Learning from a Master


I recently returned from a homeopathy seminar with Farokh Master, MD in Bir, India – located near Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a fairly intensive program of daily morning live cases at a clinic, followed by afternoon lectures with a total of 52 hours contact time.

The small one-room homeopathy clinic run by Spero Latchis Dhom had to be adapted to accommodate the 20 homeopaths attending from all over the world (USA, New Zealand, Austrailia, Egypt, Turkey, Austria, India…). So, the household above the clinic allowed us to use their space for the case-taking, tea breaks, and lunch. Patients would come with their medical records, sit by Dr. Master, and then he would interview the patient as we all sat taking notes, and worked on repetorizing the case. Sometimes a case would be done in 15 min, sometimes 30 min, with discussion after (and often during the case) as to remedies, posology, repetorizing, etc.


Make-shift clinic…at least covered from sun and rain.


Dr. Master and Dr. Barbara discuss while patient and her parents sit by.


The clinic is open and the students are ready.

After a taxi ride or a short hike down the mountain to the “resort” the afternoons were filled with lectures and discussions with Dr. Master in the dining area, using power point presentations. He encouraged questions, and fielded topics and discussions from all areas of homeopathy, gave detailed descriptions of some common remedies, and  gave some suggestions in our difficult cases. He practices classical homeopathy using mostly 150 of the most common remedies and is well-read in all of the classical homeopathy texts by other masters  in the field. He also has excellent knowledge of Freudian and Jung psychology, and often applies it to the evaluation of mental/emotional symptoms in the patients, even if only has underlying basis for understanding.

The patients were varied: Ptosis of the left eye, depression, fever for 2 months without diagnosis, knee pain, psoriasis, chronic cough, etc.  The three students that he mentors were with him from 6:30 a.m. to 10 pm at night every day…discussing cases, and getting some individual attention and teaching even beyond the long daily schedule. Overall it was a great experience, and inspired continuing study in the art and science of homeopathy.


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McLeod Ganj


View from my room- the monastery is lit up on the mountainside.

In the foothills of the Himalayas the town Dharamshala is the current home to the Dali Lama since being exiled from Tibet in 1959.  The suburb of Mcleod Ganj is where the monastery known as Namgyal is located and currently houses about 200 Tibetan monks. I stayed in a hotel that was a 5 minute walk away. This area is one of the most visited places in the area and tourists from all over the world can be seen here, wandering the streets for Tibetan items, taking yoga classes, or class in Tibetan culture. The monastery itself is not that ornate, compared to some others in the area. Just the same, the feeling of spirituality is in the air as one makes the walk to spin the prayer wheels along with monks and visitors from all over. Devoted Buddhists prostrate themselves amid butter lamps and chanting monks.




Spinning the prayer wheels at Namgyal.


Full body prostration prayer at Namgyal. 


Monk giving respect at Namgyal Monastery.

About 2 hours away in Chauntra I visited a monastery known Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö College of Dialectics. A few of us with a private guide (who is monk of high ranking) had a tour of the main temple. As dusk fell monks outside were in “debate”. As part of their teaching, they take turns questioning each other about Buddhist teachings (sometimes one-on-one, other times in groups). This goes on for 3 hours every evening, as they yell questions to a seated student, engaging him to answer as they slap their hands and point at him.




Inside the beautiful monastery at Chauntra.




Trekking is very popular here, and I hiked the most popular route to the destination of Triund. After a crazy taxi ride on a rocky dirt road switch-backing for 45 minutes I was soon hiking with my guide ($8 for 5 hours) by 8 a.m. By 10 a.m.  and 3 miles later we were arriving at the destination with a gain of 3,000 ft.  (he said I broke the tourist record! –most people take 4 hours). Along the way there are a couple snack shops with tea, and even at the top there is a small store with hot chai. Some people camp out here and the views are spectacular- with snow-capped peaks in the distance, cool clean air, and weather that can change in minutes.  The hike back down took 1 hr 45 min and the rocky trail can be hard on the knees. The rhododendrons trees were in full bloom, and locals were picking the flowers to make herbal drinks. It was a great to reach the bottom without a fall, and then it was time for a massage.


Rhododendrons…the state tree.


Summit at Truind Hill.



The army after a hike to Triund Hill.


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Puerto Vallarta – not so small little town.


Our Lady of Guadalupe – downtown Vallarta

I have visited Puerto Vallarta several times. It’s always great and here are some things we did this time. You can always do the usual tourist things, and there is no shortage of websites and companies to lure you to join them.

Money: good exchange rate now, currently 18 pesos/$1. You can use ATM’s anywhere to change your money. Credit cards widely accepted at major tours and restaurants.



