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Nutrition, Food & Alternative Treatments

The feeling of total and utter helplessness when you are told that you have a disease for which there is no cure is overwhelming.  However, the survival instinct in all of us is so strong that you look for options which may offer some glimmer of hope which may be outside of normal medical practice.  The one recurring theme in the treatment and fight against cancer is the body's own immune system.  Therefore, it made sense that good nutrition, herbal and vitamin supplements and exercise could only strengthen the immune system. 

Research indicates that foods that are too rich and heavy in fats and sugars;  meat tainted by hormones and antibiotics; and vegetables and fruits saturated with pesticides and fungicides all contribute to cell proliferation and growth.

However, too much food is also a major contributor.  In fact, several cancers such as renal cell are associated with obesity.  Moderation is really a key word in healthy eating, of that there is no doubt.  The body is a finely tuned machine made up of a well defined mix of chemicals that need to be kept in balance.  If the balance is tipped then, like any machine, it will start to malfunction and not perform to its optimum performance level.  And, like a machine, the more use and the older it gets, the body requires different levels and types of “additives” to keep it healthy and running.

This analogy explains, for example, why a growing child needs high levels of protein in their diet and but for a fully grown adult, excessive levels could become harmful.  The reason:  protein acts like a fertilizer within the body, helping the young body to grow and become strong.  As we get older, we no longer require the same levels of protein for cell generation and growth as we did when we were younger.  If our diet is too high in protein it is possible that the “fertilizer” attributes of the proteins will start to look for other things within our body to grow, such as tumors.

High levels of sugar and iron can also help to “grow” things in the adult body and therefore should also be kept to a minimum.  Other culprits that can have adverse affects on a healthy body are starches - the worst offenders are white.  Included in these are potatoes, white rice and white (bleached) flour.   These starches immediately turn into sugar when digested and for people who have diabetes or who suffer with high triglyceride levels, they can be deadly.

Many who turn to homeopathic medicine and other nutrition based alternative treatments may either become pure vegetarians or at the very least, cut out all red meat from their diet.  Some may continue to eat chicken an occasional tenderloin of pork (organically fed of course with no antibiotics or growth hormones), fish and a wealth of vegetables.  Included in the vegetable category should be lots and lots of beans – navy beans, black beans, kidney beans, split pea, lentils and dahl – all excellent sources of “healthy” proteins that, unlike protein derived from meat and dairy, are easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

Recent cancer studies in Germany have produced significant data that has shown that diets which include high intakes of tomatoes are having positive results in the prevention of prostate cancer.  This being the case, a similar rationale could be applied that it certainly could do no harm in preventing, or perhaps even in stemming, other cancers. 

Traditional dairy foods should be replaced with soy based products which are widely available and make very good substitutes.  Whole wheat bread (no sugar added), oatmeal and bran flakes should replace sugar laden cereals and fresh fruit to start the day.  And, let us not forget that wonderful bright green nectar of the soil – freshly juiced wheat grass. 

Soups - especially of the bean variety or minestrone laden with tomatoes and fresh vegetables - make an excellent lunch.

Dinners can still be tasty and interesting for healthy eating does not have to be tasteless and boring  Chicken casseroles with lots of wonderful vegetables;  stir fries with shrimp, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage and peppers;  organic angel hair pasta covered with a spicy Mediterranean sauce;  flaky white fish with a parsley white sauce; and aromatic vegetable curries that will tempt the most selective of palates. are a few of the dishes that can be easily prepared yet provide the right balance of nutrition to help keep the immune system strong to help fight the cancer. 

Substituting flax seed oil for butter and soy milk for regular milk to make a basic white sauce is an excellent alternative to the traditional roux.  Olive oil should figure strongly for sautéing and frying – where once upon a time butter was used.  To make mouth-watering muffins, I add fresh apple sauce, flax seeds, and dried fruits to organic unbleached flour.  You can use eggs when baking and a small amount of butter – but then that is all part of the “in moderation” mantra.   

Vitamin supplements should also become an important part of the daily regimen.  These include a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, flax seed oil, vitamin C, selenium, Vitamin E, Fish Oil and Calcium,/Magnesium/Zinc.

Green tea is also receiving a lot of positive reaction from those who have adopted the nutritional approach to fighting the disease - completely eliminating black tea and coffee from their diets.   There are many kinds from which to select, but one which many cancer patients include in their dietary regimen contains Echinacea - a herbal supplement recognized for boosting the immune system.   If you are a person who historically took sugar in your tea, an alternative is to add a cinnamon stick which many herbalists claim helps to lower blood glucose. And, let us not forget one of the most important things of all -- water, lots and lots of water.  This will ensure that the toxins created in the body are constantly and easily flushed out as well as keeping the kidneys healthy and strong.  This is particularly important for those on chemotherapy drugs where toxic build-up can become quite serious and the body quickly dehydrated.

