When doctors diagnosed Shelley Abegg with advanced stage breast cancer, she feared the worst. Death was knocking on her door and she felt powerless.
Abegg bravely faced her situation, but her courage extended further than most. After extensive research, Abegg decided to forego traditional cancer treatment in favor of a raw food diet, distressing almost all of her friends and family.
“When I first went down this road, ninety-nine percent of the people in my world were devastated that I would make such a radical and unwise decision,” she later wrote on her website rawfoodart.com. “Leaving the medical world for the raw food healing made most people very uncomfortable.”
You Are What You Eat
Abegg began living according to the famous phrase “you are what you eat,” a phrase that helped carry her through the intense diet transition to raw foods.
Raw food diets consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds that are never warmed above 112 degrees Fahrenheit so they don’t lose nutritional value from heat.
Over time, Abegg’s health progressed and people began to notice. Some people even thought she looked younger and more beautiful than before cancer struck.
More than a decade later, Abegg is cancer free and has since dedicated her life to spreading the raw food diet to individuals everywhere. Her website has raw food recipes and inspiring stories of others who have adopted the raw food diet and found freedom in their health.
Carrots, Cantaloupe and Cancer
America will experience more than 1.5 million new cancer cases in 2012, according to estimates from cancer.org. Utah alone will have more than 10,000 new cases.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says diet is a huge factor in cancer prevention. The American Cancer Society agrees, estimating that there will be more than 577,000 cancer deaths this year and that a third of those deaths will be related to obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
“The best advice is to consume a mostly plant-based diet that limits red and processed meats and emphasizes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains,” The Society website says about cancer-preventing diets.
While it is true that sometimes cancer strikes whether we’ve prepared or not, simple lifestyle choices, especially in our diets, can make an enormous difference.
One of greatest proponents of using diet to prevent cancer is Brigham Young University’s Dr. Kim O’Neill, a leader in researching cancer prevention, detection and treatment. In 2002 O’Neill and his colleague Byron Murray, PhD, wrote a book called Power Plants, which combined large quantities of research showing the many health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
“The single greatest thing you can do to reduce the risk of cancer is eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables,” O’Neill wrote. “Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that enhance your body’s defense systems such as the antioxidant mechanism, mitochondrial protection, DNA repair mechanisms, apoptic systems, metabolic physiology systems and the immune system, enabling you to fight disease-causing agents more efficiently.”
Chemo versus Cauliflower
The internet is littered with testimonials of people who claim to have been cured by a raw food diet rather than chemotherapy, for a wide variety of cancers, including colon, breast and lung cancers.
A host of potential side effects loom over patients undergoing chemotherapy, like anemia, hair loss, memory changes and nausea, to name a few. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can be destructive to the immune system, but raw foods do exactly the opposite, helping build the body’s immune strength.
However, the science of how fruits and vegetables affect cancer isn’t well understood, so make sure you consult medical professionals before making any final decisions. Chemotherapy can still save your life.
In conclusion, we don’t need to speculate on whether or not raw food is healthy, because we know that it is. It can indeed help prevent cancer and a host of other deadly diseases. Whether you trust raw food with your life, however, is a different decision, one that can only be made by yourself.