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Deep Fried Twinkie: An Open Letter to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation


Over the last few weeks, I have been increasingly frustrated by things I’ve been hearing. The hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup icing on the refined corn flour and high fructose corn syrup cake was when I was informed that deep fried Twinkies were served at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) fundraiser. It is hard for me to stay rosy and  just let that one go. I do pretty well, generally, at chalking up such silly actions to people simply doing the best they can with what they know. This, however, is the CCFC for goodness sakes. They should know better. They have oodles of donations worth of cashola in order to know better. Twinkies, hot dogs and soda pop at a Crohn's walk is pretty much the equivalent of  passing out ciggies at a cancer walk as far as contributing factors go for a worsened disease prognosis.

I am astounded by the effort and money people will throw at such organizations, who claim to be doing “research” to find “cures".   I am among thousands who are living evidence that a cure already exists and it's pretty similar for many other health challenges and diseases too. Healing with whole foods, sadly, doesn't create a revenue generating industry (unless we start paying our farmers what they deserve for the 'medicine' they grow for us).

Just as I wrote a letter to my gastroenterologist, I also wrote a letter to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada inviting them to join our retreat this weekend. Of course, I haven't heard back from either. Now, ignorance may be bliss, but when that ignorance comes at the expense of hundreds of thousands of people's lives every year, and the general public's money, that is astoundingly poor practice.

I firmly believe that knowledge is power and that if we could just get a few key people to learn what Josh, myself and other practitioners have to teach- experience it for themselves, well, it might be the last pill they need to swallow in order to understand the unparalleled capacity the body has to heal and cure disease. Under the right circumstances, nature has the ability to heal and this has very little to do with extravagantly costly research, drugs and studies. I am not talking about treatment and management- that has it's necessary time and place when needed.  This is about going a step further and actually healing the body! This component, sadly, is getting ignored. I don't have the $57.5 billion that pharmaceuticals spend on marketing to physicians (US stat from "The Cost of Pushing Pills. Public Library Science Med 5(1) (2008)) each year.

I welcome your comments (for better or worse, as long as you keep it profesh) below and would be happy to pass them along to the CCFC. I don’t give up lightly.

Dear Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada,

I have contacted various people in various departments asking if I might be able to volunteer my services by offering education around healing approaches for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). I recently contacted you, in regards to my upcoming digestive healing retreat. The response I received read as follows:

“Given how different everyone’s experience with Crohn’s and colitis is, and the fact that we are not medical professionals, we don’t advocate one therapy over another to our membership”.

I am aware that in April, the organization hosted a symposium for Crohn’s and Colitis and most recently held your annual fundraiser in partnership with M & M Meat Shops where people could purchase a hamburger or hot dog, chips and a pop to support research to find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis.

Every year, when I hear advertisements for this event, I am continually shocked by this partnership and the inherent lack of education provided to patients who suffer with these diseases in regards to how eating such foods could potentially proliferate and accelerate the progression of the aforementioned diseases.

From my perspective, as both someone who once had Crohn’s and healed from it 100% naturally and now as a nutritionist and healthy lifestyle educator, this partnership might be viewed as the equivalent of a cigarette company partnering to host a cancer research fundraiser.

I know many people who are actively involved in raising funds and awareness on behalf of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) and am in full support that better treatment and management options need to be made available to people who are currently suffering acutely from these diseases. I also feel incredibly strongly that equal to research in medication and surgery for treatment and management, is the need for expanded research on natural and preventive treatments that include dietary and lifestyle changes to heal the disease.

The fact that at your celebratory fund-raising events, you serve foods such as shrimp cocktail, fluffy white breads and other foods absolutely unsuitable to IBD sufferers, and then offer up deep fried Twinkies, bagels, burgers, nitrate-filled hot dogs and canned pop at a health event is absolutely shameful.  Clearly, the organization is looking in a different direction all together. I feel confident in saying that with this attitude towards the role diet plays in a digestive disease, a true and lasting cure will never be found.

