Steve Jobs. Vegan? Early death from pancreatic cancer?


What’s going on here? A look at the possible cause of pancreatic cancer and a plan for sharing that information with the entire world

Was he a vegan? If so, for how long? How much sushi did he eat? I still have lots of questions.

I heard long ago that Steve Jobs was a vegan, which means eating no foods of animal origin. But I have not promoted that information in my blogs because I also knew that he had pancreatic cancer. I feared that some people would simply assume that the plant-based diet-style couldn’t be that great if a well-known vegan like Steve Jobs could die of cancer at just 56 years of age. Now that he has passed away, I felt that it was time to address the topic more directly.

For latest post on this topic (1-23-12) Vegan Diet, Steve Jobs and Pancreatic Cancer—Revisited

First of all, while I have heard and read that Steve Jobs had been eating vegan for a long time, there are a few key things about his background that I do not know:

  • I do not know if his version of vegan was a truly health-promoting version. As I stated in our book, one could eat nothing but potato chips and Diet Coke and call himself a vegan.
  • I do not know exactly when he began his vegan lifestyle and for what reasons. In my case, I didn’t adopt my current near-optimal 4-Leaf diet-style until I was 58 years old. And we all know that it can take decades for cancer to spread enough to even be detectable.
  • And, finally, I do not know if he strayed from his vegan lifestyle very often since the time that he began it. But I did notice in Thursday’s New York Times article (see link below), that he liked sushi, but I don’t know how much he ate it or how often or whether or not it contained any fish.

Eating sushi? So maybe he wasn’t a vegan after all. Regarding the consumption of fish sushi (loaded with animal fat and protein), I call your attention to the following video by Dr. Michael Greger; he cites a huge NIH AARP study (500,000 people) that tightly associates the consumption of all fat AND protein of animal origin with pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, plant-based fat had no association. Take three minutes and watch the video; it may help to save the life of someone you love.

Comment from Dr. T. Colin Campbell after reading this post.  (10-8-11). 

Jim, Your statement is very good. Michael Greger’s video is excellent. About 25 years ago, we reported on the effects of dietary fat on experimental pancreatic cancer in laboratory rats and published our results in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, who featured our results on the cover of their journal. Finally, the associations of animal protein and fat with pancreatic cancer are beginning to make news and your help in publicizing this observation is gratifying. Keep up the great reporting! Colin

Order “Steve Jobs” biography by Walter Isaacson on Amazon

When it comes to cancer, we know from many studies that a lifelong diet of whole, plant-based foods will greatly lower the odds of one ever being stricken by this deadly disease. We also know that the further progression of many cancers can be slowed or even stopped with a superior diet. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about Steve Jobs — hopefully we’ll learn more about his diet-style when his biography by Walter Isaacson comes out on October 24. Already it is #1 on Amazon.

Maybe the passing of Steve Jobs will be a much-needed vehicle for the world to learn the dirty little secrets of our food industry — the secrets about how our love affair with meat, dairy and eggs — coupled with a lack of whole plant foods in our diet — is literally killing us. Maybe more people will take notice of the scientific facts reported by Dr. Michael Greger in the video above. Maybe Steve’s death will help the world realize that the the elusive “cure” for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases was discovered several decades ago.

The next question is why hasn’t our government, our schools of nutrition and medicine, and our vast media complex told us these deadly facts? The answer to that question takes up over 100 pages in The China Study and is covered in detail in Chapter 8 of  our book. The short answer is one word: MONEY. Speaking of which, maybe a portion of Steve’s estate could be used to help overcome the single biggest impediment to a rapid and widespread adoption of a whole foods, plant-based diet:

95 percent of the world’s brightest and best educated citizens still truly believe that humans actually “need” to eat animal protein in order to be healthy.

How much would it cost to run a media campaign to tell the proven, simple truth about animal protein to every person over 18 in the entire world? Whatever the cost, a mere fraction of Steve’s wealth of over almost seven billion dollars should cover it easily. How about starting out with an ad campaign featuring Bill Clinton who is recognized all over the world? He is perfect for this role. He has personal knowledge of the power of plant-based nutrition and he has a powerful, possibly unequaled ability to influence billions of people. He also has his Clinton Global Initiative up and running. Just think what he could do with a $2 billion grant from his estate.

Imagine Bill Clinton with the following message on billboards, subways, busses, Youtube, emails, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, websites — all over the world.  Repetitively, for months and years…

“Listen to me carefully. We humans do not “need” to eat animal protein of any kind to be healthy. In fact, it is killing us — it is associated with chronic diseases of all kinds, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease — and it is not what Nature intended for us to eat. Health-promoting whole plants deliver all the protein we need.”

