My Evolving Cancer Diet

My diet offense is still a work in progress but it’s made me feel great so far.  My ultimate philosophy is to treat food as medicine and only eat things that will make me healthier by reducing body inflammation, boosting my immune system, and actively fighting cancer.  At the same time, I’m still working to starve the cancer out by keeping my average daily net carbs under 30g per day and protein around 46g per day.  This isn’t a hard limit and I won’t deny myself something that my body seems to want.  Since adopting this way of eating in October 2018, excluding fast days, I’ve been comfortably around these numbers.

What I do not eat

  • Processed food, at all. Refined sugar, grains, any of it.  90% of what I buy has 1 ingredient. Very few things such as sauerkraut will have up to 3 (organic cabbage, water, sea salt). Edit: I make my own sauerkraut now.
  • Mammals. I know I didn’t eat mammals before but it’s worth noting that I would remove them from my cancer diet even if I did.
  • Dairy and Eggs.  I’m open to pasture-raised eggs in moderation but don’t have access to them here in Hong Kong.
  • Alcohol.  I hope someday to enjoy a glass of red wine on special occasions but for now I can tell alcohol does more harm than good.  I have just as much fun with Brad hanging at a bar drinking sparkling water.
  • Grains & Legumes. I have some Ezekiel bread buried in the freezer for post-radiation when I can’t keep anything else down but it’s for emergency use only. I’ve been avoiding all grains and don’t see them having a role in my diet in the future. Perhaps I’ll eat small amounts of sprouted legumes someday but for now lentils, beans, and peanuts are all off the menu,

What I eat in very limited amounts

  • Fatty Fish. I eat high-quality, wild-caught, raw salmon 2-3 times a month. I also supplement with fish oil almost daily to keep my omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids balanced.
  • Sweet Fruit. I occasionally incorporate dark-skinned berries, red grapes, or kiwi when I can do so and still stay within my carb limits since they’re great for fighting cancer and reducing inflammation. “Technical fruits” like avocado, cucumber, tomato, and squash I eat frequently.
  • Unfermented soy. I limit myself to a cup or two of organic soy milk a week and edamame once or twice a month. I do have fermented soy more frequently in the form of miso, tamari, and tempeh. I’m just not ready to dive into the whole soy debate yet.
  • Poultry. I don’t eat it intentionally anymore but I wouldn’t freak out if I ate homemade chicken stock once or twice a month (what the hipsters call “bone broth” even though that is literally the definition of “stock”) made from high-quality, pasture-raised chicken bones, some sea salt, and maybe an organic onion and/ or leek greens. 

What I (try to) eat daily

  • Green Tea. At least 2 cups a day – even on fast days – for its antioxidants. I never used to like the taste but it’s grown on me.
  • Raw garlic.  So good for immune health. I try to get 2-3 cloves a day in meaning it accounts for 10% of my daily carb intake. When there’s not a convenient way to mix it into my meals, I chop crushed cloves and swallow them like pills.
  • Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, more cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula, dark lettuce, more kale and cabbage. Whatever is available organic in the market that day.  I eat them raw and will probably start juicing or doing the green smoothie thing soon to get more in.
  • Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil. So many good omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Turmeric. It’s just notorious for it’s cancer fighting powers.  I eat a little nub of raw turmeric or 1-3 tsps of the ground organic stuff almost every day mixed with black pepper and some kind of warm fat to increase bioavailability.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Anecdotally anti-inflammatory with the potential to reduce blood sugar levels. That’s all good but I honestly do this one as much for the taste.  A big glass of cold, distilled water with a tablespoon of Bragg’s is a treat for me.
  • Medicinal mushrooms including reiki, turkey tail, maitake and shiitake.  Revered in alternative medicine for their anti-cancer properties, I take these in extract or powdered form and mix the whole form into my diet whenever I can. I’m so lucky to live where whole maitake is a supermarket staple.
  • Brazil nuts.  I have 2 Brazil nuts a day for the selenium which is important for immune health. They also help boost my caloric intake. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the need to soak them so for now I eat them raw and un-soaked.
  • Sauerkraut, water kefir, and other fermented food. Probiotics that are good for the gut and by extension, the immune system.  I’ve been fermenting organic sauerkraut at home as well as making water kefir and coconut yogurt.
  • Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Alfalfa and Spirulina. I take a big scoop of these dried greens mixed with water most days. I don’t look forward to it but it’s not as gross as some of the other things I’ve tried.

What else I eat lots of

  • Vegetables. So many raw vegetables.  Organic as much as possible but I’ll settle for conventional of the “clean 15.”
  • Nuts. I try not to go too crazy on the nuts but aside from my 2 daily Brazil nuts I have about 4-5 servings of raw, organic almonds, macadamia nuts and walnuts a week.
  • Omega-3 rich seeds. Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.  These help balance the omega-6’s I get from nuts and provide protein, vitamin E, minerals, and more. I don’t depend on them, though, and continue to take fish oil supplements for a more usable form of omega-3.
  • Sea vegetables. Lots of minerals like iodine plus anti-inflammatory and possible anti-cancer benefits.
  • Avocados. So healthy and so delicious. I eat about 5 a week.

What I supplement (almost daily)

Has grown into it’s own post.

Macro Breakdown

My current macro target is around 10% carbs / 15% protein / 75% good fats. This seems low in protein but remember that I’m trying to starve my cancer and the body converts excess protein to sugar. The ability for my healthy cells to metabolize fat is my secret weapon.

A note about costs

Our grocery bill shot up when we started buying organic but it was offset on savings in alcohol and eating out. Over time I’ve found less expensive sources of organic produce (CSA-style delivery) and have started making my own staples (nut milks, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt, etc). Overall I think we may have captured some savings.

In summary

This may not sound like a wildly delicious way of eating but, with the exception of the the rare experimental recipe gone awry, I really enjoy all my meals and snacks.  In my reading and research on all this stuff I’ve come across people saying it’s too hard to give up sugar, meat and dairy.  I just can’t understand that thought process when it’s a matter of life and death.

Check out some tasty recipes here.

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