When sailing instructors teach you how to sail, they cannot show you around
the world. They show you how to use the instruments of navigation– a sextant,
compass and map–and hope you can fare well on your own. So, too, I cannot
follow you around for the rest of your life and make nutritional decisions
for you. But I can condense the volumes of nutrition information into several
easy-to-follow rules that become your navigation instruments in choosing
the right foods. I have tried giving cancer patients a detailed 2 week food
intake program. By day 2, this patient is out of some food, then eats with
a friend at a restaurant, then has dinner with the cousins–all of which
throws the patient off their diet without any idea of knowing how to “wing
it” or improvise. Use this chapter as a shortcut toward building good
nutrition judgment in choosing foods and supplements that will fight cancer.
The KISS (Keep It Simple Student) Method of Optimal Nutrition
Go natural. Eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
Refining food often adds questionable agents (like food additives, salt,
sugar and fat), removes valuable nutrients (like vitamins, minerals, and
fiber) and always raises the cost of the food.
Expand your horizons. Eat a wide variety of foods. By not focusing
on any particular food, you can obtain nutrients that may be essential but
are poorly understood while also avoiding a buildup of any substance that
could create food allergies or toxicities.
Nibbling is better. Eat small frequent meals. Nibbling is better
than gorging. Our ancestors “grazed” throughout the day. Only
with the advent of the industrial age did we begin the punctual eating of
large meals. Nibbling helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and minimize
insulin rushes; therefore has been linked to a lowered risk for heart disease,
diabetes, obesity and mood swings.
Avoid problem foods. Minimize your intake of unhealthy foods which
are high in fat, salt, sugar, cholesterol, caffeine, alcohol, processed
lunch meats and most additives.
Seek out nutrient-dense foods. Maximize your intake of life-giving
foods, including fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit, low fat
meat (turkey, fish, chicken) and clean water. Low fat dairy products, especially
yogurt, can be valuable if you do not have milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
Monitor your quality of weight, rather than quantity of weight. Balance
your calorie intake with expenditure so that your percentage of body fat
is reasonable. Pinch the skinfold just above the hipbone. If this skin is
more than an inch in thickness, then you may need to begin rational efforts
to lose weight. Obesity is a major factor in cancer. For a more exact way
to track your percent body fat, use the Futrex (phone 800-545-1950), a device
based on research done at the United States Department of Agriculture. This
device measures the thickness of fatty tissue in the biceps region, which
is most representative of total body fat. How much you weigh is not nearly
as crucial as the percent of fat in the body. Of all the controversies that
plague the nutrition field, one issue that all nutritionists will agree
on is to eat less fat in your diet and store less fat in your body.
Eat enough protein. Cancer is a serious wasting disease. I have counselled
far too many cancer patients who looked like war camp victims, having lost
25% or more of their body weight due to insufficient protein intake. Take
in 1 to 2 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. Example: 150
pound patient. Divide 150 pounds by 2.2 to find 68 kilograms, multiply times
1 to 2, yields 68 to 136 grams of protein daily is needed to generate a
healthy immune system. While a protein excess can have some harmful side
effects, a protein deficiency is disastrous for the cancer patient.
Use supplements in addition to, rather than instead of, good food.
Get your nutrients with a fork and spoon. Do not place undo reliance on
pills and powders to provide optimal nourishment. Supplements providing
micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) cannot reverse the major influence
of foods providing macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein, fiber, water).
Foods are top priority in your battle plan against cancer.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. On the perimeter of your
grocery store you will find fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, fish, chicken
and dairy. Once you venture into the deep dark interior of the grocery store,
nutritional quality of the foods goes way down and prices go way up. Organic
produce is raised without pesticides and may be valuable in helping cancer
patients. However, organic produce is unavailable or unaffordable for many
people. Don’t get terribly concerned about having to consume organic produce.
Produce should be either peeled (like watermelon or bananas) or soaked for
5 minutes in a solution of one gallon lukewarm clean water with 2 tablespoons
If a food will not rot or sprout, then don’t buy it or throw it out.
Your body cells have similar biochemical needs to a bacteria or yeast cell.
