My Anti-Cancer Diet
Vegan, Paleo and Ketogenic diets all have solid research showing the diet’s contribution to the promotion of healing, whether it be cancer or other health issues.
Having said that, there are dangers to restrictive diets when we blindly follow without fully understanding them. Following these diets in the right way, and to have access to the right foods for the specific diet takes a lot of preparation, planning and knowledge.
For myself, I was on a vegan diet during my treatment and initial healing phase. But I also know of some who do very well on a ketogenic diet and some who are restored from being on a paleo diet. I am now on a vegetarian based diet that include organic, hormone free eggs and bone broths.
The point is, you will need to experiment and study each diet to see what works best for your body and condition, and I suggest working with a trained nutritionist or functional medicine doctor to guide you through the initial planning to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients that your body needs to heal.
All of this takes time, and sometimes, as cancer patients, we don’t have the time or the brain power to sift through all theinformation and make such decisions. But this doesn’t mean we can’t make small changes to our diet. So what are these small changes that we can make? My tips are based on these guiding principles...
Alkalize Our blood should have a pH of approximately 7.35 in order to properly and continually transport oxygen to our cells. But today, with so many acid forming dietary and lifestyle habits (e.g. dairy, meat, processed foods, stress!) our body's buffer system that helps maintain this crucial pH balance is being stretched far beyond its capabilities. In his book, Hidden Truth of Cancer, Keiichi Morishita explains that in order to keep our blood alkaline, the body deposits acidic substances into the cells to remove them from the cells. However some of these acidified cells continue to grow in this new environment becoming abnormal cells and eventually cancer cells.
What we need to do: Create an alkaline environment so cells can thrive and work in an optimal environment. Follow a 20% acidic and 80% alkaline diet. Acidic forming habits : meat, dairy, eggs, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, negative emotions (anger, fear...), stress, lack of sleep Alkaline forming habits : raw fruits and vegetables, lemon/apple cider vinegar (ACV), sprouted grains, wheat grass, positive emotions
Control Insulin Levels Research have already shown a significant link between obesity, insulin and IGF (insulin growth factors) and now there are further studies showing elevated IGF-1 may interfere with cancer therapy. There’s even experiments with using Metformin, a drug used to control insulin, as a form of cancer therapy. So whether you take the mindset of prevention or healing, controlling insulin levels should be a part of your healthy lifestyle habits.
How to control insulin: Follow a low carbohydrate/sugar, high fibre and high healthy fat diet. Eat smaller meals throughout the day to make sure you don’t get too hungry and gorge or make unhealthy meal choices. Consider some supplements : chromium, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, zinc
Reduce Inflammation & Boost Immunity Acute inflammation is our body’s natural defence response, it’s how we stay alive. Chronic inflammation however has been linked to many diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis but research has also shown a clear link to cancer. For example, stomach cancer has been linked to an infection by the bacteria H. Pylori, while lung cancers link is to Hepatitis A & B; both of which create inflammatory responses in the body. In the Oncology Journal, Dr Aggarwal and Dr Sung put it adeptly, "Although cancer is a disease caused by mutations in various genes, the component that seems to be required for the mutated cells to survive, proliferate, and migrate to other organs is chronic inflammation. Thus, the relationship between mutated genes and inflammation is analogous to the relationship between “fire and fuel,” with mutated genes the “fire” and inflammation the “fuel” needed to induce tumorigenesis/carcinogenesis."
How to counteract inflammation : (which will simultaneously place less stress on your immune system allowing it to work its magic) - Detox your diet and your life: toxins, chemicals, pesticides, insecticides etc causes inflammatory responses - Eliminate pro-inflammatory foods: sugars, dairy, gluten, yeast, soy, eggs, some nuts, processed grains. I highly recommend everyone to do a food intolerance test to see which foods may cause an inflammatory response. You may be surprised. - Include anti-inflammatory foods/supplements: balanced omega 3’s : cold pressed flax oil, hemp oil or clean sustainably sourced krill oil, turmeric, ginger, onions, garlic, leafy greens, Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) - Balance your gut: Include probiotics and fermented foods to your diet. 70% of our immune system cells live inside our gut. - Exercise... lightly. Pushing yourself too hard at the gym or on the trail can cause inflammation. - Get enough rest: just shortening your sleep by a few hours can trigger inflammation
Optimal Nutrition Sadly in our affluent cities we are still faced with malnutrition. We get more than enough calories and won’t ever starve to death, but our food is void of nutrition more than ever which means though we may not feel hungry our cells are starving. And even in our so-called healthy elimination diet, we tend to be so focused on eliminating that we forget about nourishing.
7 Rules to Eat to Nourish: 1. Eat less. Eat to nourish not to fill. 2. Choose fresh foods, not found in bottles, boxes or bags. Eat foods that your great great grandmother ate or had access to. 3. Eat a variety of foods : colours, cooked, un-cooked, herbs, spices etc. 4. Eat organic. It’s more expensive but just like how you wouldn’t put diesel in your car, you wouldn’t put crap in your body either. If enough of us vote with our wallets and demand clean, organic, non-geo foods, the cost will go down. 5. Supplement where needed. Due to the degradation of our top soil and the imbalances in our diet, you may need to supplement. Some common nutrient deficiencies are magnesium, zinc, chromium, omega 3, folate and selenium. 6. Chew. You are what you eat, but you are also what you absorb. If you’re not breaking down your foods, you’re not absorbing the nutrients. 7. Eat with a thankful heart. Anger, bitterness, negative emotions can impair your digestive system.
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