Here’s a story, and an example of overcoming tough times, that is worth reading. To us, an alkaline lifestyle goes way beyond what you eat, it involves your attitude, your routine, and the way you take care of yourself. Be a person who makes lemonade out of lemons, and lives life with love and passion. Ruth Heidrich has a lesson or two to teach us.
Triathlete Ruth Heidrich claims that better nutrition helped her conquer cancerBy Charlie Smith, March 28, 2012
Ruth Heidrich isn’t your average 77-year-old. Every day, the Honolulu-based author and athlete spends an hour on the bike, an hour running, and about 20 minutes swimming. “Three days a week, I add lifting weights,” she tells the Georgia Straight by phone from her home.
Six times, she’s completed the Ironman triathlon. It’s a gruelling competition featuring a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre bicycle ride, and a 42.2-kilometre run. She has also run more than 60 marathons around the world, including in Boston, New York, and Moscow. And for the past three decades, she’s been a vegan, swearing off all meat and dairy products, earning her a nomination for “sexiest vegetarian alive” from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 47, Heidrich underwent a double mastectomy. With a chuckle, she adds that she received a “full reconstruction”.
“I thought, here’s lemonade out of lemons,” she says. “I can have nice, perky breasts the rest of my life.”
Thanks to nutrition expert Dr. John McDougall, Heidrich adopted a vegan diet as she recuperated from cancer. And she dreamed of entering an Ironman triathlon. She figured that she had already run marathons, so all she needed to do was add some cycling and swimming.
“I thought, ‘No, you’re a cancer patient, for God’s sake,’ ” Heidrich recalls. “But then, I thought, ‘No, Dr. McDougall said the cancer is going to reverse.’ The hot spots in my bones started fading. My liver enzymes normalized. The tumour in my lung got encapsulated.”
Then she became obsessed with her goal, training 40 hours a week. There was a setback along the way: Heidrich was hit by a truck just six weeks before the competition, resulting in a concussion and hip problems. “I still did it in 14 hours,” she says. “I took 45 minutes off the next one.”
Her transformation from cancer patient to Ironman competitor led her to write her first book, A Race for Life. That was followed over the years by two others: Senior Fitness: The Diet and Exercise Program for Maximum Health and Longevity and The CHEF Cook/Rawbook. Last year, Heidrich was featured in the hit documentary Forks Over Knives, which offered a scientific explanation as to why the average North American diet is contributing to rampant rates of cancer and heart disease. She was filmed running on a trail in South Surrey and interviewed on the beach in White Rock.
“I really enjoyed working with the crew,” she recalls. “Most of them were not vegan, but I was sure working on them, trying to get them to reconsider their diet. I think I made some inroads.”
She condemns dairy products as “liquid meat”, adding that all meat products are loaded with cholesterol and saturated fats. “These substances get absorbed through the digestive tract into the bloodstream and start clogging. It’s like if you poured grease down your kitchen sink,” she declares. “Pretty soon, your sink is clogged up. This is what’s happening in heart disease.”
Heidrich links eating meat to everything from erectile dysfunction to kidney failure to vision problems, because these conditions can all be caused by poor circulation. “The good news is if you stop that and start eating lots of fruits and vegetables, it reverses because the fibre kind of scrubs those blood vessels clean,” she says.
She is a great example to follow, and a great reminder for us to EAT AS IF OUR LIVES DEPENDED ON IT, BECAUSE THEY DO!