This Article by Andrew Katelaris was first Published by Radic Al Conscious. Given the complexity of the topic and the multiplicity of opinions on the subject, it is likely these will not be the last words written on the subject of diet and cancer. However, what I will attempt to do is briefly describe the major schools of thought, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Firstly, amongst knowledgeable people there is consensus that the quality of the diet is primary in the prevention of the cancer diseases and critical in their management. The Gerson, Wigmore and Budwig schools of thought all have merit. Recent developments in the understanding of human biochemistry will allow a more rational approach, tailored to individual patient needs. Cancer is a heterogeneous group of diseases having in common loss of differentiation from normal tissue and uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer results from the imbalance between oxidative stress damaging the cellular DNA and protective and reparative mechanisms which counter this.
Vibrant good health is dependent on a healthy mental attitude, fresh air and mindful breathing, adequate intake of pure water and a regular supply of vine and tree ripened fruits, berries and vegetables, supplemented with nutritional herbs, spices and judiciously selected supplements. Navigating through a maze of junk food, electromagnetic fog and a soup of toxic chemical can place extreme burden on a person's physiology. However, with careful choices the body's inherent defense mechanisms can ensure correct functioning.
Second only to oxygen in immediate importance to survival, this key nutrient is often ignored. Caffeinated beverages and sweetened processed fruit juice drinks are no substitute for pure water. Municipal supplies are laced with chlorine and fluorine, the latter sourced as a waste product from fertilizer manufacture. PCBs in plastic bottles are also detrimental. Water may be harvested, filtered or purchased (Pureau 10 litre cask with PCB free plastic is good quality and relatively inexpensive). Extreme practitioners insist on many liters daily but between 1 and 3 liters daily, depending on body size and environment, should be adequate. Drink water even if you don’t feel too thirsty, as chronic dehydration renders us less sensitive to proper signaling.
The Alkaline Diet
Aims to improve health by eating so-called alkaline foods and avoiding acidic ones, to restore the body's pH balance and restore health. This approach has produced some good results because their practices are correct, even though the explanations are erroneous. The acid/alkaline balance, the pH of the body, is closely controlled by breathing and kidney function to keep the pH very close to neutral and no matter how poor the diet is the pH will not be altered, until the terminal phase of illness. Therefore, the pH altering effect of bicarbonate is rapidly neutralized by the body. Instead of seeing foods as being acidic or alkaline they should be seen as pro-oxidant or antioxidant. As it turns out all the "alkaline" foods are highly antioxidant, while the highly processed "acidic" foods cause oxidative stress. Acidic fruits like lemons and limes do not hinder but help healing because they are potent antioxidants.
Promotes body healing by flooding the system with vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich juices to assist in restoring the immune system and repair mechanisms. The Wigmore school uses wheat grass for the same purpose. In advanced disease up to 200ml of wheat grass juice daily can be taken. The wheat grass should be harvested at peak tenderness, about 10-15cm high, as the vitamin and enzyme content is at maximum. The Gerson and Wigmore methods can be beneficially combined. Fasting, especially brief fasts followed by natural raw food can be a powerful healing modality. Prolonged fasts may benefit some, but excessive starvation weakens the immune function. The ketogenic diet may control intractable epilepsy but its role in cancer treatment is not established. Some people have experienced good results from a ketogenic diet, but this is more likely due to the elimination of harmful foods from the diet, rather than starving the cancer. Eliminating processed sugar is essential, as excess sugar sticks to cells (glycosolation) casing oxidative stress and tissue aging. However, the brain can only metabolize glucose and if none is available it will be produced in the body. It is simply not possible to starve a tumour, but one must nourish the body to achieve ideal immune function, while modestly restricting calories. Those who avoid moderate ingestion of carrot and other juices for fear of the sugar content are doing themselves a disservice.
The Budwig Diet
Concentrates on omega 3. There are two essential fatty acids. Being essential means they cannot be made in the body but must be supplied in the diet. The essential fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6. Put simply omega 6 is used to make chemical signals which have a pro-inflammatory action. This is necessary to ward off pathogens and assist wound healing. Omega 3 produces chemical messengers which damp down inflammation. When the intake of omega 3 and 6 is about 1:3 the system is in balance, with just enough inflammation, but appropriately damped. With omega 3 deficiency the body is in a state of chronic inflammation, with tissue damage, including damage to the DNA. Omega 3 can be modified in the body to form DHA and EPA, the form of omega 3 found in cold water fish.
