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Health June 2018

Eat Right Now

Stubbornness May Cause Disease: Let’s Look at Colon Cancer, for Example

By Wendell Fowler

The current pandemic of chronic disease has been attributed in part to the universal shift away from mother nature toward a diet dominated by lifeless processed foods, excessive meat consumption, unhealthy hydrogenated oils, dairy, soda, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and refined grains.

I was recognized and approached by a lovely septuagenarian while I was shopping recently. Politely grabbing my shirt sleeve, she tugged me to the meat department. “I’ve been feeding my husband Sam red and smoked meats all our lives, but just I learned modern grocery meats encourage colon cancer. Please, what’s going on? I’m confused. He’s in denial and won’t take colorectal cancer seriously. Doc says he’s showing symptoms, but he demands meat and potatoes. I’m scared. I need him!”

Who willingly admits they abetted their disease? Most trusting folks are confidant there are FDA systems in place to protect us. In reality, no one’s keeping the food industry lap dogs honest. The current pandemic of chronic disease has been attributed in part to the universal shift away from mother nature toward a diet dominated by lifeless processed foods, excessive meat consumption, unhealthy hydrogenated oils, dairy, soda, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and refined grains.

Nevertheless, no one likes being told they’re wrong even in the presence of the truths that a high consumption of meat can cause colon cancer. A lifelong diet high in red meats, processed and cured meats (hotdogs, bacon, and bologna) increases colorectal cancer risk. Also, frying / grilling meats at high temperatures create chemicals that fertilize cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in men and women in America. The American Cancer Society expects over 100,000 new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer this year. Over 90% of colorectal cancer cases are in people age 50 or older. With early detection from colonoscopy screenings, colorectal cancer can be prevented and may even be curable.

Control is something you lose when you have cancer – you hand it over to your doctors, but there are lifestyle factors you can govern. Livestrong.com reports: During therapy, many cancer patients turn to food for comfort and recovery. A health care provider may recommend certain foods that promote health and prevent the recurrence of cancer. Improper diet includes everything we’ve grown to love: high-fat fried foods, red meat and dairy products, high amounts of sodium in canned soups, crackers, pasta, frozen dinners and condiments which all aggravate symptoms.  Many snacks and baked goods contain sources of sodium and trans-fat and should also be avoided. Processed cheese, luncheon meat, hot dogs, ham, bacon and sausage also contain high amounts of sodium. In addition to high-fat and high-sodium foods, alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided by colon cancer patients.

Red meats were once au naturel: clean, pasture raised and fed their innate diet of grass, and not asphyxiated in growth hormones and antibiotics, or fed corn and soy in a factory farm. Today, cuts of grocery beef are exposed to carbon monoxide as a freshness and color preservative that might leave you feeling “exhausted.” This is about as abnormal as enjoyable colonoscopy. Our grandparents would freak out. Locally sourced meats from your responsible farmers market are infinitely cleaner than grocery meats.

Obesity increases risk of developing the cancer. The obesity link is stronger in men. Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop colorectal cancer. Excessive cocktailing has been linked to colorectal cancer. Some experts think it’s because heavy drinkers have low levels in folic acid in the body. Too much folic acid may increase risk, so more is not better. Those with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk in developing colorectal cancer too.

Colon cancer patients may suffer from a variety of nutrition-related symptoms that affect health such as weight loss, anorexia and taste changes. Therefore, a proper, high quality diet is essential for reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. A diet that consists of plant foods that support and maintain a healthy weight is valuable for cancer patients. Exercising regularly may help reduce cancer risk as well as foster the robust, overall health you deserve.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends to prevent colon cancer, fill your daily diet with fruits including apples, bananas, melons and berries. Carrots and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus are some good examples of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables also provide plant-based sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The NCI reports a diet rich in whole-grains may also reduce colon cancer risk. Whole-grain breads, pasta, rice and cereal products provide good sources of vitamins your cells need. Fish, legumes, nuts and seeds provide sources of protein and essential fatty acids. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, seeds and nuts can also reduce the risk for colon cancer.

Numerous epidemiologic studies indicate increased calcium and vitamin C lowers the risk of colorectal neoplasia. Do not underestimate vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which may reduce abnormal cell growth and supports a healthy immune system.

We can learn one of life’s many lessons from stubborn Sam’s behavior and his wife’s angst. Reduce the stress and mystery of daily living by getting colorectal cancer screenings when you hit the half-century marker. Contrary to popular belief, chronic disease is not a natural part of aging.

Convincing some seniors to change their diet late in life, however, is like asking them to change their religion. Some get it. Some don’t. No one says it’s easy, but the reward of living a higher quality of late life is well worth the effort. Be gentle with yourself. There a lot of people who love and need you.

 

Chef Wendell hosts Eat Right Now on WISH TV 8 CBS Indianapolis. He can be reached at 317-372-2592 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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