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Loving God more. Loving others more. Living obediently in Christ.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brussels, broccoli and cauliflower essential to your health

Brussels sprouts
Milk Thistle seed

Not everyone enjoys the flavor of Brussels sprouts.  Broccoli and cauliflower are often left off the menu when the "cook" has an aversion to eating these essential vegetables.  Sadly, many children could not identify them in the produce section.

Toxins and the body  The liver plays an important role in cleansing the toxins from the body.  Whenever there is something to be removed from the blood stream in order to protect the body's cells from potential damage, the liver can get the job done.  This is even true when heavy metals enter the blood stream.  

The role of the dynamic trio  What happens to the toxins after the liver filters them out?  They are stored. . . that is until the proper order of events takes place to bind the toxins and release them for elimination.  This is where Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower play an important dietary and liver detoxifying role.  These incredible vegetables were created with the special antioxidants, vitamins and other phytochemicals that bind to toxins in the liver in order to be carried out of the body. These three vegetables are necessary agents to detoxify the liver.

Milk thistle seed comes from the milk thistle plant (every plant part is edible).  It is the source of the phytochemical Silymarin, available in supplement form.  Milk thistle has been identified as the most potent  liver detoxifier known.  I do not believe that Silymarin by itself, without other important dietary measures in place, can completely restore a sick liver to full health.  Milk thistle seed is not available in groceries, but can be purchased online or at a natural food store.  One tablespoon a day of ground milk thistle seed for a couple of weeks post chemotherapy was an effective liver detox for my husband.  His liver function comes back very normal in all of his blood tests. 

More great sources that detox  There are other important foods that detoxify the liver at a slower pace, such as gelatinous seeds like flax and chia or cruciferous vegetables.  The blue green algae, spirulina, can bind with metals such as mercury. Some herbs like parsley and cilantro are great liver detoxifiers as well - but the dynamic veggie trio of Brussels, broccoli and cauliflower plus milk thistle seed beat all the other foods hands down! 

How can I develop a taste for them?  For those who dislike Brussels, broccoli and cauliflower, I would suggest trying broccoli and cauliflower in their raw state first.  It is the cooking process that brings out the undesirable bitter taste of the phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) for which half of the population has the genetic ability to taste (I am one of these special people).  Brussels seem to have the most bitter flavor among the three vegetables.  I have been told that roasting Brussels doesn't draw out the PTC as much as boiling, so that is how I will try to prepare them next time.  Gladly, I have loved both broccoli and cauliflower since I was very young.  The taste for these foods can be achieved through regular exposure.  Eat them often and season them up for your personal preference.  After a few tries, you will find the most tolerable way to prepare them.  Keep eating them and soon you will find that you crave them because your body has learned that these foods are useful for your health.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Strawberries, angiogenesis and weight loss

Angiogenesis is the body's ability to grow capillary blood vessels, an important function of the body which is needed for healing.  During exercise, the muscles benefit from angiogenesis, giving blood supply to any damaged tissues.  Healing is dependent on angiogenesis in the event of a cut or some other injury.

It is now understood that the body regulates a delicate balance of angiogenesis, making sure that there is not an excess or deficiency of the body's ability to supply blood vessels.  The body is actually able to block the formation of new capillaries  and prune back the supply of blood vessels when they are no longer needed.  Cancerous tumors, however, release angiogenic growth factor proteins in order to get the needed blood supply for the tumor to grow.  Without the blood supply needed to feed it, cancer cannot thrive.

There are many herbs and foods that provide anti-angiogenic properties which can effectively starve cancer cells by blocking the formation of capillaries.  Following is a non-exhaustive list of these foods.

Green tea                        Strawberries            Blackberries                     
Raspberries                      Blueberries              Orange
Grapefruit                        Lemon                   Apple
Pineapple                         Cherries                 Red grapes
Bok Choy                         Kale                       Soy beans
Ginseng                           Turmeric                 Artichoke
Nutmeg                           Licorice                 Pumpkin
Parsley                            Garlic                     Tomato

The following TED talk with Dr. Li is informational regarding anti-angiogenic foods.  He points out that foods can work together, in synergy, to provide very potent anti-angiogenic results.  He also notes that adipose tissue in the case of obesity is highly dependent on new blood vessel supply.  In a lab study, weight loss could be achieved by giving obese mice anti-angiogenic drugs.  Dr. Li also comments that nature has given us chemotherapeutic foods. Cancer patients can look at these as something that they can do for themselves by consuming a diet rich in anti-angiogenic foods.  Perhaps eating from the vast number of anti-angiogenic foods while trying to loose weight could bring great results, too. 

Dr. William Li's 2010 TED Talk

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kick the crud - White pine needle tea

There are warnings that women should not drink white pine needle tea if pregnant or planning to get pregnant.  Also, individuals with an allergy to pine should not try this.

White pine needle tea has some medicinal properties for colds, chest colds or for diseases like scurvy (vitamin C deficiency).  It is high in vitamins A and C, both of which are essential for boosting the immune system.  Pine is antiseptic and aromatic, providing help to the airway when used as a steam.  The tea is mild and could be made with other herbs such as peppermint to improve the flavor or add a bag of green tea to increase the antioxidants.

White pine is identified by its long needles, attached to the branch in groups of 5.  Another pine, the Red pine, has long needles in groups of 3.  I have read that other varieties of pine can serve as an alternative to white pine, but I don't recommend using anything other than white pine.  It is best to use needles that are green and attached near the end of the branch to ensure the youngest needles are used.

I have heard from a couple of people that this tea was what did the trick to help them beat the lingering cough going around this season.  My hubby and I are drinking it occasionally to boost our defenses in an attempt to avoid the crud!

For more tips to boost your immune system, check out my blog post from Jan. 3, 2013.

White Pine Needle Tea
1/4 to 1/2 cup white pine needles, finely chopped (I make a weak version with 1/4 cup)
3 cups nearly boiling water
honey or sweetener of choice optional

Steep for 30 minutes or overnight.  Strain, sweeten if desired, and drink hot or cold.  Tea should have a reddish color when ready to drink.  Serving size - one cup.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When to buy organic and foods lowest in pesticide

I find it very helpful to know what to shop for when I go to the grocery.  Sometimes, I have to buy fruits and vegetables that are not organic.  When should I not buy the food item at all unless I can find the organic option?  Here is a list of the "Dirty Dozen Plus" and the "Clean 15" that are safe to consume even with limited pesticides.

The following information comes from the website for the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit dedicated to informing the public in order to protect public health and environment. 

Dirty Dozen Plus
Buy these organic
Red Pepper
Sweet bell peppers
– imported
– domestic
Green Beans
Green beans
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern
Clean 15
Lowest in Pesticide
Sweet Corn
Sweet Corn
Sweet peas
- domestic
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes

Monday, January 21, 2013

Control type 1 - reverse type 2 diabetes with plant based diet

Transforming health by correcting the diet seems too simple, doesn't it?  Maybe it seems a little radical.  Perhaps it looks like quackery to some folks.  However, eating plant-based is less time consuming than checking blood sugar levels all day long, less expensive than paying the doctor and hospital, and more effective in protecting precious organs and limbs than drug therapy.  

A person in poor health has the perfect motivation necessary to take health back.  Sick people can experience renewed health through the life-saving approach of a nutritional, plant-based diet.  Michael Goldberg explains how he has seen people - who have not had diabetes as long as he - suffer from all sorts of health complications such as vision loss, obesity and amputation.  Now THAT is radical!  

Michael Goldberg keeps his type 1 diabetes in check - McDougall Program

Dr. Barnard, in the following video, explains the concept of molecular mimicry as a possible trigger for type 1 diabetes which  is a result of destroyed pancreatic tissue.  Studies first made a connection between cow's milk and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (type 1 childhood diabetes) back in the early 1990's.  Recent studies reveal that the elimination of childhood exposure to cow's milk protein can greatly decrease the chance of type 1 diabetes. 

