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Why the “Race for a Cure” Mentality Doesn’t Work…and What Does.

Posted Oct 06 2009 10:00pm
A donut....for the cure? Is this where we really are focused as a whole society on disease and prevention?

A donut....for the cure? Is this where we really are focused as a whole society on disease and prevention?

I settled down for an afternoon of watching my favorite NFL team play, and then I started to notice something. Why were all the players wearing pink shoes, pink gloves, pink hats….oh and then I saw the pink ribbons too. Here is October the “official” month for breast cancer awareness.

I don’t ever want to see anyone get sick or have diseases, and want people with diseases to get well and stay that way…but I am also not going to just go with the “mainstream” opinion when it makes no sense to me in the first place.

So here comes my take on all the “race for a cure” or “disease awareness” mentalities/focus when it comes to cancer, diabetes, autism, food allergies or whatever is the hot topic of today.

Awareness into What Exactly?

I have no problems with any growing movement that can help the mass public become more “aware” of a disease WHEN there is also the proper focus on the preventative solution. We can all wear pins, ribbons, t-shirts, bumper stickers or wrist bands till we are blue in the face….but if it’s not helping people to make the right changes in their life to help prevent diseases also, what is the point?

So I have to ask with all this modern “awareness” into diseases and unending fund raisers from races to golf tournaments, is it really helping or distracting us from what is really important? If you have a race, that at the end has a table sponsored by a donut company (yes I have seen many after 5-10ks) and another for a sugar loaded energy drink….how are these in line with the goal of disease prevention?

Great Time for Corporate/Personal Gain

We can "Stop" Diabetes if we buy more....cookies and brownies? Seriously? Where is the awareness into prevention here?

We can "Stop" Diabetes if we buy more....cookies and brownies? Seriously? Where is the awareness into prevention here?

Companies are jumping on the “ribbon” bandwagon to take advantage of our internal “goodwill” and turn it into “smart business” profits. Look around this month (Oct) and you will see pink ribbons associated with all sorts of packages from cans of soup, batteries, car magnets, shoes, shirts, hats, socks, pocketbooks, post-it notes, pens, oil change coupons and all sorts of junk food wrappers.

Is this real charity at work or just a ploy for more profits? While some may claim you are “helping to fund a cure”, are they really donating much of anything? Below is an little bit from an ABC news story:

The Campbell Soup Co. has also worked to raise breast cancer awareness this year. For the first time, the company is selling a limited edition of its famed red-and-white cans in pink and white, with sales of the rosy colored cans going to breast cancer research.

The soupmaker expects to donate $250,000 from its campaign to the cause, which is roughly 3½ cents per pink can sold.

Yoplait is repeating its program, which encourages customers to mail back yogurt lids to help the cause, and will donate 10 cents to breast cancer causes for every lid received. But advocates point out you would have to eat three cups of yogurt a day for four months just to raise $36 to fight breast cancer.

So who is really making out? Some companies may not even be sending any money towards a good cause and just cashing in on a consumer mentality (such as people who make the car magnets).

Honestly does it even make sense that buying a bag of M&Ms (loaded with sugar, an anti-nutrient which can possibly feed cancer cells) is a step towards preventing anything?

At least there are some sites that call into question who is selling what such as Think before you Pink website.

Charities are Good Business

I’ve always joked (but in a sadly honest way) that the best 2 businesses to be in are religion and charities, because it seems people just throw money at them to feel better about themselves. Sadly while many may have the good intention to want to help others, you have to question if the money sent to any organization is really going to do that.

Take for example the American Cancer Society. An organization that prides itself on “prevention and cure”. What you may not hear about are the people behind the organization and their focus. Here’s a little glimpse from The World’s Wealthiest “Nonprofit” Institution:

The “nonprofit” status of the Society is in sharp conflict with its high overhead and expenses, excessive reserves of assets and contributions to political parties.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is accumulating great wealth in its role as a “charity.” According to James Bennett, professor of economics at George Mason University and recognized authority on charitable organizations, in 1988 the ACS held a fund balance of over $400 million with about $69 million of holdings in land, buildings, and equipment (1). Of that money, the ACS spent only $90 million— 26 percent of its budget— on medical research and programs. The rest covered “operating expenses,” including about 60 percent for generous salaries, pensions, executive benefits, and overhead.

However, a close look at the heavy-hitters on the Foundation’s board will give an idea of which interests are at play and where the Foundation expects its big contributions to come from. The Foundation’s board of trustees included corporate executives from the pharmaceutical, investment, banking, and media industries.

Zeneca Pharmaceuticals— a spin-off of Imperial Chemical Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chlorinated and other industrial chemicals, including those incriminated as causes of breast cancer— has been the sole multimillion-dollar funder of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since its inception in 1984. Zeneca is also the sole manufacturer of tamoxifen, the world’s top-selling anticancer and breast cancer “prevention” drug, with $400 million in annual sales. Furthermore, Zeneca recently assumed direct management of 11 cancer centers in U. S. hospitals.

