Is the Ketogenic Way of Eating Good after Colon Cancer?

sugar cancer healthy
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I know the ketogenic way of eating has helped many people. I’ve seen friends lose all kinds of weight on the diet and the results for weight control and improved health are impressive.

But here’s why I struggle as a cancer survivor who did treatment, juicing, more treatment, more juicing/plant based diet for 18 months, has been clear four years, but whose weight has crept up way too high.

 

maze after cancer dietI’ve read with great interest the success many people have found doing the ketogenic diet. It has gained lots of credibility as a way to help prevent cancer, as well as help people already fighting cancer. Based on my previous success with low carb eating (like, over nine years previous) I started doing Keto a few weeks ago and here are my observations for *me* as a colon cancer and cancer treatment survivor.

  1. I can’t handle the heavy greasy fatty foods like I could years ago when I did low carb. Fried mozzarella sticks and pork rinds were GREAT back then. Now? No way – right through my battered digestive system.
  2. On the juicing and raw foods plan, the following keto-approved foods were NOT allowed while I was striving to heal my liver and my body through the cancer/recovery from cancer treatment crisis:
    1. Meat.
    2. Dairy (including eggs).
    3. Artificial sweeteners.
    4. Caffeine.
    5. Inflammatory oils and foods fried in them.
  3. The following foods WERE allowed during the healing crisis plant-based eating plan in a 80/20 ideal ratio, but are not allowed on the ketogenic way of eating (WOE). The plant-based was 80 percent raw foods, and 20 percent cooked foods:
    1. Whole grains in limited amounts (breads such as Ezekiel sprouted bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa).
    2. The same healthy fats as Keto – avocado, olive oil, almond oil, walnut oil, coconut oil.
    3. Limited natural sugar. One teaspoon of honey daily.
    4. Herbal teas.
    5. Potatoes, both white and sweet.
    6. NO artificial sweeteners!
    7. I lost about 30 pounds without trying to lose anything except the cancer; on a raw foods eating plan your body gets to where it wants to be in order to be healthy. I ate when hungry and was very satisfied. My oncologist looked at me when I arrived after three months for our final decision about treatment and said, “I hear that you’ve been losing weight; that’s not good.” He was very serious. He had no understanding that I was 30 pounds overweight (again) at the time of the return of the cancer, and that I lost 30 pounds by eating well and juicing – my body was in the healing mode even with a tumor shutting down my left kidney. Physicians are simply not trained in nutrition as a mechanism for healing.
  4. My digestive system is missing 8 inches of colon and has been through a lot. In spite of this missing portion of my innards my body still handled the raw foods/juicing just fine. The slowing action of the cooked foods such as Ezekiel bread, oatmeal and rice helped my body function better (stopped the freight train coming through my colon) and I felt good eating those foods.
  5. At one time I was juicing five pounds of organic carrots and six apples daily (about 48 ounces of juice), and 32 ounces of greens/green drink. I do not do that much carrot juice now (it is sugar, but fine in my personal experience when following the strict cancer crisis diet protocol because you eliminate all other sugar). Green drink makes sense – no sugars. Carrot juice I still do on occasion, sort of a maintenance amount, but I try not to be eating other sugars on a day when I use the carrot juice.

This is a dilemma for me. Some things about both of these very valid eating strategies are complete opposites. And neither option includes chocolate lava cake.

So what’s a cancer and treatment survivor to do when she’s in menopause, happy to be alive, but not able to lose weight easily?

I’m still not sure I’ve got the right answer for my body yet. Or perhaps I do, but I don’t want to acknowledge that I still need to be very careful and disciplined. Disciplined eating is hard!

Here is what I’m striving for as I sort this all out.

  1. Avoid sugar. Use limited natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or all natural stevia as a substitute. No artificial sweeteners!
  2. Caffeine: I’m debating whether I should cut coffee out entirely, again, like I did for eighteen months on the plant-based healing plan. I enjoy the routine with my husband, but I also know caffeine is a drain on our adrenal glands.
  3. Dairy: I will enjoy in very limited amounts. I do use creamer in my morning coffee now.  I still like ricotta with a drop of stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and topped with whipped cream from the old low carb plan I followed years ago. There are far worse things I can eat now that my body is no longer fighting cancer, but, should also be used very sparingly. Completely a splurge.
  4. If I want healthy carbs in my life then I need to exercise. I’ve found I like having carbs in the morning. For me this includes Ezekiel bread, oatmeal, etc.
  5. I need to exercise! This is a challenge for me. Keto says “no exercise required to lose weight, but ideally good to do”. Cancer survivors are encouraged to exercise 30 minutes per day. I like walking, pilates and swimming. I’m not a gym rat and am not motivated by high intensity interval training (HIIT) or cross-fit. They stress me out! I’ve read articles that grueling workouts done long term are actually NOT good for the body. But I need to do better at moving in some way every day!
  6. veggies to fight cancerVeggies, especially greens, should be unlimited.
  7. Fruits should be enjoyed in moderation, although I love a lot of pineapple for it’s anti-cancer properties and the benefits for my lungs. So clearly pineapples are abundant in good properties, but they also are not low carb!
  8. Essential oils have a place in my personal wellness-after-cancer plan. Young Living essential oils have helped support some of the emotional, physical, and environmental factors that influence my health now as a cancer and cancer treatment survivor. Menopause? I’ve found support from Progessence Plus, Clary Sage and Lady Sclareol (aMAZing). Achy body? I’ve found support from Frankincense, Copaiba, Aroma Seiz and more. Stress and anxiety? Support from Lavender, Cedarwood, Valor and Joy. I am eternally grateful for the addition of Young Living essential oils and supplements, savvy mineral make-up and products that are free of harsh chemicals and toxins. This step is a no-brainer for my personal wellness goals and I am excited to be learning more every day and to be able to share with other survivors!

