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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diet And Cancer: Is There A Connection?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

By LEIGH VICKERY
Food Editor

Tylerite Melinda Coker is the picture of health. A beautiful, tall blonde, Mrs. Coker herself is the perfect marketing tool for her new book, “Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?” She eats right, exercises and understands that her best weapon against developing cancer is not in the medicine cabinet, but in her pantry.

“A few years ago, so many of my friends started to be diagnosed with cancer,” Mrs. Coker said. “I am curious and wanted to know if this was just random, or if there was something that could be done to fight it.”

Mrs. Coker’s natural curiosity is one of her strengths that has made her a successful serial entrepreneur.

She is a licensed counselor and health coach, has created and operated many different businesses, and continues to consult with other businesses to build their online presence. Mrs. Coker found herself wanting to write a book and realized that her interest kept returning to the connection between cancer and nutrition.

“I have always been interested in good health,” Mrs. Coker said. “But I wanted to really focus on cancer and how we eat. There is all kinds of information, and doing my research for this book reinforced information I had been learning from many different sources.”

Mrs. Coker attributes society’s association of food with pleasure that has caused the country’s increasing problems with obesity and cancer.

“People think that rewarding children with junk food is acceptable,” Mrs. Coker said. “We have built our society around food rewards, but these fats, salts and sugars we like are as addicting to our brain as other substances we know are harmful.”

Mrs. Coker follows a strict vegan diet, meaning she chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. Vegans also avoid all dairy and eggs. Although living a vegan lifestyle has helped her maintain a healthy body weight, Mrs. Coker is realistic that only a small percentage of people are going to change their eating habits this drastically.

“There are some simple things anyone can do to eat better,” Mrs. Coker said. “For starters, avoid all processed foods. Be a diligent label-reader, and the fewer the ingredients on the list, the better the food is for you most of the time.”

Coker said incorporating a “meatless/cheeseless day” once a week is also an easy way to make a change for the better without a lot of sacrifice. “It’s not as hard as you think to eat out in Tyler and not order meat as well,” Mrs. Coker said. “Sonoma Grill has a wonderful Mediterranean Pasta, El Charro’s Jontee Special is great, and we eat salad and pasta at Olive Garden, too.”

“Diet and Cancer” is specifically written to women, with the next generation of girls in mind.

“I have found that if women will pick up my book and incorporate these principles into their family’s diets, then the whole family will often start to eat better,” Mrs. Coker said.

“I am also writing to my friends and our daughters,” Mrs. Coker said. “Genetics is not the only risk factor we need to think about. How we eat is something we can all do to lower our risks of disease and cancer.”

Mrs. Coker’s “Diet and Cancer” book also includes a 10-day “getting started” program to help people start eating healthier. The book asserts that this plant-based eating plan will help people lose weight, end indigestion, lower blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure. The recipes are basic and easy for any level of cook.

For more information, visit Mrs. Coker’s website at www.dietcancerconnection.com. You also can order Mrs. Coker’s book online at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com