April 24, 2012 § 4 Comments
One of the most amusing things people ask me when I say I’m a vegetarian, (or more accurately nowadays, a non-dairy eating pescetarian) is: “What in the world do you eat?” or “Don’t you feel deprived of everything delicious?” Even though I’m technically much more restricted in what I able to eat post-diagnosis, I find the idea of vegetarians as deprived as ludicrous. When I turned to a vegetarian diet at the age of sixteen, I found the more I learnt about whole vegetarian foods, I more I grew into a diet more abundant with nutrients than I had been exposed to when I ate meat. The more I read about nutrition and all the healthy, vitamin-rich things I could eat as part of my diet, the healthier, more alive, and more creative I felt with my meals. Even with my now anti-cancer dietary “restrictions”, I try to focus on all the things I can eat and rarely feel deprived. Looking at what so many people of the West have been accustomed to piling on their plates – cheese, white potatoes, processed meat and breads, all washed down with milk and followed by ice-cream and cake – I can only think to myself ironically: “what deprivation!”
But it begs the question still, “Nancy, really, what in the world do you eat?” In yesterday’s post I exposed all the crimes that white foods commit to our bodies and alluded to the power of the “Rainbow Warriors” or that spectrum of foods to include in a healthy, cancer preventative diet. Since it would take a book, or several posts, to go into all the good foods out there, I’ll do this chronologically starting with the first meal of the day complemented with the most powerful colour on the spectrum of disease preventing foods – green. Keep in mind that what I’m eating now is specifically for me – a cancer-active patient – and not necessarily tailored for those who want to prevent cancer. Nonetheless, some of the same green goodness contained in this morning ritual applies to all constitutions.
I begin every morning with a cup of pure, hot filtered water. Reverse osmosis water is the best, alkalinizing the body, as well as gently waking up and warming the digestive tract. It may sound dull as a starter, but pure water does wonders for the lymph system, the largest cleaning system in the body. It oxygenates and revitalizes. A once devout consumer of a morning espresso, after just a week of beginning the day with hot water, the thought of pouring black, vitamin depleting caffeinated espresso down my throat has started to sound disgusting. I just imagine all my B vitamins washing away with that cappuccino, and the coffee ritual quickly lost its magnetism.
I chase the cup of hot water with another infused with herbs prescribed to me by my homeopath. Containing burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, and turkey rhubarb, this mixture, in addition historically treating a number of ailments, is composed a quartet of elements that all have anti-cancer benefits. From the view of Chinese medicine, cancer is often a disease originating from a weak liver and stomach, so the third appertif on my morning menu is a mixture of Chinese herbs and mushroom fungus given to me by my acupuncturist. Whatever this woody mixture contains – likely things I can’t pronounce – it’s helping to heal those vital organs.
The Main Course
The most delicious part of the meal is by far the main course – my breakfast smoothie – and the thought of it gets me out of bed in the morning. Other smoothies simply pale in comparison, so I’ve named it “The Bionic Smoothie”. How I feel after drinking it has me wondering whether a Wonder Woman cape in my wardrobe might now be in order. A few moments after I’ve finished, I sense my cells waking up and buzzing with vitality.
Making the smoothie begins by blending a proven cancer-fighting mixture discovered by Dr. Joanna Budwig, one of Germany’s top biochemists as well one of the top cancer researchers in Europe. After years of experimentation and research, she found that when she combined flaxseed oil, with its powerful healing nature of essential electron rich unsaturated fats, and quark or cottage cheese, which is rich in sulfur protein, the chemical reaction produced makes the oil water soluble and easily absorbed into the cell membrane.
Blending the six tablespoons of cottage cheese and the two tablespoons of flaxseed oil together alone in a hand-held blender, I then add to this a bit flaxseed, ideally freshly ground. Flaxseed, when digested, helps regulate endocrine function and balance the ration of progesterone and oestrogen during the menstrual cycle. Since an overload of oestrogen in the body leads to cancer, especially breast cancer, it’s clear why flaxseed taken regularly is a winner.
(The cottage cheese in this mixture is the only dairy I consume – but its purpose is specific to healing cancer. In fact Dr. Budwig in her full anti-cancer diet plan does not recommended cancer patients consume any dairy other than the six tablespoons of cottage cheese blended with two tablespoons of flaxseed oil).
Next, I pile on wheatgrass, chlorella, and spirulina powders. All of those green babies are wonder foods with more benefits for the body than I can name. Wheatgrass increases red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris and detoxifies the whole system. It stimulates metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. Restoring alkaline in the body, the enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect the body from carcinogens. It strengthens cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants. Finally of note, wheatgrass fights tumours and neutralizes toxins. We all could do with a little more wheatgrass.
