I am afraid to die from cancer, and for years I’ve felt doomed to that fate.
My father died from cancer at 46, my cousin at 37, my paternal grandfather, maternal grandmother, and nearly all of my parents’ siblings have had some form of cancer. We often hear of it as an epidemic. It certainly feels that way. And with my family history, it didn’t seem like a question of “if” for me, but “when.” As a mother of four, that scares the crap out of me.
One of the things that grabbed my attention about the whole food plant based lifestyle were the studies and cases of how it not only prevented but slowed, stopped and even reversed the growth of cancer. Because of the mounting proof, I see embracing this way of eating for myself as preventative medicine. Preventing what I truly believed was inevitable; a death sentence.
“Nutrition controls how genes behave.”
-Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Dr. Campbell is one of the leading research scientists behind the health benefits of a whole food plant based diet. You’ll see him in the popular documentary “Forks Over Knives” -which doesn’t refer to just the dinner plate, but to the knives of the operating table.
With nearly 50 years as one of the world’s leading nutrition research experts, Campbell found that consuming animal protein in the American Standard Diet’s recommended amounts (20%) turns on the growth of cancer cells, while removing it from your diet (or lowering it to 5% or less) turns it off. Even in cases where the subject had a higher presence of the cancer gene, when fed an animal product-free diet their cancer cells remained “off,” while those with a low cancer gene fed a high animal product diet had cancer cell growth turned on. (The animal based protein used to test this theory was casein, a protein found in milk. Casein is commonly used in high-protein supplements and bars promoted by the “health” and fitness industry.) Many other studies have been done and found supporting conclusions. Therefore, we are not destined to die of cancer (phew!) Our dietary lifestyle is the number one determining factor.
This morning on my walk I ran into a sweet neighbor. We visit when we have the chance. She brought us homemade cookies over the holidays. It’s always a delight when our paths cross. This morning as we visited, I asked how her husband is doing, he’s been battling cancer for quite a few years now. She teared up, “He’s not doing well.” She went on to share how it’s progressed and spread to new areas, how they are hesitant to operate for fear of it causing immediate death if they mess with it. “He’s my best friend,” she said, through the tears.
Just yesterday I read that a friend from high school died from cancer, leaving her young child without a mama.
I have a hard time when January rolls around, the month my father died. Although it’s been 16 years, that loss is still acute. And this year, with the recent stories that have rippled through my world, it just feel dire.
If there is evidence of such great results from eating a whole food plant based diet in reversing the leading causes of death -heart disease and cancer- WHY are we not hearing about it?! It should be front page news everywhere. It should be the first thing out of doctor’s mouths during annual check ups, let alone in the cardiologist’s and oncologist’s office. But it’s not. It rarely ever is. And it’s not because it’s not true. It’s because there is way, way too much money at stake if we give up the model of reactive medicine instead of preventative treatment by attacking our poor diet FIRST.
Because broccoli is not a billion dollar industry. But freaking cancer is.
This is one of my favorite short videos by Dr. Michael Greger on how a whole food plant based diet attacks cancer. He has a series on them -read his “Doctor’s Note” below the video for more links.
Got a little longer? Here’s Dr. T. Colin Campbell on the effects of animal protein on cancer growth.
And here’s a great article by another major leader in plant based nutrition, Dr. John McDougall, on cancer treatment and prevention through food.