Archive for November, 2012

Part #2 – Food is Medicine

Part #2 – Food is Medicine

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”


It is my pleasure to bring some light to the many questions that surround dairy and wheat today.  I am also pleased to have Lisa Marie – Holistic Nutritionist from Inspire Health co blogging with me.  As some of you may or may not know, it seems that gluten, dairy and eggs are some of the most common foods that people can be sensitive to (see blog #2).  When I was first diagnosed with cancer I remember everyone being so shocked (including myself).   One because I was so young but two because I ate so well (so I thought).  One of the first things I did after my first surgery was go to Inspire Health – (Integrated Cancer Care) in Vancouver.  Inspire Health focuses on patient’s health using an integrative approach that combines nutrition, exercise, emotional and spiritual support with standard cancer treatments.  This is where I first heard the term “Food is medicine.”  At this time in my life I ate a lot of breads, meat, dairy and sugar.    It really did seem like a good diet and I felt good but I was definitely lacking veggies.

When you are first diagnosed with cancer it seems like the only person in control is your doctor and it is really hard to be positive.   Going to Inspire Health gave me my control back!   I learned that what I put in my mouth had the ability to save my life and that changed EVERYTHING!

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye and sometimes oats (oats are most often contaminated with gluten).  The immune system in people who are either celiac positive or gluten sensitive perceives gluten as a foreign invader.  This leads to an activation of the immune cells in the intestines when exposed to gluten.   These immune cells release chemicals that can lead to the destruction of the surface, or villi, of the intestines.   When the intestinal villi are damaged, there is an inability to absorbed nutrients from food.  This often leads to malnutrition conditions including anemia and osteoporosis.   This is what I was talking about in blog #2 when I was explaining that Nolan was only absorbing 10% of his nutrients.   Imagine the effect on your body if this was to happen to someone for years without knowing.

Lisa Marie will go into more detail below:

Wheat has been chemically hybridized to create high yields, and alongside that; high carbohydrate and higher gluten content. It is termed a ‘dwarf wheat’, or a mutant form of what wheat once was.

And therein lies the issue with wheat. Our bodies are programmed to recognize whole natural foods. It knows the ‘blueprint’ for traditional wheat grains. When we eat the new kind of wheat (including organic varieties), and especially the processed forms, our bodies are a little dumbfounded and are not able to fully metabolize it in this inherently different state.  This (potentially) stresses our body – some of us more than others – and in response has to use more resources to bring things back into balance (ie: insulin, intestinal function, immunity, etc.)

So, if we want to keep wheat in our diets we ought to at the very least improve upon the quality of the wheat we eat (whole, organic, unprocessed, and in moderation) and if we still suspect it to be a hindrance to our health we ought to try eliminating it for at least 4-6 weeks to see what kind of an effect it has on our body and mind.  This is the true test.  Then you can decide for yourself whether it nourishes or weakens you.

Rest assured there are many whole, truly natural wheat-free alternatives out there to support you in your wheat-free journey, whether temporary or permanent.  Just be sure not to switch to highly processed, refined starch-laden breads, cakes, cookies just because they are wheat or gluten free.  Always stay as whole and minimally processed as possible and you will run into less and less issues with your health.

*Be sure to familiarize yourself with the list below so you can eliminate wheat entirely and not be exposed unknowingly.

Gluten is found in almost everything:  baking powder, pasta, soy sauce, beer, marshmallows, vinegar, breads, flour, cottage cheese, almost all sauces and gravyies, marinades, chips, candy, caramel color, cereal, citric acid, coffee, dairy products, dextrin, egg substitutes, flavorings, meat, packaged dessert mixes, seasonings, soups and yeast, modified food starch, malt, miso, maltodextrin.

The conditions listed below can be associated with a sensitivity to gluten, dairy or eggs:

Acid Reflux, irritable Bowel Disease, constipation, cronic Fatigue, diarrhea, hypothyroidism, chronic Headaches, ADD / ADHD, migraines, type I diabetes, sinus Problems, gallbladder problems, arthritis and joint pain, osteoporosis, eczema, dementia, asthma, Multiple Sclerosis.

