Nutritional tips by Emanuel Felke

Emanuel Felke revolutionized ideas on nutrition and health: Almost one hundred years ago, people were convinced that including as much animal protein and fat as possible was crucial for maintaining and supporting human health and strength. Felke dramatically did away with this view, recommended a healthy diet as free as possible from animal fats and proteins, and advocated natural foods to preserve one's health.

The sequence is the thing

Answering the following questions was very important for Felke: "What does our organism do with the food it consumes?" and "How can one promote and support the digestion of consumed foods?"

He critically questioned what we eat, in what form the food is prepared, and especially how we eat. You surely know this yourself: If we eat calmly and slowly, the food "agrees" with us wonderfully. But if we eat hectically and too quickly, often the consequences are stomachache, a feeling of satiety, heartburn, and belching. Eating calmly as well as chewing thoroughly and slowly and insalivating the food in our mouths helps our body to promote good digestion, since the digestive process already begins in the mouth.

Felke, as many other physicians and naturopaths before and after him, also advocated the consumption of regional foods. Our organism can often metabolize food originating from our native latitudes better than food products from overseas. The reason for this is that we originate quasi "from the same earth" and our organism has evolved to be genetically adapted to digest regional foods for generations. A positive side effect is that short transport routes put less stress on both the environment and the food product itself.

Nuts and fruit comprise the staple diet for Felke, whereas cooked vegetables, potatoes or soup should only be consumed as side dishes in our daily diet. Every meal, therefore, should begin with nuts, fruit and possibly some raw vegetables and bread. Only after eating these foods, when we are already fairly full, should we take any cooked food. Everything we eat should be chewed well and for a long time.

The Felke daily menu

In the morning

The day begins with a bowl of oatmeal porridge. Take oat flakes, boil in water with a piece of lemon or orange peel, a pinch of salt and sugar or honey until it becomes a sticky mass, then dilute to desired consistency with a small dash of milk. Add fruit and nuts, or for a change also sometimes a bit of stewed fruit. This way you and your loved ones will start the day full of power and energy. For a change, bread or semolina pudding can also be on the breakfast menu.

Fruit should naturally be well washed before consumption and enjoyed raw and with the skin if possible. If this is not possible, one can also eat preserves or cooked fruit or dried fruit in winter. Berries such as black currents, strawberries, and huckleberries should not be strewn with sugar, because they do not agree with our organism as well as in their natural state. A better alternative to sugar is honey: simply let a spoonful drip over the berries. That is healthier and tastes wonderful..

Bread recipe

Take 1 kg shredded wheat and 250–500 g whole grains that have soaked in lukewarm water for 24 hours. Add 250 g boiled and grated potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 15–20 g yeast. Mix all the ingredients with ½ l lukewarm milk, buttermilk, or the grain soaking water into a dough. Then set the dough aside to rise in a draft-free spot for a few hours, knead it once again, form bread loaves, moisten with lukewarm water and bake at approx. 150 °C for 2–3 hours.

Felke was no friend of white bread, and already recommended eating wholemeal bread many years ago. At the time, one could even buy "Felke bread" in health food stores, prepared according to his recipe and instructions.

Butter and other high-fat spreads should only be spread very thinly on the bread, Felke advised, since the digestion of fat puts an extra burden on the organism. The regular consumption of chives, garlic and onions strengthens your vital force owing to their valuable constituents (for example allicin).

To prevent the unpleasant smell of garlic on your breath, try chewing particularly well and thoroughly, and then afterwards slowly chewing a leaf of common rue (Ruta graveolens L.). You will see that nobody can smell your newly-won fondness for garlic!

Eggs should be eaten as little as possible, and then only in hard-cooked form.

Meat does not have to be a part of the daily diet at all, according to Felke. When unavoidable, or if one's appetite for meat is simply too keen, he recommends eating venison as an exception. At the time, lamb, mutton and poultry were still acceptable types of meat for him. Today he would certainly not include conventionally raised poultry anymore on his menu. Even in his time, he already dissuaded people from eating pork and beef.

Even greater value was placed on consuming raw, sour, or uncooked milk or buttermilk. In Felke's lifetime, this was a correct recommendation. Nowadays, however, his diet has lost some of its validity. The primary reason for this is due to modern, inhumane dairy husbandry practices. Milk is heat-treated to increase its shelf life, and more and more people react to dairy products with a lactalbumin allergy or lactose intolerance.

Fresh salads are right at the top of the Felke daily diet. Prepared with a dressing of lemon juice (no vinegar!), sour cream, oil, finely-cut onions or chives and a bit of salt, salads are delicious, healthy, and should be served on the table withevery meal.

Vegetables and potatoes are best prepared gently to preserve their nutrients by lightly steaming them together, for instance as a stew. If you want to boil potatoes individually, it's a good idea to use a pressure cooker. If you don't have such a pot on hand, you can also drink the residual potato water, since it is an excellent remedy against heartburn.

Midday meal

As always, the midday meal begins with a piece of wholemeal bread, fruit, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts or salad. A little butter is allowed, or once in a while some cheese, but always in moderation. Only then comes a warm meal with vegetables and potatoes (not overcooked!), or alternatively a soup or stew.

