Thursday, August 17, 2017

How to Eat

How to Eat

I recently looked on the internet for information about my plantar fasciitis. One article says it may be caused by inactivity, and the suggested treatment is rest. It pretty much cured itself while I was puzzling out what to do, but this is nevertheless an indication of what it’s like to get answers to health-related questions.

Kim and I have been trying to figure out how to eat in order to control, if not cure, her cancer. We are convinced that diet is important. There are ways to make your body an unpleasant host for cancer cells – much the way a heavy metal concert makes me feel. While the trifecta of surgery, radiation and chemo are vitally important, it’s also important that we play an active role – more active than just lying there to be almost but not quite killed by the treatment. We need to do what we can. Within reason.

We have read a few books on the subject of diet and cancer, and we’ve done some searching on the internet, all of which resulted in a few clear steps and a lot of confusing contradictions.

            What is clear?
·      Avoid sugar – not just added sugar, not just high fructose corn syrup, but also sugar that occurs naturally in fruit juices. This sugar point was made dramatically clear to me when Genne’ explained that PET Scans work by injecting you with a radioactive sugar solution, and the sugar goes right to the cancer tumors to feed them. I’m reading a book now about the way cancer cells metabolize glucose, and that’s what defines them as cancerous. Unfortunately, alcohol has a lot of sugar in it. To offset that, one of my doctors grudgingly admitted that people who have a drink or two a day tend to live longer than people who don’t. I’m just sayin’. . ..
·      Eat fresh vegetables, especially those in the cruciform family that includes broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and other veggies that lots of people don’t like. Fortunately, Kim and I like them, though not for breakfast.
·      Avoid white flour. In fact, avoid most carbs, as the body quickly converts them to sugars. In fact, avoid pretty much anything that is white, from rice to potatoes to vanilla ice cream. (White Supremacists take note.) The jury is still out on milk and yogurt. Some sources say to avoid all dairy, others say dairy is OK if it’s grass fed, and that probably means if the grass is organically grown and the cow shit fertilizing the grass is also organic.
·      Avoid nasty chemicals, which means most processed food, and probably anything that is not organic. Read the labels. Of course, none of this applies to the chemicals that make up your chemotherapy.
·      Water is good if you are not drawing well water from a source near a farm. And don’t drink from the trough the horses drink from.

After that, it gets a bit murky. Some say eggs are good, others say just eat the whites, but others say just eat the yolks. Butter is OK as long as the cows from which it is derived were grass fed. Grass, apparently, is good.  It’s pretty much OK to eat fruit, but some fruits are naturally less sugary than others, so eat raisins in moderation. Our new doctor, an M.D. specializing in alternative medicine, suggested the Paleo Diet, which basically removes all carbs, and so suddenly brown rice and oatmeal are bad for you. Meat is OK if it is grass-fed. Fish OK if they are not farm raised but caught (humanely?) with a hook or net, and if they are low on the food chain (e.g., sardines) so they don’t contain much mercury. Nuts are good for your health, but peanuts are not nuts (nor are doughnuts). Vegetables are good for you, but not beans. I’m reminded of a Monty Python routine where John Cleese says, “A whale is not a fish, you know. It’s an insect.” So much for common sense.

We were pleased to learn from one book that red wine is good for fighting cancer, especially Pinot Noir from Sonoma county. When I learned that wine could be a health drink I sent in an insurance claim from the liquor store, so far with no success. Same for intense dark chocolate, which I bought without a prescription.

News Flash: Bacon is now OK.

Of course, the key to the success of any diet is that people will actually follow it. I’m fond of the “moderation in all things” approach, attributed to the ancient Greek poet, Hesiod. Follow the rules, but when Kim bakes a cherry pie, eat a piece. Or finish off the pie to protect Kim from all that dangerous sugar, a sacrifice I made out of loving concern. A few days ago we went for our daily walk around the building, about a mile, finished off with a climb up the back stairs – about 4 long flights. All good. Before the stairs we stopped at Cuppa Joe to share a treat that may have had a bit of sugar in it. Moderation. We were celebrating whatever day of the week it happened to be.

I actually choose to follow a variation on Hesiod: Moderation in all things, including moderation. Sometimes you just have to be immoderate. If you have tasted Kim’s scones, you know what I mean.

NOTE: Despite the sometimes humorous tone here, this is deadly serious business.


  1. I don't eat bacon very often, but when I do, I buy Neiman Ranch bacon at Plum Market. I think the Paleo diet is too heavy on meat. I agree about not eating anything white, but can't resist the bread at the Earle. We eat a lot of vegies, and grass fed rib eye steak every 2 weeks or so. We also eat yogurt for the calcium and enzymes that foster good bacteria for your gut. The scones at Great Harvest are really good. Being Italian, it's hard to resist pasta. Try to eat whole wheat pasta, but not very often. Having said that, just had cappelini with scallops and shrimp. Hard to resist. Exercise and moderation in eating and drinking are good things.