I started the Q-100 Journey with a book.The book was given to me years ago by a patient of mine who simply told me that I ought to read it because it contained something novel about the link between nutrition and cancer. The book was called “The China Study.” So, I did what most people would do with a lengthy non-fiction book – I put it on my bookshelf without even opening it. It took a year before I had a chance to read the book. Upon finishing the book, all I could remember was I murmuring to myself: “Gosh! All these years I’ve been telling my patients that there is no magic bullet for reversing chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. If what this book is telling the truth, then there is one magic bullet and it’s called veganism – a diet consists of nothing but from four food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans!” I knew at the time there was no way I could give up crabs, fish, and other seafood that I loved to eat. How could I tell my patients to turn to vegan if I could not even do it myself? Once again, I put the book back to my bookshelf and soon forgot all about it. Then the unthinkable happened.One early spring afternoon in April 2010, I got a call at work from my nephew in St. Louis. Instantly, I knew something wrong with my sister because he never called me at work unless he wanted to talk to me about his mother. My sister and I were very close after immigrating to the United States from Taiwan, where we were born. Our parents fled to Taiwan in 1949 when Chinese Communists took over China. “Uncle Steve, you need to sit down for this,” my nephew said on the other end of telephone. “Your mom had a car accident? How bad?” I asked. “No,” he said, “It’s cancer. Doctors just diagnosed her with stage-4 lung cancer. There is an 11-centimeter tumor in her right lung.” As a former electrical engineer and an acupuncturist, I did not know much about cancer at the time. All I knew a stage-4 diagnosis did not sound good, but I had no idea how she had cancer in lung and how much time she had to live. She never smoked and everyone who knew her would agree she looked healthy because generally she ate well and exercised regularly. In the following six months, she received chemotherapy, radiation, and gene therapy medication. All treatments failed. She died on October 10, 2010. She was 60-year old.Before she passed away, I spent a week by her bedside, holding her hands and watching her aged face. She was the most beautiful woman I ever knew but I could not recognize her because of the side effects from the treatments she received in the last six months. During the week I was with her she was in deep sleep most of time, so I began to re-read the book “The China Study,” especially paying attention to the chapter titled “Turning Off Cancer.” Her oncologists said that this type of tumor takes approximately 10 years to grow 3 centimeters because it’s a slow-growth type. Her tumor grew to 16 centimeters before her doctors gave up all the treatments. Since no one could give me the answers, I decided then that I needed to find out for myself why a non-smoking woman could develop lung cancer at a relatively young age. I became a truth seeker. I wanted and needed to know the truth about diseases, like cancerand whether nutrition played a role in promoting its development.In the next few months after I came back from my sister’s funeral I researched and read many books about the links between nutrition and cancer and many other chronic diseases. I became a 100% plant-based eater in September 2010 and began to “preach” the concept of good nutrition of a “Whole-Food Plant-Based” lifestyle in my acupuncture clinic to my patients. I also began to work with a 69-year old marathoner on my running in August 2010. To support my patients in embracing this lifestyle, I founded the Q-100 Society with a simple mission statement: Live 100 years old with quality of life. No chronic diseases. No pills. In my opinion, longevity does not matter without the quality of life. That is why I placed the letter Q in front of 100 when I named this support group. In 2011, I spent a year giving lectures about the nutrition I learned from masters like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. John McDougall. In 2012, I decided to expand my preaching of good health to include the importance of exercise. I encouraged patients to simply move. Any form of exercises will do but must include cardiovascular and fitness. My belief was that if one eats a whole-food plant-based diet and exercises on a weekly basis, then the person pretty much is guaranteed longevity with quality of life. But, I hit a bump on this belief.In late 2011, I read a story about a town of 2000 Italian-Americans in Pennsylvania that really puzzled me. The title of the story was “The Roseto Mystery.” What is mysterious about the town Roseto is that virtually no one under fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease. For men over sixty-five, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole. This was the 1950s, years before the advent of cholesterol-lowering drugs and aggressive surgical operations to prevent heart disease. But these folks in Roseto ate pretty much the same kind of foods as other Americans in the 50s, yet their heart attack rate was so much lower. The researchers could not find anything different about these Rosetans in terms of their diet, exercise, and genes from other Americans. What they did find about the secret of Roseto was the people itself. The researchers looked at how the Rosetans visited one another, stopping to chat in Italian on the street, and cooking for one another in their backyards. Many Roseto homes had three generations living under one roof and the grandparents commanded much respect. There were twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of two thousand people. The community discouraged the wealthy from showing off their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures. So I asked myself, “What would be the factor to explain Rosetans’ longevity if they were not eating better and exercising more?” Because the “touchy feely” stuff is never a serious research subject in the medical community, there were not many studies that could help me explain the Roseto Mystery. Therefore, I called the mysterious effect that gives the Rosetans’ longevity the “X factor” and I began to read books on the subject. One book titled “Love & Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy” by Dr. Dean Ornish yielded answer. I bought the book way back in 1998 and, of course, it had been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, since then.The book cited many studies, including the Roseto’s, to support the powerful role of love and intimacy in health and illness. This powerful “X Factor” is the only way I could explain how Rosetans could ward off or delay heart attacks without medications despite eating high fat diet and sedentary lifestyle. Authors like Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Bernie Siegel, and Dr. Bruce Lipton have shed more light too on the subject of love and healing. This newly found factor turned out to help me complete my truth-seeking journey. At the end of search, I found what I called “the three-P Triad Principle” we all need to have longevity with quality of life. It started with plant-based nutrition that I called Plants.I then added Physical for exercise, and lastly, I included Purpose for the touchy and feely stuff like love.So here you have it – the real truth to a healthier life is simple – just Eat Plants, Get Physical, and Have Purpose. Since September 2010, I have been eating 100% plant-based foods, running 20 to 30 miles a week, and planning a purposeful life to support my patients and myself to live 100..
Healing Tucson Since 2001
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Saturday, November 15th
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
A free community screening of a highly acclaimed documentary.Steve will be in a panel for a post-film Q & A.