I am thinking that we could tell this message to two billion people (ten times) for less than two billion dollars. The great Steve Jobs was loved and respected around the world; what better way to remember and honor him than by telling the world the truth about all these horrible diseases, including the one that killed him? What better way could there be for Steve Jobs to make another HUGE difference in the lives of people everywhere? How insanely great would that be?

The following blog post features a video by Dr. John McDougall and was added to this blog on 12-3-11. Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

Authors J. Stanfield Hicks and J. Morris Hicks hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire

As for cancer and sushi, here are a few earlier posts that might shed more light on this subject:

Cancer is big business: Oz shares colon story; “cancer screening $$ business” gets bigger

Another way to make money: Drugs for preventing cancer — everyone can be a customer!

As for Steve’s fondness of sushi: FISH…the natural diet for humans? A “big picture” view

Steve was also featured prominently in Rainbows – Reviews – Reality — and Making a Difference (posted 10-6-11) and in Steve Jobs — passion, vision and excellence (posted 9-8-11)

Finally, I do recommend that you read the New York Times article mentioned earlier: With Time Running Short, Steve Jobs Managed His Farewells – NYTimes.com.

Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Cancer, Celebrities, Vegan or vegetarian? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Steve Jobs. Vegan? Early death from pancreatic cancer?

  1. RobD says:

    This page mentioned DIET coke, does anyone know that the end result of aspartame in your body is?

  2. docjones says:

    Actually, Steve Jobs wasn’t a vegan, he was a strict Fruitarian. He was vegan first, fruitarian until his doctors told him that the diet was likely compounding his problems. He only strayed from it in the final year of his life, and at that, he was an incredibly strict vegan.

    • triptifty says:

      Is there any proof he was a fruitarian? How come it wasn’t in his biography? And why did co workers claim he ate out all the time, something junky vegan food?

  3. Hannah says:

    I imagine spending your life around Technology can cause Cancer. Wifi and other kinds of radiation can cause cancer . And who was around all that more the Jobs?

  4. Eric says:

    A vegan diet isn’t healthy anyway. Only the diet that most humans are adapted to eat (omnivorous – paleolithic) stands the greatest chance at preventing any sort of cancer.

  5. Dr. John says:

    No human society, culture, or civilization has ever survived by being vegan/vegetarian/or whatever…”arian”…be that fruit, fish, lacto-ovo, etc.
    No human species ever studied (all the way back to Australopithecus afarensis) has ever been without consuming other animals in their diets.
    What makes you think we should be NOT consuming animal tissue? Show the evidence contrary to these indisputable facts.

    • Sylvia Woon says:

      China survived , india survived .. and so many other cultures …. the majority of indians have never once eaten meat , same with many regions of china… the only animal products i have ever eaten was mother’s breast milk , same with my mother and 92 year old grandmother, who still works and runs her own wedding dress design and manufacturing company, and has never seen a medical doctor or dentist yet … also note , I did not grow up to be a flaming twit, with a username like Dr. Sylvia , and i did not grow up with a small penis , infact not one of the women in our family dating (all the way back to Australopithecus afarensis) has ever had such a tiny penis that its smallness shows over the internet through our written comments.

  6. Bussaba says:

    I am a vegan, and I find it difficult to find good vegan food in Sushi bar. I had to ask them to make special seaweed wrap rice for me. Sushi bar is great for sea food feast not vegan feast.

  7. Susan* says:

    Yes, I am reading the Steve Jobs book now and this question..if he ate so healthily…why did he get cancer. As posted above, diet alone can help but is not the surefire bullet/protector. The author mentions that Steve Jobs claims his health woes started up when he first returned to Apple and was also running Pixar (“running two companies was brutal”) . Back then the health woes were kidney stones (see Steve Jobs/Isaacson p. 333-334). Could it have been extreme stress that was the fatal key to Steve’s subsequent woes. I did read how sushi was his weakness that he indulged in from time to time but otherwise and primarily he seemingly kept to a vegan regiment and did this for a long period of time.

    • James says:

      Watch the video linked above, “Why Did Steve Jobs Die”
      His cancer probably started 40 years earlier….

      The following blog post features a video by Dr. John McDougall and was added to this blog on 12-3-11. Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

  8. Patti Morey says:

    There needs to be a study done of cancer incidence in phenylketonuriacs. Phenylketonuriacs eat very little protein. I have a feeling that very few phenylketonuriacs get cancer. Many vegans nonetheless eat a tremendous amount of protein, and protein feeds cancer. There are many foods in the vegan diet that might not necessarily be good for a person. The metabolites of protein are important to consider also. It might be interesting to know what foods Steve Jobs ate most frequently, and what his daily protein intake was like.

