Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

From: Jeff (
Subject:         Doug Graham, VegSource, Threats of Lawsuits
Date: August 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm PST

I'm Jeff Nelson, and along with my wife I'm the founder and owner of

I wanted to add some context to the recent changes on this board.

But first, I received an email yesterday from someone who regularly posts on
this board. This individual stated she was working to file a lawsuit for Doug
Graham against me and others, if I didn't shut down this board.

Let me be clear. I have received no threats and had no negative communication
from Doug personally. His last message to me was cordial and friendly, and I
have no information leading me to believe that Doug is trying to find reason to
sue me or anyone else.

To the person who threatened ligitation, let me save some work: the federal
Communications Decency Act grants ISPs, websites, and blog owners blanket
immunity from liability for defamation and invasion of privacy arising from
comments made by other people. (47 U.S.C. § 230.) If someone makes a
slanderous comment at the bottom of a CNN article, CNN has no legal liability for
that comment. In the same way, VegSource has no liability for whatever people
may be saying on our boards, nor do we have any obligation to read comments
and try to determine whether or not a comment is accurate, or whether, if it were
false, it was expressed with actual malice (a requirement to prove defamation of
a public figure like Doug), and so on.

In other words, please don't bother threatening me.

How the change in this board came about: Earlier this week, I was contacted by a
few friends who sent me links to a video of a woman named Leah describing her
experiences at Doug Graham's fasting retreat in Costa Rica:

And I was sent a video of Leah's mother describing what happened when she
arrived there and then took her daughter to the hospital:

For the record, I was not sent these by Harley or Freelee, but by other people
who are raw or who follow this stuff.

My friends asked me why VegSource was helping Doug sweep this kind of thing
under the rug, and why we were blocking legitimate questions or any discussion
about matters relating to something potentially dangerous. I asked how we were
blocking such questions, and was told Doug had posted publicly that Vegsource
admins were "upset" by posts on this subject and were "cleaning" the board and
removing posts about it.

I then went and found a post from Doug where he attributed the moderating of
the board to vegsource, and said we were removing whatever these recent
strings were. In fact, as people know now, Doug has been the sole person
moderating this board.

One friend said that if vegsource were preventing discussion of negative
revelations about Doug's fasting business, we were in essence enabling Doug to
find new customers through our website while knowing those people were being
prevented from learning about potentially serious safety questions they had a
right to know about.

I was also sent a link to the Florida Department of Health website showing court
documents involving Doug:

(If you click on the Case #, it launches a long series of legal documents detailing
proceedings and judgements against Doug.)

It is clear from the documents that the Florida Board of Chiropractic determined
Doug had made serious errors, failed to properly screen or examine people to
determine whether fasting was safe or appropriate for them, failed to keep
legally-required records and didn't meet the standard of care required under law.
There were two cases detailed in the documents, and I found them troubling.

Let me say that I think water-only fasting can be very beneficial in some
circumstances. Dr. McDougall sends patients occasionally for fasting with Alan
Goldhamer DC, who runs the True North Health clinic. Here is a video with Dr.
McDougall and Dr. Goldhamer discussing the subject:

I have been to True North and know that there you get the highest medical care,
including supervision from veg icon Michael Klaper MD. At True North you
receive regular blood testing as well as any other necessary medical testing -- I
saw Dr. Klaper giving someone an EKG once. True North is also very very
reasonably priced, with a daily rate of only $139. True North is a place I would
absolutely entrust my loved ones to, and would recommend it and have
recommended it to people with serious illnesses. So I want to be clear that I don't
have a problem with water fasting with professionals.

I am also subscribed to Roger Haeske's newsletter and saw he recently ran a
story on the subject of Leah and her video, and if you scroll down and read the
Comments section on his page, you will see a number of people who say they
have been at Doug's fasting retreats who share their experiences, all of which are
troubling to me:

I was recently made aware of a string on the Raw Board here on VegSource where
Doug was asked about the death of a person after she concluded a fast with him.
Doug wrote:

From: Dr. Doug Graham (
Subject: Re: Recent death @ Dougs fasting retreat?
Date: August 17, 2011 at 6:45 am PST

In Reply to: Recent death @ Dougs fasting retreat? posted by Steve on August 17,
2011 at 5:36 am:

Rumors? I keep no secrets. Life is much simpler that way.
There have been no deaths at my Costa Rica fasting event.

When someone dies on a bus, has a heart attack or whatever, is it the
driver's fault? If they die in a movie theater, is the cinema at fault?
A woman attended my fasting event. She got better, as expected, and
wrote a glowing report. She decided to stay for my Walking Tour
event. During that event, she had an episode of some type. We took
her immediately to the hospital, where she lived for almost a week,
then died. We held a lovely service for her at the end of the Walking
Does it not tell you enough that the woman's partner and I remain on
excellent terms?

I agree with Doug that if someone dies on a bus or in a movie theater, it is not
automatically the fault of the driver or the theater. However, if treatment is
delayed or withheld or prevented by the theater or bus driver, then it's a different
matter. Or if the theater or bus driver represents himself as a health expert to
whom you have paid handsomely, and you've entrusted your health to them and
you get much worse, if someone dies in that situation, then the bus driver or
theater is at fault, in my book, at least partly and possibly completely. The fact
that someone dies in a hospital a few weeks after a fast, as opposed to right at
Doug's camp, is irrelevant to me.

These incidents I was being alerted to seemed to have, to me, a theme along the
lines of what Doug was disciplined for years ago by the Florida Department of

In any event, that Vegsource was being portrayed and seen as helping to cover
up stuff like this from our guests, about an expert whom we promoted and
featured -- that was something that I was not comfortable with.

This is why I wrote to Doug and let him know I was removing his ability to delete
posts and moderate, while making it clear he was welcome to continue posting. I
also removed his name from the board, and to signal a new direction, decided to
make the board about both raw and "high raw" diets, and picked a high raw diet
gaining popularity, the Raw Till 4 diet. Perhaps it was my decision to do that that
made it seem like I was wading into the controversy or personal drama between
Harley and the Fruit Festival people, but that was not my intention. My intention
was to signal a change in the board where people are welcome to talk and
exchange views and bring up subjects without "off limit" topics such as someone
giving bad advice or someone becoming seriously ill or dying after a water fast. I
am not comfortable with that.

I do want to encourage Doug to answer questions on these issues, and in an
open way. Not answering questions does not make them go away. From my
own perspective, I don't want be seen as providing cover for someone who is
deleting things and then telling people that I am doing it. That's not cool.

And so I add my voice to the chorus of others who are calling for Doug to talk
about this. This can be a big stain on his reputation, and frankly staying silent
implies guilt. If I'm saying it publicly, I would say it privately too. He needs to
talk about this. This is serious stuff.

Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

Follow Ups:

Post Reply

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: