by Andrew Scholberg
Every spring I send one of my reporters to the annual Annie Appleseed Cancer Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida to bring you a report on the latest treatments. This is the fourth of several articles reporting on treatments discussed during the conference.
Diet is the foundation of many natural and alternative cancer treatments. In fact, most natural and alternative cancer doctors agree that eating the right food is important whether you’re treating cancer or trying to prevent it.
However, what these doctors—and many cancer survivors— don’t agree on is what should comprise a cancer-fighting diet. At this year’s Annie Appleseed Cancer Conference, a number of doctors and cancer survivors spoke on their view of the best way to let “food be thy medicine.”
Today we’re going to take a brief look at some of their ideas, starting with Dr. Rodrigo Rodriguez, M.D.
Dr. Rodrigo Rodriguez is one of Mexico’s top cancer doctors and the founder of the International BioCare Hospital in Tijuana.
I’ve personally toured the International BioCare Hospital several times and have interviewed Dr. Rodriguez and a number of his patients there. I’ve always been impressed by his common sense approach to medicine.
Many of his patients at the Tijuana hospital are Amish people who travel there from all over America. When the Amish get cancer, they generally travel to Mexico for treatment.
“Food is medicine. If I could only use one medical treatment, it would be the kitchen,” Dr. Rodriguez declared. “You should think of your body as a Lamborghini. You can’t run a Lamborghini on cheap gas. Great performance can’t be achieved with poor fuel. Feed your body accordingly.”
A nutritious eating plan is the #1 cancer treatment
In his talk at Annie Appleseed, Dr. Rodriguez said the body has an inclination towards health, but we sabotage it by making unwise lifestyle choices. As a result, he claimed, 70 percent of people will die of a chronic inflammatory disease — “the big disease of our lifetime.”
In fact, 2014 was the last year the U.S. life expectancy increased. It’s been dropping every year since.
Statistics show that people are dying younger, sometimes in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. According to Dr. Rodriguez, “This generation of parents may be the first to bury their kids. We see a lot of cancer within families: they eat the same garbage. They have the same lifestyle. That’s what we have to correct.”
To make a point about the connection between diet and immune health, Dr. Rodriguez described this common Western-style eating plan: Breakfast: two eggs, bacon, and white bread. Lunch: burger and coke. Supper: 16-ounce steak and more white bread.
He told the attendees, “You gave nothing to your intestinal flora. Nothing! With that kind of eating plan it’s going to start to die. The only bacteria that will survive are the bacteria you don’t want in our body. You’ll lose the integrity of the gut, which causes inflammation. The intestinal tract is crucial for healthy white blood cells and robust immunity!”
Dr. Rodriguez described his BioCare system of cancer treatment as a pyramid.
At the bottom of the pyramid is the foundation of good health: clean air and water, a nutritious eating plan, beneficial flora in the intestines, exercise, rest, sleep, and reduced stress.
Farther up the pyramid are digestive enzymes, enemas and colonics, nutritional supplementation, far-infrared sauna, antioxidants, selenium, IV nutrition, liver protectors, and chelation.
At the top of the pyramid are hyperthermia, immune stimulants, autologous stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma, and dendritic cell vaccines. Longtime readers of Cancer Defeated will be familiar with these treatments. Dendritic cells, for example, are rare immune cells, usually from a patient’s own body, that can be made into a vaccine to produce an anti-tumor response in the body.
As for cancer drugs, Dr. Rodriguez considers them pretty much useless. He said that when a cancer doctor gets sick and hears the words “Doctor, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer,” it puts the fear of God into them. That’s because oncologists “know they have nothing to control it.” Indeed, when oncologists get cancer, studies show that many of them refuse to take the chemo drugs that they routinely bully their cancer patients into taking.
“BioCare is anti-inflammatory and supports the intestinal flora,” Dr. Rodriguez explained. He recommends eating more produce and plant-based proteins such as legumes. “Chickpeas are the vegetable equivalent of ‘meat.’ Lentils are high in protein too.”
However, it’s not only foods in your diet that fight inflammation, but also lifestyle. Dr. Rodriguez went on to say that, “exercise is a potent anti-inflammatory strategy! Exercise! Move!” He recommended walking as an exercise. For those who are unsteady on their feet, he suggested going to Walmart for exercise, using a cart as a “walker.”
She fired the doctor who started bullying her
One of the highlights of every Annie Appleseed conference is the patient panel. This year’s moderator, Julia Chiappetta, explained how mammograms missed her breast cancer, which she discovered herself in 2000 when she felt a lump.
Julie underwent a lumpectomy, and doctors then told her the cancer was aggressive and that she needed a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The doctors were adamant, saying, “Don’t come back to me unless you’re going to do chemo.” She said no to all that and fired them.
Instead, Julie leaned on her faith, praying, trusting in Jesus, and realizing that she’d be fine whether she lived or died. Then, she dramatically changed her diet and lifestyle.
Julie threw out all of the toxic products in her house, including her microwave oven. She began eating a raw food, 100 percent vegan diet and broke up with her fiancé. Her breast cancer disappeared—naturally. That was 20 years ago.
Rhonda Kodijayan was another panel member who recovered from breast cancer.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
takes a nutritional approach, too
Three years ago, doctors told Rhonda she needed a mastectomy. Another physician recommended a lumpectomy and chemotherapy, so she opted for a double lumpectomy and started taking a chemotherapy drug. She experienced horrendous side effects and decided not to continue.
Instead, she followed the advice of a doctor of oriental medicine, who said, “We have to build up your immune system.” He recommended various vitamins and herbs.
