For Chris Brown, changing her family's diet was not an option. After her husband was diagnosed 18 years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, the couple needed to do something to regain control. They chose to go vegan -- a diet devoid of animal products. No butter, no milk, no bacon.
"People don't know what it is," said Ms. Brown.
The benefits of vegan living, said Ms. Brown, are undeniable. Since removing red meat, hamburger and even fish and milk off her plate she has more energy, is able to concentrate better, and sleeps soundly.
"Diet is the foundation. If you eat unhealthy foods, I really believe it can cause disease," said Ms. Brown.
And the good vibes haven't only affected Ms. Brown. Doctors estimated her husband, Barry, would have a handful of years left to live with cancer. After researching the effects diet has on disease, Ms. Brown decided to switch the family to an all vegan diet. So far, Mr. Brown has been winning his battle with cancer. He feels well and is in remission.
"The doctor calls him his miracle man," said Ms. Brown.
To help shut out toxins and hormones found in meats and other foods, she uses unprocessed whole grains like quinoa to increase the amount of fiber in their diet. Instead of using honey made by bees, she cooks with unrefined sweeteners like agave syrup, a product she finds at Ocean State Job Lot for about $2. The less processed the food, the better.
"It's about getting back to basics," said Ms. Brown.
Registered Dietitian Emily Gendey of Bristol's Evolution Body and Nutrition, who has worked with cancer patients, agrees with Ms. Brown's ideas on diet. In her profession, she has noticed an upswing in cancers and theorizes the cause could be linked to processed foods.
"Our bodies haven't changed. We have the same body of our great-great grandmother. What's changed is the fuel we're putting in and the amount of it," said Ms. Gedney. "Disease manifests."