It’s Valentine’s Day and did you know that $1.7 billion will be spent on candy for this holiday? It’s so sweet (pun intended) to get treats on this day from your loved ones. I mean, come on… who doesn’t get a rush of endorphins when you bite into a delicious chocolate cake or get excited about dessert before you even eat your dinner.
But I hope to share some insight today targeted at your friends or loved ones that are fighting cancer. Mainly because I wished someone told me this the moment I got diagnosed. A huge shout out to my friend Delfina Marquez, a breast cancer survivor, who sat me down (over the phone) and gave it to me straight after months of doing it wrong. Thank you my precious friend!!
Dr. Kelly Turner, in her book Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, interviewed over 100 people and analyzed over 1000 written cases of people who experienced a “radical remission”. They went into remission without conventional medicine, healed themselves after conventional medicine didn’t work, or used a combination of conventional and alternative healing methods at the same time in order to outlive a statistically dire prognosis. She documented 9 key factors that were common among these amazing people.
The first key factor I want to share with you is RADICALLY CHANGING YOUR DIET. I am mainly talking to people fighting disease, but hey if you want to get radical with us… we’d love to have you! Changing your diet is hard, I know, and there are many aspects like eliminating meat, dairy, and processed foods which I will talk about over the next few weeks, but today let’s just focus on one thing.
GREATLY REDUCING or ELIMINATING SUGAR
We all know processed sugar is bad for us, but everything in moderation is okay, right? Well, it may be alright for anyone who isn’t fighting disease, but it’s definitely NOT OK for cancer patients. I distinctly recall sitting in my hospital bed, hooked up to chemotherapy and having a conversation with a nutritionist (who came to visit me upon my request). She had given me a nutritional pamphlet that was pretty general about eating “healthy” which included the basics about eating fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and minimizing sweets. Nowhere did it talk about how processed sugar feeds cancer cells. Can I say that again?
PROCESSED SUGAR FEEDS CANCER CELLS!
Sugar feeds all cells and is necessary for our bodies to function, but excess sugar is not good. Think about PET scans which are the Positron Emission Tomography scan where they inject radioactive glucose (sugar) tracers into your body. They have you do this while you are fasting because cancer cells are the hungriest and are the first to take up sugar in the body.
I asked the nutritionist why she wasn’t recommending that patients stop eating processed sugar. She replied that typical cancer patients are so weak and their concern was too much weight loss. They recommend a healthy diet, but not necessarily restrictions on any particular food. Many patients don’t have much of an appetite so they want them to eat… even if that means eating something that is bad for them.
Well, no wonder so many advanced cancer patients don’t get well. The whole time they are hooked up on chemo designed to kill cancer, they are feeding their cancer cells with comfort foods that make them feel emotionally better… because what cancer patient doesn’t at times feel sorry for themselves? Ahem…
Yes, that was me, justifying the mochas in the hospital because I had to be stuck in there. No one told me not to eat sugar, just to eat “healthy” which I did by making the best healthy choices I could from the hospital menu (which was very limited). Had I known then what I know now, is it possible that I could have beaten this thing with my first go around of conventional treatment? Instead it outsmarted the treatments and transformed into an aggressive cancer.
Well one can only guess, but I have a feeling that had I started off knowing these things, my situation could have been different. Which leads me to this…
If food truly acts like medicine in the body, then why aren’t patients being educated on how to use it to heal themselves?
I am shocked at the lack of education bestowed on patients when they are ill… especially cancer patients. Having been under care at two of the finest hospitals, I am underwhelmed at the amount of nutritional information given to me when I was undergoing treatment. Hospital food options are seriously lacking in nourishment. And why are bottles of Ensure provided for free at Oncology Center Infusion rooms instead of a basket of fruit? Look at this label:
Ensure is terrible, loaded with chemicals, and sugar is the third ingredient in it. I would avoid it… even if it is free.
So what should I eat instead, you may ask?
- Eat fruit (organic preferred). Organic Berries are the best cancer fighters, but Cherries(o), plums, grapefruit, apples (o), pears (o), oranges, prunes, dried apricot, kiwi, and peaches (o) are the best slow-burning fruits (lowest glycemic). I put an (o) to signify that these are ones you definitely want to get organic because they are on the dirty dozen list (most heavily laden with pesticides) provided by the EWG (Environmental Working Group). I love the big bags of organic berries (blueberries and mixed berries from Costco). See the whole dirty dozen list here: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php
- Start reading labels and look for added sugars. Especially you moms out there who are the “gatekeepers” of the pantry. There is hidden sugar in everything… especially ketchup! The labels list ingredients in order of the amount in the product, so if sugar is one of the first few ingredients, there is a lot of it in there. If you’re looking at a product with fruit in it, like a fruit spread, you’ll see that there are sugars in it, but then look for “added sugars” (that’s the bad stuff).
- Natural sweeteners. I recommend raw honey (my favorite is Nature Nate’s Raw Organic). It isn’t processed like other sweeteners (i.e. agave nectar and stevia). I have heard good things about Manuka honey as well, but haven’t tried it yet. It has tested to have a relatively low glycemic index range between (54-59). I do use Organic Stevia drops from Sprouts however, but in moderation. If you have issues with your adrenals, you may want to avoid using stevia as a sweetener. Read more here: https://empoweredsustenance.com/is-stevia-bad-for-you/
- AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: Sugar alcohols, aspartame, sucralose, all the pink and yellow packets… Yuck. They are chemicals. Just stop. It does terrible things to your body.
- Oh yeah, xylitol too, avoid it. This is now the “darling” of sugar substitutes but I just read an article on how bad this is for you (read article above). I know it’s kind of sad how everything is bad… but it’s pretty simple … stick to natural sugar, not processed. Period.
My hope for you today isn’t for you to feel guilty about anything, but to educate you. I know all of this information already and I am far from perfect and have learned to do my best. I know where I am weak, so it’s best to eliminate things that tempt me when I can and prepare ahead of time so that I focus more on filling my body with the good rather than trying to avoid the bad. This life is about progress, not perfection, living intentionally, and making positive choices every day.
Love yourself and your loved ones … be “naturally sweet”. 😉
Happy Valentine’s Day! And follow me on Instagram @kaysdailyinspiration for health tips and tricks!
Onward and Upward,
“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.” Exodus 23:25