BR: Dr. D., could you tell us something about yourself? I mean, where you were born, your parents, your childhood, how many brothers and/or sisters, where you lived? What kind of boy you were.
D’ADAMO: I was born in Brooklyn NY, specifically the neighborhood called Dyker Heights, renowned principally for the garishness of its annual Christmas lighting. My childhood (along with my brother James and sister Michele) was quite bucolic by 1970’s middle class standards. Rock and mineral collections. Butterfly collections. Read a lot of history – a love to this day. I was a ‘tinkerer’ type of kid (a legacy of my father no doubt). Constantly taking things apart and putting them back together. Very fond of electronics, robots, short wave, etc. My childhood friends (most of whom remain my closest contacts) were similarly inclined. We couldn’t afford records, so we would build little sound machines and sequencers and tape-record them: When we got a good groove we’d let the tapes play while we’d dance. We were out of step for the 1960-70’s, but were very much like today’s type of geeky kid.
BR: Where did your ancestors came from? And why did they go to America?
D’ADAMO: My ancestors are Italian on my father's side and Spanish on my mothers. The D’Adamo’s came here fairly early (for Italian immigrants). My mother on the other hand was Spanish -from the province of Lerida, outside Barcelona.
BR: Your father has been very important for your professional choice in life! Could you tell some highlights about the relation to your father, professional and relational?
D’ADAMO: Dr. James D’Adamo is a very cool guy. Perhaps the best thing I can relate to you about our relationship is a story I remember as if it was yesterday. I must have been eight or nine years old, and he was discussing where to locate a small privacy fence with a friend who was helping him build it. I piped in with a suggestion, plus the reason for my suggestion, and I remember looking at his face and thinking ‘Gee, this guy is actually evaluating what I’m saying seriously!’ Very common (perhaps too common) nowadays, but back then nobody actually took anything a kid said seriously. Dad is one of those guys perpetually ahead of the curve, though he doesn’t actually work at it. Just his Aquarian nature, I suspect.
BR: Mothers are vital factors in the lives of their children. Tell us about your relation with your mother.
D’ADAMO: Mom was all earth energy: Very grounded. Yet also very accepting and adaptable. Classic mom of Latin culture. Dinner-time calls down to the basement lab from the top of the stairs when I was brewing something or lost in a book.
BR: Dr. D, you are married to Martha. I met Martha as well last September. She is a great woman! You are a great couple! Please do tell us how you two met, and enlighten us about the secret of your happy marriage!
D’ADAMO: Having been advised by my dad early in my career to not mix business and personal lives, I then proceeded to break that rule the one and only time when I met Martha, who was a patient of the clinic. Secret of a happy marriage: Marry someone that you would not mind being friends with and never get in the way of their growth and development.
BR: You have 2 daughters Claudia and Emily. Are you a nice father to them? Are you at home often enough? How much criticism you get from them? What it is like to be in a female family: you being the only male! Can you survive? If there is, tell us about this female ‘blockade’!
D’ADAMO: My kids would probably tell you that I was home too much! I think I am an indulgent father. Martha recently did some calculations and it appears that I will be in a household simultaneously replete with one spouse in menopause and two offspring in puberty. As far as the male-female thing, I think today’s kid is pretty multi-faceted with regard to gender bending: Both kids love sports, books and games (‘Diplomacy’ is a current favourite) so there are lots of ways they can react with dear old Dad.
BR: Martha is an O. You are an A! O’s stand for rationality, A’s for emotionality! How do you manage?
D’ADAMO: Extra entrees.
BR:You are a very busy man. Books, an encyclopedia, educational courses, lectures to be given, a clinic with patients to attend!! Another book Eat Right 4 Your Baby in the writing stages! Is there time for hobbies? If there is, what is your favourite hobby?
D’ADAMO: Martial arts, woodworking and computer stuff. I enjoy composing electronic music, and wrote several scores for modern dance while in naturopathic school. Charles Dodge once said I was not so much a composer as a 'music systems pre-programmer' -since my hardware skills often created the tools other musicians used to make music, rather than me making the music myself. Now I mostly do it for fun.
BR: Recently I heard that you broke your ankle! How could this happen? Too hasty? Too busy to watch out? Tell us about your temporary handicap!
D’ADAMO: I was practicing a ‘spin back kick’ in a room with a Pergo-type floor. I had just cleaned the floor with a device called a Swiffer. Unfortunately Pergo floors have a tiny amount of Teflon in their coating and the Swiffer leaves behind a trace of a surfactant. Anyway, in the middle of the kick, I suddenly felt as if I was on ice, falling onto my ankle, breaking the fibula and in general making a mess of all the ligaments and tendons. The orthopod pretty much wanted to pin the ankle and put me in a non-walking cast to 4-6 weeks. I asked him to give me two weeks, went home, put my foot up and started pumping in all the nutritional stuff I could think of. Two weeks later: no pin needed. Three weeks later I resumed taking karate class (modified). Four weeks later: discharged. Now, five weeks later, I can do everything except major pivoting. Folks, this naturopathy stuff works.
BR: What was your naturopathic education like?
D’ADAMO: I was in the first graduating class of John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine, now Bastyr University in Seattle Washington. Very different from today’s naturopathic college. No student loans (I worked as a night watchman, insurance examiner and as a sexton in an Episcopal church) no campus (our classes were at Seattle Central Community College) and minimal amenities. Yet I still think we were perhaps the best trained naturopaths of all. Many of our mentors were the ‘classic’ naturopaths of the 1940-50’s- now most dead - and if we were hamstrung as far as things like test tubes and audio-visual machinery, our education was blessed with an indulgence and immediacy from some of the best minds in the field.
BR: Dr. D. you have ‘fans’ all over the world! Will you be planning other author tours, like you did in the past?
D’ADAMO: These are becoming a fact of life for me. I suspect the future holds more book tours, perhaps in the fall or winter.
BR: What does the future hold for Dr. D'Adamo?
D’ADAMO: I'm slowly cutting back on private practice. Although I enjoy it, it leaves very little time for research, which I am itching to resume. Now that Dr. Bronner Handwerger has joined the practice I'm much more secure in knowing that my patients will be treated effectively. He really is a phenomenal doctor. As for me, the availability of an entirely new generation of DNA-based testing systems makes me excited about basic research for the first time in a while. The Institute for Human Individuality at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine will also go on-line this Fall-Winter, so there will have to be a lot of policy-making done with regard to its research agenda as well.
BR: During my stay in your clinic, I was in awe with the way you treat your patients. Such patience and open mindedness towards everyone. I've never seen a doctor so dedicated! Your staff in the clinic are motivated and have worked for you for many years. That shows their dedication to you. We are happy to have you around to watch over our health! Thank you for this interview.
D’ADAMO: Thank you Cocky.
Photograph copyright 2002 Robert Messineo.