Your Brain On Christmas Crack

A cherished friend of mine is battling cancer this holiday season. I hate cancer. So I’m done buying it snacks and showing up every day to hand feed it. And I’m going to repeat a story you’ve probably heard, hoping it will save you from the suffering my friend is enduring.

A wise Cherokee chief was teaching his son about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil; He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
“The other is good: He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandfather looked into the eyes of his little grandson and said, “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

The old chief said, “The one you feed.”

What does this have to do with cancer and Christmas? Cancer loves to eat two of the most popular things we produce during the holidays: sugary treats and stress.

“The other white powder” has a couple of things in common with crack cocaine: it’s deadly and addictive. Refined sugar shows up in over 80 percent of the foods we choose to eat, and yes, cancer cells gobble it up.

Lab rats that were fed a 30-day diet of Christmas cookies, candies, cakes, pies, and donuts (fructose fueled foods) not only showed cognitive impairment (they couldn’t remember how to get out of their maze), they became depressed and lethargic and sick. While you can’t grow cancer cells with sugar, or kill cancer cells with sugar deprivation, you can increase the risk of certain cancers, not to mention obesity and diabetes which both make you more cancer susceptible.

I’m on a campaign to change my own neglected life. I want to live to see my children raise my grandchildren, like little Nellie who is in this photo with my son Collin, as Santa. My health is now my priority. That’s a complete change in my life. I’m still fat as Santa Claus, but every day when I remember which wolf I’m feeding, it makes it easier to make the wisest choice.

So next time you’re craving something sweet, reach for nature’s treat—a piece of fruit with plenty of fiber to help balance your blood sugar.

And while you’re stressing about decorations, gifts, parties, money and relationships this holiday season, think about this—stress causes the over production and release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that not only damage your neurons, they influence the development of cancer cells.

What starts in the brain ends up in the body. That’s why your thoughts can lead to illness and migraines…you can’ t think a thought without producing a chemical reaction. It’s a fact.

So relax and release stress. Release the right kind of chemicals by thinking peaceful, powerful thoughts. Focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t. Choose healthy, whole foods over snacks made of sugar and flour. And please, in the true spirit of Christmas, gather the people you love most and cherish them fiercely—starting with that precious soul in the mirror. I want you to be around next year so we can celebrate when my Santa suit doesn’t fit quit snug.


Rock CL, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:243.


Kushi LH, et al. American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:30.


What you need to know about cancer. National Cancer Institute. Accessed Dec. 3, 2013.

One thought on “Your Brain On Christmas Crack

  1. Great thoughts! I love the story, I hope to be reminded often to feed my healthy thought processes. What you wrote encourages me to fill my mind (i.e. this awesome personal storage device we each possess) with as many healthy thoughts as possible and to more deliberately and meaningfully use the time and energy I’v been granted in my life.


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