We’re just days out from the Christmas break here in Melbourne and it’s time for me to share the links on meditation, cancer and diet I’ve collected over the last month.
But before I do, are you in Melbourne or will you be here on 5 January 2016? Would you like to have the opportunity to hear the authentic wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism? Internationally renowned Buddhist teacher and author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche is giving a public talk on understanding the mind and the wisdom of meditation. This talk is a very special gift for Melbourne as he hasn’t been here for a few years. To find out more and to book, you can head to the Rigpa Melbourne website here.
And now for the usual links …
Perhaps the most exciting thing that landed on my screen was the case summary of a woman diagnosed with follicular lymphoma and through a 21-day water fast followed by a plant-based diet, her symptoms have been managed. You can find out more about this here.
I’ve been devouring books on fasting and I’ll pop some resources below. The results that people get from fasting are nothing short of incredible and to be honest, I find it extraordinary that with such a healing mechanism built in, we are taught to reach for the nearest drug. But perhaps as more and more people awaken to the body’s capacity for healing and begin to take control of their own health, it will become more popular. Our current medical model is clearly limited given that chronic illness is on the rise.
AND that most of our chronic illnesses are entirely preventable. Which brings me to the next link that has stood out. Earlier in the year, it was suggested that cancer is driven almost entirely by our genes and that it’s just bad luck if you get it. Despite the fact that the Australian Cancer Council and The American Cancer Society both linked cancer to lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental toxins in conjunction with internal factors like genes, this analysis spread like wildfire.
Well, now the record has been set straight with the release of a new study in the journal Nature that has found that cancer is “heavily influenced by extrinsic factors” and that “intrinsic risk factors contribute only modestly (less than ~10–30% of lifetime risk) to cancer development.” This is what I’ve been saying since I started this blog and wrote about lifestyle factors playing a huge role.
Here is a piece written by Chris Wark of Chris Beat Cancer about this new study: 90% of Cancers Caused by Diet, Lifestyle, and Pollution. Not bad luck.
And another article: Cancer May Be More Within Our Control Than We Thought
While it’s wonderful to see how meditation can benefit our health, its most important role is the training of our minds. When we actually learn a technique and practise it regularly, rather than relying on someone to lead us through meditation, we can generate greater awareness of our thoughts, beliefs, habits and patterns. And through that awareness, we can change them so that we begin to make more healthful decisions for ourselves. Having said that, here is a terrific list of the health benefits: Meditation: how could it benefit your health?
Speaking of lifestyle factors and environmental factors causing cancer:
Obesity Now Causes Half a Million Cancers a Year, Worldwide.
How pesticides use have led to high cases of cancer in Punjab.
And on another note, in Being Linked in November, I referred to an article about ultrasound being used to blast cancer cells. Now it appears that electromagnetic waves might be useful in the treatment of brain cancer: Electromagnetic Waves May Help Fight Deadly Brain Cancer
Have you heard of high-dosage vitamin C as a potential cure for cancer? This is another treatment that has been deemed “quackery” by mainstream medicine. But now there is [more] confirmation that it can work: New study: Vitamin C kills ‘untreatable’ cancer cells and Vitamin C Halts Growth of Aggressive Forms of Colorectal Cancer in Preclinical Study.
I just love walnuts! I’ve been buying them in the shell from the local farmers market and eating about 5 each day. A recent study found that simply by adding walnuts into their diets, participants became more likely to improve the quality of foods they ate: How Walnuts Can Psych You Into Eating A Healthier Diet. And here is a link to the study abstract: Walnut Ingestion in Adults at Risk for Diabetes: Effects on Diet Quality, Body Composition, and Cardiac Risk Measures.
One of the most annoying things you can ask a person on a plant-based diet is “Where do you get your protein?” No one asks elephants or gorillas this! But in case you wonder, I found this great article on the Forks Over Knives website: Will I get enough protein? Other common questions are answered too.
Did you see the news about how eating a vegetarian diet might in fact be worse for the planet? Contrary to everything else we’ve heard? Turns out that isn’t quite right: There’s a new study out about American diets — and everyone is completely misinterpreting it.
Often when I talk about eating organic food, people comment on how expensive it is. Here’s a guide that Food Matters put together on How to Eat Organic on a Budget.
Since I started blogging and sharing lifestyle medicine information, I have been fascinated by the number of people who have absolute faith in “evidence-based medicine”. There is an assumption that it must be right. Much of it might be right, but research is as dependent on surrounding factors as our health is. Given the right conditions, it can be good but in an environment where there is tight competition for funding and market share, it is susceptible to compromise. So when I saw this article, I thought it well worth sharing: Cancer researcher contributed “false data” to 11 studies. How many other studies are tainted?
And the other thing people put blind faith into are prescription medicines, even though they might be killing us. It is estimated that in the USA, 100,000 deaths a year are caused by prescription drugs, used CORRECTLY. While such data is not specifically available in Australia, it’s still thought that “medicine” killed around 3,000 people in 2012: Peter Gotzsche, founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, visits Australia to talk about dangers of prescription drugs.
In therapeutic and psycho-spiritual circles, we talk about “holding space” for others to heal. Do you “hold space” for yourself? The Mystery of Holding.
Finally, being plant-strong can pose some difficulties around this time of year. It’s always handy to have a few extra tasty recipes. So here are some collections:
Vegan Christmas Recipes (Vegetarians Welcome!)
Vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas Menu with Recipes
Vegan Christmas | BBC Good Food
Yes, I’m devoting a whole section to this subject. Why don’t we talk about it more? Remember that film Fat Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross? Joe travelled around the USA while he drank nothing but fresh juice for 60 days. Not only did he lose a phenomenal amount of weight but also healed from a chronic auto-immune disease that doctors said he’d have forever. Well, Joe Cross put himself on a juice fast – nothing but juice. A more gentle way of resting the digestive system and detoxifying and healing the body than a water fast.
He’s not the only one who has had such huge success with juice fasting. Remember my blog post: Being Read – 365 Days of Wholeness? Tegan Steele and her mother recovered from chronic gut related issues through juice fasting.
With all these incredible tales of healing out there, surely we should be encouraging more people to limit their intake of food to provide their bodies with time and space to heal.
So here are just some of the other things I’ve read over the last couple of months since I did my water fast, in preparation for the next one:
Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program For Conquering Disease by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Although published more than 20 years ago, it is as current as ever according to the author.
And, with colleagues, Dr Fuhrman has also published a series of case reports that showed remission of autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus, following fasting: Brief Case Reports of Medically Supervised, Water-Only Fasting Associated with Remission of AutoImmune Disease.
But this has to be my favourite book so far on fasting – The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Not only does it contain all the medical information that was in Joel Fuhrman’s book, but Stephen Buhner also addresses the spiritual and emotional aspects of fasting. In particular, he explores our relationship to food as being inextricably linked to our beliefs about survival, our family of origin and our culture. And that fasting can bring many long suppressed emotions to the surface. It is probably not a coincidence that many of the great spiritual teachers like Moses, Jesus, the Buddha and Gandhi all fasted to purify their hearts and minds as well as their bodies.
So on that note, I’m going to take some time over the coming weeks to explore what I’ve been learning. And to take another break from social media and the blog. So there may not be another post for a couple of weeks (depending on how this week pans out).
Thank you so much for all your support over the last year and I’m looking forward to connecting with you in 2016.
If you celebrate Christmas, or even if you don’t, may your heart be filled with love and joy over the coming week and
May you be happy. May you be well.
And so be it.