Melanoma runs in my family.” If I (Robyn) said that once I said it a thousand times. When I was diagnosed with melanoma almost ten years ago, I wasn’t surprised. Fortunately, I have had regular skin checks my entire adult life. “Curing” my melanoma was a matter of a simple outpatient surgery and a few stitches. The only real impact on my life was not being able to bike ride for several weeks. I barely even have a scar. But since then I have been certain that I would get it again. Does science bear that out?

All things being equal, yes. But things aren't equal for me anymore.

I have had people tell me that heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other human ailments run in their family as if it is a death sentence over-which they have no control. That there is no point in their trying to be healthier because they are set up to fail by their DNA. For most of my life I believed it.

But is it the truth?

Science suggests that about 2% of disease is in fact, “in our DNA.” That no matter what you do, you are destined to get whatever that disease is. But that means that 98% of diseases aren’t DNA driven. 98% of the time we CAN do something to avoid, halt and even reverse a disease. Getting it or not getting it is related to our environment.

The science is strong that heart disease (#1 killer in the US), diabetes (#7 killer in the US), obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be avoided, halted and reversed by moving towards a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. If you already have one of those diseases or have a family history of them, let’s chat. There is zero reason for you to be suffering.

But what about cancer? Cancer’s just bad luck – right? I used to think so. But knowing what I now know about the science and how cancers come to be, I don’t think that’s the case. I believe if I had been WFPB I likely wouldn’t have had melanoma. And now that I am WFPB, the sun doesn’t scare me like it used to. Will I still be careful to not get sunburned? Yes. That’s just common sense. But I will no longer feel like I have failed when my skin gets a little bit of color in the summer months. I need the vitamin D my body makes from the sun and I am confident that, because I’m no longer stressing my system by forcing it to process high levels of dairy and meat, it will notice and either control or destroy any broken cells that might otherwise have become cancer.

My family history is no longer my destiny and yours doesn’t have to be either.

If you are ready to address the way Family History vs Personal Destiny is negatively affecting your health, let’s set up a free get-to-know-you chat. Send me an email and let’s get you on track to taking control of your stress eating.

Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at