Tag Archives: diet

Prostate Cancer Nutrition

I have put together a diet I would eat if I was ever diagnosed with prostate cancer. It might make prostate cancer grow faster. It might do absolutely nothing for prostate cancer. Or it might allow the body to control prostate cancer and promote a better quality of life. Since this diet could be bad for you, you should discuss it with your doctors or nutritionists before trying it. I have listed the scientific resources that my opinions are pooled from. These are required when discussing nutrition with doctors and healthcare authorities. Most will NOT listen to complementary diets and think they are a waste of patients’ time and fretfulness. But there is research to support dietary overhaul, and if this research is put into doctors’ hands, I believe they’ll read it. If a patient brought me a research article (NOT a blog post or a newspaper article, but a REAL medical journal article), I always made time to read it when I was practicing.

Take a look-see at the diet I constructed and compare it to what’s out there. Read. Read. Read. And if what you eat is no big deal to you and you want to give nutritional intervention a try for prostate cancer, with your doctor’s approval, go for it! If you can, try to eat organic; if you can’t, try to eat organic at least on the foods you eat every day.

I read all comments (that don’t go through to spam) and diligently consider them. If you have a story, refutation, helpful addition, or grammar correction, please comment. Lastly, medical research changes, and as this post “ages,” there will be new diet information on prostate cancer. Do NOT use this post as medical advice!

My Prostate Cancer Nutritional Intervention Plan

1. Eat a total of 8 CUPS (or more) of a combination of vegetables and/or fruits DAILY. Measure the eight cups so you’re not misjudging. Include as part of this the following foods.

  • Eat ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw organic BROCCOLI DAILY. (Substitute Brussels, cauliflower, cabbage, or kale if/when you get disgusted with broccoli.)
  • Eat 1 serving size of CITRUS DAILY, such as grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges.
  • Eat ½-1 cup of CARROTS DAILY.
  • Eat almost daily: Organic tomato products that have been simmered for a long time (spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice) with a little fat (like olive oil). Do not use products in BPA-laden plastic containers or BPA-lined cans. I search for products in glass jars.
  • Also add in some of the following fruits that you like each day: apples, apricots, plums, red raspberries, red grapes, pomegranates, and other colorful fruits.
  • Also add in some of the following vegetables that you like each day: Mushrooms (shiitake, Maitake, Reishi), bell peppers, hot peppers, Brussels, cauliflower, cabbage, red cabbage, kale, spinach, arugula, collards, cabbage, onions, Romaine lettuce, radishes, beets, and other colorful and/or deeply green vegetables.
  • Also rotate through starchier vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, winter squashes (acorn, butternut), and potatoes (simply prepared) for foods which will help fill you up.

2. Eat 1 ounce (roughly ¼ cup or 28 grams) of nuts and/or seeds every day. Choose from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, black walnuts, English walnuts, sesame seeds, and pine nuts.* (The * means see the postscript notes at the bottom of the post before my references.)

Eat them as is, sprinkle them on salads, toss into stir fry, or grind them fresh into “nut butter.”**  (See notes below.)

My personal favorites for health and cancer are sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, but each nut is special (and I’m not kidding…)—eat ones you enjoy. Also use hemp seeds (for GLA, omega-3, zinc), flax seed (it must be freshly ground PLEASE—I started using my coffee bean grinder for flax), and chia seeds (for omega-3).

3. For meat, eat fish (3-6 ounces provides the vitamin D and omega-3 requirements—or close to it, depending on the fish): wild caught salmon, sardines, cod, herring, trout.**

  • Eliminate or only rarely eat red meat and processed meats (bacon, ham, salami, hot dogs, beef jerky, and cold meat). Do not eat any charred meat.
  • Eliminate or only rarely eat poultry.
  • Eliminate or only rarely eat eggs.

4. Eat ½ cup or more of lentils and/or beans 5-7 days per week. Navy beans and lentils are my personal health favorites but eat what you enjoy. Choose from black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.

5. Soy is unclear to me. It seems okay (beneficial even) for prevention and for early, localized cancer. However, I would avoid soy for high grade prostate cancers until we have further information. Choose minimally processed soy: soybean nuts, edamame, tofu, tempeh. Really research soy yourself and talk with your cancer team (doctors, nutritionists, etc.).

6. Drinks to include and exclude

  • A good quality, organic green tea, even consider matcha green tea daily if tolerated.
  • Water with the juice and pulp of a fresh lemon squeezed into it daily or routinely.
  • Pomegranate juice daily (100% juice, no added sugar), 8 ounces, IF you have MnSOD AA polymorphism***
  • Good quality water. Filtered tap water is usually fine.
  • Coffee seems neutral or even beneficial.
  • Almond milk or soy milk as needed to prepare appealing foods.
  • Eliminate any animal milk products.
  • Eliminate sodas, store-bought juices, and anything in plastic or BPA lined cans.

