Thursday, December 6, 2012

Food as medicine!

Yesterday was chemo #7, and all is going well.

Although the following makes for a long posting, we want to share some of the dietary information the MD at Osher Center gave to Emalia for making her “garden” as inhospitable as possible for cancer cells. Our hope is that everyone can benefit from these tips!

Eat organic, plant-based, antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory whole foods (better than juiced or powdered).  Eat organic not just to avoid herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers but because a plant grown outdoors organically needs to fight to protect itself from other plants, birds, and insects, and the sunshine and protect itself by making chemicals.  (Organic food is much more potent than conventional food.)

Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables—more vegetables than fruits—daily.
The vegetables I really like are the cruciferous vegetables.(broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts: cabbage, kale, collard greens, arugula, bok choy.)  “All of these contain a chemical called indole 3 carbinol, which is so potent at reducing the risk of cancer that we’re thinking of looking at it as chemotherapy.”

Lettuce and spinach rank low among his preferences because lettuce is basically water, and spinach takes calcium out of the body (calcium protects us from colon cancer).

Fruits should be heavily pigmented. Frozen berries ok--they only lose 10% of their nutritional value—but berries really should be organic because their puffers and grooves soak up toxins like crazy.

If grapes, go red with seeds and skins. If wine, red is better than white.

Brown rice is better than white rice, but if you like white rice, jasmine and basmati are good. Millet and quinoa are also very good grains.

Bread should be whole grain (often in the refrigerator section), not whole wheat. Whole wheat is just heavily processed unbleached.

Avoid sugar.  Ok to have sugar in the nutrition facts box but not in the ingredients list. 

You don’t have to fear fruits because of their sugar if you’re eating the whole fruit.

Avoid sugary drinks. If you eat an orange, the fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. When you squeeze the sugar away from the fiber, it’s like drinking Coca Cola. The body gets that load of sugar and releases insulin and insulin-like growth factor, both of which promote inflammation and cause cancer cells to divide.

Avoid foods with a high glycemic index. Most box and bulk cereals are all sugar. Unsweetened muesli is fine.

Avoid dairy—fat is not the problem—the sugars and the protein create a chronic stimulation to our immune system in our gut which is not good. Also creates mucus.

And, if milk is not organic, the cows get bovine growth factor/hormone, which we ingest. It becomes insulin-like growth factor, which promotes inflammation and causes cancer cells to divide.

No red meat. A little lamb maybe once in awhile, but beef, pork, no, and the recommendation is to avoid processed meats. If people bbq meat, it creates heterocyclic amines; there’s a direct correlation between colon cancer and red meat consumption.

Eat deep cold water fish for omega 3 fatty acids. (Salmon, black cod, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines are all very rich in omega 3s.)

Poultry and eggs should be organic.  (Eggs used to have an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 2:1; now it’s 20:1 because of what we feed chickens.) Eat organic omega 3 eggs so that they’re not pro-inflammatory.

Drink green tea. After the cruciferous vegetables, green tea is very powerful (the 2nd most potent food). Don’t take green tea extract capsules because on an empty stomach, they cause liver damage. (Only white and green teas have the ECGC.)

All mushrooms must be cooked. Slicing white buttons and throwing them in a salad is a no: they have a cancer-causing compound that’s only partially inactivated with eating. White mushrooms, their brown cousins, criminae and their giant cousins (Portobello) all need to be cooked.  Better mushrooms for immune enhancement are: shitake, maitake, and enoki.

Whole soy is fine (soybeans, soy milk, tofu, tempe, and miso). Not soy cheese or soy turkey or soy hot dogs because those are just heavily processed foods.

Turmeric generally stays within the gastrointestinal tract, and that’s why it’s good for colon cancer. However, if you need it to be absorbed systemically black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric into the system a thousand fold. (It also increases the absorption of everything else (i.e., medication) into the system.)

GMO foods. “At first I didn’t think it was a big deal, but now I’m getting a little more concerned.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I've heard of some of this, but not all. I especially like how he describes the benefits of eating organic fruits and vegetables. I've been trying to convince my stubborn brother of this for a long time -- and the scientist in him will identify with eating "the fittest" plants. I'm sharing with my entire family as we definitely have cancer in our midst and can benefit from these tips.
    Em -- constantly sending you love and strength! Wishing the entire Brown ohana much holiday love.
    Laura (Daily) Strickland