This post is about the Death of Jane Mutti on the Walking Tour at Doug Graham’s retreat. Information for this post comes from this source, this source as well as from vegsource.com. It is recommended that you read all 3 posts and all comments so that you can get a clear picture of the opinions and discussions around the death of Jane Mutti.
Woman Died on Walking Tour after Fasting 4 Weeks
Jane Mutti (65 years old) died while on the Walking Tour last year at Doug Graham’s retreat. She has fasted for 4 weeks prior and collapsed while doing the walk after 2 weeks refeeding. Doug Graham’s assistant stated that the woman died due to a heart arrythmia that she did not disclose, however Jane Mutti was an MD so its hard to believe that she wouldn’t have known to disclose such an issue before attending the fasting retreat.
Despite blame being put on an undisclosed heart arrhythmia, on Doug Graham’s site he specifically states the following:
“There are many risks to water-only fasting and we want you to be aware of them prior to your decision to undertake a water-only fast. Because you will not be eating any food, you will most certainly experience weakness throughout the water fast, and lose weight. It can take some time after fasting to regain strength. A very common occurrence is dizziness and fainting, especially on rising from a laying or seating position. Other common and unpleasant symptoms are heart arrhythmia, palpitations, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, sore throat, mucus discharge, low back pain, increased menstrual flow, irregular or anovulatory cycles, hair loss, gastric irritation, passing of kidney or gall stones and emotional disturbances. There is also the possibility of alterations to your body’s basic mechanisms and electrolytes, which could cause heart problems such as a heart attack or vascular problems such as a stroke.” (http://www.foodnsport.com/events/fasting/CRFF2012application.php)
Quotations from the source of this information:
“There was a woman who died at Doug Graham’s Costa Rican walking tour last year after having fasted for four weeks. She was 65 years old. After having been on a deficient SAD diet for years and then water-only for a month, she collapsed while doing the Costa Rican walking tour after refeeding for two weeks which she should not have been doing as walking through those hills requires a pretty high level of fitness as I understand it’s a pretty tough trek through there. Dr. Alan Goldhamer of True North Fasting center wrote an article on his website saying that the post-fast was the most critical time of the fast and “over-extertion could be disasterous”.
“…Doug’s assistant explained what happened as this woman died due to a heart arrythmia that she did not “disclose” but this woman was a MD, so I have a hard time believing that she didn’t disclose it.”
The source also states that she contacted Doug Graham’s assistant for confirmation of the death:
“When I found out about Jane Mutti’s death the first thing I did was e-mail Doug assistant and ask if it was true. It was confirmed and I was asked not to say anything to anyone about it. I did not feel comfortable with this as people have a right to know if they are considering fasting there.”
Doug Graham mentioned her death here: http://www.vegsource.com/talk/raw/messages/100032793.html
Is it responsible that a care giver encourage someone who had just done a 3 week water fast to go on a physically challenging Walking Tour? According to many, the refeeding period after a fast is the most crucial part of the entire fast. If one refeeds too quickly or resumes activity too quickly this can be disastrous on one’s health. Doug Graham, an “expert” when it comes to fasting, should know this. Maybe money was a primary motif here over the health and well being of his “client”.
Doug Graham fobs off any responsibility for Jane and when questioned by others about what medical interventions, fasting protocols and supervision Doug has in place at his retreat he simply doesn’t answer these concerns.
As a result of not getting answers to questions or no concern really shown for proper fasting protocols, one poster concludes:
The vegsource post is worth reading thoroughly so you can come to your own conclusions about whether you think Doug was open and honest about the death in question and whether he did all that he could have in terms of fasting protocols, medical interventions etc.
Is Doug Lying?
Michele, the source of the posts above, also states that she attended a Culinary Week of Doug Graham’s in 2009, where someone asked him outright if anyone had died at his fasting retreat. According to Michele, Doug states:
“When I was at Doug’s 80/10/10 Culinary class in Washington someone in class point blank asked Doug if anybody had ever died while fasting with him. (This was before the above-mentioned death) He asked him this in front of the whole class. Someone who was there confirmed that they remembered hearing what I heard: Doug said yes, a woman who didn’t “disclose” she had diabetes.”
