The question is, is it possible to help heal from cancer with diet. There are reams written on which foods are more or less carcinogenic and the dietary advice is confusing. Not least as there is usually no differentiation between a “healthy” diet and a “healing” diet. Click here to go straight to the table if you want to skip the explainatory notes.
Rudolph Ballentine (Diet and Nutrition) is a very good start to establish what humans require from a healthy diet. Looking at how large numbers of people have lived for centuries on basic locally produce food gives an insight in to human needs. So beans and rice is a near balanced diet, but if eating foods like jam then there is a NEED to add dairy, meat or fish to get a balanced diet.
|We can see here that beans and rice or potatoes form a good basic food input. There is a need for more vitamins and minerals but the calories to gm ratio are about right. Once fudge, jam or other high sugar foods are included we need to add high protein foods like fish and meat.||30-70 gms protein 2000-3000 calories ratio 1:40
Potatoes 35 calories/gm
Beans and rice 28 calories/gm
Fudge 148 calories/gm
Jam 453 calories/gm
The ratio between proteins and calories is important in a healthy diet and explains why a basic diet of beans and rice can support millions.
Western civilization now has a choice of foods from all over the globe. Choice means we can have any food in any amount, any time of year. So foods we had formerly been able to manage either seasonally or in small amounts are now ubiquitous.
Dr Grundy (The Plant Paradox) reveals that humans find it very difficult to digest Lectins (gluten is also in this family of enzyme like proteins) and also this difficulty is one of the factors in the development and growth of cancerous tumours. So, in any diet to reduce cancer, our approach to Lectins and how to reduce them is important. This can be done by elimination or by how the preparation process changes the foods.
|Common Legumes and beans||Alfalfa (a legume)
Peanuts (a legume)
|All these, and many more, are high in Lectins.
These can be reduced by soaking and draining.
Also good to add NaHCO3 to the soaking water.
Investing in a pressure cooker to cook the washed legumes and beans is very helpful in reducing Lectins.
Also, canned legumes and beans have the Lectins leached out into the water, so wash well and use as a reduced Lectin food.
Dr Grundy and many others also explore the hypothosis that sugars are the main food of cancerous tumours. Cancer loves sugar. So removing sugar from the diet altogether would be an obvious thought but the rest of our cell structure also needs sugar to operate. No sugar diets include the Ketogenic diet. The Ketogenic diet is one diet plan that entirely removes the sugar from the diet. In place of sugar the body utilizes fat and protein stores to function.
There needs to be two stages to a healthy cancer diet:
- A diet suitable for the active stage of cancer
- A life style diet once the cancer is not the acute issue. Either it has become a benign issue or it has been removed.
In the first phase removing all sugars is worth considering. That includes all fruits and grains! There are low sugar fruits and these include:
Strawberries and most berries,
Lemons and Grapefruit,
These notes were derived from working with prostate cancer but would also apply to all hormonal cancers and with some modifications to all cancers. Wherever the cancer is in the body there is also an associated gut problem. If the body is digesting optimally, then it’s very hard, whatever the stresses or exposures in life, for a cancer to establish. Having said that a modern Western diet is in itself “unhealthy” and “unnatural” so all of us would need to look to a gut imbalance, a dysbiosis. In the initial stages of finding out what your gut needs the FODMAP app is very useful, even if you are not going to embark on a FODMAP diet.
FODMAPs stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are sugar molecules found in food that can be poorly absorbed. Monash university has produced a “traffic light” App that lists most foods and grades them by each of these sugars. Cancer in one area of body may be the result of gut dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis) and this App is very useful if you need to eliminate all fermenting foods for a month or two to establish what foods are causing problems. Reintroduce food one at a time or one group at a time.
The “F” stands for fermenting and it is this process that is a major help in reducing Lectins. In a cancer diet fermented foods are very useful. Partly because they are easily digestible (the Lectins being reduced) and partly because they will contain useful flora to activate gut processes.
To get the app go to https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/
Other “cooking” processes include “activating” which which entails overnight soaking. Nuts in particular benefit from soaking, especially if we are increasing the amount we consuming This will be the case if we are making nut milks and nut cheeses.
Using a pressure cooker is another way of reducing Lectins as is using tinned pulses and beans. The pulses and beans stored in a can for a long time prior to use means the Lectins leach out and so emptying the tin and washing makes the the contents edible.
Supporting a cancer reducing diet
The diet is one thing but are there other things we can do to help our healing? Whatever our choices with medical treatment (I have discussed this for prostate cancer in other articles) there are other things that can be seen as therapeutically supportive.
Yoga is not just exercise. There are 8 limbs of yoga.
