This week I was invited to the first ever Cancer Council Australia’s Blogger Morning Tea, held at Chez Dee, in Potts Point. This event was organized to throw light on the 20th anniversary of the Cancer Council’s extremely successful annual fundraiser, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. The official 2013 Morning Tea is to be held all around Australia on Thursday, 23rd of May.

The morning proved to be a great opportunity to catch up with my fellow Sydney bloggers, swoon over some tasty delights, sample a range of beautiful teas and listen in on some very informative presentations from Media Personality and Blogger Sarah Wilson, TV Presenter and cancer sufferer Barry Du Bois and The Cancer Council’s Gill Batt. I previously had not researched where the millions of fundraised dollars, donated to the Cancer Council, were allocated and was delighted to hear about their many support programs providing financial and emotional support to Cancer sufferers and their struggling families. This fine work should make the employees and volunteers of the Cancer Council very proud.

Nutrition and excess sugar in the diet and it’s effect on cancer cells was a major topic of the presentation. Nutritionist Kate Callaghan explained the process on a simple level describing how dietary sugar feeds cancer cells. Other topics discussed included cancer’s ability to thrive in an acidic environment and the importance of maintaining general good health and a healthy body weight for protecting against cancer.

I would like to add a few points to the discussion and share with you some of the research I have been presented with by T Colin Campbell, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and Joel Fuhrman, MD, two of my heroes in the nutrition field.

I have recently completed a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T Colin Campbell Foundation and Cornell Uni and have no doubt in my mind that the best way to protect yourself from Cancer and to greatly reduce the risk of ever being effected by cancer is to eat a diet made up of majority unrefined fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on raw leafy greens.

T Colin Campbell was a researcher involved in the now famous China Project described by Joel Fuhrman, in his book Eat to Live, as the most comprehensive study on the connection between diet and disease in medical history. The New York Times called this exemplary research the “Grand Prix of all epidemiological studies” and “the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken on the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.” Dean Ornish, MD, says of the China Project “Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands on the shoulders of Dr. Campbell, who is one of the giants in the field. This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written – reading it may save your life.”

(Media Personality and Blogger Sarah Wilson)

If you are at all interested in nutrition and disease prevention I recommend you get your hands on a copy of the book: The China Study. This research helps to make sense of a great number of human and animal studies dealing with nutrition and disease. I wont go into the details in this blog post but it is quite simply compelling reading.

The questions of protein is a common one these days with a strong emphasis, in the media, on large amounts of meat and dairy products suggested for weight loss and muscle gain. Diets like Paleo and Atkins might allow you to loose weight, for your muscle’s to grow in size and for you to become stronger quickly but these diets can be seriously lacking in the phytochemicals, fibre and healthy fats so important in protecting our bodies from chronic disease. You might be surprised to know that “on average, 25% of calories in vegetables are from protein” (Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live). While many people in the western world are currently over fed but undernourished the chronic disease epidemic is only going to increase. To quote Dr Fuhrman again “Many large-scale epidemiological studies have shown conclusively that certain plant foods play a role in protecting the body against diseases that kill. There is no longer any question about the importance of fruit and vegetables in our diet. The greater the quantity and assortment of fruit and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of heart attacks, stokes and cancer.” Dr Fuhrman goes on to explain, in his book Eat To Live, that countess academic studies, published in peer reviewed journals, have time and again supported the growing evidence that the more fruit and vegetables you eat the smaller your risk of developing all sorts of Cancers, e.g. breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate and pancreas.

(TV Presenter and cancer sufferer Barry Du Bois)

(The Cancer Council’s Gill Batt)

The sad fact about Cancer is that it is much easier to prevent than to treat or cure. The phytochemicals we receive through a diet rich in plants allows us to “detoxify and deactivate cancer-causing agents and block the initiation process leading to DNA damage” (Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live). This DNA damage is the start of cancer, when normal healthy cells are damaged and then multiply in their new damaged/altered form.

(Tea tasting)

In summary, after my own extensive reading and research, I am sure about a few facts. In order to dramatically reduce your risk of cancer:

  • Get the majority of your daily food from un-refined fruits and vegetables.
  • Include raw leafy greens in as many meals during the day as possible.
  • Maintain an alkaline body by greatly reducing foods such as sugar, salt, caffeine, animal products and refined grains such as white flour and make sure to drink plenty of water, manage stress and eat your veggies.
  • Reduce the chemicals in your household and personal care products.
  • Maintain healthy gut bacteria.
  • Get plenty of good quality sleep, exercise moderately and maintaining a slim body with an emphasis of keeping the fat off your middle (high levels of visceral fat are linked to many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease).

I will leave you with a couple of my favourite inspirational quotes:
“Salad is the main meal” – Joel Fuhrman

“Here’s the good news. Your genes are not your fate” –  Dean Ornish
“Eat mostly plants, especially leafs” – Michael Pollan