Veg News Mag Features Patricia Bragg Interview: Colleen Holland Explores 100 Years of Bragg History Providing Health Products
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Veg News Published a Colleen Holland Article-Interview of Patricia Bragg on May 23
While at the Natural Products Expo West Convention in Anaheim, in mid-March, Colleen Hollland, Associate Publisher for Veg News, met Patricia Bragg and later interviewed her over the phone for an article. During that weekend Bragg Live Foods held a 100th Anniversary bash at the Marriott Hotel that celebrated a truly American success story.
Slated to attend the Book Expo America in New York City on June 5-6-7 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, Patricia Bragg welcomes everyone to come visit her at Booth 4100. June 7 is day when the public will be allowed in to the Book Expo American for free, so come by meet Patricia and pick up some FREE product samples and FREE Bragg books.
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Pioneer. Health-food crusader. CEO of one of the foremost natural food companies in the world. Patricia Bragg takes VegNews' Colleen Holland on a historical journey over the past 100 years.
I first met Patricia Bragg years ago at Natural Products Expo West, the annual Southern California trade show that attracts nearly 60,000 people each March. Dressed in head-to-toe pink and donning her signature straw hat adorned with faux flowers, the 4-foot-10 powerhouse had dozens of people waiting in line to meet her.
Her father, Paul C. Bragg, founder of Bragg Live Foods, opened the country's first health food store in 1912 and is credited with starting the natural food movement in America. Patricia, who worked alongside her father until he passed away 36 years ago, now heads up the company, is a best-selling author (9 million copies of Apple Cider Vinegar—Miracle Health System have sold worldwide), and runs a 120-acre organic farm (which also doubles as the Bragg headquarters) just outside of Santa Barbara, CA. A lifelong vegetarian, the influence of Patricia and her family—on everyone from Cloris Leachman, Dick Gregory, and the Beach Boys to Katy Perry, George Clooney, and Donald Trump—continues to reach nearly every corner of the world.
VegNews: Congratulations on the 100-year anniversary of Bragg Foods. What an amazing accomplishment. How has the business lasted 100 years?
Patricia Bragg: What motivates us most is changing people's lives. We're thrilled when people go from sickness to healthy living after learning about the power of fresh food. Our goal has always been to be health crusaders, which is something my father said from the very beginning.
VN: What was your household like growing up?
PB: People knew he was the boss, of the business and the family. We had our principles we lived by: There was no smoking, no swearing, no bad words, no white sugar, no white bread. Only healthy food, and we grew everything we possibly could ourselves on our little farm in Walnut Creek, CA. We lived in peace and never locked our house.
VN: Were you raised vegetarian?
PB: Yes, since birth. The thought of eating dead flesh—what a terrible thought.
VN: How did your father start on his health food crusade?
PB: They say necessity is the mother of invention. When my father was in boarding school, he received a scholarship to a very expensive military school after saving a wealthy man from drowning in the ocean. He probably wasn't thrilled about the military part, but he thought it was a great honor. Well, many boys at the school got tuberculosis, including my dad. After being moved to a third sanatorium, where he was getting sicker and sicker, he met a Swiss exchange nurse who saved his life and taught him how to get healthy. You see, in the old days, they forced bed rest on you, closed the windows, and your body would just shrivel up. You didn't get proper food. And they wondered why so many people were dying of TB. So this Swiss nurse told him that in Switzerland, people were being cured from tuberculosis with sunshine, fresh food, massage, and water therapy. After getting better, my father made a pact that he'd spend the rest of his life being a health crusader.
VN: These principles make so much sense, but why are we still having such a hard time convincing America of what it takes to be healthy?
PB: Unfortunately, there's a lot of commercial things that bring people down. The drug industry, the commercial food industry, the sugar industry, the flour industry—they've all gotten a stranglehold on America's food habits. I think they make things so complicated that it confuses people. Keep your life simple, and remember you are what you eat. It's as simple as that. What you're eating and drinking can bring you health or sickness.
VN: Your dad opened the first health food store in Los Angeles in 1912 and later traveled for eight to 10 months per year promoting the benefits of juicing, fasting, and healthy food. What was it like to travel around the country with your family?
PB: We went all over America. We scheduled free lectures and then ask people, "Who wants to open the first health food store?" We would supply them with Bragg health foods (herbal teas, seven grain cereals, etc.) on consignment. And we would never ask for a dime until everything was sold. I remember that people were so loving and kind, and I loved it.
VN: Your father was also quite the media mogul, as he hosted popular programs on TV and the radio. Tell us about those.
