Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Guy Crittenden


My Whacked-Out Voodoo Health Journey

Posted: 04/20/2012 10:01 am

Have I found the cure for cancer?

No, not in the sense of a miracle drug or "cure."

But, yet, I am on a journey where the answer could be "yes."

It's about prevention. (You already knew that.)

Ah, but prevention is not as simple as you might think. In some ways it is rather simple, and in others it's complex.

I don't want to get into detail yet, and I especially don't want to get all science-y on you.

I'm calling this "My whacked-out voodoo health journey" not because it actually involves voodoo (although it could at some point), but mostly because I like the name; and it is a journey. I'm using the word "voodoo" ironically, because many of the things we ought to be incorporating into our lives to become or remain healthy look like "voodoo" from this side of the looking glass.

This is the introductory column in a series about my own personal journey not to recover from cancer, but to try and prevent it. It's a journey I strongly suggest you share with me.

I start with a simple premise, something like Supersize Me in reverse. That film documented the effects upon a "normal," healthy man from eating a strict diet of fast food. This article series documents the learnings and effects upon a "normal" healthy man from eating a strictly healthy diet.

I'm going to emphasize the things I learn along the way that are sensible and fairly easy for you to incorporate into your own life. This is an "everyman" story (and "everywoman" too, although a male is the guinea pig here.)

I'm a reasonably fit and healthy 51-year-old urban male who, until eight weeks ago, ate a fairly typical North American "meat and potatoes" diet, with lots of starchy carbohydrates. I often consumed fast food five or more times per week (if I'm honest about it), and lots of tasty but low-nutrition food outside and inside the home. Like many of you, I cut a lot of corners and saved time eating prepared foods. (President's Choice was always defrosting somewhere...)

I rarely ate the recommended number of daily servings of vegetables and fruit. I ate lots of red meat and I ate hamburgers, oh, every couple of days (at least). And, lots and lots of french fries (which I now look at the same way I regard cigarettes: little cancer sticks).

I was drinking coffee in the morning and throughout the day (using stimulants instead of nutrients) and calming myself down (or even knocking myself out) with alcohol in the evening. One or two glasses of wine with dinner; one or two or three scotch before bed. I wasn't sleeping well, and though I ate a lot, I was always hungry, craving those carbs that never satisfy.

Luckily, I naturally tend to be thin, yet I have been about 10 pounds above my optimal body weight for the past two decades or so, and can certainly pinch "more than an inch" on my belly.

I have a gym membership that I use, but never as often as I say I will. I have a dog, so that forces me to walk for about 30 minutes twice a day. I used to eat salad once in a while, but I ate a lot more pasta, cereal with milk -- things that were the easiest and fastest to prepare, often in a microwave.

And I thought (incredible to me now) that this was a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you live like this, and also think this is healthy, or healthy enough. (It isn't, but we'll get to that later.)

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that under the sink in the kitchen and bathroom there were all kinds of commercial cleansers, spray-on tile cleaners, detergents, you name it: the usual toxic assortment that the TV ads have subtly convinced us to "trust" since we were kids. And there were the usual personal grooming products, the scented soaps, the shampoos, body wash, after shave, deodorant... the containers for which still don't list their dangerous ingredients. (That's the subject of a future column.)

So I was (and am still) pretty much like most of you. And like a crew member on a federation starship looking at the galley of a Klingon craft, I always thought health food stores were strange, off-limits places for me. (And the people who worked there looked sort of pale and unhealthy, to be honest...)

You'd think that more than 20 years of editing trade magazines on pollution control and waste management I'd have made the connection that might exist between diseases like cancer, diabetes and the like, and environmental toxins in our homes and in our food. You'd think I'd have made changes years ago. I must be a slow learner, but then, I've been conditioned my whole life to make certain choices in the supermarket and drug store. And, most importantly, the "bad" stuff is just so damned convenient! Heck, it's even called "fast" food. And the worst crap is sold in "convenience" stores. (Is non-soda pop, non-potato chip, healthy food sold at slow "inconvenience" stores?)

The death from cancer of some friends in recent years, only a few years older than myself (at the time) got me thinking. There were certain catalysts that triggered my conversion on the road to whole foods that I'll describe in future columns.

For now, I simply invite you to accompany me on my voodoo journey, which I'll document in this space in the weeks and months to come.

I'm going to share my discoveries about the chemically-tainted foods we put in our bodies, the problematic cosmetic and toiletry products we apply to our skin, and the household cleaning products under our bathroom and kitchen sinks, all of which need replacing with alternatives.

I promise not to be preachy or sanctimonious. Actually, like me, you're going to find this journey is fun, and switching to healthier choices is far easier than you or I ever imagined. We have all the tools right at hand to take action ourselves and be well. And we needn't rely on our government and health care system to always protect us; as wonderful as that would be, these systems are failing us (badly, as you will see).