NUTRITION AND CANCER
Principles of eating Whole Foods
Cancer and Nutrition are married. There is NO way to treat cancer without addressing diet. Making the switch to a whole foods diet is not an expensive or difficult change and will help you to avoid chemicals, hormones, and pesticides that are in our food supply. Whole foods come from natural sources. If you hunted and gathered your foods or had an organic farm, you would have the following items in your diet: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, honey, water, grass-fed and free-range meats and unprocessed fish, naturally occurring dairy products.
On this whole foods diet you will be eating only whole foods, so that means it is time to clean out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer from any processed foods.
Part of the challenge is to re think how you eat and how you can make healthier choices. Some easy changes could be:
- Breakfast: Start with an omelet made with free-range eggs, organic spinach, organic tomatoes and grated organic Parmesan cheese.
- Lunch or Dinner: A chicken breast cooked with natural ingredients served with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad with added fats and natural flavors.
- Snacks: A steamed kamote with sour cream and fresh chopped onions or a freshly made smoothie made from yogurt and green leafy vegetables..
We have created a list of acceptable foods and foods to avoid which are good to have handy while grocery shopping.
- Whole foods that are close to their natural form and have not been processed
- Lots of vegetables
- Dairy products like raw milk, unsweetened yogurt, cage free eggs, and hard cheeses
- Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
- Only locally raised organic meats such as pork, beef, chicken, rabbit, etc.
- All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and molasses are acceptable in moderation
Foods to Avoid:
- No refined grains such as white flour or white rice, or any rice for that matter.
- No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or any artificial sweeteners such as Splenda.
- Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label.
- No deep fried foods.
- No fast foods.
How to Avoid Processed Foods and Refined Sugars:
- Read the ingredients label before buying anything. The best indicator of how highly processed a food is can be found in the list of ingredients. If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you want to reconsider buying that item.
- Shop around the edges of the grocery store where the whole foods are located. Avoid the center isles where most of the boxed, bagged and canned foods are located.
- Increase your consumption of whole foods especially vegetables since this will help to displace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general very simple. Your only concern is selecting whole foods that are a product of nature instead of a product of industry.
- Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup or any other forms of sugar that are listed in the top three ingredients. This is a good indication that the product has been highly processed.
- When eating out as a family, do not order off the kids menu for your children. Most of the selections on a kids menu are pre-made items that have been highly processed. An easy option is to assemble your own meal from the side options or try sharing a meal.
- Visit your local farmers’ market where you will find a selection of pesticide-free produce and better quality grass fed meat.
- Lower the amount of sweet treats and fried foods that you eat. Taking the time to peel, chop and deep fry sweet potatoes every time you wanted French fries would impact the amount of times you would eat them. Eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically ensure the frequency is appropriate. Remember that sugar feeds cancer!
Wheat berry has three parts: the germ, bran and endosperm. When white flour is made it has been highly processed and is left with only the endosperm which is high in calories and low in nutrients. Whole grain flour has all three parts included and is truly a whole grain. It is important to note that reading labels become very important when looking at a multi-grain item. Multi-grain means the food is made with more than one grain and does not mean that the grains are whole grains.
Corn: HIGHLY inflammatory DO NOT CONSUME
- Whole Grain= Whole grain corn, whole grain cornmeal, whole grain flour (also called masa harina), and even popcorn
- Refined= Corn meal, enriched corn meal, corn flour, degerminated corn, grits, and corn starch
Oats: HIGHLY inflammatory DO NOT CONSUME
- Whole Grain= Oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing, which means that if you see oats or oat flour on the label you’re virtually guaranteed to be getting whole grain. This applies to rolled oats, instant oats, quick cooking oats, and steel cut oats
Rice: HIGHLY inflammatory DO NOT CONSUME
- Whole Grain= Brown Rice (and other colors like black & purple)
- Refined= White Rice (since the germ and bran are removed)
- Quickly converts to sugar in the body which feeds cancer.
Wheat: understand that ALL CURRENT forms of wheat are HIGHLY inflammatory DO NOT CONSUME
- Whole Grain= Whole-wheat. The label must say whole-wheat or whole-grain wheat if it truly is the whole grain.
- Refined= White flour, something labeled as just “wheat”, enriched. One thing to keep in mind with wheat is that a lot of products simply say “wheat” which means it has been refined.
Sugar FEEDS cancer! Sugar sugar cane is highly processed as is high –fructose corn syrup. Honey and 100% maple syrup are acceptable choices because they are made in nature and less often found in highly processed foods. Sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, agave syrup, corn syrup, and Sweet-n-Low should never be used.
