A Naturopath’s Top 10 Tips for Supporting Cancer Treatment. By Paul Harper

A cancer diagnosis is a scary thing. I’ve never faced it myself but have worked with a lot of heroic people who have. They have all chosen their own treatment options and we have supported, then rebuilt, their health and immune systems around those choices. Taking out that cancer is just one part of the battle.

My role is to ask why it arrived in the first place then help my client create a level of health that is inhospitable to it staying around. I use an analogy of two armies going into battle. The “good” army are our healthy cells and immune system. We want to arm them, nourish them and keep them supplied with the tools they need for their fight. And the bad guys? We are going to starve them, cut off their supply chains and deplete them of their armour…then we get out of the way and let the good guys do their thing. 

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about nutrition and health – especially in the context of a serious health challenge – so let’s keep it simple. Let’s talk about what’s going to get the most energy into your body so it will start working for you. We’re not talking about calories here. QUALITY control, not calorie control is the key. Forget double blind studies, sexy ads and the latest magazine article. We are going to lay some solid foundations.   

Focus on HEALTH!

Forget about treating “your disease” and being a “patient.” You’re a capable, independent, smart individual and you have the power to take charge of YOUR HEALTH. Pay attention to detail because every little bit counts and when you’re really healthy, and producing ENERGY, everything works and you CAN’T GET SICK.

And this is where it gets easy. Everything is interrelated. There’s no magic bullet for any given illness and no single killer – even cigarettes!! The more of the good you put in, the better your body’s going to be able to take care of business. Think of yourself as the high performance race car that’s inside all of us – what are you going to run it on? Race fuel or diesel?

Our immune system is the key here. It performs two roles in our body: the department of defense and the department of waste management. This is where the quality of what we put into it becomes clear. The more energy it has to devote to clearing out the junk, the less it has for defense. Where do you want your body’s energy going?

And before we get started, don’t be overwhelmed. It’s all new yes, but you can do it. Break it down, step by step, even one new step per week. And if you need help, just reach out, It’s just an email or a phone call away.

Step 1:  Follow the 80-20 rule…or the 95-5 rule

Apply this rule to all aspects of your life, following the guidelines below. It provides a foundation for keeping your health moving in a positive direction. If you’re facing a serious diagnosis now, or coming out the other end, I recommend a 100% commitment to your health for at least two years. The greater your commitment, the greater the returns.

Step 2:  Eat real food

This is the first of two biggies. There is nothing positive about processed foods, stripped of nutrients and saturated with preservatives and other man-made chemicals. “Edible food-like substances” are all too common in our cupboards and fridges and on our plates. The bagged, boxed, bottled, canned products that line the shelves of any supermarket but have no place in our homes or in our bodies. Don’t forget that we are part of nature. We have not evolved to metabolize the overload of chemically preserved, artificially flavoured, “nutritionally fortified” products largely developed in laboratories, in just the last 50 years. If bacteria won’t eat it why would you?

Step 3:  Get more out of your meal

  • Digestion starts in your mouth. Chew, chew, chew. Each mouthful should be liquid before you swallow. 
  • Here’s a hint. Healthy food tastes better the longer you chew it. “Edible food-like substances” taste worse as the chemicals in them are released. Try it out on your next packet of biscuits or Big Mac…NO DON’T!!
  • Supplemental digestive enzymes and probiotics enhance digestion throughout our entire digestive tract, maximizing the nourishment we gain from whatever we eat.
  • Take enzymes at the beginning of each meal, especially if eating cooked food or if you burp a lot.
  • Take probiotics at the end of your meal and especially if you suffer from flatulence.

Step 4: Meat versus veg

The second biggie and the most controversial. Meat and fish, dairy and eggs. We in the West are raised on a diet of cold milk, the summer barbecue, roasts, steaks, burgers and the like. BUT…the cold hard facts are that the more meat and dairy you eat, the more likely you are to be affected by obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, prostate disease and a whole array of cancers.

Step 5:  Raw versus cooked

Aim to eat 80% of your food (by weight) raw. Raw foods contain health-promoting enzymes which begin breaking down at 41ºC – less than half the temperature of boiling point. Most other macro- and micronutrients are also damaged or destroyed by varying degrees of heat. Eating raw thus eases the energy required for digestion, maximizes your nutrient intake and frees more of your body’s energies for healing and rejuvenation. 

Raw vegetable foods

  • Contain ample easily digestible protein in free amino acid form;
  • Contain health-promoting essential fatty acids for a healthy brain and healthy cell membranes;
  • Are rich in health-promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients;
  • Promote healthy, free-flowing, electrically charged blood plasma.

Best cooking methods: steaming, baking.  Avoid all aluminium cookware and foils.

Choose organic

The poisons and depleted soils in which our food is being grown these days are the most significant contributor to the poor state of health we find ourselves in as a society. There is no alternative to organically grown food. Always choose organic for both your own health and the health of our planet.

