"10 Tips Series for Coping"  
10 Tips for Using Diet and Nutrition in the Healing Process
By Jim Acee
This is #3 in a series of articles compiled by Jim Acee,  husband and caregiver for Savanna Acee who was diagnosed in June 1995 with stage III ovarian cancer, had six rounds of chemotherapy, and then a recurrence in July 1996 with metastasis (spread) to the liver and diaphragm with seeding throughout the abdomen. Savanna was placed on hospice in September 1996 and given only months to live. She subsequently survived with a high quality of life for 10 years using a combination of alternative, complementary and traditional (chemotherapy) treatments. For more information on Savanna's treatment methodology, or to discuss your cancer-related concerns contact Jim  at , call 208-384-1708 (mountain time zone) or write to Jim Acee, 4024 Whitehead, Boise, ID 83703, USA.

Future "10 Tips" articles will appear each month in the CONVERSATIONS! Newsletter. Previously published articles in this series are in the "10 Tips" section of or send a stamped, self addressed envelop marked "10 Tips Series" to CONVERSATIONS! PO Box 7948, Amarillo, TX 79114.

Note: Many serious diet and nutrition programs for complementary healing begin by detoxifying your body. The three basic concepts are : stop putting toxins into your body, help your body release the toxins which are in it, and enhance your body's ability to deal with toxins. The tips below will help you in this process.

1) Healing partners play a key role in using diet and nutrition in the healing process. It is important to find an open-minded nutritionist who is familiar with natural complementary healing. This person should be able to help guide your healing with a diet and nutrition program which complements your traditional medical treatments. In addition, having a partner to facilitate nutritional eating allows those diagnosed with cancer to focus on other aspects of healing. This partner will need to find and purchase nutritional foods, to search for recipes and cooking techniques, and to prepare the foods in a healthy manner.

2) Drink 8-10 glasses (80-100 oz) of purified water per day, assuming you have adequate heart and kidney function. Water helps the body's metabolism function properly and helps flush toxins out of your system. Anyone with a compromised immune system should filter tap water. Those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation usually have compromised immune systems.

3) Try a Vegan diet : no meat, chicken, fish, or dairy products. Many nutritionists believe that animal products are harder for your system to digest than fruits, vegetables, and grains. Toxin and hormone residues in meats are cited as other concerns.

4) Buy only organically grown produce. Although it is usually more expensive, a healing body needs every advantage it can get. A food cooperative or health food store is more likely than a large supermarket to have a wide selection of organic foods. Otherwise, ask the supermarket produce manager to special order organic produce for you. If you must eat non-organic produce, wash it well with filtered water and/or peel off about 1/4 inch of the outer surface where most of the toxins will be. Although most of the fiber and vitamins are found in the peel and outer skins of fruits and vegetables, it is more important to eliminate as much of the pesticides and other toxins as possible. Toxins tend to accumulate in specific areas of some fruits and vegetables, such as the bottom inch of the tip of the carrot. Books on healthy eating can help you find this information for your favorite produce.

5) For a powerful and delicious nutritional snack, each day try to drink a juice made of fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables. For maximum nutritional value, drink the juice immediately but certainly within the first 20 minutes after preparation. Books on juiced fruit and vegetable combinations are available at most libraries or bookstores. Inexpensive juicers (machines that turn fruits and vegetables into juice) are available at large discount stores and heavy-use juicers are usually sold at food cooperatives and health food stores. Prices range from $30 to $300.

6) Significantly reduce your consumption of fats, refined sugars, white bread, and highly processed grains and other foods. Buy fresh foods instead of canned, boxed, or frozen convenience foods. Nutritional value is highest when you stay as close as possible to fresh, unprocessed, and organic foods.

7) Switch to soy products which have proven nutritional benefits. Soy comes in many forms : soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and even good tasting cheese and ice cream. Try hot soy milk with vanilla and cinnamon as a coffee substitute. Or use it as a milk substitute on hot or cold cereal. It's great!

8) Eating healthy can be a lonely activity, and cooking tasty health food can be challenging. Sample various dishes at a health food restaurant or food cooperative deli to see what you like. Then, ask for recipes. Take a healthful cooking class or course with a friend or partner. Ask friends who are familiar with health food to show you how to cook it.

9) At a minimum, supplement your diet with a good daily multi-vitamin and extra anti-oxidants, especially vitamins A, C, and E. If you stop eating dairy products, be sure to add a calcium and magnesium supplement. Anti-oxidants disable the free radicals in your body, which many health professional believe to be the precursors of cancer. Consider adding other supplements as you learn how to help your body ward off disease. Some health practitioners advise discontinuance of vitamin supplements just before and after a chemotherapy treatment as some research studies suggest some vitamins may reduce the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug.

10) Educate yourself about diet, nutrition, and natural self-healing by reading books, watching videos, and attending classes. Libraries, health food stores, and community wellness centers are great resources of helpful information. Books by Dean Ornish and Andrew Weil are especially helpful. Also, consider a subscription to a good health newsletter such as Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing (1-800-523-3296). Selected articles are on his web site at An unofficial web site and links for Dean Ornish is

Copyright  2000 Jim Acee and CONVERSATIONS!, (Permission is given to make personal copies or copies for free distribution to cancer fighters.)  Available on the web at: under "10 Tips Series for Coping by Jim Acee."


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