I truly believe what Mark Twain said about health books… “You might die of a misprint”. I take most everything with a grain of salt and mull it over with prayer. That said, I have read and researched my brains out after being diagnosed with stage THREE cancer last August. I get a lot of people telling me to “keep up the good work” and “whatever you are doing is working” and “I’m so glad you beat it”. It isn’t ME, however, that has beat or worked anything out. It’s God. I believe the single most beneficial thing a diagnosed person (of any disease, really) can have is a REAL and personal faith. I believe with all my heart that it doesn’t matter what I eat, God can still heal me.
I had to get that out of the way before I started to talk about food and my progression from researching into the diet I follow now. I don’t want any food or diet to get the credit for the work that really happened in bringing me healing. Nor do I want you to think that I’m leaning hard on myself and my diet choices, even though I’m struggling daily to make sure I do whatever I can to eat healthy because God gave me a brain, and I plan to use it. He also gave me foods that came from the Earth He made. Pretty much it is Him all-around, no matter which angle you look at healing.
When I first got cancer, before I had time to read and research, the things I did were simple. I drank broth – home made organic chicken broth – made by a friend, instead of the stuff the hospital sends you on those trays full of jello and sugar-filled ice pops and juice. They might as well call it the “MSG & Sugar Diet” instead of the liquid diet. I ditched the sugar stuff and drank water and broth. LOTS of broth. I also ate at least 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil every meal-time; my doctor told me that this was OK even when I was on a NO-FOOD diet for colon surgery, because the oil was clear and would not obstruct his work. I was satiated (read: no hunger shakes and blood sugar dips), and I believe it helped me with healing and strength. Nobody told me to do this. Again, I’m thinking it was a God whisper, somewhere deep in my subconscious. It just felt right. The only thing I knew for sure was that the hospital food was BAD for me.
Note: You need good friends like my buddy Terri Sue to bring you broth in the hospital, trust me.
The surgeon gave me a week to recover from my colon surgery and I had time to rest in bed and meet with friends who graciously came by to help me clean, watch my kids, counsel me, pray with me, laugh with me, and lift up my spirits. People brought me juicers, books, articles, lotion, food, poop emoji pillows (you know who you are), prayer blankets, prayer cloths, little glass bottles with mustard seeds inside, and blenders to borrow. I also had a graduation taking place for my son after homeschooling him his whole life… one week after I got out of the hospital, so my mind was not on cancer so much as it was healing and praying and seeing my son through a major life event.
Being busy and distracted was a blessing. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for all they did. I needed this down time to pray over my decisions and collect all the information in texts, Facebook posts, emails, letters, and conversations so I would be able to do my research.
During this time, I ate broth, vegetables (lots of avocado), and began learning how to juice veggies. I was a little afraid of grains, because I was thinking all of them had too much starch, so back then, I had almost no grain in my diet.
I began reading a few books given to me or purchased by me, in my spare time. No pressure. I had learned that often times, STRESS CAN OVERRIDE NUTRITION. I already ate rather well before I got cancer, so I believe this to be true. One thing I did change drastically, is that I ate NO red meat, and I began to eat salmon once or twice a week. I had been not eating fish and eating way too much bacon for a long time. I avoided almost all meat except salmon and sometimes other types of fish. I also stopped cheese and milk products except feta and raw cheeses. I did continue to drink chicken broth, though. For recovery, I drank it daily – for almost a month.
As for supplements, at first, I started with vitamin C for cell healing and because if you starve your body of sugars, cancer cells are said to take in vitamin C thinking it is sugar and it kills them. I really didn’t take vitamins regularly before I went in the hospital. Shame on me, right?! I also started taking Curcumin, selenium, cranberry, essiac tea capsules and medicinal mushrooms. I have gone on and off a lot of things since those early days, but I still take all of those things (aside from selenium, which I take once a week now).
I had no physical evidence that the surgeon didn’t get all of the cancer out of my body, but the reason they suggest chemo to all stage three patients is because it is likely they missed a little. I was told that IV vitamin C was the way to go, but it was far too expensive for me. I got on buffered, powdered vitamin C instead. I was taking the powder in my veggie-juice concoctions and began blending or juicing slowly towards the end of my first month of recovery.
