Small and seemingly insignificant daily decisions will determine your overall cancer risk. You make decisions every day that either feed or destroy cancer cells living in you right now. Here are a few suggestions for winning this important battle.
I want to offer you a thought that may help change the way you look at your health and hopefully make it easier for you to make better food and lifestyle choices. I’m sure most of you know of Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer. Do you recall past Olympics where he won the butterfly event at the line by taking ONE extra stroke? He won by 1/100th of a second. Or have you seen a bike race where 20 guys cross the finish line after 100 miles of racing, all within 1 second of each other. Or a past Superbowl, where the game was really decided by one play at the end of the first half. The conditioning of these athletes when quantitated would be fractions of a fraction in difference, but it is this very small margin of difference that decides the ultimate outcome. Lets take this analogy and apply it to our day-to-day lives.
I recently heard a lecture by Dr Michael Greger who is a well-respected physician who lectures regularly on the benefits of a high vegetables diet. He scans the literature routinely, as he follows the progress of current studies that speak to cancer prevention via dietary means. I would like to share some of his extraordinary findings. It is a generally accepted notion in medicine that we all have cancer cells growing within us on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean we should all run to an oncologist but we should be aware that these cancer cells are alive and fighting for survival and your immune system is fighting equally hard to try and suppress them. One cancer cell divides into two cells, and then 4 cells and then 8. This process goes on as long as the cancer can continue to feed itself and divide. At 16 or 32 cells it is of no real threat to you. But if it can find the means to divide approximately 32 times it will have expanded to 1 billion cells (roughly 1 cm in size) and at this point is just large enough to be detected by a mammogram or other device depending on what type of cancer it is. So how long does this process take? This entire process will take somewhere between 2 and 100 years. Well which one is it, 2 or 100? That depends on you. The degree to which you feed the cancer determines the rate of growth.
Many of you have heard me speak of my list of cancers favorite foods. Developing a cancer cell is largely an issue of exposure to carcinogens and there is no lack of those in our daily environments. But how fast the cancer GROWS is dependent on how much sugar, insulin, casein protein from milk, and acidity you provide the cell. There are other factors and influences but these are what I consider the easiest to understand and control. Lets look at some more of the research Dr. Greger uncovered.
An experiment was conducted where live breast cancer cells where cultivated in a petri dish in a lab. The scientist then drew blood from women and dripped it on the breasts cancer cells and documented how fast the cancer grew as it was stimulated by the growth factors in the blood. They then had these same women go eat a largely vegetable diet for just 2 weeks. After just 2 weeks of consuming vegetables they again drew blood and dripped it on the same cancer cells. They documented that the cancer cells shrunk by 20% on average. The rate at which these cancers cells were dying increased 30% and their rate of growth decreased. Why? The cancer fighting nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in the vegetables that were now circulating in the blood stream of these ladies was kicking cancer butt. How many vegetables do you eat? How fast is your cancer growing?
Japanese men grow cancer just as efficiently as American men. The rate of occurrence of prostate cancer in Japan parallels American rates. But American men die from prostate cancer at 10 times the rate of Japanese men. Why are American men growing their cancer faster than Japanese men? The Japanese are obviously adhering to a lifestyle and diet that slows the growth of their prostate cancer more toward the “100 year growth plan”, whereas American seems to accelerate the growth to the 2 year plan. Japanese men die WITH their cancer and not FROM their cancer. I think Japanese men are walking and riding their bike to the market to buy more whole foods and less processed foods which slows the rate of their cancer growth. They also eat more fish and get more iodine from seaweed, both factors that reduce prostate growth. Lifestyle and dietary factors are determining the growth rate of these prostate cancers.
The point of this article is not to convince you to lead a Japanese lifestyle or become a vegan. Lets go back to the opening thought, “the narrowest of margins”. You have a battle going on inside of you every day whether you chose to recognize it or not. Your immune system can keep cancer at bay and fight it back but it needs your support. So what will tip the scales? I don’t know. It isn’t ONE thing, it’s everything taken as a whole. Is you water filtered and free of drugs and pesticides? Is your meat organic? Are your vegetables organic? Do you eat enough vegetables? Do you avoid processed foods? Is fast food a regular visitor to your diet? Do you get enough sleep and exercise? Are you constipated? Yes these issues and many more all have an impact on the overall health of your immune system and your odds of keeping those pesky cancer cells away until you’re 125 years old and no longer care.
But here’s the good news. You DO NOT have to be perfect. Perfect is boring and tedious and unappealing. If you had to be perfect to be successful then no one would be successful and only the truly weird would even try. So lets talk about this narrow margin. What if you simply tried to replace two fast food meals a week with a big healthy salad, would that be enough change? Maybe. What if you put a reverse osmosis system on your kitchen tap water, would that do the trick? How much would that slow the growth of cancer? How about exercising just twice a week for 30 minutes, I’m sure that’s less time than you spend watching TV. What if you didn’t get the apple fritter with your morning grande latte and had an apple instead? Would these tiny differences in daily choices add up enough to influence your battle against cancer? I say they are. I believe that we make decisions on a daily basis that ADD UP to mean something collectively as a whole. Don’t wait until next week or next month when you think you’ll have the time to “do it right”. Again I repeat, don’t be perfect just get in the game NOW. Don’t get it right, do a sloppy attempt, screw up from time to time, because we don’t know the day to day status of our immune system vs cancer battle and that one salad might be the narrow margin.
Here are the mind sets that I see from time to time:
- “I’ll start next week when things aren’t so hectic”
- “In order for it to work it has to be done perfectly”
- “I need to get more information and study it before making a decision”
- “I can’t do ALL of that stuff”
When you go to the grocery store, your selected items speak volumes. Are you voting for or against cancer? So go forth TODAY with the intention of NOT being perfect, just try to be 2% better than you were yesterday. That 2% just might push you over the finish line in a winning position by the narrowest of margins.