Told he would die at 16, Gayelord Hauser ate his way to brimming health on a diet that sounds and (to some) tastes like boiled beaverboard. Now he’s making millions telling millions how to eat to be 100

JAMES EDGAR February 15 1951


Told he would die at 16, Gayelord Hauser ate his way to brimming health on a diet that sounds and (to some) tastes like boiled beaverboard. Now he’s making millions telling millions how to eat to be 100

JAMES EDGAR February 15 1951


Told he would die at 16, Gayelord Hauser ate his way to brimming health on a diet that sounds and (to some) tastes like boiled beaverboard. Now he’s making millions telling millions how to eat to be 100


AMAN named Gayelord Hauser has found out how people can live to be 100 years old. He says it can be done by fortifying our meals with powdered brewer’s yeast, dry skim milk, yogurt, wheat germ and blackstrap molasses, which he calls “the wonder foods.” He advises swearing off white sugar, cola drinks and refined white flour, and reclining every day head down on a 15-degree slant board and drawing in the stomach.

These odd little hints are only part of Hauser’s universal compendium on self - improvement called “Look Younger, Live Longer,” which is the U. S. publishing phenomenon of the day. As a book it has sold more than 300,000 copies. In magazines and newspapers “LYLL” has been read by perhaps 25 million people in nine languages. Hauser is spreading the word to more millions on radio and television this year. Any day now you may see the green-and-white covers of the book popping out of the shelves in your grocery. A big dairy firm is negotiating for a million copies for groceries, 100,000 of which are for Canada. In short, Hauser is the first author to make books sell better than hot cakes.

In Canada the “wonder foods” are selling fast. Last summer blackstrap sales were slow as molasses—now Torontonians alone lap up 12,000 quarts a month. Two enterprising Toronto dairymen named Alex Filcoff and Jack Robson, who got into the yogurt business on a hunch just before the Hauser opus hit the stands, are selling it at the rate of 15,000 eight-ounce cartons a week—and airmailing it as far as British Columbia.

The Royal York Hotel serves yogurt salad, yogurt appetizer and yogurt fruit salad and gets about 300 requests a month for it. Hauser’s book has already sold nearly 5,000 copies in this country. Canada’s 20-odd health stores are doing a landslide business in Hauser-recommended foods. And two Toronto women’s clubs were recently trying to book Hauser as a speaker.

In addition to slant boards and wonder foods Hauser’s book aims at being a cure-all for physical and ego ailments. He covers heart and digestive troubles, diabetes, gallstones, asthma, brittle bones, tooth decay, falling hair, and failing eyesight and hearing. He tells you how to be good-looking, balance your personality, organize public health and practice organic gardening. He gives weight-gaining menus and reducing menus, a “Seven-Day Elimination Diet” and a “One-Day Rest Cure.” He tells you how to bathe, dress, and balance your budget.

The best-seller ends with 100 pages of menus and recipes recommended by Hauser. “Look Younger, Live Longer” is a vitamin-charged version of the old-fashioned “Doctor Book” on the parlor table. It covers practically everything.

Hauser not only overhauls our habits. He’s also creating a new food industry, booming the health-food shops, and may in the long run alter human nutrition. “This is no mere book that you have in your hands,” he announces. “It’s a passport to a new way of living and adventure, a journey of discovery.” The man may be right.

The medical profession gives Hauser the Mexican standoff. If you ask the authoritative American Medical Association about him it

will send a noncommittal pamphlet which neither praises nor condemns. He hasn’t been attacked by physicians, and many independently recommend his ideas to patients.

Hauser’s simples are all the result of reputable medical and laboratory research. “Living foods,” unrefined natural foods, fresh vegetables and lean meats are sensible, scientifically approved. Hauser’s blasts at fried foods, overcooked vegetables and pernicious soft drinks will be echoed by any up-to-date physician. His wonder foods were approved by physicians before Hauser took them off the prescription counter and put them in the grocery.

The slant board, which turns you upsidedown to reverse and arouse blood circulation, is approved medically, as is sucking in your stomach to reactivate the abdominal muscles and help you reduce. (Ask any drill sergeant.)

Hauser is not a medical scientist. He’s merely the world’s greatest propagandist of health research, a remarkable popularizer with the skill to turn the cloistered lab into the kitchen of the millions.

“Look Younger, Live Longer” smashed all the rules of publishing and found its audience because Hauser was playing variations on the oldest and most pleasurable instinct of maneat to live. Take the wonder foods. Wheat germ, small brown Hakes resembling bran cereal, is a by-product of milling white flour. Until Hauser promoted it wheat germ was used mainly as cattle food. He pointed out that the germ is the actual embryo of the wheat berry, containing most of wheat’s enzymes, the chemical compounds which cause transformation of tissue in all living things. Wheat germ is packed with vitamin E, iron and all the B vitamins. (Its presence in British wartime bread contributed much to British health.) Hauser’s advocacy turned wheat germ from an almost unwanted by-product into one of the liveliest speculations on the grey market.

Powdered brewer’s yeast, a by-product of beermaking, was a little-known invalid prescription before Hauser called it the “nonpareil of foods,” containing no trace of the villains, sugar, starch and fat, but chuckful of 17 vitamins, including the entire B family, 16 amino acids and 14 minerals. You wouldn’t think it to look at it. It looks like pumice.

Hauser calls blackstrap molasses “the Cinderella food.” It is, or was, a throwaway of cane sugar refining, used to bind cattle cakes, distill black rum, and as table syrup in poor Southern families. Then Hauser said it was full of iron, calcium and vitamins. That did it. Today the jobber who can fiddle a carload of the stuff has pulled himself up by his blackstrap.

Hauser delivered powdered skim milk from its low esteem by announcing that it is delightfully fat-free but rich in protein, calcium and riboflavin. Now the skimmers are skimming and the vacuum tubes are erupting clouds of the stuff to the great prosperity of creameries which didn’t know what to do with it six months ago.

Yogurt, the fifth wonder food, is milk subjected to a simple bacteriological process which produces an organic culture. It has long been known in Europe and is the national delicacy of Bulgarians. Stow some yogurt inside of you, says Hauser, and you have swallowed a vitamin factory. The busy bacteria manufacture vitamins right inside you. Continued on page 48

Continued on page 48

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Gayelord Hauser is a licensed naturopathic, or “drugless” healer. He’s six-foot-three and stands as straight as a stalk of rhubarb before it gets liquefied in one of bis health cocktails. He has brown hair and eyes and is sort of ugly-handsome. He gives bis age as “around 60.” The exact figure is about the only thing he has kept secret in a lifetime of propounding dietary ideas and autobiography. But it has been learned that when Hauser was admitted to the German Deaconess Hospital in Chicago in 1914 he gave his age as 16. That would make him 53 today. If he has in fact added seven years to his age, it is probably the first time in human annals that anyone over 14 and under 93 has done so, and it constitutes a moving tribute to geriatrics— the science of longevity Hauser propounds. His publishers, Farrar, Strauss and Young, draw an even bigger decayed herring across the trail by stating, “Some of his followers maintain he’s 75.” Hauser looks 45.

“Look Younger, Live Longer” was published a year ago and was unanimously avoided by hook critics. It, was not advertised, promoted or selected by a hook club. Hauser had published 15 previous books on his theories, 12 of them by himself. He was known, if at all, as Greta Garbo’s boy-friend. The gossip writers made leering references to “Gee Gee’s carrot chomper,” and put Hauser down as a Los Angeles quack who took off his turban when he came east. In one year he has so thoroughly corrected this impression that actresses’ press agents now use his name to get their clients mentioned in the newspapers.

After four months the book mysteriously showed on the best-seller list. Hauser convened his followers in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf in New York last June. He calls them “my People.” They had to close the doors when 2,500 were crammed inside. The elevators were stopped. Three thousand would-be centenarians were left outside.

