Nutrition and Cancer
“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The problem with following a diet is knowing IF it is right for you. There are hundreds of different opinions about diet and cancer and, quite honestly, it is very confusing. Personally, I don’t like standard protocols because of this reason. In our office, each patient is tested for individual foods and the diet recommendations are specific and often less rigid. When we speak to the masses we are forced into a more general approach to diet which, by nature, pigeon-holes people into a protocol that may not be right for them. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to solve this dilemma short of seeing every person in our office which defeats the purpose of writing a book to reach the masses.
We believe that we’ve come to the best possible outcome given the circumstances: a stair-step approach. We actually created TWO stair-step approaches that meet the needs of the two major groups of individuals, those needing a plant based diet and those we allow to eat some meats.
Two Stair-Step Diet samples:
Eden’s diet is a plant-based approach that we may or may not recommend for cancer patients. Typically this diet is used on most of our cardiac patients. As stated, it does not allow the consumption of any meat products and stair-steps up to veganism. We named it after the diet that would have been experienced in the Garden of Eden.
Our Covenant diet is the Eden diet PLUS the consumption of meat. It also stair-steps with a greater or lesser allowances of specific meats, grains, carbohydrates, and fats. We named it after the diet that would have been experienced by man following the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Both diets BEGIN with a thorough understanding of an identical BASE STEP: Understanding Whole Foods
The Basic 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 but 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, unprocessed unrefined grains (or sprouted grains), 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. Now you do not need to eliminate all processed foods, like natural cheeses or whole grain pasta, but if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, don’t purchase the item.
Part of the challenge is to re think how you eat and how you can make healthier choices. Some easy changes could be:
- Breakfast: No cereal, instant oatmeal or commercially prepared muffins, rather start with an omelet made with free-range eggs, spinach, cherry tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Lunch or Dinner: A chicken breast cooked with natural ingredients served with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad instead of chicken nuggets processed with added fats, preservatives and flavorings.
- Snacks: A baked potato with sour cream and fresh chopped onions instead of a bag of potato chips or a freshly made smoothie made from yogurt and blueberries instead of a blue-colored frozen ice drink.
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 fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
- 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (see information about grains below)
- Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
- Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken
- Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, and naturally sweetened coffee & tea
- Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
- All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation
Foods to Avoid:
- No refined grains such as white flour or white rice- labels must state whole grain
- 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 and fruits 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.
- Buy your bread from a local bakery. Most whole-wheat bread that you can purchase in a grocery store has more than 40 different items on the list which can include white flour and sugar. Some local bakery’s grind their own wheat and have only minimal ingredients.
- When selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always choose the whole-grain option. Make sure to read the ingredients to verify that the product is truly made with 100% whole grains and not a combination of whole grains and refined grains. Many of these products are labeled “whole grain” but are filled with refined grains and sugar which are high in calories and low in nutrition.
- 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 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.
Understanding Whole Grains:
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.
Here is what to look for in the following grains:
- 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
- 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
- Whole Grain= Brown Rice (and other colors like black & purple)
- Refined= White Rice (since the germ and bran are removed)
Wheat: (understand that ALL CURRENT forms of wheat are HIGHLY inflammatory and we ALWAYS recommend that people go completely GLUTEN-FREE!!!!!)
- 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 from the 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. No matter what kind of sugar you decide to use follow these guidelines:
- Consume any and all types of sugar in moderation and try to reserve them for special occasions.
- When purchasing store-bought foods avoid those that have any form of sugar or sweetener listed among the top three ingredients.
- Always choose the natural sweetener over the artificial items like aspartame.
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 joint 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. In fact, researchers are currently studying Curcumin as a cancer fighter, painkiller, and antiseptic. Use it in Indian foods, egg salads, sauces, tea, and fish and chicken recipes.
My General Recommendations for Diet
So, from a GENERAL perspective, let’s look at a handout that we use in our clinic (see below). The blanks are filled-in with recommendations from the results of our testing and examples are printed in red ink. Again, it’s a general diet, but following one like this as best as you can may be very helpful.
Eating God’s Way for Cancer
Meat (grass-fed organic ONLY – high in protein and Omega 3)
- NO meat for first ___12_____months
- meat bone soup or stock, liver and heart (must be organic)
- lamb, buffalo, elk, venison, beef, goat, veal
- jerky (organic with no chemicals, nitrates, or nitrites)
- beef or buffalo sausage (with no chemicals and preferably no pork casing)
- beef or buffalo hot dogs (with no chemicals and preferably no pork casing)
Fish (wild- caught ONLY, and the fish must be fish with fins and scales. Eg: No catfish)
- NO fish for first _____3____months
- fish soup or stock, salmon, halibut, tuna, cod, scrod, grouper, haddock, walleye, panfish, lake fish
- trout, orange roughy, sea bass, snapper, sardines (canned in water or olive oil only), herring, sole, whitefish
Poultry (pastured, free-range and organic)
- NO poultry for first _____3_____months
- poultry bone soup or stock, chicken, Cornish game hen, guinea fowl, turkey, duck
- chicken or turkey bacon or sausage
Lunch Meat (organic, free range, and hormone free ONLY)
Eggs (high omega-3/DHA or organic is best)
- chicken eggs (whole with yolk) UNLESS Egg intolerant
Dairy (organic and UN-Pasteurized (RAW) ONLY – NON if Dairy Intolerant!!!!)
- NO dairy for first _____12______months - NOTE: NO Kefir or Kombucha if yeast or mold are found to be a part of your problem!
- Really NO Dairy for everyone is BEST unless RAW but that’s hard to find
- homemade kefir made from raw goat’s milk or raw cow’s milk
- raw goat’s milk hard cheeses, raw cow’s milk hard cheeses
- goat’s milk plain whole yogurt, organic cow’s milk yogurt or kefir
- raw cream, raw butter if possible (or organic)
Fats and Oils (organic is best, you MUST EAT A LOT OF GOOD FAT)
- Oil: coconut oil is BEST FOR EVERYTHING, extra virgin (best for cooking) olive oil,
- Spread: Ghee butter; RAW butter
- Avocado (eat one every day), coconut milk/cream (canned), oil,
Vegetables (organic fresh or frozen is best)
- ALL veggies are good – especially lower carb, organic (broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, beets, cauliflower)
- STRICTLY LIMIT white potatoes and corn (corn is really a grain), eat sweet potatoes instead
Fruits (organic fresh or frozen is best)
- Stone fruits are BEST – fruits with a pit
- LIMIT dried fruits (no sugar or sulfites), raisins, figs, dates, prunes; NO FRUIT JUICES!!!
Grains and Starchy Carbohydrates (organic is best, and whole grains and flours are best if soaked for six to twelve hours before cooking) ***Brain-Based Therapy patients MUST stay off Gluten!!!
- NO GRAINS is best!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right, I said NO GRAINS!
- Gluten-FREE oats, rice, millet
- Pamela’s Mix brand flour for baking, waffles, pancakes; use Quinua
- UDI bread is a good gluten free brand that makes bread and muffins but it is high carbs!
Sweeteners (NO Artificial and NO High Fructose Corn Syrup!!!)
- Unheated raw honey; LOCAL honey; date sugar; stevia; pure maple syrup; NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETNERS!!!!!! (these kill you!)
Beans and Legumes (best if soaked for twelve hours)
- miso, lentils, tempeh, natto, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, white beans, pinto beans, red beans
- split peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, broad beans, black-eyed peas
Nuts and Seeds (organic, raw, and/or soaked is best)
- RAW almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter, tahini,
- hemp or pumpkin seed butter, sunflower butter, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts
Condiments, Spices, and Seasonings (organic is best – MUST BE GLUTEN FREE)
- salsa (fresh or canned), tomato sauce (no added sugar), guacamole (fresh), NO soy sauce (use Bragg’s Aminos)
- apple cider vinegar, raw salad dressings and marinades, herbs and spices (no added stabilizers)
- Herbamare seasoning, Celtic Sea Salt, sea salt, mustard, ketchup (no High Fructose Corn Syrup), salad dressings (no canola oil)
- marinades (no canola oil), omega-3 mayonnaise, natural extracts such as vanilla or almond
- Reverse osmosis purified water; unsweetened herbal teas, raw vegetable or fruit juices, lacto-fermented beverages (like Kombucha – unless Candida/yeast/mold/fungus issues), coconut water
- *Limit Carbohydrates to less than 50 grams/day or less
- *Detox Diets I recommend may severely limit some of the above for a period of time
- *Consider Coffee Enemas to flush out the intestinal tract and cleanse the body
- *Add ONLY supplements that Dr. Conners has instructed – never buy things from store!
- *Study and meditate on Scripture daily, focus on what is good, holy and righteous; keep away from the negative, bad thoughts and disease-oriented thinking.
- Focus on the PROCESS not the outcome.