About Us

Meet Our Founder, James Templeton

Living Proof Cancer is NOT a Death Sentence

My name is James Templeton, and I am the founder of the Templeton Wellness Foundation. I’d like to introduce myself to you, because I have a story to share. You see, I am a 30 year survivor of Stage IV Melanoma cancer. I hear it’s pretty remarkable to beat cancer using natural therapies, and still be going strong over 30 years after the expiration date I was given. I want to share my personal story, to give you first-hand information on what I call the “universal keys to health” that I discovered during my personal battle with cancer, and inspire you to find your own healing path.

The Diagnosis

I was 32 years old and life was great. Married with a 2 year old daughter, living on a small farm in Texas, I owned a few businesses and was well on my way to becoming a millionaire. I was living what was considered a healthy lifestyle, because I have a strong family history of heart disease. My father died of a heart attack when I was only 17 years old, and his father also died young from heart disease. Based on books like “Eat to Win” and what I read in running magazines and learned at the health club, I ate a lot of salads and vegetables, very little meat, low fat dairy and whole grains. I ran at least 5 miles every day, many times up to 60 miles per week.

But it wasn’t long before I felt tired, pretty much all the time. Environmental allergies worsened. I was feeling generally unwell, and started to feel signs that something wasn’t right. All I knew about health at that time was when you get sick, you go to the doctor. So, I scheduled a checkup and a cardiac stress test with an Internal Medicine doctor. All my results looked great, the doctor said I ‘broke the record” on the treadmill stress test, but mentioned I had a mole on my back I needed to have looked at by a Dermatologist. I had previously been treated for a basal cell skin cancer on the top of my head when I was 24 years old, so I took his advice seriously and saw a Dermatologist a couple of weeks later.

Templeton Family in Texas
James Templeton Picnic in the 80's
Old Picture of James Templeton
The Dermatologist reacted dramatically to the mole on my back, insisting it was a melanoma, and I would need a large area on my back surgically removed. I was turned off by his bedside manner, and followed up instead with the doctor who helped me with the basal cell cancer. He felt it looked suspicious and sent me to his friend who was a world renowned Oncologist, specializing in Melanoma. In case you’re counting, this is the fourth doctor I saw for this mole, and I was concerned and anxious for what I might be dealing with. He took a large, deep biopsy from my back, and said he’d call with the pathology results. As you can imagine, I didn’t sleep much and waited on pins and needles until the results came back about a week later. Stage IV Melanoma, pretty deep, but the initial surgery got it all, so there was no need for further treatment, just monitoring.

My whole life changed with this diagnosis. My personality went from relaxed and happy-go-lucky to serious and somewhat depressed. Friends and family were worried I wouldn’t live another year. My wife left with my daughter because the stress of it all was too much for her. I tried to put the cancer behind me and build a new life. I took a new job in a new city, and tried to focus on my career and on taking care of myself.

My 6 month checkup changed everything. The Melanoma was back.

Leaving Mainstream Medicine

My journey in natural healing from cancer started with major surgery. They found lumps in my right groin from swollen lymph nodes, and removed them in a painful and extensive surgery. I felt like I’d been gutted, in more ways than one.

The plan was 80 treatments of chemotherapy, plus the possibility of more surgeries and radiation therapy. It was all experimental. Chemotherapy treatments were 8-10 hours long, with 5 days in the hospital afterward. They did hyperthermia, getting my body temperature dangerously high, then they injected typhoid serum, and followed that up with the chemo immediately afterward. I was scheduled for a series of 5 treatments like this every 2 months. It took me almost 2 months to get over each series because of how sick and weak it made me feel.

All this misery and a whole lot of expense for only a 20% survival rate. I knew in my heart there had to be a better way, a healthier way. And after enduring 2 series of these chemo treatments, at 2 in the morning, I literally crawled out of that hospital and found it.

