Spangler: Dr. Joan, tell me just a little bit about yourself — where you were reared and your medical background.
Barice: I was born in New Jersey and grew up mostly in Florida. I went to medical school at Stanford University and then got my master's in public health from Harvard University. I studied to be an internist, getting my board certification in internal medicine, and then went on and did a residency and became board certified in preventive medicine.
Spangler: So you're well qualified. How long have you been in practice as a physician?
Barice: Well, in one capacity or another, since 1967, when I graduated from medical school. I was in general practice in a small town in Illinois before I went for my training in internal medicine. Then I worked in research with the pharmaceutical industry and in a university. After that I went on into public health. I was the assistant director of the Palm Beach County Health Department for a number of years, and I've been in the private practice of internal and preventive medicine for the past four years.
Spangler: You've gotten some honors recently, haven't you?
Barice: Just before I went to the Weimar Institute* last year, I had received the Outstanding Professional Woman in Leadership award given by the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. And the Florida Medical Association gave me the Certificate of Merit Award. That is their highest honor, which they don't give every year. It's for outstanding public service that has benefited the profession and the public.
Spangler: Are you a religious person? What about your religious background?
Barice: Well, I was brought up to go to church, and went to catechism class and so on. Later I started checking out various different churches and even some Eastern philosophy and some other things. But three years ago, I accepted Christ as my Saviour and was baptized. At that time I really started to study the Bible and to have a good, live, working relationship with Jesus Christ.
Spangler: How did you happen to go to Weimar?
Barice: I had a patient who very much needed some help with her lifestyle. She could not seem to break some of her habits, such as smoking, without going away to a program. Someone suggested Weimar. I knew nothing about the institute, but it was recommended highly and seemed as good a place as any to go. My patient, who was also my best friend, said that she would go if I went. At first I said that there was no way that I could do that. But after I thought about it, I told her I'd go with her.
Spangler: When you went, did you take the full 25-day course?
Barice: Actually, while my patient went through the whole program, I had an abbreviated course. I was there about two and a half weeks.
Interestingly, just prior to going to Weimar I had toured the United States to promote my book. While I was doing so, I ran into the book Happiness Digest in two of the hotel rooms I stayed in. The second time I took it with me and never thought anything of it until I came to Weimar and opened the drawer, and there was Happiness Digest.
Spangler: That reminds me, can you tell me a little bit about your book?
Barice: Well, I firmly believe in what I wrote. The book, The Palm Beach Long-Life Diet, presents a total lifestyle health plan for men and women over 50. A lot of the research in nutrition, particularly in recent years, has been suggesting that people over 50 have special nutritional needs. We also know a lot more about nutrition now than people over 50 learned when they were growing up. My book promotes a healthful lifestyle, one that includes a good diet, exercise, stress reduction, and so on. The diet the book suggests—a low-salt, low-fat, high-complex-carbohydrate, low-sugar, relatively low-protein diet—can be used for weight reduction or for maintenance. It follows the recommendations of the United States government. As far as I knew at the time I wrote it, the diet it promotes was extremely healthful; it certainly fit with all the nutrition training that I had had up to that time.
Spangler: You have been promoting this book . . .
Barice: I had been promoting it, yes. I really have done little promotion, done no promotion since I came back from Weimar. I heard nutrition information there that initially sounded radical. But as I listened to it and as I ate the diet, it rang very true. And I couldn't really tear it apart in any way. So I rethought.
Spangler: You reevaluated.
Barice: I reevaluated it. It seemed sound. It really did. And so I adopted it wholeheartedly and started following that diet. And when I did I definitely felt better than I felt when I was following the diet I had recommended in my book.
Recently I was invited to speak to 30 health and beauty editors in New York—but they wanted to hear about The Palm Beach Long-Life Diet. (My book has recently been put out in paperback by the publisher.) The program involved a large honorarium and all expenses, but I declined. For many Americans the diet my book promotes is a lot more healthful than that which they're following now. But I would certainly like for them to hear what Weimar teaches. I believe in this program.
Spangler: You said that when you came to Weimar initially you felt that its program was a bit radical. With all of your training and experience, and even having written a book on the subject, wasn't it difficult for you to give up your preconceived ideas? How long did it take before you began to change your mind?
Barice: I thought I would have a hard time, but I think I began to accept these concepts almost instantly, from the time I heard the first lecture. It just made so much sense. It rang so true that I did not fight it at all. I embraced it and welcomed it.
Spangler: You mentioned that you had a conversion experience three years ago, I believe. The Weimar program intertwines the spiritual so closely with the physical and relates what takes place in our bodies and the whole conflict between Christ and Satan. How did this affect you?
Barice: I thought, This is medicine as it should be practiced. God is the Great Physician, and we're His helpers. I believe that God was trying to tell us this all along. And I felt that I should go out and also give this health message. It seemed to me that that place was a little heaven on earth.
Spangler: Joan, what's it been like to put such a radical change into effect in your own home? How is your husband relating to the food?
Barice: He likes the diet very much. He feels so much better that he welcomes it.
From time to time he mentions that he misses fish or chicken a little. But then he says, "Don't prepare it. I feel so well, I want to stay on this diet."
'Through my experience at Weimar I was able to stop applauding myself, thinking I could do all things through Joan, who strengtheneth me. I arrived there exhausted, burned out. I was the physician bringing my patient, but now I realize that I was unhealthy. I was able to take a look at what I had been doing. Because I had menopausal symptoms, I had been on estrogens for some time. I had been taking various allergy pills because I had some allergies and some migraine headaches. And I had been taking diuretics or water pills to counter act the effects of the estrogen, and I had to take potassium pills to counteract the potassium loss caused by the water pills. I had to bring all these medicines along, and yet I had not even thought about my being sick. Well, in faith 1 was able to stop using all these things because I knew that it would be OK—that I did not need them. I also was able to follow this program in all aspects, not by my own strength.
In a way it has been difficult. But I have been able to follow the program. I've found time to bake bread once a week. And I've taken the time to shop, learn how to cook this way, and to exercise. I know I've not done it through my own strength. But I also can say that I never felt better.
Spangler: You believe in this program. Are you able to incorporate some of these ideas in your medical practice? If so, what kind of response are you getting from your patients?
Barice: Yes, I do try to give this message to my patients. Many of them are not receptive; some of them are. I also have been asked to fill many speaking engagements, usually about my book. What I do instead is to speak about healthful lifestyle, healthful diet, and so on, and give them some of this message.
Now I'm thoroughly enjoying life and just praising the Lord.