MAKING SENSE OF FOOD ADVISE

20.  MAKING SENSE OF FOOD ADVISE

 

One of the most important things for a person touched by cancer to address is their diet.  Good cancer nutrition can be vital in increasing your personal odds of survival. Unfortunately, the recommendations given to you detailing what should be eaten during your treatment will seem like the opposite of what you have always heard a healthy diet should include. 

For example patients are often advised to consume calories (food) from unhealthy food than for the patient to not eat at all.   

Unfortunately, this is often the advise given by the conventional practitioners.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy often changes the patient's sense of taste,  causes a loss of appetite and frequent nausea.  As a result, they often skip meals and find it difficult to consume enough calories a day.   Because of this, there is often a dilemma on the part of the caregivers on giving patients what they crave versus healthful foods.  As many caregivers are uncertain with  regards to the long term  survival of the patient, they often succumb to patients  desires in order not to appear cruel. 

We are not objecting to occasional indulgences (especially the unhealthy ones) as it is unlikely to cause a worsening of the condition but persistence consumption of harmful foods will certainly aggravate the disease condition.  Therefore, our recommendation is to always strive to provide the nutrient dense food to help in the healing and not just any food especially those that are sugar laden.

The conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments often severely affect the gastrointestinal system, which causes patients to loose their appetite because they cannot tolerate any food.  In contrast, in healing therapy we do not damage the gut, we focus on rehabilitating the gut and therefore such adverse effects that interfere with appetite are uncommon. 

Some advise which may seems contradictory are as tabulated below:

Conventional advice

Our advice

Oil – Unsaturated

vegetable oil such as corn, soya, canola

Avoid butter

Use minimally processed oil (virgin or cold pressed) such as coconut, olive, palm – while avoiding highly processed oil such as corn, soy, canola etc. and hydrogenated fats.

Eat butter from grass fed cows.

Milk and milk  products, soy and soy products

Consume with caution for they may increase your estrogen level.  This is especially critical for patients with cancers which are estrogen dependent such as breast, endometrial, ovarian and prostate (for men).  Yogurt and fermented soy products are allowable.  

Refer to our advice on estrogen - soy products and milk.

Eat whatever you want to ensure  adequate calorie    intake

Eat healthy food at all time.   Adequate caloric and nutrient needs can be (and must be) achieved through healthy eating.

Remember always that sugar feeds cancer.

Avoid raw food

For vegetables and fruits—it is preferable to eat them raw and whole to ensure maximum nutrients to the body.  For food to be eaten raw, please make sure that the vegetables and fruits are organic and have been thoroughly cleaned.

For meat and seafood, make sure the food is well cooked.

Please refer to our comments on whether food should be raw or cook.

How about a low fiber diet after surgery?

 It all depends on the type of surgery and the clinical condition of the patient.  The use of low fiber food will usually be indicated for patient whose bowel functions have not returned to normal or where bowel surgery requiring anastomosis has been carried out.  Otherwise patients should be able to resume normal diet.  The objective of a low-fiber diet is to reduce the amount of undigested food moving through your bowels, as a result your body makes a smaller amount of stool thus help ease diarrhea or other symptoms of abdominal conditions, such as abdominal pain. 

 The ability to digest food varies from person to person.  Once your digestive system has returned to normal, you can slowly re-introduce more fiber into your diet.  However, do not resort to ‘white bread’ or any comfort food like cookies, chocolates, cakes and other refined products as these do not provide you with any nutrients other than carbohydrates and sugars.   Low fiber diet usually means high carbohydrate foods and these foods fuel cancer. 

 During this period we recommend that you intensify ‘juicing’ to obtain  ‘calorie’ as well as ‘nutrients’ without the added burden of digesting the fibers.  Soup (especially healing soup) and porridge are also recommended which can be cooked with fish, eggs or finely grounded meat and well cooked vegetables.   Drink more water and eat fruits such as banana and papaya.  Remember, at these stage of recovery you need all the ‘nutrient dense food’.

It is important to be an informed patient and seek always to understand the underlying principle behind such recommendations.   Questions to ask yourself are:

  •  Does it (advise) make sense? 
  • Did the food exist before?  Did our ancestors fall sick eating such foods - eg. Coconut oil?
  • How much processing has gone into the food? are there added chemicals such as colours, preservatives, flavors? 
  • Are their nutrients available to aid in my recovery - or is it empty calories? 
  • How is it going to affect my glucose (and insulin) level (s)?

 Do not try any foods that caused you discomfort or allergic reactions in the past.

 Remember, your body needs the appropriate nutrients for recovery and not more sugar, carbohydrate and dead or synthetic nutrients.  Hopefully by now you should be able to roughly make out what makes sense and what doesn’t.  

 

 

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