This post is the third in the series exploring the 9 key factors that Dr Kelly Turner PhD found were present in the recoveries from advanced cancer that she studied in her book Radical Remission. Those 9 factors were:
- Radically changing your diet (Part 1 here and Part 2 here)
- Taking control of your health (here)
- Following your intuition (here)
- Using herbs and supplements (here)
- Releasing suppressed emotions (here)
- Increasing positive emotions (here)
- Embracing social support (here)
- Deepening your spiritual connection (here)
- Having strong reasons for living (here).
Today we are going to continue to explore what radically changing your diet might mean. Part 1 is here. To find out more about the book Radical Remission, go to the previous post “Being Radical – Introduction” here.
Most people who choose to use diet to recover from chronic disease switch to eating food that has been grown organically. This means that it is free of pesticides (which, along with herbicides, are thought to be a contributing factor to non-Hodgkins lymphomas. See my blog post here) and is grown in soils that are naturally rich, through composting and lying fallow, and don’t need chemical fertilisers.
Some say that pesticide usage in Australia is negligible and that the claims made by organic producers are not substantiated. Personally, having already had a diagnosis, I’d rather not risk it. I’ve made friends with all my local organic stores and with the farmers at the local farmers market. It’s just so much friendlier than the supermarket.
Whether the produce is better or not, the one thing that I have really come to understand on this journey of mine, is the interconnectedness of us all, to each other and to our environment. And organic farming is better for the environment. It protects biodiversity and the waterways (see this article about the impact on biodiversity). And a healthy environment makes for healthy people.
Although organic produce is becoming more affordable, you may still not want to buy only organic. If this is the case, then you need to know which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic, and which will be okay if you pick them up from the supermarket. You can check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen here.
Another step toward detoxifying the body is to fast. Fasting is a big topic all on its own. But regardless, it makes sense to shut to give the digestive system a rest at times and allow the body to turn its attention to other parts that need it. And interestingly, there was a recent study that confirms that a 3 day water fast can reboot the immune system. You can read about that here. I tried it but had to finish ½ a day early. I just didn’t have the reserves of fat and muscle to call on. And as we now know, my immune system was collapsing around me (more on that here).
Drinking filtered water
We know that our tap water is not as clean as the water fresh from a spring. It has been treated and various chemicals have been added to it like fluoride, chlorine and it can contain heavy metals. We still don’t really know if these things are linked to cancer (although my instinct is yes). But if the goal of changing the diet is to reduce toxicity in the body, then drinking plenty of clean purified water seems a no-brainer.
There is a large range of water filters out there to suit all types of budgets. You can get sink top filters or under sink filters. You may need to replace the trace minerals in your system since they may get filtered out, but at least the water will be clean.
And now, I just make sure that I carry enough filtered water with me wherever I go.
Making the change
Radically changing your diet is not easy for everyone. I was lucky that I have always tended emotionally to a plant-based diet and have enjoyed the food. And to be honest, when the will to live and take control of your health is strong, there really isn’t any choice. But I know for many it’s not that simple. That’s where small, sustainable changes need to be made, one step at a time. And we all need some encouragement and support to implement change.
I was greatly motivated by watching Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, May I Be Frank and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There is also a range of free films available on YouTube about the Gerson Therapy: The Beautiful Truth, Dying to Have Known, The Gerson Miracle. The premise of all of these films is simple: given the right conditions the human body can heal itself. And the right conditions inevitably involve reducing the foods that harm us and increasing those that help.
I’ve also been lucky to have incredible support at home and a team of professionals who have encouraged me. And friends who tolerate the fact that if we are to catch up, there are very few restaurants around town that cater for me. Although I have to say that since I started eating a little meat (mostly fish if I’m out) and eggs, it’s a little easier. Only a little since I’m avoiding wheat and gluten and dairy.
Getting someone in your corner
I recently had the realisation that self-help books don’t work because the effort required to undertake the changes is not encouraged by personal support. The most successful change seems to happen when there is a mentor, someone to encourage you and hold you accountable, or where there is community or fellowship to reinforce the message.
If you are someone who has trouble making lasting change in your life, and you want to change your diet for health, then a health coach might be for you. You may have seen me mention that I have been studying holistic health coaching. A health coach is someone who motivates and supports you to take responsibility for your health and wellbeing. They mentor you to help you achieve your health and lifestyle goals. Although I’ll be ready to take clients from October 2105 (go here to find out more), I’m not the only person who could potentially help you to make sustainable change. There are thousands of health coaches world wide with active and inspiring websites. I’m sure if you google it, you’ll have no difficulty finding a health coach. I’ve also put a link below.
Be happy. Be well. Just be
And so be it.
Organic Food – A Summary of the Multiple Health Benefits (2011) published by the Organic Federation of Australia.
Organic Food: Victorian Government Better Health Channel