Evidence Based Foods for Fighting Cancer
Every time I’ve made a significant diet/lifestyle change, it was because I reconnected with what motivates me to choose health. I’ve been on and off the proverbial wagon more times than I can count. I’ve gained and lost the same 25 pounds probably a dozen or more times in my life. It can be a challenge to stay dedicated to healthy choices when food is comfort and sweets are life. Maybe that’s why I have some empathy for people with addictions. It’s a safe bet that I’m a food addict.
Switching to a whole food plant based diet required reconnecting with my motivation. That catalyst was my mom’s brain tumor diagnosis. The realization that she was a third generation cancer victim from a family that saw not just her mother and grandfather die from cancer, but also at least one aunt, was a reality check. I know there were some lifestyle factors at play, but still….having that genetic switch on a hair trigger was a game of roulette I was unwilling to play. There’s just too much life left to live to risk having it short-circuited by poor choices when we know what to do. I decided once again to make whatever changes were needed to be sure that trigger wasn’t easily pulled.
I don’t remember the details about how I stumbled on to Dr. Michael Greger and his book How Not to Die during that time, but it was life changing. I paid money for the audiobook and Dr. Greger’s wealth of information, but I soon figured out he was freely sharing tons of research studies and information through his non-profit website nutritionfacts.org. He advocated eating plants as near to their whole form as possible and avoiding animal products as a way to prevent and even reverse a number of chronic health conditions, including cancer. He wasn’t selling nutritional supplements and his book proceeds were reportedly being donated to charity. He was reviewing actual research studies and explaining them in a way that made the concepts easy for me to understand. He acknowledged areas where the research was limited. He taught how to assess the research for bias and to look beyond the headline at the actual comparisons. That information led me to other sources, scientists, doctors, authors and research articles. As a result, I ditched most animal products and really embraced eating plants in the months that followed. I found out he was speaking at a plant based nutrition conference and VegFest in Sedona that year and turned it into a mini 30th anniversary vacation with my husband. While there, I learned about a number of other practitioners and information sources promoting plant-based nutrition for improved health and healing. Incidentally, that was our last adventure before COVID shut down everything, and it was worth every minute and every penny.
Ultimately, I was able to break my final animal food habit when I stopped stress-eating Hershey Nuggets and replaced them with purple grapes. I still stress eat, but what I stress eat is much healthier these days, even in excessive quantities. I have dropped 30 pounds from my last peak and have kept it off for a couple of years now.
I continue to follow the evolving nutrition research through Dr. Greger’s nutritionfacts.org website via the short videos. Today as I was scrolling social media, I saw a link to a video (actually 3 videos) on cancer metastasis from last summer. I am awed by the data and wanted to share that information with you. My hope is that these videos will spark a question, initiate a discussion, or maybe even move someone toward healthier, life saving choices. As epigenetics is teaching us, genes may load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Let me know your thoughts after watching these videos.