Veganism—A Cancer-Free Life?

If someone would have approached me 5 years ago and suggested I try veganism, I would have laughed and told them, ‘no thank you, I’d like to live a healthy life.’ But what is health and how do we truly acquire it? Some of us choose certain diets to lose weight and some of us adopt lifestyles to ease our conscious—i.e. animal rights or environmental issues. But what if I told you that adopting a plant based diet can not only help you lose weight and ease your conscious, but also drastically reduce your risk of cancer? Let that sit for a little.

We’ve always been told milk is vital for bone health and that animal flesh is our primary source for protein, required for an overall balanced diet. Without it, we've been told to expect some serious nutritional deficiencies. However, new studies are now focusing on the benefits of an all plant based diet, as opposed to studying against adopting this lifestyle.

One study claims that veganism was much more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). The study sampled blood from those who had been following a plant-based diet for at least one year and compared it to those eating the S.A.D. (I think the acronym in itself is a strong indication of the losing diet here). In the end, the research demonstrated that those who followed a vegan diet were able to fight prostate cancer cells. The blood that was sampled from those who followed a plant based diet, was found to be much more effective at stopping cancer cell growth.

Need more convincing? In a subsequent study, researchers took blood samples from women with breast cancer. These women were then asked to adopt a 100% plant based diet, including some light exercise, consisting of a 30 to 60 minute walk per day, for two weeks. At the end of their two-week trial, blood was again sampled from these same women and the results were astonishing. The diet had significantly slowed down the growth of the cancer and increased the blood’s ability to kill cancer cells.

So why do we always hear about unhealthy vegan people? That’s because of the few who don’t adopt the lifestyle in a healthy way. You can eat candy, soda and chips all day and technically, that would constitute you as a vegan, but not a healthy one. The key in all of this is to have an appropriately balanced diet.

According to the American Dietetic Association, "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

So, what’s the verdict? Be mindful of what you put into your body. There’s no doubt that veganism can be challenging when you’ve followed the Canadian Food Guide all your life; but you also don’t have to consume animal products all day, every day. If we know that decreasing animal product consumption is directly correlated to living a healthier life, it’s important to start making changes early enough, before it’s too late.

Peace & Love, 
Anna & Nishia