What’s FOOD got to do with cancer?

And why don’t we hear more about it from mainstream medicine?

Sails up for cancerThis blog comprises my preparation for a speech that I will deliver in Mystic, Connecticut, on June 23—at the Sails Up for Cancer CAM Expo. The “CAM” stands for Complementary Alternative Medicine. See poster for the entire weekend event at the end of this blog.

Living in sailing country here on the coast of Connecticut, notice that the four flags in the logo above are the nautical flags that represent the S-U-4-C and you can view their website at su4c.org.

Now, exactly what DOES food have to do with cancer?

Along with a tremendous amount of highly processed carbs, this is where most westerners get their calories---a grossly unsustainable way of eating.

Along with a tremendous amount of highly processed carbs, this is where most westerners get their calories—a grossly unsustainable way of eating.

First of all, FOOD has got something to do with just about everything. That’s because what we eat determines how our planet is used. Before we talk about cancer, let’s take a look at the “big picture” about of our food choices—beginning with the amount of land it takes to feed people who eat our Standard American Diet (the S.A.D. diet). Sad for us, sad for all the other creatures, and sad for the planet.

You see, it takes about two football fields worth of land to feed one person the S.A.D. And since the planet only has six billion football fields, she is only capable of feeding a maximum of three billion people our incredibly wasteful, harmful and unsustainable typical western diet. In other words, if everyone in the world tried to eat our S.A.D., we’d need more than two planet Earths to feed us all. We only have one—and she is in trouble.

A little background. Nature has a feeding plan for all of her millions of species. Some fish eat other fish, some animals eat other animals, some animals eat plants, and so forth. When all of nature’s critters live and eat in harmony with her master plan, a beautiful equilibrium is maintained in perpetuity. But when one of her species begins to eat the wrong food for their species, the harmony of nature is disrupted.

Gorillas, whose DNA is almost identical to humans, eat nothing but raw plants.

Gorillas, whose DNA is almost identical to humans, eat nothing but raw plants.

Nature’s plan for our food. When I began studying all about the optimal diet for our species back in 2003, I learned about the diet of gorillas whose DNA is almost identical to humans. I also learned about the Tarahumara of Northern Mexico and other peoples in Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands.

I learned that they all eat a simple, yet efficient diet that consists of mostly whole plants. And I learned that they suffer almost NONE of the chronic diseases that we suffer—the kinds that have been called the “diseases of affluence.” We’re talking heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction and yes—-the big C, those people hardly ever get CANCER.

Our way of eating is grossly unsustainable. When I first got curious about the optimal diet for humans back in 2002, I started out by reading everything I could find. After reading over 30 books about health, I read two books that dealt mostly with the environmental impacts of our food choices. And that’s when I had my

Blinding flash of the obvious — “Oh my God, we’re eating the wrong food!”

That’s when I knew I had discovered my major definite purpose in life. Armed with my “big picture” engineering perspective and my God-given ability to make complex things simple, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life helping the human race return to the diet that Nature intended for us to eat…promoting health, hope and harmony on Planet Earth. As Dr. Campbell says in his new book, “No less than our future as a species hangs in the balance.”

The way we’re eating now in the western world simply cannot continue for very much longer. In just a blink of history (since 1804), our population has exploded from one billion to seven billion—in just 209 years. And we’re adding another billion every thirteen years. We’re already out of land and we’re rapidly running out of water and fossil fuels—the other two finite resources that we need to produce food for 8 or 9 billion people.

This should be required reading for all members of Congress.

T. Colin Campbell—telling it like it is for over thirty years. But who is listening? Not Congress, not the ACS.

We also have the science on our side. Why aren’t we being told about the ability of a whole foods, plant-based diet to prevent most cancers? I will let Dr. T. Colin Campbell (of Cornell) answer that question—with a few lines from The China Study (Chapters 1, 3 & 8)

1. Despite thirty years of the massively funded War on Cancer, we have made little progress. Contrary to what many believe, cancer is not a natural event.

2. Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent the majority of cancers in the United States. Old age can and should be graceful and peaceful.

3. [C]asein (the protein in cow’s milk) and very likely all animal proteins, may be the most relevant cancer-causing substances that we consume.

