By Dr Greg Fitzgerald (allied health), Osteopath, Chiropractor and Naturopath


Why is it that in many countries, particularly the US and Australia, being on medication is now considered ‘normal’? In fact, almost every ailment nowadays is considered to be a normal rite of passage as we age, including:

How could it be that our society has accepted such a low standard of health that it is rare to find someone who is not on medication of some sort? Why are so many people at younger and younger ages “falling apart,” the term I so frequently hear when a patient consults me? It is no wonder that pharmaceutical companies are the most lucrative in the world!

This is no criticism of individuals; it is, however, a sad reflection on how, as a race of people, we have lost our innate knowledge and wisdom about how to remain healthy, and indeed happy. Instead of being taught how to live according to universal laws and principles, we are taught that any symptom we get is a “disorder” that needs a medication or medical procedure.

We are also subliminally taught that happiness comes from the outside in the form of possessions, money, fame and appearances. It is common for people to now believe that not only health, but happiness, comes from external sources. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Tragically, the vast majority of people seek answers to their physical and mental health problems in pills. It is ‘normal’, simply because it has become the norm. Social conditioning has seen to this. Modern medicine accommodates this expectation, and is complicit in its widespread acceptance. Real causes are rarely addressed.

Our health-care system is a misnomer. As American journalist and anchorman, Walter Cronkite, once remarked, “Our health-care system is not healthy, nor caring, nor indeed a system!” It conditions patients and the public at large to think that chronic diseases are a normal part of the ageing process.

The truth is that being unhealthy and medicated is now normal, while being healthy and drug-free is abnormal (defining ‘normal’ as something widespread or prevalent).

What an irony that my wife Dawn and I would be considered, by some people, to be irresponsible parents because our 26-year-old daughter, Emily, has never been to a doctor. She has been raised according to Natural Hygiene/Health principles and has been ‘deprived’ of normal things like Coca Cola, cows’ milk, processed cereals and sugar, medical check-ups and routine vaccinations.

And yet, if Emily was on medication for some reason, fed the conventional rubbish that most people call food, and we took her to a doctor on a regular basis for check-ups and medication adjustments (in Australia, the average child visits the doctor at least eight times a year), we would be considered good and normal parents. I’m happy to say our family is not normal and proud of it.


Drowning in Drugs

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 the average man, woman and child in Australia took 143 painkillers a year, equating to over 11,000 per lifetime. In the US people over 55 years old take, on average, at least five different medications. The damage caused by opioids in both of these countries is inestimable, but grave enough to prompt the president of the United States to call the situation “a national emergency”.

Addictions to drugs, food, gambling, technology, and other things has become out of control. These states are also the norm. Addictionology (the study of addictions) is one of the fastest growing fields in medicine today. The New York Times stated the following on December 27, 2017: “America’s addiction crisis ranks among the great epidemics of our age. Millions of people have fallen victim to painkiller abuse, alcoholism, the rise of meth and the revival of heroin. Sorrowful tales of death at a young age and of families torn apart have become a defining feature of the early 21st century American experience.”

Children now experience more chronic illness than ever before. They are prescribed more drugs, including anti-depressants and behaviour-modifying stimulants, than ever before. From birth with the hepatitis-B shot, the process – and indoctrination – begins. Autoimmune diseases in children are one of the fastest growing subgroups of diseases. It is now normal for kids to be regularly sick.

Elderly people in society are also prescribed more drugs and anti-psychotics than ever before. It is now normal for doctors to quickly visit nursing homes and aged-care facilities and prescribe a plethora of medications (many of which are unnecessary) to all residents.

Children and elderly people are the two easiest targets for drug companies, and they represent a very lucrative market indeed. The social conditioning that our bodies are virtually useless against the ravages of disease and decrepitude is so well entrenched that humanity is seemingly on a drug dispensary conveyer belt from birth to death.

No wonder Dr Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), stated in her book The Truth About the Drug Companies: “The FDA is now so dependent on the pharmaceutical industry that it has become Big Pharma’s handmaiden.”

“Health-care is drug-care” has become the new medical mantra. Is it little wonder that the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer, is the medical profession itself – according to some prestigious medical journals like NEJM and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  


My Journey to Not Be Normal

I was raised ‘normally’. Both my parents followed a meat-heavy diet, drank alcohol and lots of tea, and smoked cigarettes. They went to the doctor when sick and thought nothing of regularly popping painkillers for headaches.

