Briana Quay and John Newsom
Drive down any main roadway in Jacksonville, and bright neon lights from fast food restaurants welcome those on-the-go with empty stomachs.
Research shows, it is always more beneficial to deny those temptations; sometimes, it can even be life-changing.
Suzanne Newsom is a testament to that.
In 2014, Newsom was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The two tumors were tested as estrogen positive, meaning that exposure to the hormone enabled the size of the tumors to progress. Her disease was violently attacking her body but she decided to fight back even harder.
Newsom found new ways of eating that would eliminate the excess of the hormone in her system after a few simple Google searches and consultations with medical experts.
Removing any processed items, starches and estrogen positive foods became her priority.
Newsom implemented many cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale into her daily diet to help her liver process the preexisting hormones. The alterations to her eating habits had an incredible effect.
Her lifestyle change prepared her for the grueling journey to come: chemotherapy, radiation and, ultimately, a mastectomy. Her body was equipped for the fight.
“My oncologist told me that if all you did was look at my bloodwork, you would never know that I went through chemo. I attribute that one hundred percent to my diet – one hundred percent,” Newsom said.
Her diet did not only make her treatments bearable with next to no side effects, the change attacked the physical tumors in an amazing way. Newsom was not aware of this until after her treatments and surgery.
“By the time I had my surgery, one of my tumors was gone and there was only one to remove. I didn’t know that; nobody told me that. If I had known that one of the tumors was already gone just by diet change and lifestyle change, would I have gone through chemo and radiation? Probably not.”
Dr. Sharyl Truty, a family physician, practices integrative, also known as holistic, medicine. Truty blends both the western tradition of scientific medicine and the eastern tradition of more natural approaches in her medical practice. =
“Only in the last five to ten years have we really began to appreciate how much diet plays a role,” Truty said. “Most people know that sugar is not good when you’re a diabetic, but when we delve deeper into things like arthritis and cancer, what we are really finding is that what we eat can play a huge role in our health.”
Truty outlined a few tips for anyone seeking to make better dietary choices, especially those diagnosed with cancer or have a family history of cancer.
“The main thing is to focus on trying to eat very healthy with whole foods, looking at trying to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet and trying to increase the amount of plant-based sources of protein,” Truty said. “Get to know what omega-3 fatty acids are and know what foods have those.”
Bethany Rand, a University of North Florida graduate student researcher for the Exercise Science and Chronic Disease program, explained how healthy choices in eating is the best preventative medicine.
“Most of the chronic disease you see now could’ve been prevented if you just had a healthy diet and exercised,” Rand said. “There is a small percentage of diseases out there that are just going to happen no matter what, but with things like heart disease it really stems from how we eat and how we live – especially in America.”
Though chronic disease may not affect everyone, eating well is the best medicine for those located on any side of the health spectrum will produce incredible results.