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Gabriel Cousens

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Gabriel Kenneth Cousens
Cousens in 2007
Kenneth Gabriel Cousens

(1943-05-14) May 14, 1943 (age 81)
EducationAmherst College (1965)
Columbia Medical School (1969)
Medical career
Sub-specialtiesHomeopathy, raw foodism

Gabriel (born May 14, 1943) is an American homeopath, rabbi [1] and practitioner of holistic medicine. In 1976, Cousens legally changed his name from Kenneth Gabriel Cousens to Gabriel. Cousens advocates live foods therapy, a nutritional regimen which he says can cure diabetes,[2] depression[3][4] and other chronic degenerative diseases. He is the founder of the "Essene Order of Light", a spiritual organization based upon teachings from the Jewish Kabbalah, the Torah, and modern interpretations of the Essenes. The Essenes are a mystical group from the second century B.C.E. who lived in community, eschewed materialism and grew their own food. The modern Essene movement was founded by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, a religious scholar who promoted a simple holistic lifestyle of meditation and raw vegan eating and published several books on the Essenes in the early 20th century.[5] Essene Order of Light is taught by Cousens at "Tree of Life Foundation," an organization directed by Cousens and headquartered at its "Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center" in Patagonia, Arizona.[6][7] Cousens has authored nine books and tours internationally promoting his ideas on food and his spiritual beliefs.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Cousens grew up in Highland Park, Illinois.[9] As a freshman at Amherst College, he designed a heart lung machine and spent two summers doing leukemia research.[10] He graduated from Amherst College in 1965 with a B.A. in biology, where he was a football lineman/guard/middle linebacker and co-captain of the 1964 football team.[11] That year he received a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.[10] He earned his medical degree from Columbia Medical School in 1969, and he completed his residency in psychiatry in 1973.[9][12][self-published source?]

Cousens says he switched to a vegetarian diet around age 30,[9] after which he began teaching meditation. In 1974 he went to India to study with the swami Muktananda (1908-1982), staying for seven years.[13] He returned to the United States in 1981 and studied Kabbalah and the Essenes, becoming ordained in 1988.[6]

Tree of Life Foundation and Rejuvenation Center[edit]

The Tree of Life's restaurant in Patagonia, Arizona

Cousens founded the Essene Order of Light in 1992,[6] and the following year he established the Tree of Life Foundation as a federal tax-exempt religious organization. The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, located in Patagonia, Arizona,[14] was founded in 1994 as a health retreat which offers raw food education,[15] fasting, and nutrition.[citation needed] Cousens is an ordained Rabbi[16] and offers workshops on spiritual Judaism.[17] His newest book, Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment, published through North Atlantic Books, is a commentary on the Torah from a Kabbalistic perspective. Cousens founded a not for profit organization called the Essene Order of Light which teaches "modern Essene living".[18][19] He outlined his philosophy in his book Creating Peace By Being Peace.[20]

Cousens has advocated a raw food diet for babies and children.[21] He instituted a study of the medical history of infants and children and advocates for raw food education.[22] A 2009 documentary, Simply Raw, followed six people with diabetes who go through a thirty-day raw vegan program in an attempt to cure their disease with a raw food diet and without drugs.[23] Surgeon and alternative medicine critic David Gorski said that Cousens and the film both grossly misrepresented the modern medical approach to diabetes. Gorski described Cousens works as promoting vitalism and other discredited principles.[24]

Legal actions[edit]

In 1994, California revoked his license to practice for "excessive prescribing", but based on a form of plea bargain this revocation was stayed for three years probation.[25] In consequence of the California decision, New York also required him to return his license.[26] Cousens' license in California was later reinstated, but not in New York. Because of this, he is not eligible for a medical license in Arizona.[27]

In 1998, 57-year-old Charles Levy of New Jersey died after being treated at the center over a five-day period. The cause of death was determined by the Santa Cruz County Medical Examiner, who along with the Arizona Medical Board attributed the death to a gas gangrene infection caused by "bovine adrenal fluid" injections given by Cousens as part of a treatment for fatigue.[27][28][29] The autopsy also found that Levy had hepatitis, encephalomyelitis, and coronary atherosclerosis.[28] Levy's son said that his father was healthy, able to run three miles, not overweight, and had no high blood pressure at the time of his visit to the spa, and the family sued for malpractice.[27] Cousens settled the suit for an undisclosed amount paid to the family.[27] The case came up before the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners in 2001. Despite the medical examiner's report and testimony, then Board Chairman Bruce Shelton said he "found no medical fault with Dr. Cousens' care of" Levy and the board found "no violation of homeopathic law" in Cousens' treatment.[27][29] Cousens argued that the medical examiner had misdiagnosed the cause of death, which he said was toxic shock unrelated to the injections, a claim that the Levy family attorney called "outrageous".[29]