7. Force yourself to add herbs and spices (and fermented condiments), both fresh and dried, to your food. Any food you can add an herb or spice to, then find a way to do it.

  • Use turmeric daily (best when heated in oil and served with black pepper, so consider using on your vegetables).
  • Use ginger daily.
  • Use fresh garlic, one clove every day, ideally that has been pressed, cut, or diced and allowed to sit for 10 minutes prior to cooking (for development of a beneficial compound called allicin).
  • Hot peppers
  • Cinnamon
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles) that haven’t been pasteurized
  • Other spices as you explore: chives, cloves, cumin, etc. Don’t miss a chance to add a herb or spice.

8. Use high quality oils for dressings, sauces, and cooking. Do not aim necessarily for a low-fat diet, but your diet should be/will be lower in fat than a standard diet by nature of eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and fish.*** Good choices are: high quality, fresh, well-stored olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, red palm oil (for natural forms of vitamin E), rare use of grass-fed butter (for vitamin K2), and/or unrefined sesame oil (for something called GLA).

9. Eat only truly whole grains that you must prepare.**** (Please understand that the kind you pour from a box and put almond milk on does not generally count towards the benefits of truly whole grains. You can’t eat cereal from a box or bag and expect you’re eating a cancer-fighter!) Use your prepared whole grains as an accent to your lentils/beans, vegetables, and fruits. Grains really do make foods fun, in my opinion. But DO NOT fall for processed whole grain products like crackers, most pre-made breads, bagels, cereals in a box/bag, etc. These are good whole grains to choose from:

  • Oatmeal (contain GLA, zinc, and prebiotics)
  • Flax (not really a grain but lots of grain-like benefits)
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Brown rice

10. Do NOT eat the following foods (but if you do, then by all means let the guilt go and renew your efforts as needed and as desired—this is your life):

  • Sugar (Spare use of honey or maple syrup is thought to be fine and helps flavor salad dressings, vegetable curries, fruit desserts, etc.)
  • Cereal (NO boxed cereals or granolas that contain sweeteners. 100% completely whole grain or grains/seeds that you grind are thought to be good, so make your own cereals.)
  • Bread (unless you know it is 100% whole grain or unless it is helping you to eat densely nutritious foods—for example, if a toasted slice of bread helps you to eat sardines with avocado, onions, and cilantro, go for it)
  • Meat, particularly red meat, is often correlated with increased cancer. Just avoid it. HOWEVER, if you have an intense craving for it that you can’t overcome, then listen to your body and prepare a good quality red meat dish. (I’ve seen a cancer patient who was craving red meat because she had severe anemia which needed a blood transfusion. Her body told her what she needed. I was a little disappointed that she chose McDonald’s hamburgers as her red meat source.)
  • Dairy (If you can’t leave out dairy, use grass-fed dairy and/or organic cheeses, ideally just as small accents to make your food taste better if you need to.)

11. Supplements: I believe in minimal supplementation and that food should be the source of our supplementation. I like to try to eat so I’m getting vitamin D, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, omega-3, magnesium, etc., through my diet. But, there are certain nutrients that I think are hard to get that could benefit prostate cancer, and those are iodine and vitamin K2. Iodine can come from seafood and seaweed, if a person wants to research those. Vitamin K2 could come from natto (which contains soy and is hard to find in the USA) or from high quality, high fat dairy (which I don’t really think agrees greatly with prostate cancer). These might be two supplements worth discussing with your doctor about supplementation (but PLEASE read and research so you have medical studies IN HAND on these—doctors nearly universally believe we get enough iodine and most have never heard of vitamin K2 yet).

That’s it for now. Best wishes to you, your family, and your life. Remember, I didn’t write this plan for you. It hasn’t been tested or tried and could worsen cancer! So if you want to use any or all of it, you need to talk with your doctor. Please take good care of yourself.

Terri F

Notes:

*I encourage you to grind your own “nut butters” rather than buying them pre-ground. Some stores have places you can grind your own. Nuts and seeds are rich in oils that can be oxidized and damaged by air and light. The fresher the “nut butter,” the better for the body. I would not use peanut products routinely because of the molds they can grow before processing.

** There is a good physician who believes no nuts or seeds should be used in cancer because they have fat. His name is Dean Ornish, MD. He is very well-known and believes in very low fat intake. However, with all the benefits I found for nuts and seeds, with ALL the cancer-fighting components they have, and with the many studies that show that those who eat more nuts have better outcomes, I just can’t exclude them from a cancer diet. BUT, I do think that perhaps the problem with nuts and seeds is the fact that their oils and fats are so easily damaged. Fats and oils work in the cell membrane, and if they’re dysfunctional, our cell membranes won’t work optimally. So I think QUALITY should be stressed for nuts and seeds and their oils. Although I, a humble, independent researcher, disagree with Dr. Ornish, a power-house of knowledge and research, I want you to definitely know and read up on his work. He has a prostate cancer study with successful outcomes on his diet. That would obviously be a better researched and accepted diet than I have printed above!

