Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Finding a balance between the physical, mental, and spiritual to achieve health of body and wellness of spirit.

Eat Your Way to Health: Angiogenesis and Diet

Angiogenesis Body (

In a remarkable presentation by Dr. William Li on TED Talks, Dr. Li discusses a ground-breaking research on a radically new approach to treatment of some of the most dreaded human conditions including cancer. This approach involves angiogenesis.

What is Angiogenesis?

Angiogenesis is the body’s process of growing blood vessels. Blood vessels deliver blood rich in nutrients and oxygen all throughout the body.  These vessels adapt to the environment where they form to complement the structures of the organs they support.

Most of the blood vessels were created while growing in the womb. Adults do not normally grow blood vessels except in special cases like:

  • monthly menstrual cycle when uterine lining is formed
  • during pregnancy when the placenta is formed connecting the mother and the baby
  • when wounds heal

When the is body is healthy, the body can turn angiogenesis on and off to perform these normal body functions.  When the body is not healthy, angiogenesis is thrown out of balance and the body might not be able to produce the blood vessels for normal blood flow or it may not be able to stop the growth of blood vessels, producing abnormal blood flow to certain tissues.

A Medical Revolution

A new cutting-edge research links an imbalance in angiogenesis to over 70  diseases including some of the most dreaded ones, like stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Though these diseases appear to be very different in terms of the organ functions they affect and in the symptoms they exhibit, their underlying causes can all be linked to either over-stimulated or inhibited angiogenesis. Never before have the treatment of these illnesses been approached from a standpoint of angiogenesis.

The inability of the body to stimulate angiogenesis results in a lack of blood vessels that in turn result in the reduced blood flow to certain areas of the body. Among the diseases that are caused by insufficient angiogenesis are:

  • Chronic Wounds
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Stroke
  • Neuropathies
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Hair loss
  • Erectile Dysfunction

In other cases the body is unable to shut down angiogenesis or the body is flooded with angiogenic factors that stimulate the blood vessels to continue growing past the normal levels causing abnormal growth in tissues. The diseases that are caused by excessive angiogenesis are:

  • Cancer
  • Blinding Diseases
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Endometriosis
  • AIDS-Kaposi Sarcoma
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Malaria
  • Rosacea

Although Dr. Li, cited a number of diseases caused by angiogenesis, he focused on the treatment of two of the most serious and pervasive conditions, cancer and obesity. His angiogenic approach to treating these 2 conditions produced such glaringly  successful results, giving hope for the usual bleak prognosis especially in the case of cancer.

Angiogenesis and Cancer

The body naturally produces cancer cells. Autopsies of healthy people who died in a car accidents show that 40% of women ages 40-50 have microscopic cancer cells in their breasts and 50% of men in their 50’s and 60’s have microscopic cancer cells in their prostate. And by the time we reach our 70’s, 100% of us will have microscopic cancer cells in our thyroid.

Not all of these cells will develop into full-blown cancer. Without a blood supply, these cells cannot grow larger than 0.5mm³ (roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen).  What determines whether these cancer cells will progress into a debilitating disease is if they form a blood supply. Angiogenesis is characteristic of every form of cancer that have progressed into disease. Without angiogenesis cancer cells remain harmless but with angiogenesis, these cells can turn into deadly tumors very rapidly.

As these cells mutate, they release angiogenic factors that stimulate vessel growth. Besides feeding the tumor with oxygen and nutrients, these blood vessels also allow the cancer cells to break off and be transported through the blood stream to other parts of the body (metastasis). When the body loses its natural ability to inhibit abnormal angiogenesis, tumors are able to flourish. Most tumors are diagnosed after angiogenesis has been turned on and left uninhibited for some time, allowing the tumor to grow and manifest as a disease.

Like cancer cells, fat cells also require a blood supply in order for it to grow. As more blood vessels grow within the fat tissue the more rapidly fat tissues grow. As in cancer, when the body lacks the natural ability to inhibit abnormal growth of blood vessels, fat tissues grow very fast leading to obesity. Angiogenesis also lies at the heart of obesity.

