August 2015

An Uplifting Interview With Dorothy Torrey

Cape Cod Life  /  August 2015 / ,

Writer: Matthew J. Gill / Photographer: Jennifer Dow 

Sandwich resident spreads the word about healthy eating habits

Sandwich resident spreads the word about healthy eating habits

Photo by: Jennifer Dow

Twelve years ago, Dorothy Torrey was not in a good place. She was depressed—and had been for several years. She was overweight and out of shape, and, as she recalls, “at the bottom of the well.” Then came more bad news: cancer.

Her diagnosis came as a wake-up call, and Torrey did not take the message lying down. However, when her doctors prescribed chemotherapy, radiation, drugs, and a lumpectomy, she chose another route, believing the cancer-killing radiation also kills part of the body at the same time. At the suggestion of a friend, Torrey took a close look at her diet and began to make some dramatic changes. She began to drink green shakes loaded with vegetables, fruits and water; soon, she gave up cheese and other dairy products, and for the most part, chicken, fish, and beef. She supplemented her meals with leafy greens, nuts, fruit, and quinoa. As quickly as she changed her diet, her life began to change—and the results were profound.

Interviewed at her home in Sandwich earlier this summer, the svelte and spritely 73-year-old offered her own dramatic news to report. “I have not had one sick day,” Torrey says, “since my cancer diagnosis [in 2003]. I didn’t look at cancer like a death sentence. I looked at it as a gift to find what was out of balance in my life.”

One of the biggest factors affecting that balance, she says, is one’s daily diet. After adopting her alkalized lifestyle over a decade ago, Torrey says she quickly lost ten pounds without even trying. “Since then,” she adds, “I’ve never had to worry about calories. There’s been a transformation in me, and I love what’s happened.”

Torrey says it was not that difficult to make the changes. “The easiest thing I can do is control the food I’m putting in my body,” she says. “Food was easy, but it’s not just the food. It’s your emotions, spirituality, and attitude.”

Today, Torrey buys organic products and eats most of her food “raw” or uncooked. For breakfast, she might have a smoothie with kale, parsley, avocado, cucumbers, lime, and ginger. To sweeten things up, she might add one-half of an apple. For a fruitier version, she adds blueberries and strawberries to the mix, but holds off on bananas and sugary fruits like peaches, pineapple, and cantaloupe.

For dinner, she eats veggie burgers made from almonds or fiber-rich quinoa. Naturally, she loves salads as well as almonds and pumpkin and sesame seeds. She drinks a ton of water, enjoys almond milk ice cream, and occasionally she’ll allow herself some goat’s milk yogurt.

On the other hand, she does not drink soda or coffee, the latter of which, she says, is 1,000 times as acidic as water. On a rare occasion, she will have ice cream or a cheeseburger, but she says she doesn’t crave these foods. “It is toxic food—believe me,” she says. “I don’t want to have a cheeseburger for nothing.”

Though this regimen may seem extreme, don’t tell Torrey; she enjoys her food and doesn’t feel she’s missing out. “I don’t miss the other food,” she says. “Food has changed so much with the antibiotics. I don’t want to do myself harm anymore. It’s not that I can’t have it, I don’t want it.”

She offered a unique analogy. Humans are accustomed to washing the outside of the body, but when do they clean the inside? When a fish tank gets dirty, fish become sluggish, Torrey says. That’s a sign that the water in the tank needs to be changed, or cleaned. Now, consider the body. “I have cleaned the inside environment,” she says.

Sandwich resident spreads the word about healthy eating habits

Photo by: Jennifer Dow

Years ago, Torrey—whose mother-in-law and sisters Eleanor and Regina all died from cancer—says she asked God that if he wanted her to tell others about the benefits of green drinks and foods, to send her those people. And, she says, he has.

Describing herself as an alkaline lifestyle catalyst and coach, today Torrey enthusiastically organizes and hosts health-related workshops and potluck meals at her home, and has scheduled seminars at the Dan’l Webster Inn and the Barnstable Council on Aging. One such event will take place at St. Mary’s Parish in Barnstable on Friday, September 25, at 7 p.m. That night, Steve Blake, a physician from Hawaii, will give a presentation titled “Reversing Diabetes.” Tickets cost $15.

Torrey is also writing a book on laser breast cancer surgery, which she describes as an option, not an alternative. In February of this year, Torrey underwent this procedure and experienced very little pain—and was out having lunch an hour later.

What is her goal with these various endeavors? “Helping people become awake, aware and alive,” Torrey says. “People don’t know how good it feels to feel so good. Healthy is not ‘denying myself’. It looks good on me. It’s freedom. It allows me to do what I want to do.”

To learn more about Dorothy Torrey and her seminars, visit

Matthew J. Gill

Matthew Gill is the former editor of Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod ART magazines. A graduate of U-Mass Dartmouth, Matthew has worked as a journalist since 2003 and has written on topics ranging from the sinking of Nantucket’s whale ship Essex and the history of the Barnstable-Falmouth Thanksgiving football rivalry, to the Cotuit Rowing Club, Provincetown’s Art’s Dune Tours, and more! A relative newcomer when it comes to the Cape, Matt and his wife Melissa just celebrated a Cape Cod-themed wedding.