Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cancer:A Life-changing Experience

when my mother was diagnosed with rectal cancer, my family and i was devastated. in one of my entries, i ve written that we dont bother about all of this until your loved ones or you yourself suffer from it.

most people think that perhaps by not thinking about cancer, it will not haunt them. believe me, at the rate all the Malaysians are eating, it is not impossible for it to silently creep and then launch an attack. we are not invincible creatures after all, we're just mortals.

my sister and i have read a very informative book, which is The Complete Cancer Cleanse: A Program to Detoxify and Renew Body, Mind and Spirit by Cherie and John Calborn and Michael Mahaffey. it is a must read for everybody, in fact.

this book informs us of all the food that we should avoid, which in fact, include all our favourites, which are all fried foods, peanuts and peanut products (because it gives out a substance which can cause cancer) and everything sugary (because, as the writers often repeat in the book, sugar feeds cancer), animal protein especially beef and also hormone-injected chickens and all canned, bottled and packed foods which have preservative. being a nation of great eaters, i know this doesnt suit well with our culture of eating. well, that depends on whether you want to be healthy, or to enjoy life now and have a shorter life span later and suffer in the process.

i've already talked about foods that we should avoid. here's the list of foods that are good for preventing cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprout.

Tomato and tomato products - raw tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato sauce. a substance in tomato, which is known for fighting cancer, is only stable when the tomato is cooked, while our body finds it hard to digest this substance when it is raw. it is advisable to eat cooked tomatoes and their products, although this doesnt mean that raw tomatoes should be avoided.

Beans, legumes and nuts- soya bean is the best of all the beans to fight cancer because it has lycophene. however, having said that, please remember that processed food isnt good because it has preservatives. traditionally prepared tempe is good, and the writers recommend homemade organic soyabean milk rather than storebought ones. in fact, last night i bought organic soyabeans and they're all sitting on the counter, soaked, waiting to be blended. but since in malaysia homemade soyabean milk is sold everywhere, this isnt a problem, only that it is watery. legumes include lentils (dhalls), chickpeas and peas, while nuts (except for peanuts) and seeds such as sunflower seeds are good for us.

unpolished grains - anything white isnt good for us, as it means it's been bleached. remember bleach is like chlorox, which means all the nutrients are washed off. therefore, white rice, white sugar, white flour are not good for us. the best alternative is to eat organic brown rice (which, despite my trepidation, tastes okay) and other grains which include quinoa, millet, organic oats, wild rice and barley. i use unbleached white flour for baking.

note: sugar consumption - for those who're watching weight, guzzling those sugar free fizz drinks is not the answer. aspartame, which is the sweetener, isnt good. i've stopped taking white sugar as well, and now taking organic molasses sugar, which is darker than brown sugar. having said that, it doesnt mean you can eat as much sugar as you want as sugar feeds cancer.

good healthy oils - good oils include flaxseed oil, olive oil and virgin coconut oil (VCO). among all these three, the most stable for cooking is virgin coconut oil. avoid margarine and palm oil (sorry, i know that this is the cheapest on the aisle, and the most available) and no, sunflower oil isnt going to make you invincible either. a year ago, my seri puteri exclassmates were discussing VCO in our yahoogroup email, but as usual, since i didnt see the use of taking it, i read, but never did anything about it. a few months ago, my sister, who is working in Kementerian Pertanian, extolled the benefits of taking VCO as her department produces VCO, (cheaper than the ones sold in health food shops) telling me how her cholesterol level had gone down after she took VCO. she gave my mother a bottle, which my mother refused to take. now, i'm planning to cook with it.

vegetable juice - fresh vegetable juices are highly recommended especially for cancer patients. this include tomato juice, celery juice, wheatgrass. however, i take more fresh fruit juices. when making the juice, use juice extractor and do not ever ever add sugar. last year, on the flight returning from my graduation, i met a friendly Chinese lady who told me that she is 60 years old. she didnt look 60 then, she looked younger. then she took out her pic when she was 40 years old. the woman in the pic had sagged and sallow skin! she had high blood pressure then. so she decided to take fruit juices only, and spent RM800 on fruits alone monthly. she hardly took rice and ate steamed fish.

it is highly recommended that we eat organic foods as this means no chemicals are used in planting them. yes, they are more expensive, but think of the benefits.

the book also tells us that our lifestyles and the products can cause cancer as well. too much stress which include anger, sadness, can contribute to cancer. our water has too much chlorine which can also cause cancer. our soaps, shampoos and facial cleansers have sodium or ammonium laureth sulphate (SLS) which also can cause cancer. even Johnson & Johnson has SLS. i know for sure that shokubutsu does not have SLS, and unfortunately, all shampoos have SLS including Himalaya products. finally, after a visit to the organic shop, i found an SLS free shampoo, I-green, which costs RM25.80 for 300ml (it has natural ingredients). those using feminine wash should also be on alert. i used Summer's Eve before this, and it has SLS as well. the ones that do not have SLS include Binari and Lactacyd. i'm now trying to find SLS-free skincare.

as you can see, i'm on the road of changing of my lifestyle by turning organic and shunning away certain products. as i was telling my friend what i read, she said "you'll feel more depressed after reading it". yes, we can feel depressed, even the writers of the book has mentioned it. but this is after all, OUR LIVES, and we still have time to change. would you prefer to live a healthy life and looking youthful, or to be in a hospital bed with wires and tubes, or even worse, going for chemo sessions??

i hope that after reading this, you will not forget it because you have a hectic life. i hope that after reading this, you will take time to reflect on your life, and how you want it to end. like turning evil, it is so easy to just be complacent and ignorant. to be able to change your lifestyle means you're doing something for yourself, because you love yourself.