A reader from my FB private group asked me to write some of my thoughts on plant-based eating and how it protects and heals us.
Before all this went down a few months ago I really didn’t know much about plant-based eating – mostly I subscribed to a more low carb/meat/protein way of eating. I didn’t eat much in the way of veggies – maybe 2 sometimes 3 servings a day and literally no fruit.
When I was told my diagnosis on 3/1/2018, one of the first questions I asked the Oncologist was “what do I do now?” His response was “nothing, keep doing what you are doing. There is nothing to do. We still need to get some tests done. Once they are done, we’ll know what to do, and then we’ll go into treatment.”
We left the appointment in a daze and I knew that I needed to do something – to have control of something. I just couldn’t sit back and wait. I also knew deep down from all the reading I had done over the years that what I needed to do was to change what I was eating.
I made the change cold turkey – overnight I started eating just plants. And, up to this point with a few minor “allowances” I’ve been 99% plant-based.
What I didn’t know was how does someone with cancer best eat to put themselves in a place to beat cancer. So, I started reading some books on eating for cancer.
Here’s what I have learned for myself.
1. The journey for battling cancer is a personal one. Everyone’s situation is different – it’s nearly impossible to compare one person to another – yet that seems to be very common. There’s statistics, averages, case studies and tons more that seemed to either give me hope or make me grumpy and scared. For the most part, I have stayed away from a lot of what I call the doom and gloom information on the Internet and stick to things that have been referred/recommended to me to read.
2. I’m learning to trust my intuitive gut at a whole new level. To be straight about it, some things that have come my way I haven’t read – in fact, I’ve put them out of my eyesight. If my gut gets grumbly I say “nope not going to read this” and I put it away.
3. There is a ton of scientific research for traditional medicine and there’s very little scientific research for naturopathic medicine. Basic reason – you can’t patent nature, therefore, there’s no big pharma involved in natural solutions to cancer.
4. There is a ton of anecdotal evidence to suggest/prove that naturopathic therapies and holistic approaches are valid methods for treating, preventing, and surviving cancer at just about all the different stages and forms cancer comes in. Essentially, belief and faith in what one does to navigate cancer is what’s important.
5. The regular medical community is great at going after cancer cells. It’s kind of like a horse with blinders on – go straight is great, but the side peripheral vision is something that the patient has to bring to the table if you want it.
6. For my condition, not doing chemotherapy is unrealistic. I asked 3 different naturopathic doctors about this and they all said – do the chemo – what you have is very receptive to it and your body needs to get on top of cancer so that your body’s natural immune system can regain the upper hand.
7. One common thread I’ve seen is Cancer can’t live in alkaline conditions in the body. With this said, and from what I’ve read, plants produce alkaline effects in your body after they are metabolized whereas animal products and stress produce acidic effects in your body. Blood ph runs around 7.5 on a scale of 0-14 and anything above 7 is considered alkaline and under 7 is acidic. I’ve learned that we can’t necessarily change our blood ph too much with the food we eat, but what we can do is minimize the amount of work our bodies have to do to maintain our blood ph in its normal range. So, if I eat less “acidic” food and reduce my stress my body doesn’t have to spend energy counterbalancing the acidity. This will allow my body to focus energy on other things like fighting cancer by improving my immune system.
8. Everyone has cancer cells in them – it’s just whether or not they get turned on and are able to reproduce unchecked to the point where they start causing problems in the body. Besides smoking and exposure to chemical substances, stress is probably the #1 activator of cancer and we all have different tolerances to stress such that it’s virtually impossible to say for certain what causes cancer. We’re pretty good at looking back over say the previous 2 years from a diagnosis date and picking out some stressor events – but it’s still difficult to say what causes cancer.
9. As far as a vice if you need one – eat 72% or more cacao chocolate (yes some small amount of dairy here…) without artificial sweeteners (maybe stevia) versus alcohol. All forms of alcohol with the except of very lite beer and red wine produce acidic conditions in our bodies. There’s a chemical in wine called resveratrol which helps to fight cancer which leads some folks to suggest a glass a day is ok. However, pound for pound cocoa has more of this chemical in it so for therapeutic purposes eating chocolate is more beneficial. So far, I’ve opted for some 85% chocolate from Trader Joes.
10. From personal experience nearly 2 months into eating plants I have survived it and I feel pretty darn great – not to mention I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds. I’ve heard from quite a few people – “oh I could never do that” as I said at one point in the past. However, when faced with something like this – yes you can. Maybe when someone you know is faced with something like this it will at least have you stop and pause for second and think – do I really need that?
11. There is a lot of science involved in plant-based eating that I don’t have the time to write about here. One thing I heard/read is that we can grow 8 times more plant-based food calorically for the same amount of effort/resources growing animal-based food. Do I love a steak – yep, but now I’m asking do I really need it.
12. Food consumption is a choice and can be balanced – one of the things I’m dealing with at the moment that I don’t have an answer for is deprivation – depriving myself of things I’d like to eat while I eat for cancer. For example, I love eating eggs, but for now, I’m not eating them. My naturopath told me to not suffer over my diet. I’m in between what’s “right” for winning the cancer game with my diet and whether not having something now is “rightfully” deprivation.
So for me for now, I know/believe that to give my body the absolute best health condition possible in the upcoming battle through treatment I need to be eating pretty much a 100% plant-based diet for now. It may be forever and it may not. Right now, I’m not making that kind of declaration, I can’t see that far into the future.