Although it is a matter of course for most of us to drink something with our meals, the simultaneous consumption of food and beverages is not optimal for the body.
Fluid intake dilutes the gastric juices, which can lead to a slower digestion. Appropriate beverages to drink between mealtimes, according to Felke, are fruit juices, ciders and herbal teas. How about enjoying a nice cup of good herbal tea instead of coffee or black tea in the afternoon? At first it requires a little getting used to, but you quickly experience the advantages of herbal teas and no longer want to go without them. Felke lets the herbs soak in cold water for one to two hours, then boils them vigorously and steeps the tea for five to ten minutes. To sweeten the tea, add some honey.

In the evening

Once again, begin with fruit and whole-grain bread witha bit of butter, cheese, or quark. Along with this, some raw fruits and vegetables, for example red beets, onions and a bit of caraway. From time to time you can have boiled potatoes on the menu.

Diet suggestions ...

Apart from homeopathy, outdoor clay cures and subsequent breathing and gymnastic exercises and clay wraps, Felke also proposed diet suggestions for some diseases and complaints.

... for circulatory problems, arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure

Cut out all animal fats and proteins, fried foods, as well as eggs and legumes, coffee and black tea from your daily diet for a period of time. You should also avoid bread, pastries, and sweets. Instead, eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, salads, steamed potatoes and vegetables or boiled potatoes, all with only very little salt – such foods fill you up, are healthy, and do not leave you with an unpleasant feeling of satiety.

... for constipation

Eating a good deal of raw fruits and vegetables is particularly helpful. In addition, you can eat dried soaked plums or figs as well, and plenty of fruit. Avoid white bread, boiled milk and cocoa. Linseed is also helpful to counteract constipation. Take one to two tablespoons of ground linseeds and chew well, two to three times a day. Right afterwards, swallow a spoonful of linseed oil to stimulate the digestion even further.

... for fever

If the fever is acute, give your body a rest and only drink fluids without taking any solid food at all. Fruit juices, herbal teas, and water are recommended for fever. In the beginning, you can additionally drink lime blossom tea to advance the fever somewhat. At the height of the fever, stop drinking the tea. In addition, cold and wet body or calf wraps are helpful. At the first indication of improvement, water or milk gruels mixed with oats, semolina or rice will support convalescence.

... for stomach trouble

For stomach trouble, it's best to first start with one to two days of fasting, in which you only take a half cup of black tea in the morning and evening, and otherwise only drink water. This allows your stomach to calm down, for a start. In this case the black tea is taken as a medicine since its tanning agents support the healing process. Rebuild the mucous membrane of the stomach by eating gruels made of oats and rice. In addition, you can drink healing clay dissolved in lukewarm water. It prevents hyperacidity and absorbs harmful bacteria, conveying them "piggy-back" out of the body. For very acute cases with massive diarrhea, Felke recommends drinking sips of hot red wine boiled with cinnamon.

Mini Felke Cure

Just try once to follow Felke's suggestions a little bit. You don't have to refrain from everything you like. Sometimes it suffices to change your life just a little bit in order to obtain a great effect. Is your curiosity aroused?

Well, then get to it …

  • The first thing every morning, stand by an open window and take several consciously deep breaths. Enjoy the cool, fresh morning fragrance and fill up your lungs with the cool air.
  • Try taking a cold (not just cool) morning shower, and remain under the cold water a bit longer than usual.
  • One day a week, limit your diet to just fruit or raw fruits and vegetables. You'll be amazed at how good you feel.
  • Once in a while, go without the usual cup of coffee in the morning, and instead drink a cup of rosemary tea. Rosemary is THE waker-upper in the plant kingdom.
  • Or how about a bowl of oatmeal porridge with raisins, nuts, and abundant fresh fruit for breakfast?
  • In the evening, try filling your wine glass with fruit juice instead of wine, and drink it with just as much pleasure as you would a glass of wine.
  • Whenever possible, walk barefoot on a green lawn or on soft sand. Simply take your shoes off and delight in the contact to the earth and the different stimulations you feel right under your feet.
  • Try to sleep in accordance with nature's rhythm. Try to get to bed before 10 p.m. and get up around 6 a.m. Then take a few deep breaths at the open window, a cold shower, a cup of rosemary tea, oatmeal porridge with fresh fruit, and the day can begin. You will be amazed at how awake, fit, and charged with energy you are.

The treatment methods and cures of Emanuel Felke described on this web page and the suggestions for promoting self-healing that are based on them constitute non-binding advice only.

Where complaints are persistent, unclear or newly occurring, a doctor should be consulted, because diseases requiring medical attention may be involved.

Further reference literature

  • Felke E, Rheinfeld M (1916) Handbuch der Felke-Heilweisen.
    Selbstverlag, Köln.
  • Müller A (1911) Pastor Felke und seine Heilmethoden.
    Worms & Lüthgen, Krefeld.
  • Stader H (1933) Rezeptierbuch der Felke-Heilweisen.
    Felke-Ztg, Krefeld.
  • Hense H (1909) Kurzer Wegweiser durch die Heilfaktoren
    in der Pastor Felkeschen Heilweise. Selbstverlag, Krefeld.
  • Felke-Verbund e.V. (1952) Pastor Felke’s Gesundheitsprogramm.
    Selbstverlag, Sobernheim-Nahe.
  • Zähres W (1922) Ratgeber zur Felke-Kur und zur
    Felke-Lebensweise. Selbstverlag, Kettwig.