E8 – Dr. Ruth Heidrich – Chewing up Cancer; Spitting Out Iron

Hi Again Path Menders,

Finish line photo of the Johnny Farber 10K. Johny Farber was Dr. Ruth’s track coach for many years.

Some of you may be familiar with the amazing Dr. Ruth Heidrich, PH.D as she was featured in the most excellent documentary “Forks Over Knives.” She was 47 when, despite being a marathoner and daily runner for 14 years with what she considered a “healthy” diet, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her lung and bones. Luckily, she was fortunate to connect with Dr. John McDougall who was running a study on the effects of diet on breast cancer.  Within weeks she was seeing amazing results from her new low fat vegan diet.

Beating such a terrible diagnosis is high achievement enough. But for Dr. Ruth, this was just the beginning. She wanted to prove that this diet – this lifestyle – was so powerful, not only would she chew up and cure her cancer, she would spit our Iron. While still recovering from her mastectomy, she began training and went on to finish 6 Ironman Triathlons. At the time it was considered possible to only do one of these per year, due to the recovery time needed from such a strenuous competition. Dr. Ruth did 4 in the first year of competing!



A small sample of the more the 1,000 medals Dr. Ruth has won competing.

The list of Dr. Ruth’s accomplishments is astounding!  The picture to the left shows a small sample of the more the 1,000 medals she has won competing.  There is also one of her lighting the torch at the senior Olympics, at which she won 8 golds!

In addition to racing, Dr. Ruth has her PH.D. in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and has written 4 books so far: “A Race for Life,” “Lifelong Running,” “Senior Fitness,” and, the e-book “The CHEF Cook/Rawbook.” She answers questions through her website ruthheidrich.com and is co-host of a weekly talk show in her native Hawaii. She can also be found on her Facebook page.

Lighting the torch at the senior Olympics, at which she won 8 gold medals!


In this show we discuss (show notes):

  • Background – from “healthy” marathon runner to cancer diagnosis (01:08)
  • Joining Dr. John McDougall’s Breast Cancer & Diet Research Study (7:51)
  • How changing her diet was received by others (11:50)
  • (Almost) Nothing can stop her from running (12:59)
  • Post-surgery downtime brings opportunities (14:59)
  • Chewing up cancer and spitting out iron (17:49)
  • But who only wants to do one Ironman? (21:00)
  • Becoming an author of four books (so far) (25:29)
  • Prioritizing exercise (33:47)
  • On sexual health (35:28)
  • On aging (36:33)
  • On moderation (38:46)
  • “You can’t be a prophet in your own hometown” (40:19)
  • A 5K warm up and bias in reporting (43:59)
  • Continued relationship with Dr. McDougall (47:33)

The Mended Paths Podcast is also available on iTunes, stitcher.com, and Soundcloud.

If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share on your favorite social media and rate on the listings linked above.

We’d also love to hear from you; leave a comment or email us at [email protected]

Wishing you the Best of Health,
Chadwick @ The Mended Paths Podcast

Liked it? Take a second to support The Mended Paths Podcast on Patreon!

One comment

  1. Jimmy Wells says:

    Thank you for posting this podcast of the incredible story of Dr. Ruth Heidrich. This is a story that should be shared and known in every family concerned about improving the health outcome of their members. She has inspired me personally in so many ways, and I learn so much more with each and every interview.

Leave a Reply