Family taco stand caters to vegetarians.


Fresh and safe to eat: 5 de Diciembre and Paraguay streets

Food: being vegetarian is no problem. Besides the vegetarian options at most restaurants, there are some fantastic vegetarian buffets. Planeta Vegetariano, which near the main church downtown has some of the best food ever. Great interesting salads, and soup, rice, black beans daily with a change of main course every day. Cost is 105 pesos, ($5.75 today) for all you can eat buffet, drinks, and desert. Similar fare is at Mary Restuarant Vegetariano. Also down the street from Mary’s, about a block from the beach (5 de Diciembre and Paraguay) is a family  taco stand on the street that serves up vegetarian options, the only one in town like this.


Good Veggie fare in Sayulita.


Above is one of the many unique places in Sayulita: Here you can sit with your feet in a fish tank and let the fish nibble your dead skin away-for a dollar a minute.


Lots’s of shops on the street to the beach in Sayulita.



Sayulita: about 25 North of Vallarta is a famous little surf town. We took a taxi there in 30 minutes for $500 pesos, but you can catch a bus near the VIP restaurant, near the Walmart for 30 pesos for an 1 1/2 hr trip. Good place to take surf lessons, lots of unique shops, touristy, but fun. Good vegetarian-option restaurant called Naty’s for tacos, quesadillas, etc. order and eat on the street. the streets leading to the beach is closed to vehicles.



a little boulder hopping along the river


Brisk waterfalls


inviting pools

El Eden: lot of tours will take you here, south of town. Known for ziplines, and the place where they filmed scenes from the Predator movie.  We went with friends, skipped all that and went for a hike up the river. There is a resturant straddling the river, but beyond that is an easy trail along the river. Lots of greenery, jungle and swimming pools and waterfalls with crisp cool water.


rented a boat out of the Marina, heading south to Los Arcos.


Arrived at Los Arcos, ready for some snorkeling.


Snorkeling sights at Los Arcos


Bring your Gopro for easy shots.

Snorkeling: lots of boats taking people daily in small or larger groups. We were strolling around the marina, and met an older guy that offered their boat for fishing, snorkeling, or whatever. Since it was a Sunday and they hadn’t been booked out yet, and no other customers to share with, I just booked it for the two of us for 4 hours . $200 after some bargaining. They had snacks and drinks, and we brought some of our own. Snorkel gear supplied. They plugged in our Ipod into their sound system for us and off  we went to Los Arcos, in the southern part of the bay, where other boats had gathered.  Along the way we were close to the coastline, and the captain (or “gordito” as I called him), pointed out the sights, the famous places, homes, hotels, restaurants, etc.   Later the crew loved it when I told them to put on some mariachi tunes. On arrival at the islands, they chummed the water by breaking up a loaf of bread…lots of fish. After an hour of snorkeling we headed back to the marina, and had a brief sighting of a whale along our path and some dolphins.



The Subtle Rock Eater, by Jonas Gutierrez. One of many unique sculptures on the Malecon.


Malecon: The boardwalk (no boards). Everyone goes here, even the locals stroll in the evening. Free entertainment with performers in the small amphitheater in the afternoons/evenings, lots of venders for souvenirs, and foods. Stop mid-way and venture up to the church for a look in side, about 2 blocks away. Our Lady of Guadelupe is one of the most recognizable buildings in town, with it’s crown on top, and chiming church bells.




Vallarta at night. Plenty of music clubs crank it up on the Malecon.

Sunsets: are free, and the sun always sets over the ocean here. At 9 pm every night the Pirates of the Bay tour boat  swings in front of the Malecon area and fires off a few fireworks. If you are on the boat it’s $85/4 hr tour, if you are watching from shore….the fireworks are free.




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There’s Nothing in Arizona


That’s right, Nothing, AZ. And there isn’t anything there. There is also Hope, Valentine, and Bouse. All spots on the state map. In 3 days we drove from Phoenix, and checked out some of these unique places : Nothing, Wikieup, Hackberry, Valentine, Kingman, Chloride, Oatman, Hualapai County Park, London Bridge, Desert Bar, Intaglio Fisherman, Bouse, Hope. Here is a map showing locations. Here a few pictures of the trip:

The Murals of Chloride, AZ. About 3 miles out-of-town on a rough road are some random murals painted by Roy Purcell in 1996, repainted in 2006.


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The London Bridge, Lake Havasu, AZ:

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The Desert Bar, East of Parker, AZ. Truly a desert bar, solar panels, live band and only open noon to 6 pm on the weekends. closed completely during summer months.Even has it’s on solid steel “chapel” :


Oasis in a rugged landscape.

