An apple a day keeps the Covid doctor away

There is a lot of wisdom wrapped up in the simple adage that broadly encapsulates my philosophy on health. It also largely explains why I’ve avoided the covid injectables. To me, this adage means:

  • Prioritise natural foods, a natural lifestyle and natural immunity.
  • Minimise invasive or pharmaceutical medical interventions – use as a last resort.
  • And, fortunately or unfortunately, there’s benefit in keeping the doctor away and thinking for oneself.

This article takes a different approach to my previous posts. I’m not out to prove anything, just documenting my journey and philosophy for optimising health in pandemic times. I also encourage readers to challenge or correct anything I’ve said.

My Health Journey Pre Covid

I’ve travelled a lot, taken most jabs; though never the annual flu jab. Vaccines for a constantly mutating flu virus never made a huge amount of sense to me; but only recently have I been able to articulate a strong scientific case. Serum antibodies are on the wrong side of the lung barrier so offer little benefit compared to secretory antibodies (in the nasopharynx) for a respiratory infection.

While the risk of adverse events from the flu jab is probably low, I’ve always erred on the side of minimalism when it comes to medical interventions – prioritising natural principles for health promotion. My health history has driven me to have more interventions than typical for a lifetime, let alone by the time my wife and I were starting a family of our own.

My health philosophy is also anchored in my understanding of biblical health, as further elaborated in the writings of Ellen White, a founder of my Seventh-day Adventist church. These principles are also consistent with maximising natural and lifestyle health while minimising medical interventions.

I lived in Asia (Laos) during the bird flu pandemic that peaked there around 2006-07, and observed a generally mild pandemic with what many seemed to recognise as an overblown marketing push for pharmaceutical interventions.

Then swine flu came along in 2009 with a similarly overblown marketing response from Big Pharma. By now I was living back in Australia. I’d seen it before; no way was I going to panic.

Further Insights to Pre Covid Times in Light of Covid

My scepticism of the pattern of Big Pharma attempts to cash in on an overblown pandemic was further supported by investigative journalism operating according its historic norms (rather than its emerging compliance to the desired censored narrative of its corporate sponsors). It is well worth revisiting the scandalous history of swine flu in 1976 and again in 2010.

My predisposition to tend toward skepticism of pharmaceutical interventions has generally not been based on any belief or fear of malicious intent. I’ve always thought that pill-popping was the lazy man’s option for resolving health issues compared to lifestyle interventions that require more effort but have more sustainable outcomes.

It is only recently that I’ve discovered that there is another entire layer in the story of how pharmaceutical interventions can in too many cases be far worse than simply less than ideal. Some lines of evidence that have filled in this picture for me include:

All of these are highly reputable sources – look up the authors and you’ll see these are from sources at the absolute pinnacle of credibility.

My Story Evaluating the Evidence For and Against Covid Jabs

So now considering the Covid jabs, the case for taking them is now extremely unconvincing. Not just for me (it never was), but for an increasing majority worldwide. Essentially nobody is taking the new bivalent booster in many countries around the world. Trust has evaporated. Marginal minds are only moving in one direction now. Nobody unvaxed is regretting their decision.

With rising inflation and economic headwinds rampant, there is emerging consensus of an overcooked covid response. Watch John Ioannidis “Out to See” for a fairly neutral point of view that helps understand this perspective, from one of the most highly respected and credible epidemiology (public health) professors in the world.

Personal experience, public health data and peer reviewed publications all reveal that covid was widely caught and transmitted irrespective of vaccine status. The severity of disease outcomes also doesn’t seem to be obviously impacted by vaccine status.

I also know many friends, neighbours and colleagues with vaccine adverse events; and I personally know health professionals who have seen many more adverse events. Then, allowing inclusion of internet evidence (awash with misinformation though it is), there are multiple converging credible lines of evidence, all pointing to questionable safety for the vaccines. There is excessive all cause mortality that is as yet unexplained. An increase in all cause mortality associated with vaccinees is apparent even in the published vaccine RCTs themselves, and secondary analysis of that original data. Sudden Adult Death Syndrome seems to be on an unexplained rise (at least no official explanation yet).