  9. Bob Jackson says:

    Hey Jmorrishicks,
    I was wondering on a similar note,, Do you remember when you first came in contact with the products of Steve Jobs?
    Good Job!

  10. CY Beh says:

    Steve Jobs didn’t die because of his vegan diet. (Correlation of a single pair of anything does NOT constitute CAUSE, one could easily say Steve died because he was Apple’s CEO twice, etc. And that’d be insanely laughable!)

    Steve Jobs’s vegan diet ain’t weird; Isaacson’s calling it ain’t make it so (Isaacson is just uninformed of the subject; and herein lies the crux of most of the problems on Planet Earth: people of certain stature in a certain field making inaccurate statements about some important topic in another field, but totally and insanely wrong ones.)

    Steve’s healthful diet had probably prolonged his life.

    Here’s a more logical reason given by Dr. John McDougall, M.D.:
    http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/nov/jobs.htm

    You be the judge of what makes more sense, miss the big picture & mistaken the tree for the forest NOT.

    cy:beh

  11. Ashley says:

    I just read this article by Dr. John McDougall regarding all of the above information with Steve Jobs, his diet, and his cancer and particularly, the orgins of the cancer.

    http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/nov/jobs.htm

    Just thought this might add to the conversation.

  12. Michaelb says:

    Diet may not be the culprit here. The Computer industry and his early electronics industry is heavily ladened with toxic chemicals. He may have also been exposed to disease organisms in his travels as a youth, ( India )

  13. Nadirah says:

    The high rate of cancer we are now experiencing is a relatively new thing. Our ancestors who ate meat and little refined carbs did not get cancer. Steve Jobs was a Blood Type O and may have been better suited to eat meat and no wheat. A frutarian diet is also high in sugar and is a major strain on the pancreas. Sushi is also full of parasites that some attribute to cancer. Just something to think about. The bottom line is even children get cancer, sometimes your number is up. Fantastic man and a great loss.

  14. Hello Mr. Hicks!
    Thank you again for helping spread the word about NutritionFacts.org! Please continue to encourage your readers to:
    - visit/bookmark the site – http://www.NutritionFacts.org/
    - subscribe to the daily video and blog feed -http://nutritionfacts.org/feed/blended/
    - like and follow on facebook – http://facebook.com/NutritionFacts.org
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    Thank you again for spreading the word!

    – Michael

  15. Peggy Holloway says:

    Pancreatic tumours have been shown through PET scans to feed preferentially on sugars, fructose in particular. It was very possible the excess fructose in Steve Jobs’s fruitarian and other extreme vegan diets that was a major factor in him contracting pancreatic cancer. Animal fat does not cause any kind of cancer or any human disease processes.

  16. Maria says:

    I don’t think it makes any sense to tie oneself into knots because Jobs was vegan and died of pancreatic cancer at 56.

    Being vegan is not a magic bullet that stops all disease and cancers. It reduces the rates for certain cancers, heart disease etc., but reducing rates is not he same as eliminating the possibility. Besides, for all anyone knows, he might have died if pancreatic cancer at 30 had he not been vegan. We don’t know and it is self-serving to speculate.

    It doesn’t really promote the positive message of a healthy vegan lifestyle to start speculating on what he might have done wrong. I hate to say it, but it looks like pure rationalization and a need to view veganism as a panacea to stave off death. It also appears like an effort to convince others of these beliefs. There is so much data that shows the health benefits of a vegan diet. There are no guarantees.

    Besides, for many of us, we would continue to live as vegans and vegetarians even if there were no health benefits at all simply out of consideration for the animals and how they are treated/killed.

    • Olga says:

      I couldn’t have said it better, Maria. All this drama and spin around Steve’s diet makes me cringe. He made an ethical choice, that’s one more reason for me to respect this brilliant man.

  17. Ben Smith says:

    Why did the writer hold on to this until after Steve Jobs passing? Many of these questions could’ve been answered while he was alive but now that he’s passed you have to guess and assume. Sounds to me like an excuse to prove a vegan lifestyle is the right life style for everyone and if you don’t follow it 100% you will end up like Steve Jobs.

  18. Groundhog says:

    When I was a vegan I ate more sushi than I ever did before or after. Vegan sushi tastes much better than any other. There might be various associations between certain lifestyle choices and cancers, but nobody knows what really causes it. Stop blaming the victim and hoping to exempt yourselves with the perfect diet…nobody understands why who dies when…its out of our hands.
    Time to accept the things we cannot change. You think if Steve J. Would’ve made sure fish never made it to his sushi the rest of his vegan diet wouldve made him exempt from horrid diseases of mankind? Stop blaming the victim…it wasn’t his fault and veganism doesn’t save anybody but the animals.

