It’s been 4 years since I was undergoing cancer treatment- and only recently did I start to really look at my diet. What changed might you ask? A good friend of mine was just told her breast cancer metastasized to her lungs. And I instantly thought of another friend I met this summer, Chopper. Chopper has stage IV Lung cancer at age 36 and yet with a strict diet and a new targeted therapy he is living, really living. As a cancer survivor I should know better- I shouldn’t have waited until a friend of mine was told to go on a strict low sugar diet and to eat healthy. But that’s what it took to really kick it into high gear. And it’s not because I am afraid my cancer will come back- I’m not- well at least 95% of me is not. I am doing this because I figured it’s the only thing I can really help her with – I can cook for her, do the research for her, find great inspiring cookbooks for us and I can go on this diet with her. So we can moan together about how much we miss crack, um, I mean sugar. And coffee, cheese, gluten, donuts…
So this past week or so I have been reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet and The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz. They have truly changed my thinking. Everything that we eat, drink, ingest in any way, coat our skin with, or wash our hair with, plays a role in creating a hostile environment to cancer.
Here are some tips I took from these books and my experience this summer with The Palette Fund cooking for us at the First Descents Surfing Camp. And keep in mind – I’m a beginner, I am just learning and I am paraphrasing what I read. I definitely suggest you read the sources first hand.
No Refined Sugar – limit sugar overall, but cut out refined sugars- it can feed cancer tumors. Replace with Coconut Palm Sugar (1 for 1 in a baking recipe), Agave nectar, Maple Syrup, or Honey (although there is a difference of opinion on Honey)
No Diary- did you know milk leaches the calcium from your bones? Milk does not do the body good- who knew? And as my acupuncturist said- one mammal drinking another mammal’s breast milk is not natural.
Gluten is inflammatory- so limit this, but if you’re going to eat gluten- eat whole grains, sprouted grain breads like Ezekiel Bread which you can find in the freezer section of Whole Foods.
A Plant based diet is best- increase your vegetable and grain intake.
If you still want to eat meat (which I do) you need to eat organic if possible and forget the red meat altogether. And there is a list of which fish are safe, and which fish have a high mercury levels in the Cancer Fighting Kitchen.
Try drinking wheatgrass juice and green juice made from organic (if possible) vegetables like celery, kale, lettuce. I am learning all sorts of things- like how to grow wheatgrass in your house, how much wheatgrass you need for 12 oz of wheatgrass juice. It’s a superfood!
Drink and cook with filtered water if at all possible and skip the plastic water bottles. A filter will take out some minerals, but it also removes chlorine and other nasty chemicals from our water. What you’re missing in minerals from unfiltered water- you will get from your food.
Use Sea salt-it has a lot of great minerals in there.
Check out EWG.org (Environmental Working Group’s website) for a list of the Dirty Dozen (foods you should try to buy organic) and the Safe 15 (foods you don’t have to buy organic) Also check out this website for the cosmetic database- just plug in the products you use and they will tell you if their are harmful or not.
Stay away from canned goods. The can lining has BPA- and until our government puts us first and the chemical companies last- it’s going to remain there. BPA is a form of synthetic estrogen- not good- makes little girls get their periods earlier and for women like me with estrogen positive BC- I want to stay far away from BPA.
Get a skin creme that does not have any parabens or phthalates.
Beans! A great meat replacement for protein. High in protein and vitamins- buy organic, dried beans- cook up a whole batch and then freeze them so you have them prepared for recipes.
Stay away from anti-bacterial soaps- use Dr Bonners castille soap and all natural soaps you can find at Whole Foods or natural food markets.
In Cancer Fighting Kitchen, Rebecca Katz also goes through what foods and recipes are good for specific side affects. As well as what foods are cancer fighting powerhouses and how they help. It’s an amazing resource. If you were to buy 1 book to help you start eating healthy- I would get this one. Even if you are not undergoing any cancer treatment.
I don’t have a ton of money to replace everything I use all at once- so as I run out of shampoo etc- that’s when I replace it with a healthier product. And I pick and choose when I spend the big bucks on organic with the dirty dozen in mind.
So join me on this journey of healthy eating. I will probably fall off the wagon now and again, but it’s how fast I get back on that will make a difference.
I also bought Anti Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD, and Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, and The Swiss Secret to Optimal Health: Dr. Rau’s Diet for Whole Body Healing by Thomas Rau, Susan Wyler but I haven’t read these yet.