I also bought juice at a local juice bar when I couldn’t make it myself, always removing the fruit juices. Cancer diets should be as free of sugar as possible. I was learning that the only fruits that were OK were berries, lemons, and limes.
Note: If you don’t like juicing, you can buy pre-made juice in bottles at your local organic grocery chain. Just be sure that you look at the ingredients and sugar content – try to stay as close to ZERO grams of sugar as possible.
Anti-Cancer Diet and Treatement research period:
After my son graduated and we celebrated, I began hitting the books, taking copious notes, talking with friends, and being mentored by someone who had recently helped her sister through a cancer diagnosis. It was overwhelming the amount of data I had to sort through. Literally everyone had a different opinion and wanted to make sure I knew it. I chose to view all of this as affection by people who cared about me… and I wrote down notes and watched videos and researched the things they talked about. It took me two weeks to sort through the first onslaught of information. Every time I would feel certain about something solid, I found an article or paper that disputed it. My heart was being torn apart. I started to feel stress that was really affecting my health again. To help clear my head, I started a food and health journal to record my weight, moods, pertinent information about my health that day, reactions, and about my diet.
People began asking me what my decision was going to be… Chemo or “the natural route”. The oncologist was leaving me messages asking if I was going to come in and get my port operation scheduled. Family and friends were telling me what they thought. By the grace of God, my husband decided to stay clear of an opinion and he told me that he wanted me to make the decision and he was going to back me whatever I chose. This was a life-saving statement that helped me put the focus on what God truly wanted for me, and helped me be able to trust my gut (which is not a funny pun after colon surgery)… because I believe a lot of times, God gives you nudges in the right direction through listening to the still small voice that is inside you. Sometimes you just KNOW that something isn’t or is right. It isn’t because you are smarter or more in tune… it’s because He puts that feeling there. Another reason my husband’s statement was so amazingly good: the last thing a cancer patient/cancer survivor needs to feel is pressure or feel like they are going to disappoint someone they love. I gave the decision up to the Lord, knowing that He, and not a “protocol” was going to save me. This was a huge relief. I felt that He was going to be on either path, so I was going to choose the path with the least negative affects on my body and my family.
So my “protocol” is not really a protocol at all. I just decided to do everything that I thought was going to help me stay cancer free, and to eat everything God made that has been studied and has demonstrated anti-cancer effects, and to avoid things that were known to help or feed cancer. Even this, my friends, is debatable territory. You can follow my facebook page and see all the debate on every post where I mention anything health related. Scientists (and even Christians) disagree all the time. Especially over food and medical treatments. Science is just experimenting to find results – and the outcome of research projects often bows to the person funding the research.
Knowing that man (and his scientific data) can often be wrong, I didn’t start with scientists. I started with God … and people who had BEATEN CANCER. There’s no better indicator of whether something might help than talking to someone who it has already helped. Am I right? I don’t want statistics (what my oncology office gave me, no offense – she’s a great lady and puts up with my zany out-of-the-box ways). I wanted: success stories, hope, a real cure with no lasting side effects, a miracle from God, my cake and to eat it, too. Isn’t that what we all want?
I wanted Amazing Grace and victory!
My first stop on the internet was ChrisBeatCancer.com – which sadly wasn’t there for my grandma twenty years ago when she had colon cancer. I watched video after video of cancer survivors and took notes on what it was they did to prevent relapse, shrink tumors, and ultimately FIGHT their prognosis or relapse. In particular, there was one woman who was a homeschooling mom of four kids that had been diagnosed with worse colon cancer than me (stage 4) – which had already spread to her liver – and I latched on to her “testimony”. She’s the one who I learned about mistletoe injections from. She’s the one who I learned about the Maker’s Diet from (which I learned that I had been exposed to in the early 2000’s and had forgotten about – those were my Oreo days for sure).
I pretty much follow the Maker’s Diet now. Fad diets are everywhere – there’s a book for every one of them and you could fill your entire house with the stacks. The Maker’s Diet, though, is based on biblical principles, and for me, that makes it based on a book that never changes, and a God who had just saved me from cancer by making sure I made it to the hospital on time to get it removed (remember, the doctor said if I hadn’t gone in for that mild, unrelated vertigo last August, I would have been dead by Christmas).
