Who is Dogtor J?
If one were to Google “Dogtor J” and read enough responses, they would find that there were a number of years in the past when I actually hid my true identity, writing solely under my pen name of “Dogtor J”. It was common for me to come across posts on various Internet forums mentioning my name or this site and questioning the validity of the information I provided because I had not provided my full name. I did understand their caution but I also knew that the Internet environment in which I was working was very different from the one in which we find ourselves today. I will not go into detail but, let it be known, I was strongly cautioned against writing much of what you find on the pages of this site.
After a few years of playing “Zorro”, I grew weary of reading these derogatory comments and decided to abandon the anonymity. It had served its purpose and the times had changed, with many consumer advocates speaking out against the various institutions that were doing so much harm (including the tobacco industry, fast food giants and even the medical industry itself). Besides, I would never want anyone to turn away from this critically important nutritional issue simply because the provider wouldn’t give up his privacy, even though the reasons for remaining anonymous were much more complex than the issue of privacy.
“So, who is Dogtor J?”
Yes, Dogtor J is a real person. My name is John B. Symes, D.V.M. and I am a licensed veterinarian with over 30 years of practice experience. I graduated from Auburn University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 1979 and did an internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. I am licensed in four states, having practiced in Massachusetts, South Carolina, California and Alabama. I am happily married to my first and only wife, have two children, and always have lots of cats and dogs around the house and clinic.
A full bio is coming very soon, on the site and in my upcoming book. My life has been an incredible journey, filled with the kinds of things from which novels are born. At times, this adventure was truly a life and death struggle, characterized by more than my share of injuries, illnesses, joy and desperation. I have looked death in the eye and survived, which serves to motivate me to help my fellow man. When you go from a sickly, depressed individual who is hanging on by faith alone to one who is uncommonly healthy, alert and almost bullet-proof, you sort of want to tell somebody.
In April of 2000, I discovered that I had been suffering from celiac disease for the better part of my life. After a little reading on the subject, I found that this explained everything that was wrong with me both medically and psychologically, which turned out to be one in the same. For years, I had suffered from allergies, IBS, heartburn, depression, attention deficit, headaches, low pain threshold, sleeping difficulties, and more. The week I eliminated gluten from my diet, these things started disappearing. By the end of the first month of my new diet, I was a different person. I was stunned and amazed. Both as a doctor and a patient, I had to know how the removal of wheat- one of the very staples of our diet- could effect such a miraculous change. I wanted to know all of the details, right down to the mitochondria of the cells, so I could talk intelligently about this issue with family, friends, clients, and their doctors, who appeared to be as unknowledgeable about this occult medical condition as I was in the past.
I jumped into medical literature review with both feet and started reading everything I could get my hands on. It was incredible how the pieces of the medical puzzle came together, so quickly that it made me a little crazy. How could something this important be so hidden from view? How could those on the other side of the Atlantic (Italy, Germany, Scandinavia and the U.K.) be so far ahead of the United States in this information? While our medical texts stated that celiac disease was a “rare disorder occurring in less than 1:5,000 Americans”, the official number in Italy was over 1;100.
That incongruity drove me down some very interesting rabbit holes. I’ve never been one to be a conspiracy theorist but I quickly found that there were plenty of them out there…and for good reason. I still avoid discussing such matters, focusing more on what we can do rather than how we got ourselves into this mess. But the histories of wheat, dairy, soy and corn- what I lovingly call the “big 4”- are quite fascinating and can be found on the site. We’ve made some serious mistakes in our choice of foods and additives and I had to take my place among those who were desperately trying to educate the public of these dangers. After all, I had an amazing “rage to riches” story to tell, although it had nothing to do with money.
So, I entered the “Zorro” phase of my Internet life, a name that some of my “clients” have used. I had to laugh the first time I read that. But in a way, that’s how I felt during those early years, fighting misconceptions and deceptions while trying to help pets…and their owners…without them knowing who I was. The idea of anonymity was also fueled by my total lack of desire to become well-known. I needed my privacy to be able to function efficiently but I also found fame totally undesirable. I’ve never wanted to be a popular Hollywood actor or well known political personality but now I see the value in that position. They can change things with their fame and contributions, both in time and money. A two-edged sword, as we all know, but good can come from a position of authority and wealth.
I revealed my identity after a few years of writing anonymously and started doing consultations and conference lectures. I had discovered the other foods- dairy, soy and corn- that were wreaking havoc on my health and that of millions of pets and their people. These foods were the only ones that damaged the intestinal lining (villous atrophy of the small intestine) in the fashion that gluten did in the celiac individual. And I was “fortunate” enough to physically experience the negative effects of all of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”, a name I would later give to these “big 4” foods when the universal nature of their harm hit me squarely between the eyes. They had their hands (and hooves) in everything, from allergies to cancer. Once I saw how the body really worked, the relationship between food and what we call “disease” all made perfect sense, especially when I discovered the truth about the viruses and bacteria that we so often label as the culprits in the wide array of illnesses from which we and our pets suffer.
The frenetic phase of my medical research came to an end in early 2007 with the realization that viruses were in our body for a reason other than “causing” disease. These usually maligned entities are the very foundation for our ability to adapt to our ever changing environment. They and their intracellular roommate, the pleomorphic/L-form bacteria react to the challenges we keep throwing at them. We even have a name for the worst of them- “carcinogens”. Yes, cancer is the ultimate adaptation of these submicroscopic inhabitants of every cell in our body. The formation of tumors is simply their way of protecting themselves and cells they were designed and designated to protect.