Angiogenesis as the Focus of Treatment

Dr. Li’s basic premise is, if angiogenesis is what causes the disease to progress, then you can stop the disease by blocking angiogenesis. This treatment is called Antiangiogenic Therapy.

Current cancer  treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery focus on removing or destroying the tumor itself. These treatment will in most cases lead to the destruction of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Radiation and chemotherapy are highly toxic and may even be carcinogenic (known to cause cancer).

Antiangiogenic therapy focuses on inhibiting the growth of blood vessels to stop the blood from flowing to the tumor, thus starving the cancer. Since the blood vessels that feed the tumor, are weak and poorly constructed, they are quite vulnerable to this form of treatment. Since only the blood vessels are targeted, no healthy tissues are destroyed and the cancerous tissue simply shrinks and dies from the lack of oxygen and nutrients.  Patients enjoy a better quality of life, both during and after the treatment.

Dr. Li presented remarkable success cases using this treatment in both humans and animals for a broad spectrum of cancer types. Since 2004, more and more angiogenic drugs have been introduced into the market (see table below) as treatment for cancer. Equally effective was the use of antiangiogenic agents to control obesity. Dr. Li’s lab tests with mice showed that antiangiogenic therapy also worked very well in normalizing the weight of obese mice. He also discovered that although the therapy caused the obese mice to lose weight, it could not cause these mice to lose more weight beyond the normal weight of mice.

U. S. FDA Approved Antiangiogenic Drugs

Year Drug Treatment Target  (URL)
2004 Avastin Colon, lung , breast, brain, kidney  (
2004 Erbitux Colon, head and neck  (
2004 Tarceva Lung, pancreatic  (
2005 Endostar Lung  (
2005 Nexavar Kidney, liver  (
2005 Revlimid Multiple myeloma  (
2006 Sutent GIST, kidney  (
2006 Thalomid Multiple myeloma  (
2006 Torisel Kidney  (
2009 Afinitor Kidney  (
2009 Votrient Kidney  (
2009 Palladia Mast cell tumors (canine)  (

Lifestyle and Cancer

Although the survival rate for early stage cancers improved dramatically with the introduction of antiangiogenic drugs, medicine is still losing the battle with later stage cancers.  When the disease has advanced, treatment becomes difficult or impossible.  So Dr. Li started looking at the factors that contributed to cancer to find out how to prevent the disease from progressing beyond repair.

Cancer and Lifestyle

Of all the cancer causing factors, only 5-10% can be attributed to genes. 90-95% is due to environment. If we breakdown environmental factors 4-6% can be attributed to alcohol consumption, 10-20% to obesity, 15-20% to infections, 25-30% to tobacco consumption and 30-35% of the cases were pointing to diet.

So if diet was one of the largest contributors to cancer, then it deserved to be studied more intensively. The current focus was on what foods to remove from the diet. Dr.  Li wanted to know what could be added to the diet to reduce the incidence or recurrence of cancer.  Particularly he wanted to find out if we can eat to starve cancer. He tested ordinary food to see if doses attainable with a regular diet, could inhibit angiogenesis. He found out that it could.

Angiogenesis and Diet

Dr. Li’s  tests revealed that certain foods had powerful antiangiogenic properties.  He tested the effectiveness of cancer drugs, ordinary drugs and dietary factors in inhibiting abnormal growth of blood vessels in the lab. Remarkably, Dr. Li found out that there were food that were more effective than some drugs (both for common and cancer therapies). The graph from his presentation shows how these antiangiogenic agents stack up vis-a-vis each other.

