Beyond “As Before”

One of Mindy's healing soups -- yum!

When Tad was discharged from the hospital after his cancer diagnosis, he was given a form that spelled out the medical system’s dietary recommendations thusly: “as before.” How can this be, when there is so much information available about foods and supplements that have anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, pro-immunity effects — foods that have been studied using standard research methodology, the reports readily available for anyone to read? Why aren’t health-promoting foods enthusiastically recommended to people who are ill?

I got busy doing research on anti-cancer nutrition immediately, of course, and right away upped Tad’s intake of garlic, ginger, green tea, and turmeric (the Indian spice that makes curry powder yellow) — four known cancer fighters. I also began researching  “phytonutrients” that had proven effect against tumors, particularly those of the colon. (A phytonutrient is a compound found in plants that has therapeutic powers; also sometimes called a phytochemical.)

My current list of most effective foods for cancer prevention and healing includes: Avocados, berries (especially raspberries and blueberries), carrots, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.), flax seed and flax oil, garlic, ginger, green tea, herbs like rosemary and cilantro, exotic mushrooms (especially shiitake, maitake, and reishi), and sea vegetables (often called seaweeds).

We’re also eating lots of dark green leafy things, along with whole grains, vegetables of all kinds, lots of different spices. Protein comes from legumes (lots of lentils), soy foods like tofu and tempeh, yogurt and kefir (the healthy flora they provide are great for the gut), eggs, plus fresh fish and/or poultry in small amounts a few times a week. All super-fresh and organic as much as possible, so Tad’s liver is spared the effort of detoxing pesticide residues.

We are juicing at least a few days a week and Tad and I both enjoy our carrot/beet/celery/apple/ginger tonic, with green powder added. The latter provides chlorophyll, which is good for blood building. Coconuts have a new level of respect in our kitchen, since now we know that the water of young coconuts is an amazing food for keeping electrolytes in balance and otherwise tending to the blood. For a look at some of the research on this, look HERE.

Funny thing is, this is pretty much how we have always eaten. What is different is what Tad isn’t eating. White flour products and desserts are off the list, except for a bit of Italian-style semolina pasta a few times a month. Alcohol, formerly a daily habit, is only occasional now. If we are with friends and there is a good wine or champagne in the offing, he will drink a few sips. High-fat foods like most cheeses and deep-fried stuff are out of the picture, too. When in healing mode, the liver needs less to do, and fat metabolism and detox use up too much of its energy.

Empty-calorie foods are a no-no. Tad was fond of chowing down on tortilla chips and salsa, now no more of that. Salsa is fine, but it’s mixed with brown rice and vegetables these days, or spooned onto scrambled eggs. To support Tad’s healing, all calories need to be dense with high-quality nutritive power. And there need to plenty of them. Tumors are like little aliens in the body, stealing calories and nutrients from the blood for their own use/growth. We discourage that by eating anti-angiogenic foods like blueberries and garlic and green tea.

So there you have it, a brief overview of Tad’s dietary regimen. I’ll write much more about it all in the weeks and months to come, and those writings will always be categorized as “Anti-Cancer Nutrition” under Mindy Posts. If you want to read other posts on the topic, click on that part of the category menu on the home page.

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