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How I beat cancer

Reading time: 12 minutes

At the age of 26, Chris Wark’s future looked bleak. He’d just undergone surgery to remove a golf ball-sized cancerous tumor from his large intestine, but as his doctors discovered, the cancer had spread to surrounding lymph nodes. The prognosis wasn’t good. His best option was 12 months of chemotherapy, he was told, but even then, he’d have only a 60 percent chance of living five years. Chris decided not to go ahead with chemo, but chose instead to follow a holistic approach involving a radical change of diet. Here’s his story and anticancer diet plan.

Even though the odds of long-term survival were stacked against me, in 2018 I celebrated my 15-year “cancerversary.”  

I want to be very clear that I am not “lucky” or special. I am just a regular guy who listened to his instincts and took massive action to help his body heal. 

I eliminated everything in my life that may have contributed to my disease and changed the internal terrain of my body—making it a place where cancer could not thrive. What I did, I believe anyone can do. 

A core part of my Massive Action Plan to heal cancer was eliminating all processed food and animal products in favor of an organic, whole-foods, plant-based diet. 

My anticancer dietary strategy was to “overdose on nutrition.” I wanted to saturate my body with the vital nutrients in fruits and vegetables in order to give it all the fuel and firepower it needed to repair, regenerate and detoxify, and I went way beyond the recommended daily allowances. 

I went from eating a typical American diet that might include one to two servings of fruits and vegetables on a good day to eating between 15 and 20 servings every single day. 

The first book I read about healing cancer with nutrition recommended taking the plant-based diet a step further and eating like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—all raw and organic. I had never heard of the raw-food diet, but something about it made sense. 

My anticancer diet had two major objectives. First, eliminate all foods that might be a burden to my body and promote cancer growth, like processed food and animal food. Second, “overdose” on nutrient-dense foods from the earth. I wanted to saturate my body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and the thousands of phytonutrients and anticancer compounds found in plant food. You can’t accomplish this by taking a handful of supplements. 

This approach consisted of three main elements:

1. Juices 

2. The Giant Cancer-Fighting Salad 

3. The Anticancer Fruit Smoothie 

1. Juicing

In order to understand the value of juicing, you need to understand what happens when you eat. When you chew food, you are essentially juicing it in your mouth. You are breaking it down into liquid form and splitting open the cell walls. 

Your saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestive process and enable nutrients to be absorbed by your body. The food particles that cannot be broken down by your digestive system, such as fiber, pass through and head out the back door. 

Chewing separates the fruit and vegetable nutrients from the insoluble fiber. The better you chew before you swallow, the more nutrients you will absorb from your meal. 

Juicing is a great way to extract massive amounts of nutrients from fruits and vegetables without having to sit down and chew through 20 pounds of vegetables per day. Juicing releases approximately 90 percent of the nutrients in food, which is about three times better than you can do with your teeth. 

Another key factor is absorption. If your digestive tract is inflamed and overrun with bad bacteria, you may only be absorbing a small amount of the nutrients in the food you eat. Fresh juice is alive, nutrient-rich and easy for your body to absorb and use. 

Breaking down and digesting whole foods require a lot of energy, and sick people usually have an energy problem. They need nutrients and energy from food, but the energy required to digest food robs energy from the healing processes in the body. 

As a result, many late-stage cancer patients have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food. But when you drink freshly extracted juice, the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, where they are carried to all the cells in your body with almost no digestive energy required. 

In the beginning, I drank 64 ounces per day of straight carrot juice, broken up into roughly eight 8-ounce servings throughout the day. Then, as I did some research, I began adding more ingredients to it. 

Here are some of the top ingredients to include and why. See the box on the right for my basic and advanced juice formulas.

Carrots. Carrot juice has more naturally occurring vitamin A, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene than anything else on earth. One 8-ounce cup of raw carrot juice has over 45,000 IU of vitamin A, which promotes liver detoxification and is healthy, unlike the isolated synthesized vitamin A found in most supplements. 

Carrots are rich in vitamin B6 and also contain vitamins E and K; minerals including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron; flavonoids and carotenoids such as lycopene; and lutein. 

All of these nutrients work together to feed your cells, support your body’s ability to inhibit the growth of many different cancers and stimulate the activity of your immune system. 

Carotenoids and vitamin A have shown a strong ability to inhibit cancer induction, not only by viruses but from chemicals and radiation as well. At least part of this effect is from these nutrients acting directly on your genes.1

Another powerful anticancer compound in carrots is falcarinol, a fatty alcohol demonstrated to have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and anticancer properties in laboratory studies, specifically against leukemia and colon cancer.2  

Beets.  Beets are one of the highest antioxidant vegetables, and, like carrots, they are rich in carotenoids, lycopene and vitamin A, with strong anticancer and anti-mutagenic activity. Beets contain a potent anticancer phytonutrient called proanthocyanidin, which gives them their color. They contain betaine (a natural anti-inflammatory), vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium. Make sure to juice both the beetroot and the greens. 

Celery. Like carrots, celery contains the anticancer compound falcarinol, along with vitamins A, C and K; minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium; and many other phytonutrients, including polysaccharides, antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids. 

