by Lester “Mac” McCurtis
William “Bill” McCurtis, Sr. (Oct.,7, 1918 – Oct., 11, 2019) born in Waverly, Alabama, the youngest of four siblings. Bill graduated from Interurban Heights Industrial Highschool in Birmingham, Alabama, where he learned the trade of a ”Cobbler” (Shoe repair) in 1939. Soon after he joined the U.S. Navy during WWII as a Steward, and also attended military school for Photography. Bill served two tours in the U.S. Navy earning the WWII Victory Medal and Asiatic Pacific Sea Medal. Unfortunately, after his second tour ending on August 4, 1952, he was given an “Other than Honorable” discharge. Bill’s family fought to get his discharge upgraded to “Honorable” during his 90’s and finally, 24 hours after his 101st birthday, the Veteran’s Administration upgraded his status to an “Honorable discharge.” Bill had many battles which he persevered during his life.
About the age of 82, when he consulted his son (Lester/Mac) a Holistic Health Practitioner (Mac’s Herb Talk) about an agonizing condition of Gout in both his hands. Bill’s journey of living a holistic lifestyle and using herbs started during this time–until he passed away at 101 years young. Working as the owner of Bill’s Shoe Shop on the westside of Chicago, Bill used his hands, and a hammer, constantly pounding on shoes (repairing them) day after day. Bill’s hands had swollen so badly, they looked like two pears. The pain was so excruciating he was unable to work and closed his business during this episode. Bill’s diet was typical of the average American. A connoisseur of Soul Food: liver and pork smothered in gravy and lots of sugary sweets were his favorites.
Lester assessed his condition and recommended that he convert to a plant-based and nutrient dense foods diet. Bill resisted to giving up his smothered liver but agreed to eat more of his favorite fish (baked/broiled salmon). Also recommended was an active physical exercise program in addition to Bill’s normal chores of mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and working in his garden. The winter was just as active for him. Bill shoveled snow around his house far into his early 90’s. Mac put together a three-month herbal program to build immunity, eliminate uric acid, and encourage more alkalinity in Bill’s diet. This program focused on diet, movement, and stress relievers. After about 45 days, Bill’s excruciating pain, stiffness, and swelling in his hands had completely disappeared. Gout is a disease caused by an over-load of uric acid in the blood which the body cannot metabolize. The disease causes arthritis of the peripheral joints. Pain, inflammation, and swelling follow when an excess of uric acid crystalizes and deposits in the joints. A diet that consist of a regular consumption of meat usually causes the buildup of uric acid.
According to Holistic health practitioners and herbalist, disease cannot live in an alkaline body. There are many foods and herbal products that are available to cleanse and alkaline the body. However, one should seek a professional Holistic practitioner to avoid making the condition worse or causing harm using products that will not eradicate the problem properly. Bill had tried some home remedies before seeking his son’s help. The condition not only worsened but was more painful and aggravated than before. Lester told Bill he had to eliminate several foods such as red meat, salt, alcohol, and aspirin as well as others. The key is to eat more organic, plant-based foods versus meat during this transition period. Eating more low-acid foods like cherries and strawberries work best instead of the sugary sweets that Bill loved to eat. Bill called for Lester’s help several more times for chronic conditions from which he suffered. The positive results Bill experienced from the herbal programs got him excited about using natural herbs and consuming organic plant-based foods. Bill consistently, recommended his son (The Herb Doctor, as he nicknamed him) to friends and other family members.
Bill’s favorite quote was “I only eat organic.”
Organic foods have more nutrients than those grown traditionally. Many non-organic foods are waxed, sprayed with toxic pesticides, and possibly irradiated. Organic foods taste better and are safer to consume than traditionally grown foods. Buying them when they are in season means nutrients are at their peak when harvested. Genetics can play a big role in a person’s ability to live a long healthy life. Bill had a strong constitution, which means he seldom got sick and could recover faster than the average person. A lifestyle of consuming organic, plant-based foods lowers your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating organic foods and herbs helped Bill to live to see 101 years of age.