Foods that have a shelf life of a millenia are not going to nourish the
body. Think about it: if bacteria is not interested in your food, then what
makes you think that your body cells are interested? Foods that cannot begin
(sprouting) or sustain (bacterial growth) life elsewhere, will have a similar
effect in your body.
Dishes should be easy to clean. Foods that are hard to digest or
unhealthy will probably leave a mess on plates and pots. Dairy curd, such
as fondue, is both difficult to clean and very difficult for your stomach
to process. Same thing with fried, greasy or burned foods.
Essential Nutrient Pyramid
We need to recognize the priority placed on essential nutrients. We can
live for weeks without food, a few days without water and only a few minutes
without oxygen. Keep in mind the relative importance of these essential
Oxygen and water form the basis of human life. Make sure that your quality
and quantity of intake pay homage to this fact. Protein, carbohydrate, fiber
and fat form the next level of importance. Vitamins and minerals are the
essential micronutrients required for health.
Above these essential substances are two levels of quasi (meaning “as
if it were”) nutrients. Conditionally essential nutrients include Coenzyme-Q10,
carnitine, EPA and GLA (fatty acids) and much more. Some people may require
these nutrients in the diet during certain stressful phases of their lives.
Minor dietary constituents (MDCs) include a wide variety of plant compounds
that have shown remarkable anti-cancer abilities. Indoles in the cabbage
family, lycopenes in tomatoes, allicin in garlic, immune stimulants in sea
vegetables and others make up this new and exciting category. Eating a wide
variety of unprocessed plant foods will help to insure adequate intake of
Expect the Existence of Unknown Essential Nutrients
As laboratory equipment becomes more sophisticated, we keep finding more
substances in the food supply that can help or hurt us. Macronutrients,
which are found in large amounts in the diet, were discovered first, and
micronutrients second. An entire universe of “sub-micro” nutrients
await us as we look at substances found in the food supply in parts per
trillion. Not until laboratory equipment could detect pesticide residues
and minor dietary constituents could we begin to appreciate their importance
For example, infant formulas were first tried 3000 years ago and became
fashionable with the royalty in Europe in the past 500 years. By 1700 AD,
it was recognized that feeding your child animal milk rather than human
breastmilk brought nearly a 90% mortality rate. “Wet nurses” were
peasant women brought in to breastfeed the children of nobility. By 1950,
scientists felt confident that they could duplicate and even improve on
breast milk. They were wrong. Since then, we have learned of the special
fatty acids (EPA & GLA) contained in breast milk for brain development,
the amino acid taurine for brain and sight, immune factors that share mother’s
acquired immunity with the newborn infant, nutrients that allow for maturation
of the intestinal lining and the pancreatic cells and much more.
Studies show that breastfed infants later in life are at lower risk for
heart disease, diabetes, allergies, sudden infant death (SID) and even emotional
problems. Still, breastfeeding is only beginning to make a comeback, with
less than 20% of American mothers nursing their young. We thought that we
could duplicate mother’s milk, but we really didn’t understand the elegant
symphony of “sub-micro” nutrients that it contained. Same applies
with our foods. The more that we tamper with our food supply, the more hard
lessons we learn regarding the ornate and subtle blend of potent nutrients
offered by nature.
The Continuum of Nutrients and Toxins
A continuum is a “continuous whole, whose parts cannot be separated.”
Most light switches only go on and off. But some lights have a dimmer switch
which allows for a continuum of varying shades of light. Rarely are events
in life as neatly classified as “you are pregnant or you aren’t”.
The same complexities apply with nutrients.
When I was in undergraduate studies, my professors spoke of vitamin E as
the “vitamin in search of a disease”, because studies had shown
that you could deprive a group of humans of all vitamin E for many months
without any noticeable health problems surfacing. Today, it has been clearly
demonstrated that the greatest nutritional risk factor for heart disease
is a long term low intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E is certainly essential
in the human diet, but it takes decades for deficiencies to surface.
Not all toxins are of equal toxicity and not all nutrients are equally essential.
