Would you eat differently if you were diagnosed with cancer?
I regularly receive emails from clients or friends who tell me about a loved one or friend who has cancer, asking me if there’s anything they can do nutrition wise or with their lifestyle choices that could help to positively impact their diagnosis.
In the last four days, I have received three separate emails about cancer so I thought I’d put together a blog. We know cancer is on the increase (scarily so) and most of you will know that whilst I’m all about looking good and feeling good short term, I’m going to damn well try to live in this amazing world as long as I possibly can and want you to do the same!
I’ve read a lot of cancer books and research over the last few years and I think one of the most powerful things I read from ‘Anti-cancer – a new way of life’ by Dr David Servan-Schreiber is this:
“ALL OF US HAVE CANCER CELLS IN OUR BODIES, BUT NOT ALL OF US WILL DEVELOP CANCER”
Firstly, I realize that cancer is an emotive subject. My intention is not to aggravate anyone who has cancer, has had cancer or knows someone who has cancer by what I’ve put together here. I just want to inspire as many people as possible to think about prevention rather than just cure. The World Cancer Research fund has some fantastic resources about cancer prevention because evidence is proving over and over again, that many cancers can in fact be prevented by the choices we make as human beings.
Secondly, everyone’s cancer is different. So yes, in many cases nutrition and better lifestyle can help massively, but in some more aggressive and advanced forms of cancers, it may not so much. But when we know that cancer cells thrive in acidity, I passionately believe that changing what we eat by consuming more raw foods that are alkaline and reducing the acidic foods (meat/wheat/dairy/sugar), our bodies are far better equipped to help themselves out.
Thirdly, not all cancers are caused by bad nutrition and lifestyle choices (although bad nutrition, especially sugar) will speed up how cancer develops in most cases. When we eat food we are either healing or hindering our bodies, so the foundation actions around our bodies surely must be to help it out? When your body is fighting dis-ease it cannot do the best job it can do when it’s dealing with other things such as toxicity and acidity.
Fourthly, I appreciate that not everyone believes that food and the way we live our lives impacts cancer – yet. But I’d really encourage you to think for a minute about how incredible our bodies are and how they have the power to self-heal when given the chance. The websites and books I’m sharing here have so much research that backs this up and having worked alongside cancer patients for over 10 years now, I know there is a change in many hospitals. When you fast-forward 10 years I predict people will start fighting cancer more naturally (by it’s own and of course alongside mainstream medical techniques if needed) but hopefully we get to the point where cancer cases are reduced by stronger prevention strategies.
Finally, there are of course many other things that impact cancer. The big ones being stress, technology, wifi, mobile phones, pollution, an estrogen pool from our food system and plastics, the contraceptive pill (affecting men and women), cosmetics, pesticides and much more. To find out more information on this, including evidence and research from oncologists and medics as well as naturopaths, please visit – http://www.canceractive.com
My personal approach to my health and wellbeing is that I don’t ever want to be diagnosed with something and suddenly think ‘ I wish I could turn back time’.
When I get the emails in saying ‘ what can I do to help my body?’ there’s a sense of immediacy – the equivalent of a smoker having a heart attack and only at that point are they prepared to give up. But a classic human attribute is to walk around in a little bit of denial about what we eat, drink and do, but if we just stop and think about how we’d feel if we were diagnosed with something that is potentially life-threatening, I know people would start making better choices.
Of course we don’t want to live in fear of getting cancer – in fact my very good friend and business associate Gill Harvey Bush who had and beat breast cancer has written a fantastic book (out soon!) about why we need to have a different mindset about cancer. She incidentally was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2010, decided she didn’t want to have chemo and asked the consultants to let her try to reduce the tumour herself. She managed to reduce her tumour so substantially in 6 weeks from better nutrition and lifestyle changes (she was a former sugar, dairy, carb and caffeine queen) that she avoided chemo altogether. She did have some radiotherapy and medication but when you hear her story along with so many others who’ve done the same, I mean, WOW or what?
