiled. I loved his
response. "It's for my benefit," he said. This physician is a friend
and I suggested he prepare a waiver for me absolving him of any
responsibility for my physical well being as a result of my hunger
Today I am comfortable in saying that I am prepared to go the distance.
I really cannot understand what the distance is and will only learn the
power and strength of my will when I am within view of the finish line.
This is the 4th day of my hunger strike and my 4th diary entry. I have
made a vow to carefully reassess what I am doing on my next birthday,
which works out to be the 114th day of my hunger strike. :>)
Thursday, November 11, 1999 - Day 5
Ignorance can last for an eternity while truth sometimes appears for
just a moment in time; denial of truth can go on for a lifetime. Today
is the fifth day of my hunger strike and I have learned a truth about my
body that I have previously denied.
Fasting is a healing process and as one's body cleanses itself, one
becomes aware of each bone and muscle and organ. For the past year, I
have had a right knee that screamed out to me every time I climbed the
stairway. I have taken medication and seen doctors and have done all
that I can through traditional medicine to identify and cure this
ailment. Fasting has done that for me.
It is said that nature's glues do not do well for the human body.
Casein in milk is a tenacious glue, and I had eliminated that from my
diet. However, I continued to eat bread. Wheat protein is gluten. The
name alone should have told me something. I have removed the gluten
from my system and the pain in my knee has miraculously disappeared.
I feel strong in this fast. I have been drinking distilled water with
lemon juice and my mind is alert and I am filled with energy. This week
I plan to continue my intake of water and will be introducing one ounce
of wheat grass juice into my daily regimen. I am my way now to a health
food store to buy whole wheat berries that I will be sprouting and
growing for that purpose.
Next week presents many opportunities. On Thursday, November 18, I will
be in Chicago to make a statement before the Food & Drug Administration
(FDA) regarding the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered
products. The following day, I will be in Rockville, Maryland at FDA's
Center for Veterinary Medicine to meet with scientists and present my
petition to revoke rbGH from the market.
Friday, November 12, 1999 - Day 6
Today is Day 6 of my hunger strike. I have been reading and learning
and talking to experienced fasters, coaches, and health professionals.
It is important that I remain in complete control of my sensibilities.
Therefore, I will soon begin to drink one ounce of wheat grass juice
Yesterday morning I visited a health food store and purchased a
one-pound package of organic wheat berries. I also visited a local
nursery and bought a 40-pound bag of dirt.
Somebody will tell me whether it was Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer who tricked
his friends into whitewashing the fence for him. I forget. I took
inspiration by this story and got my youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to
layer the dirt in trays, plant the seeds, cover them with another layer
of dirt, and then water them. In a week I shall have fresh wheat grass
to put into my juicer.
We are now printing thousands of bumper stickers, and enlisting the aid
of volunteers to place those stickers on cars, signs, and lampposts. If
you would like some stickers, please contact us the Dairy Education
Board at 201-871-5871. The stickers are free but we happily accept
donations to cover their cost.
On Thursday of next week, I travel to Chicago where I will be commenting
before the FDA commissioner on labeling laws and policy regarding
Donna Shalala, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Services, has said that, "FDA makes sure that our food supply is among
the safest in the world. Some consumers have concerns about the use of
this technology in foods, and we need to ask why these concerns exist
and how we can address them."
I will be appearing before the new FDA commissioner, Jane Henney, MD.
Dr. Henney was not the commissioner of FDA when rbGH was approved. She
has written, "Our scientists are not aware of any reason to question the
safety of currently marketed foods produced through genetic
I will be giving the Commissioner reason to be very concerned.
Saturday, November 13 - Day 7
Today is the 7th day of my hunger strike. It has been a pretty lousy
week for the dairy industry. Traditionally, the dairy farmer has gotten
about $14 for every hundredweight (100 pounds) of milk he or she
produces. That price jumped to nearly $20 last year and was $15 and
change last week. The bad news hit hard. On Monday, the price of milk
fell $4.77 to just over $11.
Last summer, the dairy industry closed in Belgium for a month, and there
was a panic at the supermarkets because unsafe levels of dioxins were
found in their milk supply. This week, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream was
tested and 200 times the safe level of dioxins were found.
Every week new studies pound additional nails into the dairy industry's
coffin. Milk hormones will be the story to link one millennium to
another. Congress already has a bill that is seeking to label
genetically engineered foods. As we end this millennium and begin
another, you who have pledged your support and have joined me on this
hunger strike do so for all of humanity. We will win and help all
people discover the fountain of youth.
