It’s 3 a.m. My cousin Nellie bolts upright in the bed.

“I just saw Papa,” she gasps. My uncle has just died, and I am not ready for this.

“What did he say?” I ask.

Nellie is sitting still as a stone. Her voice is low as if she too is coming from the other world.

“He said to drink warm lemon water every night.”

Well, that’s anti-climactic, I think to myself. But aloud I ask,


She replies, “To prevent cancer.”

My uncle died of “the Big C.” Nellie doesn’t have cancer. Still my uncle is intent on protecting his daughter, even from the grave, by offering preventative advice. In a nutshell, he is telling her,

“Prevent inflammation.”

April is National Cancer Control Month. The American Cancer Society lists four of the most common causes of cancer as:

– Smoking and Tobacco
– Sun and other types of Radiation
– Viruses and Other Infections
– Diet and Physical Exercise

Let’s look at ‘Diet and Physical Exercise’ as a means of prevention and possibly control. After all, this is where most of us get stuck. In his book, The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell outlines twenty years of research and prevention strategies that show how a radical change in diet can not only save our lives but heal us from diseases such as cancer.

Most of us don’t have cancer now, but what we are eating now could be setting the stage for disease later in our lives. Still, one of the hardest habits to break is what we eat. So how do we start?

We start by “renewing our minds”. When we understand what “the good way is and walk in it we will find rest for our souls”, to quote the Good Book. We understand that, in general, disease is caused or fed by inflammation in the body. Our daily job is to eat and live in a way that discourages or prevents inflammation. Simply put, we must exercise routinely, increase healthy food intake, and eliminate fast foods and toxic chemicals like sugar. Green vegetables and fruit are alkalizing foods that fight inflammation, therefore a whole-foods, plant-based diet is a great option. My uncle was right, lemon water is a good preventative measure for alkalizing the blood, assisting in reducing inflammation.

A major eating change may seem daunting. So, how about gradually adding healthy items to our diet? Consistency is key to change. Over time we may come to enjoy the healthy choices more and more, allowing us to let go of unhealthy foods. For instance, can we add a green salad to lunch or dinner daily, or add carrot or celery sticks as a snack? And don’t forget the lemon water at night.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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