Here is a video showing Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez talking about the ketogenic diet and his thoughts about whether it can cure cancer.

I’m basically back to realizing that the plant-based protocol is what worked for me, and is what still makes sense to maintain my health after cancer. In researching this topic for this post, I came across an article by Chris Beat Cancer and it has helped me solidify my thoughts for my personal goals. Check it out here. Here is the text that caught my attention:

There are thousands of people out there who have healed cancer naturally. I meet natural survivors constantly and even share their stories on this site. Most natural cancer healing protocols involve a radical change of diet and lifestyle that includes overdosing on nutrition with juicing, lots of raw plant food, little to no animal food, supplements, and herbal cleanses along with detox protocols like coffee enemas, etc. Those are all time-tested methods validated by a large body of long-term survivors.

I know a lot of long-term natural survivors, but I don’t know of any long-term survivors who have used a ketogenic diet to heal.

I’ve seen studies where rats on a ketogenic diet lived a little longer, then died… but no long-term human survivors.

And I’ve seen patients try the ketogenic diet and it fail them.

So those are my big hang ups.

I don’t care how good the science sounds. Survivors trump scientific theories. And until we have a substantial list of long-term survivors, I cannot in good conscience support ketogenic diet as a viable option for healing cancer.

In summary, I’m not comfortable going full low carb (keto) as a cancer survivor, and completely raw foods and juicing is incredibly rigorous, but I’ve got to incorporate that strategy more in my life and get back to those solid, proven basics. It’s what worked for me.

I think at this time in my journey “balance” is the word of the day, and “portion control”, and gentle, consistent exercise. This is a challenge for me and writing it down here in a post has given me some clarification and motivation and quite honestly admonishment for being lazy. I can use the excuse, “I’ve been through a horrendous cancer experience and I can do what I want,” or I can use the motivation, “I’ve been through a horrendous cancer experience and God has allowed me to be here. I need to make the most of this and continue to grow as a person to be what God wants me to be using proven cancer fighting and healing strategies that work!”

My experience is unique and clearly many people have found wonderful results from the ketogenic diet for health and weight loss support. Personally I am choosing to get back to the plant-base that helped me heal from a time of great crisis through cancer in my life.

How about you? Are you a cancer patient or cancer survivor? What are your thoughts on food and nutrition and how it affects our bodies? I’d love to hear your comments! #goingtomakemorecarrotjuicenow

P.S.: As always, none of my personal comments are intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Only your savvy doctor can do that kind of stuff!

The Healing Time

the healing time

Hippocrates said, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”

Sunday mornings are my favorite. The world is on pause – in most cases – as we stop and rest and renew the mind, body and spirit. Our family experiences Sundays usually as a time to be in church, either as worship participants in the pew, or some family members participate in leading worship through playing music, singing, or preaching. Other times we may choose to rest if our bodies need the quiet of an unscheduled day and we are not committed to being involved in a worship service. There is a cycle to Sundays like the give and take of the rest of our lives. We are able to create the opportunity to rest and fellowship with other believers in our church community.

Today after the morning service my husband and me were talking about cycles and healing and upcoming decisions on the drive home. You know how some studies say the body fully regenerates on the cellular level every seven years? We feel like our family has been cautiously regenerated on some deeply healing level for the first time in seven years.

Seven years ago bought our first home and shortly afterwards I received a diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer. 2010 was when the healing time, the healing crisis, began.

We’ve been through trauma, and relief, and trauma again, and joy, and are exhaling much of the difficult angst we’ve carried many years. All of us.

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar place. For us, the opportunity to heal was forced upon us. We now see and accept that some of the stabilizers God placed so strongly around us over the past seven years are easing themselves away as we relax into the exercise of living securely, quietly, reserved, poised, rested, healed.