Some poisons, like botulism, are so potent that a tiny drop will kill a
human quickly. For most toxins, it requires long term intake of larger amounts
to create health problems. Professor Bruce Ames at the University of California
Berkeley has created a HERP index (human exposure rodent potency) which
illustrates the concept of varying degrees of toxicity. I have added to
that idea the mirror image of a continuum of varying degrees of essential
nutrients. A protein deficiency will surface within a few weeks of low intake.
Most vitamin deficiencies take months to surface. Certain mineral deficiencies
take years to surface, like chromium as heart disease or selenium as cancer.
And it can take decades for some nutrient deficiencies to surface, such
as riboflavin into cataracts, calcium into osteoporosis and vitamin E into
Alzheimer’s disease. These facts are known. From these facts, I am going
to speculate on a critical issue in nutrition.
We used to have such a tidy definition of “essential nutrients”:
a substance that is not made in the body and is therefore required in the
diet for health. So it was very unnerving when scientists discovered that
we make niacin (essential vitamin B-3) in the body from the amino acid tryptophan
and we make vitamin D from sunshine exposure on the skin. And there went
the neat definition. The same applies for the special fatty acids EPA and
GLA, the energy bridge nutrient Coenzyme Q-10 and the amino acid carnitine–we
eat some of these nutrients in a good diet and we make some in our bodies
from raw materials. Given that fact that during illness, aging, exposure
to toxins and stress, we cannot make enough of these quasi-nutrients, scientists
have argued to have these conditionally essential nutrients classified as
essential for some people and during some “seasons” of our lives.
See the chart below. If your body depends on the precursor, meaning “raw
materials”, A plus enzymes D and E to get enough of the needed end-product
C, then the supply line has become the rate limiting bottleneck in health.
Scientists have shown evidence that hypertension can surface in some people
as a deficiency of GLA (a unique fatty acid) or EPA; and that heart disease
arises in people who cannot manufacture enough carnitine or CoQ within.
The answer to this riddle is to provide the ailing body with optimal amounts
of end product C so that you don’t have to depend on the tenuous and failing
production line inside the body.
Some sensitive individuals with a limited internal production of quasi-nutrients
may suffer cancer as a long term consequence of a deficiency. MDCs have
potent disease-arresting capabilities and are known to exist mostly in unprocessed
plant food. No one is willing to call these MDC substances “essential
nutrients” yet because we don’t know enough about them. But many cancer
patients get better when they start eating properly, especially a diet high
in unprocessed plant food. My contention is that, for some cancer victors,
their disease resulted from a deficiency of a subtle but crucial nutrient
that was not found in adequate quantities in a highly refined diet.
The More Complex the Organism,
The More Complex the Nutrient Needs
In 1949, Professor Linus Pauling wrote of “orthomolecular medicine”
as establishing the “right amounts” of molecules in the cell.
In 1969, twice Nobel laureate Dr. Pauling wrote a brilliant paper on orthomolecular
nutrition, or providing optimal amounts of nutrients to the cell. In complex
chemical equations, he explained that a single cell organism has a very
short “grocery list” of essential nutrients. These bacteria and
yeast spend all of their time creating their own nutrients from just a few
other essential molecules. As life evolved, organisms progressively lost
the ability to make all of these essential nutrients inside the cell, and
in doing so freed up cellular “machinery” to perform other functions
beyond just survival. Eventually life evolved from primitive and self-sufficient
forms into species that were highly dependent on the environment yet with
complex thinking and movement.
The movie “Jeremiah Johnson” with Robert Redford was a classic
example of this principle. Jeremiah left the complex society of Boston in
the 19th century to live in isolation in the mountain wilderness of Colorado.
His isolationism forced him to spend all of his days just surviving: making
his own clothes, capturing his meat, repairing things, etc. While Jeremiah
had no need for society, he also made no contribution to society. Jeremiah
was somewhat like a bacteria, since he had a short grocery list of essential
supplies from his environment, yet he had no time for anything but survival.
Humans are the most complex organisms on earth. The downside of this equation
is that we have the most extensive grocery list of essential nutrients.
Yet the upside is our vast potential in thought and movement. We are more
vulnerable to malnutrition than cockroaches, yet we can dance ballet and
program a computer. An algae is better at surviving. A human is better at
sophisticated movement and thought.
