The mother of the modern Raw Food Movement is Ann Wigmore, although many of us raw foodists, including myself, know little about her. The raw food story in modern times begins with her story, when she was born in Lithuania in 1908. She moved to Massachusetts as a teenager, eventually married and lived a simple life about 10 miles south of Boston.
In 1940, while Ann was raising her family, a Danish doctor by the name of Kristine Nolfi was diagnosed with breast cancer. She refused established medical protocol and successfully treated herself with an exclusively raw food diet. When she was healthy again, she opened a health center called Humlegarden where she treated many patients with cancer and other diseases.
Ten years after Dr. Nolfi reversed her cancer, Ann, in poor health and suffering from colon cancer, began to incorporate the lessons she recalled learning as a child in Lithuania from her grandmother, the village doctor, who treated wounded soldiers with herbs during World War I. Using weeds and wheat grass, she also healed her body and reversed the cancer. Witnessing the powerful healing properties of wheatgrass juice and other vitamin and enzyme-rich foods first-hand inspired her to spend the next 35 years of her life studying and educating others about natural healing and optimum nutrition.
Ann founded the “Red Schoolhouse” in 1956. President Eisenhower’s personal physician, Dr. Paul Dudley White, a Harvard University-educated man, was also a member of the Harvard faculty and a founder of the American Heart Association. He was one of Ann’s biggest supporters and sent patients to her farm who could not be cured using modern medicine. A fellow Lithuanian by the name of Viktoras Kluvinskas also became aware of Ann’s work through a Boston Globe article on the world-famous model Twiggy and the cleansing detox program she went through at Red Schoolhouse. The top computer consultant in the U.S. at the time, Viktoras’ services were coveted by institutions including Harvard, Smithsonian, MIT, and The Apollo Project; he was also sick and dying from an autoimmune collapse when he came to the Red Schoolhouse to recover. After three weeks, he experienced a personal revelation, and so when Ann offered him the opportunity to stay, he gave up his high-profile career and joined her to become the science and the brains behind the operation which, together they named and co-founded as Hippocrates Health Institute.
Initially, the diet at the Institute was vegetarian, which transitioned into vegan. However, after noticing the positive changes that occurred from eating only raw and living foods, the permanent diet of raw, life-giving foods was incorporated. Viktoras spent hours at the Harvard Medical Library, seeking to create a bridge between what they had been experiencing in regards to health and healing, and what was known in the medical and research community.
Margaret Drumheller, after seeing her friend’s Multiple Sclerosis reversed with Ann’s guidance, invited her to move her healing center to her Boston Back Bay neighborhood. So, in 1961, The Hippocrates Health Institute was opened in Boston.
For the next 25 years, Hippocrates was literally the face of the alternative health care movement. At their weekly Sunday Open Houses, hundreds of visitors came to learn more about health and healing. One such visitor was Brian Clement, a young raw vegan who had planned to eventually open a center in Oregon, but was living in Maine in the interim. Curious about Hipppocrates, he made the trip in 1975 and never left.
Together, Brian and Ann traveled throughout Europe, hoping to seed the idea of raw foods as a cure-all for a disease-free lifestyle. The Hippocrates Health Institute eventually moved to Florida under the direction of Drs. Brian and Anna Maria Clement, PhD. They continue with Ann Wigmore’s mission today to help people radically change their health by trading nutrient-deficient, “dead” foods to a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant based proteins. In addition to expanding and fine-tuning the Institute’s curriculum over the years to include seminars on such topics as meditation, colonics, and homeopathy, they have also expanded its offerings by adding a chef’s kitchen for raw food preparation lessons, a cutting edge spa and therapy treatments, exercise equipment and classes, ozonated pools, and other healing modalities.
Ann Wigmore’s use of wheatgrass as a key dietary component began a revolution in the world of nutrition. Hippocrates Health Institute has welcomed people from all walks of life to benefit from her teachings — from people looking to improve their general health to those with terminal disease. To date, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have visited the Institute and now share stories of recovery, healthy lifestyles, and a rejuvenated outlook on life.
Ann’s untimely death in February of 1994 was due to smoke inhalation from a fire at the Ann Wigmore Foundation. Ann Wigmore’s contribution as a humanitarian, educator, writer, and tireless promoter of natural health lives on at Hippocrates, and other natural healing venues in the United States and elsewhere in the world. She is known for healing the natural way through a diet of organic, raw, living foods. Through a diet of raw foods, sprouting, dehydration, and vegan living, anchored in weeds and wheatgrass juicing, she healed her colon cancer and promoted natural healing worldwide. Truly she is the motivational mother of all of us who believe in eating fresh whole foods in as close to their natural states as possible, thereby maximizing our own health, preventing the slaughter and death of countless animals, and contributing to sustainable thriving planet earth.
“I see a world without sickness, sorrow, or mental
disturbance in which we are living in perfect balance,
abundance, health and harmony.” — Dr. Ann Wigmore