The healing time has not been all smooth sailing and consequence-free decisions. There has been a sometimes painful re-calibration of finding the family equilibrium. Painful like the healing of a wound; raw at first, then less sore as the healing time passes.

Are you in the Healing Time? Here are some thoughts from our family experience:

  1. Seek God’s help and wisdom for every decision, BEFORE you make decisions.
  2. Seek support from your church or faith community.
  3. Trust God to cover the gaps you are unable to manage.
  4. Be patient with yourself, and with your loved ones.

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Recipe: Medjool Date Dessert Balls

healthy vegan recipe ideas dates coconut almonds walnuts coconut oil recipe

One of my favorite treats for a plant based eating plan is a recipe using dates to create a delicious, almost-fudge-brownie-like, dessert! I mean, healthy doesn’t have to mean cardboard, right?? Here are the ingredients I use. You will want to load them into a food processor and then blend them up good. Remove the mix from the food processor and shape into 1 inch balls. You’ll be rewarded with a yummy, healthy treat! You can also adjust the ingredients to include raw coconut flakes, chia seeds, or other ingredients you may want to try. Enjoy!

2 cups walnuts or almonds.

2 cups of Medjool dates. Be sure to remove the pits!

2 tablespoon coconut oil.

1/2 teaspon sea salt.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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Sweet Potato Bread with Almond Flour

sweet potato bread cinnamon clove vitality essential oil
Hi Savvy Friends! This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. My opinions are always my own. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, I make a small commission – at no cost to you – which helps keep this blog running, my recipes and posts free, and supports my family.

Saturday mornings are meant for coffee, reading my Bible while the hubby browses the newspaper, and making something warm and tasty for breakfast. Most week days I make oatmeal or have a slice of Ezekiel bread. Quick, easy and satisfying!

Growing up my mom was a baker and cook and she could make ANY thing. Every day she stretched the family budget by making delicious meals from scratch. She canned, baked bread, made sweet rolls, and managed her home like high-paid CEO who took a $1 salary. Her true wage earned – at her choice – was knowing her children were raised in safety and security while my dad worked to provide for our needs.

While I grew up appreciating the love of baking, now I avoid white flour and try to limit sugar. I have a complex attitude towards eating because:

  1. I ate a plant-based for 18 months during cancer round two. Juiced on the hour. Five pounds of carrots and six green apples daily with another 80% raw foods (lots of salads) and 20% cooked foods (sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa). No dairy because dairy can be inflammatory. Yes, I feel your pain – I have dairy farmers in my family. I moved from cow milk to almond and coconut milk, and the eating plan included a good portion (but not unlimited) healthy fats like almond oil, walnut oil, pumpkin oil, avocados and olive oil. Hummus? Delicious. No coffee. Lots of herbal tea and water. One teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup daily. No artificial sweeteners. Hard? You bet. But dying from cancer and cancer treatment side effects (which I went through, twice) is harder.
  2. Went back to a more standard diet over the past couple of years and ate more of what I shouldn’t have. I feel healthy for all I’ve been through but I know I must be careful with what I eat. I need to do more consistent light exercise (walking, swimming, pilates). I did green powdered drink daily for the past few years but dropped the daily carrot juice to a few times per week. I’ve used the carrot juice as more of a maintenance routine; there is nothing like it and I love the drink.
  3. Recently have tried low carb/keto because it IS a great way to eat for people needing to lose weight. I did low carb years ago and really enjoyed it and I lost weight! But I put the weight back on. The ketogenic diet is being hailed as a great way to prevent cancer. I don’t argue that at all. However, having done the plant-based diet to recover from cancer and cancer treatment, I find the full ketogenic eating very “heavy”. Delicious, but heavy. Fried foods now kill my digestive system and I ate all kinds of fried food on low carb in the past. Keto allows artificial sweeteners, many of which I find concerning from a cancer survivor perspective. I use Stevia to sweeten herbal teas; I can’t stand stevia in my coffee.
  4. I toyed with Paleo which emphasizes eating only what “cave ancestors” would have had available. No whole grains (which were allowed on the plant-based diet); no dairy; lots of meat and healthy fats, plants, and nuts and berries. Hummus is off limits on paleo eating plans because it is a legume.
  5. This week I told my husband, “I feel best on plant-based. It was hard, and I did it to save my life and I got tired of it, but this ketogenic thing is WAYYYY too heavy for me.”

The verdict? I’m working to find the right heavily-plant based balance for me. Sometimes we can eat too much of a good thing; so portions of healthy foods are important, too.