The take home lesson here is the complexity of human nutrition. Humans definitely
have more extensive nutrient requirements than lower forms of life. We may
need certain substances found only in liver (such as lipoic acid), or sea
vegetables (such as a thyroid-stimulating factor), or fresh greens (such
as chlorophyll and bioflavonoids), or garlic (allicin). We need to distinguish
between facts and hunches, but my hunch is that some people get cancer because
their sophisticated and complex bodily needs are not being met by the highly
refined junk food diet of Western society.
Difference Between Surviving and Thriving
Humans have survived car crashes at 200 miles per hour, falling out of jet
planes without a parachute from five miles up, being fired out of cannons,
inhumane treatment in prisoner of war camps, multiple gun shot wounds and
a metal shaft fired cleanly through the head. While some people can survive
a half century of smoking, no one thrives on it. Alcoholics can tolerate
a suicidal lifestyle for decades. But their body and mind suffer and age
rapidly in the process. None of these feats are good for the human body.
Yet our tenacity is oftentimes our undoing. We assume that a diet that doesn’t
immediately kill us must be good for us. Not so.
The statistical picture of the average American is indicative of a tenacious
survivor: overweight; 6 colds per year; chronic mild depression, constipation,
and lethargy; dentures by age 45; chronic illness by age 60 with 6 different
daily drugs needed; and death in the 70s from heart disease or cancer. None
of this would be considered thriving–nor is our lifestyle “optimal”.
The fact that a person has cancer may be a clear indicator that “surviving”
has deteriorated into illness. We need to pursue optimal health and “thriving”
before the cancer will go away. The above graph shows that health and performance
increase with increasing nutrient intake, until a plateau is reached–in
pharmaceutical terms, there appears to be a “dose-dependent” response
curve with the health benefits of many nutrients.
Think of the relative benefits of increasing daily intake of folate:
- Most people can live on 100 micrograms (mcg)
- Wound healing and overall health are improved at 400 mcg
- The risk for pregnant women having babies with neural tubes defect can
be lowered dramatically at 1000 mcg
- Pre-cancerous conditions of the cervix and lungs can be reversed with
Most people can survive for decades on 10 international units (iu) of vitamin
E. Yet, 100 iu of E will improve lung resistance to air pollutants and lower
the risk for heart disease, while 800 iu has been shown to measurably elevate
immune functions. Humans can survive on 10 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
for decades. Yet, many experts recommend 400 mg as a healthier RDA, and
10,000 mg helps to fight AIDS, cancer and the flu. In a study reported in
the May 1992 edition of Epidemiology by UCLA researcher Professor
Enstrom, 300 mg of supplemental vitamin C daily lengthened lifespan in men
by 6 years.
Clearly, survival levels of nutrient intake are not enough for the cancer
patient. Elevating a cancer patient out of surviving and into thriving dramatically
improves the patient’s ability to manage the disease.
Disease is a Clash Between Genetic Vulnerability & Environmental
Heart disease is not the inevitable end for most people. Japanese people
have a lower rate of heart disease, until they move to the U.S. and begin
living our lifestyle, which equalizes the numbers quickly. Our genetic vulnerability
collides with our risky lifestyle to create heart disease. Fair skinned
people who are exposed to excessive sunlight run a higher risk of contracting
skin cancer. Its not that their skin is defective, but rather these people
have evolved to extract more vitamin D from a less sunny environment. Their
weakness in a sunny setting is a survival advantage in a cloudy part of
the world. Australians have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the
world; as an example of northern European people who have been placed in
a sun-drenched climate.
Cancer patients have demonstrated a genetic vulnerability toward cancer.
Therefore, optimal nutritional protection is required to reduce the carcinogenic
risks of chemo and radiation therapy. This means re-organizing the cancer
patient’s lifestyle to protect the obviously delicate cellular machinery
from another bout with cancer. Quitting smoking improves the odds that the
cancer patient will beat cancer. Continuing to smoke is a sure death sentence.
In hundreds of patients, I have never seen an active smoker actually recover
Simple Solutions for Complex Problems
Most biological therapies have been serious disappointments for cancer patients.
