I absolutely love alternative medicine. I have always been drawn to the alternatives in life; choosing the road less traveled and doing my best to utilize more natural methods before turning to harsher, more medicalized methods of treatment. I absolutely adored gripe water for my gassy children as infants. I use herbals on nearly a daily basis. I am a huge cloth diapering advocate. I have been heavily involved in direct peer-to-peer breast milk donation. I even had an unassisted homebirth after two prior cesareans. The word “alternative” is a frequent theme in my life.
While I adore alternative medicine, modern medicine (and heaven forbid, science and biology) have their place. If I have the sniffles, sure, I’m going to try some licorice root chews and some vitamin C to help curb it. If those sniffles turn into thick green snot, a headache and fever, then it might be time for an antibiotic before this sinus infection gets dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with trying natural methods first, but our society hasn’t advanced as far as it has when it comes to medical care for no reason.
But is there a point where alternative medicine goes too far?
Take a look at your Facebook feed right now and I bet that within a few minutes of scrolling, you’ll find someone selling a magical cure-all; be it an essential oil, a wrap, a pink drink, a weight loss patch, a supplement, or even a magical unicorn to keep in your backyard. The majority of these cure-alls are peddled by multi-level-marketing distributors, while some are self-promoted individuals unaffiliated with any other company or service. While many of these products/services do have legitimate benefits and perks to their use (especially the unicorn), results are often greatly exaggerated by distributors and self-promoters (no, I don’t believe chromium is going to cure grandpa’s lung cancer), thus giving these companies/individuals a pretty bad rap. Regardless of any legitimate benefits, these independent distributors and self-promoters are revered as nothing more than modern day snake oil salesman, even more so with the almost cult-like following these companies and individual somehow manage to gain. While most of these products being peddled aren’t blatantly harmful or deceptive, there are some that are.
Jillian Mai Thi Protocol
I stumbled across a post about the Jillian Mai Thi protocol while lounging in my hotel room on vacation. She is an individual, unaffiliated with any parent company, working on a book about her cure-all juice that fans have nicknamed JJ (or “Jillian Juice”).
I will admit, I was curious. I am always down for learning new tips and tricks to keep myself and my family healthy and happy, however, it only took a few minutes to realize exactly how dangerous what this woman was promoting was. This wasn’t a simple antioxidant drink, or vitamin supplement, this was a recipe for disaster. Jillian’s “juice” is an extremely dangerous fad that could have permanent and even lethal consequences, advertised as a cure-all.
Wait… Did you catch any of that? I’m not sure I did either. We’re curing the… alphabet???
What’s in it?
For the sake of keeping it simple, Jillian’s juice contains cabbage, kale, distilled water and an obscene amount of salt. It is supposedly a fermented drink, however, this isn’t true. Fermentation is a biological process characterized by the chemical breakdown of yeast, sugar, bacteria and other substances. A ferment cannot be achieved in just three days. It simply isn’t possible. Participants are drinking up to a gallon of this concoction alongside a “diet” Jillian recommends (with no actual scientific reasoning behind it).
I know what you’re thinking; surely cabbage and kale can’t be all that bad for you. Really, they aren’t on their own! I would definitely suggest incorporating them into your diet as often as you can! However, the danger in Jillian’s magical juice is the salt content. I have been told the original recipe required 1 tablespoon of salt per cup, while the current recipe states 1 tablespoon of salt per two cups. The salt content is where we run into trouble. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily value of no more than 2,400mg of sodium per day for adults and children over 4 years of age. The American Heart Association recommends and even more conservative 1,500mg of sodium per day.
Now here’s the kicker… A single teaspoon of salt contains 2,300mg of sodium. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon. A gallon contains 16 cups, which means the old recipe had 16 tablespoons and 110,400mg of sodium per gallon, while the new recipe contains 8 tablespoons of salt and 55,200mg of sodium. Considering the damaging effect sodium has on the heart, kidneys, liver and other organs, excess sodium consumption can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, headaches, puffiness, bloating, enlarged heart tissue, stroke, and other medical conditions.
The amount of sodium in a half-cup of the new recipe is more than the total recommended daily value of sodium. Jillian is recommending up to a gallon a day, despite the fact that 1 half cup of the concoction is more than the American Heart Association recommended daily sodium intake.
As someone actively involved with pregnant and breastfeeding women in my community, I have developed a passion for helping women with their babies. Sometimes these moms come to me because they need breastfeeding help, supplementation help, or their baby appears to be colicky. If there’s one thing I have learned, its that parents with a high needs baby are often sleep deprived, exhausted and desperate. I have met exasperated parents who were to the point that if I had told them wearing a chicken suit and crowing at the full moon standing in a bucket of Jell-o would cure their child’s colic, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have tried it. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a high needs infant… It’s a test of endurance and often leaves parents desperate for a solution; they’ll try anything. If you throw in a baby with medical issues on top of that, and the desperation increases exponentially. This is where Jillian is giving even more lethal advice;
This is where it gets even more alarming. Jillian actually believes that breast milk is a danger due to the parasites, bacteria and contaminants that can be found in breast milk and that her protocol is superior. Take a listen to this video where she claims if a man had a baby, in the middle of nowhere, she would not want him to use another woman’s breast milk; he should use the juice.
Breastfeeding mothers are told their bodies and their milk are toxic and are poisoning their babies. Jillian even posted a link to an article talking about the transmission of pathogens to support her claim that breast milk is dangerous and toxic to a baby.
When a commenter mentioned that he had heard breast milk actually helps to cure cancer, Jillian quickly shut it down, arguing that if that were true there would be no cancer in those populations.
Formula is no exception to her philosophy. When members of her community expressed concerns about fat content, since both breast milk and formula contain significant amounts of fat, Jillian suggested rubbing olive oil or coconut oil into the baby’s skin to all them to “absorb” the fat.
You did not misread. Jillian truly believes that babies can be sustained on nothing but cabbage, kale, water and a lethal amount of salt. The amount of salt in Jillian’s concoction is too much for even a full-grown man, let alone a developing infant who desperately needs the sugars, carbohydrates and fats that breast milk and formula provide. Let us not forget the case of a 17-month-old infant who died last year after being fed a single teaspoon of salt in South Carolina. Please keep in mind that the NHS recommends less than 0.4mg of sodium per day in infants 12 months of age and younger, and less than 0.8mg per day in children 1 to 4 years of age. Remember the calculations we did earlier? A single ounce of Jillian’s concoction contains 431mg of sodium, far exceeding the recommendations for infants and toddlers.
But guys! Jillian says this is perfectly safe for our babies.
Jillian does acknowledge there is risk when using her concoction on infants and children; legal risk. She has a file detailing exactly what to do if you run into problems with Children’s Protective services over the use of this juice on a minor.
Take a minute and really read what she wrote. This is the woman people are taking advice from. Dangerous and potentially lethal advice. Carnal knowledge (sex) and Kosher law (Jewish dietary practices) have absolutely nothing to do with children’s services, nor will they save you if they become involved. Parents have been investigated from the reports of strangers online (anyone remember the Australian mother who tried to sell her kids on eBay?) Lastly, while this drink may be considered Kosher, it is scientifically evident that it is dangerous (even more so in children) and lacking in nutrients, thus, nutritional neglect. Children’s services is not going to give a flying you-know-what that this drink is considered Kosher.
I don’t know about you, but if your favorite new diet trend/fad has a warning on how to deal with Children’s Services…. I’m willing to bet it’s a bad idea.
Let’s regrow body parts and erase an extra chromosome, shall we?
If you weren’t sold on Jillian’s magical salty juice concoction, wait until you hear this! Jillian claims her juice has helped a circumcised man regrow his foreskin (which, presumably, his parents made the decision to wrongfully take from him).
Jillian also claims that her drink will correct down syndrome. I don’t know about you, but being able to completely delete a third chromosome from a person’s body is pretty wild. I mean, I can barely delete my emails and Jillian’s magical potion can delete excess chromosomes?
