Food as Medicine

Why Food Could Be the Best Medicine of All Source: Zachary Zavislak for TIME

Suggested Reading: Why Food could Be the Best Medicine of All – Time Magazine

Today’s societies are faced with so many “dooms-day” stories about what life will be for humans on this planet for the generations of tomorrow; and the outlook does n’t look very good.  We have environmental emergencies, robots taking over our jobs, our government serves the corporations not its citizens, looming financial disasters, healthcare is in shambles. unsustainable and so on.  One thing that consistently remains no matter who or what we blame, [whether it’s  the neoliberal or a capitalist society], the advice we are given is that we need to “change the system”!

We need to breakdown healthcare and rebuild, breakdown our tax system – rebuild for tomorrow’s landscape, we need change in government, we need a whole new plan for the environment, we need a whole new way of living in order to save the planet!  And all these systems need to be broken down and rebuilt from scratch all at the same time as they are forecasted to fall apart in complete disaster all at the same time.  Kind of like a domino effect.  The thought of taking on the daunting task of implementing a new plan for each of these industries to start from scratch with all these major systems in the short space of time that we have, when we ourselves don’t even have the answers, can be quite overwhelming.

If these systems are so integrated and interrelated one would think by focusing on one system and by bringing it to a healthy completion it would naturally, and positively, affect the other systems that are impacted  and interlocked.  And if we choose to work on the industry that has the farthest reach (such as healthcare) and/or the most impact in the interlocking systems, by working solely on that industry will;

a) give us a formulaic/structural blue print or a mechanism for which we can use on the other industries; and

b) the positive affects from the change that was engaged would have an impact into other areas so that the levers can move forward in reforming the next industry.

It’s a theory I have and I thought to investigate my point with medicare.

Our society is based on the consumption of consumers – both directly and indirectly.  Fixing Medicare and creating pharamacare is integrated and can affect a few industrial sectors: food, pharmaceutical, agriculture, environment, taxes, real estate, housing, transportation, hospitality/tourism, mining, law, robotics,  (robotics , drones and nanotechnology), importing and exporting.

Taxes, Law and Legislation

To fix medicare and bring in a national pharmacare we first need to look where’s the money coming from and that would be our tax base.

For example in the video below the speaker says:  “medicare has already bankrupted the United States they will need $8 trillion invested in Treasury bills just to pay the interest and they precisely have zero. They could shut down every school, army, navy, air force, home land security, marines, CIA and FBI, and they still won’t have enough money to pay their doctor bills.”

In Canada, the Canadian Federal Council has estimated its plan for pharmacare that will add $3.5 billion (approx.) in new costs to cover a short-list of essential medicines, rising to approx. $15.3 billion to cover a government determined comprehensive list of drugs.  And that’s just the cost of implementing pharmacare there’s another set of costs to fix and expand medicare to include additional services (i.e. dental, physio, emergency services, home care and mental health).  Remember, medicare is a budgetary piece of legislation about how to allocate funds to the 14 health ministries across our country and to do that we would most definitely have to reopen  our constitution for adjustments, additions and to make changes.  For example, we can look at keeping the 14 health ministries or merge them to make one super ministry for which in the end might be more cost efficient to manage in unison with a national pharmacare plan  under the stewardship of the same “super ministry”.

We are looking at the prospect of a shrinking tax base as the generations get older and the baby boomers die off,  the next generations aren’t having enough babies and many jobs will replace humans with robots who don’t pay taxes. Many in the next generation will be displaced.  If we use universal basic income (would theses recipients pay taxes?)  that will also eat into our current tax base –  we need to demand and expand today (while we still reap income from the baby boomer generation) to reinvest for tomorrow– yes, for tomorrow, the money might not be there.   Additionally, we don’t need to raise taxes – at least not in the name of healthcare – the money is already there; although in the end we’d probably have to raise taxes for something else such as the environment – but not in the name of healthcare.  Therefore, we need to aggressively go after tax evaders and be very careful in handing out leniency to corporations.  For example:

CBC reported “the Canada Revenue Agency in 2017-18 wrote off $2.7 billion in taxes owed. That’s the largest single-year sum written off by the CRA since the $2.8 billion it abandoned in both 2014-15 and 2013-14. The agency says that writing off a tax debt does not relieve a taxpayer of the obligation to pay — but it does mean no legal action will be taken unless the taxpayer’s situation improves.”and “In 2017-2018, the CRA resolved over $57.8 billion in tax debt, of which less than five (per cent) was written off.”

The $133 million write-off by the CRA was approved by CRA Commissioner Bob Hamilton in the same period that saw a March 2018 write-off of a government bailout loan to the now-bankrupt Chrysler corporation. That write-off was approved by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and never announced, though CBC News later confirmed that the defunct Chrysler was the firm involved. It’s not clear whether the two write-offs are related, though excise taxes are applied to the auto industry. “[I]f a company took a taxpayer subsidy, then that triggers a higher right to transparency for taxpayers,” he said. “If it is indeed for the Chrysler write-off, it’s another kick in the teeth to taxpayers who have lost billions on the auto bailouts. It’s a cautionary tale for those who insist these kinds of subsidies are ‘good investments.'”

Now think about how some of that money could have been reinvested into our healthcare system, or a national child care program, or installing pharmacare, or helping First Nations and indigenous strengthen their communities, or eradicating student loans .  Think of the “domino” affect in CRA would operate;  they’d have to change their internal practice to accommodate for a budget demand for the installation of a national drug plan that includes a depository.  Think of the domino affect of a government ceasing to pander so closely to corporations and their lobbies but instead provides better quality of service to its people.  To help mitigate the growing need in healthcare requires a different way in which government operates.  The domino affect would be greatly felt and benefited in other areas of government.

What is the hospital for? Why do we do we go to the doctor?

We go to the hospital or see a doctor because we are are either internally sick or physically injured.

Outside of accidents and victims of crime, not much could be said for physical injuries except to exercise regularly, stretches and what not to keep your body nimble to respond positively to bodily stress and to prevent severe physical injuries.  To stay healthy and strong against sickness [and out of the hospitals] we have to watch the foods that we eat to ensure that we are receiving the best quality and nutritional content to keep us healthy.  This is even true for physical injuries for the foods that we eat can expedite our healing, recovery and prevent future degeneration that might be caused by the physical injury itself (i.e. arthritis).  Western society’s diet sees the act of eating only as an activity designed to supply energy to the body, without regard for its impact on health.  Because of this “Western” diet we face three health tsunamis, that our current (and future if we don’t prepare) medicare system cannot sustain; dementia, diabetes, and obesity.  We now are challenged to be proactive and change our thinking about eating to thinking about our food not only for energy but also as medicine.  We will be discussing this further in the paragraphs below.

[Cancer Nutrition Archives – Michelle Tolmay]
When we seek to improve our health system, and identify industry sectors that will be impacted by these changes, besides the tax sector; the next largest  industry sector that would be affected by healthcare changes should naturally have us turning our attention to  agriculture and the environment for which we grow our food – our medicine.

Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life

The recognition of the therapeutic potential of many plants dates back to very ancient times.  Even our distant ancestors the chimpanzees are capable of identifying plant species with medicinal properties able to effectively  diseases that affect their species.  In the revised edition of “Foods that Fight Cancer: Preventing Cancer through Diet” the reader is asked to consider the development of cancer in a way that can be compared to that of a ‘seed in the soil’; the seed appears vulnerable at fist glance, but when conditions are favorable it has the incredible ability to take advantage of all the soil’s resources to grow to maturity.  In the case of a plant, we know that the seed must be able to rely on an adequate supply of sun and water, two factors indispensable for the assimilation of nutrients in the soil.  The same is true for cancer: whether they are precancerous cells or hereditary in origin or acquired during our lifetime, are incapable on their own of taking advantage of the resources in their environments.  The “environment” (called the stroma) in which a cancer cell grows is very much dependent on the surrounding of noncancerous cells, in particular the cells in the conjunctive tissue.

“Precancerous cells depends totally on additional factors that will “activate” the stroma and force it to modify its status quo so the cells can obtain the elements they need to process.  Immediate environment are especially important for cancer development, which in some respects be compared to water that aims to root the seed more solidly into the soil so that it can become established and gain access to a constant supply of nutrients. Cancer cells produce chemical signals to attract cells from a blood vessel located near by.  By attaching itself to a receptor on the surface of the vessel’s cell VEGF enables these cells to migrate toward the tumor by dissolve in the surrounding tissue and creating enough new cells to produce a new blood vessel. This process contributes to the tumor’s progression by providing it what a new network of blood vessels to meet its energy needs and continue to invade surrounding tissues….just like sunshine in the case of a plant, speeds up the process by supplying it with an important source of power simulators: the inflammatory cells in our immune system.  Like water and sunshine, procarcinogenic and inflammatory factors act together to enable precancerous cells to draw on the elements needed for their progression in their immediate environment.”

Science Daily describes agriculture as:

“...the process of producing food, feed, fiber and many other desired products by the cultivation of certain plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock).”

Primary agriculture in Canada

    • Relatively high grain and oilseed prices, as well as record cattle and hog prices, have supported farm market receipts in recent years, causing them to reach $55.7 billion in 2014.
    • Cattle receipts have increased for five consecutive years due to strong cattle prices and were up 44.4% in 2014. Strong hog prices contributed to a 25.2% increase in hog receipts in 2014.
    • Overall, market receipts increased by 76.8% between 2004 and 2014. Market receipts from grains and oilseeds increased by more than 160% during that time period. This accounted for the largest share (35.5%) of the total value of all farm market receipts in 2014. The share of farm market receipts from red meats, which was 30.0% in 2004, decreased slightly to 27.1% in 2014.
    • Farm-level performance, as measured by net cash income, reached a record high in 2014, while net value added declined from the record high registered in 2013. Net cash income among Canadian farms in 2014 was $14.2 billion —32.5% above the 2009-2013 average. The net value added in agriculture was $14.9 billion in 2014 —in line with the 2009-2013 average, but 32.9% lower than 2013 level.
    • Agriculture producers saw their operating costs increase substantially over the 2004-2014 period, as increased global demand for agricultural commodities led to higher input prices, with costs increasing by over 47%. The categories of operating expenses that most contributed to the increase in overall expenses over this period were commercial seed (107%), fertilizer and lime (103%), livestock and poultry purchases (91%), and machinery fuel (71%).

Government of Canada: Agriculture and Agri-Food

Phytochemicals compounds are the molecules that enable plants to defend themselves against infections and damage caused by microorganism, insects and other predators.  Plants cannot run away from their attackers and as a result have had to develop highly sophisticated protection systems to repel or counteract the harmful effects of attackers in their environment. These natural pesticides are essential for the survival of the plant species and, in turn, all animals on the planet.  Tens of thousands of phyto-chemical compounds of plant origin have many pharmacological effects that hinder cancer progression, whether by directly attacking cancer cells, positively modulating the environment of these cells to keep them in a latent and harmless state or increasing the bio-availability of anticancer molecules. The phyto-chemical compounds produced by plants have antibacterial, anti-fungal and insecticidal functions that reduce the harm caused by attackers and allow the plant to survive in hostile conditions.   The protective role of these various phyto-chemical compounds is not limited to their effects on plants good health, however, these molecules also play a front-line role in our defense system against cancer.    Indeed, several studies of the compound isolated from these foods have shown that a great many of them interfere with the various events involved in cancer development, and so as a result, could be the most powerful weapon at our disposal to fight the development of this disease.

Source: LIVA Health – Your Body (Facebook page)

Soil nutrients , Air pollution and food production:   Conversely, there is increasing evidence that food production is also threatened by air pollution. Ozone precursor emissions (nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds) are of particular concern for global food security as these compounds react to form ground-level ozone.

Nutrient exchanges between organic matter, water and soil are essential to soil fertility and need to be maintained for sustainable production purposes. When the soil is exploited for crop production without restoring the organic matter and nutrient contents,the nutrient cycles are broken, soil fertility declines and the balance in the agro-ecosystem is destroyed.

Food availability relies on soils: nutritious and good quality food and animal fodder can only be produced if our soils are healthy living soils.  Over the last 50 years, advances in agricultural technology and increased demand due to a growing population have put our soils under increasing pressure.  In many countries, intensive crop production has depleted the soil, jeopardizing the soils productive capacity and ability to meet the needs of future generations.”

Saving Precious Farmlands

“With a global population that is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, compounded by competition for land and water resources and the impact of climate change, our current and future food security hinges on our ability to increase yields and food quality using the soils that are already under production today.  Holistic production management systems that promote and enhance agro-ecosystem health that are socially, ecologically and economically sustainable are necessary in order to protect our soils while maintaining high productive capacities.  Farmers play a central role in this aspect. Numerous and diverse farming approaches promote the sustainable management of soils with the goal of improving productivity, for instance: agroecology, conservation agriculture, organic farming, zero tillage farming and agroforestry.

Ultimately, a better understanding of the linkages between soil life and ecosystem function and the impact of human interventions will enable the reduction of negative impacts and allow to capture the benefits of soil biological activity more effectively for a more sustainable and productive agricultureFood and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

A sampling of the diverse produce grown at the Peterson market garden in the 1980s (photo: Larry Peterson) – Via The Commonsense Canadian.com

Peace Valley River, British Columbia is one such land area that  “extraordinary” farmland could feed a million people”  agrologists tell Site C Dam review.  A pair of highly-respected agricultural experts made a compelling case this week for sparing some of BC’s best farmland from a proposed dam on the Peace River. Together, veteran agrologist Wendy Holm and soil scientist Evelyn Wolterson argued that BC Hydro’s error-ridden study of the flood zone for the $10 billion proposed Site C Dam missed the unique soil and climate values that would enable this land to feed up to a million people – were the focus to shift from hydro-power to farming.  Conversely, if a third dam on the Peace were built, it would create the single largest loss of land in the 40-year history of the province’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) – drowning or severely impacting over 30,000 acres of largely exceptional land.

It is our opinion that the public interest is better served [by] agriculture and other uses for this valley, rather than a hundred years of power production…Power has other alternatives; agriculture doesn’t.” ~ Evelyn Wolterson

In all, the project would impact 31,528 acres of class 1-7 farmland, roughly half of which lies “within the project’s flood, stability and landslide-generated wave impact lines,” notes Holm’s report to the panel. The other half will be permanently lost beneath the reservoir and access roads. Of the total land impacted and compromised, over 8,300 acres  are class 1 and 2 soils making it some the best farmland in the country.

  • For starters, the Peace River’s largely east-west orientation means the valley gets more sun, (meaning plants get more phytochemical compounds that help fight cancers) experiencing longer growing days and seasons than other land that far north. “The best farmland in BC is in the southern valleys,” soil scientist, Evelyn Wolterson, told the panel. “The notable exception is the Peace River Valley.”
  • The land to be flooded by Site C is capable of producing high-yielding fresh fruits and vegetables for over a million people.”
  • Other factors like lower wind speeds, excellent Spring moisture, and a longer frost-free period mean, counter-intuitively, that “crop yield goes up as you go from the south to the north”.
  • Wolterson testified, offering an example of crop yields 30% higher in the valley, compared with farms closer to Fort St. John.

“These are all elements of this valley that make it absolutely uniquenot only in the region but in all of British Columbia, and perhaps Western Canada.”

Cash crop: Is Hydro underestimating the economic value of farmland? [Source: The Commonsense Canadian]

BC’s food security withering on the vine:

  • “There is a misperception that there is a vast amount agricultural land that is waiting to be exploited. It’s simply not true,” Wolterson warned the review panel.
  • The combination of a shrinking food supply and growing population has put BC on a path to serious food security challenges.
  • BC grows just 48% of the food it consumes. Vegetable production per capita has fallen to half of what it was in 1970. And the problem is only getting worse, says Wolterson.
  • “Over the last 10 some-odd years, there’s been a serious and alarming decline in agricultural land area” – driven by everything from urban encroachment, industrial projects, and declining of productivity.
The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis) – The Commonsense Canadian.com
  • Site C Dam should be viewed in the context of a wide range of cumulative impacts, together whittling away BC’s food security. Issues like fracking, roads, and segmentation of farmland for other industrial projects have all made farming more difficult and dragged down productivity, says Wolterson.
  • BC Hydro’s flood reserve – a land bank it has accumulated over the years, buying out farmers in preparation for a future dam (Site C has been on the books for three decades now) –  has had an “enormous”, detrimental impact on agricultural investment in the valley, giving a false impression of the productivity of the land.
  • With “global loss of farmland, water shortages, soil salinization, higher energy costs, transportation costs, supply chain concentration, population growth, there is no question that there is going to be intense pressure on food prices as we move into the future,
  •  land that is fallow and of seemingly” little value today could see its economic worth – and value as a local food source – skyrocket in the future, something we may rue when we can no longer depend on truckloads of cheap tomatoes from California rolling across the border.”
  •  Last year, BC generated about 110% as much electricity as it needed, but produced, at most, 48% of the food it consumed. In other words, while we have plenty of electricity to power our homes and businesses well into the future, the same thing cannot be said about our food security.

What’s more important: energy or food?

Food as medicine

The “Food and Drug” Agency. Did you ever wonder why the government named the department this  way? Perhaps they know the direct links of the concept of food bringing sustenance, energy and pleasure.  Food is also our medicine!  The Drug” side of this department has replaced “food”.  We become accustomed to knowing what drug we need to take when we are feeling sick but do we know what less of foods, or more of foods, we need to take when we are sick? or to prevent sickness? Again, food gives us sustenance and it’s our medicine. When humans were placed on this earth we were given all the food contained what we needed to grow and maintain a healthy life.  There was no pharmacy, that’s a human construct created to deal with the health impacts of the artificial nature of the lives we are living. “We are a society (Western) that sees the act of eating only as an activity designed to supply energy to the body, without regard for its impact on health.  This kind of mindless diet, based purely and simply on satisfying the need to eat, is most certainly harmful to our health.”

Cancer and nutritional epidemiology- Source: Imperial College London

Curcumin, a component of the turmeric root, is known to reduce inflammation which in turn is thought to be involved in the development of diabetes.  A study in Columbia University has shown that turmeric-treated mice were less susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes, based on their blood glucose levels and glucose and insulin tolerance tests.  In other words, curcumin may lower insulin resistance and  help prevent diabetes.  A landmark study has concluded that the greater the muscle mass of an individual, the lower is his/her risk of developing insulin resistance and pre- or overt diabetes mellitus.  This study underscores a little known fact: despite the truth that obesity is extremely common among patients when they are first diagnosed with diabetes, many thin people also get diabetes, especially the elderly.  This study has shown that low muscle mass, which is common to both the obese and the slender, is the actual risk factor, not weight.

Source: Nutrition -Sclance

I had a benign cyst in my groin for years. Once ever so often it would swell [inflammation] and hurt when it did.  I had it checked out on many occasions x-rayed and all that – nope, my doctor at the time would say, “I don’t know what it is but you don’t have to worry about it – its benign”.  One day I bought these awesome skinny jeans and when I put them on they were so tight it hurt my cyst.  “Damn it! This thing is coming out”! And off to the Doctor I went. After an ultrasound or two, turned out it was endometriosis. I had the operation and on my post-operation visit to the hospital, the operating surgeon peered over his reading glasses after reviewing my file and stamped my papers for approval and said “I’m glad you took the initiative to remove the cyst before it could develop into something dangerous. Not many people do and that’s how they end up on my operating table.”

Volunteering for Ovarian Cancer Canada – Walk of Hope (2012)

Inflammation caused by our immune system is essential to our body’s integrity; without it, we would be completely at the mercy of many pathogenic agents in our environment. But when it becomes too intense or occurs over too long a period, inflammation can cause several medical conditions to develop and even promote the progression of diseases like cancer.  In short, inflammation is our ally but ignore its messaging, it becomes an enemy.  Chronic inflammation and the dramatic increase in cancer risk associated with these  inflammatory diseases caused by repeated exposure to toxic products, by certain bacteria or viruses, or by a long-term metabolic imbalance, considerably increases the risk of developing cancer in the organs affected by the inflammatory attacks.

Inflammatory diseases that predispose to cancer: Colorectal cancer (inflammatory intestinal disease), stomach (gastritis case by H. pylori), ovarian (pelvic inflammatory disease), bladder cancer (Schistosomiasis), MALT Lymphoma (H. pylori), liver cancer (Hepatitis viruses B and C), Kaposi sarcoma (HHV-8), bronchial cancer (Silicosis), mesothelioma (Asbestosis), esophageal cancer (Barrett’s metalplasia), papillary thyroid cancer (Thyroiditis), prostate cancer (Prostatitis).

Given the important role in cancer development, it goes without saying that the anti-inflammatory properties of many foods have an impact on cancer.  Preventing cancer through diet is equivalent to nontoxic chemotherapy, using anticancer molecules in foods that fight cancer at the source before it reaches maturity and threatens the proper functioning of the body.

vegetable in capsule, Food(service) as Medicine, [Source: Food Management]

Some examples of foods that fight cancer:

  • Good fats help to control diabetes; walnuts in your daily diet can help type 2 diabetes under control (fatty oils)
  • Giving young children vitamin D supplements may reduce their risk of developing Type 1 diabetes later in life by 30%
  • garlic, beet and some cabbage, like Kale, is seen to stop the growth of cancer cells taken from breast cancer and prostate tumors
  • curcumin and resveratrol (found in red wine) helps as an anti-inflammatory property
  • gooseberry, blackberry or cranberry for prostate cancers strikingly inhibits the increase of COX 2 caused by TNF,  a powerful molecule involved in causing inflammation
  • Broccoli protects against pathogens found in food but also against pollutants in the environment
  • Kale, a dark green leafy vegetable is the most nutrient dense food on the planet helping to fight of infections.  Even boiling it for 30 minutes doesn’t destroy the anti-body production.
Source: franchiseindia.com – healthy food in heart and cholesterol diet concept on vintage boards

Agriculture – Livestock

Remember the outbreak of SARS and the Madcow ordeal in 2003?  Remember the devastating affect, especially in Ontario, it had on tourism, hospitality, filming and entertainment industries, and how the madcow was such a shock to our regional/provincial defining identity of cattle production and beef consumption of Alberta and national identity? It was widely thought that SARS had an Asian connection  to poorly kept factory farmed chickens (don’t know how true that was) and I remember the outbreak of madcow extending all the way over to Britain.  The two incidences happened, within months so close to each other.  Remember we demonstrated our sense of cattle pride by serving President Bush on a state visit Albertan beef  “I proudly ate some Alberta beef last night” he says ” and I’m still standing” then he continues to say alluding to reopening borders for cattle trade, “With determined efforts, and relying on sound science and mutual goodwill, we can resolve issues.”

“Before SARS appeared, coronaviruses had not been particularly dangerous to humans, but they had been known to cause severe diseases in animals.  As a result, scientists first thought that animals transmitted SARS-CoV to humans. They now believe that an animal virus changed into a new, more deadly strain.” [Medical News Today]

“The infected Holstein was born in April 1997, a few months before both Canada and the U.S. banned using cattle in cattle feed. A cow eating the remains of an infected animal is the most common way the disease is spread. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy takes years to develop in an animal.  The cow in the Canadian BSE case, announced on May 20, was born on a farm in Saskatchewan. The CFIA will continue to examine the history of both animals and try to find any common feed sources.” [CBC.ca]  Background: CBC

While there are definite health benefits to giving up eating meat; fiscally it will affect our national bottom line  and national identity, particularly in the case of Albertan cattle/beef – do we dare do that to them while we’re still dealing with fiscal fallout from pipeline politics and a competitive global market.  In attempt to save healthcare  is it right to encourage the  discontinuation of a whole industry/product line which provides  such a healthy revenue stream for the country’s economy?  Well, that’s best left for the consumer to decide and as you do please listen to the video below, Philip Wollen, in “Animals Should be Off the Menu” debate makes a very convincing argument [….or is it a plea] In his speech he claims that “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.  Livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all human-related world wide greenhouse gas emissions.”  He also thinks if those same farmers move to agriculture grain and vegetables there revenue stream would triple, “we would be so healthy we’d have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery” he jokes….go ahead listen up…

Vegan Diet

The benefits of a diet free from animal products, not only keeps your body healthier; adds longevity but it also helps the environment. (reducing personal environmental footprint).  Its been reported that a vegan diet helped and in some cases healed themselves from life-long digestive issues, heart disease, shrink a kidney tumour, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

The new Canada Food Guide places higher proportion on plant-based foods encouraging Canadians to consume plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and protein foods.  Choose proteins from plants are highly recommended.  All things considered the lower incidence of cancer in individuals who eat the largest amounts of plants is directly linked to their anticancer compound content, which makes it possible to limit the development of micro-tumors developing spontaneously in our tissues.  A constant dietary intake of these anticancer compounds forms the basis of any strategy aiming to prevent cancer development.

Source: FamilyDoctor.org

“The best doctor is nature: it cures three-quarters of illnesses and never speaks ill of its colleagues.” ~ L. Pasteur (1822-1895)

1. A Vegan Diet Is Richer in Certain Nutrients: Whole-food vegan diets are generally higher in certain nutrients. However, make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs.

2. It Can Help You Lose Excess Weight: An increasing number of people are turning to plant-based diets in the hope of shedding excess weight.Many observational studies show that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than non-vegans. Vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce your calorie intake. This makes them effective at promoting weight loss without the need to actively focus on cutting calories.

3. Vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce your calorie intake. This makes them effective at promoting weight loss without the need to actively focus on cutting calories. Going vegan may also have benefits for type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.  Indeed, vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and up to a 50–78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

  • In one study, 43% of participants following a vegan diet were able to reduce their dosage of blood-sugar-lowering medication, compared to only 26% in the group that followed an ADA-recommended diet
  • Other studies report that diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function
  • What’s more, several studies report that a vegan diet may be able to provide complete relief of systemic distal polyneuropathy symptoms — a condition in diabetics that causes sharp, burning pain
  • Vegan diets may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are also particularly effective at reducing blood sugar levels and may help prevent further medical issues from developing.

Food is Medicine | How good food impacts our healthy life [Source: Truweight]
4.   A Vegan Diet May Protect Against Certain Cancers: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet.

  • For instance, eating legumes regularly may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by about 9–18%
  • Research also suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%
  • What’s more, vegan diets generally contain more soy products, which may offer some protection against breast cancer
  • Avoiding certain animal products may also help reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.
  • Vegans may also have up to a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease
  • This may be particularly beneficial to heart health since reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 46%
  • Certain aspects of the vegan diet may offer protection against prostate, breast and colon cancers.

5. It’s Linked to a Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Source: wallpechiropractic.com
  • Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fiber is linked to a lower risk of heart disease
  • Vegans may also have up to a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease
  • Observational studies comparing vegans to vegetarians and the general population report that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure
  • This may be particularly beneficial to heart health since reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 46%
  • Vegan diets may benefit heart health by significantly reducing the risk factors that contribute to heart disease.

6. A Vegan Diet Can Reduce Pain from Arthritis

  • Two other studies investigated the effects of a probiotic-rich, raw food vegan diet on symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.  Both reported that participants in the vegan group experienced a greater improvement in symptoms such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness than those who continued their omnivorous diet;
  • A few studies have reported that a vegan diet has positive effects in people with different types of arthritis.
  • Vegan diets based on probiotic-rich whole foods can significantly decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamins – No Supplements Please!

A conversation with my DoctorI used to be big on taking vitamin supplements.  I did so because I ate so poorly in what I ate and how frequently I would eat.  I thought that I was doing well with my body if I made sure that I’d pop a Centrum 21 in my mouth once ever so often because it gave a wide range of vitamins that I thought I was missing.  Then I got into the Vitamin B12 kick, then Vitamin A and, then E so on.  I hated swallowing those pills but I thought I was doing my body a favour.  Then I was told by a nutritionist at a holistic convention that Centrum 21 was crap and that it had all these additives to it to make the pill look large thus making you think the size was significant because of all the vitamins supposedly packed inside.  So on my next appointment I had a conversation with my Doctor.  I asked him if he could recommend a good brand of vitamins.  He said straight up and plainly.  “I don’t recommend vitamins to my patients. You get all the nutrients from your food. Just eat well.  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and you’ll get all the nutrients that your body needs and more.”  His advice shocked me, I thought for sure doctors would quicker offer a vitamin intake rather than writing a prescription.

Doctor giving the option of taking an apple or medicine. “Ending the trade off between food and medication.” [Source: medical-legalpartnership.org]
People all have different needs for nutrients in order to prevent or treat certain ailments and cancers.  It depends on your unique biochemical make-up, genetics, your activity levels and stress levels. instead see a natural healthcare practitioner for complementary medical therapies for your condition.To date, no study as yet has shown that massive doses of vitamin supplements can supply any protection whatsoever against chronic diseases including cancer. Results of many studies indicate the opposite: there is an increase in risk of death associated with taking large doses of some of these supplements especially beta carotene, selenium and vitamins A and E.

