Brittany Auerbach calls herself Montreal Healthy Girl. She claims that all diseases can be cured by diet and lifestyle. Her website contains blog articles and videos about the Ultimate Detailed Plan to heal ADD and ADHD naturally, how to heal interstitial cystitis, the benefits of cultured and fermented foods, raw coconut vermifuge (anti-worm medicine) and diatomaceous (she mis-spells it diametaceous) earth for parasites, juicing, detoxification, and much more. She sells books for $55 (seems a bit high), including one on a three-day Candida juice cleanser program (David Gorski has discussed at length her entrepreneurial efforts). She lists “My FAV products.” She even offers recipes (“Favorite gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free vegan apple crisp”). You get the idea. I didn’t see a reference to homeopathy (but it might be there; I couldn’t stand to read everything). Maybe not homeopathy, but pretty much every other kind of alternative health nonsense.
Cancer is good for you?
In one blog post, she tells us, in caps, that CANCER IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING, your body’s way of defending itself from a poisonous internal environment. If you didn’t have cancer, you would die sooner from the poisons.
Her explanation of the cause of cancer is hilarious mix of pH mythology and pseudoscience:
When the body becomes too acidic, the cells close themselves off by encasing themselves with alkaline minerals to protect the blood from becoming very acid (which would result in death). By closing themselves off, these cells begin to be unable to absorb alkaline nutrients or oxygen and basically turn anaerobic and cancerous. It is the same process that a bacteria undertakes: when blood supply and oxygen is cut off and acidity increases, they morph into ‘superbugs’, ones that can thrive and grow in the even the most undesirable of environments. AH [I think she meant “all”] thanks to acidic antibiotics!
David Gorski has thoroughly debunked the pH hypothesis, and I explained pH regulation and the fallacies of the pH mythology in a SkepDoc column in Skepticmagazine.
Montreal Healthy Girl’s explanation goes on, blathering about her belief that “ALL diseases are reversible with the proper lifestyle changes and positive outlook.” (I wish!) She says:
many people all over the world have reversed their cancer by simply changing their lifestyles drastically. I have been to an institute and seen it with my own eyes!
Who needs scientific evidence? She went to an institute and saw it. Isn’t that enough? Well, no, it absolutely isn’t!
She calls chemo and radiation “hideously ludicrous, as well as barbaric.” Radiation? “It’s bad to stand in front of a microwave.” (Not unless it is defective!) And there is a hilarious typo: “I hope this helped shine some light on a topic that is surrounded my false information.” Yes, she wrote “my false information” instead of “by false information,” inadvertently making her statement more accurate!
Among other nonsense, she claims that all viruses including HIV and Ebola can be killed naturally with colloidal silver. It’s true that colloidal silver can kill microorganisms in a Petri dish in the lab, but so can a blow torch or bullet. The EPA maintains a list of disinfectants that can be used against Ebola virus. Colloidal silver is not on that list. Colloidal silver is not useful to treat any disease in humans, and it can discolor skin to make people look like Smurfs. I wrote about it here.
She is anti-vaccine. She falsely claims that vaccines contain heavy metals, additives, and additional viral loads that harm the body, and that they put them directly into the blood stream. (No vaccine is given intravenously.)
The education of Montreal’s own Food Babe
Jonathan Jarry wrote a scathing article about her in the newsletter of the McGill Office for Science and Society, calling her Montreal’s own Food Babe. He wondered where she was getting all these ridiculous notions, so he tracked down her educational qualifications. She claims to have spent the 2012-2013 academic year at the Institut de Formation Naturopathique du Québec (IFN). She must have spent that year “at” her computer, because the IFN only offers an online course that costs $1,200. Students read booklets, answer questionnaires, and take a grand total of two online exams at times of their choosing. Students never have any contact with patients and are not qualified for licensure as naturopaths. They are not qualified to work in naturopathy clinics and have to open their own businesses.
The president of IFN, Guy Bohémier, has a PhD in philosophy from a university that is not accredited, not mentioned anywhere online, and never physically existed. He also claims to have a doctorate in Naturopathy from the Lincoln College of Naturopathic Physicians and Surgeons in Indiana. (Jarry wonders how a naturopathic surgeon would operate “naturally.” I wonder too!) He tried to track that college down. He found no record of it online but by clever sleuthing he was able to discover that it had once been investigated for dispensing fraudulent diplomas.
Montreal Healthy Girl also raves about her time at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, run by the infamous Brian Clement who has been criticized many times on SBM. He is notorious for taking patients off conventional cancer treatment and treating them with a raw vegan diet and wheatgrass (which demonstrably doesn’t work).
Jarry points out something she said that demonstrates the quality of Auerbach’s thinking. After predicting that life on Earth would end in 800 years, Auerbach says, “800 years, that’s nothing. That’s, like, 8 generations… you know, 9 generations.” Jarry responds, “That’s totally, like, not.”
Jarry also did a video about her that is entertaining and well worth watching. Among other tidbits, he found an address for IFN and posted photos of the “Institute.” It’s a modest private house in the middle of nowhere.
Conclusion: Wrong and dangerous
Brittany Auerbach is so obviously wrong about almost everything that one wonders how people could believe her. Apparently, people do. She has more YouTube subscribers (over 106,000) than the Food Babe (38,566). It is very likely that some of her viewers will be harmed by forgoing vaccines and effective life-saving cancer treatments. She could potentially do a great deal of damage. Free speech is an important right, but not when it is tantamount to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
This article was originally published on the Science-Based Medicine blog.