I believe that to publicly state that “There is no known cure and no known cause for the illness” is a falsehood. As well, to proclaim IBD as a “profound lifelong disease," is simply not true- or doesn’t have to be.

There is a massive missing component in the information being provided to sufferers and I believe that the CCFC could absolutely help support the shift needed in order to make the change and improve the lives of the nearly quarter of a million people in this country who suffer. People need to be educated on the importance of their role in their disease, to take ownership and responsibility and to know that this does not have to be a "lifelong disease". There are ways to heal. These ways will include eliminating Twinkies, pop and hot dogs, but will also eliminate pills, surgeries and nights spent in emergency rooms hooked up to IVs and requirements for blood transfusions.

Employing health promoting practices into everyday life such as yoga and meditation, whole natural foods, eliminating specific allergens and digestive irritants, and changing some of our thoughts could be all it takes. It is not rocket science and does not require millions of dollars in research, but it can, almost instantly, alleviate suffering for thousands of people.

As I had previously mentioned in my email to you, my colleague and I are hosting a Digestive Healing Retreat on June 25th. I understand that you have raised enough funds for two more years of research. I commend this achievement and I would like to suggest that perhaps a representative from the CCFC might join our retreat this weekend and see what other options are available for helping people to heal from IBD. Consider this part of the research towards finding that cure.

Though I know you do not condone any specific treatment over another, I do know that you offer scholarships. Perhaps in the future, you might consider offering scholarships/funding for members of the CCFC to explore the healing methods of nutritionists and holistic therapies or potentially, sponsoring a Digestive Healing Weekend Retreat to grant some of your members the gift of attending a retreat such as the one we are running this weekend, or others like it.

I am sure that we can agree that things need to change for people who suffer. More and more people are diagnosed every year and so far, the only cure I know is the one that heals and repairs, and so far, this is being achieved through diet and lifestyle far more successfully than any pill or surgical procedure. For many patients, the greatest success comes when both approaches can be utilized together to manage and treat immediate symptoms and heal the disease for a lifetime.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Kindest Regards

Meghan Telpner

Question of the day: What are your thoughts on all the walks, rides, runs for cures that offer people junk food for sustenance during the event?


38 Responses to “Deep Fried Twinkie: An Open Letter to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation”

  1. Great letter, Megan! Good for you for taking the time to write it. Caroline
  2. Annick said…
    We seem to be a whole lotta people who believe in holistic healing and prevention of disease through nutrition etc. How else can we join forces to let the Crohn's foundation know that they're on the wrong track? How else can we tell them that they're not helping and that if it continues, they will be shut down? Can they be shut down? Can government do anything about this? A lot of people can make a lot of noise...and change things. Maybe we should take some time and each write a letter to the foundation with our own story. That could be a start! Keep up your amazing work, Meghan, you are an inspiration.
  3. Dale said…
    I'm not sure when this post was originally posted, but looking at the comments, it seems to go back at least to 2010. Here we are in 2015 and not much has changed. I recently did the MS walk in Milwaukee, WI., which was organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter. I was so taken back to find that they were giving away free milk and donuts at the event (of course these were corporate sponsored brands). Although they did offer fresh fruit, it was easy to observe that the majority of the people were much more drawn to the donuts. MS is an inflammatory disease. The simple fact is that diet is the single most important factor when it comes to anyone's "self care". Nutritionists all around the world recommend that people with MS stay away from dairy milk, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, salt, refined grains and gluten. I would expect that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to know better than to offer such foods. Thanks, Meghan for the post and all your efforts! Knowledge is power!
  4. Caitlin said…
    This letter is awesome and hits every mark! The fact that they still serve food and drink that are inflammatory to the gut and the body is mind blowing, and I think negligent. Years ago I volunteered there (I also have Crohn's disease) and I had to leave because of the backward and inflexible nature of the organization. When I suggested we serve IBD friendly food at events the push back was enormous. Lets hope things start to change so that healthy eating and natural healing methods become the standard for those of us with IBD! xoxo

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