Once diagnosed with cancer, I was determined to live and get better. I was prepared to make drastic changes to my life style.
Firstly, I excluded all animal products as discussed in ” My anti-breast cancer diet – Part 1.” I embarked on a vegan diet because of the well documented cancer fighting and inhibiting factors of fruits and vegetables.
Secondly, I cut out all refined and highly processed foods. This included white sugar, white flower and packaged food. So, when carrying out a supermarket shop, shopping happen mainly in the fresh produce section and seeking out the organic section.
The fresher the produce the better it is for your body. Farmers markets offer wonderful opportunities to buy super fresh produce.
With every bite of food you take, you should be aiming to rebuild your body.
The goal is to illuminate all food that could be a burden to your body and only eat nutrient dense food. Avoid ready made meals and restaurant food, especially take-a-way food. They are highly processed, full of sugar, preservatives, stabilizers and colorants.
Eating a nutrient dense diet might not be enough though. It is vital to digest and absorb the nutrients in the food to heal and nourish the body.
Cancer patients almost always have difficulty digesting and absorbing food. This can be a result of toxicity, malfunction of the digestive system or a decrease in stomach acid production.
My body was struggling to digest, assimilate and eliminate at an optimal balance rate which resulted in periodical constipation and many mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
When it comes to getting the most from your digestion, it’s more than “you are what you eat” — it’s “you are what you absorb” states Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD.
Juicing is very effective way to assist in eating many more servings of fruit and vegetables than you would have normally and in making digestion easier.
I made vegetable juice daily and consumed at least 2 – 3 glasses per day. The juice can be considered already “chewed” and this ensures optimum digestion of nutrients from the food.
The Gerson Therapy recommends 13 glasses of vegetable juice a day. “This tremendous influx of liquids provides the nutritional equivalent of almost seventeen pounds of food a day. The consumption of that quantity of food on a daily basis would be impossible.” (https://gerson.org/gerpress/the-gerson-therap)
My favorite juice recipe
2 spinach leaves or 1/2 cucumber or beet greens
5 cm ginger root
1-2 organic apples or 1/2 pineapple
Benefits of fruit and vegetable juicing:
- Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables and fruits.This is important because most people with cancer have impaired digestion. Juicing will help to ” pre-digest ” the food for you, so you will receive more of the nutritional value of the vegetables.
- Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables and fruit in an efficient manner.
- With juicing, you can juice a wide variety and quantity of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy or are capable of eating raw and whole.
- Boosts your immune system by supercharging it with concentrated phyto-chemicals which can help revitalize your body.
- Increases your energy. Since the juice is in a more easily digestible state and therefore can be utilized by your body immediately. I used to feel energized immediately after ingesting a juice.
- Even if you are going through conventional chemo treatment, vegetable juice will help you to recover quicker from the harsh side effects. My mom, who had chemotherapy for ovarian cancer included juicing in her daily diet. It helped her to cope with the harsh side effects of the treatment.
Organic Vegetables and fruit.
Commercially farmed vegetables are generally sprayed with toxic herbicides and pesticides. This can increase the toxic load in the body and prevent or slow the healing process. Pesticides are absorbed by the plants and fruits, so it wont help just to wash fruits and vegetables.
The following 12 fruits and vegetables are labelled as the “Dirty Dozen” because of the pesticides they can absorb if not grown organically: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and potatoes.
The medieval alchemist Paracelsus said “It is the dose that makes the poison“.
The more toxins in the body the more minerals and vitamins are needed by the body to help the body to function at optimal levels and heal.
I tried to eat as much organic produce as possibly to lower my toxic load.
Buying organic is more expensive than commercially farmed produce but this is not really the time for penny-pinching. Ridding my body of cancer and restoring my health was more important.
Practical changes to improve digestion and get the nutrients you need:
- Drink hot water and hot herbal teas. Both help detoxify the body and build digestive strength. Simmering a few slices of ginger root in boiling water makes a ginger root tea that stimulates digestion. Herbal teas of chamomile, peppermint, and cinnamon also promote good digestion.
- Naturally fermented Apple cider vinegar in half a glass of water before meals assists digestion.
- Chew your food well and eat at a moderate pace. Ideally, you should chew each mouthful some 30 times, breaking the food into small particles and allowing the salivary enzymes to begin their work digesting the food.
- Eat simply. Mixing many different types of foods taxes the digestive system.
- Eat cooked foods instead of cold or raw foods – it is easier to digest. I tried an “all raw” diet but didn’t do well on it all. In Traditional Eastern medicine (Ayurveda) all cold and raw foods must be “heated up” to enhance digestion. People with weak digestion benefit more from eating hot soups and broths and casseroles.
- Eat in a peaceful and relaxed environment. You will note that you feel better and your digestion is smoother when you eat in a quiet, peaceful environment. Avoid watching television, reading, working, or arguing with others when you eat.
- Soak your beans and legumes and rice to enhance the fermentation process. Sally Fallon wrote a wonderful book “Nourishing Traditions” on how to prepare your food (mainly by fermentation ) to optimize digestion of the nutrients.
- Eat freshly cooked meals. Freshly cooked foods are the most nourishing and are free of mould.
- Avoid overeating. Excessive intake of food greatly burdens the entire digestive system. Practice moving away from the table while you are still a bit hungry.
- Eat and drink probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar and kombucha .You can also include kefir and yogurt later once you not on a vegan diet. I make my own kefir and kombucha at home.
- I highly recommend the cook book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon to learn how to make many wonderful digestible meals and drinks.