Yama: is our ethical approach. We may explore this with our social duty, doing “service” in the community. Many people find cancer life changing and as part of that change will reflect on their role and worth in the community and to others. This is an important part of any healing. Go out and do something in your community, even if that is supporting others with cancer. The aspects of yamas are:
Niyama: is to do with self discipline, so looking at our diet is in itself niyama, here we would also develop our meditative practices, especially yoga nidra (yoga sleep). The five niyamas are:
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
Asana: This is the physical yoga, the postures and what many think of as yoga. The regular practice of the Asanas is a useful part of our healing. It also maintains balance as well as flexibility.
Pranayama: This is yoga breathing. Essential in healing as control over oxygen helps the alkali/acid balance and so creates a healing environment.
Pratyahara: means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. Keenly aware of, yet cultivating a detachment from, our senses, we direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.
Dharana: The practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. We focus our attention on a single point. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation.
Dhyana: Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all.
Samadhi: A state of ecstasy. This ultimate stage of yoga—enlightenment—can neither be bought nor possessed. It can only be experienced, the price of which is the continual devotion of the aspirant.
It may look complicated or imposing but the secret is to start from where you are and do what you can. Join a yoga class, change to another if you don’t like it or find it to hard. This way you will find your own yogi master or guru. Guru’s change when they need to. It is your yoga, you do what you want, having in mind the vastness of the possibilities.
Far infra red
In May 2000 a German researcher reported that an experimental technique was used on 440 patients with prostate cancer, using “a probe inserted into the rectum so cancer cells in the nearby prostate gland may be heated and killed with ultrasound”.
The report goes on to say “A recent study showed nearly 80% of the 440 men treated had a cancer-free follow-up test, or biopsy. Nearly all had a clear biopsy after a second treatment of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.”
Healthy cells can tolerate higher temperatures than cancer cells (46oC and 42oC). Using FAR infra red radiation can make use of this fact. Infra red mats are less focused than HIFU treatment but there are many reports of their use reducing secondaries. There needs to be more studies undertaken to optimise our undertanding of how the mats are used.
There is more about this in Mum’s Not Having Chemo. Laura Bond
Using a matt while relaxing with yoga Nidra (yoga sleep), possibly using a yoga nidra cd, would be a very positive part of your healing routine.
Vitamins and supplements
This is another minefield and, while the notes in the table below are useful, this is an area where having an initial session with a registered nutritionalist should be considered. Vitamins and Supplements are expensive, ongoing and mostly not needed. In the active part of dealing with cancer they can be very helpful. Vit C at high doses to ward of secondary infections. Vit D is deficient even in most healthy Western people. The list of dietary supplements can become overwhelming and then should you be looking for natural sources over tablet forms? Vita C is abundant in most fruits and vegetables (Alma paste very high in Vit C for example) or would it be better to take in tablet form?
The next Step
These notes are a starting point, Healing yourself is a journey not a package. I am a homeopath looking at what nutrition has to offer and have been confused by what is out there. Many in the establishment say none of it works or that it is not important. That is definitely untrue but equally many of the articles are part of somebodies marketing for something or other. I offer this in the hope that some of it will clarify for others what is helpful.
|Reducing cancer through diet|
|Daily Dietary needs||30-70 gms protein 2000-3000 calories ratio 1:40
Potatoes 35 calories/gm
Beans and rice 28 calories/gm
Fudge 148 calories/gm
Jam 453 calories/gm
So beans and rice is a near balanced diet, but if eating foods like jam then there is a NEED to add dairy, meat or fish to get a balanced diet.
|The carbonated drinks are best, champagne and proseco, as they are alkalizing. Red wine has low sugar content. Beers are still grain products, may be gluten free ones are ok but there will still be a fair amount of sugar. Spirits are also fairly sugary.|
Garden cress Horseradish
Mustard – seeds and leaves
Rutabaga Tatsoi Turnips – root and greens
|Best raw or steamed.
Low in Lectins and having highest amounts of vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber of any plant group. Also good source vitamin K and protein.
200 calories of steamed broccoli will provide you with 20 grams of protein). – See chart Cruciferous Vegetables Nutrient Content
100 calories worth of cruciferous vegetables (about 5-6% of a daily diet) provides about 25-40% of your daily fiber requirement.
The enzyme myrosinase is found in the cells of cruciferous vegetables, it is able to take certain sulfur-containing molecules in cruciferous vegetables, glucosinolates, and convert them into isothiocyanates. Greater intake of isothiocyanates can be associated with decreased risk of certain cancers, and with better inflammatory control as well.
Consumed in fresh, raw, uncooked form, nutrients from the cruciferous vegetables that we eat are also more likely to be absorbed in the upper digestive tract, transported to the liver, and made available to other tissues in the body.
To increase availability of enzyme breakdown products in the upper digestive tract chop raw cruciferous vegetables and let them sit in chopped form for several minutes prior to cooking. This process will allow myrosinase enzymes to go to work prior to their deactivation by cooking heats.