As if this wasn’t enough, many people are using Jillian’s concoction on their pets, to which Jillian has warned her community, that if the animals have been spayed or neutered, it will reverse the procedure. For those who are unfamiliar, when a female dog or cat is spayed, the entire uterus is removed. When a male is neutered, the testicles are completely removed. Jillian believes that her juice can regrow non-regenerative organs that have been surgically removed.
Now I’m wondering if my appendix will regrow…
Don’t go chasing waterfalls…
Let’s talk about what Jillian calls “waterfalls,” AKA explosive diarrhea. Jillian claims this intense diarrhea is “healing” in nature and non-dehydrating. Obviously when drinking this concoction, your body is under a great deal of stress. The excessive sodium will dehydrate you and contribute to diarrhea. I pride myself on being a good writer, but I’m not even sure I can handle this one, so I will let the screenshots speak for themselves.
Wait, what?! And this is celebrated and encouraged? Where’s the puke emoji when you need it?
Jillian’s “Protocol” is dangerous and potentially lethal…
Many people have reported experiencing illness or sickness while attempting Jillian’s protocol. Some have even ended up in the hospital. There has been at least one death that the public is aware of and numerous adverse side effects reported.These complaints and concerns are quickly dismissed as being “signs of healing.” This protocol is dangerous and is being applied not only orally, but used topically, in the eyes and ears, and even in a nebulizer (which believe it or not, is frequently discussed and encouraged in this group). One woman even ended up in the hospital following this recommendation.
I have no words for this. Here we have a woman who works in the medical field, who has been persuaded into doing something as crazy as nebulizing this salty cabbage concoction. And this wasn’t just an off the wall idea; this is a COMMON thing and is talked about in Jillian’s “files” as a way to reap more benefit from the juice.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, mold is also a common concern, to which Jillian recommends just removing the layer of mold and stirring it. Again, where is that puke emoji when I need it?
I brew kombucha semi-often and if there’s one thing I learned from that, it’s that mold ruins everything. If your brew grows mold, you throw it out. It’s too dangerous to risk consuming. And I have had it happen to my poor kombucha brew before… But again, if it molds, it’s not safe. I’m pretty sure the same goes for this (even though this “ferment” likely has zilch for active cultures, despite what Jillian claims).
How you can help…
I could go on about all of the horrifying things Jillian preaches all day, but this is all the time we have for today (stay tuned for part 2). People are dying from this “protocol.” People are hurting themselves and hurting their families by blindly trusting this health cult leader. People are seriously compromising their health by trying this “great new way of healing.”
Do your research. Talk to your doctor (I guarantee you, not even the quackiest of doctors will recommend this).
What’s even more shocking is how far Jillian’s reach has spread. Her group contains over 30,000 members and is growing by the day. Every day, new members post pictures of themselves making their drinks and talking about how excited they are to try to protocol. This is dangerous and terrifying. There are a few ways you can help;
- Do your own research so you understand exactly why this drink is so dangerous. I may suggest these as starting points, but again, do your own research and dig deeper.
The Toxicity of Salt
Lactic Acid Fermentation, The Process of Culturing Foods & Drinks
How Much Salt Do Babies & Children Need?
Health Risks & Disease Related to Salt & Sodium
Infant Food & Feeding
These are just a few good places to start. Dig deeper!
- Sign the petition: Jillian relies heavily on Facebook to promote her methods. She has no website and her book publishing fell through. Without her Facebook page and group, she loses the bulk majority of her market of victims. SIGN THE PETITION HERE
- Report her page and her group to Facebook for review.
- Join the Facebook group Mai Thi Protocol Lies – Exposing Jillian
- Share this post with your friends and family; make sure they are aware of the dangers of this protocol. I was shocked when I realized how many of my friends were members of Jillian’s group.
- Contact the FDA HERE. Jillian is dispensing medical advice and blatantly advertising advertising cures that have not been scientifically backed. She is also accepting money for these services, both of which are against FDA guidelines.
Have you heard of the Mai Thi Protocol? Did you try it? What are your thoughts?