Kelly Pinkoski and her husband are shown in two photos, one before she adopted a plant-based diet to help beat cancer, one after

Cancer-Free without Chemo … Thanks to Dr. McDougall and Forks Over Knives

By Kelly Binkoski,

  • 20

In January of 2012, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, triple negative. My surgery was scheduled for January 30th. Not knowing any better, I planned to follow surgery with the recommended conventional aggressive chemo and radiation.

Two days before my surgery (left breast lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy), my husband and I happened to watch Forks Over Knives. It was a documentary that would change our lives … and one I have highly recommended to family and friends. We learned a great deal about nutrition and healthy choices. It was there that we discovered Dr. John McDougall and were tremendously inspired by his work and particularly by his patient Ruth Heidrich.

My husband Sean emailed Dr. McDougall the following day and received a same-day response. As they continued email correspondence, Dr. McDougall advised us not to rush into conventional treatment following surgery and sent us medical articles and scientific studies to further our research and to help us make informed decisions about my future treatment.

Prior to all of this, we had never considered breast cancer to be tied to diet and exercise. In fact, when we asked my breast surgeon why I needed aggressive chemo and radiation, she said, “We don't know where the cancer comes from, and we don't know if it will come back.” We asked the same question of my oncologist and received the same response. We also asked the oncologist if there was anything I should or shouldn’t eat to help with the cancer treatment, and he said, “This is the time for Kelly to eat whatever she wants.” He also said I should see a cardiologist for a routine echo cardiogram, to make sure my heart was strong enough to handle the heart problems that would likely result from the chemo drugs.

After my surgery and much consideration, our decision was for me to attend Dr. McDougall’s 10-day program in March and become his patient. It was one of the most enriching and educational experiences of my life. In the 10 days I was there, my cholesterol dropped 23 points, my glucose improved, and I lost 4.2 pounds while fully satisfying my appetite. My overall feeling of well-being improved, and I was able to do more exercise. I also made friends with some exceptional people, and we continue to stay in touch and support each other to this day.

Now, after 18 months of eating the McDougall way and walking 30 minutes daily, I am cancer free, and my cholesterol has dropped another 27 points, to 130. My weight dropped from 150 to 120. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic. As a kindergarten teacher, having a high energy level is very necessary. I now get down on the floor and jump right up with no trouble!

My husband Sean is super supportive, and we have both been following a plant/starch-based diet with no animal products or oils ever since. Sean no longer needs daily antacids, allergy medication, or the Naproxen he used to take for joint pain. He has dropped 30 pounds and looks and feels great.

Thanks to Forks Over Knives and Dr. McDougall, I truly believe my breast cancer diagnosis was a blessing in disguise. I am forever grateful for the experience, the friendships, and my newfound health.

Has a whole-food, plant-based diet impacted your life?

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