A lot of people have been asking me on the diet changes I've made ever since I posted my last entry entitled "What should I eat Doctor?". The diet changes I've decided to make so far are based on my personal readings and are supported by evidences I find convincing enough for me to rely upon. Having said that, I think it is imperative that anyone reading this entry make their own informed decision, and to not follow blindly whatever I will recommend in the next few paragraphs.
To avoid turning this entry into one long, dry and winding piece of scientific article on diet recommendations, I have also decided not to elaborate too much on every diet changes made. Rather, those interested to read further on the evidences behind every diet recommendations can refer to the list of books I've listed on my footnote.
Now that I've made my disclaimer note, let me personally share the diet changes I've made thus far. These changes can definitely be further improved, but it will take some time. I must admit that apart from eating fruits, my diet has always not been one to emulate from. Therefore converting myself into quite a healthy diet regiment will certainly require time, discipline and patience.
Diet change #1 : Reduce your sugar intake, SIGNIFICANTLY.
I try to avoid taking any refined sugar in my diet. There have been some significant evidence-based research showing that sugar, when taken in significant amount, can stand in the way of cancer recovery:
a. It suppresses the immune function.
b. It feeds cancer cells, through physiological changes initiated in the body when sugar levels are raised in the blood. [relationship between insulin, IGF, and cells in the body]
I therefore try to avoid any foods with refined sugar, wherever possible. Or foods with high content of sugar, for that same matter.
Ice creams =)
Malaysian delicacies, particularly the ones high in sugar content
Do you know how much sugar are there in a can of carbonated/fizzy drink?
Diet change #2 : Avoiding foods with high salt content, chemical flavorings and preservatives, especially monosodium glutamate(MSG).
Nowadays, whenever mom and I pay a visit to the supermarket, we will take extra time reading off the ingredients of the foods we'd like to purchase. Look at the nutrition facts of the food; how much salt and sugar is inside the food?
Reading food labels is tedious but worth spending time in.
For us, any foods containing MSG is a definite NO-NO. I am quite surprised to find out that quite a lot of the foods we commonly consume on a daily basis contains MSG, some of the food being so well-known that I might get suit if I openly mention the name of its brand (it really isn't rocket science to figure out which food i meant!).
On the same breath, I have also decided to abandon any fast food outlets mushrooming in the shopping complexes in our country. Regardless of whatever they say, fast food is fast food. High in salt and preservatives. Ever wonder why Americans have the highest percentage of obese people within their population?
Have you ever watch this documentary before? Watch it, see what you think afterwards.
Diet change #3 : Whites out. Whole foods in.
What I mean by white foods are those foods with simple carbohydrate that simply turns into sugar when ingested. Since 2 months ago, I've been having more whole foods instead of the 'white foods'.
i. White bread ---> Whole grain bread
ii. White pasta ---> Whole grain pasta
iii. White rice ---> Brown rice
Diet change #4: Change in meat consumption
This is personally one of the difficult changes I have to make in my diet regiment. At present, I refrain myself from taking any beef or lamb. As with chicken, I only consume ayam kampung, where the chickens are not injected with any chemicals to boost their growth. As with fish, there isn't really much restrictions.
Diet change #5 : Avoid dairy products in my diet, especially the ones with high content of fat, animal protein and hormones.
I generally avoid taking conventional milk, butter or margarine, eggs, etc in my diet. If there is a need, we will substitute them with non-fat dairies including soy milk, cottage cheese and yogurt, to name a few.
Diet change #6 : Using virgin olive oils as main cooking oil.
Olive oil, or known as the 'green tea' of Mediterranean diet, has often been recommended as the preferred choice of cooking oil in anyone's diet. Particularly when it is virgin, olive oil has been shown in some studies to contain antioxidants that are linked to slowing the progression of cancer.
If only olive oils are sold at a cheaper price in the supermarkets!
Diet change #7 : Drink plenty of pure water
As stated in Greg Anderson's book entitled "Cancer : 50 Essential Things To Do",
"It is almost a universal truth - people with cancer are dehydrated. Lack of water inhibits immune function, the most potent defence you have against cancer.
Fluid must be continually replaced in appropriate quantities for you to be optimally well."
The best pure water, as has been shared by a few people to me, is the zam-zam water. And this information is not only shared by Muslims, but is also acknowledged by non-Muslims alike. If possible, try to install a water purification system in our home, to make sure that the water we drink is as purified as it can get.
All of the above are some of the several changes I've started to introduce in my diet regiment. I can understand that some of the questions that will be raised include,
If I can't eat the foods above, then what other food options do I have left???
But these healthy diet changes cost a lot of money! Lucky if you can afford it, but what about everyone else???
There is no harm in eating whatever you want, as long as you take it in moderation!!!
I hope that I am not preaching people into subscribing my belief of a good diet regiment. The choices I've made above can certainly be questioned/debated, but that is not my main purpose of sharing this piece of information. At the end of the day, as I've mentioned before, YOU have to make a decision on what is best for your health.
If that means sacrificing extra money for a better health, then why not? Inevitably, money will always be an issue, and I therefore leave this difficult question for ourselves to answer.
If you really believe in taking things in moderation, then please do so, but just be aware that I've seen so many people who succumb to temptations, and the so-called principle of MODERATION just goes out of the window. Having said that, moderation in what you eat is never a bad principle to adapt to.
Finally, let me just reiterate that the diet changes I've made SHOULD NOT be followed blindly. Do make your own research and background reading, just so that I don't mislead people into false information, naudzubillah(may Allah protect me from such circumstance).
May everyone gain the benefits from the information shared, insha Allah (God Willing).
1. Anti Cancer - A New Way of Life (David Servan-Schreiber)
2. The Cancer Prevention Diet (Michio Kushi with Alex Jack)
3. Cancer : 50 Essential Things To Do (Greg Anderson)