Nutrition for a New Year
So many friends and their loved ones seem to have been affected by cancer and other serious illnesses recently. On the news yesterday it said that there are more people in the UK with cancer than ever before. And yet our knowledge of the condition and its treatment, and what we need to do for a healthier lifestyle, is also greater than ever before. I believe in spiritual healing through prayer, but I have also taken an interest in what people have written about their recoveries from cancer through good nutrition and positive psychological attitudes. This reminded me of something I wrote to a friend a few years ago who had cancer (I’m glad to say she recovered) that was, I hope, a helpful summary of the best books from the most experienced people in this field. I’ve sent it to quite a few people since. Do feel free to make use of it for your friends and loved ones. And yourself! The New Year seems a good time to be thinking of healthier living and, after all, the old truism is still true: ‘Prevention is better than cure’.
I’ll let the letter speak for itself:
“My dear friend,
Thank you so much for your email, it’s lovely to hear from you. Thank you for sparing the time. Of course you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I am more than willing to help on the nutrition front, although I always feel rather a hypocrite – it’s often more a case of ‘Do as I say, rather than as I do’!
The first book to start off with is probably Leslie Kenton (who wrote for the top women’s mags on nutrition, beauty, etc). Her main book is Raw Energy – it has a lot of the scientific evidence for a ‘living foods’ diet, presented in a very accessible, readable way, as well as her own recommendations for detoxing and meal plans at the end. On the whole, all the raw/living food books say pretty much the same thing. You get the impression that lots of people have discovered that we were meant to live in the Garden of Eden and just pluck the fruit off the trees and pull veggies out the ground. Animals that eat raw food all the time in the wild don’t get the so-called ‘diseases of civilisation’, but as soon as we domesticate animals and give them highly processed cooked food, lo and behold, they start to get arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and so on, just like us. Anyway, there’s tons of scientific evidence right back to the 19th century, but particularly from the 1930s onwards, to support living foods. The medical establishment, on the whole, has been very slow to recognise it, and has even been aggressively against it (perhaps cos it would do them out of a job??!!).
Most of the therapeutic approaches with raw food and juices go back to Dr Max Gerson, a German researcher who had to escape the Nazis in the 30s and went to America. Ironically, he was just about to present his findings to a big conference that could have made his name just as he had to flee for his life. He had had migraines for years – he experimented by giving up smoked and processed food and eating as much fresh and raw as possible, and his headaches disappeared. He then found the same diet worked with lupus and skin TB, and then arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and MS – basically the idea is to detox the body, massively strengthen the immune system, and the body heals itself. We are meant to be a self-healing system.
Two fantastic ‘testimonies’ from women who have used the Gerson therapy and healed themselves of cancer are Beata Bishop (Time to Heal) and Brenda Bohan (The Choice). Beata Bishop in the 1980s was only ‘given’ 6 months to live because of lymphoma but is still thriving 30 years later – on the Gerson therapy her body built a calcium wall an inch thick around her cancers so they couldn’t spread and she had them harmlessly removed years later. This happens to a lot of people on the Gerson therapy. What is more difficult is when people have had radio- or chemotherapy which can damage the immune system first and means it’s much harder work for the body to recover. Some people do both chemo and living foods at the same time, of course. There are several websites on the Gerson therapy, easy to find.
The main idea behind living food is that heating food to over 125 degrees Fahrenheit destroys its living enzymes and nutrients. ‘You are what you eat’ – so eating ‘dead’ food doesn’t make sense! We only have a certain number of enzymes that we’re born with with which to digest food and make it useful for the body – like having money in a bank account. The more dead food we eat, the more of our own enzymes (which in a sense give us life) we have to use up, depleting our health. But food that has its own live enzymes contributes to ours instead of depleting them, literally leaving us more ‘alive’ (see Raw Enzyme Nutrition by Howells). Changing from cooked to raw takes a few weeks, usually replacing a few cooked items at a time with their raw equivalents. When you’re strong enough then regular fasting on juices can come in to play. Centrifugal juicers (the cheaper ones!) tend to destroy enzymes and nutrients because of the heat generated – the best juicers are more expensive and are ‘masticating’, ie. imitate how humans take in food. The best are the Champion (about £350) or Green Power. I also have a dehydrator, that is a simple way of making biscuits, pastry, etc, that doesn’t heat above 125 degrees, meaning things are still live. And you can tell!
The latest thing is Green Smoothies – where you have a smoothie made of green leaves and fruit – seems to have astonishing healing effects and is easy to digest and is delicious, and is raw of course – see anything by Victoria Boutenko. There are other books too and all have pages of wonderful testimonies at the back of people who have recovered from cancer, diabetes, etc, on green smoothies every day. There are cheap smoothie makers which are fine – the best one though is by Vita-Mix and is about £400 but can cope with green stalks better. I would say green smoothies are the easiest way to start as they have immediate good effects and are easy to prepare.
Sorry to go on at such length – the last book for now is more on the psychological/personality side of disease and is superb. Bernie Siegel: Love, Medicine and Miracles – he was a surgeon at Yale Univ Hospital, Jewish background, found that certain ‘types’ of people with the same sort of attitudes tended to recover from cancer and others didn’t. He has had many years’ experience, and is great on the psychosomatic side of how unexpressed anger, grief, etc, has a part in making us ill.
I could have phoned, but I thought it would be handier for you to have the details written down (sorry it’s so long!). Do tell me if you’re up to talking on the phone, otherwise I will leave you in peace. Whatever you need to do, that’s fine. If you want a ‘buddy’ to help you with this side of things I am willing, as I think I need encouragement to do it too! When I have juiced and eaten a lot of raw stuff I’ve felt fantastic. Hmmmm, why don’t I do it all the time… must be human nature…
Lots of love and prayers, Jeanette.”