Sunday, November 14 - Day 8
Today is the 8th day of my hunger strike. I have been continuing a
dialogue with Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Dr. Barnard has been saying for many years
that milk and dairy products are inappropriate for humans. This past
week, I have agreed to join PCRM in a suit against the Food & Drug
Administration to revise the current dietary guidelines for Americans
and to shatter USDA's Food Pyramid and encourage healthy diets for all
PCRM is seeking additional plaintiffs, and I urge you to join this suit.
You will not incur any financial responsibility by becoming a plaintiff,
but your voice can make a difference. If you would like to join PCRM
and myself in the suit, please call or e-mail Tracye McQuirter. Her
e-mail address is tmcquirter@PCRM.org or call her at 202-686-2210.
Today, I made potassium broth that will insure that my cellular
electrolyte fluids remain in balance. I will drink one 12-ounce glass
per day of this filtered mineral-rich liquid.
To a pot of water, I added a sliced potato, carrot, onion, celery, and
beet. I boiled the vegetables for 30 minutes and strained the liquid.
Monday, November 15 - Day 9
Today is Day 9 of my hunger strike. I have gained inspiration from the
exploits of those men and women who have climbed Mount Everest. These
past two weeks, I have read three books dealing with the subject of the
1996 ascent in which nine climbers died.
Many people have asked why I wish to continue the hunger strike and what
this protest means to me.
One man who climbed Everest, Tom Whittaker, said, "Everest for me, and I
believe for the world, is the physical and symbolic manifestation of
overcoming odds to achieve a dream."
Others have added their words of wisdom, which parallel the journey that
many of us have chosen to take.
"Everest is a matter of universal human endeavor, a cause from which
there is no withdrawal, whatever loses it may demand" -G.O. Dyrenfurth
"Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the
willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with
money or be given by others...it rises from your heart." -Junko Tabei,
after becoming the first woman to climb Everest.
My wife, children, family, and friends have called me "crazy," and look
to a time in the future when this hunger strike may very well take its
toll on my health and safety. One of the greatest climbers who lived
and died on that mountain, Rob Hall, uttered his last words via
satellite radio phone to his pregnant wife in New Zealand as he lay
dying: "Hey, look, don't worry too much about me."
The great Austrian climber, Reinhold Messner, said, "I am nothing more
than a single narrow gasping lung, floating over the mists and
summits." Substitute the word "voice" for "lung" and Messner's words
aptly describe the spiritual feeling that overtakes one after a week of
having no food in his body.
The most famous of quotes associated with the great mountain was made by
George Mallory, a man who died in his attempt to scale the summit. His
body remains on the mountain. Mallory was asked, "Why do you want to
climb Mount Everest?"
We have been asked, "What purpose is served in continuing a hunger
strike when Monsanto's hormone will never be taken off the market?"
We believe that FDA will revoke the use of Posilac. We climb our
mountain for the same reason that Mallory climbed his:
"Because it is there."
Tuesday, November 16 - Day 10
Today is Day 10 of my hunger strike. Many people are not aware that
after climbing Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary built a hospital, schools,
and an airport for the Sherpa people.
Thanks to Beverly McManus who sent us Sir Edmund Hillary's favorite
quote attributed to Germany's most famous writer, Goethe:
"Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary
truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans;
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves
too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise not
have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings
and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come
his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, do it. Boldness has
genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."
Good news comes in bunches and today is no exception. First, I received
my copy of the November issue of Milkweed, a dairy industry newsletter.
In that issue is news of the hunger strike. Columnist Pete Hardin
writes, "Cohen's hunger strike is a device to gain attention to his
cause. Many in dairy hate the guy. Over time, has Cohen harmed dairy
more than Monsanto's biotech hormone? That jury's out."
The second piece of good news is that WABC-TV in New York has been
promoting my appearance on tonight's 11:00 news. I have even had people
call me to tell me that they've heard radio spots.
The third piece of good news is a story in today's Bergen Record
newspaper, the third largest newspaper in the New York metropolitan
BERGEN RECORD - Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Can the evils of seduction be tied to milk mustache?
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation
Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack, yes.
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously
conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?
From the film "Dr. Strangelove"
By SEAMUS McGRAW
We now have Oradell real estate developer Robert Cohen to thank for
bringing to light yet another insidious plot.
Cohen for years has waged a lonely battle against what he calls the
evils of milk, alleging it is the agent behind such maladies as breast
and prostate cancers. But he made a startling discovery recently.
The cartel that produces and promotes milk, Cohen claims, is leading
teenage boys to seduce, or be seduced by, their teachers.
His proof is an advertisement run by the National Fluid Milk Processor
Promotion Board, the folks behind the "milk mustache" campaign.
The ad in question features hunky teen idol Joshua Jackson of
television's "Dawson's Creek" and follows an episode in which his
character, Pacey Witter, has a sexual relationship with his high-school
It shows Jackson sporting a milk mustache and bears the caption:
I can't help it. Women of all ages look up to me. Why? I'm 6 foot 2.
