Mourning Ron Schmid

Ron Schmid

The author, naturopath, and food rights activist Ron Schmid died unexpectedly last Thursday evening. He was 71, and died in his sleep at his farm in Connecticut, apparently of heart failure.

Schmid was best known in the food community for his landmark 2003 book, The Untold Story of Milk. He covered in depth the difficult history of raw milk in the U.S., arguing that even though raw milk was responsible for many illnesses during the 1800s and early 1900s, it was also unfairly savaged by the emerging pasteurized milk industry to eliminate raw milk as a competitive threat. I interviewed Schmid and quoted from his book in my 2009 book, The Raw Milk Revolution.

Schmid also was a highly respected naturopath for many years, who was sought out by patients from around the country. On the Facebook page of a supplement business he founded, Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure, one woman wrote: “Great man, very wise and committed to his patients. He cured me of cancer 28 years ago. He taught me how to eat and I have not been to any doctor since, being completely healthy. Very sad news.”

 

Two years ago, Schmid became embroiled in a huge controversy over so-called fermented cod liver oil, a product produced by a Nebraska company, Green Pasture. In a posting on the site of Dr. Ron’s, Schmid claimed the product had weakened his heart to the extent that he had become a candidate for a heart transplant in 2012, and that going off the product led to his “miraculous recovery.” He said in part: “In the six years I took fermented cod liver oil, I went from running ten miles a day to being barely able to walk across the room. My cardiologist, a world renowned physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital named Mark Marieb, was at first skeptical of my theory that cod liver oil had caused my heart problems. But as he has followed what he calls my ‘miraculous recovery’ from advanced heart failure (the usual prognosis is death within three to six months, and when first admitted at Yale-New Haven, I was seen by the Heart Transplant Team), he has gradually accepted that the cause of my heart failure was excessive amounts of cod liver oil.”

Dave Wetzel, owner of Green Pasture, told me at the time that Schmid’s accusation was “false” because the company’s cod liver oil was safe.

Schmid’s illness, along with a report by nutritionist Kaayla Daniel questioning the safety of the Green Pasture product, led to a major falling out between Schmid and the Weston A. Price Foundation. When Schmid refused to retract his accusations against Green Pasture two years ago, WAPF founder Sally Fallon Morell barred him from exhibiting on behalf of Dr. Ron’s at the organization’s annual meeting that November.

The falling out spread and became a source of much bitterness in the food rights community. At one point, Fallon Morell railed against Schmid, Daniel, and me as “The Three Amigos”. I got to know Schmid well during that period, and he frequently expressed pride in the term, though he was saddened by the falling out with Fallon Morell, who had written the preface to The Untold Story of Milk and became co-author of an updated and revised version of the book.

The three of us helped launch a new organization, Hunt Gather Grow, as an alternative food information community. It held a launch session in the late fall of 2015, and has been organizing potential additional events since then. I’ll just say that personally, it was an honor to work with him. He was smart, sensitive, assertive, and had a great sense of humor.

Schmid supported a number of food rights causes, including most recently that of Canadian farmer Michael Schmidt, who told me he always felt “deep gratitude” toward Ron Schmid. “He will be sorely missed.”

While Schmid seemed to recover significantly from his 2012 experience, he never got back to his previous level of health, and in the last few months complained of declining health. One member of his family said, “He was told by the doctors in 2012 that he had three to six months to live, and he should get his affairs in order. He lived five more years, so that was gratifying.”  According to representatives of his family, there won’t be an autopsy or funeral, and his body will be cremated. A memorial service will be held at the family farm in Watertown, CT, on Wednesday, August 2, starting at 4 PM EDT. Inquiries about the service can be made to 860-945-7444.

 

18 comments to Mourning Ron Schmid

  • lynda

    I’m utterly shocked and heartbroken to hear this. I’ve had years of immense respect for Dr. Ron’s life work. He will be missed dearly.

    I want to add I believe the post you mention as no longer available, can still be found here http://www.drrons.com/product-blog/Too-Much-of-a-NOT-so-Good-Thing. Dr. Ron was very humble in telling his story in hopes no one else would make the same mistake. I’m immensely grateful to him for this. Stopping fermented cod liver oil solved a serious inflammation problem for me also. Without his story I would have never made the connection.

