One of the best parts of creating this documentary film is the people we meet. We spent two days with Dr. Craig Oster at his home filming and have been in touch regularly since. Craig Oster is a truly exceptional human being. He is well respected by his friends and family, his doctors and his colleagues,
Craig was diagnosed with ALS when he was only 30 years old. The day of his diagnosis he made a pact with his osteopathic physician that they would do anything and everything they could to beat this disease.
Dr. Craig has certainly kept his part of the bargain. Today his is 50 years old, 20 years into his ALS diagnosis. How has he done it? In our opinion it is a combination of things.
First, he was a PhD student at the time and he continued school and got his PhD. He then began practice as a psychologist. He lived his life like he was going to survive ALS.
Second, Dr. Craig has taken responsibility for his health. He has researched nutrition, detoxification, raw foods, low-glycemic index diets, mental and emotional healing and much more. He continues this research and is extremely knowledgeable on anything relevant to ALS as well as anything related to holistic healing. Craig has a team of advisers, medical and non-medical, to give him expertise where he needs it, he listens then he makes the decisions. Dr. Craig is clearly in charge of his own life.
Third, Dr. Craig has taken all the measures he possibly can from both a physical and a mental-emotional-spiritual level to stay healthy. He had his “silver” amalgam dental fillings removed (they are 50% mercury, and peer-reviewed journal articles link mercury and ALS directly). Daily he drinks lots of filtered alkaline water, juices, and eats a very clean mostly a raw food diet, with plenty of healthy fats and protein. He takes supplements and exercises regularly. He consults with a nutritionist and his team of holistic doctors. He has regular psychotherapy for his mental health and practices Sufi healing.
Fourth, Dr. Craig is willing to experiment. Sometimes something sounds good, but it may or may not work. One of the attributes of someone who beats ALS is the willingness to try different treatments with an open mind to see if, in fact, they are helpful. In order to find treatments that are helpful, one has to go through a number that are not.
Fifth, Dr. Craig has an abundance of courage. It takes courage to get up each day when you need a caregiver to help you with the most basic tasks, and to do the things Craig does to keep his body as healthy as possible. His routine can be time consuming and sometimes discouraging, but he knows it’s what he has to do to stay well so he does it. Every day.
Sixth, Dr. Craig has amazing determination, is resourceful and has a can-do attitude. Craig knew from his research that he needed supplements and equipment far beyond his means. So he created a web and social media following and applied to corporate sponsors. He did fundraising efforts to help pay for caregivers. He developed a “no excuses” attitude. He figured out a way to get what he needed to stay healthy.
Seventh, Dr. Craig is generous. He spends many hours on his computer typing a letter at a time. He has helped countless people over the years with ALS directly, as well as via his website and also through his advocacy and his participation in research projects. He has published a peer-reviewed journal article on ALS collaborating with an Italian ALS research scientist and former Harvard Research Fellow. His “Oster ALS Inventory” aka “OAI” is being used in a Brazilian ALS research study. One of his current projects is to get the medical community and the ALS Association to change their recommended diet for ALS to one that is scientifically valid and will promote the health of ALS patients instead of being detrimental. The ALS Association, for example recommends sugar, not good for even a healthy person, but disastrous for an ALS patient because sugar raises glutamate levels in the brain, and the ALS brain has trouble processing glutamate.
Dr. Craig Oster lives his life, not like a person with ALS, but as a productive human being who is trying to make a difference in the world. We are honored to have gotten to know Craig. He is truly an amazing human being, a pioneer and an example to all diagnosed with ALS to follow.