Forks Over Knives - Dr. Neal Barnard on Diabetes

Now, here is a great explanation of how diabetics are over-insulinized (in order to chemically control the blood sugar levels) which results in fat storage, creates starvation and drives hunger.  Need I comment that high fructose corn syrup and sugar are destroying the health of our nation?

Dr. Lustig - The Skinny on Obesity episode 3

I must finish this post with something positive.  Sergei had childhood diabetes.  Not anymore.  His story is encouraging and motivating for anyone who is ready for a change.
Green Smoothie Power with Sergei Boutenko

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making almond milk

  • Soak 1 cup almonds in water 6-8 hours or overnight
  • Strain and rinse almonds thoroughly
  • Combine soaked almonds with 4 cups water in juicer, adding water evenly with almonds
  • Strain milk and refrigerate
  • Almond pulp can be saved in the freezer for use in baked goods or for making crackers     http://www.elanaspantry.com/vegan-almond-pulp-crackers/

Almond milk can be made with a juicer, Vitamix or common kitchen blender.  Our preferred ratio of almonds to water is 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water.  Any ratio is acceptable as long as you like it.  It can be made from a 1:2 (which would be difficult to strain) up to a 1:4 ratio!  The most important piece of equipment is a strainer.  I have a stainless steel strainer with a closely woven mesh.  There are nut milk bags that are made specifically for straining home made "milk".  A bag would strain out most of the nut meal that can still get through a strainer, but I don't bother to use a nut milk bag.  If using a Vitamix, the almonds can be blended completely into the water making a very rich and "creamy" milk with no need to strain.  In that case, running the Vitamix for a minute allows ample time for the machine to do a thorough job. 

We discovered that home made almond milk was absolutely delicious!   We really don't drink almond milk as a "milk beverage" unless we have an occasional hot cocoa.  Most of the time, our almond milk is the "creamer" for our morning coffee.  When we eliminated dairy from our diet, I went on a quest for a cream substitute.  Oat milk, rice milk and coconut milk fell short of my expectations.  Almond milk from the grocery store was barely tolerable, and we had a difficult time finding packaged almond milk that didn't have carrageenan in it.  (Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that is added to foods and cosmetics.  In research, carrageenan induces colon cancers and enhances growth of implanted tumors.)  So we bought a one pound bag of raw almonds, soaked them overnight, rinsed them and put them through our juicer.  We were hooked! 

Why we don't consume dairy  
  • Without a doubt, dairy contributes to the increased incidence of colon, prostate and breast cancers.  The dairy protein, casein,  enhances tumor growth.  
  • The fat in dairy products contributes to elevated cholesterol which leads to a host of metabolic diseases, especially the clogging of arteries.
  • Based on the world-wide studies of diet and disease, dairy consumption has been implicated as a contributory factor in many diseases: Allergies, Anal fissures, Chronic constipation, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, Ear infections and Multiple sclerosis to name a few.
  • It is unknown if some bovine diseases could be linked to human diseases: bovine leukemia virus and human leukemia, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) and Crohn's or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Cheese contains a high fat content.  Toxins and chemical pollutants bind with fat and are therefore found in higher concentrations in cheese.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Arthritis and inflammation treatable with diet!

It is possible to find a cure for your disease.

This girl shares her story in a "Star McDougaller" video.  She found a cure for her Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis by eating a starch based (vegan) diet.  Accidental consumption of dairy or eggs can trigger her RA.

McDougaller, Juliea Baker cured Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis with diet

Phyllis Heaphy cured RA with McDougall diet
and additional elimination of: wheat, corn, citrus

The concept of leaky gut, molecular mimicry and food as a connection between what we eat and our diseases is fascinating and makes sense to me.  There is a great deal of hope for people who are suffering with arthritis, other auto-immune diseases and diseases of metabolic syndrome.  With the motivation and understanding of the connection between food and disease, a person can take back his or her health!
Many foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties!
At the bottom of this paragraph, I have posted a good link to a list of anti-inflammatory foods.  The best foods are fruits, vegetables and sources of omega 3 fat like walnuts and flax seed.  The list includes fish, which I personally would not consider eating due to possible toxins and naturally occurring cholesterol (inflammatory agent). http://www.naturalantiinflammatory.org/anti-inflammatory-foods.html