PB: Dad pioneered radio (in the 1920s, he was on three times a day). He pioneered television with a program called Health and Happiness, where we had celebrities on, five days a week, half hour each. We would feature an exercise, a recipe, and a different guest each day. One day, we heard from the president of the American Medical Association because he wanted to be on the show. Our producer didn't want him, but my dad said, "no problem" So he came on and said, "Thank you for promoting health in America!"
VN: When did you get involved with the family business?
PB: I was ready to go off to Africa to be a missionary and was washing the dishes one night at home in Burbank. We lived right near Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Warner Brothers. Dad was sitting at the kitchen table. He said, "Patricia, would you mind giving me one year at Bragg Health Crusader? Just one year, and then go to Africa?" I said, "Just one year?" I went over to him and gave him a big hug and said, "Of course I will" One year became a lifetime, and I've loved every minute of it.
VN: What is some of the best advice your father gave you?
PB: "Think, plot, follow-through" He applied this to business, his personal life, and his financial life.
VN: In recent years, natural food stores have become flooded with packaged foods. How do feel about that?
PB: It's very confusing. I'd like people to try to grow everything they can themselves. My father used to call them "victory gardens," now I call them survival or health gardens. Take half your lawn and put in a garden. Take all your fences and walls of your home and have climbing squash, sugar peas, cherry tomatoes, and green beans, as they can all go up vines. During the Depression, families that did the best grew their own food. Now, we've gotten lazy.
VN: What are the worst offenders of the Standard American Diet?
PB: People are killing themselves with their knives and forks. If you're going to eat dead, chemicalized, pesticized foods, I'm sorry, you're going to get sick. My top offenders: dairy, coffee, sugar, refined foods, fat, fast foods, processed foods, and sugary drinks.
VN: Why do you think fasting is essential to good health?
PB: It cleanses and detoxes. It's the miracle doctor within your body. All of a sudden, your body is not digesting, eliminating, and assimilating food. And the body workers can get in and clean house. That's why it's so vitally important that you learn to fast. Every religion has a period of fasting, and it's been used for centuries to heal the sick. When you use it correctly, fasting can help reverse the aging process. I fast every Monday and the first three days of every month. My weight has never gone over 105 pounds, my cholesterol level is normal, and I've never had high blood pressure.
VN: I've heard about the virtues of apple cider vinegar for years and know it's your top-selling product. What is so great about it?
PB: In 400 BC, Hippocrates treated his patients with apple cider vinegar because it was a powerful cleanser that heals. It's a naturally occurring antibiotic and anticeptic, and it fights germs and bacteria in your body. It also lowers the glycemic index of a meal when taken with the meal or before it, so it's very beneficial for diabetics.
VN: What are some of your own health secrets?
PB: I brush my body every day, fast every week, drink eight glasses of water a day, three with apple cider vinegar. After showering, I pour some diluted vinegar all over my body and dry myself with a Turkish towel. I then put a little organic olive oil on my face and gently rub it in. Three times a week, I give myself an olive oil massage.
VN: With your wealth of knowledge of maintaing good health, what do you eat on a typical day?
PB: Every morning, I drink a fruit smoothie. My father started smoothies, so I'm big on that. It's filled with fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, spirulina powder, dates, almond butter, bananas, and purified water. For lunch, I'll have a beautiful garden salad with raw beets, raw turnips, one or two radishes, two celery stalks, sugar snap peas, tender string beans, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I'll have this with a little Bragg dressing. I used to make my own, but now this is so much more convenient. For dinner, I'll have a fresh artichoke that I cut myself and steam in a steamer basket. I open the little leaves and stuff fresh garlic in there and a pinch of Bragg sprinkles. I'll also have a baked yam with a little lecithin granules, which I use like butter. I don't eat late at night and try to have dinner by 5:30pm.
VN: I've read for years your philosophy on age. Can you share it with our readers?
PB: I don't believe in age. I feel ageless and believe in eternity. In my heart, I feel 18, so why should I give you an age? If I said "18," you would think that was ridiculous. I don't have an ache or pain, and I have no stiffness. Age is just in our head.
VN: I don't know a single vegetarian who doesn't have a bottle of Bragg Liquid Aminos in their pantry. Why is it unique?
PB: It's a much healthier version of soy sauce. A lot of the ones on the market use preservatives, artificial color, caramel color, alcohol, and added salt. Bragg Liquid Aminos is non-fermented and lower in sodium than many brands. And we're the only company using non-GMO soy beans. Even the Dalai Lama travels with a bottle everywhere he goes!
VN: How involved are you today with the day-to-day business?