After decades of work from brilliant scientists, there is always another
unexpected obstacle around the bend that leads to toxic side effects and
reduced therapeutic value from substances like interferon or interleukin.
The reason for these frustrating results is our arrogance. We assume that
we fully understand the interdependent and complex machinery of the human
body. Yet we have only a vague grasp of how to optimally support the mind
and body. We dump billions of pounds of known lethal poisons in our air,
food and water supply; then subject ourselves to unprecedented levels of
psychological distress; then fill our stomachs with nutritionally bankrupt
food. When our health fails, we cut off the defective part or try some dramatic,
invasive, expensive therapy that will combat the disease. Somehow, we ignore
the obvious and easy answers. The solution to many health problems revolves
around nourishing our own internal healing ability–the “life forces”
Our rapidly expanding technology has brought us trips to the moon, powerful
notebook computers, laser surgery and satellite communications. But in spite
of our accomplishments, we cannot make a baby, or an apple, or even a feather.
Life is far more complex than many people are willing to admit. My guess
is that 20 years from now, we will compare our current awkward efforts at
cancer therapy to a gorilla trying to fix a computer with a hammer. Odds
are, the gorilla is going to do more harm than good.
Let’s look at an example. Waterwheel-driven clocks were invented in China
in the 8th century AD. Mechanical clocks were invented in Europe by the
13th century. For the next 700 years, watchmakers furiously pursued the
perfect timepiece, as the parts became smaller, more numerous, more fragile
and made of precious gems and metals. Finally, by 1960 you could spend $20,000
on a “chronometer” watch which was accurate to within a minute
a month. But the real breakthrough in timekeeping was a piece of sand. That’s
right, the key part in our modern timepieces is a quartz crystal of silicon
dioxide with no moving parts, made for pennies, never needs winding, totally
shockproof and keeps time to within a few seconds a month. The perfect timepiece
has become surprisingly simple and gives us a preview of the simple elegance
in the answer to cancer–harness the forces in nature.
I have had fascinating discussions with researchers in biological therapies
for cancer. Their brilliance and dedication is beyond dispute. Yet in their
brilliance, they ignore the laws of nature. Since we cannot veto these laws,
we need to better understand and work with them. It is unlikely that we
will ever develop a “magic bullet” against all cancer. Too many
people are living a lifestyle which induces cancer. Using some medicine
to counteract the powerful and destructive tides created by the typical
diet and lifestyle is like trying to sweep back the ocean. The simple answers
to the complex cancer puzzle will involve nourishing the life forces while
eliminating physical and metaphysical poisons from the body.
The Treatment of Degenerative Disease must deal with Cause
The same lifestyle factors which prevent heart disease–stress reduction
(meditation), walking and a low fat vegetarian diet–can also reverse heart
disease, as demonstrated by Dr. Dean Ornish. If your headache is caused
by your teenager’s drums, then no amount of aspirin, antacid, or tranquilizers
will actually cure the problem until you stop the noise. Cancer follows
this same paradigm. Drugs and surgery can provide temporary relief from
symptoms, but cannot reverse the underlying mechanisms that brought about
the disease. If a long term zinc deficiency blunted the immune system, which
led to cancer; then only zinc supplements can reverse the condition. If
a painful divorce caused depression which blunted the immune system, then
resolution of the psychological stress is the only long term cure. If low
thyroid output is the problem that led to cancer, then normalizing thyroid
is the answer. For most cancer patients, cancer is a result of many combined
negative forces. Pure and simple: reverse the cause and you have a much
better chance for a cure.
Recall the tree fungus drawing from earlier in this book. You can cut, burn
and poison the fungus off a tree bark. But until you alter the underlying
conditions that encourage the abnormal growth, the fungus will return. Similarly,
you can cut, burn and poison with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to
temporarily relieve tumor burden; but until you alter the conditions that
spawned the cancer, it will return.
