Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The C-Word: Anti-Cancer Supplement #1

One of the supplements I always recommend to anyone I know who has cancer is polyMVA. It's both effective along with chemotherapy and radiation or on its own. I also use it as an immune system boost any time I feel anything coming on. In my case, I started taking it while I was getting chemo, along with CoQ10. I noticed that, despite being around young kids and spending lots of time in public places, I didn't catch so much as a cold. On the one day when I started to get a bit sniffly, I took an extra dose of the polyMVA (normally, I took two teaspoons in a glass of water, three or four times a day) then two hours' later, a big dose of vitamin c and the next day it was gone. I was also incredibly resilient, I was able to take pilates during chemo and start swimming laps again within two weeks of stopping.

PolyMVA is a dark liquid combination of palladium and lipoic acid (the poly) along with minerals, vitamins and amino acids (MVA). To me, it tastes - probably because of all the b-vitamins - like marmite without any salt. Bad, but not gag-worthy. Clearly, the clever name was not created by a copywriter. That said, while it hasn't been subject to an FDA review (and honestly, I am not always impressed by what they do pass), there are scores of survivors who rave about the product and share stories online and in podcasts. A man called Walter Davis actually has created a regular PolyMVA radio show in which he invites people to give testimonials.

I was lucky enough to interview Gary Matson, a retired pastor, who now runs the doctors' programs with the company. He had actually been a bereavement counselor when his 62 year-old wife was diagnosed with stage-4 brain cancer. His son was a doctor in Southern California and got them the best allopathic medical care. They'd followed every traditional protocol and, finally, were told she had two weeks to live. In the hospice, someone mentioned PolyMVA and he started giving it to his wife. Within three months, an MRI showed that all of her tumors had stopped growing. Within five months, all of her previous tumors were gone. Unfortunately, she did die of a seizure in the 6th month - but that's a longer story.

So PolyMVA was named and invented by a Long Island dentist called Merrill Garnett, DDS, who was diagnosed with stage-4 brain cancer himself in the early 90s. He had also done some graduate work in biochemistry, so he started researching a nutritional cure that could cross the brain blood barrier at the Stony Brook laboratories and others in Long Island. He eventually came up with a combination of high-level, high-powered anti-oxidants including B1, B2, B12, rhodium, palladium and alpha-lipoic acid that helped the mixture cross into the brain. The combination of ingredients is water and fat-soluble so able to penetrate the cell walls and activate the cell mitochondria, repairing the cancer cells and improving the quality of the surrounding cells.

I'm not a biochemist myself so my explanations are not as clear as some of the infographics. The end result is that the PolyMVA works by "flooding" anerobic cancer cells with oxygen, thus "electrocuting" them, while strengthening the normal cells to keep them from mutating into cancer.

According to Gary, the transformation of the cancer takes time - normally, it takes about 4 months on what is called the "loading doses." In natural medicine, this usually means a larger beginning dose that sets the healing process in motion. A loading dose can be 6 to 8 teaspoons a day which is what I was taking - or 1 tsp for every 10 to 15 pounds of body weight. While it doesn't usually have an instant effect on one's sonograms, within a week or two of this dose, almost every cancer patient has a marked increase in energy and appetite and color back in their cheeks.

In about 4 months though, most people's tumors begin stabilizing and even shrinking.

The main disadvantage is the price. It's about $180 for a large bottle - which is even more than it cost when I was taking it. In my case, that meant about $500 a month. Taking coQ10 - and I recommend epic4health as one of the best distributors of the product - increases the bioavailability of the PolyMVA but adds to the cost. Also, in order to make it most effective, it's crucial that you give up sugar and processed foods - which a lot of people find extremely difficult to do - even when faced with death as an alternative. Palladium is an expensive mineral no matter what you use it for, so the product seems unlikely to get cheaper. On the other hand, I was happy to see that Iron Man used a palladium arc to get his power (even though it was poisoning him, too). The last disadvantage is that vitamin C interferes with its delivery, so you need to wait in between doses.

The advantage is that you can call the customer service at Amarc enterprises (the manufacturer) until quite late since they are in California. My personal contact is a woman called Vivien Ariola, and they will give you friendly advice on how to take it and/or modify your diet. Most of them are cancer survivors themselves.

Today, there are a number of doctors who have experimented with or prescribe polyMVA for their patients. Amongst them, the late oncologist, Dr. Rudy Falk and oncologist James Forsythe, who has a 60% remission rate using the PolyMVA, and metabolic cardiologist, Stephen Sinatra, who recommends it simply for oxidative stress.

Personally, I found that my oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering was not particularly averse to this supplement, but on the other hand, I was such a squeaky wheel that she may have just hoped I would continue getting treatment.

In your search for alternative or complementary cancer medicines, it's good to know which ones are not scams or weird "healing secrets." These days, I seem to get an email or two a day with the headline: "what your doctors don't want you to know!" or "secret healing from the Bible" or "weird spice CURES cancer."  Basically, they don't really explain what they are - or they are simply overpriced combinations of garlic and turmeric - which you are better off buying from a reputable supplement company.

Since I get zero benefit from this, and I tested it on myself and friends, you can probably trust your intuition here. I'd recommend that everyone who has cancer - especially leukemia and/or brain cancer or, even, heart disease - add PolyMVA to their healing arsenal.

Remember, you will be healed. Keep repeating to yourself - I am healed, I am healthy, I am vibrant, I am cancer-free.







Saturday, July 19, 2014

The C-Word: Staying Solvent When You're Sick

I've read a ton of books on treating and surviving cancer, interviewed 30 people who've survived cancer using alternative methods, a wealth of healers who have assisted people using western protocols or worked with people who chose to opt out.

But no one's ever mentioned money. Or how to deal with your finances when you are sick. Or, the harder one, I think - how to deal with your finances when you come out the other end.



If you are sick, here is crucial advice. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FINANCES. In the new age world, we say, things grow when they have attention. It's like a houseplant, if you water it and put it in the sun, it will grow. You don't have to have the answers, you just have to see what's what. (I admit that this is not my strength). Just start.

Talk to your doctor about the cost of your care. Only 19% of people do - because they are scared they won't get such good care. But the truth is, your doctor may be able to help reduce some of the costs, especially if you don't have insurance. I spoke to a doctor recently who told me that they often work with patients - and sometimes reduce the cost up to 75% depending on what they can afford. I have friends who have negotiated with the billing departments of hospitals and managed to get their bills down 50 to 75% or more.

The other thing I recently learned is that if your doctor is doing blood tests or labs, find out where he/she is sending them. The labs charge you separately and they are also willing to help you out, especially if your doctor is already making concessions. Try calling the lab and asking if they can get you the results for less. If they can't, ask the doctor - sometimes different labs and diagnostic centers - even right across the street from each other charge totally different prices. Again, another friend found out the lab where her son's blood was being sent was very expensive. She asked someone in billing at the hospital and was told to walk across the street. The first lab was charging $1300 for the results, the place across the street - which was not as pretty, admittedly, but just as accurate - was charging $350.

One of my friends said, "You should spend whatever it takes to heal your cancer, because what good will your money do you if you are dead?"

This is true. But if you live, what will you do if you can't afford it any more?

Unlike standard chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, which are generally covered by your health insurance, alternative care requires you to pay out of pocket right from the start. (One could argue that, if your health declines having chemotherapy, you will end having greater costs in the long run. Most insurance, brutally, will only cover you up to a point. But that's another story).

On the other hand, if you are self-employed or you lose your job while you are sick, you will need to clean up the financial tangle when you get well. In the current economy, that can take some time, so be patient with yourself. For me, it was useful to remember that having a lot of money doesn't make you a better person - or more of a success - though it may feel that way.