PB: I live it, love it, and sleep it. I love my outreach and am very involved. I've been in the business for more than 55 years and am now president and CEO. And dad is with me on every decision.
Food for Thought from Patricia Bragg:
1. "Live food makes live people"
2. "Fast regularly and help the body heal itself and stay well"
3. "When you're down, you have to get up and move on"
4. "Your body carries you throughout life, so take care of it"
5. "If you're going to eat dead, chemicalized, pesticized foods, you're going to get sick"
For media interview with Patricia Bragg contect Barbara Gaughen (GONE) at
Patricia Bragg with her friend Jack LaLanne talking about health and fitness.
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About Bragg Live Foods:
In 1912 Paul Bragg opened a small health store in Los Angeles, and from that small beginning an international health products company which as produced more than 365 products came into being. Bragg Live Foods, now run by Paul's daughter, Patricia, Bragg, called the First Lady of Natural Living, is launching a number of 100th Anniversary special events for 2012.
The Bragg Vision for the future is exciting! Continuing on the Bragg Legacy and Crusade, Bragg Live Food Products is developing a one hundred twenty acre organic farm on the outskirts of Santa Barbara, California. The property is in the process of being modeled into an incredible Organic Teaching Farm & Center with facilities to both educate and instruct in the values of growing and eating organics, called the Bragg Health Institute. The Bragg Health Institute was inspired in part by an educational program called "Bring a Farmer to School", in which Dr. Patricia Bragg, the Director of Health Science: Dr. John Westerdahl and Bragg's Organic
Farmers were invited to speak to children at the local elementary schools. The focus of the education outreach is to teach children about the importance of eating more organic fruits & vegetables and how organic farming plays an important role in environmentally - friendly, health plant foods. Last year the Bragg Health Institute donated thousands of
organic apples to the local school districts which were grown on the Bragg Organic Farm.
2012 marks 100 years of since her father, Paul Bragg, set about launching a health revolution that has resulted in whole industries dedicated to creating healthy food products. His amazing legacy, detailed below, began when he was stricken with tuberculosis and found a cure at Swiss clinic. He retuned and founded America's first Health Food Store in 1912 and is known as the Father of America's Health Movement by introducing the benefits of purified water, juices, herbal teas and organic foods to the U.S. market.
Patricia Bragg ND, PhD, is a dynamic speaker and a living, energetic symbol of the healthy lifestyle she teaches. Her father, Paul C. Bragg opened America's first Health Food Store in 1912 and is known as the Father of America's Health Movement by introducing the benefits of purified water, juices, herbal teas and organic foods to the U.S. market. Dr. Paul C Bragg was a pioneer in the health movement in America:
• He started the first modern Health Food Store in America, and originated the name. Now they are popular around the world.
• He was the first person to introduce to the Pineapple Juice, then later Tomato Juice, to the American public. Before this, people thought these juices would be too acidic, but soon these juices became some of America's favorite beverages.
• He was the first person to introduce Honey nationwide by making it available to the general public, before it was available only at roadside stands by the farmer.
• He introduced Juice Therapy in America by bringing the first hand vegetable and fruit juicer from Germany. Now juices are accepted around the world as the ideal health beverage.
• He pioneered Health Radio in Hollywood years ago with his 3 times daily Program of Health.
• He pioneered a Health TV Show – which helped to spread what the name of the show was called – "Health and Happiness" It was a five-day a week, half-hour show comprised of exercise time, health recipes and visual demonstrations and guest time, where famous people shared their health and happiness secrets with the viewers.
Patricia is 100% dedicated to continue the Health Crusade that her father started 100 years ago. She has won international acclaim for her teachings in the health field and has toured the world 13 times spreading physical and spiritual health through lectures and thousands of radio, television, and print interviews. Her Healthy Lifestyle teachings are of worldwide appeal and easily incorporated by people of all ages, nationalities and walks of life. Patricia Bragg has been the health consultant to some of Hollywood's biggest stars including; Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Steve Jobs, Katy Perry and Jack LaLanne, to name a few, and has a monthly health column in The Hollywood Times.
Patricia's library of inspiring self-health books have renewed, rejuvenated, and revitalized the lives of millions worldwide by supporting a change with self-improvement. Her best-selling book Apple Cider Vinegar-Miracle Health System has sold in excess of 9 million copies to date. Patricia's signature products include Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar & All- Natural Drinks, Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bragg Liquid Aminos, 3 different Bragg Organic Seasonings, and 4 different Salad Dressings & Marinades; all of which provide many internal and external health benefits, and have been recognized as the Best in the industry.