I have mentioned before that I have soreness in joints that were previously impacted in an auto accident.  On the council of my chiropractor, I have included fresh pineapple (just 1/2 cup or less) in my diet everyday to reduce inflammation.  Along with that, we include cayenne, lime and lemon in our daily green vegetable juice.  The results have been good.  My joint stiffness has been reduced by 50%.  Perhaps I will try to eliminate the five plant allergens that were mentioned in Phyllis Heaphy's video to see if there is any connection.  The five mentioned are the following: wheat, corn, citrus, tomatoes and strawberries.

What about coffee?
  • There are studies that indicate that coffee has some anti-inflammatory properties.  One study (Carcinogenesis June 2011) shows that the phenolic phytochemicals in coffee can suppress colon cancer metastasis.  Cancer is a type of inflammation.
  • Coffee containing caffeine can cause dehydration (unless it is offset by an additional 10 oz of water per cup of coffee).  Dehydration can lead to joint pain.  
  • Coffee also raises cholesterol levels which can elevate inflammation.  A 1999 study sited in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that trials using filtered coffee (with paper filters) demonstrated very little increase in serum cholesterol whereas unfiltered coffee showed an increase in total and LDL serum cholesterol.  This is something to note for those who enjoy espresso, French press, or just like to save money on paper filters by using a basket - like I have been.

Black or green tea may be a better option as a hot beverage.  However, with a paper filter, perhaps coffee would be okay for a healthy person who has no adverse reaction to it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Eat celery . . . . for what it's worth!

Celery is powerful medicine . . . . for those who eat it!
Celery used to be a meaningless food to me.  It used to be just something that was added to soup or salads for the crunch and a little flavor.  Now I know that it is one of   many great cancer-fighting foods, designed by God for the benefit of man's health.

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of plant chemicals that have been found to provide healing power to the human body on the cellular level.  The science is "in" and has provided very positive news for everyone who is drawing breath.  Many fruits and vegetables have been studied for their healing benefits.  Celery has been found to have at least two (more are listed in article link below) dietary agents that assist in the activation of apoptosis (the targeted death of cancer cells).  The two agents are Luteolin and Apigenin.  Luteolin is also found in green pepper and plants of the mint family such as peppermint and oregano.  Other sources of Apigenin are parsley and lettuce.  Bet you didn't think lettuce could help fight cancer, either!

Everyone develops cancer cells.  The key to keeping it completely unrecognized and insignificant is to already be eating the foods that contribute to the cell suicide mechanism which has been programmed into every cell by God's design.

So there you have it!  Celery IS good for you.  Celery is great for people fighting cancer, but it is great for little kids and grown ups who are eating to live strong.  When people eat poor diets, devoid of these healing plant properties, they will eventually reap a harvest of disease.

A good summary of the benefits of celery can be found at this website regarding breast cancer and chemopreventive foods (foods that inhibit cancer growth):  http://foodforbreastcancer.com/foods/celery ; the following quote taken from the article on celery gives a more detailed list of phytochemicals that are chemopreventive (cancer-fighting)  "Celery contains several substances with suspected or demonstrated cancer fighting properties, including apigenin, apiuman, luteolin, chrysoeriol, coumarin, and several polyacetylenes and phthalides. Celery seeds also contain perillyl alcohol, which has been found to have chemopreventive activity."

Celery is specifically recommended for breast cancer - but it can help support healthy cells and fight any type of cancer, too!

Even more good news!  Celery also helps reduce inflammation, gout and high blood pressure - check out this article.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lose weight, eat more.

Another encouraging video was just posted on the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii channel.  The doctor has much to say to challenge the way we think about losing weight and getting healthy.  His prayer at the end in his native tongue is a blessing.