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances (From Dr. Li’s Presentation slide)

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances

Below is a more detailed list of items included in the graph, showing the generic names, the brand names (italicized) and a link to their description:

  1. Irinotecan – Camptosar (Cancer Drug) (
  2. Simvastatin – Zocor (Common Drug) (
  3. Celecoxib – Celebrex (Common Drug) (
  4. Diclofenac – Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor (Common Drug) (
  5. Soy Extract – None (Dietary Factor)
  6. Paclitaxel-Onxol, Taxol  (Cancer Drug) (
  7. Tamoxifen – (Soltamox)  (Cancer Drug)  (
  8. Artichoke – None (Dietary Factor) 
  9. Doxycycline – Adoxa, Adoxa CK, Adoxa TT, Alodox, Avidoxy, Doryx, Monodox, Oracea, Oraxyl, Periostat, Vibramycin, Vibramycin Calcium, VibramycinMonohydrate, Vibra-Tabs, Doxy-D, Vibramycin Hyclate, Doxy Lemmon, Doxy-Caps, Morgidox, Morgidox 1x100mg, Morgidox 2x100mg, Ocudox Convenience Kit (Common Drug) (
  10. Parsley – None (Dietary Factor)
  11. Berries – None (Dietary Factor) 
  12. Soy – None (Dietary Factor)
  13. Garlic – None (Dietary Factor)
  14. Red Grapes – None (Dietary Factor) 
  15. Brassica – None (Dietary Factor) (
  16. Citrus 1 – None (Dietary Factor)
  17. Citrus 2 – None (Dietary Factor)
  18. Dexamethasone – aycadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, DexPak 10 Day Taperpak, DexPak 13 DayTaperpak, DexPak 6 DayTaperpak, Dexpak Jr. Taperpak, Zema Pak 10-Day, Zema Pak 13-Day, Zema Pak 6-Day  (Common Drug) (
  19. Pravastatin – Pravachol  (Common Drug) (
  20. Lavender – None (Dietary Factor)
  21. Green tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  22. Glucosamine – None (Dietary Factor)
  23. Tumeric – None (Dietary Factor)
  24. Tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  25. Lenalidomide – Revlimid (Cancer Drug)  (
  26. Captopril – Capoten  (Common Drug) (
  27. VItamin E – None (Dietary Factor)

Introduction of these food into the diet could actually prevent cancer in people who have no cancer and deter the growth of tumors in those who have already developed the disease. Several extensive epidemiological studies already show this to be true, as in the study of effects of tomatoes in the diet of 79,000 men. Tomatoes contain lycopene which is an antiangiogenic agent. The findings are as follows:

Tomatoes and Prostate Cancer

And of all those gentlemen who did develop cancer, the tomato-eating group showed significantly smaller tumors and less vessel abnormalities.

Tomatoes and tumor size

List of Cancer-Fighting Food (Antiangiogenic)

Other food that have antiangiogenic properties were also mentioned (listed below) arranged in the order of efficacy. To get a more comprehensive list of antiangiogenic food, visit the Eat to Defeat Cancer website at

  1. Soy Extract
  2. Artichoke
  3. Parsley
  4. Strawberries
  5. Blackberries
  6. Raspberries
  7. Blueberries
  8. Soybeans
  9. Garlic
  10. Red Grapes
  11. Red Wine
  12. Bokchoy
  13. Kale
  14. Broccoli
  15. Brussels Sprouts
  16. Cabbage
  17. Cauliflower
  18. Mustard
  19. Turnip
  20. Oranges
  21. Grapefruit
  22. Lemons
  23. Apples
  24. Pineapple
  25. Cherries
  26. Lavender
  27. Green Tea
  28. Glucosamine
  29. Tumeric
  30. Ginseng
  31. Maitake Mushrooms
  32. Licorice
  33. Nutmeg
  34. Pumpkin
  35. Sea Cucumber
  36. Tuna
  37. Tomato
  38. Olive Oil
  39. Grape seed oil
  40. Dark Chocolate

Please note that the benefits of a healthy diet cannot be attained with a few healthy meals for a short period of time. Health attained from diet is a result of habitually eating nutritious food preferably combined with other healthy habits like exercise, getting enough rest, managing stress and maintaining nurturing relationships.

For more information on clinical trials for Antiangiogenic Therapies for cancers and other diseases, visit the Angiogenesis Foundation website at Below is the full video of Dr. William Li’s TED Talk.