4. There is enough evidence now that the U.S. government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.

5. There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment.

6. Our institutions and information providers are failing us. Even cancer organizations, at both the national and local level, are reluctant to discuss or even believe this evidence.

7. Food as a key to health represents a powerful challenge to conventional medicine, which is fundamentally built on drugs and surgery.

Early detection continues to trump true prevention---the elimination of the cause. Maybe $10 billion a year would help get that word out there, with or without the support of the ACS.

Early detection continues to trump true prevention—the elimination of the cause.

Cancer organizations, like the ACS. In preparing for an earlier blog, I investigated the American Cancer Society website in search of information about “risk factors for breast cancer.” There, I found a single page that had over 4,000 words—about a half hour of reading for most people.

Incredibly it included “risk factors” like night work, wearing bras, and using antiperspirants. But what about diet? After 20 minutes of reading, I found some absolutely worthless “dietary” information under this heading:

“Factors with uncertain, controversial, or unproven effect on breast cancer risk

Diet. Many studies have looked for a link between what women eat and breast cancer risk, but so far the results have been conflicting.

Some studies have indicated that diet may play a role, while others found no evidence that diet influences breast cancer risk. Studies have looked at the amount of fat in the diet, intake of fruits and vegetables, and intake of meat. No clear link to breast cancer risk was found.

Voluntary Health Organization? The ACS may have thousands of volunteers, but they’re also paying top dollar to their executives—beginning with a million dollar package for CEO John Seffrin, who received a seven figure package in 2008—$1,045,887 to be exact. The next ten highest paid executives averaged over a half million dollars each—including one with the nebulous title of “Interim chief mission officer,” who took home the tidy sum of $334,000 in 2008. (See my blog below for source information). Where could those people earn that kind of money if that magical “cure” were found tomorrow?

President Richard Nixon signs the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

President Richard Nixon signs the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

Unlike heart disease or type 2 diabetes, the reversal of cancer is not so easy.  In the past few decades, a handful of American physicians have had great success in completely reversing many chronic diseases and some success in reversing cancer. The name of the game in cancer is PREVENTION. Our famous “war on cancer” that Nixon launched in 1971 is now in its 42nd year.

Since the end of the American Revolution, our nation has been in ten wars that lasted a combined total of thirty-four years (War of 1812, Mexican War, Spanish-American, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq War). But they all pale in comparison to our War on Cancer—which has lasted eight years longer than ALL of those wars COMBINED.

And what do we have to show for it? Lots of organizations and tons of money being spent searching for the cure—but almost none spent on telling EVERYONE how they can easily prevent most cancers in the first place. Can you imagine what our American voters would do about a 42-year old war that produced no results?

Finally, a big player breaks ranks. From the Spring 2013 Journal of Kaiser Permanente, our nation’s largest healthcare provider—it marks the first time I have heard anything other than total BS from our vast, interconnected “system” of companies, agencies and institutions who control what we eat and the treatment for diseases that are promoted by what we eat. From the abstract of a breakthrough paper entitled “Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets.”

“Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.

Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.

The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions., lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from heart disease.

Contact them at pbnhc.com and tell them J. Morris Hicks sent you.

Contact them at pbnhc.com and tell them J. Morris Hicks sent you.

The Bottom Line. We don’t “need” to eat animal products of any kind; in fact, we now know that they promote cancer. And the inclusion of them (lean cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and fish) in recommended diet-styles on the big cancer websites is tragic and despicable. I urge you to read the entire KP paper listed below and discuss it with your physician. If he or she is not interested, you may wish to find a new doctor.

Then recommend that your physician attend the pbnhc.com plant-based conference for medical professionals this October in Naples, Florida.

For your convenience, links to the Kaiser Permanente paper and a sampling of just FIVE of my total of FIFTY blogposts about cancer

In the poster below, notice that I am the last speaker listed and will be speaking in the tent at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

SU4C poster

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 2 or 3 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

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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. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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10 Responses to What’s FOOD got to do with cancer?

  1. Juan says:

    But now the problem have name: Monsanto, because all vegetables are damaged with transgenic`s grows.

