Nutrition for Cancer

Have you changed your diet since being diagnosed or since a friend or family member has?

The Earth Diet, Cancer-Free with Food by Liana Werner-Gray

It may seem overwhelming, but Liana Werner-Gray has done all the work for all of us to make it easier. She is a certified nutritionist, natural food chef and four-time Best-selling author of The Earth Diet, Cancer-Free with Food which is in the top 100 cancer books of all time (foreword by Mark Hyman, MD.), and 10-Minute Recipes and most recently Anxiety-Free with Food which ranked as the #1 best seller on amazon for Neuropsychology.

Liana started as her blog The Earth Diet went viral in 2009 as she overcame many health issues through nutrition; she believes that food is medicine. Liana is the Resident Health and Nutrition Coach at Complete Wellness NYC and shared some tips with MCF and recipes to get started!

If I were diagnosed with cancer today....

If I were diagnosed with cancer today, the first thing I would do is clean up my diet. I would want to know that this aspect of my treatment was taken care of. We never go wrong by adding nutrient-rich foods into our diets. All the recipes in my book are healing.

 Second, I would look at ways to quickly switch out refined sugar with more natural sugars. If you are like me, with a liking for or addiction to sugar, this step is critical. When you have cancer, every time you put something unhealthy into your body you are essentially feeding cancer—and cancer loves sugar. Of course, I don’t want you to feel guilty or put extra mental stress on yourself if you have cancer and feel attached to eating processed foods and sweet foods right now. There are tools you can use to help break the stranglehold of sugar addiction on you. One of these is to feed yourself ultra-nutritious and delicious meals to reduce your cravings. In my book I go more in-depth with teaching you the Upgrade Approach, which will help you continuously improve your choices.

In summarizing the work of experts with comprehensive, authoritative knowledge of nutrition in relation to cancer, I can report that the conclusions they unanimously draw are that:

  • Nutrition matters when it comes to preventing and healing cancer.
  • Certain nutrients are most effective for fighting cancer overall, as well as for healing certain types of cancer.
  • If we eat appropriately, it may be possible to avoid ever getting cancer.

We need to cut the “usual suspects” from our diets—meaning, the refined sugars, refined oils, refined carbs, refined gluten, processed meats, GMO foods, and foods grown with pesticides and herbicides, or laden with an excessive number of chemical ingredients. I wrote my book in a super simple way so that you could read the sections of it relevant to your situation and learn what food you need to eat and what to avoid in a day if you wanted—just in case you got diagnosed with cancer today. My heart goes out to you, if that’s the case. But you should know, I have confidence in you and your ability to heal. You are powerful!

3 of my favorite recipes

Chocolate Balls (made with cacao)

Cacoa balls help with cancer

Beet Juice

Beet Juice for Cancer

Immune Boosting Tea with Ginger

Ginger Tea helps with cancer

Chocolate - A Top 15 Cancer Healing Food

I am a strong advocate for the healing power of cacao. Cacao is the main ingredient in pure chocolate before it is made into  the treat as we know it. 

Usually, after cacao is harvested, it is taken and heat-processed to make it into cocoa powder. Because of the heat, cocoa does not have as many nutrients as a raw cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is very high in nutrients and minerals.

Cacao is superhigh in magnesium, a mineral that relaxes our muscles and eases pain in the body; it’s no wonder that we crave chocolate! Cacao contains polyphenolic compounds that are highly beneficial to our health. It has also been proven by the science community to be an anti-inflammatory with anti-tumor activities.68  Cacao has been shown to have many potential anticancer compounds because of its high antioxidant count (40 times that of blueberries!). It has the ability to reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of obesity, and improve cardiovascular circulation.

By the way, chocolate can be healthy so long as it’s eaten in a “clean” form—without all the crazy ingredients that are usually added, like GMO dairy, soy lecithin, and refined white sugar. Raw cacao powder is a glorious gift from God, but it’s not for everyone because it is high in caffeine. If you want the antioxidant goodness of cacao in chocolate form, purchase a clean chocolate. (I offer a brand on my website.) The physiological effects of caffeine and theobromine, the most abundant methylxanthines in cacao, are notable. Theobromine is a heart stimulant and vasodilator—meaning, it widens blood vessels. It is used to treat high blood pressure and is also a diuretic. All these benefits assist in keeping the body in a state less hospitable to cancer. A study showed that theobromine might be extremely effective in preventing human glioblastoma (brain tumors).

Hydration beyond Water

Without sufficient hydration, our cells simply won’t function properly. And when our cells aren’t functioning properly, things go wrong. Then cancer can emerge or flourish. With juices, you can boost your antioxidant levels, immune function, and metabolic activity, and regulate your blood sugar, body fat, cholesterol and lipid levels, and hormone levels.  The health improvements that come from drinking juice every day are remarkable. This is one of the world’s best cancer-fighting strategies.

Nutrition tips for cancer

Everyone’s cancer journey is unique and their path to wellness is individual as well.  A certified health coach can help with everything from nausea to sleeplessness, to rebuilding strength and gaining or losing weight. Survivorship is increasingly common but how people eat, move, and manage stress are essential pieces to that success.

Meet Yonni Wattenmaker, of YonAppetit, who has also been the Executive Director of Breast Cancer Alliance.  Yonni is also a certified integrative nutrition coach.  Yonni’s grandparents both had cancer and Yonni had a scare with basal cell carcinoma last summer.  She has taken all of her knowledge and passions and experiences to help cancer patients with nutrition.  Yonni is offering 3 FREE 15 Minute Consultations to the first My Cancer Family members who reach out to her!

If someone on a cancer journey is going to cut out 3 things, what should that be?

There is no one size fits all approach to recovery but limiting sugar and alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco are three good places to start.  

What 3 things should everyone on a cancer journey add to their diet?

Again, each story is different, and there are so many who struggle with intolerances to dairy, gluten, nuts and so on, but overall green leafy vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains are important for everyone.

If people don’t cook and don’t have a large budget, can you suggest 3-5 meal options that are healthy and easy to do that will support their overall health while going through a cancer journey

  1. Oatmeal made with water with walnuts and hemp seeds
  2. Vegetable soups and stews with beans 
  3. Leafy green salads with lean protein
  4. Hummus with cut veggies, apple and whole wheat pita
  5. Quinoa with sautéed veggies