Complementary and alternative medicine Humor

Be a celebrity nutritionist, marry a porn star!

I tell ya, life just ain’t fair.

I work and slave for many years to master medicine, surgery, and molecular biology because I want to be part of developing new therapies for cancer. My reward? Instead of being in the lab directly participating in experiments, I spend more of my time begging for money to fund my lab (otherwise known as writing grant applications) than actually supervising the work that goes on there and worrying about losing the funding that I have. Pay lines for NIH grant applications keep getting tighter and tighter, and private sources are becoming way more competitive. Such is the life of an academic surgeon circa 2006. Private practice is looking better and better–or it would, if it weren’t for the constant ratcheting down of reimbursement by Medicare and third party payers. Going to work for a pharmaceutical company would mean that I’d have to give up my autonomy as a researcher, making that option not so attractive either.

Now, I have to thank Celebrity Nutritionist (note the capitalization) Don Lemmon for showing me a better way.

Who needs to go through all that education, learning, study, and pain to help people when you don’t need to? Yes, it seems that all you have to do is to declare yourself the #1 Nutritionist and declare:

What do I know about nutrition, fat loss, exercise, health & fitness, and bodybuilding routines that you do not? Plenty. Not only because I started off working in the medical industry, spent years training athletes and celebrities, but more so because I actually live and practice what I preach. Certainly, if I weren’t doing what I am right now, I would have become a practicing physician somewhere in Southern California . Today you know me as the #1 Nutritionist Online for a reason… I chose a different path than those who prefer to depend on drugs or perform unnecessary cosmetic surgery…

Of course, to pull this off, it helps a lot if you’re a buff personal trainer and bodybuilder. There’s no way I’d be able to play that card, given my physique (although I could certainly play the “trust me, I’m a doctor and scientist” card if I were ever inclined to go that route). Looking at Don’s website and seeing some of his health advice, though, I’m sure glad he didn’t decide to go into medicine. Heck, after looking, I couldn’t even find out what his qualifications are that let him declare himself to be a “nutritionist.” An actual degree in, oh, nutrition or a related field or evidence of scientific publications in the area of nutrition would have been nice, but I found no evidence of any listed on his site. But, hey, who needs those if you’re a bodybuilder and personal trainer to the stars? It’s close enough to the same thing as a nutritionist, right? Besides, Don has celebrity testimonials; he apparently doesn’t need degrees or science. Apparently this allows him to sell a bunch of supplements (making claims for them without providing any references to scientific research that I could look up), push chiropractic in his books, sell “internal cleansers” and “fat burners,” and even push dessicated animal glands as something to take to promote better health:

Probably the most amazing product we manufacture is our Glandular Therapy (complex) which contains over 50 sources of desiccated animal glands, plant sterols, phyto-chemicals, protein enzymes and other co-factors.

Never mind that all those proteins and enzymes will be digested down to amino acids, and little or none will reach the bloodstream.

No one else has before attempted to deliver so much, all at once like this because they never knew it mattered in doing so. Certain things in nature belong together and that would be a combination of glandular tissue and plant oils.

Glandular tissue and plant oils: Two great tastes that taste great together!

Paracelsus, a 16th-century physician developed a doctrine based on the theory that ingesting healthy animal organ tissues has the capacity to heal the human body. The belief was that eating heart tissue heals heart tissue; kidneys heal kidneys, etc.

Today, this belief remains the guiding principle not only behind our Glandular Therapy, but “live cell” therapy and even the more modern scientific backed “organo-therapy.” All herbs have secret ingredients; so do animal glands.

The concept of ingesting animal glands or glandular extracts to stimulate diseased or ailing human tissues and adding spark to healthy ones through their special hidden components are practices that actually date back long before Paracelsus.

Primitive societies used all the parts of the animals they hunted, gathered and brought home to eat; leaving none of it to waste. Whether it was the bones, skin, sinew or glands, all bits and pieces were used as food or protection to survive.

