As I write this I am enjoying a beautiful Florida spring day and bathed in gratitude for my health and for this tremendous ministry to cancer fighters and survivors. It is such an honor to serve those who battle this disease daily, whether as a patient with active disease or a survivor who battles the memories and the what if's.
Today I am contemplating a battle I face as your fearless leader. This week I have been reminded consistently that many of my cancer peers are still not convinced that they have any active role in either their healing or their long term wellness.
We continue to battle physicians who tell their patients to 'eat what they want' or 'eat what they like' ... rather than encouraging them to eat what their body needs to engage in the fight.
Today I spent the better part of the day reading medical articles on stress and cancer in preparation for our upcoming series on stress. This screamed at me from the page:
Let's do the math together on the percentages associated with lifestyle choices: 30% related to tobacco and other inhalants, 35% related to 'dietary factors'. That's a whopping 65% that can be linked to lifestyle choices. WE DO HAVE POWER IN THIS FIGHT! But it must start with a simple question we ask of ourselves: "Is it possible that my actions/choices might have contributed to my illness?". Once I had the courage to ask myself that question in that way, good things started to happen! I didn't get into the weeds of causality - that can be a slippery slope, indeed. But if I contributed in some way, then logic follows that there's something I can do to solve the problem.
If you continue to doubt, let's talk about some of the data I encountered today. I think we can agree that what we eat affects our bodies, either positively or negatively. When we eat things that aren't necessarily great for us or more calories than we need, we gain weight. So, how has that effected us collectively over time.
This graph shows the obesity trend over time in the US. You can see that for all demographics we were relatively static during the 1960's and 1/2 of the 1970's but things started to change dramatically between 1975 and 1980. And from 1980 on the trend is alarmingly consistent for most demographics. Even in the last 10 years things have gotten progressively worse. In 2012 there were 12 states that had 30 - 35% obesity rates, which were the highest in the US. One year later (2013) we had our first states move over the 35% rate. By 2017 7 states had over 35% of their population classified as obese and in 2019 that grew to 12 states. Data from 2017 - 2018 proposed that 73.6% of adults in the US were either overweight or obese with Body Mass Index ratings over 25. (CDC Data)
Yes, we all have the right to choose our own path and travel our unique journey. But please help me spread the word that our lifestyle choices MATTER ! There are not only links between obesity and cancer, but we also know that eating poorly creates chronic inflammation in the body and chronic inflammation is rapidly becoming the root of all evil when it comes to chronic diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and now even the autoimmune diseases.
Over the next couple weeks our Tuesday night THRIVE with Cancer Support Group will be completing our module on basic nutritional guidelines that not only heal but also create long term wellness! We will then move on to our module on stress management/reduction - an incredibly important aspect of healing and wellness. If you are local come join us ! (More info in the events section)
For those of you that don't happen to live in St. Augustine, FL we will be launching ZOOM Support Groups in June. These groups will be online versions of our Tuesday night group and the curriculum will be the same. They will be free to anyone needing support. In addition, we are developing a subscription based content section that will include all kinds of topical zoom sessions for all to enjoy. Nutrition, Stress, Mind/Body Connection, Restorative Sleep, Sound Healing, Meditation, etc. You can attend live and we will also archive all sessions for members to enjoy at their leisure. Stay tuned! Exciting things happening!!