BRIDGING THE GAP
RESEARCH and PRACTICALITY
The effects of diet on cancer. A topic like that always seems to capture everyone's attention. Cancer is one of the most feared diagnoses in America; virtually everybody knows somebody who has cancer. Each year millions of dollars is spent on cancer research and each year more than 553,000 Americans die from cancer: that's more than 1500 cancer related deaths per day.
What if you found out that there was a way to slow down, or even prevent, cancer? What if you knew this way was affordable and didn't require any shots or medications? What if that same thing could prevent and reverse heart disease (the number one killer of Americans), osteoporosis, kidney stones, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, and even slow autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Type I diabetes? You would do it, right? You'd be enthusiastic about it and say, "sign me up!" with no hesitation. But then you find out that this cure-all is a whole food, plant-based diet and suddenly you aren't so enthusiastic. Most, even physicians, are skeptical and resistant to change. You decide that it would be too difficult to change your diet and in another five years you find yourself battling heart disease and macular degeneration and find life in general to be difficult.
Most Americans have grown up eating meat, poultry, dairy, and refined sugars: this is the normal American diet. What's not so normal is the amount of disease in this country especially considering our status as a civilized, wealthy society. We are dying of what are deemed "diseases of affluence" and central to the issue is our diet. Unfortunately this isn't well publicized because of the power of certain agricultural and special interest groups. In other words, the knowledge is out there but is hidden for the sake of economics. It should seem ironic, then, that the annual economic cost of diabetes alone is upwards of $98 billion.
So, the question is, how do we educate ourselves? The first thing to do is get more information. T. Colin Campbell, PhD. has devoted his life to studying nutrition and his book The China Study is, as is stated on the cover, "the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted." In his book, Dr. Campbell discusses the findings of thousands of scientific research studies as they relate to diet and disease. Thousands of studies. This is the best information available to anyone interested in longevity and quality of life. The research is fascinating and the results are undeniable. One need not be a science major to understand the way the book is written. In addition to the research and hard evidence, Dr. Campbell shares why this information is not widely publicized and tips on how you can start leading a healthier life. It may seem like a difficultadjustment at first but so are cancer and osteoporosis. Done step-wise, a shift to a whole foods, plant-based diet is easy and will provide you health into old age. Lastly, unlike disease, you and all the people you love will benefit from the change.
Written by Natalie Noto, B.A. Kinesiology, Occidental College.