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How to Be Always Well

Robert G Jackson, M.D.
Print-Craft (Canada)
Edition / Year:
14th. 1927
In the section labelled:

For some reason it has been the pattern for those of the early health food and breakfast cereal companies that are still extant to have been created by the combined vision of a pair of men, one a practical businessman and the other a health food nut: Kellogg's was founded by the brothers William Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg; Ralston Purina was started by William Danforth as Purina Mills and later renamed to capitalise on the success of Webster Edgerly's Ralston Health Club; and William Matthaei, an experienced baker, turned the Roman Meal company originally founded by Dr. Robert G. Jackson into a national success.

A portrait of the author

The rather strange illustration at left shows Dr. Jackson, represented like a statue of an athlete in front of an idealised classical landscape. The text printed beneath it in the book reads as follows:-


The perfection of physique manifested in the above photograph can be attained in and maintained into very advanced life only by living in accordance with nature's living rules plainly written in the wide-open book of nature.

(Whatever Jackson's qualifications as an advocate of healthy living, he was certainly not the world's greatest prose stylist).

Jackson was not a bigoted charlatan like Edgerly nor obsessed with the perils of masturbation like J H Kellogg: he was a trained physician who had cured his own ill health through a tough regime, and who had hence come to believe that everyone else should follow his lead. Born in Edwardsburg, Ontario, Canada in 1865, he was apparently a sickly individual until middle age when he conceived his combination of a diet of “natural foods” coupled with a rigorous program of physical exercise. This approach was so successful that he achieved an undeniably athletic physique and - he claimed - perfect health.

Jackson wrote a number of books in which he set out his philosophy of health, including How to be Always Well. His fundamental idea is that civilization threatens the wellbeing of the human race as unnatural foodstuffs poison the insides, clothing inhibits the proper functioning of the skin and sedentary habits cause the muscles to atrophy. Hence, if you want to be healthy, reject the evils of civilized living and follow Jackson's way to a better life.

Unlike the typical modern diet'n'health guru peddling effortless schemes, Jackson required austerity and commitment from his followers. To illustrate, here is his own daily regimen:

I sleep in an unheated room (unheated at night), year round, windows open top and bottom, bed screened from draft, and wear no night clothes (pyjamas or nightshirt), but always sufficient bed coverings to keep me comfortable. Early morning I throw bed coverings over foot of bed and exercise for a half hour lying on the bed nude, windows still open, as they have been all night, regardless of temperature. Of course, in below zero weather I do not open windows so widely as in more temperate weather, but always they are open top and bottom. After bed exercises I retire to bathroom, open window when it is not frozen too hard to be opened; drink three glasses of water, hot or cold as suits fancy; respond to nature's calls; cleanse teeth; shave, wash, take a second set of exercises standing, designed to exercise fully all the muscles of the body, but especially those about the waist and abdomen; follow with quick, cold bath, taken as follows: Soap parts where odors might be present from accumulations; scrub with well-wrung-out washcloth; wash off soap with sopping washcloth; immerse body quickly for a few seconds, rapidly rotating the body with a side-to-side rocking movement while immersed; stand in tub, wring washcloth and briskly friction the entire body with it, then make it into a tight roll and grasp it firmly with both hands, arms fully extended straight forward from shoulders, hands close together, palms down make very rapid striking movements with both hands, simultaneously moving the whole body by bringing the hip and kneejoints into rhythmic movements with the striking movements of the arms and hands, one hundred times; take four to six deep breaths, exhaling through the compressed lips, and simultaneously raising the arms outward from the sides until they meet overhead during the inhalation, and lowering them during the exhalation; same position, grasping rolled washcloth, arms forward, snap arms sharply to one side, six to ten inches, then as sharply in the opposite direction, oscillating very fast one hundred times; repeat deep breathing.