There are now numerous credible individuals and collectives who have taken a variety of stands against covid vaccines:

  • Scandinavian countries have withdrawn covid vaccines from general use – offering them only for high-risk population groups.
  • Florida has similarly withdrawn them from younger populations citing an increased risk of myocarditis. In fact the Governor has commenced legal inquiry against the pharmaceutical companies.
  • Epidemiological data generally shows that countries with lower rates of vaccination have done significantly better than those with higher rates of vaccination.
  • No version of the US Defence Epidemiology Database debacle can simultaneously instil confidence in health authorities and covid vaccine safety profiles.
  • Recent studies show rates of myocarditis being as high as 1 in 27, while numerous estimates of serious adverse events seem to be converging at a more conservative 1 in 800. Whatever the rate actually is, it seems way too high to be mandating or even recommending these products.
  • The story of prominent UK cardiologist Aseem Malhotra is worth detailed exploration. When covid vaccines first became available he got vaccinated and recommended it for others. But seeing adverse events led to him changing his view. Now he is a prominent voice warning against the covid vaccines.
  • There’s an emerging possible avalanche of people speaking out that seems to be gaining momentum toward the end of 2022. (See this thread for recent international examples.)
  • There’s also an increasing emergence of scientific papers challenging the safe and effective narrative. E.g., this preprint finds no discernible vaccine effectiveness, and in fact negative effectiveness. And this paper finds the risk/benefit profile to be seriously insufficient to support university vaccine mandates. A third paper provides explanatory evidence for sudden cardiac death implicating covid vaccines.

There are numerous other prominent health (and related) professionals who have spoken out against covid vaccines, including: Peter McCullough, Robert Malone, Tess Lawrie, Steve Kirsch, Byram Bridle, Pierre Kory, Mike Yeadon, etc. While all of these people have been written off and censored, each of them was extremely credible and respected in their fields prior to covid. Now, in listing these people I’m not endorsing everything they say. I’m just saying that there’s a large and growing list of people who at least once were viewed widely as having enough credibility to take what they’re saying seriously. There are some things some of them say that I can’t endorse or even disagree with, by the way.

Here’s a list of more people to look up (in addition to those in paragraph above):

  • Kerryn Phelps – this is a very significant statement from a very high profile person in Australian medicine.
  • John Anderson (former deputy Prime Minister) interview with Jay Bhattacharya
  • Great Barrington Declaration
  • Viral vector vaccines just quietly withdrawn everywhere; meanwhile top Sydney cardiologist Ross Walker calls for mRNA boosters to be banned.
  • Paul Offit and others who quit the FDA’s vaccine safety committee
  • Vinay Prasad
  • John Campbell
  • Robert Clancy
  • Brett Weinstein
  • Russell Brand, GB News, Joe Rogan, JP Sears, Tucker Carlson, etc – all with huge audiences
  • Sen Ron Johnson
  • Andrew Brigden’s testimony in UK house
  • Shmuel Shapira
  • Government and big tech just censoring
  • Elon Musk’s twitter files on Covid hasn’t dropped yet, but I look forward to learning more when it does.

There are also some less-than-credible conspiracy theories as to nefarious intent. And overblown accounts of predicted harms that haven’t eventuated. I don’t have any reason to believe these worst-case versions to be true. No doubt there are numerous over-the-top rubbish claims. However, I don’t need proof of nefarious intent to avoid a product that has questionable safety and efficacy profiles.

My purpose in sharing this is to influence the marginal mind, and to add my 2c to the growing weight of voices calling for fundamental change in policy and accepted discourse, or at least noncompliance.

My Thoughts on the Church’s Response to Covid-19


  • Church statements on immunisation: the less said the better
  • Something in common: climate change, immunisation, and flat earth
  • What can we do proactively? Promote liberty & health

My recommendation for my church’s position statement on immunisation

Key Points

My Argument

I am a committed Seventh-day Adventist and love our message, mission and movement. One of the key contributions of our church is the Adventist Health message, which promotes healthy lifestyles. A direct result and advantage of promoting lifestyle health is that gains achieved through lifestyle interventions generally have corresponding reductions in reliance on pharmaceutical interventions. This should, in theory, include a corresponding reduction (even if only marginal) in the need for, and reliance on, immunisation.

Lifestyle approaches to health may not completely nullify the potential benefit of a given inoculation, but they may reduce the available benefit (measured in risk reduction) from an inoculation and its clinical trials. For example, if a clinical trial’s study and control groups both followed Adventist principles of healthy lifestyles, the measured risk reduction benefit would be less than if both groups followed a typical modern lifestyle. That’s because the baseline risk has already been reduced through lifestyle measures. Since all inoculations have a risk/benefit trade-off, it would make sense that someone following the healthy lifestyle practices recommended by the Adventist health message would, from a risk/benefit trade-off perspective, probably not be able to justify taking as many immunisations as someone following a typical modern lifestyle. Inoculations with a more marginal risk/benefit trade-off would probably not meet the threshold of benefit, given the baseline risk reduction achieved through lifestyle, to overcome the risks associated with the inoculation.