Disclaimer:  The author is not endorsing the treatments discussed herein as a replacement for  professional medical advice. The information presented here are intended to showcase the development  of new therapies in the field. The suggested diet under normal circumstances should not pose any serious threats to health and would generally provide positive benefits, however if you are under treatment or medication please discuss with your health professional, any drastic changes you intend to make in your diet.

Dr. William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? (TED Talk Video)

A Simple Treatment for Common Health Problems

A Quick Look at Preventive Medicine

Dr. Mike Evans studied the different ways of preventing illness to find which ones have the most impact on health.  He summarizes his findings in a visual lecture he calls “23 and a Half Hours”. In a nutshell, this is what he discovered.

There are a lot of things you could do to impact your health positively. To name a few:

  1. Get regular health check-ups
  2. Add more fibre to your diet
  3. Develop healthy relationships
  4. Maintain your optimal weight
  5. Reduce or totally eliminate smoking and drinking (alcohol)
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables

All of these would positively impact your health significantly. There are countless more things you can do to improve your health. But of all the things you can do to prevent illness, one thing stands out that would have a dramatic influence on your health. When this treatment is added to the mix, your health can improve many fold.

Before revealing what this treatment is, consider first the benefits this treatment has in relation to some of the most common health concerns.

For Knee Arthritis, one hour treatment 3 times a week reduces pain and disability by 47%.

For Dementia and Alzheimer’s progression of the disease is reduced by 50%.

For Diabetes, people who are high risk candidates for the disease can reduce progression by 55%.

For Post-Menopausal Hip Fractures, post menopausal women who get 4 hours a week of the treatment reduced the risk of hip fractures by 41%.

For Anxiety, can be reduced by 40%.

For Depression, with a low 30% was relieved, with increased doses relief was further increased to 47%.

It is the most common treatment for fatigue, reduces the risk of death in middle age and improves the over-all quality of life.  Okay, have you guessed what it is by now?

The Best Place to Start

It turns out that exercise, mostly walking, can provide all these benefits. We are talking about 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity like walking daily can give you all the above benefits. You can even break this down to 3 ten minute sessions and you will still reap the benefits.

Steven Blair a professor at the Arnold School of Public health determined that, among the top risk factors including obesity, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes, poor cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) is the strongest predictor of death. Low CRF paired with any one (or more) of these factors significantly increase the risk of death. Even with all the other factors, when a person improves his cardio-respiratory fitness, he can significantly reduce the risk of death.

This is not to say that this is the only thing a person must do to improve his health. Exercise (walking) is the best place to start, and paired with any other preventive treatments, it can make significant improvements to your health. The study shows that there is a big improvement in health when someone goes from doing nothing to doing something. Making small changes in lifestyle like walking the dog regularly or taking the stairs instead of using elevators can have a very positive impact.

Dr. Evan’s Challenge

Dr. Evans asks a simple question, can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 3 and a half Hours a day? Because if you can it can make a world of difference. Watch the video lecture below.


23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

The Word Made Flesh

According to

“The average person, in an average lifetime, speaks 370,110,001.3 words on average, averagely speaking.”

What did you say?

say what???Can you recall the last thing you said to anyone? If that was the last thing you ever say, would you like to be remembered for it?

Most of us cannot remember the very first word we ever said nor the last. We say so many things that it really is very difficult to keep track of what we say. But really we should keep track because words are powerful and they affect our daily lives far more than we would ever imagine.

A little on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Subconscious MindWords and language are heavily associated with the logical side of the brain, so one might assume that words will have very little to do with our emotions and behaviour.  But the truth is the memory of a word is stored not only on the logical side of the brain but also on all parts of the brain that are activated when the word is heard or spoken.