After a lot of leg work, I found two very kind financial advisors from Forest Hills Financial Group who gave me some insights. Daniel Hochler and Isaac Cohen both had experience with family members with cancer and other illnesses so they know how difficult it is to face both things at the same time. They will actually come to your home and try and make sense of your various bank accounts, insurance policies and debts.



Of course, the first piece of advice is what everyone hears - the best way to prevent a financial collapse when you have a major illness - is to have at least a years' worth living expenses of saved. Plan ahead. Sadly, that doesn't work for many people. But, if you have a family history of cancer, you might consider starting to save now. Isaac recommends you save 15% of your gross income.

My advice is - the minute you are diagnosed - you, and a friend who isn't judgmental, go through all of your paperwork and get an overview of your finances. (I mentioned lying in bed, waving to a paper bag full of unopened bills and crumpled receipts, and Isaac did say that was not the best way to start. So organize what you can, in a way that makes sense.)

You may be pleasantly surprised to see that when you get the big picture, it's not all that bad. Perhaps you have very little debt. Or perhaps you do have a lot of debt, but you have assets that you could liquidate (or sell). Issac suggests that you look at every possible asset you have.

When I was diagnosed, I had already been out of work for several months and my savings were gone.

So here are some things you can do, even when it feels like you have no options.

1. Life Insurance - Do you have permanent (not term) life insurance? What Isaac told me is that you may be able to sell the policy. You may also be able to take out a loan against it. Check to see if your insurance has disability coverage or long-term care coverage.

2. Retirement savings and 401(k) - do you have either of these? Again, you may be able to either withdraw some or all of it, or take a loan against them.

3. Mortgage, Credit Cards and Car Loans - call them and tell them what's going on. A lot of banks will actually give you a "forbearance" which means that your loan payments are deferred for some time. While this actually doesn't do you a lot of good - it does take the pressure off. If you can afford to keep your payments up, I suggest you do it, because when the forbearance period ends, you will suddenly have a lot on your plate again. But do call your banks and credit cards and tell them you are sick or recovering and they may be able to work with you. It's when you don't call them back that they start going a bit crazy. Also, keep records of all your phone calls - get the names of who you spoke to and when - just in case they don't keep their side of the bargain. You'd be surprised, with credit cards and car loans, you may have some negotiating room to lower your interest rate or find a lower pay-off amount.

4. Get a little help from your friends. I know a number of people who've used Indiegogo or other crowd funding sources to cover some of their extra expenses. There is a crowdsourcing especially for cancer patients called Give Forward. They have good advice, but I don't know if they have the reach of a Kickstarter. I was also amazed at how many of my friends gave me giftcards to Wholefoods or Organic restaurants. What is good is to get a friend who can be an intermediary so that when people call or email or facebook to ask how they can help, your friend can ask them to help pay a bill or donate a gift card to a juicebar or a grocery store.

5. Credit Rating. Make sure you look at this thing. It seems scary, but it's worth checking regularly when you are not well, because you don't know if there are any discrepancies. If you have a friend who wants to help, ask them to sit beside you on the bed and read things aloud to you. If there are discrepancies, your friend could write a letter on your behalf to correct them.

6. Get friends to help you contact these resources for cancer patients.  The only hard thing is that when you are not well or recovering, a cordless phone or a computer screen can make you feel sicker. So see if you have a healthy friend who can help you make the calls.

7. Cut back where you can. The minute you are diagnosed, find ways to trim your budget. Personally, I cancelled my newspaper subscription and reduced my cable to the minimum. I took my car out of the parking lot and parked on the street. I don't go to Starbucks anyway so that wasn't a problem. But find ways to cut back that won't affect your emotional state (remember, you need to feel good so you will get well). Buy your household supplies in bulk - send a friend to Costco or Sam's club. Send another friend to the farmer's market for fruits and vegetables. Eat home rather than eating out - which is wiser when your immune system is compromised.

8. Don't cut back on the stuff you NEED for your health, even your emotional health. If that means juice, acupuncture, energy work and organic food, try to find the best way to get that stuff. Especially, if you are still weak.

9. Get a financial advisor. If you have a bit of money saved, think about having someone advise you on the best way to organize your assets so that you will not come back to total devastation when you are well.

BUT BE CAREFUL - there are a lot of insurance salesmen who work for companies like AIG and Mass Mutual - they will try to convince you buy life insurance or put all your money into their annuities (from which they will make money) and often you can't get the money out in less than 10 years without enormous fees. I had a "friend" called Les Edwards who convinced me to sign all my savings to his control while I was dealing with a family emergency and it was very expensive and extremely stressful to untangle.

10. Your home. Unless you have a lot of help, I wouldn't recommend selling your home while you are ill or in recovery. You need a sanctuary and a safe place to be. If you have a place that you could move to, effortlessly, and people to help you in the process, that is another way to free some cash. If you live in an expensive rental - and again, you have help - you might move to a cheaper one. But this is really a last resort if you are not well.

11. Look at your car and homeowner's and other insurance. You might be able to greatly reduce your monthly premium payments by raising the deductible (this is what you would have to pay out-of-pocket if you have an accident, before the insurance payments kick in).

12. Wills and trusts. It's a good idea, early in your treatment, to make sure you have a will and everything in it is the way you want it. My suggestion is to do this not immediately after being diagnosed - when you are still in a panic and not thinking clearly - but once the details of your treatment have been decided and you have a little rhythm. You don't want to do it late in the treatment, because, especially if you are doing a conventional treatment, it can make you weak and too tired to think. Also, remember that the computer emits an EMF that is theorized to slow healing, so don't spend too much time on it when you are weak.

I had left everything I owned to my daughters, who were at that point, minors. What Isaac explained is that if I had passed away, everything would actually have gone to their fathers who were their adult next-of-kin. He told me that lots of divorced people did not want to leave their homes and property to their exes! Instead, he suggested I create a trust for the girls. Today, I would like leave everything to Sasha who is 21 and knowing that she is a very caring older sister, I would leave her to divide the assets with her younger sisters.

Issac reminded me that in the midst of the chaos, one needs to remember the kids. Make sure that they know that there is a plan in place so they will be looked after. If they are old enough to understand, get them involved in the financial planning, but don't make minors beneficiaries, because then their adult guardians will make the decisions for them.

If you run a business, create a transfer strategy to make sure your family is protected, no matter who your successor is. Review the ownership of the business and separate your assets.

Though once you get well, that's when things get really tough. At that point, your creditors and family members are often exhausted of trying to help you hold things together.

And in this economy, it's tough to pick up the pieces.

One idea is to contact Debtors Anonymous. They can help you not do what I did, which is not look at anything and hope that it would go away.

They have regular meetings and can help you organize the way you face your creditors.

In my case, in desperation, I called 311. They directed me to an NYC program called the Financial Empowerment Center.  A bright young woman called Elena actually looked through all my paperwork and created a spreadsheet with my monthly income and my costs. She also looked through my credit rating with me and helped me correct errors.

She recommended lawyers and tax accountants who did pro-bono work. Apparently, this is a nationwide intiative that is expanding. So if you are in the U.S.,  try contacting them.

However, WATCH OUT FOR PAID CREDIT COUNSELORS! There are lots of unsavory ones who make money off you and/or steal your identity and other horrid things. Try and find a government-initiated program or get a referral from a friend.

Just remember that money is not scary (I tell myself this), it is energy and numbers. Don't give it power over you. Like your body, it needs you to pay attention to it to stay healthy.