Further, one of our founders, Ellen White, the person singularly responsible for the Adventist Health message, strongly discouraged reliance on pharmaceuticals. Our church does not interpret this advice as negating all pharmaceuticals, but it predisposes us to place a relatively higher value on lifestyle interventions and relatively lower value on pharmaceutical interventions.

Inoculations are pharmaceutical interventions. By design, they introduce foreign matter directly into the bloodstream of the human body. Adjuvants are typically at least somewhat toxic. This is not a problem unique to immunisation – all pharmaceuticals carry some risk and have some marginal level of toxicity. E.g., antibiotics, by definition, are toxic to the life of particular microbes. Please remember, and I must state this clearly: I am definitely not saying that just because something has some level of toxicity it should not be used for health purposes.

According to our church’s health message and values, it could be expected that we would be relatively less reliant on immunisation and relatively more reliant on lifestyle interventions to prevent illness. And it would also be expected that the general direction we would be aspiring toward is one in which positive lifestyle interventions are maximised and pharmaceutical interventions are minimised.

This does not mean that our church should advocate against immunisation, just as it doesn’t advocate against pharmaceuticals in general.

But in the same way that the church also don’t advocate for pharmaceuticals, I would suggest that it need not advocate for inoculations either. It normally makes sense to leave it to the FDA and TGA (and similar organisations around the world) to do their jobs to ensure safety and efficacy. But sometimes new information comes to light and inoculations have to be withdrawn from the market. If the church had endorsed every approved inoculation, that would have meant endorsing inoculations that were subsequently terminated and would then need to be unendorsed by the church.

It would be better to simply say very little or nothing at all on the topic.

Big Pharma has done much good for world health. For example, Merck created a drug that has safely and effectively eradicated river blindness in Africa. Merck donated sufficient ivermectin to eradicate river blindness globally. Its inventors deservedly won the Nobel prize for it.

However, Big Pharma also has a dark side. Multiple criminal convictions and large fines have been recorded for fraud, bribery and falsifying safety data.

I’m usually very reluctant to take antibiotics, but antibiotics have been instrumental in healing my gut from issues caused by parasites that I’ve had for 20 years. Despite the problems, I’m thankful for the benefit brought to our world by pharmaceuticals.

My Proposed Statement on Pharmaceuticals and Immunisation

The Adventist church has a statement on immunization (American spelling) that I think can be improved based on our collective experience with Covid-19 and the response of governments around the world that has characterised by many as tending toward coercive and totalitarian. One thing I’d like to see removed is placing peer reviewed science alongside inspired revelation as the basis of our beliefs and practice in any area. We certainly would not do this in the area of origins, and there are many areas of health science that still conflict with inspired revelation, which clearly trumps peer reviewed science in our church’s epistemology, as substantiated by our experience over the decades. I would also broaden it to include pharmaceuticals as I think the issues involved and stance we take are applicable to both. This is my proposed revised statement:

Pharmaceuticals and Immunization

The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation and the inspired writing of E.G. White (co-founder of the Church). We believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore that looking after our bodies, including being careful about what we put into our bodies, is integral to our Christian life and worship.

The Adventist Health Message has a long and distinguished history advocating for maximising positive lifestyle interventions to promote health and minimising pharmaceutical interventions where possible. We understand that pharmaceuticals can contribute to optimising health, particularly in acute health crises, but we do not get involved in the endorsement or approval of particular drugs or immunisations. As a church, we leave it to regulatory bodies and the process of peer reviewed science to assess safety and efficacy of particular medical interventions, and encourage our church members to exercise personal freedom of conscience to decide which ones to take.

What do immunisation, global warming and flat earth all have in common?

Apart from being rife with conspiracy theories that can’t all simultaneously be correct, there is another thing they all have in common. Our church does not have special revelation or expertise in any of them. Actually, Ellen White’s advice on flat earth theories over a century ago is relevant here.

