I am often asked why a diet can help fight cancer. I break it down into four major focuses that we are working on with Bryan. Everything we are doing relates to one of these four ways of getting his body to work the way it is designed to so that the body itself will eliminate the cancer, the way a healthy person’s body would.
1. Provide nutrition, especially cancer-fighting nutrients
People with cancer are malnourished. If they weren’t when cancer began to spread, the cancer itself steals nutrients from the body and weakens it causing the body to become undernourished. It is critical to give the body as many nutrients as possible. That means that every bite of food (especially when the person has a limited appetite) should be giving the body something that it needs. We eliminate empty foods that don’t give nutrition, like highly processed foods. We give, instead, whole foods with minimal processing so that every bite nourishes.
Two of the least nourishing foods that are the mainstream foods our culture eats are white flour and white sugar. Not only do these not give nutrients, but they take extra resources for the body to process them.
So, this diet is made up of “nutrient dense” foods, or foods that have the most nutrients the body needs for the amount of calories they contain. The diet is rich in a variety of fresh vegetables, most of which have some phyto-nutrients that helps to fight cancer, but some, like cabbage and broccoli are super fighters. The diet includes homemade broths made from meat bones, giving not only calcium, but many very critical minerals that the body needs for good health. Animal fats like butter, egg yolks and full fat milk are nutrient dense. The low-fat versions of these deny the body of much-needed nutrients. Many of the vitamins and nutrients the body needs to fight cancer are fat soluble, which means if there is not enough fat in the body, the nutrients will not be absorbed.
The mainstay of the diet is lots and lots of nutrient rich vegetables, and plenty of natural fats. The natural fats are easier for the body to use. By un-natural fats, I mean those that have been highly processed. Many of the oils that are touted as healthy have been processed with intense heat in order to get the oil. Olive oil and coconut oils that are expressed by pressing, rather than bombarding with heat, are much more easily used by the body.
We avoid sugars of any sort because cancer cells love them and grab them up. Of course processed sugars give too little nutrients per calorie, but until the cancer is under control, we also avoid healthier sugars like honey and maple syrup, knowing that most of that sugar would be used by the cancer. By training the body to use fats as an energy source, the body can be fed what it needs, without supplying the tumor with what it needs.
2. Improve Digestion so that the nutrients reach the cells.
In an unhealthy body, even if nutrient rich foods are introduced, the body is not able to process them and get the nutrients. We work to improve the digestion so that the nutrients can be absorbed and carried to the organs and systems that need them.
Cultured, pro-biotic foods like yogurt, kefir and cultured vegetables and condiments introduce good bacteria to the digesting system. These are critical for breaking down foods and helping the digestion system. As a personal note, the acid reflux that was keeping me in a sitting position at night is now virtually gone. I attribute that to the intense amount of pro-biotic foods I now eat.
We try to give the body things that can be broken down efficiently, which again, include whole foods, rather than processed foods.
3. Improve the Immune System – the immune system kills cancer cells
Eating fruits and vegetables is very important to the immune system. They have flavonoids that have anti-bacterial and anti-viral abilities. We eat a large amount of foods that act as anti-oxidants which help to fight cancer.
Many items we use for spices can help the immune system. Garlic, onions, and culinary herbs such as cloves, cinnamon, cumin, chilies and many others are immune system boosters. Berry fruits are rich sources of bioactive compounds, which have antimicrobial activities against human pathogens. The “sour fruits” allowed on our diet like, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and bilberry especially possess clear antimicrobial effects.
The cultured or pro-biotic foods we eat like yogurt, kefir and cultured vegetables are all helpful for the immune system.
4. Elimination – get rid of the dead cancer cells and any toxins in the system
While most people don’t like to talk about the importance of elimination, it is critical to the whole cancer-fighting system that a healthy body is. The body is designed to easily eliminate poisons and toxins that are introduced into the body or that accumulate in the body because of undigested foods.
When the elimination system is not working right, the liver is overworked and toxins build up. When toxins cannot be eliminated, they get stored in the body. When the liver and the intestines gets backed up, all of the systems in the body are affected, and especially the liver, which is critical for the immune system.
By eating lots of whole vegetables and fruit, the body gets the fiber that it needs to help keep the elimination system clean. When the waste products are removed quickly, they don’t have time to build up and rot, causing more toxins for the system to remove. By using organic foods when possible, the number of toxins in the body is reduced, so the liver has less stress.
If cancer cells are killed, but are not able to be removed efficiently, more stress is placed on the body. So, whether we like to talk about it or not, elimination is a critical part of fighting cancer.