Thanks in part to milk.
The calcium helps bones grow strong. Considering 15% of your adult
height is added when you're a teenager, that's good to know. Especially
if you want to impress, let's say, an older woman.
Seems harmless enough. Although he plays a 16-year-old on television,
Jackson in real life is well past the age of majority, his show's
publicist says. He legally can flex his buff body at women from any
demographic group the advertiser chooses.
But Cohen says that's beside the point. He calls the dairy industry's ad
an attempt to seduce teens into a world of depravity and dissolution.
Cohen draws direct connections to high-profile, real-life instances --
among them, the case of statutory rapist Mary Kay Letourneau, who gave
birth to two children fathered by a 13-year-old student of hers.
He also sees the seeds in an incident last month in which a 24-year-old
assistant teacher at a private high school in Englewood was charged with
having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student.
Never mind that Letourneau's case occurred before the ad in question
ever appeared. Forget the fact that there is no evidence that the
17-year-old in the Englewood case ever saw it. Cohen is convinced that
the ad at least is partly to blame for the boys' trysts with older
"Like Eve offering the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge to
Adam, the dairy industry's search for knowledge has become an enticement
for children of all ages to have sex with their teachers," he says.
"Wear a milk mustache like the star of 'Dawson's Creek.' Have sex with
an older teacher like the star of 'Dawson's Creek."'
Cohen is actively promoting his cause on his Web site, along with a
letter on the subject from Cardinal John O'Connor, the archbishop of New
In his letter, the cardinal says up front that he's never seen the TV
series or the ad. But he says that, based on Cohen's description of
both, it seems "another example of the misuse of media and its harmful
effect on our young people."
Representatives of the milk mustache campaign dismiss Cohen's frothy
accusations as nothing more than the rantings of someone who has given
new meaning to the phrase "lactose intolerant."
"Every day of the year this guy comes up with some ridiculous thing,"
said Susan Ruland, the executive vice president in charge of the
Recently, she noted, Cohen suggested that the milk mustache campaign was
promoting obesity and other physical problems in an ad featuring Curly
Howard from The Three Stooges.
"It's not only ridiculous, it's old, coming from this source," Ruland
said. "He's tried to think up the most outrageous thing he can.
"But it's a free world."
Julie Kingsdale, publicist for "Dawson's Creek," notes that in the
series, Jackson's older lover suffered humiliation, lost her job, and
had to leave town, hardly a ringing endorsement for cross-generational
But perhaps the most stinging challenge to Cohen's allegations comes
from a guy who, to some degree, sees some merit in them.
To Bergen County Prosecutor William H. Schmidt, Cohen's insistence on
blaming an advertising campaign for an offense as insidious as the
sexual abuse of young males by older women trivializes a very real
In New Jersey, he says, law enforcement officials have long "recognized
that when a woman has a sexual relationship with a male who is much
younger, it is just as much of a crime as when it happens between a man
and a young girl. It's just as prohibited."
Society still has a tendency to look the other way when the victim is a
boy, viewing the relationship as "sort of a macho thing," he says. But
the long-term damage to a boy in such a relationship is real, he says.
The "boys will be boys" attitude is latently sexist, Schmidt says.
Unfortunately, however, Cohen's crusade probably will succeed only in
milking the issue for a few giggles, he said.
All the same, I'm still going to take my coffee black.
Wednesday, November 17 - Day 11
Today is Day 11 of my hunger strike. Andy Warhol said that every person
gets 15 minutes of fame. Well, last night, I got 20 seconds on ABC News
in New York. Reporter Diana Williams did a story on early sexual onset
in young girls. Here is how my part went:
Diana Williams pushed a shopping cart with a carton of milk in it down a
supermarket aisle and said, "Robert Cohen, an anti-milk activist,
believes that children should stop drinking milk."
From the original one-hour interview taped in my office, a 20-second
segment is what they chose to air. I said:
"Got hormones? Every sip of milk has estrogen, progesterone,
testosterone, prolactin, melotonin-we're talking about powerful
hormones. These are responsible for early onset."
Diana Williams then spoke. She said:
"Hormones naturally occur in milk, but some are added. Five years ago,
the FDA gave dairy farmers the go-ahead to inject cows with the bovine
growth hormone to increase milk production, but the dairy industry says
it is a myth that it has any effect on milk drinkers."
ABC-TV then interviewed Dr. Greg Miller, the highest-ranking executive
in the milk industry. Miller said:
"When you drink a glass of milk, the levels in there are so low,
relative to what we have naturally in our body, it's like spitting in
the ocean. It's not even detectable."