Hauser escaped to his villa at Taormina, Sicily, a beige-pink dwelling on a crag above the Mediterranean. “He hates business and work and things of that sort,” says his long-time partner, a slender soft-spoken chap named Frey Brown.

When Hauser went to Rome the riot resumed with a garlic flavor. An international digest magazine had published his book in Italian and the land of chianti and pasta was going crazy over vegetable cocktails and wheat germ.

The digest poured out “Look Younger, Live Longer” in English, French, Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. In Paris the Duchess of Windsor, one of Hauser’s disciples, was writing the introduction to the French edition.

By January of last year, when Hauser returned to New York, he was an international figure. Frey Brown was able to tell him, “The book will make a million dollars.” The book trade is inclined to agree. Based on a 30-cent royalty per copy and pay from newspapers and magazines, offers for radio and television and a daily newspaper column, Hauser was about to become a millionaire. Dozens of food manufacturers waited with cheque books to have him endorse their brands. At the end of the queue stood a wistful National Doughnut Council imploring Hauser to endorse wheat germ sinkers.

Greta Garbo was waiting for a small $10,000 painting of a clown by Roualt which Hauser had picked up for her in Paris. A newly purchased $100,000 town house in New York’s fashionable East Sixties was ready for him.

All in all it was a commendable rise in life for a poor boy from the Black Forest who was given up for dead at 16. The health-giver was born Helmut Eugene Benjamin Geliert Hauser in Tübingen, a university town in southern Germany. (Gayelord emerged from Geliert about 10 years ago.) His father was a professor with 13 children, of whom Helmut was No. 12.

In his teens Helmut developed TB of the hip and his father sent him to a succession of European specialists without success. An older brother, Otto, who had become a Baptist minister in Milwaukee, Wis., imported the youth for U. S. treatment. No one could arrest the disease and Helmut was pronounced incurable by the German Deaconess Hospital and sent home to Germany to die.

Took the Hangover Cure

The sick boy was eating breakfast one day in the Alps when an old family friend observed: “If you keep on

eating dead foods you surely will die. Only living foods can make a living body.” It was the start of a great career. The invalid began chomping bushels of living food—vegetables and fruits. The hip began to heal wonderfully. And Hauser, who today walks companions into exhaustion on his doomed leg, limped around Europe seeking living menus.

At the Dresden Sanitarium he went on a “dry diet.” The first day he got nothing except dried rolls. He arose on the second day with his tongue clacking like a New Year’s Eve rattle and faced two bottles of red wine—the entire diet for the day. The theory was that drying the patient out and then putting him half under—if alternated long enough—would have a happy effect on cell metabolism. Helmut awakened on the fifth day with his second king-size hang-over and decided the theory had no future.

He lurched on, ramming down whatever the theorists offered. In Merano, Italy, he tried the “grape cure” which consisted of eating fresh grapes—all you wanted—hut nothing else. The 3,000th consecutive grape loomed like a cannon ball. He gave up and took the wagon-lits for Karlsbad’s “diet cure.” Three times a day he got nothing but lean meat and pitchers of mineral water. He had lost 15 pounds when destiny intervened.

In the kitchen at Karlsbad he saw a Sister Karoline making vegetable juice. By hand she was reducing carrots, lettuce and celery to liquid. To Hauser the manual implement shone like Sir Lancelot’s Grail. He took off for the United States brandishing a vegetable juicer—the first to be seen there.

Jean Harlow Led the Rush

Hauser liquefied garden produce around Chicago and opened a naturopathic clinic with Frey Brown, then a skinny Nevada art student, as one of his helpers. At 50 cents a head they got so many patients Hauser decided to handle them in batches and started classes. Then they hit the road.

Hauser made local sensations by selecting an unkempt woman from the audience and showing people how awful she looked. They would take the ill-favored woman away for a 24-hour overhaul and the next night she would be produced coated with

cosmetics, her hair done, and duked out in fashionable clothes. Hauser did not realize it but he had found the next mighty stage beyond the vegetable juicer.