I felt like a guinea pig. All I could do each day during 8 to 10 hours of experimental chemo was lay in my hospital bed. I was feverish, weak, tired and nauseous all the time. It was like the worst case of flu I could imagine. I threw up constantly, I had no energy and kept losing weight. Everything I ate went right through me. My leg swelled to 3 times its size from the surgery. I needed a pump for the lymphedema in my leg, to help the swelling go down. I felt like I wanted someone to put me out of my misery.

If you’ve been through this type of chemo yourself or with a loved one, I’m sure you can relate to what I went through. You get to the point you just don’t care anymore because you hurt so bad all over. I couldn’t imagine beating cancer feeling like this. I had no hope and I was depressed. It was a friend who turned it around for me and brought me hope, in the form of a book review in a magazine.

Renewed Hope

That book was Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy, written by Dirk Benedict, a well-known actor who healed himself from prostate cancer using a macrobiotic diet. He grew up on a ranch in Montana, and I could relate to him. What stood out was how he completely changed his life, walked away from all doctors and went for broke. I thought if he can do it, then I can do it.

I understood that what I was doing in the past had to change. My way of looking at food, my whole approach to life had to change. I had to look back at my life and see what really made me sick. And I felt poisoned even more by the chemo, so I knew I needed to leave that behind. And that’s when I snuck out of my hospital bed at 2am, and literally crawled out of the hospital determined to find a better way.

Alive Again

I went all out, even though I didn’t have much energy – I was very weak from chemo and surgery, and had lost a lot of weight. I studied macrobiotics and started cooking the foods, with my stepmother’s support. She helped take care of me and helped me cook a macrobiotic diet, (as much as we understood at the time) until I could fend for myself. To give you an idea of the diet, a typical breakfast was miso soup, brown rice, and cooked greens. I read every book about macrobiotics I could get my hands on, trying to understand the keys to why it works. I wanted to get well, and prove macrobiotics was going to do it for me.

I charged like a bull into my new lifestyle. I was really excited! I spent many hours reading, studying, meditating on it, using positive visualization. I did stretches and exercises that consisted of tapping on meridians, the energy highways of the body. I practiced deep breathing. I was careful to chew each bite of food 180 times. I began to realize what real food tasted like, and started getting a tremendous amount of energy from what I ate. And, although not part of the macrobiotic program, I also took a lot of Vitamin C, about 20,000 mg per day, which I still do today.

I felt like I needed to exercise to get this poison out of my system. Getting back into exercising was a slow, gradual process. I started to run as much as I could, usually just a mile before I would throw up, which felt like a purge. I’m the kind of person who sets goals, and wanted to prove to myself that I was going to make it. I believed if I could run 18 miles, then that would prove to me I was going to beat this cancer. I exercised like I hadn’t in a long time. And still sore from major lymphatic surgery, I eventually ran that 18 miles. I felt dead tired after, and my leg swelled terribly, but I did it. Now I felt like I had a fighting chance. Running was too hard on my leg, so I bought a bicycle and rode 100 miles per week.

Diet, stretches, exercise, deep breathing, visualization – this new healing lifestyle kept me busy. I went back to work, which was sometimes 12 hours a day or more, driving up to 300 miles some days. Many times I would find myself dozing off at my desk just to keep my energy up. Then, I rode my bike in the evenings. I planned my meals ahead and ate leftovers at work.

After just 3 months, I had gained some weight back, was sleeping well, and even the swelling in my leg was starting to go down. I felt like a different person, better than I had in my whole life! It was amazing to me to feel so alive from natural therapies after feeling like I was dying using medical treatment.

I was lonely, and wanted support in my new healing way of life. I read a book where a couple of hippie hitchhikers led a big city doctor to healing his cancer by way of a macrobiotics institute. I knew this was an adventure I couldn’t miss out on.

Continuing On

Whatever you decide you need on your healing journey, I encourage you to jump in with both feet. Do whatever it takes for you to understand your treatment completely, and follow it to the letter. There is no quick fix for cancer, and no one can fight this battle for you. Healing is a lifestyle, a permanent change away from what got you sick in the first place.

