The cancer diet

Eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet and staying nourished helps the body recover and stay strong.

Healthy food

Cancer happens due to a constellation of genetic situations and environmental conditions.

Then, of course, there’s our unholy processed American diet of nutritional nothingness, which can make us particularly susceptible due to a lack of basic vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Fortunately, God has gifted each of us amazing healing mechanisms that, when fed proper nutrition, have an astonishing, persistent capacity to keep us alive — and even heal us.

Our trillions of cells are programed to recognize the carbon-based nutrition they require from God’s apothecary, not corporate-sponsored food scientists.

Sadly, we’ve wandered — led astray from nature, disconnected from earth. We often sleepwalk through our nutritional choices, even when our lives hang in the balance.

My every cell squirmed uneasily when a close friend, renewing himself in remission from cancer, recently told me his doctor stated, “Eat anything you like.”

But this ignores our miraculous, built-in healing system’s requirements for nutrients to endure and recover.

Eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet and staying nourished during cancer treatment helps the body recover and stay strong. The stronger, more nourished the body, the faster it heals.

The National Cancer Institute recommends avoiding processed foods and ingredients because they may encourage the self-renewal of cancer stem cells.

Doctors say, as always, we should avoid all refined foods — white bread, white-flour pasta, hydrogenated oils and so on. Don’t put it in your mouth if it’s not from nature.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas recommends an anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer diet high in phytonutrients from plants, fermented foods and omega 3 oils — but low in red meat, processed foods and omega-6 fatty acids.

Chemo patients often have trouble getting enough calories, so well-meaning friends and family may urge Grandma’s fried chicken, cookies, cakes and French fries. But they may do more harm than good. Instead, offer baked or grilled foods as tolerated. Nausea and lack of appetite can be exacerbated by fried foods anyway.

Then there’s sugar.

The CancerActive website reported: “More than six studies in three years show glucose — simple sugar — feeds cancer cells; the site also notes that high fructose corn syrup (think fizzy soft drinks and hundreds of other processed products) can have the same effect on cancer cells.

Mainstream authorities such as the Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson don’t support the idea that the presence of sugar can fuel — or stop — a cancer’s growth. But both recommend restricting sugar since it has no nutritional value or cancer-fighting benefit (and can cause poor health overall). There’s little we can control about genetics. But one thing we can change is how we eat.


Anticancer: A New Way of Life — by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, an MD who fended off brain cancer for 20 years — explains how people living with cancer can fight it (and how healthy people can prevent it) through diet and wellness.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen — by Rebecca Katz, a chef who has taught patients and doctors at leading cancer centers about the powerful role of food in cancer care — offers “nourishing, big-flavor recipes for cancer treatment and recovery.”

Wendell Fowler is a chef, a syndicated food columnist and the author of Eat Right Now: The End of Mindless Eating.