I've got some very bad news for Dr. Miller, for the dairy industry, for
Monsanto, and for the Food & Drug Administration. The reality of Dr.
Miller's "spit in the ocean" comment is this: the October 1999 issue of
the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that the
levels of IGF-I increase by a factor of 10% in the blood serum of those
who drink milk.
If we added 10% to the volume of water in our oceans, the only survivors
would be those prudent enough to build an ark.
Perhaps that is our future with genetic engineering.
Thursday, November 18 - Day 12
Today is the 12th day of my hunger strike and I am writing this in
Chicago. Soon, I will get on a plane that will take me back to New
Jersey. Tonight I land at Newark Airport and immediately go to the
Middletown (NJ) School District where I will speak about the ill effects
of milk and dairy products. From there, I drive to a hotel room where
I'll be lucky to get a few hours of sleep. I'll continue on to
Rockville, Maryland before the sun rises, and will meet with scientists
at the Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA's investigative research
Tomorrow, I will give an uninterrupted two-hour presentation. Today's
session, however, is an insult to all Americans. This was a
filibuster by those people whose agenda it is to promote genetic
engineering. The entire morning has been taken up by rhetoric that we
have heard before. This is why America has lost faith in the FDA and is
skeptical of anything coming out of that office.
The panel participants are "plants" whose roots have been nourished and
fed by Monsanto's fertilizer. I will be recording my testimony and have
it for you tomorrow. However, let me make one comment that you will
probably not get to see. There are a dozen television cameras at the
back of the room. Every network is represented. Runners will take the
morning tape and get it into editing so that today's events are on
tonight's news. Our testimony has been pushed off until late in the
day, and FDA's pretense at openness has, in effect, become an exercise
in self-gratification and self-abuse.
Friday, November 19 - Day 13
On Thursday, the Food & Drug Administration delivered an enormous insult
to Americans. We were invited to participate in a process that will
determine whether foods containing genetically modified organisms be
labeled as such. FDA took one day and one venue and stacked the deck
against our freedom to relate our concerns. Instead of allowing a
reasonable amount of time for each person to speak, FDA limited each
speaker to two minutes. The event was covered by America's media who
taped the entire morning's events, which included statements of support
for biotechnology by FDA employees and Monsanto supporters. It is
little wonder that the press did not return after lunch, having had more
than their fill of boring speeches, statements, and propaganda. While
pretending to offer the opportunity for dissent, FDA severely limited
our freedom of speech.
My testimony and the entire testimony of 84 other motivated individuals
will be available on FDA's website one week from today (www.fda.gov). I
sat through panel discussions from biotech representatives who have
stakes in genetic engineering. The rhetoric from these biased speakers
of falsehoods attacked critics of genetic engineering who have, in their
words, "no real scientific facts." When it came time to make my
presentation, I addressed the FDA commissioner and members of her staff:
"You want real science? I'm here to give you real science! The
greatest controversy in FDA history was the approval process for
Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. FDA, for the
first time, published something in a peer-reviewed scientific
journal-Science (August 24, 1990)."
I'm not going to reproduce the entire transcript here, but I made the
key point about how genetic engineering does not work and how the system
I pointed out the little known fact that Monsanto created a "freak"
amino acid when they incorrectly transcribed the bovine growth hormone.
Laboratory animals developed cancers and rbGh-treated cows birthed
calves with genetic deformities, and Monsanto never told FDA of this
error. Their error was more than one of omission. Their act was an
utter disregard and contempt for the rights of American consumers. That
act of intentional omission should be considered a criminal action.
Those who are in power to accurately judge Monsanto will one day, in the
very near future, determine, not only Monsanto's fate, but also the fate
of genetic engineering. On this day, I will meet with a team of FDA
administrators at the Center for Veterinary Medicine in Rockville,
Maryland. Tomorrow, I will let you know what happened at that meeting.
Saturday, November 20 - Day 14
On Day 14 of my hunger strike, I was in Cincinnati. There I met with
members of EarthSave International, an organization founded by John
Robbins. John's book, "Diet for a New America," has been more than an
inspiration to millions of Americans. John's work is promoted by
EarthSave's 50 chapters and tens of thousands of members.
I lectured at the University of Cincinnati before a large and
enthusiastic crowd, and did a number of radio and newspaper interviews
that should continue to bring health and healing to people. I also did
a book signing in a Barnes & Noble in Cincinnati, and was delighted to
have Jane Heimlich visit to give me support for my continued hunger
strike. I was driven all over town by Cincinnati EarthSave president
Melissa Fannon. I was guest at the home of Linda and Ron Richardson.
Linda rescues animals and her home is home to seven cats and four dogs.
