Nearly ten years ago, my oncologist’s office called to confirm his suspicions: test results returned his diagnosis of sprue or celiac. Immediately, I began to eliminate gluten from my diet. Within one week, my anemia that had perplexed a handful of physicians over six years was cured by my diet. Anemia, or low iron, normally takes months to improve – and my iron level jumped six points within one week – because of my diet.
Based on my personal experience, I understood the how nutritional studies in The China Study could impact health. I believed that diet could make a difference in whether someone could have greater susceptibility to cancer, diabetes, or heart conditions. But I also knew that changing anything, especially diet, is not easy. I choose to eat gluten-free because I ran out of options – the medical community offered bone marrow transplants at one time only because they didn’t know what else to do with me. After my diagnosis, I returned to each prior physician and explained what caused my anemia – each looked thoughtful and then said, “Of course.”
“Of course?” I thought. I experienced years of intrusive tests, accumulated stacks of medical bills and no one thought to conduct a simple blood test that could change my life through diet? In defense of the physicians, maybe I would not have changed my diet quickly or enthusiastically if I had not become so critically ill. Maybe I needed to hear options like bone marrow transplant to motivate me to change my diet. Yes, I am like every other modern American – I look for quick and easy fixes also.