by Bruce E. Boyers
Robin Gentry McGee didn’t begin her career with healing in mind. She was an organic chef with her own restaurant. Tiring of the hectic restaurant business, she closed up shop and was scouting her options for the next career move when fate intervened and more or less made that decision for her: her father suffered a traumatic brain injury and his chances of survival were slim. The path from that point led her to the company she founded—Functional Formularies—and a wealth of knowledge around the assistive healing power of whole foods.
"I started studying food as medicine after my father’s brain injury," McGee told Organic Connections. "I was looking for answers to literally try and save his life when I found that the commercial formula they were giving to him as his only source of nutrition 24/7 was full of corn syrup, canola and corn oil, and all of the other dreadful things that not even the healthiest people, in my opinion, should be eating. I looked all over the world for an organic whole-food feeding-tube formula and I couldn’t find anything, so I decided to create one. I met some medical doctors who were willing to help me, or at least sign off on orders that I could do this for my dad. In addition to his brain injury and because of the brain injury, he was also suffering a lot of secondary complications."
McGee utilized some of her own knowledge and obtained additional vital information from experts. "I’ve always been into nutrition," she continued. "I knew about herbs and the healing properties of many things, and I knew that food had healing properties. I decided to look at all of the secondary conditions that were going on and tried to put together a formula that would address not only the brain injury but all of the other things that were happening in his body as well. I went to bookstores and conducted Internet searches, and I finally came across the book Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford. I sat down with that, and it was just like a light bulb going off—I knew what I had to do. I essentially found most of the answers I needed in Paul’s book."
The formula McGee developed utilized grains, legumes and fresh vegetables juiced daily. She also added some Chinese herbs and supplements and gave her father wheat-grass shots through his feeding tube.
The results of her nutritional treatments brought about gradual improvements and over time stabilized him, enabling his daily medications to be reduced from seventeen down to two. Along the way one of her father’s doctors characterized his recovery as "a miracle."
McGee detailed the journey of nutritional discovery made with her father in her 2011 book A Turn for the Worst.
While her father was recovering, McGee received a second piece of news—this time concerning herself. "About halfway through my father’s recovery I personally was diagnosed with breast cancer," McGee said. "This was very surprising to me because I had always been healthy; I was a runner and ate really healthy organic foods. I was very stunned.
"I then looked at it the same way that I’d done with my dad, which was, what could I do proactively to help myself? I started researching nutrition in relation to cancer, and in relation specifically to breast cancer. I decided to have a lumpectomy because I wanted to know what I was dealing with; I have an extensive history of breast cancer in my family.
"But there was a three-month window of time between when I found out there was a possibility of cancer and when the lumpectomy was scheduled. I started doing raw foods, juicing, and Chinese herbs and acupuncture. On the day I had the lumpectomy, the surgeon came into the operating room and she was smiling and said, ‘The tumor is gone; we can’t find it. Maybe we got it in the lumpectomy—I don’t know.’ I asked, ‘Are you sure? You just removed a quarter of my breast, so I’m hoping you’re not missing it.’ She said, ‘Nope, there’s no tumor there.’
"Even though they found no tumor, they wanted me to do chemotherapy, radiation, and have a double mastectomy; those were all options that were strongly suggested to me. And my feeling was, ‘Are you crazy? There’s not even a tumor there! Why would I go down that road?’ It was very hard, because if you’re in that situation it’s a very, very frightening experience. We grew up thinking that we need to listen to the doctors. So to kind of go down this road alone, I felt many times like I was just being written off as crazy.
"But I stuck to my guns and I never had any treatment, and that was seven years ago. I’m perfectly fine, I’m perfectly healthy, and no cancer has ever shown up again in my body."
"After seeing how profoundly nutrition affected the outcome of my father, I truly felt that was just a gift from my father indicating what I needed to do next in my life," McGee related. "I had seen so much suffering, not only with my own family unit throughout this very extensive medical world we found ourselves in, but also with many other people and many other families in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They had no clue that a lot of the answers could be found in the nutritional component of a very sick person in care."