The parallel between cancer and fungus may be more than just a convenient
metaphor. C.B. “Doc” Pennington is a wealthy oil magnate who developed
untreatable colon cancer 20 years ago and was sent home to die. While battling
cancer, Doc saw a TV story in which thousands of turkeys died from a fungal
poisoning, aflatoxin, in their peanut meal. After a visit from Dr. Linus
Pauling, Pennington began taking high doses of vitamins C and E coupled
with his own theory of an anti-fungal medication(Grisactin 250 from Ayest
Labs, NYC). His cancer went away and today Doc is 92 years young and has
single-handedly launched the Pennington Biomedical Institute in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana with $126 million of his personal funds to study the link between
nutrition and cancer. Pennington may be on to something. One of the main
causes of death in cancer is infection, with autopsies showing that 50%
of infections are caused by yeast overgrowth, primarily Candida.
Biochemical Individuality — We are all Different
Stroll through a big city zoo if you want to truly appreciate the diversity
of life on earth. There are creatures that eat mostly meat, like cats, who
would die on a vegetarian diet. There are creatures, like elephants and
rabbits, that are strict vegetarians and would die on a carnivorous diet.
There are many shades of gray in between these two extremes, like omnivorous
humans. The five billion people on the planet earth comprise an incredible
tapestry of biochemical and physical diversity. Eskimos eat a diet primarily
composed of high fat fish, with almost no fruit, vegetables, or fiber to
speak of. Yet they are an incredibly hardy group of people, nearly devoid
of heart disease, cancer or diabetes. They are eating their “factory
specification” diet to which they have adapted. Some groups of people
have evolved to depend entirely on their dairy herds, while other groups
are vegetarians. Scientists examined the Turkana, a nomadic group in Kenya,
Africa who survived on their goat herds. When a splinter group of the Turkana
settled along a pristine lake shore for a seemingly healthier life of fresh
fish; they developed warts, diarrhea and infections because they were not
eating their “factory specification” diet.
There have been many efforts to sub-classify humans into their special dietary
- Elliott Abravanel, MD in his Metabolic Diet
- Donald Kelley, DDS in his Metabolic typing into sympathetic and parasympathetic
- Nick Gonzales, MD in his 10 different diets as an elaboration of Kelley’s
- Ayurvedic medicine is a 2000 year old Hindu system of healing which
sub-classifies East Indian people for their dietary needs.
- Rudolph Wiley, PhD has divided people into acidic, alkalotic, or mixed
type, depending on the predisposition of their metabolism toward extreme
- Peter D’Adamo, ND has categorized human dietary needs by their blood
types, which are representative of their ancestor’s native regions.
- and many others
What these bright people all agree is: Humans are different and require
different diets to thrive. To quote Lucretius, a poet from ancient Rome,
“What is meat to one is to others bitter poison.” Parry of Bath,
an English physician quipped: “More important to know what sort of
patient has a disease than to know the sort of disease the patient has”.
Most useful therapies evolved from bright clinicians. When a doctor meticulously
and conscientiously treats thousands of patients over the course of many
decades, his or her observations are worth a great deal. Patterns develop
that provide predictability in patient outcome. One such pattern has come
from Elliott Abravanel, MD, whose extensive medical practice found categories
of patients. Based upon a dominant organ, a person develops a set of tendencies–both
weaknesses and strengths. By understanding these pecularities, we can better
manage the cancer patient. For instance, knowing a person is fair skinned
should provide fair warning that this person should not over-indulge in
exposure to the sun. Knowing that a thyroid dominant individual is very
susceptible to stimulants, this person needs to avoid caffeine and sugar.
Knowing that an adrenal dominant person is susceptible to coronary artery
disease (CAD) and diabetes (DB), he or she needs to plan their lifestyle
accordingly. The following Metabolic Type chart comes from DR. ABRAVANEL’S
BODY TYPE PROGRAM (Bantam, 1985). Use it as another instrument to help you
create your own nutrition support program.
While none of these methods of categorizing humans for their specific dietary
needs has withstood the rigors of scientific scrutiny, I have found a system
that seems to help–follow your ancestral heritage. Figure out what your
ancestors ate prior to the advent of agriculture, 5000 years ago, and follow
that food pattern. Anthropologists tell us that mankind evolved some 2-3
million years ago, while agriculture and a high grain diet was introduced
5000 years ago, and nutrient-depleted junk food became our dietary staples
in the past 50 years. Humans, like all other animals on earth, must pay
homage to our origins. The momentum of 2 million years of adapting to and
eventually depending on a certain diet cannot be overcome in a few decades.
We must eat our “factory specification” diet. Trying to run a
diesel truck on gasoline would ruin the engine. Many people are trying to
run their body on the wrong fuel.
Our ancestors of 5000 years ago were mostly hunters and gathers. In colder
climates, such as northern Europe, plant food was only available throughout
the summer and fall. Lean wild game and fish provided the bulk of food intake
throughout winter. In warmer climates, like central Africa and India, the
inhabitants relied on a year round diet of mostly fresh plant food. There
are many shades of dietary needs in between these extremes. The take home
lesson here is: “eat what you are supposed to eat from your ancient
heritage.” As ethnic groups blend in marriage, this “ancestral
diet” becomes a more complex issue with our mixed racial backgrounds.
Along the same line of logic, Dr. Roger Williams, professor emeritus at
the University of Texas and one of the most productive nutrition scientists
of all time, discovered the incredible biological diversity within any animal
species. Dr. Williams inbred guinea pigs for 3 generations, which should
have produced a very homogenous offspring. Yet he found a 20 fold variance
in the vitamin C requirements of these genetically similar creatures. Armadillos
commonly give birth to identical quadruplets which develop from one egg.
Hence, these baby armadillos are as identical as they can get. Yet Dr. Williams
found a two-fold variance in the size of key organs and a three-fold variance
in the blood levels of hormones and amino acids. Williams book, NUTRITION
AGAINST DISEASE, still stands as a cornerstone work in this century of nutrition
Biochemical individuality creates complications in nutrition therapy that
defies “cookbook” therapy, or trying to follow some standard guidelines
for all cancer patients. Our health care system is built on following protocols,
which ignore the irrefutable presence of unique nutrient requirements and
chemical sensitivities. I can give you guidelines in this book which will
dramatically improve your chances of recovering from cancer, but only you
can become sensitive to your individual requirements so that you can “fine
tune” your program.
As with all other areas of life, there are some systems in the body that
are more important than others. This three dimensional graph, developed
by Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, is a brilliant way to assess your health. The
three most important biochemical parameters in the human body are:
- pH, or acid to base balance
- Redox potential, or the dynamic balance between oxidation & reduction
which arises from free radicals (by-products of immune functions and energy
metabolism) and antioxidants (like vitamins C, E and beta-carotene)
- Stress from both physical and mental sources. Distress is negative while
eustress is positive.
If these factors are off kilter, then nothing else in the body matters until
these conditions are rectified. For instance, a cancer patient may have
a selenium deficiency and mercury overload, but if their serum pH is abnormal,
then adjusting pH takes precedence in the efforts to help the patient.
In Oriental philosophy, there are two opposing forces which create the dynamic
way of the universe. In the human body there are two opposing forces that
create a dynamic equilibrium of health. Too much serotonin in the brain
may create a dull mind while not enough serotonin may lead to depression,
schizophrenia or compulsive habits. Too much dopamine can create an anxious
mind while not enough can cause hyperactivity or mental lethary. Balance
the two forces of excitatory and inhibitory chemicals in the brain and you
have a person who is alert yet relaxed. Antioxidants are crucial to slow
down the corrosive effects of pro-oxidants, like oxygen. Yet insufficient
oxygen in the cells may be at the root of some cancers, since cancer is
primarily an anaerobic organism.
Fiber is a valuable nutrient, but too much fiber will create diarrhea and
a loss of certain minerals from the intestines. Sodium is essential for
life, but too much sodium in the body may create cancer or heart disease.
If glucose levels in the blood are low, then the brain starves for fuel.
Yet, too much glucose in the blood can fuel cancer growth while suppressing
the immune system. The cancer victor needs to re-establish that delicate
balance of opposing forces which constitutes optimal health. Too much or
too little of most substances, from sunlight to oxygen to selenium, will
be harmful. True health is a yin-yang balancing act.