So as I was typing the advice back to some of my clients about what their loved ones might want to consider doing to help their bodies out now they had been diagnosed with cancer, it dawned on me quite powerfully that many people still don’t realize the big cancer aggravators and some simple anti-cancer strategies that can make a huge difference. So here are my top ten on both.
The things you want to get out or down to a minimum:
- Sugar – cancer cells thrive in acidity and sugar. The WHO are now recommending that adults have no more than 5tsp a day, yet most people are having much, much more than this, even ‘healthy’ and fit people.
- Wheat – it aggravates the gut and can negatively impact gut health. There is more and more evidence available now about the link between gut health, immunity, candida and cancer – in fact recent research I read said that between 79 and 95% of people with cancer have some kind of candida. I’m not sure that’s coincidence.
- Dairy – if it isn’t organic, it will be pumped full of estrogen as the cows produce up to eight times the amount of milk / meat, plus it’s mucous forming, so not the clean environment our bodies work better in.
- Meat – occasionally is fine but it’s not great for gut health (a steak takes 2-3 days to digest, a lettuce leaf 15 minutes) and again if not organic, you’ll have a big hormonal impact over time.
- Working too much – long hours, the technology boom, modern day pressures etc, all have a negative impact on the body. Stress is toxic to the body, evidence is starting to prove that wifi, mobile phones are creating an imbalance in the body, many people are surrounded by electrical gadgets for 18 hours a day! One breast cancer specialist in America was noticing that fit women who were getting breast cancer were getting tumours in the same place and similar sizes, She then realized that they were growing where they were tucking their Ipod into their crop top.
- Not sleeping properly – I’m astounded as to how many people have bad sleep or not enough sleep. Sleep issues are on the increase, it affects our body because our bodies recover when we rest. Plus, when we’re tired we tend to be more stressed and consume more sugar. Dr David Servan-Schreiber talks about the anti-cancer environment in his book as well as foods. Adrenal issues stemming from stress also affect homeostasis. We know there is a link between hormone imbalances and many cancers. We mustn’t bury our heads in the sand about something so important as sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well that’s your body telling you something.
- Being stressed or having toxic thoughts – I know many fit and slim people who eat well and train regularly who have been super stressed for 20 years and this isn’t health in my view. We really need to think about the bigger picture of health. Pushing hard in a career, challenging yourself too much, glorifying being busy and not listening to your body, can all negatively impact the body causing cells to mutate and hormones to become imbalanced. That’s not to say we have to sit at home sipping tea and knitting all day long, but I think most women (and men!) need a better balance in their life and only we can manage that.
- Being overweight – the more fat cells we have the more estrogen we make, so yes it’s important to have a healthy shape, but you don’t have to be a perfect size 10 to accomplish this. In fact I’d argue many women would be better off being a size 12-14 than busting their balls to be a size 10 eating toxic diet foods, caffeine and doing too much.
- Training too hard – lactic acid build up in the body is not healthy and actually many fit people I know have quite a sugary diet – a combination that needs to be balanced a bit more. Yes it’s important to be fit and healthy, but over training is as bad for you as not training at all!
- Look after your liver and your digestion. These are our 2 biggest toxin expellers. If you’re stressed the blood supply shuts down to the gut causing all sorts of issues. If you have a build up of toxins that will create an acidic environment. Things that affect the liver are too much sugar and alcohol mainly but also too many carbs, processed food and anything toxic. If you are bloated, or have gut issues, that is your body telling you it’s not in a great place. In research done by Balkwill & Mantovani in 2001 (which is summarised in the Anti Cancer and New Way of Life book), the inflammatory causes of a lot of cancers come from gut health issues, including the Helicobactor plyori induced gastritis (which I had in 2006 by the way and was the catalyst for me changing what I ate) and a variety of types of IBS. We need to get real with this stuff, we really do.