Besides nuts, Dr. Ornish also eliminates all meat (including fish) and then he supplements omega-3, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin D. This doesn’t make sense to me. Repeatedly in nutritional medicine, certain supplements are thought to be helpful and end up being detrimental, whereas the foods that contain them don’t seem problematic! I believe that very often (not always), isolated supplementation can pose more harm than benefits. I think it’s better to allow fish and nuts than it is to eliminate them and then supplement back a tiny fraction of what they provide.

***Drinking pomegranate only seems to help if a person has the MnSOD AA polymorphism:

  • Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements (PDQ). Health Professional Version. PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Published online: August 16, 2018.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83261/#CDR0000719335__162
  • Note: I was able to figure out my MnSOD status (SOD2; rs4880) by using my 23 and Me raw data input into Promethease.

****Grains are like nuts in that they have precious, easily damaged oils. Once they’re ground, their oils will be oxidized and damaged. I suggest eating them whole (like cooked quinoa or brown rice) OR grinding them fresh yourself. I use a coffee grinder and then use the freshly ground grain or seed (flax, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, etc) to make my own bread or sprinkle on foods.

References:

Note: References have been roughly categorized. However, many references overlap and could appear in other sections as well. Please ask if you have any questions about the references. If you know of another reference that you’ve read that supports or refutes any of this information, great! Please comment on it so I can consider it and add notes or addendums to my diet.

Painting to begin post: Severin Roesen, Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Severin_Roesen_-_Two-Tiered_Still_Life_with_Fruit_and_Sunset_Landscape_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

On eating tons of vegetables and fruits:

  • Nguyen JY, Major JM, et al. Adoption of a Plant-Based Diet by Patients with Recurrent Prostate Cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2006. 5(3): 214-223.
  • Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM. Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. International Journal of Cancer Journal International du Cancer. 2012; 131(1): 201-210.

On eating tomato products:

  • Chan J et al. Diet after diagnosis and the risk of prostate cancer progression, recurrence, and death. Cancer Causes and Control. 2006; 17:199-208
  • Haseen F et al. Is there a benefit from lycopene supplementation in men with prostate cancer? A systematic review. Prostate Cancer & Prostatic Diseases. 2009; 12:325-33
  • Mroz L. Dietary Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients. Research Gate. 2016. 10.13140/RG.2.1.1539.1125. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301542461_Dietary_Advice_for_Prostate_Cancer_Patients)

On eating broccoli:

  • Canene-Adams K, Lindshield BL, Wang S, et al. Combinations of Tomato and Broccoli Enhance Antitumor Activity in Dunning R3327-H Prostate Adenocarcinomas. Cancer Res. 2007; 67(2): 836-843.
  • Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM. Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. International Journal of Cancer Journal International du Cancer. 2012; 131(1): 201-210.
  • Kirsh V A,  Peters U, et al.  Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer.   J Natl Cancer Inst 2007;99: 1200-1209.
  • Lassed S,Deus CM,Lourenço N, et al. Diet, Lifestyles, Family History, and Prostate Cancer Incidence in an East Algerian Patient Group. BioMed Research International Volume. 2016. Article ID 5730569.

On eating citrus and the named fruits:

  • Keizman D, Frenkel MA,  et al. Effect of PectaSol-C modified citrus pectin (P-MCP) treatment on PSA dynamics in patients with nonmetastatic, biochemically relapsed prostate cancer: Results of the interim analysis of a prospective phase II study. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2017 35:15_suppl, e16588-e16588. (MY NOTE: Modified citrus pectin is not the same as plain old pectin.)
  • Paller CJ, Pantuck A, Carducci MA. A Review of Pomegranate in Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer and prostatic diseases. 2017;20(3):265-270.
  • Perez‐Cornago A, Travis RC, Appleby PN, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and prostate cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). International Journal of Cancer. 2017;141(2):287-297. doi:10.1002/ijc.30741.
  • Lodi A, Saha A, et al. Combinatorial treatment with natural compounds in prostate cancer inhibits prostate tumor growth and leads to key modulations of cancer cell metabolism. Precision Oncology. 2017; 1 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41698-017-0024-z

On adding in the specified vegetables, especially carrots:

  • See above references under “eating large amounts of vegetables and fruits.”
  • Patel S, Goyal A. Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review. 3 Biotech. 2012;2(1):1-15.
  • Xu X, Cheng Y, Li S. et al. Dietary Carrot Consumption and the Risk of Cancer. Eur J Nutr. 2014. 53: 1615.