If you can survive a major illness, you can survive a major financial setback. Lots of people come back even stronger.

If you are a friend of a person recovering from an illness, offer to help with that stuff. You have no idea how long it takes to get back to normal.

And keep breathing. You will get there.

Please add any other ideas!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The C-Word: Bless You!

I've been busy sending emails to friends about supplements for spring and summer allergies.

What is interesting is that in my post-cancer diet - no sugar, wheat, dairy, processed foods or alcohol - all my allergies, sinus problems, migraines and rashes disappeared. That said, when one of the amazons has an allergies - I dose them up with supplements and it clears right up.

Here's a combination that seems to work miracles. I'd suggest you take it twice a day.

2000 mg of vitamin c - be sure it's pure l-ascorbic acid because it can give you an upset stomach
2000 iu of vitamin d3 - we use drops of micellized d3
20 mg of zinc
1600 mg of turmeric - we like new chapter turmeric force

and - the most crucial -

600 mg of NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2010/may2010_N-Acetyl-Cysteine_01.htm

Quercetin and Bromelain - we use NOW FOODS and take one capsule

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/quercetin

You can also boil two cups of water with cinnamon bark and fresh ginger. Strain it and drink as tea if you have a sore throat, too. It's equally nice and spicy as an iced version. If you can find Ceylonese or Asian cinnamon, it's so sweet you don't need honey or anything.

Oh - my Philadelphia friend and healer, Michelle Hughes, reminded of another allergy remedy, especially for swollen eyes in the morning. Take a teaspoon of local raw honey in your tea (or sucked off the spoon) in the morning and the evening. You can buy the honey from the farmer's market - just be sure that it is local and comes from as close to your location as possible, as trees and flowers vary. 

In my plant-based medicine classes, they always suggest giving up wheat and dairy when you have allergies as they increase inflammation and histamine levels, but Rara would rather suffer than give up bagels with cream cheese and Zarina needs a big, foamy cappuccino every morning.

So the elimination part is up to you.

Feel better!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The C-Word: What's Left To Eat?

At this point, you've read all the things I gave up - wheat, dairy, processed foods, any kinds of preservatives, sugar - especially refined sugar, animal products (except for a little bit of organic, grass-fed meat or chicken or wild fish). Sometimes, when the weather was warm, I even ate totally raw - and gave up the rest of the grains, too. You might be despairing - WHAT do you eat?

Chokeules helps me out with this.
 
As it turns out, I did not have to become a breatharian. This gentle, detox diet would probably do wonders for almost anyone. It's very good for soothing the body, as well as giving it the support it needs to heal itself. If you are trying to kickstart a weightloss program, lower your blood pressure or cholesterol or simply soothe your body during a stressful time.

A lot of people follow the ketogenic diet very successfully to "starve" their cancer out but I didn't do that. Instead, I tried to make my diet at least 80% vegetables. These days, if you live in a major metropolitan area, you'll find many of the ingredients and even pre-prepared food in health food stores, supermarkets and amazon.com. Any time, I mention vegetables here, I mean organic and non-GMO - you must read labels carefully. If you absolutely can't find organic, wash and peel the vegetables before you use them. But personally, I think anyone with cancer should not eat ANY pesticides or GMO products, so it may be better to bite the bullet and try to find organic or at least, locally-grown from small farms.

I put my diet together by reading cancer diets online and by consulting with nutritionist Joel Fuhrman so some of my recipes are modified from his book which is totally worth reading when you are feeling strong.

Any time I use salt, I use himalayan pink salt, but you can also use sea salt. Commercial table salt is bleached and refined and, according to Max Gerson, the doctor who created Gerson therapy for disease, it causes an imbalance in the body.

On a different note, if you have radiation therapy, I suggest you bathe in sea salt and baking soda, half-a-cup of each, soaking in the tub for 20 to 30 minutes afterwards to recover. If you are getting chemotherapy, I'd suggest taking a little glutamine along with your other supplements to help re-heal your stomach lining.

A few suggestions, try to make everything as fresh as possible, don't eat leftovers too often and never microwave anything. Microwaving heats food by making the water molecules jump around and there is a theory that that affects the chemical composition of the food and how it reacts with the water in your body. Remember you are 70 to 80% water. 

A ban on microwaving can be tough in the morning when one is in a rush. If I really don't have time, I eat a handful of raw nuts along with a dried or fresh fig or two - as long as it doesn't have any preservatives or sugar.  I tend not to have smoothies for breakfast even though they're fast, but for me, they are too intense in the morning.

Before Breakfast

Here's what I do in the morning. I have two tablespoons of Essiac tea and then a big glass of water with 2 spoonfuls of PolyMVA Then I do some oil pulling since chemo can do a lot of damage to your gums and teeth. Lots of dentists don't like to work on cancer patients as we get infections so easily.

For my oil pulling, I use one tablespoon of raw coconut or sesame oil and one drop of myrhh essential oil because it is a good antibacterial. I put it in my mouth and swirl and swish it around while I take a shower and walk the dog or read emails - 5 to 10 minutes. I spit it into a paper towel or directly into the garbage and go rinse my mouth.

Next I have a green juice:

4 or 5 leaves of lacinato kale or 2 or 3 of regular kale
a small bunch of cilantro or parsley
a small bunch of dandelion greens, collard greens, mustard greens and/or swiss chard
broccoli stems or any raw vegetable parts that you didn't cook
one small lemon
one to one-half a cucumber, depending on the size
4 stalks of celery
1-1/2 inch of fresh ginger
1/4 green apple - to taste

All the ingredients must be organic (except maybe the ginger because it's hard to find), because when you drink the juice, you are getting a super concentrated dose of the vegetable and you don't want a concentrated dose of pesticides with it. I put all these in my Omega HRT 350 juicer.
I mix up the combinations so it doesn't get boring. Sometimes I add a couple of carrots instead of apples. I don't add beets because they don't agree with me but they are good for the blood. You can add some from time to time, but not too much because, of course, they are so sugary.

If I am in a hurry, I buy a cold-pressed Green Love from organic avenue in New York City. Or the Squeeze truck's Stand and Deliver. These brands are great because they don't (currently) use hpp - a way of preserving the juice by squeezing all the air out of it (which tragically kills enzymes with possible bacteria) and means that it really isn't raw any more.

Either before or after, I drink a cup of hot water with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I also take my probiotics.

In Paul Pitchford's famous Healing with Whole Foods, he suggests waiting for an hour or two after you wake up before you have solid foods. This is a brilliant book on healing the body with food but it's heavy reading so if you are in the throes of chemo or radiation, maybe a friend can start it out for you.

If you have a few cups of green or black tea after the juice and everything else, you probably won't be hungry for a little while. When you are ready, here are some possible foods.

For Breakfast:

 Chia porridge

2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
1 handful of goji berries (for sweetness)
pinch of salt

I put everything together in a bowl and then add a cup of almond or coconut milk, stir it up well and let it sit. Within a few minutes, it will be thick and custardy. If it's too thick, I add more nut milk and/or a little hot water to warm it up. Sometimes, if I really need it a little sweeter, I add a sprinkle of coconut sugar on the top. You could also use a few drops of stevia extract but I don't like the aftertaste. You'll notice that if you don't mix it in, it hits your tongue first and you need less.

Black rice toast and Avocado.

Toast a slice of Food for Life Black Rice bread (which tastes more like a soft-baked cracker than bread, it's relatively low-carb and gluten-free), top it with artichoke pesto* and slices of fresh avocado. Since I still need protein, I might add an organic, cage-free scrambled egg or a strip of organic turkey bacon or some chopped roasted almonds.

