My oncologist and medical team never told me anything about nutrition and cancer. But since I started my own research, I have found so many resources which place a high level of importance on nutrition. This makes sense to me since our bodies are created by what we consume. However, there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus. Many promote a diet high in whole foods – especially vegetables. Some recommend a raw, vegan diet. Then there is the ketogenic diet which is very low in sugar (including sugar from fruit and some vegetables). And then there is the fruit-only diet! And there are many, many more. I’m not a nutritionist, and I don’t believe there is one ‘cancer-diet’ that would be right for everybody. So I can only tell you what I am doing, which is . . .
Organic whole foods (mostly vegan). Many resources recommend a diet high in whole foods, but not all of them promote being vegan. Personally I believe we were designed to eat what the earth grows for us, so plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds make sense to me. But occasionally I will eat fish, chicken or eggs too.
Refined-sugar-free. Most resources agree that refined sugar should be reduced or eliminated. In my opinion, we were never designed to eat it, so I have mostly cut it out. However, I do eat fruit. This is a little bit contentious because some people believe that the body uses fruit sugar in the same way as refined sugar when it comes to cancer. But my intuition has told me to eat fruits, and I feel better than when I cut them out completely.
Grain-free. Many resources recommend removing gluten, and a lot also recommend removing all grains. For me, I had a food sensitivity test which suggested I need to remove gluten. I also often felt tired, sluggish and dizzy after eating grains so I have cut them out.
Dairy-free. There is less consensus on this one. Some resources say that natural, organic, unpasteurised dairy is fine. But I’ve never been a big dairy eater, so I have mostly cut it out.
Alcohol-free. Most resources agree that alcohol increases the risk of cancer. But some suggest that the odd glass of red wine can be protective. But as I have never liked the taste of alcohol I find it easy to cut out altogether.
Like many people, when I started learning about nutrition, I became so caught up in the ‘rules’ that I began to get stressed and depressed. Whenever I thought I was doing things ‘right’ someone or something else came along to contradict it or offer a better way. So now, my personal opinion is that whilst nutrition is key to health, so is living stress-free. I believe that when the level of stress regarding food becomes too high, I begin to undo some of the benefit of what I am eating. I think that how I feel when I eat is more important than just what I eat. When I feel good, I am naturally more drawn to good foods. Just like when I feel bad, I crave ‘comfort’ foods. So I focus on feeling good. I don’t stick with any rigid rules, and when I do eat something that is less good for me (like chocolate ice cream), I make sure that I really enjoy it.