It's time. I am of age. Everyone does it - that rite of passage. But I've decided not to. Even though colon cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society estimates 93,090 new cases in 2015. Even though Kaiser keeps a' calling. I'm not going to drink the kool aid. I'm not getting a colonoscopy.
"So what does this have to do with food, Laura?" you may again be asking. Why everything of course. Food Party! regulars know we've been talking microbiome lately, that half-gallon jug of bacteria that live on us and in us. Turns out the largest population takes up house in our colon, putting them at a big disadvantage come meal time, depending on what we eat.
You see, today's overly processed flour and sugar diet is mostly absorbed in the small intestine, leaving little for anything past that. Based at the end of the digestive tract, our colon microbes feed primarily on the leftovers; the vegetable and grain fibers indigestible by humans and other bacteria. But when you don't eat enough plants, science is starting to think we can actually starve out those butt bacteria, who respond in kind by munching on the carbohydrate-filled lining of our colon instead. (1)
Back to defiant decisions, I hear the infamous colonoscopy cocktail cleans out everything, including a lot of our colon colony, and research can't say yet how long it takes to reestablish itself, if indeed it ever does.
So, maybe a colonoscopy does more harm than good? Maybe it even helps establish an environment where cancer can flourish? And when I think about all the different cancers that can get us, colon cancer just seems down on the probability list for a vegetable and grain junkie like moi.
All things considered, I've decided to keep my colon crew, at least for now.
Because after all, aren't they the ultimate Food Potty! hosts?
(1) Martin Blaser, M.D. ? Missing Microbes