  19. sabine says:

    I read that in his early years working at Atari, that he was a fruitarian following teachings from Arnold Ehret. Later, he was referred to as pescetarian.
    Was this really someone following a healthy regimen or just a computer nerd trying to avoid cooking? I myself find coming up with really nice vegan recipes challenging, my blog is helping me to keep it up. I cannot imagine that jobs did that on a daily basis.

  20. Brennan says:

    The following is a direct quote from the all about steve jobs website: [http://allaboutstevejobs.com/being/4-home/4-home.html]

    …”Steve is still a strict vegan to this day, like his wife Laurene. He is known for lecturing his guests about eating meat, AND HE MAKES NO CONCESSION TO HIMSELF, APART FROM EATING FISH (SUSHI ESPECIALLY).

    …his favorite local restaurants include…the Fraiche yoghurt café, various restaurants and cafés on Stanford campus, and Sushi Ran in Sausalito.”

    Steve Jobs WAS NOT vegan. He ate fish. Therefore he was not even vegetarian. Fish, particularly RAW FISH is some of the most highly polluted on the planet containing mercury, PCBs, parasites, worms and a plethora of other unsavory elements that could have greatly contributed to his liver disease.

  21. I agree…having become a Vegan, recently I too had questions about Sushi. If this what was eaten, Jobs was not a Vegan.

    • Valter M. Silva says:

      Correct… a vegan is a vegan and no concession is allowed. If he really used to eat fish so he was not even a vegetarian at all.

  22. john edward says:

    The big picture of my life starts with the Big Bang. Even today we live in the Big Bang continuum. Science is all about understanding the impact of the Big Bang on my life. It’s bigger than just being vegan. I believe it’s all about recognising the power of the Big Bang to this very day residing in my unconscious mind. It’s the unconscious mind that guides the formation of each new babe in the womb of its mother. It’s the unconscous mind that nutures the newly born baby. Gradually it’s the conscious mind that overrides my unconscious mind as I become more self-aware resulting in all sorts of health issues.

  23. steve says:

    My first inclination would be to find out which sushi restaurant he loved, contact them and ask when the last time he ate there and how often.

  24. phil says:

    sushi can be vegan if made with tofu or tempeh or vegetables replacing meat. i make vegan sushi at home and eat it when dining out.

  25. LaVega says:

    I’m not getting this… The video and the article is about animal protein increasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Jobs was a vegan. He didn’t let his kids eat junk eighter, they ate healthy. (He was even into raw foods in the 90′s.) He was eating a macrobiotic diet for the last couple of years.So how is not eating animals protected him from pancreatic cancer?

    • jmorrishicks says:

      I thought he was a vegan too, but saw in the New York Times that his favorite restaurant was a sushi restaurant. I stated clearly that there was much we don’t know about Steve’s eating habits. If he likes sushi, maybe he wasn’t a vegan after all. Or maybe he was vegan his entire life. Lots of questions still out there. J. Morris Hicks.

      • Sara says:

        I eat a lot of sushi and I’m vegan – and my fav. sushi restaurant has a vegan tofu teriyaki and I love edamame (served at almost all sushi restaurants where I live). They also have good fresh salad and a variety of vegetable sushis (asparagus, sweet potato, cucumber, avocado, carrots etc). I don’t think that he liked sushi implies anything about his diet, it’s just unknown.

      • Jeff says:

        Sara…..if you eat sushi, you are NOT a vegan. Perhaps you need to learn the definition of veganism!

    • Valter M. Silva says:

      He used to eat fish, specially sushi , and actually every kind of meat, including fish,and other animal proteins have long been proved to turn on cancer growth. Do some research

  26. I also heard that Steve Jobs may have been a fruitarian, before adopting a vegan diet. As you say, we don’t know his diet history. Nutrition is certainly one factor, however, there are other factors that come into play when dealing with cancer. We know that a whole food, plant-based nutrition program protects one from many chronic diseases, such as cancer, however, it doesn’t guarantee that we will never get cancer – there are other variables such as stress, the environment, toxins/chemicals and other factors that may also come into play. Nevertheless, by choosing a whole foods, plant-based diet we certainly reduce our risk of ever developing cancer or any other chronic disease.

    • Valter M. Silva says:

      Steve Jobs used to eat fish specially sushi, and that doesn´t make a true vegan, not even a vegetarian. Yet he used to eat mostly a semi-vegetarian diet, and that didn´t cause his pancreatic cancer… maybe prolonged his life.

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