I began reading The Maker’s Diet, Cancer Step Outside the Box, Conquering Any Disease and a number of other books during the early phases and taking notes about foods and supplements. Things I did daily: lots of pure water we trucked home from Natural Grocers and put in our water machine so I could make hot tea three times a day and drink cold, time outside in the sunshine and yard, hugs and relaxing times to avoid stress, taking supplements twice a day, getting to bed before 11pm (I’ve slipped up on this lately, but I was really good at going to bed by 10-11 for the first six months after surgery), and eating mostly plant-based foods, healthy fats, fermented things or probiotics and just a little meat.
Two months after my surgery, I traveled out of state to start taking mistletoe injections. These are done with a diabetic micro-needle every three days. Fourteen shots on, then fourteen shots off. It took a while to narrow down the dosage. I had to work with the doctor over the phone because she was out of state. Even in weird, holistic, hippie-lovin’ Austin, there’s not a doctor brave enough to take on mistletoe patients. Maybe because the mistletoe here in Texas is deadly? The kind I’m taking is from Europe. I’ve taken these ever since last October (2016) besides a month and a half break over the spring.
The Maker’s Diet Anti-Cancer Diet Guidelines (simplified)
The Maker’s Diet is beyond organic. The following can be said about it:
– Non GMO
– No gluten (for me, I try to focus on healthier grain choices like buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, and the occasional brown rice, however, I do sometimes RARELY eat Einkorn wheat, gluten free flour-based desserts that I make at home so there’s no extra sugar content, and basmati rice)
– No “devil” milk (this is my term for “plastic ultra-homogenized milk” that is sold at most stores – and if you do your research, you’ll only drink grass fed or Z-milk, which has A2 casein, rather than A1… grass-fed cow milk, the more raw the better, from a trusted farm – is pure gold)
– No chemicals (as far as it depends on me, we don’t put anything on our garden, house, food, or body that has chemicals I don’t feel safe with my kids having access to… we changed our soaps, quit using cologne – I use a plant based oil blend instead, deodorants, lotions, and I’ve finally talked my man into letting me eat the dandelions, rather than poisoning them in the yard – I’m not kidding)
– No hormones (organic does not always mean: antibiotic free, vaccine free)
– No high heat processing or pasteurization (which kills the nutrients – the reasons you eat the food in the first place)
– Biblical land management and slaughter methods (this one is hard, because it requires you to do your research… or have your own farm, hunted meat, etc. – and I’m sure I sometimes am not in line with this, but my goal is to be, and I do pay attention to the companies I buy from as much as possible… and you have to remember that part of the goal of this is the treatment of the animals… God desires humane treatment of animals from birth to death, just as He cares for us)
– Grass Fed (organic doesn’t always mean grass fed – no corn – or free-roaming, which is important for a lot of reasons for us and the animals… and nutritional data backs this up)
– Nothing artificial (the fewer and less difficult to pronounce ingredients on the list, the better… and home-made is best of all, because YOU know what’s in it)
– Only natural sweeteners (for cancer patients, I would take this farther and say that minimal if any sweeteners should be used, but for me, I do have a bit of maple syrup daily and sometimes a tiny bit of honey) – the OK list on the Maker’s Diet is: Grade B maple syrup which is less processed, raw local honey, organic stevia*, and rarely – coconut sugar.
* You can buy green powdered stevia PLANT instead of using extracts which have added ingredients – and this is showing promising results in killing Lymes bacteria according to some recent articles I’ve read. I used to use liquid flavored stevia extracts (toffee and vanilla were our favorites) when I was detoxing sugar at first, but I rarely use any stevia now… I actually prefer to use NO sweeteners except in some recipes for baked goods and maple syrup on my buckwheat pancakes.
– Only good fats : grass fed butter (most imported butters are grass fed even though they might not be labeled as such), extra virgin olive oil (never heated), and coconut or avocado oil. (We use grape seed oil, also… but it is a bit stickier. It is supposed to have a high flash point, but I’ve not done enough research on it recently to be any kind of authority on the matter. I mostly use butter to cook with, which drives my husband crazy because we spend a mint on organic grass-fed butter.)