From the point of view of cancer prevention, it is therefore becoming more certain that the protection offered by regularly eating plant food is primarily related to their phytochemical content. The plant world contains a bank of compounds with healthful properties, with many of them being especially active against cancer cells.  Some of these complex anticancer plant molecules are very effective and can be used just as they are (taxol, vinceristine, vinblastine) to treat advanced cancer, or act as a starting point for producing even more powerful derivatives (etoposicle, irinotecan, docetaxel); The therapeutic use of plant-sourced anticancer molecules is far from insignificant, given that over 60% of chemotherapy drugs still in clinical use that make it possible to save many lives come in one way or another from plant sources.

Is a Vegetarian Diet Better for Diabetes? [Source: OnTrack Diabetes] Vegetarian diets are becoming more mainstream. The words Meatless Monday, vegan and plant-based are the new buzzwords in today’s nutrition frenzy
My cyst acted like a plug and when it was removed out came some pretty bad emotions.  I didn’t realize it until I yelled at my referral doctor’s receptionist for not getting the test results from my ultrasound in time for my followup appointment with the specialist. We went over my reports. All is well.  Then he asked about my mental health and if I wanted to see anyone. He booked me to see a psychiatrist for which I accepted   The specialist then  went over a few things he recommended to follow up with my family doctor since I was approaching 40 years old and a woman’s body begins to change, these were dietary and lifestyle changes; less on caffeine, cut alcohol, exercise, get plenty of sleep, change your response to stress and just eat well!

I did see the psychiatrist but after the third or fourth session, as he concluded that I’m fine and well and I handle my stresses appropriately and some of the things I was going through at the time are normal reactions – basically, I’m good.  I continued to heed the advice of the specialist, stopped taking public transit – I walked everywhere, but my fresh produce at the By-ward Market, downtown Ottawa supporting the locally grown farmers, Tai chi and ballet stretches, lots of sleep – I felt great!

I tell this story for a reason and I’ll be referring back to this story at different points in future writings about health care which includes somatic and mental health.  This experience integrated my previous readings, and knowledge about mind, body and spirit and how it is important it is to look after each component. (See: Unction, Ensler, Anatomy)   As an medical intuitive  Carolyn Myss  uses her skills to alert her clients to emotional trauma (past or present) that physically affects the body.  Her goal is to get her patients treating the problem before it turns into an illness needing a medical doctor’s attention.

Vitamins and Supplements Can’t Replace a Balanced Diet, Study Says [Source: Time Magazine]
Even Dietitians for Canada agrees that  you can get all the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and grow by eating fruits and vegetables, more importantly the right amount and consistently.  Even for athletes training for competition, they confirm there, is no need for vitamin supplements.  They may require a greater need for some nutrients, yet by eating from the four major food groups you should be able to to get what you need.  In short;

Just eat well!

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I first learned about Whole Foods while I was spending some time in Venice Beach, West LA.  San Francisco was all about Trader Joes and West LA was about Whole Foods.  So upon returning to Canada I was happy to see that both merchant had expanded north of the boarder.  Traveling between San Francisco to LA you see a lot on the highway.  Rows upon rows of agricultural crop, on your way to Carmel (California) they call that district the salad bowl of the USA.  What you also see on the road is the multitude of factory farming.   Here in Canada I prefer to support local farmers and by their produce at the farmers market between April and November and for the winter months I don’t mind supporting outlets that promote healthy eating and living.  In the Canadian West coast we have our own salad bowl of Canada where much of our agriculture is grown just north of California – makes me wonder why we are still importing their food – and that’s what I like about Whole Foods they have a wonderful selection of fresh produce and vegetables from OUR (Canadian) farmers.  If given the opportunity Peace Valley would be the perfect place to reinforce this idea.

 

City shopping for healthy food is difficult at best, especially when looking for healthy options from imports brought in by your local producer, yet I am impressed with the selection found at Whole Foods.  Eating healthy food should not be expensive.  Yet the prices reflect our fluctuating economy especially foods that are imported outside our country.  Not everybody in our city can afford to buy healthy food and this is why I would like to dedicate this blog entry to Whole Cities Foundation.  Whole Cities Foundation is on a mission to improve individual and community health through collaborative partnerships, education, and broader access to nutritious food.

Since  2014, Whole Cities Foundation has partnered with over 150 nonprofits across 90 cities in the United States, contributing more than $1.2 million to local communities. Now, for the first time ever, we are expanding our partnerships to Canada!

Click here to Support:

Whole Cities Foundation

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