In the real world, words always happen within some context. We experience words while we are talking to friends, while we read, while we argue with someone, as someone is grilling us (or vice versa) or when we watch TV. And so as words happen, feelings, emotions, images and other things that come with the experience, are all associated with these words as they happen. This is how we are programmed neuro-linguistically. Depending on how often and how intense the experiences that link to a word, the stronger the program will be. Even more interestingly, since all of this happens while we are deeply engaged or focused on something else, most of the “programming” occur subconsciously.

loveThe mere sight or sound of a word can trigger physiological and behavioural changes without your being aware of it. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’, he discusses several studies done to see how words affect behaviour.  They found out that exposure to certain words associated with old age, for example, would cause people to walk significantly slower, than their normal pace. When made to read or listen to words associated with aggression, people were inclined to be more assertive after reading or hearing those words than when they were not to exposed to the words. When asked after the experiment, if these people were conscious of the change in their behaviour, they would reply that they weren’t.

Another study wanted to know if test scores would be affected by bias statements made to people tested before the exam.  When the group was told that women generally scored lower than men in that test (there is no real basis for this claim), women scored significantly lower than men. But when the group was not told anything, there was no significant difference in the scores of men and women. The bias statement became a self-fulling prophesy.

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) harnesses this phenomenon for various purposes like training, psycho-therapy and even marketing. By creating, breaking or utilizing the natural associations that exist between words, images and emotions, NLP practitioners are able to direct behaviour towards those that are desired. Telemarketing scripts, sales-demos and adverts that make use of the principles of NLP can be very persuasive. I will discuss NLP in more depth future articles but for now, what you need to know is that words have a powerful effect on behaviour and whether or not you intend to, your words affect the world around you.

Why do words exist?

hieroglyphicHumans as a species could not have advanced as it did, had it not been for our ability to communicate at a level that we do.  Words can recreate an entire experience for someone who had never experienced it.  Who can say what the first word was, if it was a sound or a symbol? Whatever it was, I think we can safely say that it’s purpose was to convey and idea from one mind to another. Once the first word was uttered, we have never stopped talking since.

Over time we have super-refined our systems of communication and our words have acquired the ability to conjure up complex scenarios that can be transmitted not only across distances but also across time. And words have become both the boon and the bane of our lives. Although consciously our minds are able to filter through and validate information, unconsciously, which is how vast amounts of information are processed, everything else is absorbed, stored literally and assumed to be true. And so goes our adventures and misadventures with words.I am loved!

What do you say to yourself? What do other people say to you? What do you say to other people? Pay attention to the scripts in your life. It will unwittingly determine how your story unfolds.

Our problem with words comes from the very reason we use words in the first place. Words are spoken to create in the mind of a listener (or reader), a thought that wasn’t previously there. Words put thoughts into your head. Even if I say to you, “Don’t think of a purple tiger!” Your focus will inevitably jump to a purple tiger, the one that you are not supposed to think of. And the more you try not to think of something, the more it pervades your thinking. The only way you can stop thinking of the purple tiger is to think of a pink elephant or anything else as long as it isn’t a purple tiger.

Laugh more!This why when people tell you, “Please don’t panic.” you start to panic. Or when they tell you “I don’t want you think that I’m lying.” you begin to wonder if they are lying even if you wouldn’t normally think that. Whenever a person speaks from his fear, he transmits that same fear to his listener in part through his words. Since a great many people tend to speak mainly from their fear, it spreads like an epidemic.

Of Curses and Prophesies

I think I’ve made my point that words are powerful. Once they are said out loud or in your head, they have already changed the course of thought in someone’s mind. Now, the next thing you must seriously consider is what do you say to yourself and what you say to others, like your spouse, your children, your staff at work or the people you interact with.

All is well in my life.When a person asks you “How are you?” do you start a litany of things gone wrong in your life or do you say life’s been great? When your child is running around do you tell him he will fall and break his neck or do you tell him to be careful? When your spouse eats a lot of pork fat do you tell him that he will get a heart attack or do you tell him you really want him to stay healthy.  Do you tell your staff that your company is not making enough money, or do you tell them that your company’s goal is to achieve sustainable growth? The way you talk and the words you choose when you talk creates moods and tendencies around you.

