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  • Valerie Just

Alarmed by health trends, Iowa cancer doctor fights disease, sugar and food industry with a fistful

I typically attempt to stay on point, and add information that is relative to beekeeping and promoting the pollinators. However, I've recently had to take stock in the unhealthy lifestyle that I am living, and I am hoping that writing about my situation, and sharing an article written by the John Stoddard Cancer Center medical director, Dr. Andrew Nish, will assist me in getting motivated to take better care of myself.

I am a sugar addict, plain and simple - my favorite sugary beverage is Pepsi with sugar, and I drink one can every day, just recently down from two cans each day. I look forward to it from the time I get up in the morning, until I pop the tab on the pop can and can hear that glorious carbonated fizz - the release of millions of carbon dioxide molecules bursting out of their constraints! I've gotten away from soda a couple of times in my life, and know I can do it again - but I will pause here for a moment of silence as I anticipate my upcoming grief as I leave my beloved Pepsi in my rear view mirror...

Moving on...


Excerpts from the article to inspire you to read the entire article:

The medical director of John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines saw his caseload go from 400 to 1,000 a year in the past couple of decades and began to ask why people were getting sicker.

Dr. Andrew Nish became so convinced from his research that changes are needed in what we eat, how we live and in treating what ails us that he recently gave up his interventional radiology practice of 28 years to finish his study of integrated medicine that uses holistic techniques to care, such as proper nutrition, meditation and mind-body therapy.

Six years ago, he read more than 30 books on nutrition, and the first thing the avid cyclist did was change his own diet. He dropped breads, pastas and sugars from his diet and focused on eating vegetables, nuts and small servings of meat.

Although he’s always been slim, he dropped 15 pounds. His thinking was clearer and he had more energy and endurance. He was convinced and furthered his study.

...“That’s the real trouble with nutrition. Everybody’s got a gimmick. I have no gimmick. Mine is eat real food. If it didn’t have dirt on it, it’s not real food,” he said.

He said he didn’t set out to take on the food industry because he would be inviting trouble. Yet, he does say this: “God, or a higher power, gave us everything we need to live. We don’t need Kraft or Nestle. A thousand years ago we didn’t have processed food.”

Five ways to eat right

No added sugar.

Over consumption of sugar is linked to numerous health problems, Nish said. The World Health Organization recommends six teaspoons of sugar or less every day. There are 19 teaspoons in a 20-ounce bottle of one variety of soda, Nish said. Parents think they are giving their kids a healthy breakfast by feeding them granola, yogurt and a glass of juice for breakfast. The granola alone can have 18 grams of sugar, and the juice “is just sugar,” he said. He said 80 percent of processed foods include added sugar. And sugar substitutes are even worse because of the metabolic response in your body.

No refined grains.

That means no white or wheat flour. Chips? Gone. Processed food? Gone.

Eat vegetables and fruits.

Nish recommends seven servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day. Exclude potatoes and sweet corn because they are “just starch.”

Eat nuts.

Plain, unadulterated nuts give you a high-quality fat. Fats are vital for brain development. He also includes small 3- to 4-ounce servings of meat, a food that “has got a bad rap.” He said he eats meat from a local farmer that doesn’t include the hormones or antibiotics present in many large-scale meat manufacturers.

Get rid of all vegetable oils.

Extra virgin olive oil is good and butter is safe, he said. Get rid of vegetable oil. He recommends your kitchen include only one cupboard and perhaps two refrigerators for all the fresh foods you should be eating. He shops exclusively at farmers' markets in the warm months and buys local and organic in the winter at stores that stock it or from the Iowa Food Cooperative.


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