I awoke at 4:00 AM and went to the living room couch to catch up on my
reading, which I found to be nearly impossible. Seven cats licked and
snuggled and gently walked over me on "little fog's feet."
Sunday, November 21 - Day 15
Sunday was Day 15 of my hunger strike. On Sunday, I was driven to the
Blue Grass state where I was the guest speaker at the turkeyless
Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Lexington, Kentucky chapter of
EarthSave International. My daughter Elizabeth accompanied me on my
weekend trip, and we devised a very special way to communicate.
The meal was a potluck dinner that included a most incredible variety of
gourmet vegetarian dishes. Elizabeth would hold up a piece of sushi and
say, "Taste this, Dad." As she did, I remembered the taste and texture
of rice with pickled vegetables surrounded by nori. She would dip the
sushi into shoyu and place a piece of pickled ginger into her mouth. I
would take pleasure in each bite. She tasted the curried lentils and
the vegan lasagna and the sesame noodles, but her greatest joy came with
her slice of milk-free pumpkin pie. With each taste, Lizzy shared the
moment and used every bit of ESP-sending ability to deliver her pleasure
to my tastebuds.
I spoke to the group of about 200 diners and received a very warm and
enthusiastic reception to my message. Many in that crowd have agreed to
support our hunger strike for a day or longer, and I love them for it.
Lexington EarthSave president Terri Fann set Lizzy and I up at the home
of her father and mother, Bert and Linne Doyne, and we were treated like
Monday, November 22 - Day 16
Today was Day 16 of my hunger strike. I left Lexington early and
learned the meaning of the word "fog" as it relates to the word
"airport." Elizabeth and I exhausted every opportunity to explore
Lexington's gateway to the world. We met a woman at the airport who is
a marathon runner with asthma. Lizzy helped me explain to her that the
mucus one gets from cheese and milk is an internal fog that "lifts"
about one week after giving up all dairy products. Thank goodness
Newark Airport's fog lifted in only three hours.
We arrived home and I downloaded approximately 2600 e-mail messages,
which kept me busy long into the night. Forgive me if I haven't
answered yours, but, as you can imagine, things are quite busy.
My parents live in the same town as I do and I went over to drop off a
few things. If you are lucky enough to have a Jewish mother, you'll
enjoy the following interaction that I had with my mom. We saw each
other for the first time in a week, kissed, and my mother asked, "Are
you coming for Thanksgiving?" I said, "Of course." She asked, "What
can I make for you?" I said, "Ma, this is a hunger strike, I'm not
eating." Her response was, "How long is this hunger strike going to
last?" I said, "It's going to last until I die, Mom." She looked at me
with her "I know you're making fun of me" look on her face and asked,
"I'll make you some vegetables?" "No, Mom." "You've got to eat
something, Robert, or you'll starve." "That's the point, Mom. Gandhi
went on hunger strikes and changed the world. So will I." "You're not
Gandhi, you got to eat something," she said. "Thank you, Mom. See you
on Thanksgiving. Bye." And with that, I went home, went to bed, and as
I write this, it is Tuesday morning and I am ready to change the world.
Tuesday, November 23 - Day 17
Today is the 17th day of my hunger strike and I have three radio shows
and an appointment with a major New York City television news show.
Last Thursday's appearance before FDA was well reported in the Chicago
area, but received little or no press attention in New York. Quite
frankly, I went to Chicago hoping that things had changed with the new
FDA commissioner. They have not. The FDA presentation and panel
discussions were a sham designed so that America's press received heavy
doses of brainwashing in the morning with little or no dissent.
The room was intimidating with a strong presence of Secret Service
agents rimming the perimeter. FDA and panelists sat on a raised dais,
and the first three rows of the audience were reserved for FDA
employees, not guests. We were separated from FDA by a rope.
At one point, FDA presented a slide show of the basics of
biotechnology. We 85 who came to speak in Chicago were well versed in
the issues, and the slide show was a stalling technique that kept our
comments down to two minutes each. At one point, the FDA lecturer could
not get anyone to shut off the lights, and a thirty-second delay grew
into a minute while the presenter struggled. He again asked if anybody
could flip off the switch, and I took that moment to express myself. I
turned around and yelled to the crowd, "Let Monsanto turn off the
lights. They know the right buttons to push." The crowd laughed and
I was given the opportunity to be the first person to speak after
lunch. I should have spoken before lunch. After lunch, the press
left. The room was not very well attended. I walked out of the room to
catch a flight back to New Jersey and prepared my mind for Friday's
meeting with the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), FDA's
investigative branch. CVM approved Monsanto's genetically engineered
bovine growth hormone (rbGH) in 1994.
