Diet and Practices to Support Chronic Diseases and Cancer
This information is to assist you with your journey towards a healthier lifestyle and adjunctive support to your health plan. There are no FDA approved natural treatments for cancer at this point in time. However, the evidence that these practices may assist you on your healing path are extensive and growing. Research on many new treatments including, Mistletoe, Vitamin C, oxidative therapies, new vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathy, detoxification, diet, metabolic syndrome, movement therapies like Eurythmy and chi gong, acupuncture, meditation, prayer and many other modalities continue to evolve. Most of these therapies can also be combined safely with conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Unfortunately most oncologists and conventional practitioners are afraid of potential side effects or ineffectiveness of alternative modalities so it is hard to get support. It is rare they see the patients who benefit form these approaches and they usually see those that are not interested or fail alternative treatments. In my experience integrating natural and conventional approaches produces the best long term outcomes on the whole and this is not studied very well.
Mind-Body Connection (psychoneuroimmunology)
In my personal experience the most important thing is you listen to what your illness is trying to tell you. What speaks to you for change in your life and are you willing to embrace change ? Change in your thinking and feelings about life, health and relationships are intertwined and the more at peace you are with these relationships and yourself the easier it is to move forward with your healing path. Can you let go or heal feelings that are causing you strife, disharmony, frustration, guilt and and pain. Can you claim responsibility to change what “you” can for your self. Are you ready to make these changes and stick to them because they are meaningful to you. Can you “take heart” and let go of your fears about change and illness and find the courage to fulfill your creative potential as an essential link in this worlds biography. Do you connect to your creative-potential, God, Christ, Buddha, the heavenly Mary (Sophia) or a “beingness” you wish to embody in your life ? What do you want your life to stand for ? Do you have the courage to become the change you wish to see in the world and define yourself not to be defined by your illness. In my experience these and similar questions can be the gateway to a new frontier of health, truthfulness, dignity, peace and self-realization. Please do not underestimate the power of belief and the power of a “thoughtful act” to change your life. In the end the only things we have the power to change are our own thoughts, attitudes and actions. Changing our personal, social and physical environment begins with ourselves. I have observed over and over; that when people change something meaningful about themselves and the way they think, feel or act in the world, the quality of their health changes ! This includes cancer and many chronic illnesses. Finding your personal affirmation for life is linked to your path to healing in both mind and body. This can even change how you respond to your medical therapies no matter what the treatment.
Changing our Environment (Terrain) - Inspiration for Practical Changes !
How do we change our Health Terrain ? How do we create the environment for meaningful change ? Ultimately this is a self journey of learning and evolving. Trust your intuitions and have the courage to make changes. Most everyone who is successful by their own right has overcome endless shortcomings and failures on their path to succeeding at their goal. Their positive attitude allows them to continue their journey and not fall into emotional traps and patterns that push other people and opportunities away. Rather they adopt attitudes that attract what they seeking to accomplish. Carry positive attitudes and energies that uplift and help others and you will often receive similar things back to yourself. “Give and you shall receive”.
Consider reviewing your biography. How has your life journey led to where you are today. What influences shaped your thinking, beliefs, attitudes and actions. Are you manifesting these things freely; or are they patterns you follow out of reaction and fear.
Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world” St. John said “ The light shined in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not” Is there something you deeply hope to do ? What holds you back and what is within your power to change. Are you allowing enlightenment and and the spirit of change to speak to you ? Observe your thoughts, sympathies, antipathies (capacity for empathy) and actions. Pay attention to to what goes on around you and how the world is responding to you. Making the right decisions and cultivating your intuitions starts with your attentiveness. Make the moment count. After-all this is your life. Don’t be a passive observer!
You might consider cognitive counseling to understand what has influenced your thinking patterns with a psychologist. You might consider Heart-math coaching to learn to get in touch with the moment and what is important to you. You might consider emotional release techniques, meditation or prayer. You might review your biography with a loved one, counselor, priest/pastor or friend. There are many ways to begin shaping and tapping into the power of your mind. There is a saying, “Look at yourself to understand the world and look into the world to know yourself”. Observing how the world around you reacts and responds to you tells you something very honest about yourself.
Art therapy, cranial sacral therapy, spiritual counseling and fellowship can also be tools to help with emotional balance and release when needed.
