More than four decades ago, the United States declared a “war on cancer,” yet current statistics predict that during our lifetime, one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer. This amounts to 1.5 million people being diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year, and cancer causing nearly one-quarter of every death in America. Research has shown that more than one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States are due to poor diet, yet most are unaware of the connection. Faced with these startling statistics, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine developed the Food for Life: Cancer Project curriculum to offer a new direction in battling this disease. The Food for Life: Cancer Project classes include information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote or discourage cancer growth, along with demonstrations of simple recipes that can be easily recreated at home.
Each two-hour class features a DVD, discussion, and the opportunity to taste plant-based dishes, usually following a cooking demonstration. The series can last from four to seven classes. The four-week program includes a condensed version of the full-seven week program, or a seven-week program, which divides each topic into individual classes.
Class 1: Introduction to How Foods Fight Cancer
Certain diet patterns seem to have a major effect in helping people diagnosed with cancer live longer, healthier lives. The National Cancer Institute research shows that as much as 33 percent of cancer risk may be related to diet. In this class, participants will learn about the right food choices which can help reduce the risk of developing cancer as well as prevent a recurrence.
Class 2: Fueling Up On Low-Fat Foods
Steering clear of meat, dairy products, fried foods, and other fatty fare is an important first step in preventing and surviving cancer. Dietary fat not only hinders the immune system, it also increases hormone production, which can result in higher rates of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancers. The easiest way to be healthy is to build meals from foods which are naturally low in fat and to use cooking methods that do not require added fats or oils. In this class, participants will learn how to prepare delicious, low-fat dishes made from whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.
Class 3: Favoring Fiber
Fiber helps our bodies get rid of toxins, waste hormones, excess cholesterol, chemicals, and other undesirables. Without fiber in the diet, these excess compounds can get reabsorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a possible increased risk of cancer growth. Additionally, fiber is especially important in helping the immune system function properly, as well as facilitating the removal of waste from the body. Building a diet from fiber-rich plant foods is important for cancer prevention and survival as well as overall health. In this class, participants will enjoy fiber-rich food samples as you work toward your goal of 40 grams of fiber per day.
Class 4: Discovering Dairy Alternatives
When humans consume dairy products it causes worrisome biological changes in the body, including a rise in the amount of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. Scientific studies have shown elevated IGF-1 levels to be a catalyst for the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. In this class, participants will learn about the wonderful benefits of avoiding dairy products as well as an array of possible dairy product alternatives which provide ample calcium and other nutrients for a healthful diet.
Class 5: Replacing Meat
When cancer researchers started to look for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop the disease. This is in part due to the high-fat, high-iron, and fiber-free characteristics of meat compared to plant foods, as well as the formation of carcinogens caused by cooking meat. These cancer causing chemicals, called hetero-cyclic amines, tend to form within the meat tissue when exposed to high temperatures. In this class, participants will explore a variety of vegetarian sources of protein, all of which are low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients.
Optional – Class 6: Cancer-Fighting Compounds and Immune-Boosting Foods
Antioxidants and the body’s immune system are both critically important in fighting cancer. Cancer-fight- ing compounds such as antioxidants, mainly found in fruits and vegetables, assist in halting free-radical damage, which can otherwise lead to cancer development. This class will explore foods which are rich in protective compounds and immune-boosting nutrients such as beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, and zinc. Stud￼￼ies have demonstrated the ability of diets rich in vegetables and fruits to boost immunity and to reduce the likelihood that cancer will develop in the first place. Based on scientific research, vegetarians have approximately double the natural killer cell activity compared with nonvegetarians. All participants will taste a colorful, scrumptious, immune-boosting samples of a meal.
Optional – Class 7: Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Healthy weight control is essential for warding off a variety of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that slimmer people are even less likely to develop cancer, compared with their heavier counterparts. In addition, trimming excess weight may also improve survival after cancer has been diagnosed. This class will discuss and demonstrate fiber and nutrient-rich dishes that will help participants maintain a healthy weight.
PLUS: Three Months Coaching
PLUS: Starting an Ongoing Genesis 1:29 Health Program
- Why a Health Program?
- Benefits to the congregation
- Possible health program structures
- Activity Possibilities
- Community Outreach
- Measuring Success
- And others…