– Consume fermented foods daily (examples: kombucha, kefir, water kefir, sprouted grains and seeds, REAL home-made sour-dough breads, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, Good Belly Big Shots -made with fermented oats, fermented beets and other vegetables, fermented brine pickles -made without vinegar, natto -which is the only soy you should ever ingest, or sauerkraut)
I pretty much am relying on my faith, foremost, and then trying to eat a plant-rich diet with as many anti-cancer foods as possible each day. I try to juice veggies daily, or sometimes I use my Champion Juicer and make enough juice for three days. Sure, the enzymes begin to die and it isn’t as good for me on day three, but I have a busy homeschool house to run, and sometimes you logistically can’t make juice every day. That is one good thing about the Champion – it has one of the best juice enzyme shelf-life records out there. One thing I do is instead of eating out, I will get a juice at the juice bar or a salad as my “fast food” if I can’t eat at home. I try to eat as much vegetable matter as possible. I drink water and different types of healing teas all day along with some sort of treat like Bragg’s ACV drinks, kombucha, water kefir, Dandy Blend (dandelion and chicory coffee substitute), or a few ounces of “milk” with my nut-butter brownie.
I drink mostly hemp-coconut milk (which is apparently so weird that even Amazon doesn’t carry it – so thankful for Natural Grocers!) instead of regular milk because it is rare that we are able to afford grass-fed milk. The rest of my family drinks organic milk, but it isn’t guaranteed to be grass-fed, and a lot of times it’s purchased at a mega-store to keep the cost down, so the likelihood of it containing A2 casein instead of A1 is slim to none. In my research, I also came across much evidence that a diet high in meat and milk would cause the body to be acidic and hospitable to cancer growth, so I keep my meat intake down to less than 15% of my daily caloric intake and I only drink milk that is raw and/or grass fed and/or fermented like kefir. Same with cheese. Pretty much no cheese except grass fed, raw, organic cheeses… and even then, just a smidge. Almond cheese is OK, but I usually just leave it off unless I’m making cheese enchiladas (and that’s a whole ‘nother post – since I use almond flour tortillas instead of corn).
I know a lot of you are like, WHAT DO YOU EAT THEN????? Panic sets in. I get it. I understand.
It took a lot of adjustment, even for a health-nut like me. I had previously been on the Weston Price Diet for a year or two, which is similar, but contains a lot more meat. I took that as a license to eat a ton of bacon (as a majority of Paleo folks do; I’m just sayin’ – if the shoe fits…). In the Maker’s Diet, it follows the biblical guidelines for meat selections, which means I had to give up pork entirely. ::::moment of silence:::: Sigh;Turkey bacon it is. You could say that my new diet is a Jewish version of Weston Price, maybe… and definitely a far cry from Paleo (which is based on the false assumption that we came from cave-men, anyway).
Note: I do consider much of what I eat to be OK on a Paleo diet, though – and I’m not trying to snub my nose at anyone out there who is trying to eat Paleo or the Weston A Price way. I learned a lot from each type of diet and often use the recipes for those types of diets still. My nut butter based brownies we eat daily are a Paleo based recipe. The difference again, is mostly meat intake. I eat less of it than either of those two diets would suggest.
Why? Because that’s what I learned in listening to the survivor stories of those who BEAT CANCER. Five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years out… still alive and kicking… and most of them had the same thing in common: they ate little or no meat while they were healing, they ate organic meat if they did eat some, they ate more fish – particularly salmon, they stayed away from conventional dairy, they ate fermented foods, they drank green and herbal teas, they took food-based supplements, they didn’t stress, they prayed. Is meat OK? Sure it is. Just be responsible. Listen to your conscience and gut. Eat well-treated animal meat, as organic as possible, and pray over it. Eat it in moderation. Appreciate it as a gift from God. Do what’s right for you. Everybody is different, and this is YOUR OWN PERSONAL journey with God and His earth.