Best cooking method is steaming, cooking foods at 212°F/100°C, a relatively low heat
|If the cancer is a hormone based cancer then best to avoid all dairy. Those cultures (Asian predominantly) that have no dairy intake have 97% less hormonal cancers.
Sheep and goat, if grass feed and don’t have grain supplements, are better than cow as they have been less modified by farming practices
It is easy to make nut milks and hemp milk is particularly good. See recipes for milks
It is also easy to produce nut and seed based yoghurts. – see recipes
There are many good vegan cheeses around – see recipes
All the milk recipes need the nuts to be activated first (soaked up to 24 hours)
|Best if you keep your own hens so you know what they eat. Make sure the hens are not fed on grain.
|Tamari||Not soya as its has sugar in it|
|Fermented foods have high nutritional values (vitamin K2 trace minerals, B vitamins and probiotics) and the process removes large amounts of Lectins.
|Fermented||Activated||If you are using nuts then to help remove the Lectins they need to be activated. This is basically soaking them upto 24 hours and may be more than once. There is good information on this in:
The Unbakery by Megan May
|The larger fish (tuna etc.) have more mercury as they live longer and so should be avoided. Knowing the source of the fish is important
|Strawberries are quite low in sugar, as are quite a few of the berries but the seeds do contain Lectins.
|Citrus fruits||Lemons are very good, slice of lemon in hot water as first drink of day has a beneficial alkalizing effect of system. Citrus fruits in small amounts can be considered but DO contain sugar so if you are trying to reduce a tumour not that useful.
However fruit is a prime source of vitamins and if you are having no fruit then vitamin supplements should be considered.
|Herbs and seasonings||All fine except chili pepper flakes|
|Legumes and beans||Aduke Beans
Alfalfa (a legume)
Black Beans (Black Turtle)
Calypso (Yin Yang) Beans
Peanuts (a legume)
Soy Beans, Black
Soy Beans, Red
Speckled Cranberry Beans
|All these are high in Lectins.
This can be reduced by soaking and draining, Also good to add NaHCO3 to the soaking water.
Investing in a pressure cooker to cook the washed legumes and beans – it is also very helpful in reducing Lectins.
Also canned legumes and beans have the Lectins leached out into the water, so wash well and use as a reduced Lectin food.
|2-4 oz. (55gm-110gm)/day & no more than 3 days/week.
Wild animals, pastured animals or organic only (not grain fed).
Coconut (not coconut water)
|Nuts need to be activated if being used in any sizeable amount to remove Lectins. This involves soaking up to 24 hours.
From The Unbakery by Megan May
Cod liver oil
Red palm oil
Rice bran oil
|Not all oils are good to cook in. Best would be avocado oil or Coconut oil|
|Resistant starches||Boabab fruit
Glucomannan (konjac root)
|Sodium bicarbonate||½ a teaspoonful in water daily as maintenance dose up to 4 times a day if needed. Even more effective with slice of lemon. For changing the acid alkali balance in an alkali direction. pH should be 7.35 – 7.45.
In cancer treatment need to establish a urinary ph balance of around 8 for 2 weeks then take a break
NaHCO3 is also a brilliant as anti fungal, either as a dermal wash or taken internally, seems also to be very efficient in allergy asthma attacks, changing the “climate” of the lungs to alkali and hence reducing the “attack”.
|These are high in sugars and high in Lectins. Tomatoes can be peeled and de-seeded, as can capsicums and aubergines.
Potatoes, apart from very new potatoes are not good, No matter how cooked. Sweet potato wedges might be considered as a substitute.
|Uncooked foods||The term uncooked doesn’t necessarily mean just raw Food. Cooking below 470C means that the cell structure is not broken down. There are many excellent books as recipe resources but probably the best is:
The Unbakery by Megan May
This book also covers how to make vegan milks and cheeses and super deserts, although they use natural sugars rather than no sugar.
|Vinegars||OK but cider vinegar has possibly positive attributes|
|Vitamins and foods with specific therapeutic value
|Most of these are readily available from a balanced diet.
However during the stress of reducing a tumour a course of Vitamins should be considered. Most important is Vit D3
|Vitamin B||B1 thiamin deficiency Beriberi – peripheral neuropathy, apathy, irritability, fear that something will happen, loss of manual dexterity
need whole grain rice regularly – need 1mg/day
B2 deficiency – cracks corner of mouth and lower lips, greasy skin.
B3 Niacin – 4 D’s:
Humans can make it from Tryptophan
Vitamin B12 is important and historically has been associated with meat and so assumed low in vegetarian and vegan diets
|Vitamin C||In large doses for heavy metal toxins 1000ug/day, with Vit E, natural source: Vit C Amla paste.
