According to some schools of
thought, cancer is a disease of slow metabolism. When the
body does not produce enough gastric secretions to metabolism
the food consumed—not enough hydrochloric acid, enzymes,
and bile—meals are not digested properly. Some food
may break down through fermentation which
causes abdominal rumbling, not to mention toxic gases; but
some food is stored as a metabolic residual. Sugar and fat
are generally stored in the liver, often clogging it to point
of insufficient capacity to perform critical tasks. The overflow
goes into reservoirs in other parts of the body.
This is one theory. It is not difficult
to imagine fat being stored in adipose tissue or cholesterol
moving into the blood stream and arteries. What few people
consider is that a tumor could also be a place where excesses
as well as toxins are warehoused. Obviously, this is the
case with lipomas, but what about malignant tumors? The truth
is, no one knows, but there are tumors is which only a few
atypical cells have been found. The rest of the mass may
consist of infectious material, yeast and molds, or even
nests of parasites. Despite the billions of dollars spent
on research, we know very little about malignant tumors,
but we can find corroboration of some of these contentions
by surfing by-roads. For instance, instead of going to a "credible
site" on cancer, go to the CDC web site and look at
pictures of parasites or go to the University of Adelaide
web site and look at mold. On these sites, you see tumors
that are comprised of far more than a few atypical cells
of human origin. Given that most people do not know about
these types of tumors, how difficult would it be to imagine
that the malignancy consists of metabolic residuals from
your own plate?
We do know enough to be fairly certain that
tumors are high in iron, but what type of iron? industrial
waste or food grade iron suitable for making good hemoglobin?
Some tumors are high in iodine. Did the iodine needed by the
thyroid make a mistake and go somewhere else or was the iodine
of a type the thyroid could not use?
I want to present two reasonable hypotheses,
but only after discussing the theory of digestion according
to Ayurveda. Dr. Vasant Lad used to say, "Sooner or later,
all food is cooked." He drew pictures on the blackboard
of flames in the abdomen, not hyperacidity and heartburn type
fire but fire used for cooking. This was basically something
he said in response to those who felt that raw foods diets
were critical because their new-found understanding of nutrition
was based on enzymes and the destruction of enzymes by cooking.
Enzymes are important but Ayurvedic medicine
has a different view of digestion than Western nutrition. It
states that the part of food that gives us energy is the prana,
an invisible energy field surrounding food. This is destroyed
by cold so refrigerated food is, according to this theory,
worse than cooked food. In fact, to make something that is
hard to digest, something like dairy products, Ayurvedic physicians
recommend boiling milk with black peppercorns and perhaps also
cardamom. Or, they use sour (acids) to make paneer, a sort
of soft cheese used in Indian cooking. It is much more digestible
than the cheese on top of a pizza.
In Ayurveda, each person is seen individually,
and it is recognized that some people are able to produce more
gastric juices. These people are fire types; they have what
is called "agni" or fire and are therefore able to
transform food into nutrients the body can use and separate
out the waste products, such as indigestible fiber. These people
are also good detoxifiers because fire is needed to destroy
harmful substances, like microorganisms. Fire is catabolic;
it is the opposite of water which is anabolic. Most cancer
patients have too little fire and not enough water. More importantly,
from a temperamental perspective, most people like it this
way even if it is not good for digestion.
Fire types take more risk, but where food
is concerned, they tend to burn off the excess. They are better
at destroying germs because they run fevers, which is quite
rare among cancer patients. Fire types are also prone to diarrhea,
meaning that if exposed to pathogens, they tend to be able
to rid themselves of the danger more efficiently than other
types. In fact, there is a theory now of autism that suggests
that the children who are ill are the ones who have more difficulty
excreting mercury. In other words, all children may have similar
levels of exposure through vaccines and other hazards, but
the ones who are ill are the ones who can't push the mercury
out of their systems.