She started taking vitamins A, C, E, and selenium and zinc. She added melatonin, turkey tail mushrooms, various Chinese herbs, and mistletoe, and she exercises three times each week. She also swears by green tea, saying, “Cancer hates tea.”
Then there was Joseph Chammas with perhaps the most amazing recovery of them all.
Raw food diet saves man
from terminal colon cancer
In 2008, Joseph was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer with metastasis to the liver and lymph nodes. His doctors gave him 18 months to live even with aggressive treatment. Joseph felt so miserable in the hospital while undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments that he swore he would never go back if he got out.
When he was discharged, Joseph made some radical changes. His first task was to change his thinking so he no longer believed the doctor’s prediction that he had only 18 months to live. He said that if he’d continued believing that doctor, he would’ve died within 18 months.
“You have to take your power back. You’re not a victim,” Joseph said. “You’re either going to get out or not. But follow your route and let the chips fall where they may. Fear is the first thing you need to release, and then follow your passion.”
Next, Joseph undertook a raw, 100 percent vegan diet as well as regular infrared saunas and rebounding (mild bouncing on a mini-trampoline, which moves lymphatic fluid).
Joseph went so far as to start growing his own food on raised beds at his home. One room inside of his house became a sprout room. Soon Joseph started feeling good and strong, and 12 years later, he has stayed on that path.
Gerson diet protocol heals breast cancer
The last panelist was Elisa Gorman. When she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer a year ago, doctors recommended a double mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation. But she had a strong feeling that she should just say no, so she did. Instead, Elisa read the book Radical Remission, which is about patients who proved cancer death sentences wrong.
She found a good way to handle any oncologist who tried to bully her into taking chemo. With tape recorder in hand, she would ask the doctor, “If I do chemo, how much money will you make off me?” That’s an embarrassing question for oncologists, because they get a 50 percent kickback on chemo drugs, according to Ms. Gorman. [Editor’s note: This is broadly true of oncologists in independent practice but not of those associated with a hospital.]
In many cases, if a patient’s insurance company is billed $10,000 a month for a chemo drug, $5,000 a month goes into the oncologist’s pocket. About half of oncologists’ income is from chemotherapy profits.
Elisa was not in good overall health. Bourbon on the rocks was her favorite drink, and she was 60 pounds overweight. She found a naturopathic oncologist, gave up her bourbon habit and lost her excess weight following the Gerson protocol, a famous cancer treatment plan that includes a vegan diet, vegetable juicing and regular coffee enemas to detoxify the body. Her tumor shrank to the point where a lumpectomy could be done.
Now she’s cancer-free and still follows the Gerson eating plan. In addition, she takes weekly nutritional IV treatments, does infrared saunas four days a week as well as ozone treatments, and she purchased a Bemer — a pulsed elctromagnetic therapy mat — that she uses on a daily basis to optimize blood flow throughout her body. Her concluding advice was, “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.”
It’s important to note that, in my experience, certain dietary plans like Gerson are more effective in certain cancers than in others. So, if you’re undertaking dietary therapy to treat cancer I encourage you to examine the research on that therapy in your specific cancer.
Cancer Defeated‘s general advice to cancer patients—and to anyone wanting to prevent this terrible disease—is to eat organic foods where possible, focusing on lots of fresh produce, minimize carbohydrates, consume meat in moderation, avoid processed foods and sugar at all costs, as well as minimize or eliminate alcohol.
Another part of nutritional cancer therapy isn’t only eating, it’s NOT eating, too.
Should cancer patients fast?
Dr. Carol Lourie, N.D. spoke to the Annie Appleseed audience about the value of fasting for certain cancers and in certain patients.
She remarked that fasting is seeing a resurgence in medicine now that science reports more benefits of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and periods of eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, the way a diet would, but rather when you should eat them to maximize health.
To get the benefit of intermittent fasting, you have to fast for at least 14 hours out of 24, and eat all of your food within a ten-hour window. Dr. Lourie said patients can work up to that level. It’s also possible to do a more severe intermittent fast by eating within an eight-hour window and fasting for 16 hours.
Dr. Lourie explained that cancer cells need food, so patients who fast before taking chemotherapy could increase the effectiveness of the drug. During fasting, the normal cells go into protective mode, while the cancer cells crave food and then gorge on the chemotherapy drugs. What’s more, with fasting, patients experience fewer and less severe side effects.
Another system of fasting that Dr. Lourie suggested is “periodic fasting.” You fast for an entire day and then you eat normally for the next two days, followed by another all-day fast and two more days of eating, etc.
She mentioned a third fasting system called the “5-2” plan: eat normally for five days, then fast for two full days in a row, then five more days of eating, two more days of fasting, etc.
Avoid water fasts for this reason
Dr. Lourie warned against water-fasting by saying that this type of fasting is not as effective as people might believe. Water fasting, she explained, is “not great” for intestinal flora and instead of supporting these beneficial bacteria required for a strong immune system, can kill them off.
Instead, intermittent fasting or caloric restriction is more beneficial because it doesn’t damage your intestinal flora.
Is fasting for everyone? No.
Dr. Lourie said those cancer patients who are undernourished, underweight, or at risk for cancer-related cachexia (a wasting away of muscle and fat tissue) shouldn’t fast. Others who should avoid it include those who have severe metastatic disease, abnormal liver function, diabetes, or hypoglycemia (unless you’re working with a qualified clinician).
How you come off a fast is almost as important as what you did during the fast. Dr. Lourie said, “Don’t eat a hamburger when you come off a fast.” She recommended bone broth, vegetable juice, and herbal tea instead.
We’ll talk more about the latest research on fasting in cancer patients in an upcoming article.