Here is what I’ve decided is best for me:

  1. Cooked foods include oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, in limited amounts.
  2. No fried foods.
  3. Meats in very limited amounts (Green veggies have lots of protein! But if you don’t eat ANY meat, you need to supplement some of the omega fats that you won’t get without meat. Flaxseed is an excellent way to do that.)
  4. Meats that are consumed should be organic/hormone free chicken, turkey, and wild fish.
  5. At LEAST one big salad per day for lunch, and many days, it should be TWO. Lunch and supper.
  6. Fruit? Perfectly ok in limited quantities. Avoid the dirty dozen fruits known for high pesticide content.
  7. Healthy fats from good oils (almond, walnut, olive, coconut, avocado) perfectly great.
  8. Legumes are fine (yay, hummus!).
  9. When in doubt, if it doesn’t come off a tree or out of the ground, DON’T EAT IT.

Today I decided to try using up extra cooked sweet potatoes. I added almond flour, eggs, and spices to create a healthy bread. Here is my recipe!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Almond Flour (you could also use Coconut Flour)

1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Cloves (I used 9-10 drops of Young Living Clove Essential Oil – always use the Vitality line for oils that are ingested)

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Salt (I use Himalayan Sea Salt)

1 cup Cooked & Mashed  Sweet Potato (for me this was two medium precooked sweet potatoes)

3 tablespoons melted Coconut Oil (best measured when melted, not solid)

1/4 cup Honey (you can also use Maple Syrup)

1 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. I prefer to put a drop of olive oil in the pan and use a paper towel to oils the entire pan.
  2. Line the pan with parchment paper to make your life easier after the bread finishes baking.
  3. In a small bowl combine the Almond Flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves (or Young Living Clove Vitality Essential Oil), Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt. Whisk to combine and then set aside.
  4. In another large mixing bowl whisk the Eggs. Add in Mashed Sweet Potato/Yam, Honey or Maple Syrup, Coconut Oil, and Vanilla. Whisk very well to combine all ingredients. There may be some small lumps from the Sweet Potato and that is fine.
  5. Pour dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, uncovered, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with very few moist crumbs attached.
  8. Allow bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Carefully peel away the wax paper before slicing.
  10. Makes 1 loaf.

finished sweet potato bread with almond flour

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Anxiety is the Number One Issue for Women

anxiety women number one issue solutions wellness
Hi Savvy Friends! This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. My opinions are always my own. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, I make a small commission – at no cost to you – which helps keep this blog running, my recipes and posts free, and supports my family.

I’m scrolling through my phone, Ace the pug is dozing on a pillow next to me on the couch, and I’m watching Fox & Friends (it’s a thing in our house in the morning). My attention went fully to the television when I heard the word “anxiety” and “women”. Not, like, that I KNOW anything about anxiety as a women. Fox & Friends was interviewing author and pastor Max Lucado and this statement is what caught my ear:

Anxiety is the number one issue for women.

Lucado went on to share that teens entering college today carry as much anxiety as mental patients did back in the 1950’s.

anxious for nothing max lucadoAnxiety is a personal “thing”. I’ve watched family members paralyzed by the numbing grip of panic due to stress and I’ve experienced that same anxiety myself (colon cancer, hello).

Anxiety is not always from going through great trauma. Perhaps that’s what makes treating anxiety so elusive. One example in my life is that there have been times I’ve wanted to crawl out of my skin before playing an offertory in church, and wondered why I have such an awful physical anxiety when I’m playing music – using my gifts – to serve God. Chemical imbalance? Spiritual battle? Physical fatigue? Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above depending on what we’re dealing with at different times in life. Maybe sometimes we can’t pinpoint why we deal with anxiety. And often we have questions about anxiety that do not have easy answers.

  • If I know God and have a relationship with Him through Jesus, am I wrong to feel anxious? After all, Jesus told us to “be anxious for nothing”. (He also knew we are frail as dust and he is very familiar with our difficulties as fallen human beings saved by His grace.)
  • Are there natural ways to help my body cope with anxiety? (Yes. Plant-based support when properly used is a gift from God and there are a number of ways to use nutrition, essential oils, and exercise to support the needs of our minds and bodies when we are anxious.)
  • Is there medication that can help me when I’m anxious? (Yes. Medicine when properly used is also a gift from God! By all means see your doctor and ask for help!)

Personally I’ve learned that when I am anxious I must ask God to help me focus on what is “true” and not on what I “feel” at that time. The most basic place to find that help? God’s Word, the Bible. The next most basic place? In a like-minded community of people who study the Bible and offer encouragement and fellowship to each other.

Here are the quick takes from the Max Lucado interview that I want to share with you on ways to cope with anxiety.

  • Celebrate God’s goodness.
  • Ask God for help.
  • Leave it with Him (don’t take it back!).
  • Meditate on the positive.

Have you dealt with anxiety? What helps you most? Someone else may need to know how you cope and grow and work through this very real struggle for many women (and, let’s be honest, our men, too).

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The information shared on The Savvy Rose is never intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease. Only your awesome doctor can savvy that!