I drove five hours from my home to the CVM for 10:30 AM meeting. I was
surprised to recognize Kimberly Gorall in the lobby. Actually, she
noticed me. Kimberly is also on a long-term hunger strike and this is
also her 17th day. She drove down from Rochester, New York and became
the note-taker at our meeting. Kimberly incorrectly assumed that my
session with FDA was a public hearing. I am fortunate to have had
Kimberly there because she ended up being a witness to the two-hour
hearing and a very good note-taker.
These are the four FDA representatives at that meeting: Dr. Andrew
Beaulieu, Deputy Center Director; Dr. Claire Lathers, Director of New
Animal Drug Evaluation; Dr. Linda Tollefson, Director of the Office of
Surveillance and Compliance; and Dr. Marcia Larkins, CVM Ombudsman.
I feel that all of the issues and reasons for this hunger strike were
clearly and completely communicated to these four FDA employees. I also
feel that there is no way that Monsanto's hormone will remain on the
market. We protest with science as our tool and evidence, not emotion.
We are dedicated to complete our mission. We trust that these four
individuals will recognize their mission and fiduciary to the American
Wednesday, November 24 - Day 18
Today is Day 18 of my hunger strike. Tomorrow is the day of giving
thanks. I'd like all of those who read this to take a moment during
your Thanksgiving meal and reflect upon why we do the things we do. I
am motivated to seek the health and safety of my children and your
children. When I see a sick child, I do all I can to become an advocate
for that child. Nothing will ever deter me from that course.
Five days ago, I attended a session at the Center for Veterinary
Medicine and presented my argument for revoking Monsanto's genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone from the market. Kimberly Gorall took
notes of my presentation and FDA's responses. It is a luxury having the
gift of an eyewitness reporter, and I now reproduce her notes for you.
My presentation began and I said that there was an "open door policy
between FDA and Monsanto and that is the public's perception."
Furthermore, I said that "Monsanto's experiments were poor science and
FDA accepted them. Monsanto lied and defrauded the FDA."
The major part of my presentation revealed that "Monsanto acknowledged
the creation of a 'freak amino acid' in an obscure British journal. The
reason to take the drug off the market is that the hormone that is on
the market today is not the one that was approved."
I also discussed scientific evidence and reason for concern. After cows
are injected with rbGH, levels of IGF-I in their milk increase by about
80%. I gave FDA studies from peer-reviewed scientific journals
indicating that IGF-I has been named as a key factor in breast,
prostate, and lung cancers. I also furnished a study revealing that
IGF-I levels increase by a factor of 10% in people who drink milk. I
also discussed mandatory labeling of food products containing
genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Dr. Tollefson, Director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance,
asked, "How would you insure compliance with mandatory labeling?" My
response was that it is up to FDA to find those who don't comply.
Dr. Beaulieu, Deputy Center Director, asked, "Where do you think you'll
ultimately go with the milk argument?" I went into about a sixty-minute
discourse consisting of studies indicating that bovine proteins have
allergenic effects on humans, and that bovine hormones survive
digestion. Beaulieu asked, "How is it that mammals have evolved in the
presence of this substance?" I responded, "Milk is nature's perfect
food for infants and there is a different formula for every species.
One should not drink milk from another animal and certainly not as an
adult." Beaulieu then asked, "What about meat?" I responded, "IGF-I is
in meat but gastric acidity breaks down proteins in meat. Milk buffers
Tollefson asked, "What about products other than fluid milk?" I
responded, "Those hormones are very powerful and casein is a tenacious
glue and very allergenic." Beaulieu asked, "Would milk from
rbGH-treated cows qualify for this label? The milk itself is not
genetically engineered." I responded, "Of course, it would, as would
all cheese and ice cream." Beaulieu then asked, " Would you call
biotech-created insulin genetically engineered?" I responded, "I love
genetic engineering, I don't love mistakes." Beaulieu asked, "What's
the purpose of the hunger strike? To get rbGH off the market?" I
responded, "Yes, and I don't want to die. I don't question your right
to put things on the market. I just want the right to know what I am
Dr. Lathers, Director of New Animal Drug Evaluation, asked, "What are
you seeking from us?" I responded, " Let's explore a process in which
I do not hate Monsanto and I have no fear of biotechnology. When
mankind makes errors, we must correct them. To not do so is to not act
as a fiduciary. When we betray people, we commit a crime. Monsanto
betrayed FDA and, in doing so, betrayed all Americans, and their drug
must be immediately removed from the market. That is why I and nearly
200 other people are fasting for one day or longer. I hope that you
hear us and fairly examine our petition.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and say a prayer for those who continue
to consume the genetically engineered and unlabeled poison.
Thursday, November 25 - Day 19
Today is the nineteenth day of my hunger strike. Happy Thanksgiving!