In 1927 the road show surmounted the Rockies and gazed on Hollywood. Down in the valley Hauser’s little band WJS encircled by frenzied actors clamoring to buy the one supreme asset to movie people—eternal youth. Jean Harlow was the first of Hauser’s Hollywood clients. The list since then is longer than the Academy Award roster, from Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich to Virginia Mayo.

Elizabeth Arden several years later summoned Hauser and his new “SevenDay Elimination Diet” to her Maine btauty farm. This was the first time society women had gone into cloisters for other than divorce reasons. It was novel. They came out glowing. Stories or. Hauser got into the fashion papers. Elizabeth Arden felt she was being el bowed out of the act and they split up.

Hauser had founded the charm or success school. But he never followed up this lucrative discovery.

The rewards which have come to the difident dean of diet are enough to convince anyone of the impracticality of trying to make money. Hauser would be a millionaire now—even before be collects on “Look Younger, Live Longer”—if he hadn’t dispensed his money as freely as his diets. Hollywood sharpshooters found him the juiciest peasant who ever walked out of the Black Forest. He went for the bankroll on dry oil wells, lost gold mines, and appeals for a few grand till Tuesday. Once he backed a man who had invented a flax gin which was going to do for flax what Eli Whitney did for cotton. It didn’t.

But the gift for giving never caught up with the talent for getting. Recently friends have insisted on solid real estate investments. Hauser found a way of losing money on the real estate —by occupying all the houses he bought. He has a schloss in Beverley Hills, a Sicilian villa and a New York town house.

As a newspaper feature “Look Younger, Live Longer” is the most phenomenal hit in syndicate history. Turned down by the Hearst syndicate, it was later run in the New York Hearst paper. Then the Chicago Hearst paper ran it. Then came a wire from octagenarian William Randolph Hearst: “TO ALL EDITORS: RUN HAUSER.” The Hearst papers promptly blazed with vitamins.

Within three months after Hauser’s

best seller was established health-food shops had doubled or tripled their sales volume. Nowadays when clerks spot a new customer they automatically get down the wheat germ and the blackstrap. There are about 1.000 such stores in the U. S. and about 25 in Canada.

Hauser’s works are the first cookbooks that improve your morale and read like movie magazines. He tells you how to make Duchess of Windsor Bean Soup. He dedicates recipes to Count Igor Cassini (Yogurt Tomato Juice), Leopold Stokowski (All-in-One Cocktail; nuts, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, honey, berries, bananas), Barbara Hutton (Banana Cream Shake) and Paulette Goddard (Four-Star Soya Muffins). “I served wild rice hamburgers with boiled grapefruit to Greta Garbo the first time she ate at my house,” he declares.

The Garbo affair had the gossip writers in a lather. They hinted at unmentionable carrot-juice binges between Gayelord and Gee Gee. Whatever there was to it the grand passion has now cooled to mere gift-exchanging.

While “Look Younger, Live Longer” was breaking like surf over the book counters Hauser was meditating in Sicily on his next theme which will probably be on beautifying food gathered from the sea. He studied seaweed and plankton, which is the generic name for tiny animal and vegetable organisms that drift in the sea and constitute the bread of fish. Don’t be surprised if Hauser soon has you eating Plankton Pie à la Prince of Monaco.

Since he discovered people who would like to live to be 100, Hauser has been popularizing geriatrics, the science of longevity pioneered by the Russian Dr. Alexander Bogolomets. His star attraction is Hiram Gale, a 105-yearold Seattle Civil War veteran who took up the Hauser teachings 10 years ago. But since Gale made 95 without Hauser it’s felt that he’s not a conclusive clinical exhibit.

Hauser also cites Thomas Parr,a Yorkshire farmer, as proof that diet does it. Old Parr lived to a reputed 152 years and is buried in Westminster Abbey. An autopsy showed his vital organs to be in fine shape. Hauser says: “Parr was an undereater. His diet was largely made up of cheese, yogurt, many vegetables, and coarse dark bread made of whole wheat.”

Old Parr’s tombstone does not mention his menus but Hauser has elected him to join Hauser’s People— even if Thomas Parr did die in 1635.