Knowing what you “should” be eating can feel like a challenge on an average day, but after a diagnosis of cancer (or, in fact, any chronic illness), this challenge can seem overwhelming. Conflicting messages regarding which food is “good” and which food is “bad” abound. It’s really important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture when it comes to diet, particularly during cancer treatment or recovery. Just eat food
At InspireHealth Integrative Cancer Care Centre, our approach is a simple one: Enjoy the wholesome food that nature provides; avoid processed, refined foods and those that contain toxic chemicals and additives. Eat healthy foods with little or no packaging, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. A whole food diet is preventative and therapeutic – it will help the body recover as well as help to prevent future chronic disease.
Cancer is one of the many chronic diseases with chronic inflammation a possible underlying concern. Adding anti-inflammatory fats and oils, like extra virgin olive oil and organic butter can help the body balance inflammation in the body. Powerhouse spices, like turmeric, are an incredible anti-inflammatory superfood.
Life Can Be Sweet
One of the most common statements I hear is “sugar feeds cancer”, and many avoid all sweet foods (including healthy sweets like fruit) in an attempt to “starve” the cancer. This statement has some truth in it, but it’s not quite the full picture. The truth is, high insulin levels can trigger inflammation in the body and this may help grow a tumor. Keeping insulin levels low is important, but removing all healthy sweets and whole grains isn’t necessary. Local, unpasteurized honey and fruit are lovely sweet foods that when eaten in moderation can be healing to the body.
Balance is Key
When it comes to diet, it’s all about balance. Extreme diets can be harmful to the body and may create deficiencies. Look to add healthy foods to your diet and watch them squish out the less healthy ones. Find guidance from a practitioner, like a nutritionist, naturopath, or an InspireHealth doctor to help you map your path to a healthy diet.
Lisa Kilgour joined the Nutrition Team at InspireHealth in September 2012, where she provides individual nutritional counselling, cooking classes, and public education. She also has a private practice in the Okanagan where she specializes in digestion, blood sugar balancing, and cancer prevention. www.eatmorerealfood.com