Highly recommended foods

  • Sprouted seeds, grains, legumes, nuts.  The best include mung beans, lentils, fenugreek, sunflower and pumpkin. Almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are also good.
  • Baby greens: sunflower, buckwheat, broccoli, alfalfa, clover, onion, garlic etc.
  • All vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables.
  • Sea vegetables, e.g. nori, kelp, wakame, dulse.

Fats and oils

All fats and oils should be raw, plant-based and cold-pressed – i.e. extra-virgin.  Try olive, pumpkinseed, almond and Udo’s Oil. Coconut butter is a healthy saturated fat. Avoid margarines, non extra-virgin oils and cooking with any fats. Absolutely no heated oils!

Beating cravings and energy slumps

The secret to beating cravings and energy slumps is to always have something healthy available. Try nuts and seeds, soaked overnight to activate their enzymes, a little fresh fruit or a smoothie with some “superfood.”  Vegetable crudités with guacamole or freshly made hummus are also great.


Freshly prepared vegetable juices are the finest way of giving our bodies the highest quality nutrition in the most easily digestible form. Drink wheatgrass juice every day on an empty stomach and prepare yourself at least 2 litres of green vegetable juices. Vegetable juices provide the dense nutrition your body needs in order to heal and require minimal energy to digest. They’re nature’s ultimate win-win.

Take it to the next level and fast/feast one day per week on green vegetable juices. These days become a source of increased cleansing, recuperation and repair for your body. You will come to look forward to them.

Step 6:  Super-hydrate

Dehydration thickens blood plasma, slowing its flow and increasing its stickiness. This reduces its ability to provide oxygen, and to nourish and cleanse all tissues. Drink enough purified water and green vegetable juices each day to produce 8-10 copious urinations. This is a good guide individualized to your climate and lifestyle.

NB: Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks are not part of a healthy lifestyle and are not recommended for High Energy Health. They are dehydrating diuretics which increase urination through dehydration.

Step 7: Avoid the “Health Food” aisle

This one is tongue in cheek but the vast majority of “health foods” are over-priced rubbish. Sugar-saturated, synthetically enriched, over-processed, genetically modified soy milks, cereals, pastas and snacks. The only health foods you’ll find in most supermarkets are in the produce section.

Step 8:  Supplements

Choose food-form supplements such as superfood blends and algae. These provide essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in natural form. Enzymes and probiotics help our body extract the most goodness from whatever we eat. Avoid supermarket and pharmacy brands. Always read the label and buy from a trusted source. More than 95% of nutritional supplements on the market, including most practitioner prescription ranges, are synthetic man-made chemicals which have no place in our body.

Step 9:  Exercise

Exercise enhances blood and lymphatic circulation, nourishing all tissues and flushing cellular wastes.  Cardiovascular exercise for at least half an hour five or more times a week is vital for optimal health.  Make sure you sweat to move wastes out through the skin and adjust your fluid intake accordingly.

Step 10:  Detox your environment

Anyone who watches the news knows the planet is in a bit of a mess. Many manmade chemicals are having a serious effect on fertility – ours and that of all other animals. Xeno-oestrogens are chemicals that mimic the female hormone oestrogen.  These are found in plastics, petrochemicals, pesticides and personal care products and are linked to all hormonally sensitive cancers.  Synthetic oestrogen from the pill and from HRT washes into our rivers and oceans. Sperm counts and fertility are plummeting worldwide.

Living in the city exposes us to many environmental chemicals and pollutants.  We can’t avoid them all – but take control of the ones you can:

  • Do not smoke and avoid those who do. 
  • Replace all candles with non-toxic, vegetable-based candles. Candles are one of the biggest polluters of indoor air.
  • Use organic cleaning products.
  • Use organic personal care products.
  • Vote with your feet – public transport lightens the toxic load on your local environment.

And last but definitely not least:  Less stress and more happiness

  • Emotional stress affects our body just the same as physical stress. It releases metabolites into our circulation which compromise blood flow, digestion, absorption of all nutrients and our immune system. Take time out for yourself. Relax, get a massage or seek some help if needed. This is not a luxury. It is a necessity for your health.
  • Every thought and every emotion is a molecule. Enjoy this process and the changes it brings.
  • Everything is inter-linked. As our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health so our diet affects our thoughts and emotions.
  • Bring positive intent to everything you do. Create your own personal mantra. Your positive attitude will speed and enhance positive responses in your physical health.

Paul Harper is an Australian trained Nutritionist and Naturopath with a passion for restoring High Energy Health. Drawing from his experience as Director of the Nutrition and Lifestyle Department of an Integrative Cancer Centre in the USA, he provides a support and mentoring programme for people facing a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Paul is based in Sydney, Australia, but works with clients globally via Skype and online support. You can read client testimonials, find out more or contact Paul at www.yourcancercoach.com.

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