Artichoke Pesto*

I put this on everything - from quinoa pasta to grilled salmon. You can buy it but it's better if you make it because there are theories that corn and canola oil contribute to the growth of tumors whereas olive and coconut oil do not. So here's a recipe, but I suggest you play around with the ingredients to taste. I don't use parmesan cheese but if you do, make sure it is organic and adjust the salt accordingly.

small bunch (1/4-1/2 cup chopped) cilantro/coriander
8 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspon of cayenne (or maybe a fresh green chili if you like it spicy)
1 cup of walnuts (especially good for prostate cancer)
1 cup of olive oil
1 8 oz package of frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
sea salt to taste

I just put it all in the Vitamix and pulse until it is chunky but spreadable texture. It keeps for a week or two in the refrigerator. You can dip carrot sticks in it or mix in more olive oil and lemon and use it as salad dressing. Artichokes are great for clearing the liver and blood.

Oatmeal

Joel Fuhrman suggested I make it using Steel-Cut Oats which is quite slow-cooking. I used to cook a large amount in advance and then put it in a container in my fridge and heat it up a little at a time. I cook two cups of oatmeal with three cups of water, one cup of fresh apple cider, one tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses, fresh cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, nigella sativa (onion seed) and ginger, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I add 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, hazelnuts and/or walnuts and sometimes chopped dried figs which (along with sour apples) are one of the fruits that good for killing cancer cells. I eat the oatmeal as is or I add a little nutmilk to make it more liquidy. If you desperately need it sweeter, add a tiny bit of raw honey on top after you serve yourself. In Chinese medicine, all the spices are warming and cancer quite often makes a person cold, so this is a Qi-building tonic.

Indian Scrambled Eggs

Three scallions
One or two cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, chopped very fine
1 green chili (with the seeds removed if you don't want it too spicy, wear gloves or ask for help while doing this as your skin is very sensitive during chemo)
1 or 2 free range eggs
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or grass-fed butter)

Heat the oil or butter in the pan and lightly brown the garlic, scallions and ginger, add a bit of sea salt or himalayan pink salt. Then add the eggs, the coriander and the chilies and cook quickly so the eggs are still slightly soft and the coriander bright green. Eat it up!

You can, of course, just make ordinary scrambled eggs. This is just to jazz it up. Also, while I was having chemo, I found myself craving strong sharp tastes to awaken my appetite. I was tired and not very hungry most of the time. Since I refused to take prednisone (or steroids) with my chemo, I kept my bones strong but I had bad nausea. I counteracted the nausea with A LOT Of fresh ginger. It actually worked very well.

Sometimes, I have a small amount of grilled salmon over baby kale with artichoke pesto and olive oil on top.

If I'm in a rush but want something savory, I chop some broccoli, quickly parboil it in the tiniest bit of water and eat it with tamari or a little bit of miso.

For Lunch:

Smoothie

I usually save my smoothies for lunch because they keep me full for a long time. My favorite smoothie is still the same:

1 avocado
3-4 leaves of kale or swiss chard, stems removed
packet of unsweetened acai
1 scoop of delgado protocol stem cell strong (this has lots of good mushrooms and parasite-killing herbs) but you can use other brands.
1 scoop of delgado slim blend (not trying to lose weight - this is very filling and nutritious) - again, this is the brand I use, you can use other vegetable-based protein blends, just read the ingredients carefully.
1 cup of vanilla unsweetened hemp milk
1 cup or so of coconut water, more if it gets too thick


Big Green Salad

I am very organic when I cook and even more so with salad because I think respecting your vegetables and their combinations is key, otherwise chewing it feels like a chore for horses. I do what the French do and start with a big salad bowl. I make the dressing at the bottom, put the salad on top and then toss it all together. All the measurements are approximate and you will have to see what works for you.

1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin organic, cold-pressed olive oil
2-3 big tablespoons of pesto, basil or artichoke or one of each.
1 tsp black olive tapenade (check the ingredients to make sure there are no preservatives)
a few anchovies very finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup of fresh herbs - whatever you have, basil, coriander, oregano... if you use thyme or rosemary, of course, you will need much less and have to chop very finely
a few squeezes of fresh lemon

stir this all up and taste, maybe add some Coconut Aminos if it needs more salt.

If it's summer, you can chop in some fresh tomatoes, but otherwise, don't eat unripe tomatoes. In Chinese medicine, nightshades cause inflammation and unripe tomatoes seem especially suspect.

Add a small washed bag of organic baby greens - spinach, arugula, kale, swiss chard, watercress, whatever you can find. If I have some leftovers in the fridge - like roast chicken or grilled fish or meat or vegetables, I heat them a little in a hot oven (just in case of mold or bacteria) and throw them in, too. You can also add cooked beans, edamame or corn (as long as it is organic and not canned or frozen).

If you want to add something really tough and chewy, like carrots or cabbage, be sure and grate it well first so that it mixes together with everything else. After it's tossed, throw in the broccoli or kale sprouts because they wilt very quickly - though peat shoots really hold their own. Eat this up immediately, it won't keep.


Vegetable Slaw

I make this more like an Asian-style slaw and it's good way to eat lots of cabbage and carrots. If you add cucumber, know that it will get much more drippy and liquid. You can do that whole thing of removing the seeds of the cucumbers first but it's tedious.

1/4 head of cabbage chopped
3 or 4 carrots grated
1 daikon grated (daikon is a japanese radish that has cancer-killing properties)
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup of broccoli or kale sprouts
1 cucumber grated (optional)
1/4 cup chopped almonds or hazelnuts (I use these instead because peanuts cause inflammation and when you have cancer, you are trying to keep your body as calm and uninflamed as you can).
 1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil, coriander and mint, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the sauce

1 clove garlic minced
1 small shallot or three scallions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon nam pla (fish sauce - more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1-4 thai chili (seeds removed) chopped very fine, depending on how spicy you want it.

Toss it all veggies together and then add the sauce a little at time to taste. You can put it all in fridge to marinate for a day if you like. If you do prepare it ahead of time, don't add the cucumbers or sprouts til you're just about to eat. This makes me one serving, but I eat a lot of salad.

The dressing is very Asian-inspired, but you can try out your favorites. If you decide you want to use a mayonnaise-type dressing for a classic cole slaw, I'd suggest you make your own. Most commercial mayonnaises use soybean oil which is usually GMO, pesticide-laced and too high in omega-6s. If you can find a local, small batch organic mayonnaise using olive oil and cage-free eggs, go for it.

Zucchini "Pasta" with Basil Pesto

For this, you need a spiralizer. They are not too expensive and they are a super cool kitchen tool to have around because you can cut spirals of all kinds of vegetables and that makes them more interesting to eat.

1-2 small zucchinis/courgettes
2-3 tablespoons of vegan basil pesto (this just means pesto that has no cheese, but you can just as easily do it with a little parmesan)

This is kind of a trick food because it's so easy. You chop off the top, impale the zucchini in the spiralizer and put a bowl in front of it. Then spin it around until long, "spaghetti" strands start filling up your bowl. Toss it with the pesto and add more or less to taste. It's wonderful to eat if you are missing the "pasta" texture. You have to eat this relatively quickly too, as the zucchini can get watery from the salt.

For Snacks:

I usually have lots of fresh carrots, celery, daikon, jicama and cucumber chopped up that I can dip into hummus, artichoke pesto, or even olive oil and lemon.

I like oat cakes (homemade made using coconut oil or grass-fed raw butter rather than goosefat or Nairn's) with almond, hazelnut or cashew butter.