Let us give thanks!
Here's to the Pilgrims, who stole the seed corn from the Abenaki Indians
as they sailed up the coast towards their Plymouth Rock landing.
Here's to the 15 Pilgrim mothers who died the first winter because the
100 Mayflower Pilgrims were forced to sell their food, 4000 pounds of
butter before leaving England. (Fifteen out of eighteen married women
died, while only one out of eight single women died).
Here's to Miles Standish, who married one of the single women a
few months after his wife's death!
Here's to thousands of Wampaunoag Indians who fell in love with rancid
butter at the first Thanksiving feast, and then died of Yersinia
bacterium (bubonic plague). Yersina is one of many bacteria found in
Here's to all of you who eat turkey, thankful that somebody other than
you has what it takes to slice through the throat of the bird you eat.
Here's to the bird herself, whose life and painful death brings you
indigestion and extra weight.
Here's to the glass of milk you drink with your apple pie and the Tums
you take for the inevitable upset tummy.
Here's to one hundred and eighty people who have fasted for at least one
day in support of our protest.
Here's to the ten people who are fasting long-term.
Here's to the FDA, who have given all of us an enormous gift...I will
tell you all a BIG SURPRISE on Monday. Each day we accomplish
something, and that becomes a tiny step towards changing the world for
the better. One-hundred tiny steps add up to a giant stride for
mankind. FDA has done something wonderful, but I must keep the secret,
as promised, until Monday evening.
At that time, in my journal entry, I will reveal some very exciting
Here's to you and your loved ones: Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 26 - Day 20
Today is the twentieth day of my hunger strike. I harvested the wheat
grass that I started a few weeks ago...about eight inches tall! I wish
that I had a wheat grass juicer...my Acme juicer was a bit inefficient.
I juiced the greens and got about 1/2 ounce. I ran the pulp through the
machine for a second, then third time. I managed to squeeze out one
full ounce of juice which went into a shot-glass.
Remembering the tequila-drinking days of my youth, I quickly downed the
dark green fluid. WOW! That was intense...a real brain cleanser.
Anyway...I treated myself to a movie this evening, INSIDE JOHN
MALKOVICH. There was one scene in this brillantly written movie, in
which J.M. enters the portal to his own brain. This was easily the
funniest thing I have ever seen...There was a moment in which I was
laughing so hard, that I entered my own body...felt my heart beating and
brain throbbing...everything moved in slow motion.
Does a 20 day hunger strike make one more aware of his senses? I smell
perfume from long distances and know meat eaters by their scent. I am
more aware of whispers and my hearing has become sharper. All senses
are keener, and I have more energy than when I was eating. Rather than
suffer from discomfort, I enjoy the unique perspectives coming to me.
I feel that I can travel outside of my body.
Those who have experienced what I am now experiencing also report a
sharpening of the senses...a keenness of sight and vision and hearing...
This unexpected gift is more than spiritual... I feel so very alive!
Saturday, November 27 - Day 21
Today is the twenty-first day of my hunger strike.
I have received a wonderful response to my appeal for
you to fast for one day or more and support our
hunger strike. Ultimately, my wish is to
present thousands of supporting names to FDA.
The genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH) should
immediately be taken off of the market. Monsanto
tricked the FDA. They have a completely different drug
on the market than the one that FDA approved. They
changed the formula and did not tell FDA. Never before
has an insult like this occurred. Monsanto should be
fined and their executives jailed. Laboratory animals
got cancer from this hormone (Richard, Odaglia and Deslex
study) and FDA should act immediately to revoke rbGH.
AMERICA has been betrayed.
FDA must immediately act.
As each day passes, and rbGH remains on the market,
the MONSANTO lie continues.
Many of you have asked:
What can I do to make a difference?
1) Join us for a fast of one day or more!
2) Send the HUNGERSTRIKE.COM link around the world!
3) FAX a letter to the FDA!
4) Alert your local media!
We have before FDA a petition seeking the removal of the genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone.
The Deputy Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine
is Andy Beaulieu, MD. Dr. Beaulieu has the petition
to revoke Monsanto's hormone.
Send a letter to Dr. Beaulieu. Your letter becomes a permanent
part of FDA'S file.
His fax number is: 301-594-1830.
The petition number is 99P-4613.
Sunday, November 28 - Day 22
Today is the twenty-second day of my hunger strike.
In tomorrow's journal entry I will reveal an exciting secret.
I have promised to wait until Monday... you will understand
Today I discovered the essence of an apple.
How much we take for granted that very special fruit.
I bought a bushel of apples... Winesaps and Cortlands,
Maintosh and Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith. I washed them
and quartered the fruit and ran them through my juicer.
