Review: What Should I Eat? Nutrition, the Autonomic Nervous System and Health

Set of 2 DVDs

$US 29.95

New Spring Press, New York

Reviewed by Katherine Smith

In this DVD Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, physician and author of One Man Alone and The Trophoblast and the Origin of Cancer (reviewed in issues seven and eight of this journal respectively) explains the history and principles of the form of metabolic therapy that he practises.

What Should I Eat? begins by summarising the findings of dentist Weston Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Weston Price (whose book maybe read online at this link ) traveled the world in the 1920s and 30s; studying the dental health of the  native peoples who were eating traditional, natural foods or the introduced foods of commerce. Not surprisingly he found that while people who followed their ancestral diet and ate a wide range of natural foods had excellent jaw development, beautiful teeth and no tooth decay – the opposite was true when the same white flour, sugar and canned foods etc became staple dietary items. Within a generation, people lost their robust health and good looks – and narrow faces, overcrowded teeth, dental decay and became susceptible to serious diseases such as TB, which became became rampant.

That bad diet should lead to dental problems and increased vulnerability to infection and general ill health perhaps seems predictable.

However, from a metabolic therapy point of view, what is important about the work of Weston Price’s is the diversity of the natural foods diets that supported good health. These ranged from the flesh-based diet of the Inuit (whose diet consisted of 80% fat and 20% protein) to the diet of the Pygmies in the Congo who recognised and ate over 100 different plant foods – and also ate meat when hunts were successful, to people living in the Swiss alps whose diet consisted largely of bread and goats’ milk cheese.

In all of these cases, these people were consuming their ancestral diet – and they thrived.

In summing up, the factors common to traditional, health-sustaining diets, Dr. Gonzalez states that no traditional peoples ate an all plant food diet and that none ate a low fat diet. All traditional diets included raw foods – and fermented foods were usually on the menu too. The traditional diet, he says was always “local, natural and whole”.

The relevance that these observations have to metabolic therapy is that people’s nutritional needs are highly variable and influenced by their genetic heritage. “One size fits all” dietary prescriptions that ignore this fact can be beneficial for some of the population but may be inappropriate – or even harmful for others.

Fortunately, there have been some very intelligent people who have dedicated a large proportion of their lives to working out some of the reasons why certain people thrive on some diets and sicken on others – and, just as importantly, how to determine what sort of diet will suit an individual.

Underlying this metabolic science is an understanding of the actions of the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS); the sympathetic (or “fight or flight”) arm of the ANS and parasympathetic – the ANS’s “rest and digest” division.

Dr. Gonzales succinctly explains the functions of these two divisions of the ANS, and how Frances Pottenger (Senior) investigated the effects of nutrient supplemental on the ANS. Pottenger Snr found that calcium stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (and can therefore exacerbate symptoms in someone whose sympathetic nervous system is already dominant) while magnesium blocks sympathetic nerve impulses from the preganglionic nerve to their post ganglionic nerve, thereby helping people who are sympathetic  dominant to relax and mellow out.

He found that potassium stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – so it can also be helpful for people who are sympathetic dominant. People who have extreme sympathetic dominance, Dr. Gonzalez says, benefit from diets that are largely raw fruit and vegetables (which conveniently and naturally provide large amounts of potassium and magnesium).

Dr. Gonzalez’s mentor dentist Dr. William Kelley (1925 – 2005) who cured himself of pancreatic cancer was a prime example of a sympathetic dominant type: lean (despite eating large numbers of candy bars prior to his illness), highly intelligent (Dr. Gonzalez uses the word “genius” numerous times when referring to Kelley) and ambitious.

At the opposite end of the metabolic spectrum are people whose parasympathetic nervous system is dominant. Extreme parasympathetic dominance (such as may occur in someone genetically predisposed whose diet does not suit them) can result in symptoms such as severe mental and physical lethargy, tendency to weight gain and allergic reactions, among other symptoms.

When people who tend towards parasympathetic dominance are healthy, they are generally creative, easy-going individuals.

Most people have neither extreme sympathetic dominance (with the associated tendencies to develop constipation, high blood pressure, and become short tempered) but are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum; and in this DVD Dr Gonzalez outlines these other metabolic variations.

For any practitioner who would like to learn the basic principles of the system of metabolic typing developed by Dr. Kelley, this DVD offers an enjoyable introduction to this topic. (Dr. Gonzalez has also produced another DVD on the enzyme treatment of cancer, intended for health professionals). It is also suitable for people who are considering metabolic therapies approach for cancer – or any other health problem – to watch so that they can learn the basics of this therapeutic system.

Dr. Gonzalez’s books and DVDs are available from

Ed note: Sadly, Dr. Gonzalez died suddenly in July 2015.  However his wife, Mary Beth Gonzalez has established The Nicholas Gonzalez Foundation and you can learn about the Foundation’s work and sign up for email updates at this website:



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