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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. I cannot agree with you more Meghan. While we occasionally still indulge in foods like turkey kielbasa (nitrate-free, organic, if we can find it) to see such horrible cheap (both health-wise & cost-wise) foods available at fundraisers is horrible. Just in the last month my husband and I participated in two fundraisers, one for cancer in general, and other for breast cancer. BOTH of these fundraisers sold deep-fried foods, foods made from all kinds of processed corn, wheat, "meat", sugar, etc.. it completely blew our minds. As first time participants in these fundraisers, while we were expecting some "fair foods" we weren't expecting to see the amount of foods on such a huge level. AND that people were buying them left & right. AT ONE booth for the general cancer fundraiser there was a church selling bananas, apples, and much healthier foods. ONE BOOTH... and we were the only people in line to buy from them. It is so sad that as a society we resort to selling the very foods that make us so sick in the first place to help raise money for cures. It simply makes NO sense. I'm so glad you posed this question and wrote to the CCFC. I think I need to do the same with the CCFA!
  2. [...] given the letter that I wrote last week about the importance of food and healing, I would like to say that peppers are not for everyone. [...]
  3. [...] the letter that I wrote last week about the importance of food and healing, I would like to say that peppers are not for everyone. [...]
  4. [...] Question of The Day: What are the most ridiculous fast food creations you have come across? Mine, of course is the Deep Fried Twinkie [...]
  5. Jayme said…
    This past spring I participated in a 'Walk for Multiple Sclerosis' near my hometown. I also was shocked and appalled to see that donuts and muffins from Tim Horton's were being handed out at the end of the walk. I feel that large non-profit organizations like the MS Society of Canada should be spending the collected money, from friends and families of people suffering from MS, on education and prevention. I personally wrote to the contact I had from the MS Society and politely expressed my dismay at those kinds of snacks being given out. I also was wondering why local businesses in that community were not encouraged to donate. Kelowna BC is an abundant community for local food and generosity. Unfortunately, I heard nothing back! I would love some day to see a some sort of 'regulating body' that ensured that these 'non-profit' multi million dollar companies had to spend a vast and substantial amount of money, on prevention and education of diseases, rather than 'cures'!! I ADORE your blog! **Jayme
  6. [...] you are well aware that I don’t hide my thoughts about big pharma and ridiculous cash grab walks and runs for cures that are feeding participants the very substances that fuel the disease for...This past weekend was the fundraiser that makes me the most insane where the Crohn’s and [...]
  7. Linda Keigher said…
    I read your letter with an open mind as I am person that lives with Crohn's, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Uveitis, Asthma, Osteoprosis, Hiatus Hernia and a survivor of a Subdural Hematoma. I am a member with the CCFC. Your letter to me looks like you are looking for funds to run a study on diets for patients with CD and UC. You claim to have the cure. This cure is in foods that we eat. A bit of history on me. I am a person that can all the junk food that there is. Healthy nutritional food (which I love and would rather eat) do cause my gut and intestines great distress. We all are not the same. If we were then our genes would be different. What works for one doesn't for another. I personally know of some people with IBD's that can't eat junk and only can have a good nutrious meal. To let you know that there is more than 30 genes that can cause a person to have Crohn's. Which leads to the reason that we all are not the same. Which also means that one drug that works for some doesn't for others. It is a trial and error. No one to this day has found a cure for all of these people. There are studies done world wide and they are crossed over with doctors in many countries. Our disease is not having epilepsy, cancer, HIV or asthma where they are able to isolate a drug that works for the majority of people. The reason for this is that for cancer or asthma the genes are identical with most people. This has made it easier to develope drugs that work. Even though they are able to produce medications for these disorders/diseases they still to this day have not found a totally 100% cure. Yes each of these has a place for those to donate to enable a cure also. So what makes it ok for these groups to continue fundraising and not for the CCFC. Do I beleive that will be a cure. YES I do. Do I believe that it has been found for all. NO I don't. I have had all of my disease most of life. Asthma from birth and the other followed from the time I was 1 years of age. I am in my 50's and spent the last 38 years battling Crohn's and having to deal with the other from being 14 years of age forward. When I was first diagnosed the only medication that was available was prednisone. I have seen drugs come and go for Crohn's. I have been in testing for the majority of them that are available. To no avail they haven't worked to even put me into remission until the one that I am taking right now. A TNF (tumor necrosis factor) drug called Vedolizumab. So far it is working for me and I pray that it keeps working because it is the first drug that has given me some releif from my Crohn's. I am not complaining just informing. You may have found that diet works for you. You also may find in time Mehgan that you may have to battle with your disease again. I would love to have look and try some of your recipes not to be healed from Crohn's but maybe to enjoy the food.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I do not claim to have a magic bullet cure. I do have a solution that can help heal. And given the number of drugs that have come through the market that have not worked, yes, I do believe there should be some funding directed towards natural treatment options. Am I looking for the money to do that? Absolutely not. I am too busy working with people who have sought me out for help.
  8. cheryl said…
    O man, Thank you for this. I am also at the point where I cannot polietly bite my tongue any longer. It is absolutly ridiculas that these organizations don't realize the difference between junk food and healthy foods. Doesn't everyone have the internet?! Its not difficult to find this information online. this type of ignorance is everywhere, and the reality is that it is time to speak up. Its time to let them kindly know what's up. Good on you for making them aware. Keep it going. I love your work! totally inspiring.
  9. Kristin said…
    A couple of years ago I was at a Rhode Island CCFA walk/fundraiser and they were serving Chinese food and white clam chowder... which is cream based. I ate a banana and was super frustrated, but when I contacted them afterwards to ask about the food choice, they said it was all donated. Still... really inconsiderate!
  10. sharon stanley said…
    well said. your points, your attitude and your knowledge is spot on. deep fried twinkies is just unreal. i always think it's a hoot at our state fair, but at a crohn's convention?! now that is crazy. thanks for giving me more to think about!

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