Radical Dietary Change - September 20, 2008

My friend Kathie wrote a comment on the Dr. Lamm post and referred to a book by another doctor (David Servan-Schreiber) that supports the diet/exercise regimen for battling cancer. Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life describes some lifestyle changes that can be effective in keeping cancer in remission. I looked at the link and read some previews from the book both there and on Amazon. After only a few months of research on the general topic of cancer and the specific topic of bladder cancer, I have found that there are five options frequently found when searching the internet (or other areas) for adjunct or alternative therapies for cancer treatment.

1) Secret Cure Banned By Doctors - SEND MONEY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2) Special vitamin/pill/powder/elixir/liquid from Amazon Rain Forest/China/Tibet/Europe/etc. cures cancer!
3) Get your colonics here! Coffee/filtered water/flower petals/etc. Secret cancer wonder cure is hiding right up your ass!
4) Exercise more you lazy bastard!
5) Change your diet - Western diets, particularly American diets, are BAD BAD BAD!!!


Category 1 - SECRET BANNED CURES - This group is entirely populated by scumbags and lowlifes who prey on people's hopes and fears. They should all burn in hell. Trust me - if I found the secret cure for cancer, I would post it on this blog and everywhere else that I could think of FOR FREE. No cancer patient who discovered the "magic cure" would first think, "I have to keep this a secret, and then charge $19.99 for a poorly produced photocopy full of misspelled words (plus shipping and handling)!" Only the lowest of the low would employ this tactic. So don't even waste your time and money.

Category 2 - SPECIAL NEW DISCOVERIES - Even the most cynical of doctors (like Dr. X) will admit that SOME of these things might some day prove effective at battling cancer. In the meantime it's a guessing game which, if any, of these might help you out. Dr. Hopkins and Dr. X both advised that you can try any of these things, after assuring yourself that they won't hurt you. And certainly BELIEVING that the special cure COULD help will bring self-healing benefits, and that fact has been scientifically proved to everyone's satisfaction. So if it sounds good, you can afford it, and it won't poison you, go for it! My particular choice is PectaSol-C.

Category 3 - COLONICS - The theory here is that the large intestine is the source of the problem, and it needs exercise and cleaning. While there is some underlying evidence that such things might help, this addresses only the "tail end" of the system, pardon the pun! I wonder if this therapy addresses a symptom rather than a cause. If you are into that sort of thing - go for it. Such treatments are very popular in Europe and becoming more popular in the US, especially in the north of the country. I have no idea why. Certainly if these simple treatments (which can be as often as daily for a while) cured cancer, there's enough people doing them to prove it. So while they may help, there's probably more that can be done. I find the whole idea unappealing. But that's just me...

Category 4 - EXERCISE - It is indisputable that exercise improves everything. But like colonics, it can't be the ONLY thing that works. Plenty of healthy, in-shape people get cancer. So again there's probably more that can be done, and somewhere else to start.

Category 5 - DIET - This is the topic for the post. Back to the doctor and book that Kathie mentioned in her comment. Here's an excerpt from the book's introduction:
If cancer was transmitted essentially through genes, the cancer rate among adopted children would be the same as that among their biological—not their adoptive—parents. In Denmark, where a detailed genetic register traces each individual’s origins, researchers have found the biological parents of more than a thousand children adopted at birth. The researchers’ conclusion, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, forces us to changes all our assumptions about cancer. They found that the genes of biological parents who died of cancer before fifty had no influence on an adoptee’s risk of developing cancer. On the other hand, death from cancer before the age of fifty of an adoptive parent (who passes on habits but not genes) increased the rate of mortality from cancer fivefold among the adoptees. This study shows that lifestyle is fundamentally involved in vulnerability to cancer. All research on cancer concurs: Genetic factors contribute to at most 15 percent of mortalities from cancer. In short, there is no genetic fatality. We can all learn to protect ourselves.
This is a fascinating line of reasoning. Every human being has cancer pre-factors present in their body, and ONE IN THREE get some form of cancer in their lifetime. Some are deadly, others not. Yet two in three do not. Genetics has been assumed to be a big cancer precursor. If your parents got cancer, you are at higher risk. But you share more than genetics with your parents - you also share environment plus dietary and cultural habits. And plenty of evidence abounds that Europeans and Americans get cancer at a much higher rate than Asians. So race is presumed to be a factor. Yet diet is also a discriminator between these populations. The study mentioned above finds that adopted people got cancer at higher rates if their parents (to whom they were not related at all) died of cancer. Such a finding suggests that environmental factors (such as diet, exposure to toxins, pollutants, radiation, etc.) are stronger cancer precursors than genetics or race. I believe that we must consider diet may be the single biggest contributor to cancer triggers, and therefore to cancer avoidance. And this is exactly what Dr. Lamm was talking about!