Dessicated animal glands? And from 50 different sources, yet! Yum. I wonder what those “secret ingredients” in those animal glands that supposedly have such health benefits are. Nothing like “secret ingredients” in a supplement or remedy, I say! I mean, where’s the fun if you know exactly what it is that you’re getting? And there’s lots more on Don’s site where Glandular Therapy came from.

Thanks, Don, but no thanks. Call me back when you have something a little more recent to offer, you know, something based on a concept that dates back to, say, the 19th century rather than the 16th. (Beauchamps, anyone?) Funny you should mention live cell therapy, though, as that’s a “therapy” totally without a sound basis in science. I had thought that it dated to the early 20th century and had no idea that the idea behind it is in actuality well over 400 years old. If a variant of live cell therapy is Don’s alternative to drugs and the secret to his pumpitude and wealth, I think I’ll take the drugs, thanks. Or nothing at all. Like homeopathic remedies, for instance, which are basically the same thing as nothing at all.

And what’s Don’s reward for selling all these supplements, DVDs, and books? Not only does he get to live in a big house in Utah with a panoramic view of beautiful mountains and pal around with KISS, but he married a porn star named Asia Carrera (WARNING: definitely NOT work-safe if you go past the splash page):

Currently, I live in Utah with my wife Asia Carrera. We live right near some of the world’s most beautiful mountainside properties.

Let’s see. I’m fairly well off but nowhere near wealthy. I slave away submitting grant applications in the slim hope of keeping my lab going. I go through the wringer tyring to get tenure. In contrast, Don’s rich, married to a porn star, and gets to hang out with KISS and other celebrities, leaving enough time to get into correspondences with the guys at Improbable Research?

I tell ya, I’m in the wrong business. It just ain’t fair.

NOTE: I’m only kidding when I imply that I’m envious of Don for having married a porn star. I’m fortunate enough to be very happy in my marriage; so that’s not the case. (I don’t like fake boobs anyway.) Come to think of it, I’m also kidding when I imply that I’m envious over his home in Utah. If I had that much money, you can be sure that I wouldn’t choose to live in Utah. I like a more urban environment. A nice big house in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, or Wrigleyville in Chicago would be more my style if I ever became wealthy. I wouldn’t mind having Don’s money, though, and it would probably be fun to hang out with KISS. On second thought, maybe not. Gene Simmons has always struck me as a pompous misanthrope in most interviews that I’ve seen him in.

Finally, no doubt some cynic out there will think that I mentioned porn stars and Asia Carrera as an obvious ploy to artificially increase my hit count, resulting in traffic spikes like the one that PZ got for his infamous Sex in the MRI post.

Perish the thought! You know me better than that! Such shameless blog whoring is not something that I ever indulge in. (Well, hardly ever, anyway.) This mention was strictly because of the amazing coincidence that a Celebrity Nutritionist would end up marrying a porn star, nothing more.

No, I would never list terms like XXX, porno, Asia Carrera, hot lesbian action, naked celebrities, naked porn stars, Paris Hilton sex tapes, or any such other terms blatantly designed to bring in traffic from Google searches by all those those porn seekers out there. You know that.

It’s way too obvious.

ADDENDUM 6/16/2006: I’ve confirmed the reports of a couple of readers who commented that Don Lemmon was killed in an auto crash outside of Las Vegas on June 10. An obituary is here, and his wife writes about it here; it’s enough to break your heart. It also makes Don Lemmon’s comments below seem rather creepy, given that they were posted a mere two days before his death (yes, I checked; the IP address from which the comments originated tracks back to St. George, Utah, which is where Don lived); and I mentioned Don in passing in this post just a day before his death. I’m now glad that I never wrote that snarky followup post, as I had been strongly tempted to do after Don took me to task.

The ironic thing is that I guess I might have right after all about life being unfair, just not in the manner I had meant when I wrote it. Don’s dead at a young age; his children will grow up fatherless; and that sucks regardless of my low opinion of the claims he made on his website for his supplements.

ADDENDUM 6/22/2006: I’ve closed this post to new comments.
A more detailed followup post was published here, and that’s where you should comment from now on if you have anything to say about this story. Thanks.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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