The things you want to have more of are:
- More raw food that’s alkaline and nutrient rich, enhances the function of our body and doesn’t cost the body anything like wheat, dairy and sugar does. I have a vegetable juice every morning and eat raw food at every meal. I now eat about 70% raw but still enjoy lots of ‘normal’ meals. A great read is ‘Anti cancer – a new way of life’ by Dr David Servan-Schreiber and The Rainbow diet by Chris Woolams. Ideally this needs to be organic. The people who drive the tractors when spraying crops with pesticides have to wear masks and special suits. This poison is in our food!
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and known to be a tumour reducer in most cancer cases. I have 1tsp in a shot of warm water every morning, all evidence on this is in all the books I’ve mentioned in this blog.
- Allium family – onions, leeks, chives, shallots and garlic contain a lot of ant-cancer properties, I have these every day.
- Greens – The highest nutrient dense foods can be found on the ANDI scores list, we must start to look at the quality of food not just the quantity. Also ‘Cancer hates cabbage” – taken from a chapter in ‘Foods to fight cancer’ by professor Richard Beliveau
- More balance, sleep, rest – your body needs looking after!
- Your liver loves turmeric, walnuts, greens, garlic, lemons, avocadoes, grapefruit and water. I have a variety of these throughout the week, every week of my life.
- Drink more water – a hydrated body is a less toxic body generally speaking and by adding lemon to it (alkaline when consumed by the body and your liver likes it!) makes this a secret power drink
- Epsom salts baths – renowned for withdrawing toxins, calming the adrenals, restoring the body’s PH balance and calming the nervous system is a fantastic (and easy!) thing you can do a few times a week – I get mine from Just a soap who deliver the next day
- Exercise – you don’t need to train for a marathon, just regular fitness activity a few times a week makes such a difference to how our bodies function and proven to reduce cancer.
- A positive and happy mindset. A lot of research is now proving that happier, more relaxed and calm people are less likely to get cancer. The only person that let’s you become busy or stressed is you.
All I know is that if I got diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn’t be going ‘why me?’, I’d be thinking, what did I do (or didn’t do) that caused this and most importantly, what can I do to help my body out moving forwards. Every day I consider my food and lifestyle choices and more so now reducing technology time and switching off my wifi at night, using my phone less and so on. I can’t guarantee I’ll never get it, but I’m certainly going to do my all to prevent it!
When I work with women who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, one of the things that is always said to me is ‘WHY DIDN’T I KNOW ABOUT CANCER AGGRAVATORS AND ANTI CANCER STRATEGIES?!’ and therefore I feel like I’d be doing an injustice to all my clients and followers if I didn’t share this information. I know my ‘naturopathic’ approach is not trusted by many, but please read the books I’ve mentioned, take a look at the websites and research and maybe become a bit more cancer-savvy, after all, there’s more of it around than ever before.
If you want help to nail a long term health eating approach, my Food Management Made Easy program looks at all of this. In fact quite a few people have said that it should be called ‘Life-long Healthy Eating Made Easy’ because there is such a big pull towards long term health and family health.
The program includes details of what to eat and what not to eat and why. Daily planning and weekly planning strategies so that you can avoid the sugar crashes and cravings and have a better balance in your life. It teaches you how to read labels, how to understand sugar so you know what you’re buying and understand how manufacturers are out to con you 9 times out of 1o. It is based on positive food principles not fads.
It looks at portion control strategies and self-satisfaction – if people don’t get this right, they tend to be under-nourished and overfed – the crux of all what I’ve talked about above. But also the biggest part of successful long term healthy eating is to make sure your partner and family food management is the best that it can be, so I teach you how to implement this too.
I’ll help you understand gut health better, how hormones and stress impact the body, how we can help ourselves out long term by going into more detail of anti-candida and anti-cancer eating.
We put everything into practice when we create your own food management plan, there’s a bonus call from Gill (who I mentioned above) about how we can use our mind to make better food choices), plus there’s photo food diaries of me and my children and weekly Q and A’s where you can ask me questions along the way.
It’s not just cancer, it’s all dis-eases, Hypocrites said ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, I know that positive nutrition and better lifestyle choices make such a difference with all sorts of ailments, but sometimes you need support to understand things better and someone to guide you to implement them.
I’m here to help!