*I am not a dietician nor a doctor the below is based on my research done when helping my dad navigate through his cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Diet when diagnosed with cancer
Diet is a super difficult subject for most of us and even more so for cancer patients… Naturally, you want to consume more cancer-fighting foods and compounds. I’d be surprised if your doctor gave you any sensible advice on the diet when going through the cancer treatment beyond ‘eat everything’.
Usually, oncologists do not study nutrition, so they can’t nor want to advise on diets when fighting cancer.
There is so much complexity as to which foods to eat, which to avoid, and what cancer thrives on.
There is also an emotional element involved in food being our comfort when the times are har.
Many patients have a hard time when trying to change their diets or trying intermittent fasting*.
*( When the human body is hungry, it eats itself, it does a cleaning process, it starts by eliminating all sick cells, cancer, and aging cells. Hunger keeps the body young and fights diseases like diabetes. During hunger, the body makes special proteins that are created only under certain circumstances. And when they are made, the organism selectively gathers these proteins around sick, cancerous or dead cells, dissolves them and restores them and benefits the organism of nutrients produced from this process.
This is how recycling is done during fasting. Scientists have achieved through lengthy specialized studies that the process of autophagy requires unusual conditions that force the organism to do that process. These special circumstances include a person abstaining from eating for 16 hours (cycle 8/16).
Humans should function normally during this period. This process should be repeated for some time to achieve maximum cleansing of the body and not to reactivate sick cells. It is recommended to repeat the process of hunger and thirst one or two days a week according to Yoshinori Ohsumi – Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.)
Cancer patients that go beyond the standard treatment of care or those focusing on the metabolic approach to fighting cancer usually go for a plant-based diet, some cancer patients do well on keto though. For some cancers, e.g. the gastro-related keto may be a bad idea due to the fat load ‘thrown at’ the organs that are already burdened with the tumors. You can also research Gerson therapy.
Diet was a super difficult subject to research and plan for my dad due to many factors. Nonetheless the more I have been learning about it I am of the opinion that nutrient-dense and low inflammatory plus low glycemic load– not index – foods are key to keeping anyone well.
Gut health ahead of any treatment
It is super important to take care of one’s gut flora and gut wall lining and I don’t mean to but loads of probiotics as the jury on them is out!
One is probably best to stock these especially if they are starting chemotherapy in a few weeks or months’ time:
- kefir or water kefir drink
- kombucha – beware this product contains some low amount of sugar but there are many with natural sweeteners / you can do your own kombucha if you get a scooby starter kit
- kimchi or sauerkraut – ensure whichever you get it’s unpasteurized as the pasteurization process or vinegar addition kills all the good microbes!
- if u eat meat go for grass-fed & organic
Superfood salad recipe
Below you will find a superfood salad recipe I and my husband eat daily!
If you follow various metabolic approaches to your diet and try to limit glutamine (e.g. IGF) as per Jane’s McLelland’s metro map you may wish to skip foods marked in red.
1. Red gem lettuce – a small one
2. Quinoa (tricolor boiled)- 1 cup, sprouted the night before and boiled afterward. Alternatively cooked in an instant pot for 3 mins.
3. Organic tomatoes – a handful of them
4. A few radishes chopped
5. 1 x Avocado
6. Smoked fish (trout or wild salmon) – a small piece or anchovies
7. 1-2 Eggs
8. 50g Bleu cheese
9. Celery stalk
10. a Handful of spinach
11. 1TBS Olive oil + vinegar
12. A dollop of natural kefir
13. Pan ‘fried’ without oil pumpkin n sunflower seeds for garnish and extra nutrients
14. Freshly ground flax seeds for omega 3 and lignans
15. A pinch of nutritional yeast for extra minerals & B12
16. Microgreens if you didn’t add any steamed broccoli or another cruciferous vegetable(s).
Superfood salad – other additions
You can add other things to this salad. I often add sauteed onion (I saute as it’s easier to digest), steamed (the healthiest way to prepare veg) courgette, pan-fried or raw sweet peppers or sweet potatoes. It’s really super easy to mix and create a version you like or mix n match, so it’s not ‘boring’ over time.
Other nutrients packed & cancer-fighting foods
Carrot juices are also amazing in nutrient content. Beetroot and pomegranate juice are great for boosting blood formation post chemo, one just needs to be careful as they contain some natural sugar too.
For blood formation post-treatment you may try to get papaya leaf extract.
Whatever you do please DON’T use seeds oils they are highly pro-inflammatory & toxic when heated.
Of course, there are many more cancer-fighting foods.
However, here I wanted to focus on simple vegetables and some protein and legumes. This is to give you an idea of how to create a salad that is not only using cancer-fighting foods but is filling. Furthermore, this salad can be eaten daily as its content can be differentiated so it’s not ‘boring’.