“Whether the world is round or flat will not save a soul, but whether men believe and obey means everything… [W]hen Christ gave my commission to do the work He had placed upon me, the flat or round world was not included in the message; the Lord had taken care of His house, His world here below, better than any human agency could care for it, and until the message came from the Lord, silence was eloquence upon that question.” 21MR 413-4

What I take from this quote is that as a church we don’t need to enter into disputes and take positions on things that are not relevant to the church’s message and mission.

I’ve developed my thinking a bit during Covid-19. Previously I’ve advocated for our church recognising the validity of the issue of anthropogenic global warming, in order to improve our credibility. I’ve even written articles in RECORD on the topic. While I still personally believe that there is human caused global warming that creates risks for society, I probably would be less concerned about trying to convince the skeptics and be more ready to advocate for the “silence is golden” position. (I still haven’t found a credible argument that anthropogenic global warming isn’t real.) And on the flipside, I am increasingly aware that environmental crisis is an area where a coercive government response may be a threat to religious liberty.

The church does not have special expertise or revelation in the areas of immunisation, global warming, or the shape of the earth. We have members and employees who are experts in each of those fields, but that does not confer that expertise on the church as a body. For example, I have done doctoral research and continue to work in water engineering as it intersects with climate change, so it frustrates me that many in our church speak dogmatically from ignorance about that area of science. However, it is not a topic on which our church needs to have an authoritative position.

We do, however, have special expertise and revelation in the area of lifestyle health, often known as the “Adventist Health Message“. There is an abundance of revelation (through the ministry of Ellen White), and scientific evidence through the multi-generational Adventist Health Study at Loma Linda. This is an area where we do have something worth proclaiming.

Comment specific to Covid Inoculations

Our church has made extensive statements generally in support of Covid inoculations, but emphasising that the church is leaving the choice up to individuals. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I think this is a case where the less we said about pharmaceutical interventions the better, whether for or against inoculations on the one hand (where we have weighed in) or early treatment with repurposed drugs such as ivermectin on the other (where to my knowledge we haven’t). There is ongoing debate in the media, in the scientific community, and between countries as to whether or not inoculations should be mandated and whether or not ivermectin is safe and effective or should be banned.

The risk the church runs is that we could be trying to be an authority on an area of life (i.e., effectively saying Covid inoculations are beneficial) where we don’t have any special revelation or authority. Safety & efficacy of pharmaceutical interventions is not a core function or expertise of our church. To weigh in on this topic as we have in this pandemic would effectively be trusting that the processes of peer reviewed science and regulatory oversight are going to lead to good (or at least benign) health interventions. But history shows that’s not always how it plays out. There are numerous drugs and inoculations over the decades that have had to be pulled from the market because of unfavourable risk/benefit with the benefit of hindsight.

It’s fine to trust the intentions of regulators and scientists, but as far as I know, in no other area have we ever trusted or allowed our church’s position on a topic to be determined by peer reviewed science or government policy. It is simply not consistent with our epistemology or mission to entrust church belief or policy to the outcomes of secular science or government.

It seems to me that Covid inoculations (and a bunch of other Covid public health responses) are arguably likely to be found to be at best suboptimal with the benefit of hindsight. There could, of course, be totally understandable reasons for this, such as the urgency involved in responding to a global pandemic.

What can our church contribute in the Covid response?

The ultimate solution to every problem besetting humanity, including Covid, is the gospel. As such, it makes little sense to prioritise mitigating Covid risks over preaching the gospel. In fact both those objectives can both be met simultaneously without compromising either. Preaching the gospel should always be the church’s central mission focus.

The gospel provides an interesting insight into pandemic response. Given that the gospel is the ultimate solution to every problem, including Covid, it could be argued that belief in the gospel should be mandated to bring about the ultimate favourable resolution for everyone rapidly. But such a mandate would be entirely anti-gospel. The gospel is about love and freedom. Mandated irreversible personal health interventions are inevitably associated with fear, coercion and control.

The church has a wonderful opportunity to present the biblical message of hope and purpose, based on love and freedom. While we are surrounded by fear and tight controls in the face of the pandemic, hundreds of times the Bible says not to fear. We can bring healing through love and hope as the antidote to fear and mental suffering. Protection and promotion of personal and religious liberty is extremely important in this time of excessive coercion and control.

And we have an eminently safe and effective health toolkit through the Adventist health message. While we can trust our government to have good intentions to do the best it can for public health within the constraints of human wisdom and expertise, we have a scientifically proven health message inspired by Divine omniscience and omnipotence in which we can place our full trust and confidence!

