A little more than a month ago, actress Angelia Jolie stunned the world by announcing through this op-ed in the New York Times, that she was undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. I immediately posted to Facebook, this letter from Dr McDougall and this reaction video from vegan blogger Ellen Jaffe Jones. Both were intended to show women that they have other choices to heal and prevent cancer than traditional medical treatments; that some of those medical treatments (like mastectomy) have not even been proven to extend life (!); and that diet and lifestyle are way more critical to longevity than standard Western cancer treatment give credit.
NOTHING in those 2 pieces was derogatory to Angelina or to the more than 100,00 women, in the US alone, who undergo mastectomies each year. They were just saying there is another way and we should all question the “norm”. Yet many of my beloved followers apparently felt that my hiney-hole was deficient in some way, and in an epic wave of classic Facebook Defensiveness in Commenting, kindly saw fit to tear me a new one.
Among other things, I was called “irresponsible”, “elitist”, “judgmental”. Others attacked Dr John McDougall, who has healed thousands of patients. “He’s a doctor?!” and Ellen Jaffe Jones, calling her “smug and insufferable”.
Now, I am not writing this blog to present myself as the righteously wronged victim. I am done with that behavior through and through. I fully take responsibility for my beliefs and fully do NOT take responsibility for yours. Bear with me while I get to my real point.
On National Doughnut Day, Dr Joel Fuhrman, who heals thousands of people suffering from the ravages of obesity and food-related diseases, posted to his Facebook page, a suggestion that instead of buying doughnuts for the kiddos, parents should take them to the dialysis unit at their local hospital so they can see where doughnut eating gets you. The hundreds of people who apparently lack an understanding of sarcasm, wrote a stream of hate-filled comments accusing the good doctor of all sorts of crimes against humanity. He also got called judgmental and elitist etc etc, so at least I felt like I was in good company!
Then, a few sad days ago, actor James Gandolfini died of a massive heart attack at the age of 51. Just to prove to you that I am capable of learning lessons, I sat on my hands and refrained from posting anything. Over on the Forks Over Knives Facebook page, they posted the simple status update: ”We’re sorry to hear that one of our favorite actors, James Gandolfini, has died.” That’s it. Nothing about his health, his diet, nada, and yet, the usual bevy of snarky comments again about “judgmental vegans” and several pointing out that we cannot know WHY he died and without knowing his diet, how could anyone claim it was a causative factor?
Not to overstate the obvious, but James Gandolfini was obese and he died of a disease directly related to obesity. I think we can safely say why he died. Please read Dr Neal Barnard’s piece called James Gandolfini Did Not Die of Natural Causes.
Do skinny people die young of heart disease? Yes they do. Do vegans ever get cancer? Of course. Not everyone who is thin or a vegan, eats a healthy diet. There is also a lot about human health and those diseases in particular that we do not yet understand. But diet and lifestyle are known factors that can affect heart disease and cancer both positively and negatively. Dr Dean Ornish has been preventing and treating heart disease via dietary change for over 20 years and he is not alone.
What about genes, some of you asked? Aren’t there things in our genetic code that we simply cannot overcome? Maybe, I am not a geneticist, but why just give up with a “It’s genetic, nothing I can do!”? Why not TRY your hardest to prevent the expression of those genes?? You all know that I am working (and succeeding so far, pu pu pu) to prevent the re-expression of diabetes despite a strong family history. I am not alone. Many have succeeded before me.
I think that no one wants to think they can prevent or heal disease through diet because then it becomes their own responsibility.
What I do not understand however, is why encouraging people to improve their diets is so vehemently protested, while feeding tumor-enhancing foods to cancer survivors, like the sticky sweet pastries and full-fat dairy products, I saw on a groaning buffet table at a local cancer fundraiser (sponsored by the woman who called me “irresponsible”) is OK?
Someone is irresponsible here and it aint me!
Look, I am not out to judge anyone’s personal medical decisions. If I were faced with a scary disease like breast cancer, I might very well decide to follow whatever my doctor tells me to do. But if I did that, and the “Wheatgrass not Chemo” crowd was making me feel bad, I would just quietly unfollow them. Different strokes for different folks. Why the anger and outrage?
I believe in dietary healing because of my own experience of healing physical and emotional disorders using food. I believe it because I read the stories of so many who have been cured of diseases their doctors had said there was no cure from. I believe it because I follow the work of the doctors who are doing the healing! I believe it because I see it every single day in my practice!
Those of us who believe that people get well when they eat better, all of us Healthy Living bloggers, health coaches and educators, doctors and nutritionists, we are pursuing this path to HELP people. We have devoted our careers, our time, our passion to helping people have better lives. If you think we are annoying or lack some sort of compassion gene, perhaps you are reading frustration in our tone. It is hard to see that we have cures and we have prevention, but the masses prefer to eat cake and white bread, cheese and animal flesh while yelling about our lack of sensitivity.
Perhaps it’s time to re-direct that sense of outrage and anger and take responsibility for both what we put in our mouths as well as what we let out of them.
If I were as clever and entertaining as Bill Maher, this blog would have sounded like this. But I’m not, so here’s Bill:Pin It