My first ‘Eureka’ moment regarding health and the problems of ‘normal’ came at age 15. I habitually had a cup of tea for breakfast before school, but one day rushed off without one. By mid-morning I had a headache, which I immediately attributed to missing my normal cup of tea. I went home that day and told my mother what had happened and that I was never drinking tea again. If it hurts when I stop it, I reasoned, what is it doing to me when I drink it? Since then, I have never drunk tea, nor ever tasted coffee. I am not normal!

I started reading books in my early twenties by people like nutritionist Lelord Kordel and Dr Paavo Airola, which taught me the dangers of refined and processed foods; but, unbeknown to me, they were wrong on so many other counts. In addition, most of my friends were not interested in health, so I was not normal.

Then, when I studied osteopathy, I was blessed to have Dr Alec Burton as my lecturer, and I immediately recognised the basic truths and timeless wisdom of Natural Hygiene principles, which he passionately espoused. I soon realised that adherents of this way of life were not normal, but were most certainly healthier and happier.

Wanting to expand my understanding of Natural Hygiene, my wife Dawn and I attended two ANHS (American Natural Hygiene Society) conferences in the US in 1988 and 1989. These were life-changing events for us.

We purchased tapes (there were no CDs then) of Drs D. J. Scott, Alec Burton, Keki Sidhwa, Alan Goldhamer, Ron Cridland, Phillip Martin, Frank Sabatino, Ralph Cinque and Virginia Vetrano, among others, and all the books we could get our hands on from the greats like Herbert Shelton and William Esser.

We became Life Members of the American Natural Hygiene Society (now the National Health Association), and when starting our family 26 years ago, we decided, without any doubt, that we would march to the beat of our own drum in decisions affecting our family’s health and happiness. That meant applying the principles and practices of Natural Hygiene to the best of our ability. It also meant withstanding the pressures to eat and live ‘normally’.

I have said for many years that the greatest risk factor to one’s health and happiness is not any single thing, such as overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, inactivity, alcohol or smoking. The most health-destroying risk factor is living a conventional, normal life. In other words, being normal is the greatest risk factor for comorbidities, polypharmacy and premature death. Doing what everyone else does ensures you’ll get what everyone else gets.

So, how do we go about not being normal?


The Five Steps to Not Being Normal

1. Adopt a predominantly whole-food, plant-based diet

Don’t fall for the medical and dietetic myths about needing to eat animals for protein, red meat for iron, milk and cheese for bones, snacking to maintain metabolism, a big breakfast and so on. Read great books like Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The China Study by Professor T. Colin Campbell, and The Pleasure Trap by Drs Alan Goldhamer and Doug Lisle. Don’t rely on the media or your average doctor or dietitian solely for your health and nutrition information.

2. Avoid social drugs like alcohol, caffeine and tobacco

The first step in improving health is to stop the intake of these ‘normal’ stimulants. Dr Burton would often say: “Most people would be 50% healthier if they just stopped poisoning themselves,” and with this he meant the social ‘poisons’.

3. Do not soldier-on!

This means do not routinely push yourself beyond your energy limits. Most people wear their exhaustion like a badge of honour, when, in truth, soldiering-on causes more deaths than soldiering.

4. Attend to your own biological needs 

Sleep, rest, stay active, get fresh air and sunshine and ensure that your emotional needs are met, according to your unique individual capacity.







5. Fast if unwell

Read and study the subject of water-only fasting. Health for life is built not bought. It is rarely achieved by those who follow the crowd and march to the beat of the ‘normal’ drum.






In Short …

Seek out the truth. Think for yourself! Be proud to live differently, and although you might not be normal, you certainly will be healthier and happier.


Dr Greg Fitzgerald


Dr Greg Fitzgerald is a registered osteopath and chiropractor, as well as a naturopath. He is the founder and principal of the ‘Health for Life Centre’ in Australia and has been in practice since 1983. He consults from his Clinic in Gymea Bay, Sydney, but also does telephone and Zoom consultations.

Greg and Dawn are members of the Natural Health Society.

Greg is a prolific speaker, and he and his wife, Dawn, run a successful online email health program, ‘21 Days to Transform Your Health’, which is available by contacting them at: [email protected]. Visit Dr Fitzgerald’s website at


We’re looking forward to hearing from Greg at our upcoming Annual Seminar in Sydney.  July 27, 20024.