Often, the intention is to make things better, but since the focus is on the problems and on the things that are feared, the scenarios created by saying them are all made real in the mind of both the speaker and the recipient. And if this is done habitually, the people who are the constantly receiving these messages are inadvertently programmed to accept them. These are the modern-day prophesies and curses. Without meaning to, these prophesies and curses are made by planting images in people’s minds through repeated hypnotic messages. A word when spoken cans set a chain of events in motion the impact of which you may never know.

Of Prayers, Affirmations and  Blessings

How then can you protect yourself and your loved ones from curses and bad prophesies? For one thing, you can make positive prophesies. From all the possible outcomes, choose the best one and declare it out loud for all to hear. The greater the number people who hear it, the more minds to carry that thought. Make it a point to wish people well whenever possible. A kind word, a simple greeting or a sincere compliment can change the course of a person’s day in ways that can never be quantified.

Irish BlessingAnother to way to protect people (including yourself) with your words is through prayers, spoken out loud or silently in your mind. Of course, prayers spoken out loud are more powerful because they involve more people. When praying (as when speaking) let your prayers come from your hopes and aspiration, not from your fears. Your prayer should be more like, ‘Keep us safe.’ or ‘Grant us success’ rather that ‘Don’t let us die.’ or ‘Please keep us from failing.’ Stating your prayers in the positive, expresses your faith in Divine goodness and draws the mind towards better things.

Get into the habit of making positive affirmations. While a prophesy is a statement of things to come, an affirmation is a statement of what is. Bless yourself and others profusely with positive affirmations. Much of our self talk are affirmations of beliefs mostly unverified and assimilated unconsciously and whenever you make positive affirmations, you plant seeds of good in people’s minds.

Can DoPay attention to what you tell yourself.  This is often difficult because when you try to listen to your self talk, you stop talking.  The best way to catch yourself in negative self talk is to try to catch the end trail of what you say to yourself when you are in a really bad mood. Try to find those sweeping statements that often contain words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘I am’. ‘He is’, ‘She is’ or ‘They are’. ‘I am such an idiot.’, ‘I always fall for that.’, ‘She never listens to me.’,’They are going to screw me, I just know it.’ Over time the person becomes so convinced that these are the only possible outcomes or conclusions that they become the default expectations. And because they expect it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Start  consciously replacing these negative affirmations with positive ones.  Negative self talk is a habit and in order to break that habit you need to replace it with a better one. You can train your self to habitually make positive affirmations by committing to do it everyday for a month (roughly the time needed to build a habit).

Also pay attention to your metaphors.  They are often the paradigm you use in life. When you think of your life as a battle, you are always metaphorically fighting some war, and people are categorized as enemies or comrades. When you refer to people as work horses, you are always metaphorically cracking the whip, to get people in line.  When you think of life as a rat race, you are always ‘running a maze’ to get ahead of the other ‘rats’. Anthony Robbins, a success coach, suggests that if you want to change your life, change your metaphors. Find the metaphors that are enabling not limiting or demeaning.

Of Forgiveness and Gratitude

I'm sorry, please forgive me.

Sometimes even with the utmost care and consideration, we still manage to hurt other people.  When that happens, asking for forgiveness (sincerely) is a very effective way to heal the hurt. Apologies are like a soothing balm that allows people to heal faster. Always be quick to apologize when you realize that you have cause someone pain. Your relationships will be better for it.

Thank youFinally, there is gratitude. Gratitude is the multiplier of blessings. Whenever you say “Thank you!” for anything you send out a message to the giver and everyone else around that you have been blessed by their gift or their actions and for some reason that sets in motion a flow of blessings. Our gratitude bestows on the giver the grace of giving and manifests the grace in receiving. Gratitude makes the giver a more willing to contributor and the receiver a more worthy recipient .

Words are powerful. As with all power it comes with responsibility. Let us be generous with praise and mindful of that our words should do no harm. The best way to track your words is to think before saying them, because once spoken, words can never be taken back and whatever good or damage it can do, it will have already done. The world can be a better place if more people used the power of their speech to express kindness, create and uplift.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”–John 1:1