A healthy human can modify the plant form of omega 3 called ALA, as long as they have the necessary B group vitamins and mineral co-factors and avoid excess saturated fats. Hulled hemp seed is an ideal way to obtain omega 3 and the co-factors. Green smoothies are a convenient way to ingest hemp seed. Combining fruits and berries, hemp seed and a few green leaves in a blender makes an ideal meal substitute. Hulled hemp seed can also be added to almost any meal with benefit. They should not be cooked. Thirty to fifty grams a day is adequate.
Flax oil has the highest ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. In cases where the omega 3/6 balance is very disturbed the addition of a quality flax seed oil will help lift it towards normal. Most flax seed oils on the market are seriously substandard. Stoney Creek Oils produce a quality product. Flax seed oil can be added to salads and soups, combined with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Garlic can provide the sulfur containing amino acids which help utilize the omega 3 and should be included in the diet.
The contamination of the oceans from plastics, mercury and radiation continues unchecked. At current trends the marine ecosystem will collapse within our lifetimes. At present, carefully selected seafood can still be safely and beneficially included in the diet, for the time being. Fish oil is a rendered product of questionable health benefit. Krill oil avoids most of the problems with fish oil. Red meat is a controversial topic. There is no doubt that cattle force fed grain in feedlots produce a very unhealthy meat. However, wild game and to a lesser extent naturally grown grass fed meat can have as much omega 3 as seafood and be a healthy component of the diet, in moderation, if desired. Vegetable soup is easy to prepare and generally highly antioxidant.
Herbs and spices are beneficial, with proven action against cancer. Tumeric, ginger, garlic, chilli and many others are beneficial. Supplements are a complex topic. Just because tumeric is a beneficial spice does not mean the capsules sold in the pharmacy have retained their activity. The same goes for many supplements. Resveretrol from grape skins is a super nutrient but the powder in capsules may have lost its activity unless preserved by careful handling. It can be difficult to know which supplement has been prepared so as to preserve activity, so having things in their natural form is often best. Juice Plus is a fruit and vegetable concentrate that has been laboratory tested and proven to retain active phytonutrients. It is available via distributors.
The structure of the diet is an individual affair and can vary with different seasons and stages of a person's health. A certain amount of experimentation is necessary. One suggestion would be a hemp seed green smoothie for breakfast, vegetable juices and herb teas during the day with a raw salad, followed by a cooked meal if desired in the evening. Being overweight is detrimental to healing so a gradual but progressive weight loss by elimination of all processed food is necessary.
Cancer is a word, not a sentence. A few closing suggestions are in order. Lemons and limes are an ideal start to the day, squeezed into a glass of water. A mixed vegetable salad in season is an ideal meal in itself and an excellent first course to a larger meal. Eating an adequate amount of raw food before a cooked meal aids digestion significantly. Charts of ORAC (oxygen radical absorbency capacity) give an indication of the antioxidant value of the food and are a useful planning aid. Such charts are available on the internet. Bear in mind this data is indicative only, because the antioxidant effect of a food depends not only on the type of food, but its quality and state of ripeness and preservation.
Don't be intimidated by the fear mongering and negativity used by allopathic practitioners to frighten people into toxic and dangerous therapies. There is growing evidence that X-Ray and chemotherapy treatments can induce the formation of resistant cancer stem cells. Thus, while most patients will see an initial response to allopathic treatment, this treatment actually drives the cancer into generating resistant cells that produce a relapse, with metastases that become resistant to the treatments used.
In the event of receiving a cancer diagnosis the first decision to be made is whether one will take responsibility for one's own health or abrogate that responsibility and allow the pharmaceutical industry to direct treatment.. It can be a daunting prospect to untie oneself from the umbilical cord of hospital based treatments and seek healing by natural methods. This decision can be made more complicated by the multiplicity of programs and often conflicting advice on offer. There are certain cases where surgery should be considered as a first option. A bleeding bowel cancer is best excised as soon as practical, in my opinion, as this will stabilize the situation without compromising the immune system and its natural healing capacity. However, one thing appears certain. Both diet and cannabis based treatments will be more effective as a first line of action. Too often, patients will turn to these methods after their third or fourth relapse, when the chances of success are much reduced.
The body requires a certain amount of activity, so be as active as your condition will allow. Yoga practices of various forms can assist. The CBD and THC have a synergistic effect against cancer and the CBD moderates the psychotropic effect of THC, allowing higher, more effective doses to be used. Some are advocating juicing cannabis, but this requires growing capacity beyond most patients.