Who doesn’t know somebody who is battling cancer? Or haven’t lost a loved one to this relentless disease? That is why I decided to write about it. I want to share what I’ve learned and shine some light on the path of those struggling with it right now. Beat Cancer is possible! It’s not easy though, it requires faith over fear, and more importantly, willingness to change. Challenges don’t happen by chance so, embrace the opportunity of seeing things from a different perspective.
It all starts inside one cell – one of the roughly 37 trillion that each one of us has in our bodies. The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all forms of life. Originally from the Latin word cellula, which means ‘small room’, cells are part of a whole and yet an organism by themselves. Their several parts, named organelles, are specialized for carrying out one or more vital functions, analogous to the organs of the human body. Similarly, every kind of cell has its function.
The human body is perfectly designed to work as an orchestra. Its cells grow, multiply, do their job, get old, and die. The body in its divine perfection also has mechanisms designed to clean up the dead cells and deal with mistakes that eventually happen. There is a whole army of white blood cells, including T-cells and macrophages, that are designed to kill old and damaged cells.
However, sometimes this orderly process breaks down, and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply forming tumors. This is a very natural, normal process in the body. Everybody has cancer cells but, a properly functioning body is designed to recognize and eliminate them. So, cancer is not the real problem but a symptom. What’s causing it to grow is a systemic, metabolic disease. Tumor growth is a result of a body that is nutrient deficient, overloaded with toxins, and stress. All of these suppress the immune system and hamper the killing cells from doing their primary job.
Seeing Up Close
I was 18 when I first saw somebody fighting cancer. A neighbor of ours was going through chemo for breast cancer and couldn’t resist. I remember seeing her coming down the stairs holding onto her husband’s arm. The thin hair and weak body made me first think she was his mom. She passed leaving 2 little kids behind, which was devastating for me at the time. After that, I’ve seen so many people suffering. My uncle and godfather passed away 12 months after his colon cancer diagnosis. The tumor metastasized to his liver in a way that gave him no reaction time. My dear cousin Aline fought her ovarium cancer for 3 years but couldn’t resist. She was only 50 and her sweet little boy was only 10. What can be more devastating than seeing a kid lose a parent?
Beautiful Bettany Krafels, my daughter’s teammate’s mom, battled her breast cancer for 4 long years. She was 40 when she got the bad news and then started going to all cancer-specialized research centers that were within her reach. Bettany tried all the chemo and radiation treatments available. It breaks my heart to think of her firstborn, at my daughter’s age, losing her mom. Lots of others are still fighting their battles, such as my dear aunt Celia, who has been fighting colon cancer for almost 23 years. Just in the past 10 years, I’ve seen lots of suffering from other dear family members, friends, and coworkers. If I knew then what I know today, I could have helped Bettany and many others.
There is Hope
In 2008, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center set out to understand what was driving the global cancer epidemic. They conducted a meta-analysis of studies in peer-reviewed journals and then published their summary report in Pharmaceutical Research. The researchers concluded that only 5-10% of all cancers have their roots in genetic defects. Remainder 90-95% are caused by a combination of diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Not surprisingly, they found that 25-30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use. Nonetheless, there was another factor even more significant than smoking – Diet!
The researchers reported diet causes 30-35% of all cancer cases worldwide — totaling more than two million deaths per year. A growing and convincing body of research has found that a healthy diet filled with a large variety of plant foods (e.g., fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, and legumes) can help prevent or even reverse cancer.
Generally speaking, we are overfed but malnourished, stuffed but starving. We are getting plenty of protein, fat, and carbohydrates while missing valuable, critical micro-nutrients: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and thousands of phytonutrients. Those compounds found in plants, like fruits and vegetables, support the body’s ability to heal and function at its optimal level.
Worse yet, some people battling cancer are feeding cancer cells by eating sugar. All cells in our body — including cancer cells — need glucose for fuel. If you’re sick, eating sugar allows cancer cells to proliferate rapidly and fuels their growth. For those looking for ways to prevent cancer, be aware – according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating high-sugar foods can lead to excess weight and body fat — excess body fat increases the risk of developing various types of cancers.
Chris Wark was diagnosed with stage IIIc colon cancer almost 20 years ago at the age of 26. He was rushed to surgery and was told he would need nine to twelve months of chemotherapy but, he refused. Instead, he radically changed his diet and lifestyle. His strategy was hyper-nourishment with tons of juicing, giant salads, fruit smoothies, and tons of fruits and vegetables from the Earth. Wark is a thriving survivor! Today he teaches the main lifestyle changes he’s done to find remission in his 3 books.
Dr. Josh Axe MD tells us about his mom’s remission journey in his book Ancient Remedies. Natural health researcher and holistic cancer coach, Nathan Crane hosts both the Conquering Cancer Summit and Documentary Series. Crane has also written Amazon’s bestseller Becoming Cancer Free alt to give information and hope to those in the battle. Ocean Robbins from Food Revolution Network has also published an e-book called Eat to Defeat Cancer. Those are just some examples, there are tons of other resources out there.
What’s in common on all survivors’ journeys is that they not only made massive changes in their diets but, they’ve also removed all sources of stress and toxins from their lives. Once you start nourishing your body with good food medicine then you have to heal emotional wounds. Emotions can cause stress which suppresses the immune system. If you are harboring negative emotions, like unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, and judgment and you’re always negative and critical of others then you are in a chronic state of stress. When your stress hormones are elevated, you’re in a pro-inflammatory and therefore pro-cancerous state.
Healing Emotional Wounds
The neuropsychologist author of Switch on Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf, created an approach to wholesome healing that is simple and yet very effective. She says: 1. Discover the source of the trauma, toxic thought, or memory; 2. Connect with somebody who can serve as a wise guide as you face your past hurts; 3. Accept what happened by acknowledging it aloud to yourself; 4. Choose to use your challenges for good.
The importance of emotional healing is also stated by Dr. Axe in his book Ancient Remedies, where he shares age-old techniques that can help you get – and stay – well. Meditation, gratitude, prayer, affirmations, and random acts of kindness were integral parts of his mom’s healing journey.
Life is a Choice
Let’s face it, it’s easier said than done but, it’s possible! You have to believe it’s possible. Let your faith be bigger than your fear. Face your challenge with a growth mindset. That’s what Chris, Nathan and so many others have done. They’ve transformed their journey into their life mission. Now they are helping thousands of other people to heal themselves.
Your diet, your lifestyle, and the way you manage stress, either promote health or promote diseases. Yes, you have a choice and, that is the key. You can turn your health around by changing the way you live your life. Be mindful of your choices! Have faith over fear!
Remember: Good is what makes you feel well!
Read more about how to use food as medicine in Inflammation.
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I’m excited to share that I just published my first e-book
A Weekend of Feeling Great!
In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.