BOARD MEMBER INTROSPECTIVE
By Scott C. Tips
“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
When I first met Sayer Ji in person, I was immediately impressed by his quiet but strong demeanor, with intelligent, inquiring eyes that blazed with a deep-set passion for freedom and health that is all too rare these days. I knew at once that he was one of us, someone who would keep fighting for health freedom until his last breath, no matter what. I also knew that he was someone who could be counted upon, a trust that has since been proven time and again.
The Early Years and Influences
Born in a Leap Year and just barely ahead of an autumnal snowfall in Wisconsin, Sayer was fortunate to have been born into a family that was not only loving but gifted. His father had survived the Korean War as a young boy and emigrated to the United States where he became a Professor of Theoretical Biology, teaching at many prestigious universities. This accounts for the family’s many moves during Sayer’s youth, from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, and then on to Dortmund, Germany where Sayer of course learned German as a child. After living several years in Germany, the family moved back to the United States, to the beautiful college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and then finally on to central New Jersey, where Sayer grew up and attended high school, and then college at Rutgers. He always seemed to have intellectual stimulation around him.
So it only seems natural that Sayer’s mother, of Irish-American stock, would be a librarian and an activist in her own right. Now retired, she had worked for many years getting information out to others (which, not surprisingly, is exactly what her son does now through GreenMedInfo). She met Sayer’s father while they were both in graduate school in Upstate New York and it was love at first sight. From that union, a daughter, Mia, was born first and then of course Sayer. Mia’s own strong, nurturing feminine traits gave Sayer the blessing of a “second mother” during his early, formative years.
After his graduation from high school, Sayer enrolled in the Art School at Rutgers University but soon transferred to the main University there, where he earned a B.A. degree in Philosophy. These were four hard years of study but also influential years.
Typically, Sayer’s father and mother were enormous influences in his life; but his father impressed Sayer perhaps even more profoundly. A theoretical biologist, he “induced in me an almost mystical appreciation for science,” as Sayer said. Eschewing the lure of the comfortable corporate research world, Professor Ji turned down the pursuit of lucrative grants in order to focus more on learning and teaching. And so he could continue studying the fundamental unit of biology – the Cell. Money is no lure to Sayer’s father; rather, discovering a biological “Theory of Everything” is his goal. For a man who survived the Korean War, the specter of starvation, and dodged fighter-jet bullets, Professor Ji has demonstrated a will to live and learn with an enduring passion that continues to this very day. But, as the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Early Work Helping Others
Wanting to help others, and even before graduating from Rutgers, Sayer first worked with troubled children. First at the Princeton-Blairstown Center in New Jersey and later at the Mayhew Foundation in New Hampshire and the Eckerd Youth Alternatives in the Florida Everglades, he helped one troubled child after another to regain control and expand the vistas of their lives. Naturally there were failures as not every child can or wants to be helped, but enough troubled children were helped in a very satisfying way that Sayer persisted in this line of work throughout the 1990s. Today, there is no telling how many young adults owe Sayer a huge debt of gratitude for having helped them to straighten out their lives.
Still, as rewarding as his work was, warmer climes beckoned and in the early 2000s, Sayer moved from New York down to Florida. There, he worked as an educator and patient advocate for a chain of health-food stores. As Sayer put it, “I was the guy in the aisles answering questions to anyone who walked in the door.” This work actually foreshadowed his current life’s work with lines forming after every speech of his and he is still answering questions individually and for the World.
This was a natural move for Sayer because of his early childhood interest in maintaining his health, brought on by bronchial asthma while an infant as well as an injury suffered later on as a young child. In fact, having been sick a good part of his early life was a prime motivator for Sayer to get healthy; and with his inquisitive mind, he quite understandably graduated into natural remedies. So, working in health-food stores for a philosophy-degreed graduate was not as strange as it might first have seemed; and it actually tracked his life’s work of helping others.
The Currency of Democracy
Yet Sayer knew that there was a much better way to get health information into the hands of those who needed it. “I could not believe that no one had created an entirely evidence-based and open-access database to support our health industry and its needs, so I created one,” Sayer said. Calling it GreenMedInfo, it is an online, subscriber database containing many thousands of peer-reviewed studies of natural remedies for over 3,100 ailments. In fact, all known cancers are listed and addressed in the database, with 1700 abstracts researched and listed on tumors alone. In many cases, where no one else has an answer to an ailment, GreenMedInfo.com does. There are no fewer than 25,000 articles on Sayer’s website.
However, as Sayer related, “it took me four solid years of working 30 hours a week while holding down a full-time job to develop the GreenMedInfo.com platform. It was neither easy nor cheap to develop and put in place.” He also honestly admits that GreenMedInfo.com is still a work in progress and is far from complete. But then what useful database of growing information is ever complete?
