Gil Jacobs turns 60 this year, but looks about 20 years younger. The reason for his unnaturally youthful looks? Not Botox or face lifts—he credits his ageless appearance to the raw food diet and detox regimen he developed to self-heal after a health scare in his 20s. "I'd be dead if it weren't for decades of colonics, juicing, and sauna," he says.
His personal results have given way to some pretty radical wellness philosophies—which he passes on to clients who fondly refer to him as the godfather of colonics. It's a nickname that's, er, stuck since Jacobs started his private colonic therapy practice nearly 30 years ago (he's currently based out of the East Village in New York City).
"I only did my first treatment after I'd given over a thousand to myself."
"I've been doing colonics since the early '80s for my own healing—I've studied this so deeply, and it's been my own process of pulling myself out of the grave," he explains. "I only did my first treatment after I'd done over a thousand to myself." (Yes—you read that correctly.)
Jacobs is the first to admit his oftentimes extreme wellness views aren't based on scientific facts, but rather his own gut instincts—which is why you won't find studies supporting the majority of his claims. You will, however, find plenty of people willing to listen to his philosophies on water flushing, raw food diets, and detoxing. (Myself included.)
Curious to dig deeper into Jacobs' more outré ideas? Here, the colonics guru opens up about living like a baby, staying away from bread and bad energy, and fasting until 4 p.m.
Why do you believe that cleansing is so essential to one's health?
Cleansing is all about bringing your cells back to their pure state—like they are at birth. Why? Because babies eat, poop, and sleep—and that's about it. They're fabulous. When people lose their optimal functioning as they age, it's because they're not as emotionally light-spirited, trusting, and loving as an infant.
The same process that messes up the spirit messes up the body. Just as emotional traumas can build up and paralyze someone's ability to be whole, so too does the accumulation of matter—AKA food not meant for humans to eat—build up in the cells over time, [making] us broken down, diseased, and depressed. That's why people whose bodies aren't bogged down by residual food waste tend to be happier. I like to say [someone] can give you the finger and you just pat them on the back and say, "Thank you."
So which foods are you cool with?
The body has a negative ionic charge—it thrives on negative ionic intake. That comes from fresh air, the beach, vegetable juice, water, fruit. They enter, they give stuff, they leave because the charge is the same, like with magnets. Likes repel. Fruits and vegetables are basically the only negative ionic food.
Meat, bread, milk, chicken, fish, alcohol, drugs, sadness, anger, bad energy from too many computers and cell phones and fluorescent lights, pollution—that's all positive ionic.
"As we collect over time, our effectiveness, our fabulousness, our looks, and our niceness all get detracted by the retention of all this matter. And that's why we cleanse."
What, exactly, happens when you take in a positive ionic charge?
What happens when a beautiful, baby-like body takes in positive ionic food and experiences emotional trauma? It goes into the body and opposites attract—it sticks like glue on you. So through your life, as you accumulate the residue of traumas, it sticks in the heart chakra. Bad food sticks in the body. Pollution and drugs stick in your liver. As we collect over time, our effectiveness, our fabulousness, our looks, and our niceness all get detracted by the retention of all this matter. And that's why we cleanse—we strive to be more like children.
What does an average day of eating then look like for you?
Every day I wake up and [just] breathe until 4 or 5 p.m.—no water, no food, no nothing.
Why take that approach?
Because I don't have that much residue of poison locked in my cells. The paradigm is the same: When you aren't holding toxicity, you don't need toxicity. Studies on longevity show that people who live very long [lives] are lean and under-eaters.
If you think Jacobs' wellness philosophies are wild, this is what it's like inside one of the most extreme cleanses on earth. Or explore a different take on his "just breathe" practice—here's what happened when this editor tried breathwork.
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