More usual dosage 500ug/day
|Vitamin D3||Needs to be 60-80 ng/ml
|Vitamin E||Natural source: wheat germ
|Turmeric (Curcumin}||In any form of cancer turmeric once a day in food is very good. The active ingredient (Curcumin) works even better with pepper. Fresh turmeric is better than ground. In areas of India Curcumin is used to reduce secondary cancers very effectively.
|Amla||Very high in Vit C can be found in Indian supermarkets as a fruit or as a past. The flesh is very but works well in curries
|Essiac Tea||· 6 ½ cups of burdock root (cut)
· 1 pound of sheep sorrel herb powdered.
· 1/4 pound of slippery elm bark powdered.
· 1 ounce of Turkish rhubarb root powdered.
|Prebiotics||Allium family: onions, garlic, leaks
|A coffee enema involves introducing a mixture of coffee and water into the colon by way of the rectum.
Easy to do yourself, use coffee luke warm and hang drip bag on door. Lie in child pose or better still on your right side – drains directly into the blood supply that drains the gut into the liver for detox
|FODMAPS||FODMAPs stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are sugar molecules found in food that can be poorly absorbed. Monash university has produced a “traffic light” App that lists most foods and grades them by each of these sugars. Cancer in one area of body may be the result of gut dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis) and this App is very useful if you need to eliminate all fermenting foods for a month or two to establish what foods are causing problems. Reintroduce food one at a time or one group at a time.
|D-manose||D-mannose is a type of sugar that is related to glucose, but it does not behave like sugar in the body. It is used to help prevent urinary tract infections because it inhibits bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. If bacteria can’t latch onto your bladder, it’s less likely to cause an infection.
Several fruits and vegetables contain D-mannose, including:
For preventing UTIs: 2 gm once daily, or 1 gm 2 x daily.
For treating a UTI: 1.5 gm 2 x daily for 3 days, and then 1 x daily for 10 days; or 1 gm 3 x daily for 14 days.
|FAR infra red therapy||Mats||Mats made with amethyst and toluidine crystals radiate in the far infrared spectrum when heat/energized. This radiation can penetrate up to 15cm into body and raise cell temperature. Relevance to cancer is that cancer cells cannot tolerate heat above 42oC while healthy cells tolerate up to 47oC. So 20 minutes a day on these matts helps the healing process, it has been demonstrated to be very useful with secondary cancers.
Using a large mat to lie on and the small mat resting on the pelvic area optimizes effect in Prostate cancer.
|Iodine||Spot test can be used to establish Iodine deficiency. Dab on wrist and wait for it to fade, should be several hours, if it take less time it implies that the Iodine levels low. This is also a way to top up Iodine levels daily but probably not enough during active cancer.
· Lugol’s liquid – Iodine / Potassium Iodide – 2% and 5% solutions. 2% solution is 2.5 mgs / drop. 5% solution is 6.25 mgs / drop.
· Iodoral – Lugol’s formula in pill form – Iodine / Potassium Iodide – 12.5 mgs & 50 mgs
· Biotics Research Iodizyme – 12.5 mgs per tablet of Iodine / Iodide
· Tri-Iodine by Vitaminlife – 12.5 mgs per tablet of Iodine / Iodide.
Doseage: Iodine is absolutely critical for
something called P53 gene which is known as the “keeper of the genetic code”. Without iodine and selenium it will not function to eliminate abnormal cells from the body such as cancer. Cancer patients have taken anywhere from 50 – 300mg/day
Other nutrients required to support levels Iodine:
a. Vitamin C – 2,000 – 5,000 mgs / day – supports the symporters and assists as an antioxidant to detoxing.
b. Selenium – 200 – 400 mcg / day – needed for detoxification and production of thyroid horm.
c. Unrefined salt (Celtic) – ó tsp / day – supports adrenals, binds to bromide and assists in removal, supports symporters (sodium iodine symporters or NIS)
d. Magnesium – 400 mgs / day – critical for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body.
e. Optional – ATP CoFactors -1 tablet 2x / day – when individuals continue to feel fatigued or have autoimmune thyroid disease this product can assist in increasing ATP (energy) within the cells. Riboflavin and no-flush niacin.
Iodine should be taken with food. This seems to enhance absorption as well as protecting sensitive stomachs from a potential upset.
|Diet and Nutrition – a holistic approach. Rudolph Ballentine, M.D.
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. Dr. Steven R Gundry M.D.
Sodium Bicarbonate: Nature’s Unique First Aid Remedy. Dr. Mark Sircus
The Unbakery. Megan May
Mum’s Not Having Chemo: Cutting-edge therapies, real-life stories – a road-map to healing from. Laura Bond
An ABC of Prostate Cancer Today: My Journey over 4 Continents to find the BEST Cure. Alan G Lawrenson