Michele also reveals in the comment section of this post that the person who askedwas David O’Boyle, a personal trainer from Los Angeles.
On vegsource.com, Doug denies ever saying this and instead says:
On this post, Michele reveals an email she received from a person who was there when Jane Mutti died. This email said:
“I was at both the fast and the walking tour. I am surprised that it took 6 months for this to come out. Your posts have some the the facts but not all of course. Did you speak to someone directly involved with the fast? I can’t believe Doug removed those posts! He is pretty much declaring himself guilty as charged. Really not right for anyone who is contemplating a fast with him. By the way, no one ever told us not to talk about it. On the whole is was not talked about at all. It was so very shocking and emotionally draining at the time. Still is
Well, yes, Grant certainly knows all the details as he was with Jane when she collapsed as was I. Doug has you fill out a medical history when you apply for the fast. This is the only medical form we filled out. With Jane there were signs that all was not exactly right with her even without blood tests or revealed medical history. If I could see these problems why didn’t Doug or any of his staff? She did fast longer than 3 weeks, she didn’t eat anything illegal I am sure of this. It really seemed as though she died at the scene. I don’t think that being in the hospital under their care had anything to do with it. And she may had died regardless of what was done but what really, really bothers me is that Doug is not being honest about the situation. If he stretches the truth in this instance what else has he said that isn’t completely true. A lot of people are putting their trust in him. As did Jane. She was a really sweet person. ”
Michele also mentions in the comments that she conversed with Jane Mutti’s friend “Bunny”, who wrote about Jane’s death on her blog. Michele writes:
“Bunny, Jane’s surviving mate, was writing about Jane’s death on her blog. That’s how I figured out who it was. I saw the posts, but it wasn’t until I went back to around when it happened that I saw that other 30bader’s already knew because they were interacting with her on FB about it.
But nobody was willing to say anything about it publicly.
Privately, Bunny shared with me that she felt that Jane’s death was somewhat her fault since if they had never gone there, it would never have happened.
Now, I realize people go through a lot of emotions when grieving. And guilt is one of them whether earned or not. My 18 year old cat just died and I’ve had to deal with my feelings of guilt because I knew he was old and had arthritis but didn’t realize he was so close to death and had I known, I would have been more mindful of him–sure, I still let him cuddle on my lap and pet him—but I was on the computer at the time and my mind was elsewhere. If I had known that it was his last days, I so would not have been on the computer.
So Bunny feeling guilty does not imply that she WAS guilty..it’s a natural part of the grieving process. But, it does show that despite “being on good terms” with Foodnsport after Jane’s death, I think intuitively she was second-guessing herself and I wonder if she wasn’t getting a lot of pressure from the Foodnsport team which was influencing her “being on good terms” with them, because they HAD to have her be on good terms with them. I wonder if she had support for whatever doubts she might have had about that….?
I believe that Bunny meant well and it’s clear she loved Jane deeply. I also wonder how good Bunny is at standing up for herself and setting boundaries. Not to mention that when you are grieving, you are especially vulnerable.
“Being on good terms” with Foodnsport isn’t saying as nice things about them as they hope it will–Elizabeth Smart ”was on good terms” with her kidnapper because mentally that’s what she needed to do to survive her situation. She later went on to describe her coping skills as “Stockholm Syndrome” where you bond and indentify with your oppressors in order to cope.
But, in the end, this really isn’t about Bunny or Jane because there were others and this is really about a PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR of DOUG that has spanned many years. Jane and Bunny’s story is just the last chapter in the whole saga.
It’s just only now all coming out. And I’m sure there’s more. BUT, people have to realize their ” lack of civil courage ..and ”speak out against .. self-made idiots who think themselves high.”
Until that happens, people won’t be able to make good, educated decisions.
I mean, if you read Jane’s testimonial without knowing THE REST OF THE STORY fasting at Doug’s retreat sounds like a great idea.”
Doug Still Uses Jane Mutti’s Testimonial
Despite this whole incident, Doug Graham still uses Jane Mutti’s testimonial on his site for water fasting.
Other posts (sources) that mentioned Jane Mutti’s death include: