My friend Caroline was kind enough to loan me the fabulous book Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by two-time cancer survivor and researcher Dr. David Servan-Schrieber, M.D., Ph.D.
I’m not much for radical changes, discipline or complicated formulas so I was pretty leery.
To my delight, though, the book is an absolutely engaging true tale of doctor as patient, researcher, survivor and teacher.
Dr. Servan-Scrieber breezily explains how cancer can hijack our bodies’ natural healing abilities for its own evil purposes, and how, by making simple changes to our diet and habits, we can keep greedy cancer cells small and powerless.
I’m pretty sure that even I can tweak my habits to disarm cancer without feeling like I’m on I’m-Sick Planet.
(view the original list here)
1. Veg up: Make your main course 80% vegetables, 20% animal protein.
2. Mix it up: Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic. Add onions, garlic or leeks to dishes as you cook.
3. Go organic: Choose organic foods whenever possible. But remember it’s better to eat broccoli, for example, that’s been exposed to pesticide than to not eat broccoli at all.
4. Spice it up: Add powerful anti-cancer spices turmeric, black pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, etc. to your meals each day.
5. Skip the potato: Potatoes raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth. They also contain high levels of pesticide residue.
6. Go fish: Eat fish two or three times a week – sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have less mercury and PCBs than bigger fish like tuna. Avoid swordfish and shark.
7. Choose organic, omega-3 eggs: Or don’t eat the yolks. Most hens are fed corn and soybeans, making their eggs 20 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than in cell-growth regulating omega-3s.
8. Go canola or olive: Use only olive and canola oil.
9. Stay whole: Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc.) and choose organic whole grains when possible, since pesticides tend to accumulate on whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour whenever possible, and eat white pasta only al dente (who’d a thunk al dante would matter?)
10. Sweeten low: Cut down on sugar. Avoid sweetened sodas and fruit juices, skip dessert or replace it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) or a few squares of 70% cocoa dark chocolate after most meals. Read labels carefully and steer clear of products that list any type of sugar in the first three ingredients.
11. Go green: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day.
12. Enjoy life. What matters is what you do on a daily basis, not the occasional treat.
But enough about food…
1. Get physical: Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
2. Grab some rays: Try to get at least 20 minutes of daily sun exposure to boost your body’s natural production of Vitamin D. Or discuss with your doctor the option of taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.
3. Boot bad chemicals and vibes: Avoid exposure to common household contaminants. Air out your dry-cleaning for two hours before storing or wearing it; use organic cleaning products (or wear gloves); don’t heat liquids or food in hard plastics; avoid cosmetics with parabens and phthalates; don’t use chemical pesticides in your house or garden; replace your scratched Teflon pans; filter your tap water if you live in a contaminated area; don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it is turned on.
4. Invite hugs: Reach out to at least two friends for support (logistical and emotional) during times of stress.
5. Breathe: Learn a basic breathing relaxation technique to nip stress in the butt.
6. Get involved: Enjoy the bliss of helping someone else.
7. Cultivate happiness: Do one thing you love every day.
Grocery shopping just got a whole lot easier
Dr Servan-Schrieber even provides detailed lists of common and delicious anticancer foods as well as lists of pesticization levels for common fruits and veggies.
If you’d like the easily digested reasoning behind these suggestions, or you just really want to be inspired, be sure to read the book.
Thank you, Dr. Servan-Schrieber. Thank you, Caroline.