If you are comfortable with these
ideas, then think about the possibility that those who cannot
metabolize meals efficiently would benefit by measures that
correct for the lack of gastric secretions. Basically, there
are several ways to achieve this goal.
- One can take supplements that augment the
hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Many will also find that
enzymes are needed.
- Another method would
be to consume foods that are easier to digest. These would
be one of two types.
- Predigested food is fermented, like
tempeh instead of meat or kefir instead of milk.
- Spicy food is stimulating. There are
times when the taste of the food causes more salivation
and more "arousal" of the gastric fires, but
sometimes the ability to produce more digestive juices
just is not there. In this case, cooking food in the
spices helps a little but not usually enough.
- The third strategy is to take post-digestive
measures to make sure the food moves through the stomach
before fermentation begins. This is achieved through the
use of digestive bitters (and sometimes more enzymes.)
Convalescing patients as well
as those on chemotherapy or pain relievers are often severely
challenged by digestion as well as elimination. This is dangerous
and needs to be addressed as serious issue. Many patients have
told me they are afraid of not getting enough nutrition. This
is where juice becomes extremely useful. Strained juice made
from organic fresh vegetables is important to almost all patients.
I have said that most patients must have at least two tall
glasses of juice per day, 8 oz (250 ml) per day.
Some people have benefited from
fasts, three days, the "master cleanse" fast of Stanley
Burroughs or John Christopher's mucusless diet. Breuss has
a 42-day fast and Johanna Brandt's grape cure basically lasted "as
long as necessary." I know people for whom these fasts
were invaluable. I also know people who fasted beyond what
might have been the point of actual benefit, people who became
In general, vegetables are more
regenerating and fruit more cleansing but vegetables are harder
to digest than fruit because fruit, of course, has acids that
make fruits easier to metabolize. However, my original point
was that sooner or later, all food is cooked. I have prepared
curry soups for people in the hospital on morphine and they
could hold this down easily whereas the ubiquitous jello was
indigestible for them.
Subscribing more or less to the teachings
of Ayurveda, a medical doctor told me that she believed that
her breast was a reservoir and that the storage depots for
unmetabolized food products would be lessened if she had a
mastectomy. She tried very hard to avoid this operation, but
in the end was not willing to risk having the mass penetrate
the chest wall. In my view, the reservoirs are secondary concerns;
the primary goal must be balance. This means that the food
ingested must be metabolized—using
one of the strategies mentioned above.
This said, I want to share some tips that
I have found useful for many patients with weak digestion.
Next, make the food interesting and savory.
Work up interest in the taste and nutritional value of the
food. This is more important than you imagine because anticipation
is what excites the gastrointestinal system and induces it
to produce the secretions needed for digestion.
Learn which foods are easy for you to digest.
For instance, walnuts might be nutritious but they are usually
hard to digest. Coconuts have had some bad press, but you can
live on coconut water (young coconut milk) practically indefinitely.
Years ago, I had a clinic and
sometimes cooked for patients. No one had any trouble digesting
this food because I knew how to prepare food that is easy to
digest. However, after an ordeal, it is normal for the gastrointestinal
system to be weak. Keep in mind that the body has limited resources
and will generally allocate those resources where they are
most needed. Therefore, toxicity will keep the liver so
busy with detoxification that it cannot help as much with digestion.
A little bit of draksha often relieves distress. This is a
very mild tonic from India. It is made with wine, usually only
about 3% alcohol, and some bitter herbs and spices.
Spices are bitter because of
alkaloids and bitters are a tonic for the liver, but they are
cold. By adding some spices to a fermented beverage, draksha
is balancing. I found most patients liked the taste and thrived,
more or less the way an elderly person might sip some brandy
before bedtime. One takes draksha in a medicinal dose, not
as a beverage. In other words, you take a little bit in spoon,
not even a shot glass. You can make your own by putting your
favorite spices into your favorite wine and shaking the bottle
twice a day for two weeks, but I think you will like the ones
that experts have already made.