You can purchase this book for less than $20 from Amazon by clicking THIS LINK. The Amazon review links indicate that it's good for self-attitude and general food guidelines, but sparse on specifics - like just how much of food X should be eaten per day or week. I went ahead and ordered it anyway. And I also ordered a second book,
Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential Foods to Help Prevent Cancer, by Richard Beliveau, which seemed to have more details and specifics. I found it to be easy to read and understand, beautifully illustrated, and quite helpful. One thing I do believe now, my typical diet was a slow, steady activation of the dormant cancer triggers that exist in every human being. And changing it radically will stop pressing the trigger, and may in turn activate some defense mechanisms. As always, I shall keep you posted. Remember, it all starts like the photo at the left, and it ends like the photo at the right. But BOTH of them can get cancer. I now view sugar as a poison, and it certainly affects the level of my willpower. Saying "No" is very easy, and it gets easier day by day!

Sure, all of us in the US have heard over and over again, ad nausem, "Diet and exercise! Diet and exercise! Diet and exercise! Diet and exercise!..." And all of us find it easier to eat what we like and do as we please (like chowing down on ice cream from the carton with a big spoon in front of the TV). There's no short term effects of poor diet and inactivity, and the long term effects create a feedback loop - the worse your diet and less you exercise, the easier it is to eat junk and do nothing. Taking myself as an example, there are few folks that pursued bad food and inactivity with the religious fervor that I did. It would take something really big to change my mind about this "I'll die fat but happy" attitude - say a deadly disease or something! Yet encouragement from Crystal, my RN health advisor, and Dr. Lamm, and others has helped fill in the details of what to change. What we are doing now is eating only things that were described in the Bible as "clean" and avoiding things described as "unclean." Though I am a Christian, I did not adopt this plan out of religious reasons. And we are certainly not keeping Kosher! In addition to that, we are avoiding sucrose (table sugar), HFCS high fructose corn syrup (super-sugar), and all artificial sweeteners including aspartame, saccharine, Splenda, xylitol, sorbitol, and other "-ol" sugars. The book suggests that, as far as your blood glucose is concerned, HFCS compares to table sugar like opium compares to poppies! Very nasty stuff indeed, and pervasive in the US food supply...

The list of things to avoid is pretty short and simple from a practical basis:

NO Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or artificial sweeteners
NO Pork
NO Shellfish
NO Processed flour (of any kind)
NO Processed foods (like hot dogs, cheese whiz, or ketchup)
NO Deep-Fat-Fried foods (chips, fries, corn dogs, etc.)
NO Chlorinated water

What's left? Sweeten with stevia (leaf extract), honey, real maple syrup (all in moderation) or nothing at all. Get organic or "natural" (no hormones, antibiotics, vegetarian diet) beef and poultry, organic vegetables (less important if the peel is not eaten, like citrus) and herbs, fish with fins and scales (no catfish, shark, eels). Whole grains, soaked or sprouted to activate enzymes and healthful bacteria. Lots and lots of fiber. Limit meats. Eat more fish. Avoiding chlorine avoids killing healthful bacteria and crippling natural enzymes in the digestive tract. There is a sound, scientific basis to avoid "unclean" foods. Pigs and shellfish are at the bottoms of their respective food chains, and while their systems clean most pollutants effectively away, the trace amounts are respectively higher than in other foods that are higher in the chain. So avoid them. Even some fish that have fins and scales are also bottom feeders (like tilapia) and should also be avoided. It was a big pain to figure out, but the food that we eat now per the rules above is delicious! Will it work? I think there's sufficient evidence to indicate it will help a lot, but 45+ years of bad eating habits cannot be overcome in a month or two. And it is a far more pleasant way to address the digestive tract than colonics, working from the input rather than the output side!

In a completely unrelated topics, I won't be updating the blog for the next 8-10 days while we are in Acapulco. Also, there was some unusual seismic activity in Northern Utah last evening. Experts are still baffled as to the source. Some mysteries may never be solved...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. I know I am guilty of some of the "bad" foods. It is very difficult to change old habbits.
Enjoy your vacation. Let me know how much fun you had!!


Anonymous said...

checking in, glad to see you keeping busy with some much needed alternate activities - keep me posted in coming weeks. Lee

Kathiesbirds said...

Steve, I am anxious to know if you found the books helpful or not. You had me LOL at the beginning of this post but I like the way you broke it all down and critiqued it. That diet sounds very interesting and I am glad you are following it. I, too, believe environment and diet have more to do with cancer rates than genetics. Diet and exercise are certainly something postive that we have the power to control. Even without cancer, eating right and exercising is what will keep us all out of the physician's office and the nursing home, so, I think I'll go take my walk now!

Steve Kelley said...

Hi Kathie,

I am 90% finished with the one you mentioned, and barely started on the other one. I think both will be helpful, but I will probably only recommend the second one. Detailed reviews will be coming in future posts.