Some of the scariest words we can hear are, "You have cancer." When we or a loved one receive these words, we immediately begin looking for the hope and the help in this situation. At home, the big question often becomes, "What should I eat now that I've been diagnosed with cancer?" While I can't promise a miracle cure, I'm happy to share with you a diet that will put you in the best position to halt or possibly reverse this condition. If your diet has been drastically different than the one I'm suggesting, I don't want you to waste any time in blaming yourself for getting cancer. Sometimes people feel it's their fault. But cancer is complicated. It's something that we as a medical community don't completely have a handle on. We understand some of the contributing factors, but why some individuals develop cancer despite a healthy diet and others are cancer free while smoking, drinking, and eating with abandon are questions we can't yet answer. However, as Maya Angelou famously said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." I can share with you a better way to eat. Our body was designed with a miraculous ability to repair itself. As we stop doing things that harm our body and start doing things that support its natural healing ability, our body will respond and rally to fight against cancer.
When a patient with cancer comes to me, in addition to whatever other medical intervention might be appropriate, I immediately recommend certain foods. First, I ask my patients to eat only plant-based, whole foods. That means that the majority of their grocery shopping will happen in the produce section, with a trip over to the bulk aisles for legumes and whole grains, and a visit to the freezer section to stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables. Avoiding meat, eggs, all dairy foods, added oils, and processed foods gives my patients the best chance to beat cancer. Second, I ask my patients to stop using all forms of free oils. Oil is not a whole food, but rather a concentrated source of calories stripped from the fiber and other nutrients naturally found in the plant. Third, I recommend that my patients concentrate on low-fat plant foods. Higher fat foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds should be used very sparingly and coconut not at all, due to the extreme amount of saturated fat coconut contains. I explain to my patients that fat appears to feed some kinds of cancer and that all fats — even the fats in whole plant foods — have some amount of saturated fat. Through raising cholesterol levels, saturated fat contributes to arterial plaque which restricts blood flow. For healing to take place, we want the blood flowing freely, delivering nutrition to the cells and removing waste and toxins.
Neal Barnard, MD, has co-written an easy-to-read book which is now available online. It briefly covers the scientific evidence for 'why' plants are better than animal products for fighting cancer as it explains the 'how to' of adopting a disease-fighting diet. "The Cancer Survivor's Guide: Foods That Help You Fight Back!" is free and takes us step-by-step through choosing which foods to eat, with charts to fill in and checklists to help us stay on track as we make the switch. The book also offers low-fat, plant-based recipes and helps in developing weekly menus. Because the book is based on experience working with patients, Dr. Barnard can offer suggestions that move us beyond a vague resolve to "eat better" to actually implementing the needed changes.
I also recommend my video, ". Men may be tempted to think that this presentation isn't for them, but that wouldn't be true. These two topics fit together naturally because estrogen is a growth hormone produced in both the male and female body, although women obviously make it in greater quantities. Estrogen appears to play a role in the development of many cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. Both men and women today often have higher than normal levels of estrogen circulating through their system due to the typical Western diet of meat, eggs, dairy products, and processed foods. My video explains how this happens and how we can stop over-estrogenization and its harmful effects. In the video, I also outline some other lifestyle factors that can help us in our battle against cancer.
Finally, I welcome you to explore this website and its sister site, the online community at Starch-Smart.com. Scientific research is constantly uncovering more information on how plants protect our health and how animal-based foods ultimately harm it. This site offers articles on many of the practical insights physicians and other researchers have gained from studying the effect of food on cancer cells and offers resources for switching to a life powered by plants. At Starch-Smart.com, we are constantly updating our library of scientific studies in order to provide public access to the wealth of information which supports a plant-based lifestyle. Please browse through both these sites to learn all you can about the healing power of a low-fat, whole-food plant-based diet, free from added oil.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, I hope that you have found this article to be an encouragement. As a physician, I have been in awe of the marvelous ability of the body to heal itself once we learn to take care of it properly. While cancer is a scary diagnosis, I have seen how eating whole plant foods can help to extend life and sometimes even help reverse the disease process. There is hope. If you like what you have read here, and you feel that a consultation with me would benefit you, I do offer health-style coaching by phone as an adjunct and support to the care you are receiving from your primary care physician and your oncologist. For more information on my health-style coaching service, please call my office 512-295-7877.
Preview the "Cancer Prevention & Women's Health" Trailer
Survive and Thrive: Which common (but seemingly unrelated) factors link many health problems together, including cancer and other women's health issues? Is cancer preventable? This DVD shows you which disease risks are worsened by excess estrogen, which you create in your body by choices in foods and beverages. Banish multiple health problems with the Starch-Smart® System.