Where do you think the priorities of this organization are? Promoting more medical treatments (which can be called “screenings”)? Only funding research for some treatment that can hold a drug patent? Is it any wonder that all the brochures and marketing of “prevention and awareness” focus on treatments and drug therapy with hardly any mention of a real lifestyle changes? After all, there is big business is “treating” more and more people…not actually driving those numbers down with lifestyle/non-medical prevention.

So in essence you have a “non-profit” organization with heavy influences into multiple markets such as pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals, well paid executives, some money spent into research and more on lobbying. This where you really want your effort and money to be used?

The Myth of Fighting Any Disease

How do you fight something that modern medicine knows so little about in the first place?

How do you fight something that modern medicine knows so little about in the first place?

Now we also come to the heart of the matter, the myth that we are “fighting” any disease in the first place. How exactly do you “beat” cancer or diabetes? How do we even begin to think we can do battle with some disease that modern medicine can’t even comprehend how it happens in the first place?

As far as I know, the only way to win a war against an unknown destructive force, is to never encounter it!

There is no battle that needs to be waged, we don’t need us marching down the street in unity to “fight” anything. What we do need is a growing awareness in how to prevent it from ever happening in the first place in our lives. We need a prevention strategy, not a battle plan of throwing enough money at it and “hoping” a magic pill will be found soon.

There is an old Zen saying that goes something like this “ You can not overcome a shadow by fighting the darkness, but rather you just turn on the light and it will disappear”. Lots of effort can be spent fighting the darkness, or some simple awareness can shed the light we need to make it disappear.

Mike Adams over at Natural News sums up how I also believe about the only good benefit to taking on a “battle” against disease by walking:

The preventions for this disease are already well-known and well-documented, so there’s really nothing to run around in circles for — unless you want to get some exercise and sunshine, which are probably the best cures for breast cancer in the first place.

Prevention at the Cellular Level

We all want to be healthy, but does that stop anyone from buying a pink donut thinking they are battling cancer? It’s evident from the many studies on more natural living societies that cancer and heart disease is rarely seen until you introduce more “modernized” foods. Weston A Price has a good excerpt on how to protect yourself against cancer with food:

Once a rare disease, cancer is now widespread, affecting as much as one-third of the population. The rise in cancer in the West has paralleled the rise in factory farming and the use of processed foods containing vegetable oils and additives.

Orthodox methods for treating cancer (radiation and chemotherapy) do not prolong life. The best approach to cancer is prevention.

Traditional diets, containing animal and plant foods farmed by nontoxic methods, are rich in factors that protect against cancer. Many of these protective factors are in the animal fats.

When you eat "Real Foods", it's amazing how to find many protective nutrients can be found in them

When you eat "Real Foods", it' s amazing how to find many protective nutrients can be found in them

When it comes to diseases, you will see the blame passed around from many different angles including:

  • Rancid Fats/Oils/Trans Fats in Processed Foods
  • Sugar in Processed Foods
  • Lack of Daily Exercise
  • Obesity (increases risks for most all diseases)
  • Hormones and Pesticides in Food (dairy and meat especially)
  • Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (pollution, plastics, medications)
  • Smoking and Alcohol
  • Lack of Vitamins/Minerals in diet (esp Vit D from sunshine)
  • High Stress Lifestyles/Lack of Sleep
  • and even wearing Tight Clothes (like bras for women) that reduce circulation and lymph flow (the internal cell waste removal process)

While I am not going to ever point out one thing to blame for everything, they all play a part. We need to start looking at the damage being done on the body as a whole and how it effects us at the cellular level.

What is cancer? Essentially it is a bunch of cells gone bad and destructive. If left unchecked it will continue to damage other cells and create more and more “cells gone bad”. Do this in your lung and you have lung cancer, in your brain and you have brain cancer, etc.

So in the goal of prevention, we are looking to maintain the health at the cellular level….and let the ones that have gone bad die off (so they can’t spread).

Cell Death and Recycling

Recycle at the cell level and stay healthy!

Recycle at the cell level and stay healthy!

The programmed cell death/self-suicide of a cell, otherwise known as apoptosis, is a good thing in some cases. While you don’t want all your cells to die off, you definitely don’t want the cancerous cells gone bad sticking around and creating more damage. It could be summed up that a defective apoptosis system is a big reason for the progression of cancerous cells in a body. If left unchecked, the cancerous cells spread and create more. A functioning apoptosis system would call for the cancerous cells to commit suicide and stop the progression.

This is such a complex system that most scientists probably can’t explain why and how apoptosis malfunctions and allows for the progression of cancerous cells.