On eating nuts:

  • Want W, Yang M, Kenfield SA, et al. Nut consumption and prostate cancer risk and mortality. British Journal of Cancer. 2016. 115: 371–374.
  • Sparccarotella KJ, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. The effect of walnut intake on factors related to prostate and vascular health in older men. Nutrition Journal. 2008. 7:13.
  • [My note: Dietary zinc beneficial but supplement not.] Epstein MM, Kasperzyk JL, Andrén O, Giovannucci EL, Wolk A, Håkansson N, Andersson SO, et al. Dietary zinc and prostate cancer survival in a Swedish cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):586-93.
  • Richman EL, Kenfield SA, Chavarro JE, et al. Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(14):1318–1326. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6536
  • Azrad M et al. Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer. J Med Food 2013 Apr; 16(4): 357–60.
  • “Flaxseed Supplementation (Not Dietary Fat Restriction) Reduces Prostate Cancer Proliferation Rates in Men Presurgery.”  Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. December 2008 17; 3577.

 On eating fish:

  • Chavarro JE, et al. A 22-y prospective study of Fish intake in relation to prostate cancer incidence and mortality. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008; 88(5):1297-303.
  • Castelló A, Boldo E, et al. Mediterranean Dietary Pattern is Associated with Low Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer: MCC-Spain Study. The Journal of Urology, 2018; 199 (2): 430 DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.08.087

On eliminating processed meats and charred meats, eggs, poultry:

  • Zheng W, Lee S-A. Well-done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutrition and cancer. 2009;61(4):437-446. doi:10.1080/01635580802710741.
  • Alexander DD, et al. A review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of red and processed meat intake and prostate cancer. Nutrition Journal. 2010; 9:50.2.
  • John EM, et al. Meat consumption, cooking practices, meat mutagens, and risk of prostate cancer. Nutrition and Cancer. 2011; 63(4):525-37.3.
  • Richman EL et al. Egg, red meat, and poultry intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer in the prostate-specific antigen-era: Incidence and survival. Cancer Prevention Research. 2011; 4(12):2110-21.4.
  • Punnen S, et al. Impact of meat consumption, preparation, and mutagens on aggressive prostate cancer. PLoS One. 2011; 6(11):e27711.5.
  • Frattaroli J, et al. (Dean Ornish) Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: Results from two years of follow-up. Urology. 2008; 72(6):1319-23.
  • (PDF) Dietary Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301542461_Dietary_Advice_for_Prostate_Cancer_Patients [accessed Jul 25 2018].

On eating lentils:

On eating soy:

  • Yan L, & Spitznagel EL. Soy consumption and prostate cancer risk in men:  a revisit of a meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  2009; 89(4):1155-11632.
  • Goetzl MA, et al. Effects of soy phytoestrogens on the prostate.  Prostate Cancer & Prostatic Diseases. 2007; 10(3):216-2233.
  • Kwan W, et al. A phase II trial of a soy beverage for subjects without clinical disease with rising prostate-specifc antigen after radical radiation for prostate cancer. Nutrition & Cancer. 2010; 62(2):198-207
  • Applegate CC, Rowles JL, Ranard KM, Jeon S, Erdman JW. Soy Consumption and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018;10(1):40. doi:10.3390/nu10010040.

On drink choices:

  • Guo Y, Zhi F, Chen P, et al. Green tea and the risk of prostate cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Arora. S, ed. Medicine. 2017;96(13):e6426. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000006426.
  • Perez‐Cornago A, Travis RC, Appleby PN, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and prostate cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). International Journal of Cancer. 2017;141(2):287-297. doi:10.1002/ijc.30741.
  • Paller CJ, Pantuck A, Carducci MA. A Review of Pomegranate in Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer and prostatic diseases. 2017;20(3):265-270. doi:10.1038/pcan.2017.19.
  • Sen A et al. Coffee and tea consumption and risk of prostate cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Int J Cancer. 2018 Jun 26. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31634. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Jiadong Xia, Jie Chen et al. An Up-to-date Meta-analysis of Coffee Consumption and Risk of Prostate Cancer. Urology Journal. 2017; 14(5).

On using herbs and spices:

  • Zheng J, Zhou Y, Li Y, Xu D-P, Li S, Li H-B. Spices for Prevention and Treatment of Cancers. Nutrients. 2016;8(8):495. doi:10.3390/nu8080495.
  • Arunkumar, A., Vijayababu, M.R., Srinivasan, N. et al. Mol Cell Biochem (2006) 288: 107. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-006-9126-6
  • Yoon J, Yae, Kim, et al. 2′-Hydroxycinnamaldehyde inhibits cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth by targeting the pyruvate kinase M2. Cancer letters. 2018. 434. 10.1016/j.canlet.2018.07.015.
  • Lodi A, Saha A, et al. Combinatorial treatment with natural compounds in prostate cancer inhibits prostate tumor growth and leads to key modulations of cancer cell metabolism. Precision Oncology. 2017; 1 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41698-017-0024-z

On use of added oils and not necessarily aiming for low fat numbers:

  • Richman EL, Kenfield SA, Chavarro JE, et al. Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(14):1318–1326. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6536

On eating whole grains:

  • [Flax] Simon JA, et al. The relation of alpha-linolenic acid to the risk of prostate cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009; 89(5):1558S-1564S.
  • (PDF) Dietary Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301542461_Dietary_Advice_for_Prostate_Cancer_Patients [accessed Jul 25 2018].
  • Azrad M et al. Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer. J Med Food 2013 Apr; 16(4): 357–60.