McGee determined to get herself fully educated in whole-foods nutrition. In addition to several other avenues of learning, she studied with Paul Pitchford—the author she had found so helpful in assisting her father—at his Heartwood Institute. After completing her education, she at first decided to act as a coach for others.
But once again fate intervened. "I started getting so many requests for the formula I had created for my father that I decided I should make it shelf-stable and available commercially so that it could help other people," McGee said. "That’s what led me to creating my company and commercializing this formula."
In addition to that feeding-tube formula—named Liquid Hope by McGee’s family—McGee has also launched a separate line of foods under the brand Just Great Foods from a Conscious Kitchen. All of it utilizes the keen knowledge of assistive healing she has learned along the way.
McGee will be the first to say that nothing she is doing is designed to be a substitute for medical treatment. "I know the power of nutrition but it’s really not my place to say, ‘You only need nutrition,’ or ‘You may need medicine.’ I think that is up to the experts and each individual. I’m not a doctor; I’m not a medical practitioner. I am just passionate about nutrition."
Yet McGee has also learned firsthand, and seen in other people, the difference that proper nutrition can make. "I know the power of nutrition," she said. "I’ve not only seen it in myself and my father, I’ve seen it in 100 percent of the customers that we’ve been working with. This has been over the course of the time since we launched the commercial product, and then all of the people that we’ve worked with in the eight years of research and development on this product."
In the end, McGee—along with many others—has observed the overall difference nutrition makes in general. "You are what you eat," she concluded. "I mean, let’s go back to Hippocrates, who said, ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.’ We’ve gone so far away from understanding that nutrition is literally who we are—our cells, the makeup of our bodies. You can’t put chemicals, junk food, trans fats and sugar in your body and expect a good outcome. If anybody questions the effects of some of this ‘food’—and I use the term very loosely—look at the labels; look up the ingredients; do a Google search and find out exactly what those chemicals are and their implications. See what they really are and whether you can put them in your body and expect it to function. It’s simple."
For more information on Liquid Hope feeding-tube formula, visit www.functionalformularies.com.
Find Robin Gentry McGee’s line of foods at www.justgreatfoods.com.
Robin Gentry McGee’s book A Turn for the Worst is available from the Organic Connections bookstore.
Check out this recent interview from Robin as she discusses the many deep holes to fill with our healthcare system, but with our Functional Formularies product we are off to a beautiful start!
YogaHub interviews Robin Gentry McGee, author of "A Turn for the Worst" shares her incredible journey with her father who suffered a traumatic brain injury and her quest to help him find balance. This quest has not only led her book to inspire and support those who may be on a similar journey, but has also led to a paradigm shifting gift for all those who are in need of Liquid Nutrients.
Or listen to the podcast here:
Liquid Hope is now officially Ashley Koff APPROVED!
As a registered dietitian, Ashley is committed to helping consumers, healthcare practitioners, and the media easily identify products that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle – what she refers to as being a QUALITARIAN (making a better quality choice available at any given time). She started AKA as a tool to aid in the selection of groceries, beauty products, dietary supplements, prepared food options, restaurants and lifestyle accessories. The AKA stamp means "Yes, you can" and "Yes, you should."
Whether it’s a product, menu, recipe, or gadget, the AKA stamp confirms that it has been evaluated and approved by Ashley, as a better quality and healthier choice. More specifically, it means that the product does not contain any nutrition "no, no’s," (artificial stuff, too much of something, not enough of another), its’ marketing message is truthful and it fits into a nutrition plan for optimal health. What it does NOT mean is that anyone paid her to evaluate or influence her decision, and it also does not mean that a product stays either approved or not approved forever – Ashley is always re-evaluating products to follow updated marketing messages, ingredients, learning about sourcing methods, and focusing on truths in nutrition, not trends and fads.
NEXTY nominations were given to 61 companies at Expo West 2013 that the NEXT Forecast 2013 experts see as the key leaders and influencers shaping the future of the natural products landscape.
Liquid Hope WON the NEXTY Award for Food & Beverages!