With each passing day, the data mounts as to the effectiveness of a plant based diet on the prevention and reversal of many of our common western degenerative diseases. It is well known that eating a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet can prevent and reverse diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction and stroke. Names like T. Colin Campbell PhD., Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. MD, Dr. Dean Ornish MD., Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD., Dr. John McDougall, MD., and many more have all proven this in their patients over the last 40 years.1,2 Wondering what a “Whole Food Plant Based Diet” means?
A WFPB diet focuses on eating whole plant foods, both raw and cooked, as close to their whole form as possible. This diet excludes animal protein, including, but not limited to, red meat, chicken, pork, fish, milk, cheese, seafood, eggs, and butter. Also, it looks to minimize or eliminate processed foods including oils. An emphasis is made on, organic, non-GMO foods, but this is not mandatory.
Although we often hear about the benefits of a WFPB diet in the treatment of the major western diseases, the benefits against cancer seem to still be buried. In the next few paragraphs I’d like to bring to the surface some of the data that’s out there.
In 1958 Dr. Max Gerson’s book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, documented his protocol for reversing cancer with a strict plant based diet, organic juices, and colon enemas.3 The Gerson Institute, now overseen by Charlotte Gerson, continues the 60-year-old clinical protocol of Dr. Gerson, by treating advanced stage cancer patients. In her book, The Gerson Therapy, she documents case after case of cancer remissions using fresh vegetable juices, a whole food plant based diet, and supplements.4
In The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell states, “Using diet as an effective treatment of already-diagnosed disease has well been documented in human studies with advanced heart disease, clinically documented type 2 diabetes, advanced melanoma, and in experimental animal studies on liver cancer.”2 As arguably the greatest study on diet and disease ever, and with 2 million copies sold, this study revealed the startling fact that animal protein had the ability to turn cancer off and on.2
Piggy backing off the findings of The China Study, Dr. John Kelly, a conventional family practitioner, decided to do his own WFPB diet experiment with his willing cancer patients. The results documented in Stop Feeding Your Cancer, were no less than amazing. Those who adhered to the diet saw complete reversals, shrinkages, and halted progression of cancers such as colorectal, brain, and bladder.5
In regards to breast cancer, Dr. John McDougall, M.D., in The Starch Solution, highlights Ruth Heidrich who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that had spread throughout her body.1,6 In 1982 she was a patient in his study that specifically used a WFPB diet as treatment for breast cancer. Fortunately for Ruth, she not only survived, but went on to complete 6 ironman triathlons, 67 marathons, and collected hundreds of running trophies.7
Dr. Lorraine Day, an orthopedic surgeon and former Chief of Orthopedic surgery at San Francisco General Hospital, recovered from Stage IV, terminal breast cancer simply using a raw whole food plant based diet and juicing.8
Dr. Kelly Turner, PhD., in her New York Times bestseller, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, takes an investigative journey into 1500
documented medical cases of radical remissions of cancer. “Radical Remission” is the term that the medical field gives to miracle cancer healings. Most of these testimonies cite a WFPB diet and juicing as a major factor in their remission.9
I know this may seem hard to believe, in world where 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but the Hunza people of Pakistan live a completely cancer free existence. The Hunza eat a diet of all organic beans, grains, vegetables and apricots with no access to processed food.10
More studies have been performed on plant derived compounds for the use in cancer treatment than any other sources. Fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of different nutrients with properties that could make it more difficult for cancer to start, develop, or grow.14 These nutrients include carotenoids, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, flavonoids and various other phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants).11
Treatment with diet takes the opposite approach to the current medical treatment protocols such as chemo. Chemo uses chemical treatments to destroy any fastgrowing tissues, be it healthy or cancerous, leaving the body completely depleted. Flooding the body with nutrients, cutting out toxic foods, and allowing the body to lose weight and heal itself is the goal of treatment with a WFPB diet.
If you’re like me you’re thinking, why haven’t I heard of this? I thought the only treatments were chemo, radiation, and surgery. Well, this is a more complicated topic. Put simply, the $150 billion a year cancer machine has something to do with it.12 After all, what profit is there in treating cancer with fruits and vegetables?
In the past, data like this was much more difficult to access. Before the internet, the medical industry had a much easier time keeping this data quiet. Times are drastically changing though. Without much effort, one can now access a plethora of peer reviewed studies, books, blogs, YouTube’s, and TED talks, and be instantly exposed to a whole new world of data not policed by “Big Pharma”.
I believe we are seeing the birth of a cancer treatment revolution. From 1970-2002
the death rate from cancer has only decreased by 5 deaths per 100,000, despite spending nearly $1 trillion.13 I’d say we are ripe for a system overhaul. A Whole Food Plant Based diet, with an emphasis on preventative nutrition, seems to be our promising new frontier.
- John McDougall, MD., Mary McDougall, Starch Solution, New York, NY, Rodale, 2012
- Colin Campbell PhD., Thomas M. Campbell II, MD., The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, Dallas, TX., BenBella Books, 2006
- Max A. Gerson, MD., Gerson Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, San Diego, CA., The Gerson Institute, 6th Ed., 1958, 2008. 448pg.
- Charolette Gerson, Morton Walker, DPM, The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Guide for Cancer and Other Illness, New York, NY., Kensington Publishing Corp. 2001,2006.
- John Kelly, Stop Feeding Your Cancer, Dublin, IR., Pentheum Publishing, 2014.
- McDougall JA. Preliminary study of diet as an adjunct therapy for breast cancer. Breast.1984;10:18-21.
- http://ruthheidrich.com/, 2017, Accessed 1-27-17.
- http://www.drday.com/, 2001-2017, Accessed 1-27-17.
- Kelly A. Turner PhD. Radical Remissions: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, San Francisco, CA., Harper One, 2014.
- Robert McCarrison, MD. Faulty Food in Relation to Gastro-Intestinal Disorder, JAMA, Vol 78, No. 1, Jan. 7,1922.
- Plants Against Cancer: A Review on Natural Phytochemicals in Preventing andTreating Cancers and Their Druggability. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017674/, Accessed 1-28-17.
- The Cancer Drug Industry Just Hit $100 Billion and Could Increase %50% in the Next Four Years, http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2015/05/05/cancer-drugsales-approach-100-billion-and-could-increase-50-by-2018/#37608a6670f4 ,Accessed 1-29-17.
- Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Trends in the leading causes of death in the United States, 1970-2002., JAMA. 2005 Sep 14;294(10):1255-9.