Although recently more and more light is being put into how the cells can “recycle” their own damaged parts and create a new and healthy cell in the process. This is what is known as autophagy and could be one of the keys to living longer and healthy! Here’s a good summary from the University of Florida Health news on UF scientists reveal how dietary restriction cleans cells:

During the aging process, free radicals . - highly reactive byproducts of our cells’ respiration - wreak havoc on our cellular machinery. Mitochondria, the tiny power plants that keep a cell functioning, are especially vulnerable to this type of damage. The effects can be disastrous - if malfunctioning mitochondria aren’t removed, they begin to spew out suicidal proteins that prompt the entire cell to die. Cell death, on a whole-body scale, is what aging is all about.

Fortunately, younger cells are adept at reducing, recycling and rebuilding. In this process, damaged mitochondria are quickly swallowed up and degraded. The broken down pieces are then recycled and used to build new mitochondria. However, older cells are less adept at this process, so damaged mitochondria tend to accumulate and contribute to aging.

“Cell survival is dependent upon the ability of the cell to reduce and recycle by a mechanism called autophagy,” said William Dunn Jr., Ph.D., a professor of anatomy and cell biology in UF’s College of Medicine and senior author of the study,

and more from this really good article in Scientific American on How Cells Clean House:

Mitochondria, for instance, are the organelles primarily responsible for generating energy within a cell, and they can send signals to other parts of the cell that initiate apoptosis, or cellular suicide.

Cells induce apoptosis for a variety of reasons, all more or less for the greater good of the organism. For example, the body continually generates more cells than it needs, and they must be eliminated. An aging cell that has ceased functioning efficiently may kill itself to make room for younger, more robust cells. A cell that switches from normal growth to cancerous proliferation can also be induced to commit suicide, making apoptosis one of the most important built-in barriers against cancer. Apoptosis depends on a complex series of cellular events, rigorously orchestrated by numerous protein signals, and so the death of the cell by apoptosis is considered to be a programmed event.

But a faulty mitochondrion can wreak havoc if it sets off apoptosis at the wrong time. Among the by-products of a functioning mitochondrion are reactive oxygen species (ROS)—oxygen ions and other oxygen-based molecular fragments. Working with such volatile chemicals often causes mitochondria to leak some of their contents, including the signaling proteins that initiate apoptosis. In other words, a minor flaw in a small part of the cell can lead, inadvertently, to the death of the entire cell. The accidental cellular demise of a few skin cells might not be a big deal, but such a loss of memory neurons in the brain would definitely spell trouble.

The escape of such large amounts of ROS poses a cancer threat, because ROS that reach the nucleus may induce malignant changes in genes. Once again, autophagy can come to the rescue, removing the dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell. Eileen White of Rutgers University believes that autophagy also mitigates genome damage in cancer cells, thereby helping to prevent new tumors from forming.

Most people take it for granted that many diseases become more frequent with age, including cancer and the degeneration of neurons. The reason, in part, may be a decline in the efficiency of auto­phagy. According to Ana Maria Cuervo of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the current thinking is that cellular systems, including autophagy, undergo a steady loss of function with age.

Recall that a restricted food supply —incipient starvation— speeds up autophagy.

So it seems that autophagy through various pathways can not only help stop new progression of cancerous cells, but may also help improve apotosis signaling through healthy mitochondria. Add this to a continual process of healthy cell repair and “going green” (recycling) at the cell level may be the real fountain of youth.

While researchers are currently looking for a pharmaceutical treatment to increase autophagy in healthy cells and apoptosis in cancerous ones (although more is not always better and with every treatment seems to come more negative side effects), we can already take action with our naturally built in survival system and signal it through “restricted food supply” as seen with calorie restriction and intermittent fasting.

November 1st - Intermittent Fasting (IF) Day

To give more awareness of the benefits of using intermittent fasting for health (and weight loss), I am calling for everyone out there to do an intermittent fast on Sunday November 1st (perfect timing as I know many will probably eat too much candy on Halloween the night before).

How long you fast is up to you. Skip breakfast, skip lunch, drink water/tea during the day. Because we are not fasting a whole day you do eat at some point (such as dinner or whenever you choose). While you should always check with a Dr before attempting a fast, most should be ok with going without a meal and it is a good reminder into what really matters in our  “battle” against diseases.

So if you really want to help someone else out there stay healthy for life, educate them on what real healthy living should be.

Free Intermittent Fasting Ebooks!

I have “revived” the IF Life! Now you can get the IF Life Revolution ebook series (for FREE) all about educating people on how to lose weight and be healthy with the use of intermittent fasting. So if you want to help someone get healthy, point them to the site here (or pass along this article) for the free ebooks and let them learn for themselves!

Then come join us all Nov 1st in taking a worldwide stand in defining real personal health care, and yes you can go for a walk in the sunshine too if you want!

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