Starch-based Diet Supports Spontaneous Healing:
Atherosclerosis, Arthritis, and Sometimes Cancer
Cross, attorney from Sacramento, California) had a follow-up
radioactive heart scan done today, May 5, 2009, and an
appointment with the cardiologist immediately afterwards to
discuss the results. My last such test had been in January
of 2008. That one had shown a large region of
mild-to-moderate perfusion deficit extending along the
inferior and lateral walls of my heart. I had experienced
chest pain early on in the treadmill portion of this test,
and had had difficulty getting to the 85% of predicted
maximum heart rate for my age of 62. My doctor had
recommended medication, an angiogram, and heart surgery (an
angioplasty). I was scared. I immediately went on the
low-fat, starch-based diet.
almost the day I started the program, I have had no chest
pain, even with exercise. I am off my cholesterol meds and
my “bad” LDL cholesterol has dropped from 212 mg/dL to 60
mg/dL. I am off my blood pressure medications, and today I
was 110/75 mmHg. I also stopped my diabetes medications and
my last hemoglobin A1c was normal (around 6.0%). I feel WAY
BETTER in every way I can think of. But I was nervous about
what today's test would show.
during the radioactive heart scan, I had no pain on the
treadmill, even though I took my heart rate to 160 beats per
minute, which is over my predicted maximum—and I knew I had
more in me. The large deficit that showed last time was
completely gone. There was remaining only a small deficit
that would now be classified as minor. The doctor would not
go so far as to say that the results were normal, but he did
say that they were only mildly abnormal. I could see that he
was working hard to say that it was not normal—he does not
want me to be feeling too confident (don't worry, I won't be
celebrating with a milk shake). My doctor and I agreed,
without question that the reversal was large and obvious,
and I am so pleased with that.”
Begin with A Colossal Example of Spontaneous Healing
medical doctor, I (John McDougall) have had a chance to
witness the power of spontaneous (self-generated, arising
from a natural inclination) healing thousands of times; but nothing has been more impressive
than the recovery that follows massive trauma. During my
early training years, working at Queen’s Medical Center in
Hawaii, a young man mangled in a motorcycle accident arrived
through the emergency room doors one evening. His
splintered femur bone stuck through the flesh of his left
thigh, a 12-inch long gash across his left forearm was
streaming bright red blood, and the skin on his left cheek
and forehead had been scraped off during his slide across
the pavement only minutes before his arrival. X-rays showed
his skull was fractured and many ribs were broken. I
thought, “How could he ever survive?” Medical intervention
was crucial—his bones were straightened and his wounds
cleaned and sewn. However, without his body’s innate
abilities to repair this massive damage, all would have been
after his motorcycle accident his body had begun the healing
processes. Platelets and blood clotting proteins activated,
coagulating his blood and plugging millions of leaking
vessels. During the following hours inflammatory cells
(commonly called white blood cells) migrated into his open
wounds, defending them against infection. Fluids collected
within his torn flesh and around the broken bones. The
swelling of his thigh, arm, and face would last for
weeks. Pain kept him still, preventing movements that could
cause further injuries. Soon restoration of the damaged
tissues began with the laying down of new structural
materials by cells known as fibroblasts in the soft tissues
and osteoblasts in the broken bones. Over months replicator
cells produced new muscle, skin, bone, and scars, and
remodeled his wounds to cause his body to look and function
as close to normal as possible.
week he was walking on crutches. Ten days post-accident the
stitches were removed from his thigh and arm. The swelling
and redness surrounding his wounds took four weeks to fully
subside. Six weeks after the accident the coagulated blood
(scabs) fell off his face revealing pink skin with new hair
follicles filling in his beard. The broken ribs were stable
and painless after seven weeks. Three months after this
near-death experience he was walking on his own without a
limp. Most of the pain was gone, but the memories were
fresh. He sold his motorcycle in order to avoid a repeat of
transition from broken, bleeding, and dying to health in
three months was nothing short of a miracle. I reasoned
then, and I know for sure now, that if a body can heal after
these kinds of massive injuries, then, given a chance, it
can heal from most any illness—even serious chronic
illnesses, like heart disease, arthritis, and sometimes
cancers, that have plagued my patients for years.
to Recovery: Stop the Repeated Injuries
example above was due to a force like a single blast from a
sledgehammer; whereas the people I care for, those with
chronic disease, can be thought of as suffering from
thousands of “micro pinprick” injuries to their arteries,
joints, and all other tissues over prolonged periods of
time. Even though the force, frequency, and means of impact
differ; the mechanisms of repair are still the same, whether
the injuries occur once or a million times.
health is getting worse it is not because your body is
failing you—efforts to heal never stop—not for a moment. The
reason for your continued decline is because the damage is
ongoing. For disease to progress, injury must outpace
healing. Reversing disease is simply a matter of
turning this scenario around. To be specific, stop the
ongoing injury, which is usually self-induced.