I then rub my body well with wrung-out washcloth; leave tub and allow body to dry in air or wind through open window while with closed fists I pommel myself from scalp to toes; follow with a quick palm rub over the entire body that can be reached. Regardless of room temperature, I am now glowingly warm and completely thrilled. I dress without underwear, winter or summer, and begin a five-mile walk wearing no underwear, vest, nor overcoat in the coldest weather; in summer as few clothes as the conventions and the law allow. Then I breakfast on fruit and half-and-half or Kofy-Sub (apples, oranges, and grapefruit or the sweet fruits - especially in winter - dates, raisins, figs prunes, or any fruits in season). Lunch is a large bowl of granulated wholemeal porridge (Roman Meal), with milk; or Roman Meal bread with butter, honey (my only sweet with the exception of sweet fruits), and Kofy-Sub to drink; and a large leafy salad with onions, radishes or tomatoes in their season. Dinner is almost always a large salad, as above, with cheese, cottage cheese, baked beans, nuts or nutbutter. Frequently, in winter, I add steamed vegetables, served only with butter and little or no salt. In summer, dinner may be berries and milk only. In winter, if I feel I have over-indulged in food, I may make a dinner of sweet fruits and milk, or nuts and raisins and a cup of Kofy-Sub. I eat no dessert, unless it be a few dates or raisins or the acid fruits.

Occasionally, I live for one or more entire days upon juicy fruits alone, or juicy fruits and half-and-half, to rest and cleanse the digestive tract and the blood, and change the intestinal flora.

“Half-and-half” is half milk and half boiling water; “Roman Meal” and “Kofy-Sub” were both products of Jackson's own company, the former still available, while the latter was a coffee substitute made from roasted wholemeal grains (yum!). This extract is taken from a chapter quaintly entitled My Own Daily “Effort” that means the “Development” of Bodily Perfection.

Jackson suffered from a relatively minor form of crankery in which “what works for me” becomes “the only true way”. Much of his advice, while tending to the extreme, has a kernel of good sense in it, but he could not - or would not - see that most people neither require nor welcome the sort of life he proposed for them. The comforts of civilization, that he termed “sinful”, do not result in most cases in the sort of very poor health that he suffered before he changed his ways. In some ways, he was a very unlucky man, to require the sort of careful regard for his body described above in order to enjoy wellbeing; yet he made sufficient commercial capital out of the foodstuffs he invented to die rich. The mansion he built with his money, “Valley Halla” is now part of Toronto Zoo.


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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 08 Feb 2009 - 03:09 Permalink

I have read this book and it has been very helpful to me. We need more people to think outside the box. Comfort is definitely the downfall of creation.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 - 05:39 Permalink

Forget the photos ! Read the book ! Don't fall for the negative review. I've tried the regime and it works .
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 08 May 2009 - 17:40 Permalink

wonderful book! it is amazing! i surprised this book has been writen early 20th century! he is very visionary.
Submitted by Bent Kjøller (not verified) on 31 Dec 2009 - 10:39 Permalink

yes it is a wonderful book. I read it for about 25 years ago and I can still remember it very well. Is it possible to buy the book still? Does any body now how old he was when he past away. Best regards Bent Kjøller Denmark
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 01 Feb 2010 - 14:51 Permalink

Hi, In the dutch translation, 4th ed. by De Driehoek, Amsterdam, dr. Ralph Bircher is writing in a postscript te following. After reports from Canada Jackson died by an accident during skating. He was helpless and caught a pneumonia, more than 80 years old. I bought the book in 1977 when I was 37 and in bad health. The book convinced and I started with fasting 12 days. I was thin but healthy. The following years I built up a very good condition, realizing only a fraction of Jacksons way of life. I see the book as inspiration. In 1985 I completed the 200 km Elfstedentocht. I fell, but not seriously, and if so I would have been found immediately.
Submitted by Janet E Lawson (not verified) on 24 Jul 2010 - 08:33 Permalink

Hello Mr Kjoller, I happend upon your comment to the book How to Always Be Well by Robert G Jackson, and it so happens that I have this book. It caught my eye because the above illustration is in my book, only Mr Jackson is at that time only 73. He was certainly an insightful and forward thinking individual. Please contact me if you are still looking for this book.I have Seventh Edition copyright 1927 Canada. Thank you very much. J Lawson
Submitted by Fred Kaus (not verified) on 12 Sep 2010 - 19:11 Permalink

