The bad news is that no one is exempt from the risk of developing cancer. Anyone could be diagnosed with it: your mother, your cousin, a close friend…in my case, it was my sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were heartbroken and devastated. But after the initial shock, the first thought that came to my mind was: “how can I help her heal breast cancer naturally?” The good news is that not only can cancer be healed, but according to The American Institute for Cancer Research one-third of cancers are preventable with simple changes in diet and lifestyle. If you regularly nourish your cells with a plant-based raw food diet you can prevent cancer from occurring. Why not start making some simple dietary adjustments from now?
The benefits of a plant-based raw food diet
A plant-based raw food diet includes both fruit and vegetables that have not been heated at temperatures higher than 118º F or processed by any means. Such food is referred to as ‘living’ food because it still contains active enzymes and indoles. The enzymes aid in digestion, assimilation, and detoxification, while indoles are anti-cancer compounds that block the effectiveness of estrogen, which helps protect against both breast and uterine cancer. Cooking disrupts the structure of indoles and produces free radicals in food: high temperatures damage fats and oils, changing them into trans-fatty acids, which are bad for one’s health. According to Dr. Kouchakoff, cooking food at or above 200º F causes leukocytosis (an increased number of white blood cells), which means that the body is reacting to something harmful: it recognises cooked food as an invader that must be neutralised.
On the other hand, raw food is digested easily, strengthens the immune system, helps with memory and concentration, cleanses and detoxifies the body. That’s because raw food has more nutrients and fibres than cooked food. Eating organic, fresh living raw plant food such as colourful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, sea vegetables, freshly made juices, and sprouted grains is essential for your health. Ann Wigmore, one of the co-founders of the Raw Living Food movement, healed herself of gangrene and later, colon cancer. She advocated the raw living foods philosophy, and taught the health benefits of various living foods.
Foods that help fight and prevent cancer
Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are rich in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring substances created that plants create for their own protection. They give plants their colour, flavour, taste and resistance to disease. They are beneficial for humans too as they boost immunity, fight disease, reduce carcinogens from being formed, and slow down the ageing process. Broccoli also contains sulphoraphane, which boosts the body’s inbuilt detoxification system by clearing carcinogen substances more quickly.
Dark bitter greens such as endive, arugula, dandelion greens, watercress, parsley, collard greens, mustard greens and spinach are also cancer fighters. They are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene and chlorophyll. They are also anti-inflammatory and detoxify the body.
Get juicy: 6 cancer fighting foods
One option to consume fresh green vegetables is to juice them. This way they become easy to absorb and can reach every cell in the body. One glass of pure, raw, fresh juice per day will help improve the immune system and increase energy. You will need to buy a good quality juicer that can juice all vegetables and plant food, including stems, peels, seeds and grass. Vegetables should be organic to maximise their benefits. Studies show that pesticides and herbicides deprive foods of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and macronutrients. Choosing organic food is not just to avoid pesticides, but also to obtain the higher levels of vitamins and minerals that they contain. On the next page, you will find the specific benefits of six raw foods in particular: wheatgrass, spirulina, green asparagus, argula, turmeric and carrots.
- Wheatgrass contains vitamins, minerals and live enzymes; it purifies, detoxifies and builds the blood and therefore is used at health spas and retreats around the world to treat cancer. Wheatgrass must be juiced in order for the body to assimilate all of the nutrients. But how does it work? It is rich in chlorophyll, which helps to carry oxygen to every cell in the body. In its turn, oxygen will help fight off disease, bad bacteria and cancer. My sister takes 2 ounces of wheatgrass a day on an empty stomach.
- Spirulina is a blue-green algae found in warm alkaline and saline lakes and ponds in Central and South America and Africa. A green superfood rich in chlorophyll, it contains complete protein, minerals, carotenoids, all B-complex including high amount of B12, and essential fatty acids. Spirulina can boost your immune system and increase energy. It is an excellent detoxifier and blood cleanser. Spirulina is available in powder, tablets, liquid and capsules. You can add spirulina to protein powder smoothies, soups, and salads or stir a teaspoon into a glass of water.
- Green asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, vitamin C, B6 and thiamin. It contains phytochemical glutathione, which has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. Glutathione also boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body. According to the National Cancer Institute, asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, one of the body’s most potent cancer fighters. Asparagus is best eaten raw, steamed or liquid (juiced).
- Arugula also known as roquette or rocket is a pungent and highly alkaline cruciferous vegetable. It neutralises acid waste products from the blood and lymphatic system and has antiviral and antibiotic properties. Arugula contains dithiolethiones, which is an anti-cancer and antioxidant compound recommended by the American Cancer Society. It also contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, calcium, iron and sulphur. Sulphur is the mineral that will detoxify your liver, create mineralised hair, nails and glowing skin. Arugula’s strong and spicy peppery/mustardy flavour gives a little punch when mixed with milder greens and salads.