(However, there is a point reached where disease is
irreversible, because the injury is too severe and/or the
body is too worn out to recover. Fortunately, few of my
patients are in that much trouble.)
consider some familiar examples of self-induced injuries and
the body’s efforts to heal. A cigarette smoker inhales
toxic gaseous particles 20 and more times a day. With each
puff, the lungs become more irritated and inflamed. They
fight back by coughing and producing mucous in order to
remove the poisons. Because of the addictive properties of
the tobacco, the injury continues hour after hour, day after
day, year after year. Eventually, the some of the red,
swollen lung dies and is replaced by non-functioning scar
tissues. The result is diminished lung capacity
(emphysema). Chronic inflammation can also lay the
foundation for lung cancer. Serious lung disease is not
inevitable. Many smokers gain wisdom and strength, and are
able to quit injuring themselves before the damage is
irreversible—the lungs heal and breathing recovers. Toxic
damage to the liver by alcohol, and overexposure of the skin to
excess sunlight are other everyday examples of chronic
injuries due to unwise behaviors. In these cases also, the
body responds with efforts to heal, beginning with
inflammation. Greater recovery is expected the sooner the
repeated injury is stopped.
Starch-based Diet Supports Spontaneous Healing
of the chronic illnesses in developed countries are due to
repeated injuries from the fork and spoon. Three and more
times a day damaging quantities of fat, protein,
cholesterol, and chemicals are ingested at the “dinner
table”—better known these days as the “bag of fast food.”
The beef, chicken, cheese, refined flours, and sugars are
sources of present day malnutrition—excesses and
deficiencies of vital nutrients plague these foods.
Replacement with starch corrects the malnutrition with a
perfect balance of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins,
minerals, fibers, phytates, and other phytochemicals that
support the body’s powers to heal and stay healthy. Rice,
corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans are also devoid of
injurious substances: dietary cholesterol, harmful
(saturated and trans) fats, chemical toxins,
allergy-inducing proteins, and much more.
Tests Show Signs of Inflammation
much discussion these days in the scientific journals and
the lay press about inflammation, foods, and chronic
diseases, especially atherosclerosis, arthritis, and cancer.
Populations of people who follow starch-based diets with
fruits and vegetables show strong evidence of reduced
inflammation in their bodies based on blood tests
(C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6, E-selectin,
soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), and
soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAM-1).1-4
These same people also have much less heart
disease, arthritis, and cancer than do populations of people
who consume diets high in animal (saturated) fats and trans
fats.5-6 The foods themselves do not directly
change these inflammatory markers. The elevations in these
blood factors are the body’s response to the injury caused
by the foods.
example, C-reactive protein (CRP), measured by a blood test,
is a very sensitive indicator of inflammation going on
anywhere in the body. It is non-specific—in other words, it
does not tell you the source of the inflammation—a rise
could be from an infection in your toe, arthritis in your
knuckles, a bad cold, or the trauma of a motorcycle
accident. C-reactive protein provides non-specific
information similar to an elevation of the body temperature,
called a “fever.” When the walls of your arteries are
inflamed during the active phases of atherosclerosis,
C-reactive protein rises—predicting a higher future risk of
artery failure, commonly known as a heart attack or a
Spontaneous Healing of Artery Disease
case of artery disease, like Robert Cross described above,
the meat, poultry, and dairy foods he ate damaged his
arteries over six decades. Many mechanisms for these micro
pinpricks of injury have been described, including
free-radical damage from oxidized fat and cholesterol,
attacks from the body’s own antibodies, and poisonings from
chemicals, like those from tobacco and the environment.8-10
The repeated injuries result in sores (think of them as
pimples or pustules) covering the inner surfaces of the
arteries’ walls. Now that you understand the inflammatory
nature of artery disease, you know the reason why a
healthier diet, based on plant foods, lowers C-reactive
protein levels.11-13 This diet stops repeated
injuries and allows the sores to heal. You also understand
why low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets, like the Atkins diet,
increase inflammation as indicated by a rise in C-reactive
life-threatening event (a heart attack or a stroke) occurs
when one of these pustules ruptures; causing a blood clot to
form—occluding the flow of blood to vital tissues, such as
the heart or brain.15
Common Inflammatory Diseases of Arteries
Spontaneous Healing of Inflammatory Arthritis
thirteen years ago, at the age of 46, I (Phyllis Heaphy)
began suffering with pain after standing still for long
periods of time. Soon thereafter, I began experiencing
‘traveling’ inflammation to various parts of my body: one
week it would be in one or two fingers, the next week in one
of my wrists, a month later in my shoulder. The turning
point was when I spent two days unable to walk—I cried as I
tried to make my way across the room. The rheumatologist I
visited in September 2000 gave me a diagnosis of
mild-to-moderate rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory
arthritis). It sounded like a death sentence. She prescribed
methotrexate, a powerful immune-system-suppressing drug
often used to treat cancer. One day I stumbled onto a
reference to Dr. McDougall's ultra-low-fat vegan diet for
arthritis. The results were nothing short of miraculous:
within a few days of eliminating unhealthy foods I became
almost (perhaps 90%) pain-free, and I have continued to
improve ever since. Today I remain essentially pain-free and
on no medication.”
