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Preview of Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali


chapter seven

Usha Village 2008: Dr. Sebi, His Guests, and Dembali

The two-week trip begins in Roatán, a Honduran island about a thirty-minute boat ride from the mainland. It’s home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican system—at that time a snorkeler’s playground bursting with vibrant pastel and fluorescent coral and tropical fish. Today, global warming, pollution, and the red lionfish invasion have changed all of that. They affect the region so much that the reef is now an endangered ecosystem.

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We stay at the east end of Roatán, at a remote resort called Paya Bay. Smaller than the luxury hotels on the island, Paya Bay sits on a coastal bluff that overlooks the sun-splashed Caribbean Sea. It boasts two beaches, including one for guests who practice naturism, commonly known as nudists.


. . . The SUV he brings back to Paya Bay is the vehicle he uses. It takes us from Paya Bay to West End, Roatán, from a small waterfront community lined with shotgun houseboats and cabins to the home of Ploney Jones, the boat captain that gave a young Alfredo Bowman his first merchant seaman job back in the 1950s. 

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We arrive at an east-end dock where a young Afro-Honduran man who appears to be in his late twenties and a small motor boat wait to take us to a thirty-acre community around the island’s bend. No paved roads exist on that part of the island, making it necessary to commute by boat. Sebi’s cousins, ages seven to sixty, own and live on the coastal property. It stands out as a perfect example of the independent “village” living Sebi encourages. Makeshift but functional accommodations serve the family villagers: a mail service shed, a boat dock supplied with gasoline, a three-table dining room and store counter, and a large outdoor supply cabinet that stores nonperishable food and household goods. A half dozen cottages are scattered across the land, each one a stone’s throw from the Caribbean Sea.


Palm trees and other tropical plants hover high and low above them. A few plastic water bottles and soda cans peep from underneath sand and blades of grass, while a brown pet cow, with her legs buckled under her body, lounges in a cottage’s front yard.  A small island that Sebi inherited from his grandfather juts out across the sea from his relatives’ community. It’s an all-day visit, with me snapping pictures most of the time:  Sebi and his cousins rock climbing, boats big and small, and a young man built like a defensive linebacker who steers them.

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Read the whole story in Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali. It’s Dr. Sebi’s take on topics such as your culture, sickle cell anemia diagnosis, his life in Los Angeles in the 1970s and natural healing.  Available now in bookstores.

                            Chapter  Seven

chapter five

ON Matters of Food and Health

When I open the wooden screened door of Sebi’s cabin, I grin and watch a surprising scene:  Dr. Sebi—curer of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer; herbalist to celebrities; advocate of alkaline food—eating cookies with Matun. I sit down and join them. Every now and then Sebi falls off the wagon. I couldn’t help thinking that the renowned healer was cheating on his die-hard alkaline diet. Sebi sees it another way.


“We call it cheating instead of a conditioning,” he says. “It’s not a cheating. That doesn’t exist, because the gorilla never cheats. The gorilla eats exactly what he was designed to eat throughout his lifetime. So why is it that the gorilla, when he finds himself in a zoo, he too begins to cheat?  Because they feed him bananas. Gorilla does not eat bananas in the forest. But in a zoo he eats bananas. When we were in the forest, we didn’t eat rice and beans. Goats and cows, that represent poison, because there isn’t any nutritionist or biochemist that could show scientifically the benefit of animal blood in the human body. Blood represents

disease. Blood is the carrier of disease. And the liver is the filter. So how could ingesting the blood of an animal be useful in my nutrition?  So cheating is a conditioning. It’s not a conscious, deliberate act.”

“What we’re doing now, we’re eating cookies,” I say, chewing what tastes like a gingersnap.

“Well, we are what you would call cheating.”

“We are cheating then?”

“No, but remember, we are only submitting to that part of us that has been so conditioned throughout the years,” he clarifies.

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