I also eat Brad's Nasty Hot Kale Chips. You can see the spicy food is a theme for me. There are other versions, too. But it's good way to keep up your cruciferous vegetables. If you can't buy them and you don't have a dehydrator, I suggest tossing kale with salt and garlic and putting it in the oven at the lowest temperature you can possibly use and letting it dry out for a couple of hours. Just check it from time to time to ma

Tart green apples or fresh or dried figs are the few fruits that you can eat without much trouble. I wouldn't eat large quantities but they are a nice snack when you need sweets.

Hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chickpeas all have anti-cancer properties, so you can eat a handful of them whenever you want. These days you can buy them in all different flavors, too.

I just discovered this recipe online for when you are craving chocolate.

Coconut chocolate sea salt fudge

Melt an equal amount of coconut oil and unsweetened chocolate into a pan at very low heat so the fat doesn't separate from the cocoa solids, add a pinch of himalayan or sea salt.
Sweeten with coconut sugar, stevia extract or lo han guo extract - all low-glycemic sweeteners that you can actually eat from time to time. Don't add too much though because they can still trigger sugar cravings if it gets too sweet.
 Ladle mixture carefully into an ice cube tray.
Put in freezer for thirty minutes.
When solid, loosen from ice cube tray with a knife and pop out into a plate or freezer-safe container. Return to freezer til you are ready to eat.

You can eat one or two when your sweet cravings are driving you crazy.

One of the best way to detox from your sugar cravings is a glass of water with a tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar.  Put all the sweets out of sight and then chew some chlorella tablets which are also good for quelling sugar and junk food cravings.

For Dinner

If it is winter, I like a hot, hearty meal to warm me up - and also heat up my kitchen - in the evening. But there are sometimes, especially in the summer, when I find I don't feel very hungry at dinner and I skip it all together. For the most part, if you have cancer, I don't believe you should force yourself to eat if you are not hungry. It's better to rest and eat small amounts of food when you do feel hungry. It may seem scary when you lose weight, but rest assured it will come back when your body is in balance. DO NOT EAT JUNK FOOD IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN WEIGHT! That can backfire and weaken your immune system even more.

Here a bunch of warm things you can make so you eat more vegetables without feeling like you are eating a tragic meal of cold leaves while everyone else has something hearty.


Lentil or Split Pea Soup

If I making dinner for myself (without kids), I usually make soup. Since I am an Asian, I like the taste of browned onions and garlic, so I'll start by browning them in a little coconut or olive oil.

One onion, sliced or chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
2-3 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
1 cup of dried lentils, split peas or dried beans - or a combination. If you are impatient like me, I suggest you soak them the night before, or in the morning when you are doing your oil-pulling.
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 to 1 cup of maitake, shitake and reishi mushrooms, chopped
any other vegetables cooked or raw you have lying around, broccoli, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, chop them up and throw them in.
4 cups of purified water

Brown the onions and garlic with a little salt in the oil. You can even add the other raw vegetables and brown them a little because it changes their texture and adds a little sweetness, but you don't have to. Then add the beans/peas/lentils, mushrooms and water and anything else you want to put in. I often add anything that is leftover in the fridge - sometimes it's a little roast chicken or steak or fish, sometimes it's raw or roasted vegetables. Then you let it simmer forever (that's what it seems like to me) but it can be a few hours unless it's well-soaked. You have to check on it and add water when the pulses suck it up, so that it doesn't get too thick. Once it's finished, you can eat it immediately and save some for the next day or two as well.

Roasted Broccoli

This is a delicious way to prepare broccoli that my youngest daughter discovered online and that we have customized. We make it often because everyone likes to eat it and we go through several heads of broccoli in one sitting.

1 head of broccoli
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
Sea salt/himalayan salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper (only because it tastes better)
One fresh lemon to squeeze

Preheat the oven to 425 (farenheit). Cut up the head of broccoli, separating the florets and leaving the stems (you can juice those tomorrow morning). Put it in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Put it in the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes, check on it from time to time. If it's nicely browned around the edges and slightly crispy, you can take it out. If it feels too soggy, reduce the heat to 300 and leave it in for a few minutes longer so that it gets drier and crisper.

Put it in a serving dish and squeeze a little lemon over it if you like. Or don't, if you don't feel like it. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is similar to the broccoli, those sometimes bitter brussel sprouts become slightly sweet and crispy and quite luscious after roasting.

Two containers of brussels sprouts, maybe a pound and a half
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of coconut oil or grass-fed butter
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
himalayan or sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the sprouts, remove the outer leaves, chop them in quarters and put them in a big bowl. Toss them with the oil or butter and garlic. Put them on a cookie sheet or a wide baking pan. Roast for 10 minutes, then toss in the hazelnuts and reduce the heat to 300. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned but not burned.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Yams

This is a regular dish in my house and the prep is quite similar to the other roasted things.

4 big yams, washed and chopped into bite-size pieces
4 or 5 shallots, peeled, maybe cut in half if they are big
1 or 2 additional root vegetables if you have some, washed and chopped.
8-10 big cloves of garlic
Vietnamese cinnamon, ground
Fine Herbes or Trader Joe's 21 Salute
Sea salt or Himalayan Salt
4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 450. Basically, add the vegetables (and shallots and garlic) to a roasting pan. I use my 13 x 9 cake pan. Sprinkle with spices, salt and coconut oil and stir it all up with a big wooden spoon. Shake the pan slightly so everything is distributed evenly and put it in the oven. I leave them there for about 20 minutes and then I reduce the heat to 350 and leave them in there for a really long time - like maybe another 45 minutes. If I have time, I take them out in the middle and toss them around the pan a bit so they cook evenly. But even if I don't, they seem to do fine, the slightly burned ones taste nice too.

Sauteed Kale or Spinach

I go back and forth between the two - sauteed kale has a lot more body and can stand up to longer cooking so it can become a nice combination of bitter and sweet. Sauteed spinach becomes soft and soothing and it's a good comfort food.

If I am making sauteed spinach, I heat a few tablespoons of olive oil first along with slices of three or four garlic cloves and a few sprinkles of himalayan or sea salt and pepper. I like to let the sliced garlic brown a little before I add a big bunch of spinach. I add salt to taste and cook the spinach just until it's wilted and bright green.

If I am sauteeing kale, I add the oil and garlic but then I devein (take out the hard stems) and chop the bunch of kale and add it as soon as I am finished chopping it. I cook it for quite a long time so it is not too chewy.

What is crucial is that you never heat the olive oil to smoking point. Olive oil is full of anti-oxidants as long as it is not overheated. So let it brown your garlic gently. If you feel you want a nice crispy, stir-fry sensibility, switch to coconut oil.

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

I adapted this from a recipe I found on PureWow - and you could use theirs instead, just never use "vegetable" oil - always choose coconut, olive or palm fruit. Then I followed some advice from my friend Purvi and made a nice tahini and garlic dip for the cauliflower on the side. The recipe I found used yogurt, but I used coconut yogurt without much trouble. Since the point of the yogurt is to keep the cauliflower moist and to hold the marinade to together, you could probably even substitute coconut butter.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 head organic cauliflower
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt/coconut yogurt/softened coconut butter
1 organic lime or lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons tandoori marinade (i use Shan Masala but there are a number of brands that make it)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt or himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with coconut oil. Set aside.
Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
In a big bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)
Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving it with a tahini dip or a nice raita (yogurt, mint, coriander, cucumber and roasted cumin seeds) and a salad.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I recently made this but substituted ground chia seeds mixed with water for the egg (I am allergic to eggs) and the teenagers ate it all up. If you're avoiding dairy, you can use daiya mozzarella in the place of the cheese.

There are a lot more recipes in Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live and Alexander Junger's Clean Eats- and even just looking online. When I eat raw - way easier in spring and summer - I like Organic Avenue's cookbook. Or I buy pre-made stuff at my current fave raw food place, Juicepress. I WISH Karliin Brooks of The Squeeze would write one because her moc' n' cheese is worth going vegan for,

See? Not too hard! Start with one or two meals a day and then gradually ladder back!

If you fall off the wagon, do not stress.  Have a bite or a taste of something you crave. Eat it slowly, enjoy it, savor it. They say we most appreciate the first and last bites of everything we eat. Two bites should be enough then. Eventually, your taste buds will be cleaner and you will find the taste of artificial colors and flavors will be harsh and chemically. Sugar will give you a sudden headrush and you'll discover how quickly grains bloat you and make you sleepy. It's ok to have a little from time to time. But let your body rest, too.

The most important thing is to take the time to believe that your food is made with love and cooked to nourish and heal you. Take the time to bless your food and feel gratitude for the planet and the Source which gives you food to eat.

Sometimes the belief alone will transform your food.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

does making a lot of money make you behave badly?


"as a person's levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of deservingness, entitlement and their ideology of self-interest increase."

paul piff at berkeley did a TEDtalk called, "does money make you mean?" (watch the video of the monopoly game, it's hilarious). the video came out in december of last year, but on february 2, there was an op-ed in the ny times called, "how inequality hollows out the soul."

what does that mean in real life? (a picture on zach vella's instagram feed shows a naked girl - or is that me - tortured and bound to a mercedes symbol. her hands and feet appear to be bleeding.

a reporter from a major news source called me and asked what was going on with
zach vella (my next door neighbor and the developer) and the condo project beside me, 11 north moore, which is getting quite a lot of attention with its $40 million penthouse apartment. the real estate agent representing it is fredrik eklund, whose second claim to fame is the reality show, the real deal. leo dicaprio, amongst others, famously toured the sales office.

paul piff found that more wealthy people were "able to moralize greed being good and the pursuit of self-interest being favorable and moral..."

the video came out in december of last year, but on february 2, there was an op-ed in the ny times called, "how inequality hollows out the soul."

"Paul Piff, also a psychologist at Berkeley, has shown that higher status is indeed associated with more unethical and narcissistic behavior. Mr. Piff found that drivers of more expensive cars were less likely to give way to pedestrians or to other cars. Higher status people were also more likely to help themselves to candies that they had been told were intended for children. He found that they also had a greater sense of entitlement and were less generous."

my youngest daughter is a serious student. she is always responsible, shockingly bright and very hardworking. getting into a great college is what keeps her up at night and she just turned 15. 

friday morning, i woke with a jolt thinking her alarm hadn't gone off. i jumped, but then realized that the light had changed and i was mistaken. so i said, "don't worry, you can still sleep for ten minutes."

she answered, "it's 6:58 and i've told you over and over that i wake up at 7:15! it is 6:58 so i still have 17 minutes to sleep - not TEN minutes!"

me: "what difference does it make if it is 17 or 10 minutes? in the end, it doesn't matter how smart you are or what college you get into if you are making other people feel small or stupid or taken advantage of."
i told her (like i tell all my kids) that the most important thing they can be is considerate to other people.
then the construction workers started shouting and banging in front of my bedroom window and it occurred to me that, in today's world, it's simply not true. 
many successful, wealthy people are quite comfortable taking advantage of or hurting the people who seem "unimportant" to them from the doorman to their less fortunate neighbors.
that ability to believe yourself "above" ethical or compassionate behavior - or even traffic rules - is now standard amongst the american wealthy. look at lisa demack who drove her mercedes through a stop sign and hit an ambulance. or the wealthy texas boy who killed four people and was acquitted because he suffered "affluenza."  (his parents could probably afford a very good lawyer).
the idea that there is opportunity (or even justice) for an ordinary person - wait, middle-class, college-educated, living in expensive real estate - is a lie. clearly, i am not a poor person, but i am disempowered.

so, after offering to clean up the flood, rent my apartment and fix it up, give me the money for the repairs or even talk to me - what happened? um, nothing. zach vella went on holiday in the caribbean. AFTER hanging an enormous sign for his project on the scaffolding outside my building.


my lawyer asked for them to pay for the repairs or at, the very least, follow up on all their offers. they simply ignored him. without a lot more money to pay for legal fees, they knew i wasn't going to do more than make demands. 


the end of the TEDtalk cheered me up. it IS possible for the 1% to feel compassion, as long as they faced it.

did i mention i briefly saw zach on the street two weeks' ago? he avoided me and rushed across the street to his big black SUV. (however, i do have plenty of friends who prove that the 1% are capable of kindness and compassion)

the truth is, none of us are perfect. we've all made mistakes or been inconsiderate, but taking responsibility for your actions, with compassion and empathy should not be restricted to the 99%.
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The C-Word: All Those Pills!

I was watching Family Guy (the Amazons were watching, actually) and Brian (the dog) had fallen in love with an older woman. Stewie is the brilliant baby.


The dialogue went like this:

Brian Griffin: She's 50, Stewie she's not an old woman [His phone rings and he takes it out and answers it] Hello?...Hey Rita...So, uh-what're ya doing this afternoon?
Stewie Griffin: [Imitating an elderly woman's voice] Oh I'm just sorting out my pills for the week, sweetie. 
Brian Griffin: [Still on the phone] Well you do that, and I'll be over a little later [He hangs up the phone] 
Stewie Griffin: [Condescending noise] Did I get it? Was she sorting out her pills for the week? That little plastic thing with the 7 boxes? [Excited noise] 

Me, too. Since I started seeing Integrative Oncologist Mitchell Gaynor, I have had one of those plastic pill boxes, along with an entire tray full of bottles of supplements. The supplements were put together by him and a genius pharmacist called David Restrepo and a very good Drugless Practitioner/Acupuncturist called Galina Semyonova. My friend, Mary Schook, is always searching out the latest and best forms of natural antiaging products, so she tipped me off to some better forms of vitamins. If you have any health issues at all, I suggest talking to someone who knows supplements as there is a lot one can rebalance with vitamins, minerals, oils, herbs and enzymes.

After three years of studying Chinese medicine, Holistic Nutrition and North American Herbology, everyone asks me about supplements - but they rarely take them. Or they buy a few from the drugstore and then forget to take them. Given recent news about the GNC, Target, Walgreen's and Wal-Mart, be conscious about where you get your products. I buy a lot online and others at my local Wholefoods, I know people who work in the Whole Body section and there are a few who really know their stuff.

The main obstacles to successful supplementation are as follows:

1. Knowing which brands provide the most bio-available (usable for your body) sources and forms.
2. How much to take and when to take them, for your own body.
3. Whether you take them with or without food and what time of day.
4. Which supplements work better in tandem and which you should never have together.

and

5. Waiting to feel the effects. Patience! Herbs, homeopathic medicines and vitamins work gently.

They are meant to work in conjunction with your body to address the underlying causes of your issues. In the beginning, they might give you an upset stomach or a headache, so you should have your practitioner's number on hand in case you need to have the dose adjusted for you. But generally, you should wait at least 2 weeks before you take a bigger dose and six weeks before you decide they are not working.

It's like exercise. The first day you go for a run, you will not drop an inch from your waist. Maybe even if you run every day for a week, you might feel more energized, but you still won't be much skinnier. Real change takes time. Rushing it can make you sick. Imagine if you immediately started running 5 miles a day after not doing any exercise for years, you'd probably feel pretty bad and more than likely you would injure yourself.