Terry Shintani, M.D. (lawyer, doctor, nutritionist) - "The 7 Step Health Makeover"

  • Doctors are not trained to heal.
  • Obesity is on the rise in the U.S.
  • Common diseases are related to our diet.
  • 4th leading cause of death is pharmaceuticals. 
  • (my favorite quote from this video) "Why would a doctor prescribe the 4th leading cause of death (prescription medication) for the 16th leading cause of death (diabetes)?  
  • Queen and worker bees have identical genetic information.  The queens genes express different characteristics because she is fed a different diet!
  • Epigenetics - altering gene function without altering DNA - discovery of dietary influences connected to the expression of your genes.
  • You can lose weight by eating more (increase nutritional density, whole food carbohydrates and eliminate all animal based foods).
  • The best exercise is . . . the one that you are willing to do regularly.
  • Nature won't let you get fat when you eat food in its unprocessed state.
  • Educate yourself about food.  Most people don't understand anything about eating whole foods. 
  • Animal products (or things with a mother) are the sources of all cholesterol - there is no cholesterol in plants!
  • Don't take yourself off you insulin medications without doctor supervision!
  • High carbs are not the cause of diabetes. 
  • Diabetes, GERD, high cholesterol, arthritis, and headaches can disappear with a high starch, whole food and animal-product-free diet.  You are the one who can make them disappear when you decide what you eat.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Keeping food simple, healthful and tasty

I just picked up a new recipe book, Forks Over Knives, to give me some more plant based meal ideas.  This will help especially when company comes to visit and eat in our home.  I am also called upon to make a "dish to pass" from time to time. Making food for other people brought on a lot of stress for me when we first chose to adopt the healthy path of life and eat plant based.  I was never ashamed to eat a salad for lunch, or roasted vegetables and potatoes for dinner and call it good.  But when people were invited to my home and I offered to make them dinner, the pressure was on.  It had to be tasty, exciting and convincingly nutritious.  At first, it seemed best to never invite friends to eat at my house.

Now it has been a year of eating plant based and I am feeling great.  Only occasionally do I get wound up at the thought of making a dish to pass that is tasty.  Every time I cook for company, I remember watching this video from the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii.  Karl Seff has some great advice for everyone to hear.  Good food need not be fancy, prepared with many ingredients or slaved over in the kitchen to be enjoyable.

If the flavor isn't enjoyable for me, I just eat because the food is good for me.  I am very comforted in the thought that I will continue to feel amazingly healthy, my husband has a great chance of remaining cancer free and I am being physically obedient to God instead of my stomach!

Confessions of a Low Class Vegan - Karl Seff, PhD.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who says the standard American diet causes disease?

Answer:  The USA
The Federal nutritional policy is founded on "The Dietary Guidelines for Americans."  The Dietary Guidelines Committee has written a document every 5 years since the 1980's regarding the recommendations for the American diet.  This committee is comprised of several advisory doctors, as well as a member from each the USDA and Health and Human Services.  

Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the government has stated that the standard American diet is directly related to the preventable diseases listed below.  The following link is to the pdf file of the document.

Here is an excerpt from pg 3
"The heavy toll of diet-related chronic diseases
Cardiovascular disease 
• 81.1 million Americans—37 percent of the population—have cardiovascular disease.  Major risk factors include high levels of blood cholesterol and other lipids, type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), metabolic syndrome, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. 
• 16 percent of the U.S. adult population has high total blood cholesterol.

• 74.5 million Americans—34 percent of U.S. adults—have hypertension.
• Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. 
• Dietary factors that increase blood pressure include excessive sodium and insufficient potassium intake, overweight and obesity, and excess alcohol consumption. 
• 36 percent of American adults have pre-hypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the hypertension range.

• Nearly 24 million people—almost 11 percent of the population—ages 20 years and older have diabetes.  The vast majority of cases are type 2 diabetes, which is heavily inluenced by diet and physical activity. 
• About 78 million Americans—35 percent of the U.S. adult population ages 20 years or older—have pre-diabetes.  Pre-diabetes (also called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose) means that blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. 

• Almost one in two men and women—approximately 41 percent of the population—will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.
• Dietary factors are associated with risk of some types of cancer, including breast (postmenopausal), endometrial, colon, kidney, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

• One out of every two women and one in four men ages 50 years and older will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
• About 85 to 90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by the age of 18 in girls and the age of 20 in boys.  Adequate nutrition and regular participation in physical activity are important factors in achieving and maintaining optimal bone mass."