To J Lawson I'm very interested in acquiring the book you have by Robert G Jackson. Could you please reply with how I may be able to do so. Best Regards Fred Kaus
Submitted by Clare (not verified) on 19 Sep 2018 - 20:38 Permalink

Dr. Jackson (author of health books) died in 1941 at the age of 76. Apparently he lied about his age when he wrote the book. I downloaded a pdf version of his book "How to Be Well Always" online.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Jan 2010 - 11:46 Permalink

I have read this book too. Writer wrote, he could live 120 years old, he was so healthy in age of 75 years. I would like to know, when he has dead and how? Was it accident or some sickness? Could somebody know that?
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 12 Jan 2010 - 13:37 Permalink

According to Time (,9171,795460,00.html) Jackson died in 1941 at the age of 83. However, if his true birth year was 1867 as he said at one time (, then he might only have been 74 at his death.

In any case, he did not live to anything like 120 years!

Submitted by EMF Guy (not verified) on 13 Jan 2010 - 20:47 Permalink

I'm interested in gathering as much information on Dr. Robert Jackson as possible. Irrespective of whether his age-fudging was commercially motivated, he was a Canadian health champion whose impact was substantial. And there is no denying his health advice must be considered visionary for the time. Any new threads or avenues of investigation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the review.
Submitted by Glenn Darling (not verified) on 21 Jan 2018 - 02:59 Permalink

I see that your post re Dr. Robert G. Jackson M.D is 8 years old. I too am seekinginfo and pix and would appreciate it if you might point me in the right direction. Do you happen to know the names of the 9 books he wrote. I understand one of them was often called The Orange Book. Many thanks. Glenn skype: prayervoice1844

Submitted by Michael Pill (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 - 09:23 Permalink

When I was a child, my mother told me: The most important food is fruits and vegetables - especially raw. With 17 years old, I became a vegetarian. With 25, I lived mainly on raw fruits and vegetables. When I was 44, someone said to me: How can you be so crazy and live on such a CRAZY diet?! I thought about that and went back to my old wide-variety diet. With 45, I started have ongoing problems with constipation. With 46, I had a surgery with my large intestines. With 48, I had my teeth extracted and replaced with dentures. With 53 I had a memory-loss due to a medication I have received for three years. I did research on the Internet and switched back to raw food. After afew months I started to recover. Suddenly I remembered the book-title: "How To Be Always Well", so I must have seen the book in a library about 6 years ago. But I couldn't remember what the book was about. So I went back to the library again AND THEY STILL HAD THE BOOK!! I read the book again and my memory started to come back. Words came into my mind: Nature, natural foods, raw foods, God created nature and natural life, men created processed and junk-food with all sorts of artificial and chemical ingredients, ... THIS DOES NOT GO FOR EVERYONE. BUT IN MANY CASES THIS CAN BE A WAY BACK TO PART OR FULL HEALTH AGAIN! I have been in physically good shape: with long walks and hikes - especially in nature and parks. And lifting heavy items, like helping families moving by carrying furniture and heavy items into the U-Haul truck and then back into the new home with some other volunteers. IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS I WAS LOST AND DIDN'T KNOW IN WHICH DIRECTION TO GO IN MY LIFE ANYMORE. IN THE PAST YEARS I WAS GOING CLOSER TO HELL SEVERAL TIMES. BUT NOW I HAVE READ THIS BOOK AGAIN, AND IT HELPED ME TO WAKE UP AND FIND MY WAY BACK TO LIVING LIFE WITH NATURE AND GOOD FRIENDS AGAIN. NOW I'M GOING IN THE DIRECTION OF HEAVEN FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE - AND I WILL NEVER TURN BACK INTO A HELL LIFE ANYMORE - THANKS TO THE BOOK AND MOTHER NATURE!
Submitted by Michael (not verified) on 28 Oct 2010 - 03:25 Permalink

I read Dr. Jackson's 'How to be always well' when I was fifteen and have spent the last fifty years living by it. I now discover that I've misplaced my copy and would like to acquire, or at least photocopy/digitize, one if a reader has one available. Please let me know.
Submitted by michael (not verified) on 18 Feb 2014 - 22:51 Permalink

I came across this book in oct 1983 and read it twice. I was 28 at the time and extremely fit so nothing worked on me, because you can only be so fit cant you. Anyway 30 years have past and it is time to try his regime. Time has eroded my health enough to get cracking and see if it works.