Read more about Phyllis Heaphy.
foods cause the production antibodies that in turn attack
the body’s own tissues. These diseases, where the body
attacks itself, are referred to as autoimmune diseases.
The process is known as molecular mimicry.16
In Phyllis’s case micro pinprick injuries resulted in
hot, swollen, painful joints, a condition properly referred
to as inflammatory arthritis. The problem begins with damage
to the inside lining of the intestines forming a “leaky
gut.” Now foreign proteins, such as cow-milk proteins, can
pass into the blood stream.17 The body makes
antibodies to these “invading milk proteins.” Unfortunately,
the attack is not isolated to the cows-milk proteins.
Proteins of similar structure are also attacked in the
person’s joints, causing inflammation with swelling and
crippling pain. Changing to a starch-based diet removes the
animal proteins from the intestines immediately, and
eventually heals the leaky gut. Inflammation begins to
subside in four to seven days. Within four months over 70%
of patients with inflammatory arthritis are dramatically
improved or cured.18
Common Autoimmune Diseases
Thyroiditis (most hypothyroidism)
Spontaneous Healing of Cancer
my 47 years, I (Ruth Heidrich) thought I was extremely
healthy! After all, at that time (1982), I'd been a daily
runner for 14 years, had run 3 marathons, and ate what I
considered a very healthy diet—lots of chicken, fish, and
low-fat dairy. Little did I know there was an insidious
cancer growing in my right breast. When it grew to the size
of a golf ball, I was rushed into surgery. I was then told
it was invasive cancer, and later, that it had spread, not
only throughout the whole breast but also involved my bones
and one lung. While recovering from the surgery I saw a
newspaper item asking for volunteers for a breast
cancer/diet research study. I volunteered and was soon
convinced that Dr. McDougall was on the right track and left
his office on a low-fat vegan diet. Since my diagnosis in
1982, I have completed the Ironman 6 times, run 67
marathons, won over 1000 racing trophies, and been declared
"One of the Ten Fittest Women in North America" in 1999. I
have a Fitness Age of 32 although chronologically am 74!”
Read more about Ruth Heidrich.
are initiated and promoted by unhealthy components of the
high-meat Western diet.19 Vegetarians are
generally much healthier with lower cancer rates than others
living in the same communities.20 As discussed,
repeated injuries from unhealthy foods are followed by
inflammation. Chronic inflammation is implicated in all
stages of cancer—initiation, promotion and progression.21
The relationship is best seen in chronic inflammatory
diseases; including ulcerative colitis, gastritis,
pancreatitis, prostatitis, endometriosis, thyroiditis,
bronchitis, mastitis (milk ducts), and microbial infections,
which are often complicated by cancers in their respective
organs.21 Many mechanisms for the micro pinprick
injuries that initiate and promote cancer have been
described, including injuries from radiation, and poisonings
from chemicals found in tobacco products and foods. Even
though doctors and patients commonly believe otherwise, in
the case of cancer the body does not abandon its whole body
efforts for spontaneous healing.
even when spread throughout the body, can be reversed as
seen in the case of Ruth Heidrich. A recent review reported
32 cases of complete remission from metastatic breast
cancer.22 Under the microscope, evidence of
ongoing spontaneous healing in colonies of breast cancer
cells is clearly observed.23 Inflammation results
in the destruction of these aberrant cells and their
replacement with scar tissue. A recent study of women
published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found
that about 22% of mammography-detected invasive breast
cancers underwent spontaneous remission—in other words, are
healed—over a six-year period of study.24
Advanced prostate, colon, melanoma, brain cancer (neuroblastoma),
and kidney cancer have also been reported to spontaneously
disappear without treatment. Precancerous changes in the
female uterine cervix and colon polyps also regress. The
benefits of a healthy diet were not directly tested during
any of these observations. Common sense and available
research says that better nourished, healthier people are
more likely to be cured by spontaneous healing.25
Reported Spontaneous Regressions
(Healing) of Common Cancers
Solution to Chronic Disease Is Simple and Easy To Explain
repeated injuries. Identifying the sources of these
injuries is easy. Unhealthy foods, and “bad habits”
(smoking, coffee, alcohol, etc.), have been known since
antiquity to be at the root of human maladies. The real
challenge is in changing lifelong behaviors. This change
begins by telling a simple truth. The Starch Solution takes
one giant step forward for health and healing. Expect
dramatic results from your new diet. You won’t be
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