So, the research was complete. Medicine- all of medicine- now makes sense. In fact, it makes so much sense that every day is like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, as I awaken to another day of knowing these things and trying to affect change in and around me. After studying everything from Alzheimer’s to zinc deficiency, including the role of viruses bacteria, fungi, parasites and everything else we call “pathogens”, I have found that all disease is the same. In fact, my upcoming paper News Flash- All Disease is the Same, will go into gross detail. The final conclusion is always the same: We are our worst enemy and we are the cause of “disease”, not the viruses, bacteria, etc., which should now be looked upon as scapegoats.
Nothing exemplifies the benefits of applying this forward way of thinking than the successes I have experienced in treating epilepsy. The dietary control of seizures has been nothing short of astounding. And yet, the approach is so simple that most of my clients have no trouble at all understanding the basic principles behind it. I wish I could say the same for classically-trained neurologists. But how hard is it to grasp that foods containing high levels of the amino acid in MSG- a known neurotoxin and trigger of seizures- can do the same harmful things as MSG itself? The epilepsy section explains. It even discusses the viruses we have labeled as “causes” of seizures and why they are simply reacting to triggers, which can be eliminated to control epilepsy. Again, whose the bad guy here? Seizures serve a specific purpose, just like every other symptom our body produces (fever, nausea, inflammation).
The fact is I am just as amazed as the next guy that these things are true. I was classically trained and as ignorant of these basic truths. My own personal quest for information about celiac disease opened the doors to rooms that I never knew existed. My medical life experiences reinforced all that I learned and my recovery helped make sense of it all. I now know exactly why I was sick and exactly why I got better. But before this experience, I was as ignorant as the next guy.
How does one explain such an event? Many would simply call it a learning experience. That might be true if it was just a matter of finding out something that others knew. But these discoveries turn today’s medicine upside down. Thankfully, there are others out there on this same path. If not, this is the kind of stuff that makes people stark raving mad, at least in the eyes of the public. No, this has been much more than a learning experience.
This will divide the readers but must be stated: I give God all of the glory for the wisdom and truths found on this site. Before my “revelation”, I realize now that I knew nothing. I was just like most of the doctors and veterinarians of whom people write to me. Almost every day, these frustrated souls complain about their attending doctors parroting back the exact some things I had learned in medical school while being unable to think beyond the words “idiopathic” or “genetic”. How can that be? Is it purely our inadequate training or is it the mindset of the individual who graduates from medical school thinking they know everything about anatomy and medicine when, in fact, they know every little about how the body truly operates. The first twenty years of my career are as if they belonged to someone else.
So, I will once again boldly state that my only true advantage is my belief in God and the calling He has put on my life to seek His face…His will…His wisdom. I know that this statement will turn many readers off because I have received letters to that effect, complaining of the lack of separation of “church and state”. But this is the truth. And the state of medicine in which we find ourselves is the living proof. Today’s medicine has deteriorated into the practice of killing symptoms with no real regard for the actual cause. Drug companies have manufactured “medications” (pharmaceuticals) that halt fevers, lower blood sugar (by preventing the liver from making glucose), lower cholesterol (by preventing the liver from performing this normal function) and alter gastrointestinal motility in order to make us feel better or make our lab work appear better while doing nothing for the actual disease process itself. It’s like magic. Rather than “Now you see it, now you don’t” it’s “Now you feel it, now you don’t.” No wonder the Greek root of the word pharmacy is pharmakeia, which means…magic.
All of these revelations began once I started praying for truth and against deception. It was then that the answers started coming. I began every day with that simple prayer: I wanted the truth. I was literally sick and tired of being deceived. I finally took the story of Solomon to heart and earnestly sought wisdom. I turned from all that I knew was wrong and chased after God. Anyone can do this and, man, what an amazing journey it can be.
Who is Dogtor J, really?
I am an ordinary man who, by the grace of God (with “John” meaning “God is gracious’), finally answered the call that all of us have received at one point or another. In retrospect, it is incredible that it has taken this long. But God had a plan for my life just as He has for everyone reading these words.
Amazingly, it took years of illness and life experiences to prepare me for complete identification with the afflicted. Many of you have read my story and know all that I have experienced- a myriad of symptoms, including life-threatening depression. Yes, I have been to the abyss and looked deep into it, staring death itself in the eyes. That is a transforming experience and it was there I gained my deepest empathy.
But now I see that so much of our bodily suffering is needless from a medical point of view. Whether that suffering is necessary for other reasons remains to be seen by those experiencing it. If my life has taught me anything, it is that there is a reason for “the fire”. And I now stand with the Apostle Paul and shout “Count it all joy!” Today’s addiction, illness or tragedy may very well be your next mission in life.
There you have it: My name, my credentials, my story and my motivation. I truly hope that your knowing these things adds some dimension of credibility you read the pages of this Website, even if the mention of God unsettles you or seems inappropriate in this context. My faith is a big part of the story, which the book will delve into more deeply. As you see, I am not a high-powered academician with lots of alphabet soup after his name. I am simply a seeker of answers…a chaser of Truth…and a person that any of us could be if we were so motivated. All we have to do is answer the call.
John B. Symes, D.V.M. (aka Dogtor J )