On foods to eliminate:

  • Zheng W, Lee S-A. Well-done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutrition and cancer. 2009;61(4):437-446. doi:10.1080/01635580802710741.
  • Park S-W, Kim J-Y, Kim Y-S, Lee SJ, Lee SD, Chung MK. A Milk Protein, Casein, as a Proliferation Promoting Factor in Prostate Cancer Cells. The World Journal of Men’s Health. 2014;32(2):76-82. doi:10.5534/wjmh.2014.32.2.76.
  • Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, et al. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):549-54.
  • Rohrmann S, Platz EA, Kavanaugh CJ, et al. Meat and dairy consumption and subsequent risk of prostate cancer in a US cohort study. Cancer Causes Control. 2007 Feb;18(1):41-50.
  • Raimondi S, Mabrouk JB, et al. Diet and prostate cancer risk with specific focus on dairy products and dietary calcium: a case-control study. Prostate. 2010 Jul 1;70(10):1054-65. doi: 10.1002/pros.21139.

On fat intake:

  • Richman EL, Kenfield SA, Chavarro JE, et al. Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(14):1318–1326. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6536

 

A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Diet Enters Medical Research

gottschall

 

 

 

When I used to work as a physician, I wondered what it’d be like to stay home with the kids full-time. Some moms would say, “I HAVE to work. My kids drive me crazy.” I always thought to myself that I’d still like to try it and see. Maybe crazy is a state of bliss that I’d like quite a lot.

I did get to stay home, and to my chagrin, I did fall into crazy. Crazy nutrition. At first, I honestly did wonder if I had taken neurotic to its pinnacle, but I kept reading and reading. And over the short four years since I began having any interest in nutrition at all, other than having the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, there have been some major upheavals in medicine regarding nutrition, particularly regarding fat and cholesterol. But I know there will be more.

One upheaval that intrigues me, because I swear real food is pixie dust, is doctors using a real food diet to throw inflammatory bowel disease into remission without medicine. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, researchers are reversing serious cases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease using the exact same voodoo, or pixie dust (if you prefer), diet that Elaine Gottschall, a stay-at-home mother of two, used in the 1950s to save her 8 year-old daughter’s life from near-terminal ulcerative colitis. The diet, called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), was the last hope that Elaine had for possibly saving her child’s colon, maybe even the child’s life itself. Permanent poop collection bag? Death? How about we try this weird diet.

Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas’s Stodgy, Misinformed Diet

The SCD is not a new diet. It has been around in some form since approximately the 1920s, when Sidney Valentine Haas, MD was using it on his celiac and severely afflicted gastrointestinal patients.  At this time, there was no known celiac disease and gluten connection. Dr. Haas, using close observation skills and taking good patient histories (all things falling into disfavor in today’s medical climate), felt that starchy carbohydrates and table sugar were bad for his patients. So he developed a diet which removed starchy foods and sugar, making it inherently gluten-free and grain free. He found that his patients did fine with fruit, and he strongly encouraged bananas, and he even thought there was something special about the banana.

His “banana” diet was pretty popular and was used to manage celiac disease until the gluten connection was verified. Then, Haas and banana diets fell into disfavor, ridicule even. However, Dr. Haas, a reportedly kindly man who lived into his 90s, never acquiesced that gluten elimination should be the sole treatment of celiac disease. He remained adamantly suspicious that most starchy carbohydrates were problematic and needed removed for a time (not a lifetime). He genuinely believed in his diet, and if you read closely, he is scorned for never succumbing completely to the hypotheses that gluten is the sole problem for celiac patients.

(Now, I don’t know whether he was right or wrong about gluten. I DO KNOW that there are celiacs who follow a STRICT gluten-free diet, never eating away from home, and I know they still have abdominal issues. So, perhaps his intuition is not as laughable as it seems. Perhaps, as time passes and we learn more, we will find facts that make him more right than wrong. I don’t know. History repeatedly shows genius in ridicule, and maybe there’s more to treating celiac than just taking away gluten.)

A Doctor -Shopping, Stay-at-Home Mom
elaine_04

This photo of Elaine Gottschall came from http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com, the official Breaking the Vicious Cycle and SCD website.

 

The SCD would  have probably stopped right there if it hadn’t been for Big Magic (you really should read the book by this title, very good). Elaine Gottschall (now deceased, 1921-2005) called herself an ordinary, happy, stay-at-home, 1950s’ mom. She had two young daughters. One of her daughters, Judy, began experiencing incapacitating gut issues and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the tender age of four years old. Little Judy was so sick and malnourished by the time she was 8, she had stunted growth and even her neurological system was shutting down. Elaine and Herb were told their daughter had two options: colon removal or death. Elaine wouldn’t hear it and refused to take death or colectomy (colon removal) as an answer for her daughter if she could do anything about it.