As you choose your path to healing. Take responsibility for it. Own it. Take counsel from others but in the end you choose what you want to do. Just make sure your decisions are not out of fear. A personal observation I have for patients with cancer and challenging chronic diseases is that “ self-integration” is one of the most important principals of healing. Cancer cells are your cells no longer cooperating with your body for the benefit of the whole organism. They are acting to benefit themselves at your bodies expense. The response to this is “love”. Embracing the your whole self in every way for who you are, good and and imperfect. You are perfect in your imperfection. Because your can realize your imperfections you have the moral freedom to make changes and constantly evolve. Life is a journey to be experienced. We can not ultimately decide the destination only choose the course we wish to set out on and how we will perform and experience this journey.
It is well known and well researched that the mind via the autonomic nervous system (our regulating network), can increase or decrease our immune functions, metabolic processes and cellular functions. The scientific field of psyconeuroimmunology has verified this over and over again. So it doesn’t matter if this is a spiritual or scientific journey for you. These ideas can help you either way. It is the attitude you adopt and your willingness to act that makes the difference.
So the rest is up to you and those you invite to join you on your quest. “May you choose well and prosper”. That is my wish for you ! Ultimately we must all must respect each others freedom because our freedom for self realization is what keeps us well. For me this is the most important and interesting part about Christianity. No matter how tempted Christ declared the most important part of our humanity is that we choose in freedom and not out of influence. So no matter your religious orientation this is a principle all can honor. As a physician it is my task to help you realize anything I can that will help you to heal your mind and body. Please accept all these comments in this light. It is your freedom to choose your healing.
Well after breathing which most of do all to shallowly and faintly. Food is the the first is the next essential ingredient of health and survival. What is your relationship to food ? Do you know where it comes from ? What it is ? How it is treated ? Do you care ? I hope so because for most of us our food is making us ill instead of healthy. The western food machine has perfected the techniques of a diet that helps us to “die” rather then to “nourish” us. With ingredients we can’t pronounce, salt, sugar and fat to addict us to poor food choices and processing techniques to preserve and alter food beyond the imagination. The fact is many of us are dis-connected from our food and where it comes from. Convenience and cost predominates our choices. It is up to each one of us to research this and decide for ourselves. There are many diets offered to help with cancer and chronic diseases. Most doctors have no real training about diet in medical school and do not consider diet a true part of medicine and healing. At this office we offer the “PH Miracle Diet” and workbooks with modifications as one choice. This is for those who are able to make significant changes for a few months which will require a large amount of food preparation and modification to what you are used to eating. It is based on the principle of alkaline mostly vegetarian foods. As a patient you need to read these materials and discuss it with your doctor or nutritionist as needed (We have the books and handouts in the office). It is a worthwhile endeavor for several months or longer if you are ready. The workbook helps simplify things but we recommend reading the whole book. We have found the principles helpful to support healing from cancer but we do not agree with everything in the book. If you are engaged with chemotherapy or have severe digestive problems you may not be able to tolerate this diet well. The foods are very healthy but healthy foods also require a heathy digestion. For information about general vegetarian options visit the website PCRM.COM. I realize that some people can not make drastic diet changes and we can counsel you on different approaches to diet.
Below are some of the most important food tips I can give you. They are “rules” or “Guidelines” that will improve your diet and nutrition a lot. It will move you towards the understanding of nourishment verses diet. These principles can potentially assist you to become healthier and are based on much scientific evidence and experience. Consider them well ! These rules are inspired by Michael Polland, myself and other sources. Michael Polland has written some great books including “In Defense of Food”, “The Omnivores Dilemma” and has been on the New York Times best sellers list. Research has suggested that changing the typical Western Diet most Americans eat today could reduce Heart disease by 80%, Type II diabetes 90% and Colon cancer 70% and many cancers over 50%.. That is a lot. The treatment of foods, growing techniques, additives and enhancers has changed our food. You have to decide if what nature intended or the food industry is the right path for you.. changes to our food have resulted in longer shelf life, food addictions and chronic diseases that profit the food and medical industry greatly. The loser is the eater. To blame others alone isn’t fair. If Americans decide they want different food and purchase good food; Then I believe the industry and sources of our food would change. At some point the economy needs to support human health over cooperate health. Human potential and strong communities must be seen as the most important commodity. There must be a way to put the two together. After all the our country is its people not an abstract entity. Making these choices is part of your change it is one more step towards self-empowerment. Don’t get me wrong I think it is important to enjoy good food that taste good. I believe in “soul food”. It is social and and wonderful to celebrate with good food. However, I do think that as your ideals and choices change, so will some of your tastes and ability to enjoy new things. You can also celebrate better health with clearer thinking and less brain fog, less mood swings, anxiety and depression leading to more energy and inner resources to do the things you set out to do. Once a week celebrate and eat some treats but then focus on improving your current eating habits. Be conscious of eating, say grace, eat slowly and feel grateful for the chance to eat good food.