Submitted by Georgia Sandnes (not verified) on 24 Apr 2014 - 18:25 Permalink

I live in Norway, and own a translated copy of How To Always Be Well (1952). The man who gave it to me said it was the strangest book his father had ever red. Over the years I have found this book to be EXTREMELY helpful in keeping a thin body that is also healthy. Every spring I have many reasons to bless the day I red this little book. And I have fully discovered myself the words of the author himself: " true health is ALWAYS visible in your face"

Submitted by svranizan (not verified) on 19 Apr 2015 - 18:02 Permalink

In health writer Lelord Kordel's 1946 work "Health the Easy Way," he references Dr. Jackson's regimen and his premature death in a car accident just before this book's publication. He attributed his death to his post-accident medical care (performed against the patient's will!).

Submitted by svranizan (not verified) on 19 Apr 2015 - 20:50 Permalink

Forgot to mention that Kordel was himself 42 when he published his well-known book and expressed confidence in one's ability to live to be 100 with a healthy life-style. He lived until 2001 after he'd reach 97 years.

Submitted by Shlomo King (not verified) on 30 Sep 2015 - 22:15 Permalink

Hi Everybody
I live in Israel
here is my eMail:
my neighbor Shmulik Leshed turned 104 years
he claims at age 55 he was dead sick including cancer
after reading Dr Robert Jackson book
his life changed
look You Tube. search for his Videos:
Shmulik Leshed 101 Geburtstag feier !!!
and many others
I am also looking for a photocopied book of Dr Jackson
you can download the german book from the internet
but it is pre war german language
even a modern german native speaker can hardly understand it.
I make my own research about his health
There are hundreds of little secrets how to cross 100
what exactly to eat
and what not to eat
Shmulik has a special one organ gymnastic
he never wear shoes but only sandals
he says
drink Coca Cola or eat chicken and you will never get to be 100+
you must harden your body with winter open sea swim
never dry yourself with a towel
sleep; naked with an open window
I will trade Shmulik extensive secrets and Hippocrates unknown health secrets
for a photocopied book of Dr.Jackson
again my Email

Submitted by Eli Harlev (not verified) on 27 Sep 2016 - 14:24 Permalink

I find Dr. Jackson's book a revelation and eye opening. Western Civilization is degrading andfacing doom due to departing from Nature.

Submitted by Leszek Pyra (not verified) on 19 Oct 2016 - 18:21 Permalink

I would like to purchase the book in English. Could somebody help me, or send to me the text via Internet. Leszek

Submitted by Leszek Pyra (not verified) on 19 Oct 2016 - 18:22 Permalink

I would like to purchase the book in English. Could somebody help me, or send to me the text via Internet. Leszek

Submitted by Mary Goode (not verified) on 08 Jun 2018 - 21:13 Permalink

I have read his book, by gross curiosity more than admiration. While some nutritional facts are correct, and I read on in search of more, his writings are laced with old man, chauvinist, god fearing, racist and arrogant opinions. It's comical to see his personality come through more than his words. What an 'interesting' person he must have been for the people of his time to have to deal with. Good fire kindling.

Submitted by Mary Goode (not verified) on 08 Jun 2018 - 21:13 Permalink

I have read his book, by gross curiosity more than admiration. While some nutritional facts are correct, and I read on in search of more, his writings are laced with old man, chauvinist, god fearing, racist and arrogant opinions. It's comical to see his personality come through more than his words. What an 'interesting' person he must have been for the people of his time to have to deal with. Good fire kindling.

Submitted by Rolf (not verified) on 07 Aug 2018 - 08:25 Permalink

I bought his book in Germany 50 years ago in the German language and helped me recover from inflammations and gout.