Here's the other argument I hear against supplementation:

"I get all the vitamins and minerals I need from my food and most doctors say that's enough."

There are several reasons why that doesn't work for most people - but especially not people with cancer. The food we eat is of varying quality, depending on how it was transported, how long it hung out in the shop and then your fridge and how you cooked it. Basically, the vitamin and mineral content is dropping since it got pulled off the stalk. And we're not even talking about how much less nutritious conventionally grown food is than organic. Then, depending on what's going on with your body, you don't always ingest all the nutrients in your food. Especially, as you get older, and your body produces less enzymes and acids to break the food down, you don't get the same value.

Last, if you have cancer or another chronic illness, you know it is systemic. Illness makes your body weak, can take away your appetite and, worse, limit your ability to absorb the nutrition from your food. If you are not well, you need more vitamins and minerals than you can possibly get from eating. And if you don't eat well, or if you are getting chemo or radiation, even more reason to supplement to help your good cells stay strong during the onslaught.

Obstacle 5 is the reason I never take multivitamins. First, because the various vitamins might cancel each other out, next because there might be things in there that my body doesn't need.  Also, some substances are best absorbed by your body at night and others in the morning. It's like the shampoo-conditioner-in-one, they never seem to do especially well at either job. Admittedly a multi is better than nothing. So, if that's your starting point -

CHOP YOUR MULTIVITAMIN IN HALF!

If you do take a multivitamin, some advice. Choose one that comes in smaller capsules so that you can divide the dose, take half of the dose - or chop the pill in half - in the morning, with/after breakfast and half mid-afternoon or after lunch. The reason is that your body can use the vitamins most effectively with food - your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to digest food which breaks down the supplement and allows absorbtion, otherwise, the supplement can go straight out to vitamin-enriched urine - and it can spread out the effects throughout the day.

DROP A TEST PILL IN A GLASS OF WATER

Also, with any supplement you buy, try to choose capsules or liquid forms rather than pills. This is because the glue they use to bind pills is often so strong, even your stomach acids can't break it apart. To test if the pill will break down once you swallow it, drop one in a glass of water and see how long it takes to disintegrate. If it takes more than an hour, the pill is probably going straight through your body undigested.

 Dr. Oz recommends these five supplements.  I'd agree, except for the calcium and magnesium and the folate and the recommended dose of vitamin D3. The amount you need of those vitamins and minerals depends on your body, sometimes you will need those, sometimes in larger amounts than others, sometimes not at all. Personally, I don't take Vitamin A or B, because my body hasn't needed it - and perhaps I get enough from dietary sources. I take more D3 in the winter when I am not exposed to enough sunlight and less in the summer when I am outside a lot.

If you have cancer, there is an oncologist called Nicholas Gonzalez who uses pancreatic enzymes to fight the growth. The idea behind this therapy is that cancer cells have a thick coating that makes them invisible to your immune system, thus your body does not always attack them and otherwise strong immune-boosting supplements, like turmeric and quercetin, can't get through. The pancreatic enzymes digest/melt away the coating on the cancer cells, allowing your body to then destroy them naturally. While most people produce pancreatic enzymes sufficiently, when you have cancer, you REALLY need them, thus supplementation can be key. I did not see Dr. Gonzalez, but I did take 15 capsules of pancreatic enzymes, three or four times daily.

CHECK WHERE THE VITAMIN/MINERAL/HERB COMES FROM

With calcium supplements, one has to be careful about the source of the calcium. Many inexpensive supplements are made from ground up seashells or limestone. These substances are full of calcium but they are not always "bio-available," meaning, your body can't use them properly. Again, off to the kidneys, where they might cause stones. Also, without sufficient amounts of magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K, too much calcium can cause an imbalance in your body, effectively draining calcium from your bones into your blood stream and soft tissues where, again, they can block arteries and cause trouble.

The best way to get calcium that is both soluble (dissolves in stomach acids) and is used by your body (bioavailable) is through plants and sea vegetables and algae. I suggest you look for a supplement that includes magnesium, vitamin K, D3 and strontium. Personally, when I do take calcium, I take New Chapter Bone Health and I break up the dose (six small pills) throughout the day. I take the majority of the pills at bedtime because it makes me calmer and helps me sleep better.

Similarly, many Vitamin E and D3 supplements are made of soybean oil. Soybean oil goes rancid very quickly, which makes it toxic. While soy is a phytoestrogen and has become controversial as a food source, the main reason I don't eat it is that 98% of the soy produced in this country is GMO and I believe anyone who has had cancer should avoid GMOs.

However, I am not a doctor but current recommendations for EVERYONE who is worried about getting cancer or bone loss supplement is at least 5,000 - 10,000 iu everyday.  To figure out what that means, 15 to 20 minutes out in the sun in Cape Cod gives you about 25,000 iu. Xymogen makes a good one that includes K2, which has the added advantage of being good for your teeth.  Personally, I take 6 to 8 drops every day of Micellized Vitamin D3. Along with large doses of vitamin C, it has also been shown to reduce asthma attacks in children.  And taking regular supplements of D3 can reduce your chance of cancer by 70%!

AMEENA'S ANTI-CANCER SUPPLEMENTS PROTOCOL

A disclaimer - I am NOT a doctor. I am telling you this purely from my own experience. Everything I list here, I tested on my body while still under the care of an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. My liver, kidneys, blood pressure, eyes and skin texture all improved greatly while taking them during chemotherapy and afterwards.

I TOOK THIS:

Turmeric 300 mg, twice or three times daily - Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, so the one you take should have a high active curcumin value - read the label.

I took Meriva-SR by Thorne Encapsulations. I currently take one capsule a day of Sky Curcumin by Revgenetics which is cheaper and seems to work just as well. It also seems to have more of the root, because often, when one isolates the active ingredient in a plant or a herb, it doesn't work as well. Most natural ingredients work better in their natural form.

Turmeric is good for inflammation of any sort so it is also recommended for arthritis and I give to my kids for headaches and cramps.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Sustain, 300 mg, one daily I took Jarrow Brand. This helps reduce the irritation in your stomach.

NAC 600 mg, one daily. I took Pure Encapsulations. This increases your body's production of glutathione, which strengthen your nervous system and helps your body absorb other nutrients.

Rosemaria (rosemary oil) and Calendula, one capsules each, twice daily.  I took Completely Green, but it was quite expensive so I switched to New Chapter's Omega 7, which has a combination of Rosemary and Calendula as well as Sea buckthorn. I currently take 4 capsules a day of New Chapter's Omega 7 which seems to hydrate my skin as well as help with my memory. From a herbalist p.o.v., rosemary is antibacterial but also a nerveine, it helps calm the spirit and reduce headaches.

Rice Bran Oil Tocotrienols, one capsule, twice daily. I took Pure Encapsulations. This is a non-soy vitamin E that hydrates the skin and organs but also fights free radicals, especially in breast cells.

Wheat Embryo, one capsules, twice daily. I took Completely Green, but there are others available. This is a rich oil that hydrates your skin beautifully especially after chemo has ravaged it.

Plant-derived Calcium. I took Coxamin, one capsule, twice daily. Now I take the previously mentioned New Chapter Bone Health.

Vitamin D3, 8,000 iu. I took Micellized Vitamin D3, 1000 iu, eight drops daily in my green juice every morning.