- Turmeric is an Indian curry spice. It has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation and gastro-intestinal problems. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-microbial agent. It contains iron and manganese and is also a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin B6. Curcumin flavonoid in Turmeric is an anti-oxidant and is responsible for the prevention and treatment of cancer. It enhances the liver’s ability to eliminate dangerous carcinogens and purifies the blood, which helps clear the skin of pimples, acne and other impurities. Turmeric has a peppery and bitter flavour. You can use turmeric in salads, salad dressings, smoothies, juices and lentil dishes.
- Carrots are sweet and alkaline. They contain fibre, beta-carotene, vitamin B, C, D, E and K, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zeaxanthin and lutein. Carrots also contain thousands of phytonutrients. Carotenoids destroy free radicals before they do any cell damage, decrease heart disease, prevent cataracts and support the immune system. According to research, carrots may be the best cancer fighting vegetable of all.
The importance of alkalising your body
Recent medical research has found that cancer goes into remission when the body is alkaline. The raw living foods diet helps to make the body alkaline and wheatgrass juice plays an important role in this process, according to Ann Wigmore. A balance of acidity and alkalinity in the body is essential, so eating a proper balance of acid and alkaline foods on a daily basis is the key. Too many acid-forming foods such as beans, dairy, grains, flesh foods and white sugar can create inflammation, puffiness, stiffness and water retention within the body. The body needs both acid and alkaline forming food to be healthy.
The degrees of acidity or alkalinity can be measured in pH values. The neutral point, which is neither acid nor alkaline, is pH 7. Anything on the scale below pH 7 is acid and anything above pH 7 is alkaline. The ideal range for saliva and urine is 6 to 6.8. Values below pH 6.3 are considered too acidic and values above pH 6.8 are too alkaline. Maximum acidity is pH 0 and maximum alkalinity is pH 14. You can purchase an alkaline/acid pH testing kit in a health food store to monitor the pH of your body and adjust your diet accordingly. To help you with the right food choices, refer to the chart of food and chemical effects on acid/alkaline body chemical balance provided.
Alkaline forming foods
Vegetables: Artichokes, Beet tops, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Carrots, Carrot tops, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Dandelion, Green asparagus, Endives, Leafy greens, Kale, Leek, Parsley, Watercress, Spinach, Radish, Zucchini, Bell peppers.
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Bananas, Berries, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Lemons, Mangoes, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Raisins, Tomatoes.
Breads: Sprouted bread, Quinoa bread, Spelt bread.
Grains: Millet, Buckwheat, Spelt.
Fats: Olive oil, Flaxseed oil.
Nuts & Seeds: Almonds.
Dairy: Goat cheese, Goat milk.
Acid Forming Foods
Vegetables: White asparagus, Beans (dried), Lentils, Preserved vegetables, Pickled vegetables.
Fruits: Cranberries, Olives (pickled), Plums, Prunes, Blueberries, Canned fruits, Preserved fruits, White sugar.
Breads: Rye bread, White bread, Whole grain bread, Cereal bread.
Grains: Cereals, Corn, Wheat, Brown rice.
Fats: Butter, Canola oil, Margarine.
Meat: Beef, Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Lamb, Veal.
Beverages: Beer, Wine, Coffee, Soda drinks, Processed juices.
Nuts & Seeds: Cashews, Peanuts, Roasted nuts, Walnuts.
Dairy: Butter, Cheeses, Eggs, Milk.
If you think that healthy foods are boring with no taste – think again! Healthy foods can be as mouth-watering as crusty pizza, creamy pasta or a decadent chocolate cake. You can eat whatever you want, as much as you want, and whenever you want. You can heal your body, shed extra weight, increase your energy and look and feel younger. I suggest a slow transition to a healthy diet to allow the body to shift automatically into the new pattern. My recommendation is a step-by-step approach, beginning with more organic, fresh, live food.
This article is only for the information and education of people who want to eat healthy and make informed decisions. Consult your physician if you have been diagnosed with cancer. I do not make any claims that raw food diet will work for you or even save your life.
Simona Stepancic believes that the natural process of healing makes a person stronger. Through living foods, a healthy lifestyle, and spiritual practice, we can heal our body, mind and soul. She has authored two series of recipe books: the FRESH Recipe Journal series includes Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Menopause, Candida, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Detox, and the FRESH Raw Vegan series. She is the author of the upcoming book Sexy, Fit and Fabulous: 130 Raw Food Recipes, Tools & Tips for Radiant Health, a Slim Body, Abundant Energy and Timeless Beauty.