    He and his family are in my prayers and will be for a long time.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Lynda, thanks for sharing. Thanks also for finding that link. I have included it within the post. It’s interesting reading.

  • JHeckman

    Very sad over the loss of Dr. Ron. He authored a very important book on milk. In 2010 I published a book reviewed based on the second edition:
    Heckman, J.R. 2010. The Untold Story of Milk, The History, Politics and Science of Nature’s Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. 34:460-464.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10440040903396441

  • I remember, like it was yesterday, when Ron visited OPDC in the very early ( circa 2002-2003 ) years to interview me and write the story in his book. He was young at heart and quite a healer and a great human being. Truly will be missed. He left a good mark on the world.

    Mark

  • One more reason for utter disdain and contempt for Sally Fallon…and the WAPF as long as she is associated with it.

  • D. Smith D. Smith

    This is so sad to hear. He contributed immensely to the world of information surrounding raw milk and its many benefits for health. His comments here will be missed.

  • Shana Milkie

    Very sorry to hear this sad news. I send condolences to his family.

  • Kim Bezaire

    Something needs to be said about the responsibility we all feel we have to spread “the word”, but shouldn’t that word be not only actively spread but also accurate, scientfically proven, and that proof provided each time we speak of it?
    In both the above article, as well as the artcle cited from Dr. Ron’s newsletter (where the author’s name is not immediately apparent btw, and I still haven’t found it) — in BOTH articles the words “cod liver oil” and “fermented cod liver oil” are carelessly interchanged.

    However,sloppy reporting is just deserts for sloppy lifestyle decisions based on “telling”, not based on proof.

    I would NEVER, EVER, put old oil into my body, “fermented” or not. It is one of the worst things a person could do to oneself nutritionally, from the moment that first spoonful enters the body. I know this from reading Adelle Davis, whom I admired and followed because the proof is undeniable. UNDENIABLE PROOF. You own it to yourself and anyone you claim to be caring for. STOP listening to EVERYTHING, and take responsibility for your own actions toward your own self.
    Further crimes are in the publishing industry, so tied as they are to capital. We are hard pressed to find a match for Adelle Davis, nor the thousands of doctors and researchers she reported about. Find an index like any of hers, or follow the amazing careers of heroes, as she reported on their young successes and we followed them through their lives, using their information and advice. We do them injustice when we swallow every bit of information that is shoved down our throats, which we ALLOW to take over our lives.

  • Kathy Pirtle

    I am so saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. He helped my dramatically when I was extremely ill in 2002. I got to know him through the years and we had the love of music in common. Ron will be missed greatly. He was a one-of-a-kind person that helped thousands of people. I am grateful to have had to opportunity to spend time with him.

  • Sara Reilly

    I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Ron Schmid. For me, his legacy is the groundbreaking “The Untold Story of Milk,” which changed my life for the better, and I’m sure many others felt the same way. He will not be forgotten.

  • Kyle

    I am “heartbroken” Ron was a good man. And one of the few with the balls to stand up to Sally Fallon.

  • David Gumpert David Gumpert

    Kaayla Daniel has a very touching personal remembrance of Ron Schmid on her site:

    http://drkaayladaniel.com/the-legacy-of-dr-ron-schmid/

  • Andrejka

    While FCLO seems ok in my limited personal experience, the controversy was intense on Chris Kressers’ web site… I did a little reseach “Joan Grinzi, Executive Director of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, says: “It’s taken us over a year to thoroughly search the archives. We can now state that Dr. Price never mentioned fermented cod liver oil and never recommended a product like it.” FCLO is neither a true “traditional” cod liver oil nor the “high vitamin cod liver oil” recommended by Dr. Price.
    Dr. Price pointed out the danger of rancidity in the cod liver oils of his day, and he cited other researchers from the 1920s and 1930s who had “called attention to the importance of considering the toxic substances in cod liver oils as possible explanation for differences in the results obtained by different workers in vitamin studies.” Clinicians observed “severe and striking” effects, most notably “serious structural damage” to the heart and kidneys.” Roy Schmid also states “Joan Grinzi, Executive Director of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, says: “It’s taken us over a year to thoroughly search the archives. We can now state that Dr. Price never mentioned fermented cod liver oil and never recommended a product like it.” FCLO is neither a true “traditional” cod liver oil nor the “high vitamin cod liver oil” recommended by Dr. Price.
    Dr. Price pointed out the danger of rancidity in the cod liver oils of his day, and he cited other researchers from the 1920s and 1930s who had “called attention to the importance of considering the toxic substances in cod liver oils as possible explanation for differences in the results obtained by different workers in vitamin studies.” Clinicians observed “severe and striking” effects, most notably “serious structural damage” to the heart and kidneys.

  • Mark McAfee Mark McAfee

    When I visited Sydney Australia a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to visit a replica of Capt Cooks ship. In board that ship was a doctors medicine chest. There were 87 medicines and cures in the box. Of the 87 cures, only three are considered safe and effective for any stated purpose in today’s world. The rest of the 84 are considered either highly toxic or lethal.

    The lesson here is: cures of the ages must be vetted and understood or you could die from them…. not all treatments are ancient wisdom.

    I grew up on Adele Davis brewers yeast and molasses. My mom was a big follower.

    In this generation grass fed rawmilk is the food that really keeps my grand kids exceptionally strong.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      Mark,
      If the current drug/cure“vetting” process is indicative of understanding and sound science serves as its basis, then my ass is a star…

      Explain to me why an estimated 126000 people in the US die annually due to doctor prescribed drugs?
      http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications
      And the above only represents deaths!!! What about all the drug induced injuries/disabilities such as stroke, Guillain-Barré syndrome, etc. etc. etc.. Indeed, and if they are truly upfront what about all the injuries and deaths as a result of toxic vaccine use???

      Hence the medical profession despite all of it’s acquired knowledge is engaged in a deadly crapshoot… in the dark no less, and the public is its target!

      Dr. Harris Coulter PhD stated it wisely, “Society today is paying a heavy price in disease and death for the monopoly granted the medical profession in the 1920’s. In fact, the situation peculiarly resembles that of the 1830s when physicians relied on bloodletting, mercurial medicines, and quinine, even though knowing them to be intrinsically harmful And precisely the same arguments were made in defense of these medicines as are employed today, namely, that the benefits outweigh the risks. In truth, the benefits accrue to the physician, while the patient runs the risks.”
      Coulter also stated, “One feels rage as well at the complicity of the “peer reviewed” journals which print these awful productions. It is abundantly clear, if further proof were needed, that “peer review” means simply preventing criticism of certain commercial interests and blocking the emergence of competing viewpoints. Finally, one feels rage and exasperation at the total inability of journalists — who are reputed to be professional sceptics — to see through, and expose, this duplicity.”

  • don

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/07/30/doctors-death-part-one.aspx
    Ken Dr Barbara Starfield of Johns Hopkins published in JAMA 17 years ago similar figures but did anyone listen? It would appear that the medicine men have no better record than the so called legal guys. Our IDOLS are indeed tarnished!!! The truth is not popular!!!

  • Ken,

    You have no argument from me. I agree that much of modern pharma is a disaster. The current opiate crisis is a pharma doctor created mess.
    I said this recently…..Farmers over Pharmacists is the future of sustainable medicine. Access to whole food nutrition must be a right if we are to ever move forward with a sane basis for a country and thinking citizens. Starving students can not learn. Starving stomachs can not serve a brain that works.

    The pharma death grip on Washington….is truly a death grip.

    How do we separate doctors who want to do well from those that do not? One layer deeper….how do we train our future doctors if the current training model does not really teach medicine?

    We have a long way to go….

    When our current medical schools ignore the human genome project discoveries…..how can we ever teach doctors the basis of nutritional medicine! ??

    We are screwed… Brace yourselves for a very ugly future. Nourishing those around you and teaching with passion is best we can do. Teaching and being an Organic Whole Food Farmer is one if the highest forms of political activity on earth.

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