Nutrition: Your Valuable Ally in the Fight Against Cancer

My experience with using nutrition to fight cancer goes back many years starting with my macrobiotic studies with Denny and Judy Waxman.  Back in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s there was very big news in Philadelphia about a local hospital executive, Dr. Anthony Sattilaro, whose body was riddled with cancer.  With only a few weeks to live, per his doctors, he began the macrobiotic diet and overcame his disease.  He wrote a book about it, Recalled By Life, and suddenly eating brown rice and miso soup became extremely popular as an alternative treatment for cancer.

I learned how to prepare macrobiotic meals for people with degenerative illness and saw many of them make dramatic improvements that not only greatly extended their lives, but more important they were able to expand their quality of life, quality of joy and outlook.  So I have first-hand experience that nutrition plays a huge roll in fighting cancer.

And now I introduce to you Jillian McKee as my guest blogger!   Jillian has been the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance for over three years.  She is enthusiastic about spreading vital information about complementary and alternative medicine and how it can be used in conjunction with cancer therapy.

Jillian has graciously offered to enlighten us and share a link to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.  (For those who aren’t sure, mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.)

Nutrition: Your Valuable Ally in the Fight Against Cancer

By Guest Blogger, Jillian McKee

Cancer can be a terrifying disease. Those who have been diagnosed should be assured that cancer-fighting technology has improved dramatically over the past several decades, and their prognosis for most types of cancers is far better than it was for their parents and grandparents. Some of this research has lead to the conclusion that some fairly straightforward concepts, such as proper nutrition, can have a significant impact on the outcome of the battle.

Until roughly sixty years ago, little attention was paid to nutrition. Starting in the 1960s, a nutrition revolution took place through the medical world that spread into many aspects of modern life; one simply has to look at how much baseball players and other athletes improved through the 1960s to see this effect. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, studies consistently showed the symbiotic relationship nutrition and cancer treatments had with each other. Today, there is no debate: Proper diet leads to better outcomes.

Some of the results shatter notions of health prevalent in the 1950s and earlier. In the past, meat was valued as the best food to achieve good health and that fruits and vegetables had little effect on one’s health. Today, science has indicated that meat itself increases factors that can contribute to the development and progression of cancer, and cancer patients should take steps to gain their protein through other means. Beans and legumes are a great source of protein, iron and other valuable nutrients that the body uses to fight against cancerous activity and growth.

With a proper mix of fruits and vegetables, cancer patients can ensure that their body has the tools necessary to fight the cancer as effectively as possible. The human body has a variety of techniques it utilizes to prevent cancerous activity, and proper nutrition helps the body to hone these techniques. Further, good nutrition leads to better general health, which allows the body to focus on defeating cancer instead of maintaining other systems. The latest research has emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy state of mind throughout the treatment process; positive thinking has a measurable effect. Proper nutrition helps maintain this mindset even when the effects of various cancer treatments have a draining effect on the patient.

Focusing on nutrition also gives patents something to focus on while treatment is underway. Too often, patients feel overwhelmed and start to believe that their fate is wholly in the hands of their doctors. By focusing on aspects of the battle that they can control, patients can direct their attention towards areas they can influence. By educating themselves about nutrition and honing their diet as well as possible, patients can feel that they are working in concert with their doctors.

Whether using nutrition to fight mesothelioma cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer or any other form of cancer, patients have a strong influence on their eventual results. By learning how to best balance their nutritional needs and making it a part of their treatment protocol, patients can have a significant impact on their outcomes.

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Quick Cooking Tip – Parsley!

Here’s a little tip for getting the most out of your cooking time, especially in the summer when most of us would really like to create fast, bright, nutrition-packed dishes without using a lot of heat.

The tip is:  P A R S L E Y

Parsley

Parsley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the stuff that nearly every restaurant uses for a garnish on your plate.  You know, the little green sprig of greens on a tiny stem that add color to the otherwise medium-dull plate of food.

I had never thought of parsley as a vegetable, as in—something you actually eat—until I met my friend Carolyn years ago and went to her house for lunch.  She served parsley sandwiches!  She used some homemade whole-grain bread with a bit of mayo, sliced tomatoes from her garden, a few slices of red onion and a huge bunch of parsley.

This turned out to be a delightful sandwich!  I have indulged in parsley sandwiches ever since.  I happen to prefer the “Italian” parsley which is the flat-leafed variety.  And yes, if you do eat the little sprig served as a garnish, chlorophyll-rich parsley will help you cleanse your breath.  Parsley is often eaten raw but it can also be added to cooked dishes.

English: Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, leaf. ...

English: Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, leaf. Deutsch: Petroselinum crispum, Apiaceae, Petersilie, Blatt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parsley can be washed, cut and dropped into a dish you are cooking and will rapidly turn bright green.  When it is bright, it is done.  This delicate culinary herb takes almost no cooking at all yet it has powerful nutritional properties.  Usually I add parsley to a dish I’m cooking and turn off the stove. Gorgeous!

Parsley is a nutritional powerhouse!  For one thing it is a good source of Vitamin K. You can learn more about the vitamins and minerals in parsley here:  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/parsley.html

If you want to, you can wash an entire bunch of parsley by filling your sink or a bowl full of cold water and immersing the entire bunch still tied together.  Shake it around and get all the sand and dirt out, then drain the bunch and untie it.  That way you will not be chasing around small sprigs of the stuff in your wash bowl.