So she did what all desperate patients do (or parents of patients), she doctor shopped. After much doctor shopping and no hope in sight except surgery, an acquaintance of a friend pointed her to an outdated, nearly ancient physician. She finally landed in the arms (figuratively) of our now 92-year-old Dr. Sydney Valentine Haas. He started her daughter Judy on his version of what is now the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Her daughter improved dramatically within days and even more in the months that followed, living a full life, even being able to eat a very diverse diet eventually.

Humiliating Success

Dr. Haas died within two years of meeting the Gottschall family. Would his diet die with him? No. Elaine Gottschall made it her mission to understand that man’s diet, even going back to school and earning degrees in biology, nutritional biochemistry, and cellular biology. If this diet helped Judy live and get her life back, she wanted to know why and share it with the others who were sick. Many times she wanted to give up, but her husband was convicted that the world needed this information that would be lost without Dr. Haas, and he knew Elaine was just the woman to do it.

Herb encouraged Elaine to write a book eventually called Breaking the Vicious Cycle, do health consults, and speak. She functioned at a grassroots level, and she touched thousands of lives, helping people turn their health around with the SCD. But, sadly, she could never break through to medical circles. Her daughter said: “She also wanted the acceptance from–if not approval of–the medical mainstream, which she never got. She was told stories by mothers who said their doctors would refuse to treat their children if they followed her diet…”

Doctors refusing to treat patients if they tried this diet? A diet that has now entered the halls of medical research with initial success? Elaine’s diet brought success to many suffering patients, but the patients’ doctors wouldn’t have it. How could a simple diet help? How could a stay-at-home mom know what she’s talking about? Who was she to challenge medical management?

Because of Elaine’s tenacity and courage (and ability to persist despite medical contempt), people today may have an opportunity to try diet over drugs. Some doctors are listening to patients and trying the SCD in clinical research. (See my last post.)

Elaine, Herb, and Judy (their daughter), thank you.

Closing

The SCD studies are small and sparse, but they’re pretty remarkable, especially in kids, whose healing capacities are always amazing. IF diet makes a difference, then I think Elaine Gottschall is right, the only way it’s going to get to medical doctors is if patients keep showing them. Dr. Suskind’s studies from Seattle are shedding some light, but they’re so small. With just a snap or a new successful medical discovery, his work will be trampled over forever, as Dr. Haas’s almost was.

Did Dr. Haas have it ALL right? No. Did Elaine Gottschall? No. Does the doctor named Natasha Campbell-McBride (who has taken Elaine Gottschall’s work further in her clinical practice, renaming her diet GAPS)? No. Does Dr. Suskind, a researcher using SCD in his studies? No. But continuing to cut out colons and continuing to prescribe immunosuppressants without ever trying significant dietary modification such as the SCD is irresponsible and, to me, unethical. Medical doctors maliciously, scornfully, and condescendingly name-call and ridicule diet theories they don’t agree with like pompous elitists. And guess what! When we do that, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and the public follow along. Then, we end up in a big mess. Like Days of Our Lives. Please stop the division.

You are never too small. You are never too insignificant. You are always enough. Your experience is for you. Your experience is for others. Live boldly with love and compassion.

Even your cooking can change someone’s life.

Ciao.

Terri

Sites and links I followed for information, which should always be verified before you even think about trusting anything…

Frontiers in Celiac Disease, pages 5-7: https://books.google.com/books?id=gqaDD3jkcfYC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=haas%27s+banana+diet+celiac+disease&source=bl&ots=pPA2rdAt9_&sig=tgEgHivZWbdeSKX5j1Dajx243Iw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1xNTukc_RAhVG4IMKHdtmBKo4ChDoAQglMAI#v=onepage&q=haas’s%20banana%20diet%20celiac%20disease&f=false

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/p/about-the-author/

Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Raman Prasad

Cleaning the Kitchen

398px-gray_vacuum_cleaner-svgCleaning up your health (and life) is like cleaning up the kitchen.

If my kitchen is a disastrous trash-dump mess, and I only unload the dishwasher, is the kitchen clean?

No.

If I proceed to sweep the hair and crumbs off the floor but leave the watermelon sticky-juice, is it clean then?

No-ooo.

Well, what if I wipe the bacon grease off the stove top, too? Then is it clean? I mean, come on! I have swept the floor, unloaded the dishwasher, and now the stove top is clean.

How much more must I do?

Counters? Tables and chairs? Mop? The inside of the refrigerator? Sort through those bills and catalogs I’m never really ever going to look at?

Gee. Slave driver. I’d hate to live with you.

Deep Cleaning

People frequently tell me, “I’m trying so hard, and I just can’t [insert phrase such as lose weight, feel happy, be nice to my husband].”

Stop.

Think of the kitchen. Have you “cleaned the kitchen?”