The Liberty & Health Alliance is one group of Adventists who, from what I’ve seen so far, are doing amazing work in advocating a biblical message of health and freedom extremely relevant for these times. They are not particularly pro or anti inoculations, but share relevant information for people to make their own decisions. I believe they provide a template for how our church can contribute meaningfully in the Covid response.

My gut health restored after 20 years

Within a few weeks of the 9/11 attacks in New York when the world was tentatively taking to the airways again, I went to Madagascar to volunteer in humanitarian development work with ADRA for 5 months. That seems so long ago now! It was a fantastic opportunity and experience that I treasure.

However, one of the ‘costs’ of living in remote villages with very limited facilities (think camping) for weeks at a time was that I often got dysentery. At the time I didn’t think much of it. I would just take a few Flagyl pills which seemed to sort it out.

When I arrived back in Australia, though, I had chronic diarrhoea. Actually within the first year of my return (during 2002) I had a few infectious illnesses to contend with including Lyme disease. Through a combination of prayer, hydrotherapy and antibiotics I recovered from Lyme disease in 2003.

But the disrupted gut health continued. It became my new ‘normal’.

Every few years I would have flare ups of fatigue, brain fog and additional gut symptoms and disruptions. With each flare up I would try a range of diagnostics and treatments – both conventional and alternative. I was seriously researching and considering a faecal transplant. I was willing to give anything a shot!

Along the way we found quite a few things including:

  • SIBO and dysbiosis (managed with diet, probiotics, supplements and natural antimicrobials)
  • FODMAP and other food sensitivities (managed by diet alterations)
  • Leaky gut (treated with lots of glutamine and several other things but the intestinal permeability persisted)
  • Dientamoeba fragilis (successfully treated with antibiotics after trying a few natural antimicrobials first)

I even saw a gastroenterologist who gave me a colonoscopy and endoscopy and concluded everything was pretty good – except I just needed to retrain my bowel using psyllium husks for 6 months. Thanks to his very high confidence and the benign nature of his prescription I faithfully did it… With absolutely no impact on my symptoms. I haven’t had the heart to give him the feedback or go back for further follow-up.

The most recent health professionals I’ve had looking into my gut was the team at Goulds Natural Medicine in Hobart. I had several telehealth appointments with them over a couple of years, mostly managing symptoms and incrementally tackling the SIBO and leaky gut.

One of the diagnostic tools Goulds use for managing gut health and function is microbiome sequencing with companies such as CosmosID and NirvanaBiome. I’ve done several such microbiome sequencing tests over the years, but the two that I did with CosmosID (the 2nd of which was via NirvanaBiome) identified a pathogen of potential interest.

First, in November 2020, the sample had an inconclusive detection of Cyclospora cayetanensis. Cyclospora is a self-limiting pathogen similar to Cryptosporidium. Given the detect was inconclusive, we didn’t think much of it. (There was another similarly inconclusive detect of another pathogen too. Such results are often thought to be fragments passing through and insignificant.)

Cyclospora cayetanensis (Source: Wikipedia)

But then in April of 2021, there was a repeat similar inconclusive detect of Cyclospora. My health care providers still didn’t think it significant. But I thought it might be significant, and I was willing to try the particular antibiotic used to treat Cyclospora. Even though I had already had way too many courses of antibiotics over the years, I had never tried trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), which is pretty much the only drug to which Cyclospora is susceptible.

So I gave Bactrim a go in May 2021, and from June 2021 until now (7 months later) my gut health has returned to how it was prior to 2001/02 (my time in Madagascar). Thank the Lord!

The transformation has been so complete that I haven’t even bothered to do any further diagnostics for confirmation. If at some future time I do feel so inclined, the tests I would want to run would be intestinal permeability and another microbiome sequencing test. But resolution of my symptoms is conclusive enough for me.

I am very thankful for this protracted saga of ill health for a number of life-defining reasons:

  • If it wasn’t for my deteriorated gut health, I most likely wouldn’t have crossed paths with my now wife. Renee is a naturopath, and I first needed her professional help before realising I actually needed her companionship in all areas of life!
  • My gut saga has helped refine my character, chipping away at my arrogance and self-sufficiency, and helping me to depend more on God.
  • Hopefully my story can help others who struggle with gut issues. There are so many people with gut problems. The causes, histories and symptoms can be quite varied, but the common denominator is the critical importance of nurturing a healthy microbiome.