There is a great body evidence that metabolic syndrome caused by obesity, too much bad fat and high sugar foods improve the environment for cancer growth. Especially get rid of sugar, snack foods and fried foods. Try to eat only free range animal products and in moderation.
My most important rules of avoidance ! :
1: Take time to enjoy eating, not too much, mostly plants and support local farmers and people who try to bring you quality food.
2: Don’t eat foods with ingredients a third grader can’t pronounce: There is no evidence that food additives improve nourishment. Who does it help to eat it ?
3: Avoid foods with sugar in the top three ingredients or with high fructose corn syrup. There is no evidence sugar helps cancer and chronic disease, there is that it can contribute towards it, so you decide. Learn about low glycemic foods and eat them.
4: Avoid foods with the words “lite”, “low-fat” or “non-fat”. America has gotten heavy on low fat foods. Often the calories are similar and more carbohydrates are in the food which increases weight and glycemic -load (more sugar) !
5: Avoid foods that pretend to be something they are not ! Fake butter, imitation flavors, artificial sweeteners and even mock meats from processed soy. They are more processed and not foods our bodies can experience in nature ! They have no proven value and some evidence suggests their not good for us or even related to cancer.
6: Mostly shop the periphery of the supermarket and stay out of the middle. Most processed foods are in the middle isles. This isn’t always true though so pay attention !
7: Eat foods that will eventually rot ! Real food is alive and eventually goes bad. Try to shop for fresh foods often. The fresher the better nutritional value. A little honey is the exception it lasts a long time naturally!
8: Get out of the super market whenever you can ! Join community supported agriculture (CSA’s), go to the farmers market and grow your own food ! Get snacks from these places. Think of snacks as fresh fruit, dried fruit, veggies, seeds, yoghurt, beans and nuts. It is always freshest ! It also supports a good cause that is healing the earth heal from large scale agriculture as well !
9: Buy biodynamic, organic, pesticide free and free range whenever you can. These have less exposure to hormones, cancer causing agents and free range animal products have healthier fats and sometimes nutrients. Hormone free can be deceiving it is not the same as organic. Also, some local organic products practice much higher standards then minimal standards practiced by large companies claiming to be organic.
10: Eat food that has been cooked by yourself as much as possible or health oriented people. Pre-prepared and restaurant foods usually cook with more fat, salt and sugar to make it taste better and stimulate cravings.
11: If it came from a plant eat it, if it was made at a plant, don’t ! Large scale foods are more processed in general and food quantity surpasses quality !
12: It probably is not good for you if it came through your car window. Sugar, fat salt is the brilliant plan of addiction from the fast food industry. It has contributed to our poor health and obesity. Do those french fries or pieces of bread go bad under your car seat ? Why not ???
13: Avoid foods in plastic. We know the materials in plastic are carcinogenic. Read about this yourself and avoid this as much as possible. Also, don’t microwave your food, it alters the protein structure of food. Can’t help !
Dr. J’s most important rules to choose good foods !
1: Eat more plants in all colors ! Eating fruits and vegetables of all colors provides the widest range of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals for health. Juicing is great but it can increase sugar without the fiber so discuss this plan with your health practitioner if long term. Cabbages and leafy greens are some of the best vegetables to eat !
2: The fresher the better ! The more biodynamic, organic or unsprayed, free range and hormone free the best ! The more you know where it comes from the better !