When it comes to something you really want, you can leave no stone unturned. No refrigerator door left unopened. No backsplash unwiped. The kitchen isn’t really clean till you’ve opened every cupboard, wiped down each sticky light switch face plate, put the shoes all away.

If you’ve not reached your health goals (or life goals), then ask yourself, “Is my kitchen really clean?” Is there an area I’m leaving unchallenged?

Sleep. Check.
Eating vegetables and fruits. Check.
Avoiding sugar and processed foods. Check.
Outdoor activity. Check.
Strong relationships. Check.
Forgiveness of yourself. Forgiveness of others. Check.
Minimizing alcohol and caffeine. (And cigarettes and other substances Mother Teresa might frown on.) Check.
Acceptance of an area in your life. Check.
Sunshine and fresh air daily. Check.
Getting your sweat up every now and then. Check.
Taking alone time daily if needed. Check.
Minimizing your schedule. Check.

And so on.

Warning: The Closet Effect

Don’t get sidelined by the closet effect.

Sometimes, as changes are made, things feel temporarily worse. It’s like when you clean out the closet. (I know it’s time to clean a closet when things fall on my head. You know that feeling when everything in your house seems to be falling on your head? I hate that feeling.)

Have you ever cleaned a closet and torn everything out of it? There are piles all over the place, and somehow, cleaning the closet made THE WHOLE HOUSE a mess! How does that happen? Some things to Goodwill. Some things to your sister. Some things to the trash. (Ooh, I’ll keep this Def Leppard tee-shirt.)

In order to REALLY clean the closet, you’re guaranteed to make a bigger mess. Guaranteed. Why in the heck did you decide to clean the closet, stupid? (Because of that breathless sense that makes your heart sing when you open the door, not to chaos, but to competency and efficiency and order.)

So when the going gets hard, when you feel like you fix one thing only to have another break, don’t despair! Slowly, like a gutted closet or a nasty fridge, things will come around if you persist and seek the right things.

When it comes to health, the body cleans out a closet, only to make a mess downstream. So you have to help it out in that area too. It’s like tailoring a suit to fit you. Nip and tuck.

Norwex Power To You

Today, whatever it is, I encourage you to not give up. Motivation. Attitude. They count. They are truly the difference between success and failure. As you move through challenges in your diet, life, exercise plans, relationships, look for those little areas you can clean up a little.

Then, scrub on. (Anyone use those Norwex cleaning cloths?)

Keep it whole. Keep it real. Keep it simple.

Terri

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gray_vacuum_cleaner.svg

 

 

 

Is It Autoimmune?

Zugspitze von der Alpspitze aus gesehen. Links...

Zugspitze von der Alpspitze aus gesehen. Links der Jubiläumsgrat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A friend asked the other day, “What would you recommend diet-wise for an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus?”

Good question.  However, allow me to change the question a little bit, yet not really.  Because this blog is about my story.  And I don’t have lupus.

“What would you recommend diet-wise for an autoimmune disorder, such as CONSTIPATION or IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?”

Now we’re talkin’. Could I have an autoimmune disorder?

Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Dysmotility Have an Autoimmune

Origin? (Neurogastroenterol Motil 2011;23:1000-1006, e459)

Jeong Eun Shincorresponding author

Do you have an autoimmune disorder?  I personally have been playing around with an autoimmune diet (while continuing on this thing called GAPS diet).  I definitely notice a difference in how I feel, but I find the autoimmune protocol very challenging.  I am no expert on any of this.  I’m just a medical doctor who has the opportunity to explore nutrition as it applies to her own issues and the issues in her immediate family.  I don’t know how this all fits together scientifically.  I can’t wait to find out.  Seriously.  I have to forge my own path.  Maybe you do, too.  But still make sure and get real medical advice and guidance.  But don’t sit around waiting.  Move.  For today, let’s say I had to pick two sources to send my sister to regarding addressing an autoimmune disorder, any autoimmune disorder, and nutrition.  I’d send her here:
  • Terry Wahls’, MD “You Tube” video regarding her “curing” her multiple sclerosis:  This video is A MUST WATCH.  Just totally told me what I knew deep inside about food–it’s for the function of my body–not whatever else I or society tries to make it! Terry Wahl’s is a medical doctor who reversed her severe, debilitating MS.  Basically, her nutrition was very similar to diets called GAPS/Paleo/SCD/Whole30, with a few tweaks here and there. Amazing story.  She now has her own book, website, etc.  I have heard the book is a bit outdated and she has made some changes.  I am on the list for when the new edition rolls out.  Can’t wait to read it and compare it to all I am learning.
and here:
  • Paleo Mom:  She has a PhD in medical biophysics and has deeply explored an autoimmune diet for her health.  She tries to base her posts on science as much as possible, yet she does so in a completely understandable manner for lay people.  She had to take her diet down to autoimmune paleo to achieve results she needed.  Her recipes all look awesome, but be careful signing up for her Facebook page.  She rolls out all the sweet dessert recipes there.  Kills me.  Kills me.
Good luck in all you do!  Eat right!  You keep healthy so you can get down on the floor with your grandkids.  Hike in a Costa Rican forest with them.  Or just climb the bleachers to their ballgames.  My grandma made one ballgame of mine that I can remember.  One.  She was an awesome smart woman, but diabetes, vascular disease, and obesity made it exceptionally difficult to navigate the likes of a high school sports event.  I want to climb mountains with my grandkids.  See you at the top!
Terri

