A friend’s recent brush with cancer reminded me of my own triggering event, the experience I can definitively point to and say ‘that’s where it all started’. About two years ago a woman came into the spa I was working at for a massage. She looked perfectly healthy. Late 30’s, slim, attractive, nothing outwardly indicating the battle for her life she’d been waging. It wasn’t until we got into the private room that she began to explain what was going on and why she had come in for a massage. She had recently discovered a small lump in her breast during a self-exam. She’d had regular mammograms that had always been clear, so didn’t think it was serious but went to the doctor to be on the safe side. They discovered seven malignant tumors in her breasts. She had one breast completley removed and a lumpectomy in the other. She began to tell me about how she had changed her lifestyle in response to research she’s been doing on health and cancer treatment and prevention. She said that more and more research was coming forward showing the link between animal protein and cancer, and that exercise was showing promise as not just a preventive, but a treatment. She said that she needed to exercise every day now, because her life depended on it.
I wouldn’t make the change to a plant based diet for another year, but what she did for me that day was to flip a switch in my brain, she turned on my ears. I started paying attention. Lo and behold, there IS a lot of evidence out there that animal protein is highly correlated with cancer. In fact, there’s vast, enormous, overwhelming evidence of it. Why don’t we hear about it? Well, for one, there’s the Dairy and Meat Industries. They are powerful and they wield tremendous influence over public policy at the state and federal level. And for two, most of us just aren’t paying attention to it. It’s there, we’re choosing not to see it. Google cancer + diet and you’ll find page after page after page of credible, peer reviewed scientific studies showing links between cancer and animal product consumption, as well as page after page after page of credible, peer reviewed studies showing a reduced incidence of cancer amongst vegetarians. These studies get reported on by CNN and BBC and numerous other news agencies, and for some reason it just doesn’t seem to register on our collective consciousness.
And then there’s exercise. Did you know that the USDA recommends 60-90 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week? In fact, most credible sources (such as the American Cancer Society) make similar recommendations. Bet you though you could get by with 20 minutes 3 times a week, huh? Two years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of 60 minutes of exercise a day (who has that kind of time?), but I’ll tell you what. I get that now (I aim for 90 minutes, 6 days a week, of strenuous exercise), and it doesn’t seem like all that much any more. I’ve found ways to fit it into my schedule and my body LOVES it. It really isn’t that big of a deal once you’re doing it.
Do you want to know more? Read my favorite book, “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. It’s based on actual scientific research, it’s easy reading, and it’s quite eye opening.