Mrs Snook’s Diet

“The first step to good health is to overcome constipation and indigestion… These two factors are the origin of all diseases. So many folk come to see me with so-called different complaints, but the origin of them all is always the same, constipation and indigestion.”

  • Dorothea Snook, 1964

‘Gut Instinct: Mrs Snook’s Diet’ tells the story of Dorothea Snook (2014-2008) and her vintage plant-based diets for those suffering from various ailments, including cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Known as the “nature granny” and a friend of pioneering holistic health practitioner Ann Wigmore, mother-of-seven Mrs Snook was a high profile Australian naturopath who gained an international reputation for her success in treating cancer sufferers on her raw food diets.

But her outspoken beliefs and uncompromising personality ruffled feathers among the medical community, leading to an infamous 1990 court case that put her out of business overnight.

Greta Puls, an Australian journalist and science writer investigates the events that led to the court case and its aftermath.

Today Mrs Snook is rated alongside ethicist Professor Peter Singer and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee in the history of vegetarianism in Australia. Her diets share a provenance with Doctor Benedict Lust and the famed 19th century German monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp; founders of the nature cure movement who were said to have inspired Gandhi.

Mrs Snook learned her diets and trained in naturopathy with the accomplished Boston-trained naturopath, Doctor Alice Caporn who held four degrees, including a PhD, and ran a nature cure health retreat on what was then known as British Honduras during the 1930s.

Both women were crusaders for a plant-based diet, and advocated that physical and mental illness begins in the gut, caused by eating the wrong kinds of foods – a view now increasingly supported by gut microbiome science.

‘Gut Instinct: Mrs Snook’s Diet’ includes interviews with family and former clients, newspaper and archival material, and modern-day and vintage case studies – plus Mrs Snook’s famous gut cleanse diet and the original nature cure diets and recipes.

‘Gut Instinct: Mrs. Snook’s Diet’, available NOW in Kindle (ebook) and paperback.

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“Not only is it a great yarn about two phenomenal women and their pioneering roles …  This book was charmingly written and a pleasure to read. Not only is it a great yarn about two phenomenal women and their pioneering roles in the alternative health movement, but I picked up some useful tips about nutrition that clarified a lot of ‘food confusion’ I was having due to the current plague of contradictory nutrition advice. The recipes were an added bonus! Great work by the author to pull these biographical histories together. Highly recommended.” Amazon book review for ‘Gut Instinct: Mrs Snook’s Diet’

“A pleasure to read”

After following Dorothea Snook’s gut-cleanse diet and health treatments, I felt fantastic and years younger.  My new energy levels remind me of the energy I had as a child and young person. I lost just over 13  kilos and my cholesterol levels dropped from 7.2 to 5.4, which I was thrilled about. My cholesterol levels have always ranged between 6 and 7.2, except for the time I did a famous diet six years ago and it shot up to twelve!

Teresa Boyce (2014)

My former wife and I both went together to see Mrs Snook. The reason we went was because we’d been married for seven or eight years and were trying to start a family. We had both undertaken gynecological and fertility testing and been told there was no medical reason why either of us couldn’t have children but it just hadn’t happened. Dorothea did an iridology test on me. She could tell from the iridology testing that I once had a broken leg and arm – it was pretty incredible really. She was particularly good. She gave me diet charts on foolscap paper and a little green book called ‘What a Way to Go!!’ that had diets and information in it. I didn’t stick religiously to her diet – but I cut out meat and ate lots of salads. My wife did as well. Within three months, my wife was pregnant and we went on to have three children – one after the other. I kept going to see Dorothea, perhaps once a month, to monitor my progress and stay on track. She was fairly extreme and radical, particularly for that time. But her diet and the things she recommended were working for me. I had a lot more mental clarity.

Michael, early 1980s

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