  2. CJ says:

    Jim, All,
    I have a quick story and then a question which I’m hoping you can help me with. I was at the grocery store tonight shopping for the week, got to the cash register and laid out all my veggies, etc. and said hello to the cashier who I noticed had some kind of blood vessel eruption in one of her eyes. I felt really bad for her as I knew it might be painful / annoying for her. We started talking and she asked me what kind of kale it was I was buying, for the price code, and she commented that her friend makes green smoothies every morning with kale, and I mentioned what a great thing that was and that everyone should do it. She said “yeah, but eating healthy can be so expensive,” and I replied that it really isn’t, and it can actually cost more in the long run if we don’t eat healthy. She quickly mentioned that she knows how that feels, as her blood pressure is sky high this week and created her eye issue. I told her to take care, again felt bad about her problem, and really wanted to give her some information or refer her to a website, like this one, as she seemed ready for it. I’m sure she’ll make some diet changes eventually… hopefully.

    I guess to my question now — is there a website and/or select articles from good sites out there (Jim, I know you have some great ones here in your years of blog posts) which are dedicated to helping people understand how they can eat plant-based, and eat well, on a budget? I just would like to be able to pass something along if I’m in a similar situation again or see the same cashier sometime soon.

    Just fyi, I loaded up pretty good this week here on the outskirts of L.A., and my pricetag was around $45 for food. I used to spend a lot more than that a couple years ago before going plant-based.

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Hi CJ, As for your question, I have a “category” named “cost of food” that currently has five active blogposts in it. The first one is entitled, “The Dollars and “Sense” of Plant-Based Eating.” That’s a good place to start. Hope this helps.

      Be well, Jim

  3. CJ says:

    Jim, really just a great post here, thank you as always for an inspiring summary as you continue to “connect-the-dots” for health and our future in general. Wish you all the best in your upcoming presentation, have fun! By the way, your interview with Marilu Henner was great!

    Finally, thank you for bringing the Kaiser report to our attention, I’ve shared this great news with many friends and family, both plant-based and not… the responses are always interesting. The closing line from the Kaiser report is really inspiring and so true:

    “If we are to slow down the obesity epidemic and reduce the complications of chronic disease, we must consider changing our culture’s mind-set from “live to eat” to “eat to live.” The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables.”

    I like the “Eat to Live” line they mention, which also is the title of one of the first plant-based diet books which I read, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and turned to for how to actually implement a plant-based diet after reading “The China Study”. Great stuff… thanks again and best wishes!

  4. Mike mair says:

    Mr. Hicks,
    Hope you can come and speak in my home of Kansas City to spread your ideas. People need health alternatives, and need to know what is harming them even if it irritates them.
    Thanks you, Mike

  5. billkranker says:


    Only you could find a health conference that involves a sailing regatta!!

    Hope your message is well received!!


    P.S. I am kind of curious regarding the “Expressive art therapy” mentioned on the event poster. You will have to fill me in on how that works!!

    • Jackie Pekar says:

      I was thinking the SAME thing, billkranker (about the sailing!!) hee hee

      You rock, Jim!! Wish I could be there. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mystic!! Miss it terribly.


  6. Sheila Malvagna says:

    Good luck at the expo. As always, you have such a direct and eloquent yet approachable way of getting the Big Picture out there along with easy access to the wealth of information to back it up. Thank you for continuing to carry the torch and having faith that we CAN get the word out there and turn the tide!

  7. Joanne Irwin says:

    Would like feedback on this article, written by someone affiliated with Weston Price Foundation, an organization that is funded by the Dairy Industry. Need I say more? After reading article, it seems to me that Big Agra is nervous over declining stats in meat and dairy consumption.


  8. george eisman says:

    any info on how much food industry contributes to Amer. Cancer Society to keep “quiet” about food links to cancer?

    Sincerely, George Eisman,MA,MS, RD (Registered Dietitian) – Nutrition Director Coalition for Cancer Prevention through Plant-Based Eating http://www.coalitionforcancerprevention.org/

    Please pass this on:

    Evidence that Substituting Plant-Based proteins for animal foods Can Lower Cancer Risk: Breast cancer Meat consumption- including poultry and fish – is associated with a significantly higher Breast cancer incidence rate. Each serving eaten per day on average increases risk by about 30%. European Journal of Cancer Prevention (17:39-47)

    High consumption of dairy products is associated with higher Breast cancer incidence. British Journal of Cancer ( 24: 633-43)

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