The Mental Diet
The biggest thing? For me the main thing I struggle with is not the food choices, will power, or even financial difficulties in making sure we can keep organic foods and good supplements in the house. My biggest struggle is not falling back into stressful living and thinking patterns. Fear, even. Yes, even someone who has faith, can sometimes fear the unknown. Not only fear can haunt me, but my unholy struggle with perfectionism that I inflict upon myself. I used to NEVER allow myself free time because everything wasn’t done, the list wasn’t checked off, school wasn’t finished for the day, something still needed attention. Seriously… I drove myself batty, and it has been a difficult transition just SITTING down and staring into the garden… talking myself down from the ledge of “OH MY GOSH, THERE’S STUFF I COULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW”. Self-criticism and imploding laundry baskets aside, I also get overwhelmed with the amount of things I have to accomplish each day (WHILE cooking and eating to prevent cancer from returning), and even when I’m NOT trying to do EVERYTHING, the stuff I really do have to get done is daunting.
For me, it is less about what I eat, or don’t eat, and more about relying on God to meet me in my utter LACK. I’m NOT enough, but He is. Just like nature, I know that the important things will somehow get done, and I try to revel in the moments and people I get to do this life with. I try to create margins for myself and see the beauty of the world around me. It is a mindful and conscious struggle that I pray about every single day: just to find a way to live a slow, purposeful, focused, thankful life – with every moment.
And guess what? I fail at this, and then I start over the next day and try again. I’m winning the war on perfection and fear way more days than I used to, though… and that means WAY less stress to suppress my immune system.
Recipes and Tips
I don’t have time to go back through every single recipe I’ve ever posted here and make it “healthier”. I’ve blogged for well over a decade and my food choices were less than stellar back before 2014-15. One thing I do, that might help someone else, is just look at a recipe and break it down into things I know will substitute well for unhealthy ingredients. If a recipe calls for a cooking oil, I always sub butter or coconut/avocado/grapeseed oils. I never ever use canola or vegetable oils, ever. If the recipe calls for sugar, I sub monk-fruit (about half of what they recommend, usually) and/or I use honey or maple syrup, depending on the consistency of the thing I’m making. If there’s meat or milk, I use the kinds I can eat, of course. If there’s a thickener like flour in a sauce, I use arrow root starch or some sort of gluten-free flour source like chick peas, rice, or the like. If the recipe I’m making is calling for something baked with a lot of flour, I sub a gluten-free baking mix (but this is a rare treat since most gluten free flours have potato starch and other stuff that is not great for those avoiding sugar, starch and glutens to prevent cancer). There’s almost always something you can substitute with a little help from Google.
Another tip: follow food bloggers that use these key words on their site: gluten-free, paleo, nourishing traditions, weston price, cancer-free, anti-cancer, raw milk, holistic, sugar-free, grain-free, etc. There are a multitude of recipes on Pinterest for you to get ideas from if you just look at the ingredients. After a while, it gets easier to substitute and create your own favorite recipes from looking through ones online you find. I have a lot of healthy eating boards in my Pinterest account if you want to go check those out.
I guarantee that I’ll be posting good stuff that is healthy here for my readers… and most of the time, I post my favorite things to eat and the recipes my family also enjoy; the fact that they are also cancer-fighting is just a fantastic bonus.
I get asked about supplements a lot, also. I’ll have to do another post dedicated to that which will be linked here. I eventually will be putting up a page of “stuff I use” so you can click over and buy it yourself. I share Amazon links to things I use or love so that you can find them, and I can hopefully make a few bucks towards my next supplement order – and that would be a win-win: funding my cancer fight and helping you.
I will keep updating y’all every now and then as to what’s up with my oncology check-ins and changes in my diet as it evolves in other posts that I link here, to make it easier for folks who are just surfing in and freaking out because they or someone they know is facing the Big C.
Note: If you are landing here because you have gotten a cancer diagnosis. Please don’t despair. You are not alone. God is bigger than cancer.
Start by calling a friend and drinking some home made broth, eating and juicing your veggies (especially carrots, cabbage, spinach, ginger, turmeric root, beets, lemon, gogi berries, and celery), saying a prayer, and starting your own research when you feel strong enough. Don’t let anyone bully you in to a “protocol” or chemo until you have weighed the options. Breathe and relax. Stress and sugar are your enemies. I pray that you will find peace and a path to wellness.
I’m no doctor or expert, but I’ll walk beside you and cheer you on, as long as the Lord allows.