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The burros of Oatman, AZ. They are technically wild, but used to people feeding them:

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Nothing – (I think the 4 people have moved out):

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Bagdad, AZ. No wars here, but there is a great diner:


Great diner in town.


Wikieup has some funky metal art:

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Bouse, AZ, a few miles outside of town, if you know where to look:


Drone shot of the image from above…barely able to make out the fish and water.


Hope, blink and you’ll miss it. Famous for the misspelled sign, still funny:

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Nutrition and Medical School



I just read an interesting editorial in “The Green Journal”The American Journal of Medicine (a prestigious medical journal) suggesting that perhaps we should quit emphasizing organic chemistry for pre-med students, and require a course on nutrition(!) I know I had very little if any training in nutrition in medical school. I’ve learned a lot just from the 2 conferences this year I have attended. Best food to eat, bottom-line? watch this 3 minute video: “Optimal Diet: Just give it to me straight, Doc”

The Lancet medical journal has also come out with a recent article stating that meat can increase the risk of colon cancer by 16%. Wow, that has rocked the meat industry. They are already trying to put the spin on it, making fun with the statements like- breathing air can cause cancer.

The research is coming in very heavy, in favor of a whole-plant based diet as the overall best diet for humans….something that so far is not even taught to medical students. IMG_1909

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6 Steps to Heal Disease


Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD Talks about REVERSING Heart Disease.


Brooke Goldner, MD shows pictures of vegan body builders.

I recently attended the Plant-Based Nutrition Conference in Anaheim, California and it’s time to post some pearls and pictures. This first blog is from one of our speakers, Dr. Brooke Golden, here’s her website.  An impressive speaker, and practices what she speaks, having cured her own case of Lupus, using diet, and currently off all allopathic medications, and has normalized her ANA and other Lupus blood tests.

Step 1: Eliminate Inflammatory Food. (chronic inflammation becomes the dis-ease)

Step 2: Add Healing Foods

Step 3: No Meat, No Dairy – eliminate animal foods

Step 4: No Processed Foods

Step 5: No Saturated fats/oils (eat healthy fats in flaxseeds & walnuts for omega-3’s.)

Step 6: Hypernourish (more raw foods, for faster healing – in smoothies) recipes to follow.

The conference fed all the attendees…breakfast, lunch and dinner. All foods non-GMO, whole-plant based nutrition….no one went hungry…check out these photos:

Dean Ornish MD

Dean Ornish MD and Susan Benigas listen to speaker.

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Winning the Lottery


We won. Not money, but a permit to hike 3 miles to the Wave, in the Vermilion Cliffs area of North Coyote Buttes.  This was a rare chance to see one of nature’s beautiful formations. Its popularity as a Microsoft screensaver has given it free advertising around the world. Now photographers and hikers from the U.S. and around the world compete to get one of the 20 daily permits. As many as 500 people enter a lottery on-line 4 months in advance to have a chance at 1 of 10 permits. By showIMG_7131ing up at the Kanab, Utah BLM office at 8:30 a.m. you have a chance at 1 of the remaining 10 permits, for the following day.


Our winning lottery ball


A final warning in the lottery room.


Completing applications, including next of kin.


Gathering to hear the talk on why you should not attempt this.

The day we went, there were about 35 people gathered, from around the globe: China, Switzerland, California, Utah, Arizona, Germany.  The Chinese had a group of 6, and after they won, that left only 4 slots. But it was our lucky day. (They actually check permits out there, and the fine is $1200 if you are caught without one.)

The hike is 3 miles one-way in a wilderness area; there are no trails on the open rock, no cairns, no shade, 90 degrees or more in the summer. If it does rain, you have to worry about lightning, and then about getting out of the parking area. Flash floods can quickly isolate you, cutting off the dirt road there. They tell you to carry a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person. They explain how people get lost, and give you map with photos showing landmarks to get there, and to get back.

We were on the trail before 20 minutes before sunrise, to avoid the heat, and the “crowds.” Arriving first, I felt comfortable flying the drone for some overhead views, but the wind was up, and the clouds were getting dark. After an hour at the Wave, we got the expected photographs and it started to rain. There were about 10 of us there; we all headed back the 3 miles to the parking lot. ½ way we met 4 wet hikers, on their way in to the Wave. And then, about ½ mile from the parking lot we meet a guy on the trail who says “your name is Meyer, right?” Wow, they do check…he was heading out and had a list of names with permit numbers.

It was a dream come true to actually see it for myself, but even if you don’t get there, the surrounding area is full of beautiful landscapes: The Toadstools, White Pocket, Paria Canyon, Wirepass Slot Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and many more.


At the parking lot: leaving early, moon up, before sunrise.

the wave

the “wave”

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