By Elaine Sloan
I went vegan 17 years ago, after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. I firmly believe that my healthy plant-based diet has helped keep me breast-cancer free ever since I was diagnosed with the disease.
Before my mastectomy, I ate lots of eggs, cheese, and other dairy products. I knew I had to make some changes if I wanted to live a long, healthy life. My son suggested I consider a vegan diet. After reading that high fat diets may well contribute to breast cancer, I knew that going vegan would be a step in saving my life in the future.
Research indicates that fatty, hormone-laden foods can cause breast cancer, and healthy, low-fat diets (i.e. vegan diets) can help prevent it. According to the renowned Dr. Dean Ornish, breast cancer is rare in countries where women seldom eat animal fat.
One study—conducted by researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Harvard University, Shanghai Cancer Institute, and Vanderbilt University—showed that women who eat the typical Western-style diet containing lots of meat and sugar may have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who eat a typical Asian-style diet containing lots of soy and vegetables.
Similar studies by National Cancer Institute scientists also suggest that women who eat soy have a lower risk of breast cancer, and that girls who grow up eating soy foods are less likely to develop breast cancer as they age. Other large-scale studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between diet and breast cancer. A Harvard Medical School study of more than 90,000 women revealed that the women who ate the most meat were nearly twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who did not eat much meat.
In a study out of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, postmenopausal women undergoing treatment for early breast cancer were advised to follow a very low-fat diet, while others were instructed to eat a diet higher in fat. After five years, only 9.8 percent of the women on the low-fat diet had a recurrence of cancer, compared with 12.4 percent on the more traditional diet.
Yet another study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2003, revealed that pre-menopausal women who ate a diet high in animal fat—not vegetable fat—had three times the breast cancer rate than women who ate a diet low in animal fat. And this is just a small sampling of the studies linking meat, eggs, and cheese to breast cancer. These studies attract attention, and I hope they’ll eventually prompt people to change their eating habits.
“Personally, I don’t need another study to tell me that meat, eggs, and dairy products are unhealthy and vegan foods are wholesome and beneficial. I can feel the difference for myself.”
Since I switched to a vegan diet, my energy level has increased, my cholesterol level has decreased, and I feel healthier overall. But the best health benefit is the peace of mind I get from knowing that I’m much less likely to have a breast cancer relapse. Take my advice, ladies: Go vegan. You’re only fooling yourself if you think you can eat unhealthful foods and come out unscathed.
-By Elaine Sloan
For Ten Tips to go Vegan click here!