Part 2: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

If you subscribe to my posts or check-in regularly, you know I am following this unusual (poorly scientifically supported) diet called GAPS.  For me, it started out solely to fix my beyond slow, almost-to-stop, GI tract that NO medicine, activity, or dietary change was helping.  Over the year, on what I call my “dietary rehabilitation” program, I’ve seen lots of improvement in my GI situation, and I have observed (incredulously) the effect that foods, even “healthy” foods, has had on my family and me in many ways I never dreamed of.  These foods include dairy, wheat, eggs, chicken, and fruit:  “healthy foods.” Although I follow GAPS in a self-experiment, my blog is to encourage awareness that food treats the body like any drug, with good and bad effects varying in different people; most doctors don’t know or adhere to this.  I wouldn’t either, was I not living it.  Food culprits ought to be considered in many more illnesses.  I want to raise awareness that diet needs to be scrutinized and a dramatic change may help where no medicine or surgery does.  I am talking dramatic food changes, and some [most] people just aren’t willing to go there. Starting with a  traditional medical doctor is the correct place to start; I go to get new symptoms checked out, even for myself.  Bad problems exist, and I don’t want to miss them because I was blinded by nutrition or alternative health treatments.  My blog is not written to be a source of medical information, medical diagnosis or medical treatment, and I am no expert in nutrition or different types of diets, including GAPS.

Today, I am continuing to publish the Kinder Family’s story about how they feel nutritional intervention cured their son’s seizure disorder.  The story is unedited, despite the fact that I would have have perhaps explained things differently or sought help in different ways.  To me, the important thing is they recognized that food matters and they were willing to change.  Thank you, Dan and Tammy, for sharing:

Part 1 of “A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!”

Part 2:  A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

by Dan and Tammy Kinder

…The ENT immediately recommended surgery and stated that he does dozens of sinus surgeries every month. Not wanting to go through surgery unless absolutely necessary, we started researching and reading alternative ways to resolve the chronic sinusitis. We came across lots of information that may potentially help. We read about changing our eating habit and avoiding certain type of food like dairy which causes the body to produce excessive mucus. We read about washing your sinus cavities out with salt water called a saline nasal flush. We read about many other things like supplements and other treatments, but these two made the most sense to us. So my husband stopped eating and drinking dairy products, he continued drinking carrot juice and started doing saline nasal rinse 3-4 times a day. He found out very quickly that the nasal rinsing worked was very effective. These rinses could turn a sinus infection that would normally last three or four week in to one that would last only three or four days. A sixty-nine cent can of salt was all it took to resolve the sinus infection each time symptoms appeared. Changing what we ate eventually gave his body the ability to prevent the infections from even appearing. As time went on the sinus infections disappeared altogether. This long drawn out experience with 13 different doctors contributed greatly to our decision to steer away from conventional doctors that would only give us their best guess and the best known drug at that time to try to resolve our son’s epilepsy, which leads me to my son’s story.

At about four and a half years of age, one of my sons started having what looked like staring or day dreaming episodes. When I first notice the episodes, my husband was convinced they were only day dreams and nothing serious. In fact, the episodes were so infrequent that he did not see one for himself until several months after they started. But as the months went by, the episodes came more and more frequently. They also became more pronounced in their characteristics and duration. The length of the episodes seemed to be mostly random, but would last anywhere from a fraction of a second up to as long as about eight seconds. The characteristics of our son’s body during the episodes also seemed to change as time passed. These characteristics included half-way drooping eye lids, the dropping of his arms to his side, looking towards the ground, staring at or through the person talking to him as though he was in his own world and ignoring his immediate environment. Along with these symptoms he also experienced reoccurring stomachaches. Early in this process we did not relate these stomachs to the episodes, but looking back over the years we now realize that his body was screaming for help yet we did not recognize or listen to what his body was trying to tell us. Another symptom was that certain foods would make him feel “weird.” Sometimes he would tell us that his head felt like it was spinning or vibrating. As he got older, it was certain foods he ate that made his head have these weird feeling or his body feel strange. Sometimes these odd feeling would cause him to want to do strange things. I recall one time that he told us that his body was telling him to scratch his fingernails on the concrete. That thought leads me to another symptom that was very strange. At times, he would tell us that his body was telling him to do things. On occasion he said he would hear voices telling him to do certain things. The older he got, the better he was able to elaborate on how he felt and and how he thought certain foods made him feel weird…

Part 3 to follow soon…