Nutrients as Biological Response Modifiers (BRM)
Most Americans choose their food for reasons of taste, cost, convenience
and psychological gratification. All those reasons are okay, as long as
we do not forget the real reason that we eat: to nourish the cells of the
body with essential ingredients from the diet. Everytime you eat, picture
the cavalry from the old west delivering the long-awaited supplies to the
fort–you better have the right stuff with you. While humans can survive
on many different bad diets for years, we can only thrive on a narrowly
defined set of nutrition principles.
Know this rule: Everything that you put in your mouth is a BRM. Brilliant
scientists at the National Cancer Institute have labored for years trying
to produce something from the laboratory that will rectify human cancer.
These researchers have developed the field of BRM, in which potent drugs
and extracts from the immune system will hopefully improve health. Results
in this area have been very disappointing.
But every time you eat a meal high in carbohydrates and get a little sleepy
afterward, you have used food as a BRM to alter brain chemicals. A high
salt diet changes the critical sodium to potassium ratio in the blood and
cell membranes, which can affect many hormones and the permeability of cell
membranes. Respect the incredible impact of food, water and air on the mind
All Lifestyle Factors are Health Vectors
Vectors are forces, which vary in strength and direction. For instance,
a small plane flying at 100 miles per hour north into a head wind at 120
mph has a ground speed of -20 mph. Progress is seriously impaired by the
opposing force of the wind.
All lifestyle factors are vectors which either move you toward illness or
wellness. Consider the person who is smoking (-80 mph), eats a low fat diet
(+60 mph), takes vitamin supplements (+40 mph), has a stressful attitude
(-100 mph), and eats a high sugar diet (-80). The overwhelming direction
for this person is toward illness, even though he or she is doing some things
right. Health is a sum total of vectors. The cancer patient is in need of
all vectors being favorable.
Humans are a Complex Interplay Between Physical & Metaphysical Forces
There is documented evidence that humans can walk on firey coals without
burning the skin, voluntarily alter heart rate, go into suspended animation
and spontaneously heal from dramatic disease. All of these truths fly into
the face of good science. Yet humans are intellectual and spiritual creatures
who can defy some of the laws of physical science.
No doubt, we have only begun to tap into the vast potential of the human
mind. Call it whatever you want: religion, psychology, philosophy, paranormal,
metaphysics (beyond physical laws), or the catch phrase of today, psychoneuroimmunology.
Humans do not always live by the rules of physical science. The more spiritual
a person becomes, the less he or she is subject to physical laws.
Life is a Continuum of Flexibility, From Birth to Death
At conception, we are a tiny gelatinous egg. At birth, we are the amorphous
“Houdini” that can contort our flexible bodies down the narrow
birth passage. Babies’ skeletons are composed primarily of flexible cartilage.
As we mature, calcium is laid down in this bone matrix to solidify the skeleton.
Some older adults develop brittleness in body, as in arthritis and osteoporosis,
and mind, as in the curmudgeon unable to accept inevitable change.
Death is the ultimate rigid state of rigor mortis in which all unsaturated
fats in the body turn to saturated fat, like lard. While aging is unavoidable,
aging and disease are accelerated by rigidity of mind and body. To avoid
disease and retard aging, stay flexibible in body, through exercises and
stretching, and in mind, through openness to new ideas and tolerance of
The More Wellness You Have, The Less Illness You Can Have
Just like darkness is the absence of light, disease is the absence of wellness.
Wellness is a state of optimal functioning of body, mind and spirit. A well
person may have 90% wellness and 10% illness. A sick person may have 10%
wellness and 90% illness. A body region cannot be well and ill at the same
time. Therefore, curing illness is a matter of replacing it with wellness.
The same unhealthy lifestyle may create heart disease in 30% of the people,
cancer in 25%, arthritis in 10%, and mental illness in 5%. As per Dr. Charles
Farr, in a very important step toward removing illness, simply allow wellness
to infiltrate the body and mind.
There Will be More Laws
Nutrition is in its infancy. While the above laws apply in all humans, there
will no doubt be more laws, since we are only beginning to understand the
majesty of the human mind and body.