It seems the trend for celebrities to go public with their health problems these days, and I feel that this can be a double-edged sword, as they are high-profile and role models to many people. I am thinking in particular of the popular TV presenter Amy Robach, who has just announced that she has had a double mastectomy, following her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. The presence of cancerous cells were revealed following a routine mammogram. The news comes not that long after Angelina Jolie' s announcement in May 2013 that she also has had a preventative double mastectomy (she had been diagnosed with an 87% chance of contracting the disease, due to her family history).
I note that neither Ms Robach nor Ms Jolie are vegans (although Angelina is a former, lapsed vegan). This is surely significant as vegans statistically have a much lower chance of contracting all kinds of cancers than omnivores (that is not to suggest that vegans never get cancer though, admittedly). However all of the research I have found on the subject strongly suggests that a vegan diet is one of the best preventative actions in the beating cancer, both in preventing it and even curing it if you already have it. ( I wrote a former blog for this website related to this entitled: Can A Vegan Diet Cure Cancer?) Not only do vegans have significantly lower rates of cancers than omnivores, but there have been cases of people who have already contracted cancer curing it by adopting a vegan diet, and taking herbal supplements (I give an example of this in my aforementioned blog). It has been scientifically proven that cancer cells can only survive in an acidic environment, and meat, dairy products and eggs are all highly acid-forming.
The reason for this is that apparently animal proteins in milk, dairy and eggs are the fertilisers, as it were, that help cancer cells in the body to develop. This is particularly true regarding dairy products and breast cancer. The hormones in milk are in part to blame as they actually encourage the growth of cancerous mammary cells! Adult humans are not naturally meant to drink milk in any case, since it is biologically designed as a food for calves (i.e. babies of the cow species, not adults of the human). Dr Colin T Campbell states in his influential book The China Study how clinical studies have shown that the incidence of breast cancer is associated with animal fat intake but not plant fat intake. In particular casein, the protein found in dairy products, which makes up 87% of cows' milk protein, strongly feeds tumours, whereas plant proteins do not. To quote from the The China Study, findings from a study carried out by the University of Illinois Medical Centre :
“The research showed that increasing intakes of casein promoted the development of mammary (breast) cancer, through the female hormone system.. The results of these and many other studies showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen.”
(The “initiating carcinognen” is, for example, some kind of harmful chemical which enters the body, like traces of a pesticide that has been used on a food product, for example, which can then cause the abnormal cell division characteristic of cancer). So a vegan diet is considered optimum in avoiding cancer, and Campbell actually asserts that only around 2-3% of all cancers can be attributed to genes. As a result he is a strong advocate of this preventative nutrition theory (he went vegan himself, as a consequence of all his research).
So knowing all this, I am definitely staying vegan for life! (and I would still be vegan for the animals anyway, even if not for my health!)
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.