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Is there an ultimate anti-cancer diet?

posted 7 May 2015, 09:31 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 13 May 2015, 10:34 ]

By Liz Butler

I’ve worked as a nutritional therapist supporting people with cancer for the last 12 years. And during this time I’ve studied the full range of diets claiming to provide THE answer when it comes to delivering ultimate nourishment to those living with cancer. This has been a fascinating and enlightening journey but has it led me to the one perfect diet for all those with cancer? ………..err no, absolutely not.

What is has done though is lead me to several powerful conclusions that I will share with you here in the hope that they will shed some light on your personal path of nutritional discovery.

1. Diet is an incredibly important part of the cancer recovery process. I imagine as you are reading this blog that you may have already come to this conclusion yourself. But let me bring the point home to you even more strongly. I have witnessed first-hand the power of nutrition to transform the health and the lives of hundreds of people with cancer. I’ve seen how food has helped to recharge an exhausted body, cleanse a toxic body, rebuild a broken body and soothe a suffering body. I’ve seen how the amazing gift of food can bring joy and excitement when days are otherwise cloudy and grey. And yes, at times I believe I’ve witnessed how a change in diet has provided the missing puzzle piece that has led to a complete recovery.

2. Nutrition is just 1 part of a bigger picture. The term ‘holistic’ is branded about here, there and everywhere these days to the point that it’s become associated with anything vaguely health-related. However, for true healing the importance of this term, which means to take account of the complete person and recognise the whole as greater than the sum of its parts, is fundamental. The whole person consists of body, mind and soul and each aspect must be appreciated and supported. Nutrition has the capacity to nourish body, mind and soul as do physical activity and detoxification; all 3 areas are important and require attention. However, the area I believe is most critical for restoration of the whole person is emotional healing. This aspect of recovery is for many the most difficult, yet it just can’t be ignored. Without focus on emotional well being, nutrition is unlikely to bring about deep healing; I’ve seen this to be the case many times.

3. There is no 1 diet that best serves every person with cancer. When you think about it for a moment this conclusion seems so obvious. How could there be one way of eating to suit all people with the many different diseases that are termed ‘cancer’? And how could one diet serve a group of people each with a unique genetic profile and chemical exposure, with different medical histories and treatment programmes and with varying levels of physical activity and emotional stress? We are all unique and special in our own way and as such, we must find the foods that perfectly complement our individual needs. And yet, as many of you may have discovered, there are numerous dietary programmes claiming to be the one and only answer for people with cancer. This is not the truth and never will be.

4. Finding the perfect way of eating requires listening to our inner intelligence. If you accept that the perfect diet for you won’t be found in any book or on any website you may be wondering where you will find the answers you need. You may imagine they’ll come from a nutrition expert who will tailor advice to meet your needs. Well, this could certainly guide you in the right direction but ultimately the answers you’re seeking won’t come from the mind of any health professional either. In case you’re feeling a little anxious now, don’t despair. The answers you seek do exist but they’re lying quietly in a place we’re seldom encouraged to search. If not ‘out there’ the only other place the answers to our nutritional and health dilemmas could be is inside us. We are all blessed with innate healing intelligence that continually guides us, like a radar system, towards those things that support our well being. For example, when we cut our finger the body knows exactly what must be done for full healing to occur, without any conscious thought or intervention from us or anyone else. If our actions do not support our well being the body will let us know, it will communicate to us through our emotions and physical symptoms. While most of us are unaccustomed to listening to the body’s signals we can all learn, quickly and easily.

This is not to say we should abandon our external search for nutritional information. There’s a wealth of fantastic material in the places already mentioned: books, Internet, health professionals. The key is to use these resources to become educated and informed but not as the source for your ultimate answers. Always come home to yourself, check in regularly and ask the question: ‘does this piece of information fit for me’. To be most effective, ask this question in a state of relaxation and once asked let the question go along with any worry, and then remain alert for the answer.

I wonder if any of you reading this have resistance to the last point I’ve shared with you? I expect so, many people want to hand over their health problems to an expert and be told what’s best for them. If you feel that way that’s fine and it’s perfect for you. Just ponder this for a moment though, by deciding you didn’t like my suggestion to listen to your inner guide, you’ve gone ahead and done just that. You tried on that piece of information and decided it didn’t fit for you. Well done, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!

So to conclude my round up of conclusions, I want to encourage you whole heartedly to embark on a journey of nutritional discovery. But don’t limit it to nutrition, make it a lifestyle journey. Consider how other aspects of your lifestyle affect your well being and most of all please be brave and take an honest look at your emotional health. Finally, the best piece of health advice I can give is to ensure you make a regular date with your source of inner wisdom. This intelligent guide will never let you down, just ask the questions and listen closely for the answers. I wish you all the best for your journey of discovery and hope it leads to place of abundant health and happiness!

Liz Butler