Spicing Up Your Meals When Eating Clean
Healthy food has an undeserved reputation for being boring or bland. Whole, fresh foods are actually delicious on their own, with no added seasoning. Unfortunately, many of us have been jaded by too much sodium, sugar, and additives in our food. But there are healthy ways to add flavor to clean foods. Here are some herbs and spices you can use in your daily cooking:
Basil: This bright-green delicate leaf contains flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants. It’s also high in vitamins A and K as well as potassium and manganese. Basil grows very well indoors in a sunny windowsill. Basil can be preserved by freezing or drying it. Use basil in tomato sauces, salad dressings, pesto, sandwich spreads, soups, and chicken, beef, pork, and fish dishes.
Marjoram: This herb contains many phytochemicals — including terpenes, which are anti-inflammatory — lutein, and beta carotene. Plus, it has lots of vitamin C and vitamin D. Marjoram is delicious in any dish made using beef and is perfect with vegetables like tomatoes, peas, carrots, and spinach. Together with bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and tarragon, it makes a mix to use in stews and soups.
Mint: Mint can be used to help upset stomachs because it soothes an irritated GI tract. It is also used to ward off cancer cells due to a phytochemical called perillyl alcohol, which can stop the formation of some cancer cells. Mint is a good source of beta carotene, folate, and riboflavin. Use it in teas, in desserts, as part of a fruit salad or lettuce salad, or as a garnish for puddings.
Oregano: Used in Italian dishes, this strong herb is a potent antioxidant with the phytochemicals lutein and beta carotene. It’s a good source of iron, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids. Add oregano to salad dressings, soups, sauces, gravies, meat dishes, and pork recipes.
Parsley: This mild herb is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. It’s also packed with flavonoids, which are strong antioxidants, and folate, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. It can be used in salads as a leafy green to rice pilafs, grilled fish, and sauces and gravies.
Rosemary: Rosemary contains terpenes, which slow down free radical development and stop inflammation. Use this strong and piney herb in soups, stews, meat, and chicken dishes. Chop some fresh rosemary to roast a chicken, cook with lamb or beef, or mix with olive oil for a dip for warm whole-wheat bread.
Sage: Sage contains the flavonoid phytochemicals apigenin and luteolin and some phenolic acids that act as anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Its earthy aroma and flavor are delicious in classic turkey stuffing (as well as the turkey itself), spaghetti sauces, soups and stews, and frittatas and omelets.
Tarragon: Tarragon is a great source of phytosterols and can reduce the stickiness of platelets in your blood. Tarragon is rich in beta carotene and potassium, too. This herb tastes like licorice. Use it as a salad green or as part of a salad dressing or mix it with Greek yogurt to use as an appetizer dip. It is also wonderful with chicken or fish.
Thyme: This herb is a good source of vitamin K, manganese, and the monoterpene thymol, which has antibacterial properties. It’s fresh, slightly minty, and lemony tasting. It is a good addition to egg dishes to pear desserts to recipes featuring chicken and fish.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and overall cholesterol levels. Cinnamaldehyde, an organic compound in cinnamon prevents clumping of blood platelets, and other compounds in this spice are anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon can be added to coffee and tea, used it in desserts and curries, and sprinkled on oatmeal for a great breakfast.
Cloves: Cloves are flower buds that are a good source of manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain eugenol, which helps reduce toxicity from pollutants and prevent inflammation, and the flavonoids kaempferol and rhamnetin, which act as antioxidants. Cloves are a great addition to hot tea and coffee as well as many dessert recipes, including fruit compote and apple desserts.
Cumin: This spice is rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer. It also has iron and manganese, which help keep your immune system strong and healthy. Cumin can be added to Middle Eastern recipes, rice pilafs, stir-fried vegetables, and Tex-Mex dishes.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C. It can help reduce blood pressure, acts as an antioxidant, and has antifungal properties. Sprinkle it into dishes with spinach, add it to hot tea, use it in curry powder, and add it to rice pudding and other desserts.
Turmeric: This spice is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Curcumin, a phytochemical in turmeric, can stop cancer cells from reproducing and spreading, slow Alzheimer’s disease progression, and help control weight. Researchers have proven Curcumin to be a POTENT cancer fighter, painkiller, and antiseptic. Use it in Indian foods, egg salads, sauces, tea, and fish and chicken recipes.