Importantly, Sayer has generously made the GreenMedInfo.com database available to the National Health Federation and spread NHF’s messages and articles about Codex Alimentarius and health freedom far and wide. With GreenMedInfo’s huge subscriber base, this is naturally beneficial to us all. Sayer is fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson in this regard, “Information is the currency of democracy.” And Sayer intends to keep circulating that currency as much as possible so as to enrich the World.
At the same time as Sayer was working full time, and as he was working nearly full-time creating his natural database, and as he was working overtime to write articles such as “The Dark Side of Wheat” that brought him to the attention of Dr. Joseph Mercola, he plunged headfirst into the world of health freedom. Having viewed a video on Codex Alimentarius (the international body establishing food standards and guidelines for the World) in 2007, Sayer clearly saw that “we are in one of our darkest periods now.” As he puts it, “although the latest information is now available through any device on the Planet, health freedom was and is imploding.”
From 2011 to this year, Sayer worked with Dr. Mercola to get the word out about natural health and health freedom. But stating it that way actually belittles Sayer’s influence in the then-Number-1 natural health website in the World, for Sayer was Mercola’s research advisor and top-level editor (meaning that he looked at article concepts just the same as Dr. Mercola did).
Sayer was also asked to and did join the NHF’s Advisory Board as an important NHF advisor. So much so that he was sought out by many Board members, including me, to be on the NHF Board of Governors. Appointed by me to a vacancy on the Board of Governors in February 2015, Sayer was enthusiastically and unanimously confirmed to that position by the Board; and he has been a very active and life-saving Board member ever since.
Plus, Sayer’s vision is so clear. “It’s not really about Big Pharma making money anymore,” he states, “it’s about control.” “Health freedom is precarious and we are about to lose everything if we do not act and act now. We have a whole new way of communicating using the internet and we need to use that system. Everyone should know that NHF is the sole entity fighting for health freedom both nationally and on a global level.”
Health Advocate Too
To Sayer, maintaining one’s balance in life is vital. As he puts it so well, “I think the most important thing that carries us through life whole, healthy, and with a sense of the sacred close by, is our mindset: the way we stay present to our experiences, and one another, remembering always that service is not just a selfless act, but the only one that can truly secure our own happiness.”
His own health regime is a good example to others. When I asked Sayer how he maintains and balances family time so that the burnout typical among health-freedom activists does not occur, he told me, “I love to focus on day-to-day nutrition, exercise, yoga, and meditation as a way to stay centered.” But there was more. “I try to eat an entirely organic diet, minimizing grains, and I leave a good amount of time in the morning to fast, opting for intense exercise before eating, as I find this helps to keep my mind clear and energize me throughout the day. That said, I’m not too rigid and will take rest days and let my body guide me nutritionally so I can let my ‘food be my medicine.’I think it’s also important to be mindful of Nietzsche’s sage advice: ‘Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster ... for when you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’In other words, while we live in dark times, and health freedom seems increasingly under mortal threat, we should remember to try to embody as much peace, strength, and equanimity as possible while we ‘fight the good fight.’”
Curious about Sayer’s deep interest in drumming (largely because I myself am so musically untalented) and yoga, I also asked him about his experiences there. Sayer was typically frank and direct, “I feel like drumming is as fundamental to self-expression and community to me as is having a heartbeat. I think its origins stretch back to the birth of most all civilizations, and that it helps us all – those from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds, and cultures – to experience harmony and unity together in a way that does not require words. My experience with yoga is it can be as simple as just getting a good “stretch” and “work out,” to experiencing the deep union of mind and body. No matter how you enter, it always seems to provide the practitioner some unexpected surplus of benefit once completed.”
That Sayer seems to have the incredible ability and talent to make time for everything in his busy life is a source of constant amazement to others, including me. With all that he does, Sayer still manages to make time for his own family – for his two little girls, Sienna and Bella,of whom he is very proud and whom he loves deeply. To stay close to them, he will not let other activities interfere with family time.
The Final Word
Sayer is such a multifaceted individual that it is hard to summarize him and his life in any short way. That his parents are still involved in his life and very supportive of him and his activities, that he is still as close as ever with his sister Mia, and has two loving daughters, all while he maintains the constant hum of his 48-hour days, speaks volumes about this man. But Sayer, the very able writer and wordsmith, humbly and very typically turns what I consider NHF’s own good fortune in having him on our side into a blessing for him. “I’m just so blessed to have so much support, so many people in my life have helped me to realize my mission with GreenMedInfo.com and as part of the National Health Federation community, so that I can take my best work and combine forces with an organization that has the opportunity to continue to affect massive positive change around the World.” Amen.