Even though macrobiotics was part of my healing journey, it isn’t right for everybody. A lot has changed in the past 30 years. Down the road, I want to share what I’ve learned about cancer healing diets, and the universal keys they all have in common. But next time, I want to talk about the value of a good, supportive healing community, and the role it played in my healing.

Healing In Community

I felt alive again, better than I had in my whole life. Macrobiotics really turned things around for me and set me on the path of natural healing. But I was lonely, and I wanted to be around others living a lifestyle like mine.

I read a book written by Anthony J. Sattilaro, MD. He was a doctor from Philadelphia, CEO of a hospital, who wrote about his healing from an extremely aggressive form of prostate cancer. His story started with driving down the road and picking up 2 hippie hitchhikers on an impulse, just because he wanted someone to talk with. He told them he was dying of cancer. These hitchhikers told him about macrobiotics and a local center, and convinced him to go there. To make a long story short, he went there, followed the lifestyle and diet advice, and got well. I decided to sign up for a week long residential seminar at the Kushi Institute in western Massachusetts, which was founded by Michio Kushi, who is considered the father of macrobiotics in America.

Felt Like Home

It was the best week of my life. There were about 20 people attending that seminar, many with cancer. The attitude there was so positive, not one bit fearful of cancer. It gave me hope, and I was excited to be a part of it. The week was filled with a lot of classes about macrobiotics and cooking. We all spent a lot of time together, and it felt good to not be alone.

I went home and decided I didn’t want to live my lonely lifestyle anymore. I found out a man named Alex Jack, who was one of the main writers about macrobiotics at the time, lived in the same city I did. I met him, and his wife, and instantly felt a connection. It wasn’t long before we became very close, like family, and even shared meals daily.

Changes came to the Kushi Institute, and Alex accepted a position as General Manager there. He encouraged me to come up there, too. After some deep thought, and even though I had a job and a good life where I was in Dallas, I decided the best way to take care of myself was to go where I had gotten the most support. I accepted a work internship at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts, and my lifestyle changed dramatically.

Jumping In With Both Feet

Washing dishes, hauling firewood, providing transportation for guests, I did whatever it took to earn my room and board. Do you remember the beginning of my story, where I mentioned owning a few businesses and being well on my way to earning my first million? Well, this new lifestyle was about as far from that as you can get. And I was having the time of my life!

I was excited to be there and jumped in with both feet, helping out as much as I could. By then I felt strong and had returned to a healthier weight. I became Operations Manager for this 600 acre facility. Walking helped my leg, so when I wasn’t working, I took long walks in any weather – even barefoot in the snow. I practiced intense kundalini yoga at 5:30 in the morning, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and skied both downhill and cross country. I either slept on a futon on the floor or on the earth in a tent. I continued to eat very healthy, chewed each mouthful of food 180 times, and kept on the high dose Vitamin C.

My motto was “If it doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anybody.” I became stronger and stronger as time went on. It truly felt like a miracle. I shared my story to inspire others at the Institute whenever I got the chance.

Healing Confirmed

I saw a local doctor who practiced anthroposophical medicine, which combines mainstream Western medicine with homeopathy, herbs and spiritual insight. I did mistletoe injections (Iscador) into my spleen area for a year. He did blood tests and confirmed my health was good. I had confidence in him and the testing he did, and chose not to return to the oncologist, because I had felt so much negativity there.

This doctor said the reason I got sick was because my body and spirit separated. I worked on my emotional, psychological and spiritual body. I focused on meditation and visualization techniques to open up spiritually. And I felt whole, and knew this was healed as well.

The Next Chapter

It’s so important to reconnect with ourselves physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Coming together with a healing community on the same path, even if it’s just a few folks, is another key to healing from this devastating illness.

I spent several years at the Kushi Institute, until a deep feeling inside told me it was time to leave. My journey was changing for me to grow spiritually and financially out on my own. And I would soon meet the woman who has been the love of my life for the past 26 years – Ann Louise Gittleman.

My friend James is a perfect example of the life changing power of truly healing foods. I highly recommend you read his inspiring story and learn how you too can tap into the restorative properties of the right foods and supplements.

Anthony William
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

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