3: Treat meat as an occasional food ! It is true vegetarians tend to be healthier then meat eaters. But people eating meat three to four times a week are generally as healthy. Don’t eat large quantities ie above 3-4 ounces at a time. There is proverb “Eating what stands on one leg (plants), is better then eating on two legs (fowl), is better then what stands on four legs (pork, red meat). ** ( I understand the Weston Price diet challenges these ideas and focuses more on higher quantities of high quality protein. For people who work physically hard and burn large amount of calories per day this diet works in my opinion, but not for those of us sitting behind a desk with modest exercise).
4: Drink your vegetable water, bone broths, Soups, stews, lightly steamed (well washed veggies) with their water (full of nutrients). These are good dishes and easy to mix healthy grains, small amounts of meat, beans and vegetables.
5: Eat plants and animals that have been treated well. As said above. know where it food from, eat local, make a garden, support farmers markets and CSA’s that practice sustainable agriculture, bio-dynamics and organics, no spray foods and free range organic meats, eggs and dairy.
6: Eat cultured dairy moderately like yoghurt, kefir, etc. Eat fermented products like sauerkraut, kombucha and fermented vegetables. Look this up and learn more about these foods. They promote good bacteria in your gut and reduce inflammation which can help cancer and your immune system.
7: Eat wild foods and small wild fish when you can ! Weeds like purslane, lamb quarters, ferns, nettle and and wild greens have trace nutrients and are full of vitality. Wild fish are better then commercial fish. Small oily fish like sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies are good. Some wild caught salmon is good. Just eat fish modestly because of mercury concerns. Once or twice a week is ok. Avoid large fishes, canned fish and farm raised fish unless produced sustainably.
8: Favor the grains and Oils that are stone ground, unprocessed and cold pressed. Don’t eat white flour much. “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead” it is said. Olive, Walnut, avocado, sesame, un-refined coconut are some of the better oils. Avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (Dr. J has a handout on this). Whole grains have more nutritional content. Always eat grains in small 1/2-2/3 cup servings to keep the glycemic index down. Don’t just think of common grains...remember Quinoa, barley, millet, rye, wheat berries and a little brown rice. If you are interested in Rudolf Steiner's idea of eating the grain of the day which is connected to the days of the week let Dr. Johnson know ! This is sometimes used in anthroposophic clinics and is based on anthroposophic principles only.
9: Eat more of the spices and foods on the list provided in this handout and drink enough ! Some change is better then no change right ? Drink water, herbal tea’s several times a day. Drink water up to 6 glasses a day. Get good filtered water or well water and we have handouts for water purifiers. Discuss this with your health practitioner or people who know. Some good teas are green tea, chamomile, yarrow, birch leaves, rooibos and herbal mixes can be recommended to you.
10: Eat less, leave something on your plate and consider 9” plates for your meals ! Eat small amounts frequently ! Most of us eat more then we need. We are not active enough to need lots of food. Eat small amounts of what you enjoy and save a little for later ! stop eating before you are full !
11: Try to become intuitive about your eating. Trust your gut. What feels good and what doesn’t. Eat because you are hungry not because you are bored or craving ! When you eat fast there is no time for the signal from the gut to the brain to tell you that you are full ! Eat slower and you may find your not as hungry and your more satisfied. Also, chew your food, taste it and swallow small amounts. Enjoy more and eat less. Don’t watch T.V., eat in the car etc. Make eating social, special and meaningful. Eating is a grace and celebration. Give thanks, say a grace and celebrate life.
12: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince (princess) and dinner like a pauper. This supports your liver bio-rhythm and helps sleep. Your metabolism is better initiated when eating in the morning.
13: Eat soul food “treats” in moderation. Break the rules once in a while and never feel guilty or bad about yourself. Do what you can to get to know your body better and know what makes you feel well. Any advice I give is not better then your own experience.
There are now numerous studies showing the benefits to prevent cancer and improve health through intermittent fasting. If this interests you speak to someone at our office. To prevent and support chronic diseases and/cancer fasting techniques can be employed.
These general rules can only help you. Work with your health practitioner, Dr. Johnson or a knowledgable dietician to grow your knowledge and find the best diet for you. Every person is an individual and there is no one diet for everyone. If you are prepared and motivated, there are some juicing and other practices that have special benefits that require special training. Feel free to discuss these with Dr. Johnson or a knowledgable health care provider etc. Websites and resources to assist you are listed at the end of the handout.