Two noteworthy anticancer flavonoids in celery are apigenin and luteolin. Apigenin blocks aromatase, an enzyme in the body that helps promote the cancer growth hormone estrogen, and inhibits breast and prostate cancer cells.3 Apigenin has even been found to make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy by activating a tumor-suppressor gene called p53.4 

Luteolin helps protect cells from DNA damage, and both apigenin and luteolin have been shown to be anti-angiogenic (blocking the formation of blood vessels to feed the cancer).5

Ginger. Ginger is a powerhouse root that contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds.6 Multiple studies have shown that ginger can inhibit tumor cell growth, slow down metastasis, induce cancer cell death, protect healthy cells from radiotherapy damage and enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy.7 Fresh ginger root is spicy, and a small slice or knuckle goes a long way. 

Juicing tips

First and foremost, it’s important to buy organic produce for your juice. Most commercial nonorganic produce contains traces of toxic pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Having said that, if you do not have access to or cannot afford organic produce, don’t let that stop you. The benefits still outweigh the risks; just juice what you can get. 

Don’t get too hung up on the juice formula or ratio. The type of juicer you use will determine how much produce you’ll need, and you’ll figure it out in no time. There are a thousand possible juice combinations, so have fun experimenting. 

I didn’t juice leafy green vegetables because they didn’t produce as much juice as fruits and root vegetables, and I always felt like I was wasting them. In addition, some leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be problematic for some people. I prefer to eat leafy greens whole in a salad or blend them up in a smoothie. 

I often supercharge my juice with an organic greens powder. There are many brands on the market today, and they typically have a variety of ingredients like barley grass, wheatgrass, chlorella and spirulina, along with lots of sprouts
and veggies. 

Greens powders are rich in chlorophyll, trace minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Some brands also sell them in individual serving packets, which are great for travel and green juice on the go. 

When juicing large batches, the best practice is to store the juice in the fridge in airtight glass mason jars or recycled glass bottles. Fill the bottles all the way to the top, leaving as little air as possible. This will slow down oxidation and help keep your juice fresh and potent throughout the day. I recommend drinking juice in the early morning, mid-morning, lunchtime, afternoon and dinnertime, and finish what’s left before bed. 

If you’re serious about juicing, you will need a good juicer. I bought a $300 Champion Juicer with a commercial motor in 2004, and it served me well for over a decade before I replaced any parts on it. Omega, Green Star and Breville are also high-quality brands. 

If money is tight, look for a used juicer on eBay or Craigslist or ask your friends on social media. 

What about sugar?

I’m often contacted by people who are concerned that carrot or beet juice contains too much sugar, and “sugar feeds cancer.” While it is true that cancer cells feed primarily on glucose, so does every other cell in your body. All fruits, vegetables, grains and animal protein are converted to glucose to feed your cells. Carrots and beets contain anticancer nutrients that can turn off cancer genes, interfere with cancer cell reproduction, block metastasis and cause cancer cell suicide. 

In my opinion, the positive benefits of the phytonutrients and anticancer compounds in carrots, beets and fruit far outweigh any potential negative related to their sugar content. We aren’t getting cancer from eating too much fruit, carrots or beets. Carrot juice and beet juice are staples in the legendary anticancer nutritional protocols from Dr Max Gerson and Dr Rudolph Breuss, and I’ve known many cancer survivors whose healing protocols included lots of carrot and beet juice. 

What about fruit juice? Some of the literature I read claimed that even freshly juiced fruit juice had too much concentrated sugar for cancer patients, so I initially avoided fruit juice and only ate fruit whole or blended up in smoothies. Since then my attitude toward fresh fruit juice has changed. There are some powerful anticancer compounds in fruit juices, especially green apple and lemon juice. The Gerson Therapy for cancer includes one serving of fresh orange juice every morning and several 50/50 green apple and carrot juices throughout the day. 

If you are concerned about the sugar in fruit juice, you can eat apples and oranges whole instead, but definitely don’t skip the lemon juice. 

My daily juice routine

Store-bought fruit and vegetable juices are not recommended because they are often not fresh and have been processed, pasteurized and preserved. Fresh, organic juice is the best strategy. Some health experts recommend drinking fresh juice immediately in order to get the most nutritional value, but fresh juice has been found to retain its enzyme and nutritional content for several days. 

I didn’t have the luxury of making a fresh glass of juice eight times per day, so I had to devise a system that was simple and sustainable. My number one priority was getting large amounts of juice in my body every day. So first thing every morning, I made one big batch of juice to last me throughout the day. 

I started with five pounds of organic carrots, which yield approximately 40 ounces of juice, and then I added ginger root, beetroot, celery and other ingredients to get me to 64 ounces, which I drank throughout the day. 

Ideally 64 ounces of juice should be consumed as eight 8-ounce servings, every hour or so. Many holistic cancer clinics have their patients drink one to three quarts of juice per day. On the Gerson Therapy, cancer patients drink 13 juices a day, once every hour. 

Think of juice as medicinal food. Hourly dosing is the best way to maintain high levels of nutrients in your blood throughout the day. 