There are several tinctures and herbs which can be made up into teas from time to time to help in the battle.  One example is the root of the astragalus plant which is a common component of traditional Chinese herbal formulas.   It is still used today in China for patients who are on chemotherapy to help stimulate the immune system.

The world of natural herbal treatments and options is enormous and is starting to gain the attention of doctors everywhere.  No longer are these natural remedies being considered “quackery” and “out there” but are being viewed as viable contributors to the fight against a number of diseases as well as in the prevention of others, working side by side with more accepted drug therapies.

To learn more about nutrition and alternative treatment options, you may wish to visit the following sites that can provide additional information to help you to formulate your own approach to what may be best for you.


  • http://www.aicr.org/index.lasso
    American Institute for Cancer Research - "
    Most cancers can be prevented. And reducing cancer risk may be easier than you imagine. Here at AICR you'll find news, research updates, recipes, free publications and tips for good health – information to help you live a healthier, cancer-free life."


  • http://www.garynull.com/
    Gary Null, nationally syndicated talk show host & producer of PBS specials, is a consumer advocate, investigative reporter, NY Times best-selling author and an award-winning documentary filmmaker.  Gary believes that, "You must be empowered before you can be whole," and he empowers all who will listen with life-changing facts that promote wellness. He has conducted over a hundred major investigations and has produced numerous documentaries in which he encourages his viewers to take charge of their lives and health.  Among his dozens of videos are titles like "The Pain, Profit and Politics of AIDS," "Chronic Fatigue," "Diet for a Lifetime, and "Cancer, A Natural Approach."


  • http://www.4nutrition.com/
    Dr. Patrick Quillin has served since 1990 as the Director of Nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America (800-577-1255). His professional experience includes work as an internationally respected author, lecturer, professor, and consultant in the field of nutrition. His 15 books have sold OVER 1 MILLION copies and include the best sellers BEATING CANCER WITH NUTRITION and HEALING NUTRIENTS. 

  • http://www.drweilselfhealing.com/
    Andrew Weil MD, is a Harvard Medical School graduate who also holds an AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University. He is a clinical professor of internal medicine as well as the founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona's Health Sciences Center in Tucson, where he is training a new generation of physicians.Dr. Weil is an internationally recognized expert on medicinal herbs, mind-body interactions, and integrative medicine. A frequent guest on Larry King Live and Oprah, he has also hosted his own PBS-television specials. In addition, Dr. Weil is the author of eight books including the national bestsellers Spontaneous Healing, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, and Eating Well for Optimum Health.

  • http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/
    The Annie Appleseed Project acts to inform, educate, advocate and raise awareness for people with cancer, family and friends interested in, or using CAM. Many contributors of the reports here are patients. Patient activity has pushed the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), NCI (National Cancer Institute) and other organizations to focus on the area of CAM therapies. Latest studies show that almost 80% of cancer patients use some form of CAM.

  • http://www.dianadyermsrd.com/
    Diana Dyer received her B.S. degree in Biology from Purdue University.  Her M.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetic Internship were completed at The University of Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin Hospitals, respectively.  In between cancer diagnoses, she has spent her 20-year career as a dietitian working in hospitals around the Midwest, specializing in nutritional care for the critically ill patient.
    She is a frequently requested speaker, and is the author of "A Dietitian's Cancer Story: Information & Inspiration for Recovery & Healing from a 3-time Cancer Survivor,"©2000.
  • http://healthy.net/asp/templates/news.asp?Id=5508 
    More than 70 percent of adult cancer patients in western Washington use alternative therapies and almost all report substantial improvements in well-being as a result of using alternative medicine, according to a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center survey. 
    The results of this survey - the first population-based study of its kind to look at predictors, motivators and costs of different types of alternative-medicine use in adults with cancer - appear today in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Research on Paradigm, Practice and Policy. 
    Ruth E. Patterson, Ph.D., R.D., and colleagues in Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division led the study, which was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and funds from Fred Hutchinson. Researchers at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore., also consulted on the project. 
    or go to http://www.angelsofhope.net/othernews.html to read entire article

The above links are only a sampling of the information available on nutrition and cancer.  We hope they help to put you on the right road to a healthier body and strong immune system that will enable your body to fight the disease and stem the tide.

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