Vitamin C, 1000 mg, three to four times daily. I used Lypospheric Vitamin C, I squeezed two envelopes in my green juice in the morning and one in the afternoon. I chose this brand because I noticed an immediate bounce in my energy levels after taking it. It's also recommended by the http://www.cancertutor.com/ website which is a not-for-profit resource for alternative/complementary cancer therapies. Whether or not you agree with Linus Pauling, vitamin c does seem to make you feel better - and if you take good quality l-ascorbic acid, you do not get an upset stomach or diarrhea when you take large quantities.

Shitake, one capsule twice daily. I used Completely Green brand again. This was the brand recommended by Mitchell Gaynor. These days, I tend to take a multi-mushroom complex. I do however eat LOTS of mushrooms - Shitake, Maitaki, Reishi, Chanterelle - but NO BUTTON MUSHROOMS, NO PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS, NO CREMINI - these basically all one kind of mushroom and so watered-down that they have little to no nutritional value (the nutritionist I went to see, Joel Fuhrman, suggested they have negative value).

Pro-Omega, 1280 mg, one capsule daily.  This is one capsule of concentrated fish oil, manufactured by Nordic Naturals.

Peak Immune, 250 mg, two capsules, twice daily. This is a combination of rice bran and shitake polysaccharides (I think) and is designed for people with compromised immune systems. I did not take it again after the first four months after stopping chemotherapy.

Krill Oil, 500 mg, one capsule twice daily. I don't know if it's redundant to take krill oil and fish oil but soon I didn't feel like I needed them both. I took the Mercola brand as I tend to find them trustworthy and conscious about their ingredients.

Immunotix 3-6, one daily. This is a beta-glucan which is especially useful for people who need more white blood cells and want to strengthen their bone marrow post-chemo. It is expensive and I only took it for three months.

Since I had neuropathy, balance and memory issues from the chemotherapy, I took several nerve formulas.

Alpha GPC, 300 mg, one capsule, twice daily. I took Jarrow brand. This is a phospholipid that crosses the brain barrier and helps learning and memory. I have to say, my short-term is still in the process of coming back.

Co-Q 10, 200 mg, once daily. I buy my co-q 10 in q-gel form from a company called epic4health. I have a friend whose father used to sell supplements and he recommended them as the best supplier of co-Q 10 and fish oil.

Enada, 5 mg, one capsule twice daily. This is meant to improve mental clarity and energy. I took this for three months and then stopped as I wasn't sure what effect it had. Post-chemo, I had trouble with word retrieval, reading comprehension (big handicap for a copywriter) and short-term memory which gave me terrible anxiety.

Rhodiola 60, one capsule daily. I took Thorne Encapsulations brand.  Rhodiola is an excellent anti-stress herb. I'd recommend it any time one is feeling overwhelmed or anxious and not getting enough rest. It helped a lot with the post-chemo hot flashes which were brought on by anxiety - and my constant confusion and memory issues. I found it very hard to understand the meaning of street signs or notices.

Triple-Bee Complex, one capsule twice daily.  This is a combination of bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis which are said to nourish the body and brain and activate killer cells. According to Mitchell Gaynor's Cancer Prevention Program book, out of print now, but a brilliant and useful text, bee pollen may delay or avert breast cancer. It's also great for seasonal allergies.

Bacopa, one capsule, three times daily. This is an ayurvedic brain herb. Apparently, it is very useful to take for people who have alzheimer's and/or parkinson's. I did take it for some time but stopped as it no longer seemed useful. It is an adaptogen, meaning it will naturally adapt itself to your needs so one could take it in the long term.

Pancreatic Enzymes, 15 capsules three times a day. I took the Allergy Research brand because they manufacture the capsules for Gonzalez.

Probiotics, three times daily. At first, I took 1/3 of a sachet of VSL3, the idea was to restore my digestive tract post-chemotherapy. Later, I wanted a larger selection of bacteria (for immune issues), so I started taking Mercola's Probiotic which does not need to be refrigerated and is enteric-coated so it survives the trip through your intestines to your stomach.

PolyMVA, 2 tbsps, four times a day. This incredible weird supplement is especially good for the immune system, leukemia and pancreatic cancer, as well as reducing the incidence of bone metastasis post-chemotherapy. Leukemia was the main side-effect of my chemo-drugs so I thought it wise.
I noticed an immediate difference in my energy levels and sense of well being taking this. I have to say I have only caught one cold in the past four years, even during the worst of my immune system damage post-chemotherapy and I am around lots of schoolchildren who cough, sneeze, share my food  and drinks and wipe their noses on my towels. It's expensive but I recommend it to everyone who has cancer or even bad respiratory infections (at smaller doses).

Exhilarin, one pill twice daily. This is an ayurvedic combination of herbs, including ashwaganda, holy basil, amla and bacopa, which is very good for calm and focus, especially during menopause.

Resveratrol, 200 mg, 1 daily. I actually took Shaklee's Vivix which seemed to make an amazing difference in my skin quality, too. Today, I take two capsules a day of Revgenetics Nitro 250.

Melatonin, 5 mg, two at bedtime. Personally, I found I built up too much of a tolerance to melatonin. I started needing 20 to 25 mg to fall asleep so I stopped and switched to a tea of chamomile, passionflower, valerian, skullcap and hops.

Every afternoon, I drank one smoothie made of

Stem Cell Strong, one scoop. This is a combination of mushrooms and fruits.
Slim blend, one scoop.  
One-half an avocado
One or two stalks of kale, deveined
Half a cup of vanilla hemp milk
A handful of fresh or frozen berries
Half a cup of frozen acai
Coconut water to make it more liquidy

Every morning, I drank a cup of hot water and lemon and then 16-24 oz of "green juice."

I used three or four stalks of kale (deveined)
4 big leaves of romaine or swiss chard
1/4 to 1/2 green apple
1 half cucumber
3-4 stalks of celery
1 lemon
1 small bunch of parsley and/or coriander
1/4-1/2 inch of ginger root

Sometimes, I replaced the apple with carrot but it makes the juice browner.

Juicing is crucial when you have cancer because it floods your body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are immediately available to your body. The proponents of juicing include Norman Walker, Max Gerson, Fred Bisci, Alex Junger and a whole series of raw juice purveyors. The best method for juicing is using a cold-press - at home, one can buy a Norwalk Juicer if one has a big kitchen - because it extracts the most nutrients with the least damage to the enzymes. Personally, I use the Omega HRT slow juicer. If I don't have time, I buy my juice, but I make sure it is fresh, not hpp-processed and bottled for a month as that kills a lot of enzymes.

The combination of raw food, juicing, enzymes and colonics have been extremely successful at resolving all kinds of chronic and systemic illnesses at places like Hippocrates in Florida. If I had a little time and money, it would be worth it to go there and reset your body post-chemo or radiation or in the early stages of cancer.

I should add that I had acupuncture and a massage three times a week for two months while on this program. I did not eat wheat, sugar, dairy or other animal products - except maybe at a birthday party, a few bites here and there. I drank three liters of purified water daily. Every two weeks, I went to an energy healer like Penney Leyshon.

I exercised almost every day, swimming laps and/or pilates or yoga.

In the past four years, since the cancer and the tumor disappeared and the scars healed themselves, I have slacked off in terms of supplements - and I have to admit, I don't look nearly as good!

I do currently take essiac tea every morning as a prophylactic and have been for the past three months, with no adverse effects.

The above regimen cost me more than $1500 a month, and that doesn't even include the doctors and there was only so long I could afford it.

But this is is what worked for me.

Remember, this is an arsenal. It is a group effort. Diet, acupuncture, supplements, exercise, energy work, prayer or meditation, therapy, getting A LOT of rest.

It's not enough to do one or two things because cancer is a big disease. And it's here to teach you something. So do everything you can to learn the lesson and move on.