An excerpt from pg 16 dispelling the myth that dairy helps with weight management.
"Strong evidence in adults and moderate evidence in children and adolescents demonstrates that consumption of milk and milk products does not play a special role in weight management." 

An excerpt from pp 26-27 regarding dietary sources of cholesterol 
"The body uses cholesterol for physiological and structural functions, but it makes more than enough for these purposes. Therefore, people do not need to eat sources of dietary cholesterol. Cholesterol is found only in animal foods. The major sources of cholesterol in the American diet include eggs and egg mixed dishes (25% of total cholesterol intake), chicken and chicken mixed dishes (12%), beef and beef mixed dishes (6%), and all types of beef burgers (5%).Cholesterol intake can be reduced by limiting the consumption of the specific foods that are high in cholesterol."

An excerpt from pg 45 siting benefits of vegetarianism
Research on vegetarian eating patterns
"The types of vegetarian diets consumed in the United States vary widely. Vegans do not consume any animal products, while lacto-ovo vegetarians consume milk and eggs. Some individuals eat diets that are primarily vegetarian but may include small amounts of meat, poultry, or seafood. In prospective studies of adults, compared to non vegetarian eating patterns, vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes—lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure. 

On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids); fewer overall calories; and more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index. These characteristics and other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified among vegetarians."

There are many people, many scientific studies and many resources to support the connection between diet and disease.  There are even resources to help individuals get started on a pathway toward restored health.  Check out this list of inspirational people below.

Inspirational people and their websites

Dr. John McDougall

Dr. Pam Popper - Wellness Forum

Joel Fuhrman

Dr. Neil Barnard

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn

Dr. T. Collin Campbell

Dr. Mercola

Dr. John Clark

Monday, January 7, 2013

After colorectal cancer. What we wish we had done.

This post is for the reader who is facing colorectal cancer.  
Take some time to discover all options before you start treatments.

The best part in the title of this post is "after".  It is such a blessing from God that we have witnessed His touch in our lives since my husband faced the colorectal cancer diagnosis in January of 2011.  We have experienced a happy ending to what was a deeply spiritual and physical challenge in our lives.  He has been released to our family doctor after his fourth "clear" CT scan.  He had to get a permanent colostomy midway through his treatments due to the location of the cancer.  As we look back at the journey, we have recognized a few regretful decisions.  Each regret will be covered under the heading for the various phases of my husband's treatment.  

We were in a big hurry to start treatments at the beginning. The oncologist recommended two months of chemo before surgery in an attempt to shrink the tumor and with the hope for an easier surgery.  My husband started chemotherapy, feeling that it was the only option for a chance of survival.  Chemotherapy has a very toxic effect on the body, the liver in particular, and we were very nervous when we read the pharmaceutical warnings in his oncology packet.  It seemed strange to poison a body that needed to heal.  He had 4 rounds of chemo infusions and experienced the expected side effects.  The size of his tumor was temporarily reduced by the last half of chemo infusions but he suffered from partial blockage in the rectum for the first month.  The following treatments of radiation and oral chemotherapy were ineffective in shrinking the tumor.  The tumor grew after he finished the first 4 rounds of infusions and he began to have blockage problems again before surgery.

Our diet was transitioning away from processed foods and we were eating more vegetables after my husbands surgery.  Chemo was scheduled to start back up after surgery and, by then, we had started juicing vegetables morning and evening.  The added vegetables boosted his immune system.  In fact, he only finished 3 of the 8 rounds of chemo because his immune system was working so well.  He had more symptoms or reactions to the infusions than he had during his first four rounds.  We are both very thankful that the chemo treatments were ended - primarily by our own choice, but well supported by our oncologist. 

Regret #1 - taking any form of chemotherapy.  A plant based diet can, very quickly, transform a person's health.  If we had known the healing power of plants at the time of diagnosis, we would have chosen to eat our way back to health.  This would have been worth the try even if surgery was still necessary for complete healing.

Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D. - Chemo Doesn't Affect Most Cancers!

Radiation treatments  My husband took radiation treatments every morning, Monday through Friday, for 6 weeks.  By the end of the first week, he had burns on his skin outside.  By the second week, his burns were internal.  Passing stools was excruciating because of the bloody and inflamed tumor.   From then, until well after surgery, he experienced bladder urgency and open wounds on his skin.  The radiation slowed the healing of the rectectomy, which was left as an open pelvic wound that drained and slowly filled in with scar tissue.  (The wound had to be cleaned and packed daily for 1 year.)  We discovered during post-surgery chemo treatments that the radiation burns would "flare" up.  One day, after a round of chemo, the skin on his buttocks turned red like a sunburn.  Later, it peeled, just like a sunburn.  Radiation therapy continues to  have long reaching effects on his health.  We hope, by eating living foods and providing his damaged cells with all the necessary nutrients to repair themselves or self-destruct, that radiation will be a concern of the past.  The body's cells, it is theorized, are completely replaced every 7-10 years.  The DNA is not replaced, but can be repaired.  With proper nutrition, irreparably damaged DNA will self-destruct (apoptosis).  Without proper nutrition, cells with damaged DNA can divide and become cancer.  This is why radiation can cause secondary cancers.
Regret #2 - taking radiation treatments.  The consequences far out-weighed the benefits.  In fact, we think that there were zero benefits to radiation therapy.

Ty M. Bollinger - Cancer Doctors and Money

Surgery  There was no such thing as an "easier surgery" in my husband's case.  The tumor was so low in the rectum that a complete proctectomy and anal excision was required.  No matter how big or small the tumor, my husbands recovery from surgery was going to be an horrific experience.  Furthermore, he had to adjust to a total lifestyle change of caring for a colostomy bag.  He has a favorite bit of advice when the topic of his "bag" comes up; "Don't get one of these!"  We both agree that colorectal cancer is avoidable with the proper nutrition.

Since we started eating a plant based diet a few months after his surgery, we didn't know that there might have been a way to save his rectum.  Our first choice would have been to go completely plant based, follow the Gerson therapy and try to eat our way out of disease.  

Our second choice, in hind sight, would have been to have our local surgeon do an immediate, temporary colostomy in order to relieve my husband of his symptoms from rectal blockage.  The surgery to remove the tumor could have been postponed in order to allow an opportunity for dietary change.  If, after eating plant based for a time, he still needed a complete proctectomy, the colostomy would remain and his health would have been better at surgery time.  We may not have had doctor support for this, but it would have been worth a try.  Certainly, a temporary colostomy would have improved his quality of life and ability to eat more nourishment at his sickest time.

Lastly, an option that we briefly considered at the time of diagnosis was to get the cancer out of his body - surgery first.  He could have gotten the toxicology report and had a better understanding of the staging of his cancer before jumping into any treatments.  At the start, his cancer was stage 3 due to one lymph node that was suspect in his PET scan.  Standard treatment for stage 3 colorectal cancer is 12 rounds of chemo and six weeks of radiation.  When he had surgery (remember that the tumor started to grow again before surgery), the toxicology report came back at stage 2.  By then, he had already had 4 rounds of chemo; however, the standard protocol for stage 2 does not require any chemo or radiation!  Furthermore, in the event of staging number change, the oncological protocol is to treat the patient as if the stage is the higher number (in order to be "aggressive" with the cancer).

Regret #3 - not considering more options in order to avoid a permanent colostomy.  A dietary change, and possibly a temporary colostomy, would have offered his body a chance to heal itself and given us both some time to think and research the recommended treatments.  

Good things happened throughout the experience.
Though we have a few regrets and "wish-we-would-have's", we continue to praise God for providing healing.  

  • We are thankful for so many friends and loved ones who prayed for healing and recovery.  
  • It was an act of God that he never even had a cold while going through cancer treatments!  
  • Our doctors were genuinely concerned for the best possible outcome for my husband.  His good toxicology report was celebrated by everyone. 
  • Through the journey, God taught us how to nourish our bodies for health.  It feels great.