Plant-Based Diet Helps Cure Former Engineer of Cancer and Inspires Career Change!

Engineer Healed of Cancer with Vegan Diet - You Won't Believe What She Did Next

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When something out of our control happens to us – like a cancer diagnosis – it’s reassuring to take what we can into our own hands. Holistic nutritionist and wellness coach Dr. Ruby Lathon did just that by successfully treating her thyroid cancer with a plant-based diet. Now, she teaches others to do the same through her holistic coaching business, Roadmap to Holistic Health. 

What brought Dr. Lathon to veganism

A diagnosis of thyroid cancer in 2007 first inspired Dr. Lathon to adopt a plant-based diet. As a lifelong vegetarian, she was stunned. Faced with the unappealing options to remove her thyroid – which would require being on medications forever – or use hormones derived from pigs, she opted for neither. 

Having heard stories of others healing from cancer on their own, Dr. Lathon decided to investigate what she could do to take her health into her own hands. (While Dr. Lathon declined traditional cancer treatment, plant-based diets are generally recommended alongside traditional cancer treatments rather than as a replacement.) In her research, the most evidence-based solution that kept surfacing over and over was adopting a plant-based lifestyle. 

Learning the truth about dairy and eggs

Having grown up as an ethical vegetarian, she was accustomed to eating large amounts of cheese and eggs, as these are common substitutions for meat. To her horror, she learned in her research that these products were not, in fact, cruelty-free. 

When she discovered that the dairy industry actually takes baby calves away from their mothers, feeds them milk substitutes, and gives the cow’s milk to humans which then causes inflammatory diseases in people, she thought, “How stupid!” 

Incredulous at this reality, she commented, “When I realized I would have stopped a long time ago… and here I was, thinking I was being compassionate for not killing animals.”

You can and do stop craving cheese on a plant-based diet

Like many people, Dr. Lathod loved the taste of cheese and thought it would be hard to move away from. So, she started by cutting it out at home and still eating it when she went out. However, she found that this didn’t curb her cravings. 

So, she “crowded it out” all together. After quitting cheese for a month, she lost her appetite for it. She even tried it again after thirty days and felt it did not taste the same.

Reflecting on this, she determined that what cured her cheese craving was the knowledge of what cheese really is: cow’s breast milk, mixed with pus, which causes inflammation and cancers and is the product of a cruel system. When she looks at cheese and goes through that mental list, she has no desire to eat it. 

How Dr. Lathon uses her engineering PhD in her business, Roadmap to Holistic Health

Before beginning her work in holistic nutrition, Dr. Lathon had a background in engineering and computer science. But when she was diagnosed with cancer, she used that as an impetus to step back and reevaluate what she wanted in life. 

So, she “re-engineered her life” to align with what she truly desired. Mustering the courage to leave her career in engineering, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the nonprofit Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). There, she teaches people how to use medicine to heal and prevent disease.

The advantage of her background is that it trained her to back up her beliefs with evidence. As a result, she is able to walk her clients through the healing process in a compassionate, logical way. 

What is a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach?

As a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach, Dr. Lathon looks at all factors that affect people’s well-being – beyond nutrition – such as sleep, relationships, and exercise. Some holistic wellness coaches, like Dr. Lathon, subscribe to the principles of Ayurvedic medicine. One such aspect is the belief that the location of illness in the body indicates something about what you need to reevaluate in your life. In her case, Dr. Lathon felt that cancer occurring in her vocal cords was a sign that she needed to find her voice. 

This she did, as she decided to use her cancer diagnosis as an impetus to do what she truly wanted to do rather than what others wanted her to do. Many people, like Dr. Lathon, have found meaning in interpreting their illnesses through Ayurvedic medicine. (However, please note that the NIH has cautioned that there is little scientific evidence for Ayurveda’s value with regard to many health issues.)

Impacts of her work 

In her work as a wellness coach, her emphasis on living true to oneself has resonated with many people. Some members of her own team have been inspired by her advice and made changes to align their lives with their desires as a result. After her midlife career change, her consistent message is that it’s never too late to change and create the life you want. 

As part of her business, Dr. Lathon both makes recipe videos and even delivers meals to clients who are in cancer recovery, aim to lose weight or just stay healthy. 

Her prominence in the field of holistic nutrition and wellness coaching even led her to be featured in the well-known 2017 documentary What the Health. In the documentary, she was featured explaining how her plant-based diet helped reduce pain and inflammation after major surgery. This hard hitting, poignant and controversial documentary went on to inspire many more people to adopt healthy plant-based diets. 

How the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans are formed by big money interests

Although she works for healthier eating at the individual level now, Dr. Lathon is no stranger to the policy level fight. Previously, she worked in government, lobbying for healthier lunches in the National School Lunch Program. 

There, she was frustrated to find that decisions about federal dietary guidelines are not made in the interest of public health. Instead, senators and representatives prioritize big money interests who will ensure they get re-elected. The USDA is infiltrated with former lobbyists for food corporations and also subsidizes disease-promoting products like sugar, corn syrup, meat and dairy. Ultimately, the scientific integrity of the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans is corrupted by massive conflicts of interest. 

No wonder, as the USDA notes themselves, 8 of 10 Americans are confused about what they’re supposed to be eating. As a result of this corrupted food system, the US spends hundreds of billions of dollars treating preventable conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

As Dr. Lathon asserted, “Our food system is the way it is because of capitalism and greed. We don’t live in a true democratic government.” 

Tried-and-true strategies to adopting a plant-based lifestyle

Dr. Lathon’s tips for helping people transition to a plant-based lifestyle include:

  • Plan what you’re going to eat to avoid relying on willpower.
  • Educate yourself on nutrition. Be sure to “eat the rainbow” and expand your diet by trying new foods.
  • Focus on green foods!

Learn more at


Author Bio:

Colleen Kane is a vegan activist, blogger, public speaker and occupational therapist. She writes about the power of veganism to promote social justice, health justice and climate justice on her blog, Veganspired. You can connect with her on LinkedIn for guest blogging and speaking requests.



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