Why I Chose A Nutritional Ketogenic Diet To Support My Cancer
Firstly, let me get this really straight and clear! There is no one "anti" cancer diet. There are many ways of eating that can heal the body. In fact, two completely opposing diets can both have the capacity to nourish, support and heal ones body. Cancer or no cancer, your body is different from mine and so too may be your dietary requirements and choices.
In the initial stages of my diagnosis I went on a bit of a diet-roller-coaster. One week I was going vegan and stock piling carrots, apples and oranges for juicing, I was cutting out fats and eating a high carb plant based diet. The following week I was giving away all my carrots, apples and oranges, stock piling organic meat from the butcher, cutting out all carbs and piling in the fat. Amongst all that, there were days I simply went hungry because I didn't know what to eat! I was so afraid of getting it wrong and feeding the cancer.
After much research, aguish, talking out loud and feeling into what I felt was right for my body I comfortably settled with a nutritional ketogenic diet. Whilst I certainly wasn't coming from a deep fried donut kind-a-diet, going keto was definitely new to me. As with any diet, there are healthy and unhealthy ways of going about it. You can be a junk food vegan, a paleo sugar addict and a ketogenic diet can certainly be nutrient deficient!
Hence why I chose a nutritional ketogenic diet. A diet with a big emphasis on low carbohydrate vegetables, lots of greens, high quality fats, organic animal protein and fermented foods.
I don't view my diet as an anti cancer diet- these changes needed to happen regardless of my cancer. Whilst I don’t believe natural sugars cause cancer, I do know I was addicted to the stuff. The cancer just gave me big enough reason to actually make the changes! I would literally go to bed in a food coma every-single-night. I would binge on desserts after dinner and justify myself because they were "organic" and "paleo". Turns out you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
In regards to cancer, without getting all boring on you, the primary fuel for cancer is glucose (sugar). Hence a low carbohydrate diet makes sense. That was a big tick for me.
Regardless of cancer, I also knew my body type simply does better on a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. Knowing that a ketogenic diet was even an option for treating cancer was a bonus. Another tick for me.
As part of my healing protocol I also wanted to work towards healing my gut microbiome. I knew sugar cravings were a sign of an imbalance. An incredibly effective way to rebalance the gut is to adopt a: ketogenic diet. Tick, tick, tick!
Ketogenic diet aside, I have come to the conclusion that regardless of what label you give a diet (vegan, low carb, plant based, ketogenic, meat/no meat etc) most "anti cancer" diets have these 6 factors in common.
They are void of all processed foods
They are high in vegetables and leafy greens
They encourage organic where possible
They are jam packed with good quality wholesome foods full of nutrition
They include daily freshly made juices
The food is prepared at home with love
The precise diet that works for me, may not be the diet that feels right for you, and that's ok. The principles are the same- an unprocessed, organic wholefoods diet.
For me personally, choosing a nutritional ketogenic diet health-i-fied my already healthy diet. Its helped me step it up a whole other notch. A big part of my healing journey has been focusing on gut health- removing (natural) sugar and carbohydrates, flooding my body with ferments, consuming slow cooked organic meats, free range eggs, ramping up my vegetable intake, eating lots of nourishing fats and consuming green juices.
Side note: nuts, seeds and cacao which all come under the keto banner are off the menu for me right now whilst in the initial gut healing phase. When healing the gut its important to remove harder to digest foods like nuts to assist the body in healing. Thankfully all these beautiful wholefoods- including carbohydrates and chocolate (phewww) will slowly be reintroduced over the coming months.
Do I miss my sweet treats? You bet I do! I think about them every day! When you are diagnosed with cancer there is no fart-arsing around. Cancer has forced me to commit. Unfortunately many of us (myself included) wait until we are sick to make these drastic changes. The honest truth is, had I not been diagnosed with cancer I wouldn't have made this commitment to myself. I am grateful for this opportunity to heal my body on levels I wouldn't have otherwise had the discipline to do so.
I look forward to sharing some of my favourite nourishing ketogenic recipes with you so stay tuned! I have so much to share.