Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Post by Amy from Planting a Seed: The One Surprising Thing That My Dad’s Cancer Did For Me



 I am so excited about this guest post.  Amy is part of Planting a Seed blog that shares different ways to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein into your diet.  In today’s post, she shares her story that inspired her to transition to a plan-based diet.  I think it’s incredible! 

Please be sure to show Amy some comment love!! 
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Greetings, Mommy on the Spot readers!  I'm visiting from PlantingHYPERLINK "http://plantstrongliving.com/" a Seed and I'm honored to be guest blogger today.  Here’s some (plant) food for thought toward achieving a disease-proof lifestyle with my own personal story.

Have you ever felt helpless to cancer?  My guess is that you have.  Too many of us are affected by cancer.  In August of 2009, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  I thought there was nothing I could do for him.  Then his nutritionist told him to start eating an 80% plant-based diet.  That means 80% of what he eats should be vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.  I started researching cancer diets and found data from the Cancer Project that states diet accounts for a minimum of 30% of all cancers.  In fact, some researchers estimate that only 3% of all cancers are genetically driven and the balance lifestyle driven. The idea that I could impact my chances of getting cancer, and could actually reverse cancer by changing my diet was new information for me to digest.  I decided to support my dad, and maybe even do something for myself at the same time, by adopting a plant-based diet.

It wasn’t easy and it didn’t come without some trial-and-error.  It was hard to give up cheese pizza!  In fact, I held on to that cheese pizza, and a few other splurge-worthy foods, for a few months while I was transitioning to a plant-based diet.  Then I read The China Study and discovered that the long-term cancer study described in the book was conducted with dairy products, not meat.  That was the push I needed to give up the cheese.  After all, my reason for adopting this lifestyle was because of my dad’s cancer diagnosis.  I could no longer pick and choose which animal products I would keep and which I would abandon.  I would still love to eat a cheesy slice, but I don’t.  There are plenty of animal foods that my body is wired to crave from years of dietary abuse.  I know in my mind that these foods are not what will make me strong and healthy.  By educating myself on plant-based nutrition, I can easily pass on the temptations now.

In addition to reading books like The China Study, I also joined VegMichigan, and watched documentaries like Forks Over Knives to help me learn more about plant-based nutrition.  If these sources were not convincing enough, then the results of my 2010 physical certainly were.  My cholesterol dropped from 205 to 140!  I didn’t even think I needed to lower my cholesterol because I had always been told that the ratio of HDL-to-LDL was good.  Now that I look back on that, I cannot believe that I was not alarmed at my cholesterol level.  I rested on the fact that my cholesterol level was “genetic” and thought I couldn’t do anything about it.  I’ve recently been reading Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet and have learned the importance of a cholesterol level below 150 for the best protection against heart disease.  My cholesterol-lowering experience is not unique.  Many people are reducing their cholesterol, reversing Type 2 diabetes and halting cancer by adopting a plant-based diet.

It’s been two years and seven months since my dad’s diagnosis.  For now, chemotherapy and radiation seem to have controlled his cancer.  I am sad that my dad and family had to go through the experience of cancer.  Certainly he feels lucky that his was treatable.  I feel lucky to have improved my health and discovered a new way of living through his experience.  My goal is to lead others toward a plant-based lifestyle for improved health and disease prevention.

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