I Love My GP: Talking about the China Study

I love my GP.

She is about my age and we are both engaged in the same balancing act – aging parents, children, full time jobs that we love and not enough hours in the day. She is monitoring my blood pressure and inevitaHandshake with Doctorbly the conversation turns to weight loss, finding time for exercise, finding time to cook and what is healthy eating anyway?  I am sheepish, pleased with my loss of a few pounds but know I could do more.

Casually she mentions a similar conversation with an earlier patient when she asked him what the new diet craze is. I am pondering on the thought that a medical doctor is asking that question of a patient when she asks me if I have heard of the China Study. She is amazed that I know it; work for an organization that Colin Campbell advised and supported, and that I know about the evidence for a plant-based diet for cancer prevention.

We discuss the science but our conversation quickly turns to the practical – how to reduce red meat and increase other forms of protein in her family meals.  But she doesn’t know any recipes that use beans and other proteins. Quicker than you could say ABC, I wrote down our website address and told her to sign up for AICR Health-e-recipes.

As I leave the Doctor’s office, she is already on our website, has signed up for the recipes and is telling all her colleagues about our Foods that Fight Cancer. “I love this website – I’m going to tell everyone about you.”

In this technical world we sometimes forget the power of the face to face human connection:  a simple conversation can lead to a simple conversion.

You can read more about how AICR and the China Study connect here.


“Healthy” Girl Scout Cookies?

Did you know it was National Girl Scout Cookie Day last Friday? There are many months and days dedicated to specific issues, but this one caught my attention – and not for the right reasons.canstockphoto5469124(1)

Full disclosure – I am a mother of a girl scout and, as such, a co-peddler of cookies. I have served my time knocking on doors in January, encouraging weary little feet to try just one more street and teaching an elementary age scout to accept “no-thank you” with grace and a smile.

We know Girl Scout Cookies are a treat; they are not low in fat, sugar or calories. I have struggled with the fact that selling lots of boxes provides the funds for the programs that benefit my daughter. We are respectful of people when they say – I’m watching my weight or need to cut down – and our own family order is modest. (Working here at AICR, I know that being overweight increases the risk of seven cancers and so it’s important for adults – and kids – to have healthy eating habits for cancer prevention and just overall good health.)

Our region had the standard menu of cookies this year, so I only learned on Friday that another cookie – with “health benefits” – was being offered in some parts of the country. The Mango Creme Cookie comes with a creme filling apparently enhanced with nutrients, which, according to the promotional blurb “offer the benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes and strawberries.” Continue reading


Breastfeeding vs. Formula: Navigating the Choices in Real Life

I’m a mother who works for a cancer prevention charity. I’m a mother who knows that breastfeeding is one of our strongest weapons to protect both the mother and child from cancer later in life. And I’m a mother who struggled to follow AICR’s recommendation to breastfeed infants exclusively up to six months.

What’s made me think about this is New York City’s initiative in participating hospitals to restrict access to infant formula in an effort to encourage breast feeding, and whether this is helpful or intrusive? Here’s one article on the program.

On paper – promoting and encouraging breastfeeding is an easy public health fix. Breast milk is free, portable and always at the right temperature. The reality is more complex.

First, not all women are able to breastfeed – infections, sick infants and difficult home environments are just some of the barriers that make it impossible. Second, our physical environment does not always support women breastfeeding outside the home. The dearth of appropriate facilities and sometimes hostile attitudes makes it difficult for mothers – especially those with older children who cannot be housebound. Third, many women simply cannot afford to be without a paycheck for 6 months and manage the considerable challenge of pumping and freezing sufficient breast milk. Continue reading