I always feel envious when I open a book, and there are pages and pages of great blurbs from celebrity reviewers telling the reader what a masterful, spellbinding, page-turner the novel I’m about to read is. If you are an indie author, like myself, those celebrity blurbs are hard to come by. I’ve been turned down by the most celebrated, all of whom shall remain nameless. It’s too embarrassing to relate the depths to which I am willing to sink. Don’t feel self-righteous. You’ve been there too.

There is hope, however, for the indie author. While a living celebrity may be quite particular and stingy with the praise he or she meets out, the deceased are not nearly so fastidious.

The health news today supports what we at the Diet Madhouse have been saying loud and clear. Screening’s power to cut the risk of dying of breast cancer has been wildly overinflated.  See http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/ap/radiation-may-up-breast-cancer-risk-in-some-women

Yearly mammograms are not nearly as effective at reducing the risk of dying of breast cancer as we would like to think. Screening tests do a great job at catching cancers destined to exist quietly without causing problems but they have a poor record of catching the fastest-growing and most deadly cancers in time to cure them. The tests pick up many small cancers that would never have caused any symptoms, and treatments can cause harm. For instance, Tamoxifen can trigger life-threatening clots in the lungs.

In fact, mammography may lead many women to consent to unnecessary treatment, sounding the alarm about cancers that would actually go away on their own because some cancers simply disappear—or would have, if they hadn’t been prematurely treated. The standard treatments for cancer, chemotherapy and radiation, are poisonous to the human body. And, as this recent study shows, it may be the treatments causing death, not the cancer itself.

A similar study was presented on December 1, 2009 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) that verified that annual mammography screenings may be responsible for increasing the risk of breast cancer by 150% in women who are predisposed to this disease.

Are these risks necessary to avoid dying of cancer? Not when there is a better way. We are not saying you should never get a mammogram. But what is becoming more and more clear, is that the best defense of breast cancer is not a mammogram, but a healthy plant based diet.

Claude M. Bristol’s 1948 book, The Magic of Believing, introduced audiences to the concept that they could achieve anything they desired simply by believing so strongly that the wish became a reality. Bristol subscribed to philosopher William James’s statement that “Belief creates its verification in fact.” Although skeptical at first, Bristol came to believe that we all summon the magic of believing when we desperately want something to come into being.

When the believer only wants good things for themselves and others, all is well. Bristol warned that the mental technology associated with strong belief and suggestion should be used constructively, not to achieve dominance or negative results.

The darker side of believing became powerfully obvious to me this week.

In the final scene of the 1979-1980 season of Dallas, the character J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, was shot by an unknown assailant. Viewers had to wait all summer and, due to the Hollywood actors’ strike, most of autumn, to find out if J.R. survived and who did it.

This unforgettable cliffhanger has remained unrivaled until recently when Larry Hagman announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. And that he is “whooping” the disease into submission by becoming a vegan. Once again, we are taunted to wait and see if he survives this latest bullet.

The hoopla has placed the efficacy of a vegan diet on display for public inspection. As a vegan, I am both apprehensive and elated about that. What surprised me was not that Mr. Hagman elected to take this route, but my reaction to it. To illustrate, let me replicate an email exchange between myself and two friends upon first hearing the news:

From: Teresa

To: Janice & Paige

http://wonderwall.msn.com/tv/larry-hagman-turns-vegan-to-fight-cancer-1660801.story

From: Janice

To: Teresa & Paige

Too bad he didn’t go vegan BEFORE he got cancer.

Depending on what kind of cancer he has, how far it has progressed and what his other treatments are (drugs, chemo or radiation), maybe he will beat it.

From: Paige

To: Teresa & Janice

That’s good news, but when he dies, they’ll blame veganism.

From: Teresa

To: Janice & Page

Man, you girls are a little too "positive" for me.

Why were we so negative? We believe eating a plant based diet will keep us healthy and help us live longer than the Standard American Diet (SAD), yet we sounded as if it held little hope for Mr. Hagman. Here is why I think we reacted this way.

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