When it comes to nutrition, I like to think of the digestive system as a filter. It’s perfectly designed to sift the micro-nutrients from the foods we eat. But when additives, preservatives, and other unnatural ingredients are present in our food, the filter gets clogged.
When that already clogged digestive system is further compromised by bacteria or parasites, it becomes difficult for the body to get the nutrients it needs and to ward off disease. In today’s society, nutrition has also been severely compromised by foods treated with pesticides, herbicides, and genetic-modification. It’s no wonder that many of the cancer patients who come to Hope4Cancer for alternative, holistic cancer treatments have compromised digestive and immune systems.
Full Spectrum Nutrition is number three of Hope4Cancer’s seven principles of holistic alternative cancer treatment. We know that many illnesses stem from how the digestive system is functioning and its impact on the immune system, and cancer is no exception. We also know that many foods exacerbate cancer, such as processed sugar. It’s still hard to believe that the digestive system is often a forgotten part of the healing equation in conventional cancer treatment protocols.
At Hope4Cancer, our food philosophy is simple. We promote a diet that is as close to Mother Nature as possible. Our bodies are programmed to break down whole foods, not processed food. So, we take our patients back to the roots of their diet and serve food that is as homemade and whole as possible. We source organic ingredients and buy locally when available to retain the nutrients of our produce. The fish we serve as a protein source also is sustainably harvested and organic.
While our patients are at our clinic, we provide for all of their nutrition needs — three meals a day, plus juicing and snacks. We know that many cancer patients worry about what to eat while treating their cancer, and we take that worry off their plates. We want to help them focus on their treatments and healing — plus, they learn how to support their nutritional needs when they return home through our education program.
Personalizing the Diet
At the center of every patient’s healing plan at Hope4Cancer is a personalized diet. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment helps our patients feel better and stay stronger. To ensure proper nutrition, we know that a patient has to eat and drink enough of the foods that contain the right nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fat, water). While a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish for protein is the basis of our Full Spectrum Nutrition program, each patient has a personalized diet plan developed by our in-house nutritionist, Oscar Puig.
Oscar joined the Hope4Cancer Team this summer, and we are thrilled to have his expertise available to our patients. Within a few days of their arrival at the clinic, Oscar meets with each patient and reviews his/her blood test results, cancer type, and lifestyle factors. He then develops a personalized diet plan.
While some patients do well on a primarily vegetarian diet, others need a more Ketogenic diet that increases fat and animal protein. Our chef, Norberto, and our kitchen and juice bar staff work very hard to meet all the dietary specifications of each of our patients so that nutrition can be a key ingredient in their healing equation.
Oscar is an expert in juicing, fermenting, sprouting, and dehydrating — all excellent whole foods preparation methods. He has been teaching our kitchen staff and patients how to incorporate these methods into food preparation, especially for in-between meals. In addition to three meals per day, our patients are offered lemon water in the morning, a wheatgrass shot, golden milk, and two green juices. We also provide protein smoothies, which are available in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon to ensure that our patients are keeping up their calorie intake. As for snacks, we offer sprouted/dehydrated almonds and walnuts, dehydrated vegetables and fruits, and dehydrated bars made from ingredients like spirulina and coconut.
The Benefits of Juicing
Many studies show that a high intake of fruits and vegetables can lower the incidence of chronic conditions. It is important that the diet be colorful and natural (especially with nutrient and antioxidant rich produce) to help our patients feel healthier and more youthful. As a result, juicing is a key element of the Hope4Cancer Full Spectrum Nutrition program.
Juicing is a great way to increase our patients’ daily consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits as they provide a concentrated nutritional elixir to heal and rejuvenate the body. I like to think of a fresh green juice as a dose of “liquid sunshine.” It’s like receiving an intravenous infusion of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals with every drink. The nutrients go straight into the body without having to be broken down. As a result, juicing can help bring balance to the body’s cells. It is also one of the easiest, most efficient, and delicious ways to ensure our patients meet their daily intake of fresh produce.
Enhancing Health, Supporting Healing
We know how important nutrition is to healing cancer. Our nutritionist, Oscar, continues to develop new recipes that enhance the health of our patients and keep their taste buds satisfied. He also teaches these food preparation methods to the patients as part of our patient education programs. We hope our patients feel like they have had a mini-course in nutrition before they leave the clinic. We want them armed to feed themselves a healthy, personalized diet that supports their cancer healing when they return home.
How is your diet helping you to prevent or heal cancer? Let us know what works for you by tweeting @Hope4CancerMex!