[Also published on Elephant Journal.]
You know meditation has many benefits. It helps you get a handle on your emotions, fight stress, and get in touch with yourself. But did you know that it can help you fight through or even avoid cancer all together?
That is the message in Anti-Cancer: A New Way Of Life by David Servan-Schreiber.
I am grateful I have never had cancer, and no one close to me has. Not yet. I’m not even sure why I picked up this book. I guess I just had been reading so much about all the things around us that cause cancer: BPA, pesticides, beauty products, and even the very air we breathe. (I live in New York, so air quality is a worry.) I thought perhaps this book would give me some new insights.
Turns out my hunch was right. This book is such a perfect addition to everything I’ve learned over the past couple of years about not only what we eat and drink, but what role stress plays in our life.
David Servan-Schreiber is extremely knowledgeable and a good writer. He never makes a claim without backing it up with numerous studies. But not only that, he brings his own experience with brain cancer to the book. Among the studies with which he peppers his account are anecdotes of his own personal struggle and emotional trials, and the experiences of his patients. When he explains how extreme stress and depression often precipitate cancer, he talks about his own emotional divorce. When he talks about using meditation to tame emotions of fear, he tells the story of a stressed producer who found peace and beat his cancer in part by learning to sit for forty minutes a day, just being with himself.
You probably already knew the benefits of meditation and eating right. But there is something powerful about connecting your lifestyle decisions with cancer. After all, cancer is the scariest disease to hear about. It seems mysterious and arbitrary in where it strikes.
But it turns out that isn’t true.
Here is Servan-Schrieber’s advice in a nutshell: if you eat right, if you are careful about avoiding carcinogens in your products and food, and if you meditate every day, you will greatly increase your chances of beating cancer, or never having to face it at all.
Study after study Servan-Schreiber cites shows the benefits of three cups of green tea a day, basing your meals around organic fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, limiting your meat consumption to a few meals a week, and meditating every day.
I can’t adequately explain how the author so eloquently convinced me that eating right is simply not an option, it’s an imperative. If you don’t believe me, believe the 210 out of 239 people on Amazon who gave it a five-star review. Whether you are battling cancer, are in remission, or just want to learn more about being healthy, I suggest you put this book on your bookshelf, right next to The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Art of Happiness.
It’s the most powerful argument I’ve ever heard for treating my body with respect.