  • Conscious Eating. Vision Books International, 1994[30]
2nd edition North Atlantic Books, 2000 OCLC 40311543
  • Tachyon Energy: A New Paradigm in Holistic Healing, with David Wagner. North Atlantic Books, 1999 OCLC 45162219
  • Depression-Free For Life: An All-Natural, Five-Step Plan to Reclaim Your Zest for Living, with Mark Mayell. William Morrow & Co., 2000 OCLC 46801470
  • Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, North Atlantic Books, 2003 OCLC 52377528
  • Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini. North Atlantic Books, 2005.
  • Creating Peace by Being Peace: the Essene Sevenfold Path, North Atlantic Books, 2008 OCLC 192109603
  • Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment, North Atlantic Books, 2011 OCLC 687655506
  • There is a Cure for Diabetes, Revised Edition: The 21-Day+ Holistic Recovery Program, North Atlantic Books, 2013 OCLC 799024775
  • Conscious Parenting: The Holistic Guide to Raising and Nourishing Healthy, Happy Children, with Leah Lynn. North Atlantic Books, 2015


  1. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-berkeley-farm-hosts-a-modern-essene-ceremony/amp/
  2. ^ "Diabetes is curable - Dr Cousens". (3 August 2011) Ghana News Agency. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Depression-Free for Life". (Review, 6 March 2000) Publishers Weekly, pp. 100-1. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Depression-Free for Life". (Review, 1 April 2000) Library Journal, p. 123.
  5. ^ Schneider, Claire (February 2004). "The echanted gardener". No. February 2004. San Diego Jewish Journal.
  6. ^ a b c Melton, J. Gordon, et al, eds. (2009) Encyclopedia of American Religions. Gale, p. 798.
  7. ^ Innes, Stephanie. (18 July 2004) "Feeding the Hungry Soul" Arizona Daily Star.
  8. ^ "About" Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine Dr. Cousens' Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Gabrielcousens.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Condor, Bob (1994-10-06). "Before Chowing Down, Think about What You're Eating". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  10. ^ a b Litsky, Frank (8 December 1964). "Football Honors the Brains Among Its Brawn; 11 Scholar-Athletes to Get $500 Each for High Grades". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Meir, Dennis (23 November 1964). "Jeffs Finish Perfect Season; Team Gives Credit To Coaches". The Amherst Student.
  12. ^ autobiography Archived 2012-04-06 at the Wayback Machine Dr. Cousens' Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Gabrielcousens.com. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Fasting – and learning – with the mythbuster". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  14. ^ "Journeys; No talking. No fun. It's called a vacation". The New York Times. January 16, 2004. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  15. ^ Pohlman, Katie. "The raw deal: Jodi Stephens switches to raw, organic food". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  16. ^ "Modern Jewish pioneers flock to Patagonia". Arizona Jewish Post. June 17, 2010.
  17. ^ Encyclopedia of American Religions – Page 821 J. Gordon Melton
  18. ^ J. Gordon Melton (2003). The Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th ed.). p. 821. ISBN 9780787663841..
  19. ^ Donley, Kelli M. (December 14, 2007). "3 Arizona retreats to refresh your spirit". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  20. ^ Cousens, Gabriel (2008). Creating peace by being peace : the Essene sevenfold path. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781556437229.
  21. ^ Cousens, Gabriel (2005). "Preface". In Lynn, Michaela; Chrisemer, Michael (eds.). Baby greens: a live-food approach for children of all ages. Berkeley, California: Frog. pp. ix–x.
  22. ^ "Raw food diet: half-baked idea for kids?". azcentral.com. Columbia News Service. March 19, 2006. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  23. ^ Welte, Jim (August 23, 2009). "San Rafael man touts raw food in new documentary". Marin Independent Journal. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  24. ^ Gorski, David (17 January 2011). "Simply Raw: Making overcooked claims about raw food diets". sciencebasedmedicine.org. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  25. ^ Medical Board of California (July 1994). "Action Report" (PDF). p. 15. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Final Actions". Log In. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e Dickerson, John (April 10, 2008). "Arizona's homeopathic board is the second chance for doctors who may not deserve one". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  28. ^ a b Sandal, Inger (June 24, 1999). "Homeopathic doctor sued over death linked to bovine-fluid shots". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  29. ^ a b c Sherwood, Robbie (October 9, 2005). "Homeopath patient's death debated despite Ariz. board clearing doctor". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  30. ^ "Downshifting At Dinner". Orlando Sentinel. September 12, 1996. Retrieved 2012-03-28.

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