Growing up I believed that milk was so good for you giving you healthy bones and big muscles.  In formula, and in bottles, some of us started drinking it at birth.  Because cow’s milk was designed for an entirely different species of animal, a large portion of the population has an adverse reaction to it.  Humans (principally Caucasians) continue to drink milk beyond infancy and no other species does this.

When Abigail and Nolan were born they only weighted 4.1 lbs and 4.5lbs.   They were healthy but days after they were born things got very stressful.  They were not able to digest any formula’s that the nurses would feed them.  They brought in the most specialized formula while I was still trying my best to get my milk to come in.  This was increasing my stress and therefore decreasing my milk.   Now hooked up to feeding tubes the nurses were able to syringe out any remaining non digested milk out of their stomachs.  No milk was being digested and they were both below 4lbs now.   My milk came in and in 8 days they were above their birth weight and home with us.

Feeding cow’s milk formula has been well documented to contribute to cases of eczema, colic, diarrhea, and sinus conditions in infants.  We were taught that calcium from milk will help us build sting bones.  However, authors of at 2005 review article in Pediatrics state “we found no evidence to support that notion that milk is a preferred source of calcium.”  If decreasing or eliminating dairy foods from your diet leaved you concerned about not getting enough calcium, consider eating dark green leafy vegetables.  After all, this is where cows get their calcium.   In addition, when you decrease your animal protein consumption, you decrease your need for calcium.  If you look on the back of your milk bottle the % of calcium will say 20%.   Nolan and Abigail drink rice, hemp, quinoa and coconut milk which all have 30% calcium. There is also oat, almond milk which you can purchase as well, all @ 30% calcium.  Yep…more calcium in some milk alternatives.

Traditionally dairy and milk products were used raw, cultured and consumed in much smaller quantities than westernized countries.  Modern processing of milk makes it difficult to digest and utilize.   Commercial dairy products also contain high levels of residual pesticides and herbicides from the food that animals consume.  These chemicals, which are stored in their fatty tissues, are mobilized through the blood stream and into the mammary glands when milk is produced.  Non- organic, commercial milk also contains detectable levels of antibiotics used on the animal as well and many other environmental contaminants.  In addition, fat from conventionally produced milk harbors as much as 400 times as many pesticides found in non-organic fruits and veggies.   Butter, being entirely milk fat, is one of the most concentrated sources of toxins DDT and PCB’s.  (Alissa Segersten and Tim Malterre – Whole life Nutrition Cookbook).

If you do choose to eat dairy, choose (cows, goats, sheep) raised on organic pastures and treated in an ethical fashion.

Did you know:

There is evidence to suggest that the beef, pork, egg and dairy industries have influence the food guide content (Canada Food Guide), consequently including more of these products against the recommendations of scientists for optimum public health.

American’s take 3 million pounds of antibiotics every year and livestock is given 28 million pounds!!!

There is just as much sugar in one glass of milk as there is in a soda.

Although “real” food is often more expensive, you either pay for real food now—or pay the doctor later.  In 1960, 18 percent of our national income was spent on food, and only 5 percent on healthcare. Today, 9 percent of our income is spent on food and a whopping 17 percent on healthcare. Do the math!  The less we spend on food, the more we spend on healthcare.

With my world being involved in both cancer and autism, I am learning more and more every day how important food is linked to EVERYTHING!


The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.

Thomas Edison

Food Matters Movie –FREE to watch online Nov 24th – 30th 2012

Books / Cookbooks:

The Whole Life Nutrition cookbook – (gluten, dairy and egg free recipes)

Wheat Belly – William Davis

Staying Alive! Cookbook for Cancer Free Living – Salley Errey

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen – Rebecca Katz

One Bite at a time – Rebecca Katz

Grains of Wisdom – The Callanish Society Cookbook


Stay tuned: Party #3 – Meat, poultry, fish and eggs.  

November 22, 2012 at 4:49 am 1 comment

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