While doing some reading on Dr. John McDougall's website, I came across a list of 10 recommended dietary changes that can help to reduce cancer risk and reverse cancer in patients already feeling the effects. This is some seriously powerful stuff, and goes to show how a whole foods, plant-based diet can really have a positive impact on our bodies. In this specific case, reducing the risk of cancer (or effects of cancer) is powerful given how many of us have lost important people in our lives to the cancer battle. It is great to know that it is, for many, avoidable and treatable by changing our dietary core.
If you are not aware, Dr. McDougall (author of The Starch Solution, a personal favorite) advocates a low fat, no oil, starch-based, plant diet. To your average person this may seem extreme, and I could understand why you would feel that way, but I would like to suggest that extreme measures can be called for when the outcome is also extreme.
Who would have imagined that diet and lifestyle changes can literally renovate our lives, when we live in a world populated with doctors that like to push prescription medications as the "cure"?
Dr. John McDougall's Ten Recommended Dietary Changes to Beat Cancer
- Losing weight: Obesity increases not only the risk of getting cancer, but overweight people die sooner from their cancers.
- Cutting out meat: This removes substances known to cause cancer progression.
- Stopping cow's milk: This removes substances known to cause cancer progression.
- Reducing intake of growth stimulants: Animal foods of all kinds increase growth factors (IGF-1, etc.) for cancer progression.
- Giving up vegetable oils: Isolated corn, safflower, olive, etc. oils will encourage tumors to grow faster (than do animal fats).
- Avoiding consumption of cancer-promoting chemicals (environmental carcinogensand persistent organic pollutants).
- Increasing immune system enhancing plant components called phytonutrients.
- Growing healthy intestinal bacteria to enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
- Increasing intake of anti-cancer plant sterols.
- Raising the consumption of cancer-fighting folates. As the root word "foliage" implies, these substances are from plants.
The main reason why I advocate for a plant-based diet is because I have seen it's influence on my own life - both in the short and long term.
There are many diets out there that can provide short-term relief - maybe help you drop some weight or feel a little less pain, but the results tend to be temporary - and often relapse happens so strongly that you can end up in a worse place than you began. It is rough hearing stories like this and hard not to feel sympathetic - after all, if a person is making a real attempt at bettering their life, I'd like to think they deserve some credit and relief.
I have found the WFPB diet to help lay a foundation for a healthier life. Having lost my younger brother to cancer, this particular condition really hits home. I am aware that, like many diseases, there are sometimes instances that are unavoidable. Rapid growth of a tumor and a quick decline in health and death shortly after sometimes happens - no matter the diet or lifestyle. However, a plant-based diet can be a significant preventative measure. As Dr. McDougall addresses on his website, it also has the power to reverse cancer and cause it to go into remission, which is a substantially powerful thing that needs to be advocated more in the modern world where cancer has become synonymous with chemotherapy.
With these 10 dietary recommendations in mind, I'd like to acknowledge how some requirements are filled passively (simply by adopting a WFPB diet), and others require more effort. For example, item #10 occurs naturally with this diet, as a large portion of plant-life provides cancer fighting folates.
On the opposite end, reducing meat and dairy consumption may be some of the more difficult tasks for some people.
There has been an increase in research into the negative effects of both of these food categories - and in the long-term consumption of animal products is not really biologically sustainable. As humanity has shown, we have the power to wipe out entire species of animals, and it has the potential to happen both directly (through the slaughter of animals for food) and indirectly (as a result of big meat and dairy industry and the resulting devastation to natural resources).
From my perspective, these 10 dietary recommendations seem very simple, given that I have been adhering to this lifestyle for 3+ years now and have reaped many benefits. But for others, it might seem like a huge hill to climb.
What do you think about Dr. McDougall's 10 diet recommendations? Have you tried it out before?