2.The giant cancer-fighting salad 

The second component in my anticancer diet was eating the biggest, baddest salad on the planet—for lunch and dinner. I wanted to put as many anticancer vegetables into my body as possible every day. 

There’s really no secret formula, but I did follow some guidelines: No meat, cheese or store-bought salad dressing, and use organic produce if you can.

See below for my salad and dressing recipes. Try not to skip the nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds (unless you are allergic, of course). Nutritional yeast contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan, an immunomodulatory compound that enhances your body’s defenses against infections and cancer.8 

There have been over 20 studies in Japan showing beta-glucans can enhance the effects of chemo and radiotherapy treatment and improve survival and quality of life.9  

Nuts are also potent cancer fighters. A 7-year study found that stage III colon cancer survivors who ate at least 2 ounces (57 grams) of tree nuts per week—roughly 48 almonds or walnuts (about 7 per day)—were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return and 57 percent less likely to die from their cancer than those who did not eat nuts.10

The giant cancer-fighting salad

  • Leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, arugula)
  • Broccoli or broccoli sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Purple cabbage
  • Slice of red, yellow or green onion
  • Leeks
  • Red, yellow or green peppers 
  • Half or whole avocado 
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds or walnuts (unsalted, raw or roasted)
  • Sprouted garbanzo beans
  • Sprouted black lentils
  • Sprouted mung beans

Note: Feel free to add any other vegetables you like.

My anticancer salad dressing

  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Extra virgin olive oil and/or extra virgin flax oil
  • Organic oregano
  • Organic garlic powder
  • Organic turmeric or curry powder
  • Organic cayenne pepper
  • Organic black pepper
  • Bragg organic sprinkle (a blend of 24 herbs and spices)
  • Nutritional yeast 

Lightly drizzle olive oil or flax seed oil and organic apple cider vinegar to taste. If you don’t like the taste of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice is a great addition or substitute for ACV. Sprinkle on the spices to taste.

Soaking and sprouting unlock enzymes and nutrition in nuts and seeds, and may make them easier to digest, but they are not mandatory. Unsprouted nuts and seeds are wonderful healthy foods as well. Legumes should be soaked and sprouted if consumed raw. Otherwise, cook them.

3.The anticancer smoothie 

Another way to get all of these anticancer ingredients into your body is to put all (or most of) the ingredients of the giant salad into a blender with one to two cups of purified water, liquefy it and drink it. 

This is especially good if you cannot eat solid food, want to consume it on the go or want to give your jaws a break from all the chewing. Liquefying in a blender also increases the amount of absorbable nutrients.  A liquefied salad is going to taste a bit unusual, but keep in mind that this is medicinal food. 

Another option with this blended-up salad is to warm it up on the stove. If you want to keep it raw, just warm to around 100°F (38°C), spice it accordingly and eat it  like soup. If you have a hard time digesting raw food (such as having painful cramps or bloating), it can also be fully cooked and consumed warm or cooled. 

For my delicious anticancer fruit smoothie recipe is included below.

My anticancer fruit smoothie

  • 1 to 4 cups of frozen organic berries (e.g. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries)
  • A handful of leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • A handful of almonds, walnuts or both
  • 1 banana or 3 to 5 pitted dates
  • 1 young Thai coconut (juice and meat)

Blend all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of purified water.Add more water gradually if it’s too thick. 

My daily anticancer routine

Here’s what a typical day looked like for me while I was healing cancer, and even now.     One of my intentions was to live as closely to nature as possible, sleep in total darkness, and let the sun wake me up naturally instead of being jarred awake by an alarm. 

Once I’m up, the first thing I do every morning is hydrate. I drink 20 ounces of purified water and/or tea cold-steeped overnight and take supplements that should be taken first thing in the morning. An additional benefit of drinking several cups of water first thing in the morning is that it gets your bowels moving. 

Next is 10 to 20 minutes of aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling or rebounding (jumping on a mini-trampoline) to wake me up, get my heart pumping and my blood circulating, and get me sweaty. Aerobic exercise not only has anticancer benefits in the body, but it also makes you feel good and promotes detoxification via sweating. 

Afterward I take a quick shower and spend a few minutes to get my mind on track for the day by reading a devotional passage, praying and/or meditating, journaling and making or reviewing my to-do list. 

Next I make all my juice for the day, roughly 64 ounces (1.9 liters). This process takes the better part of an hour. I recommend making it fun. Play some music you love or listen to a podcast while you’re running the juicer. 

In the first 90 days of my healing journey, I skipped breakfast and drank juice throughout the morning until lunch; some days I snacked mid-morning on fruit such as a grapefruit or a green apple. If you need to gain or maintain weight, oatmeal or a fruit smoothie is a great breakfast option. 

Lunch and dinner every day was the Giant Cancer-Fighting Salad. Some days I snacked on nuts or fruit mid-afternoon. Most days before lunch and dinner, I bounced on the rebounder for 10 minutes to incorporate more exercise into my day and get my lymphatic system moving. 

When the weather was nice, we often walked the dog after dinner. After dinner and before bed, I finished any remaining juice, sometimes drank herbal tea and tried to get into bed within a few hours after sundown.

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Article Topics: Cancer
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