Oh, the bouquet that filled my kitchen. I strained any
residual pulp and took a sip of fresh apple cider. Heaven.
Boiled apple juice is an insult to the apple's wonderful
nectar. Pasteurized apple cider sold in supermarkets is
a crime against Mother Nature's gift. Apple cider, freshly made,
is filled with live enzymes and nutients. One can taste the life!
I drank the juice... no, I ate the juice, keeping each mouthful
in my mouth... imagining the life-sustaining compounds to be
absorbed into my cheeks. The tastebuds of my tongue were alive.
I swallowed, and delighted in the smell and taste of this
I made a gallon of fresh cider in the afternoon. In the evening,
I juiced one bag of fresh cranberries... brain food, say the juice books.
Mixing the apple and cranberry juices togther, that became my dinner.
I fast, and continue to burn away fat cells and protein. The juice
will keep my brain strong, and allow me to reason. I will not be
confined to a bed. This hunger strike may not be so, in the strict
sense of the word. I produce juice, therefore I am. Would Gandhi have
done the same if he had access to Juiceman infomercials? Perhaps...
Tomorrow I prepare for my Washington adventure. More tomorrow.
Monday, November 29 - Day 23
Today is the 23rd day of my hunger strike. I promised you a major
announcement on this day and I'll give it to you at the end of this
column. First, I'd like to tell you about a magazine that I subscribe
to called "American Dairy Farmer." The November issue just arrived at
my house, and I am stunned by what I read. The headline of the front
page story is "Holiday Butter Prices to Benefit Consumers." The
headline appears next to a picture of an obese dairy farmer, wearing a
plaid shirt and a big smile. Last year, the wholesale price of butter
reached $2.81 a pound and now the price is under $1.00. The dairy
industry has been brainwashing the American public with their unhealthy
milk mustache campaign and now they're attempting to brainwash their own
readers into believing that things are rosier than they really are.
Demand for milk continues to plummet. That was reflected a few weeks
ago when the wholesale price of milk that farmers were receiving (for
100 pounds of liquid milk) fell from $16.49 to $11.72.
The front page of this magazine also includes an advertisement from a
company that sells organically grown garlic, which is used as a natural
antibiotic for cows. In the ad, a farmer claims that the somatic cell
count (number of pus cells in one quart of milk) has been reduced from
600 million to 180 million in just four months.
A page three story reveals that the milk processors will be funding a
new $180 million television ad campaign geared to children ages 6 to 11.
Now for the very big news that I promised you last week. I have been
asked to keep the secret by top level administrators at the Food & Drug
Administration. On Thursday, November 18, I was in Chicago testifying
before the FDA's Biotechnology and Food Labeling Committee. I was angry
and offended by the entire process. The morning was spent listening to
a panel discussion, and the panel unfairly represented the issues. Many
of the panel members had relationships with Monsanto. A few times I was
so incensed that I left my chair and walked out of the auditorium.
The following day at the Center for Veterinary Medicine, I spent two
hours presenting the science behind my petition to revoke the
genetically engineered bovine growth hormone to FDA scientists and
On Monday of last week, I returned home and spent the entire day calling
and criticizing FDA personnel for the extremely biased treatment that
was given to America on that day in Chicago. I spoke with Robert Lake
who is America's delegate to CODEX, an organization made up of 134
nations seeking to standardize food labeling issues. I told Mr. Lake
that I felt that he was "in bed with" Monsanto. I called "Monsanto's
Let this be my apology to Mr. Lake.
The following day, Robert Lake called me at home after consulting with
FDA Commissioner Jane Henney, MD. They asked me:
"How would you like to be on the panel in Washington? We will allow you
5 to 10 minutes to address your comments and then participate in a panel
discussion that will be heard by 500 people in the room."
I may be fasting and may not have as much energy as when I am eating,
but I could have done a double flip over my house when I heard those
words. I know that America's media will be at that meeting. CNN will
cover it as will the major networks and newspapers. FDA has changed and
is now about truth. By giving me this opportunity to tell America about
Monsanto's fraud, Monsanto's lies, and Monsanto's deceit, FDA has made
this a better world and leveled the playing field.
Tuesday, November 30 - Day 24
Today is the 24th day of my hunger strike, and I'm calling this one in
from Washington, DC. I must have done about two dozen interviews with
major media outlets including radio, television, newspapers, and
magazines. The world will soon know of Monsanto's scientific fraud and
There is absolutely no reason for Monsanto's genetically engineered
bovine growth hormone to remain on the market. I taped my ten-minute
presentation and I'll be returning home tomorrow. I'll get the
transcript on-line in a few days.
Meanwhile, I feel great. Rachel came down from Philadelphia and helped
hand out flyers to the crowd of 500. Thanks to her for all her help.