Chlorella and spirulina are both micro-occurring algae that contain a mountain of benefits. Chlorella contains all the essential B vitamins. It stimulates the immune system, increases white blood cell levels, reduces high blood pressure, relieves PMS and helps prevent cancer. Spirulina protects the kidneys and the liver, treats depression and helps with mineral deficiencies.
For flavour and fluidity I add:
Unsweetened Almond Milk: This “milk alternative” contains more vitamins and minerals than any other. With 30 percent of the recommended calcium intake, 25 percent of the recommended dose of Vitamin D, 50 percent of the recommended intake of Vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and enough Vitamin A to keep the eyes functioning properly, almond milk, as one of my friends affectionately puts it, is the bomb.
Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice: Full of vitamin C, citrus fruits like grapefruit also supply the body with photochemical compounds that act directly on cancerous cells, stopping their progression. They also exercise beneficial action as anti-inflammatories.
Fresh Organic Berries: Most fruits are off the menu for me because of their high-sugar content, but berries are a sure fire in the fight against cancer. In addition to being colourful, wild and delicious, berries, like citrus fruits, contain large amounts of phytochemicals to help fight tumours. If you want to win a battle against cancer, or you simply want to prevent it: go organic with your berries. Your health is worth the extra money.
Last but not least comes a spoonful of psyllium husk, a native plant to India, where they have used it medicinally for thousands of years to detoxify the intestines.
That’s a lot in one smoothie.
When I had my first-ever full-body acupuncture treatment a few years back, the healer commented on my kidneys: “You need to send love to your kidneys,” she said in a staccato Chinese accent, “Say, ‘Kidneys, I love you.’ Oh yes, and they need more colour green. Eat green foods. Spend more time on green grass.”
“What better place can I be,” I think, “than in England, where the hue is perpetually verdant and the rain pours down regularly to keep it that way drinking green smoothies?”
Green is the colour of the earth; it’s a healing colour. Foods that are green are the most nutritious on the spectrum. It’s also the colour, in many traditions, of the spiritual heart.
I chase up the Bionic Smoothie with a real delight: a matcha green tea unsweetened almond milk latté. Green tea, rich in anti-oxidants, is, as you may know, another cancer-killer. Matcha green tea powder has ten times the potency of regular green tea. This blend I’ve got in my hand now is the real deal. Given to me by my stepmother, Midori, whose name in Japanese means “green”, I’ve prepared the tea in honour of the Japanese tradition with a little prayer and ritual – reminding myself in each step of the process that only this moment exists. But that’s the best way to enjoy any meal, isn’t it?
No meal is complete without a pro-biotic. In the old days, before cancer, I often used to often finish meals with yoghurt, a tradition in Ayurveda where the “good bacteria” in yoghurt has been thought to aid in digestion. That said, Ayurveda began in India where cows are considered holy, so it would follow that bovine milk and its derivatives would be thought to be holy too. Now that I’ve learned the dangers of dairy, the yoghurt routine has been replaced by a natural pro-biotic. Whilst I have always been wary of relying on too many supplements to replace what’s not present in my diet – most vitamins ideally are digested in the form of whole foods – visiting a nutritionist and seeking advice on what’s best for the body can often clear up deficiencies with the right natural supplements. Since I have the big-c, I’ve upped the ante with selenium, turmeric, milk-thistle, lycopene, omega-3, cod liver oil, echinacea, aloe vera, B12, D3, C, E and a natural multi-vitamin with ginseng. I drink Pau d’Arco tea throughout the day, (a tea derived from the tree of life from the Amazon known for its anti-fungal properties), and chew on four cloves of raw garlic. All these are digestifs, natural immune enhancers and together they work in ways with the body to fight against cancer.
I realize this may be a lot, and if you’re not in risk of getting cancer, it might simply be too much to consider even a fraction of what I put into my morning meal. However, if you’re eating bacon for breakfast, jelly doughnuts, processed cereals soaking in pasteurized milk, toasted white bread with egg and melted cheese, then chasing it down with white coffee sweetened with refined sugar, it might be wise to consider some alternatives. Add some goodness and green to the top of your morning. Give up coffee and go for green tea. Replace the white toast with rye and add some spinach, roasted tomatoe, chives, oregeno and scrambled tofu. Skip the cheese, dump the bacon, and replace it with some homemade muesli filled with almonds, dates, pumpkin seeds and topped with organic berries. Sprinkle in a little wheatgrass for good luck. However you choose begin with breakfast, may it be luscious and life-affirming.
Let’s meet tomorrow for lunch.