The Anti-Cancer Diet

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE BIBLE, the Book of Daniel records a period of time when the Jewish people were living as captives of their conquerors in Babylon. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar ordered young men from the Israelites’ royal family to be trained to serve in his palace for three years. Daniel was one of those men.

The king ordered that the young men be fed the food from his table, but Daniel, in order to not violate his religious tradition, asked the chief official for permission not to eat the king’s food. The official refused. Daniel then said, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but pulse to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance to the rest of the men who eat the royal food, and see what happens.”

The word “pulse” refers to plant food like whole grains, beans, peas, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds—whatever was available in that region at the time. Daniel was given permission to do the test, and after just 10 days he and his friends who chose to eat humble plant food from the earth appeared remarkably healthier and more nourished than the young men who ate the king’s finest fare. Was their improved health a miracle or was it the diet?

Twenty-seven hundred years later and two blocks from my house, researchers at the University of Memphis put 43 relatively healthy participants on a 21-day “Daniel fast,” eating a strict plant-based (vegan) diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds with no animal food as well as no processed food, additives, preservatives, white flour, sweeteners, caffeine, or alcohol. At the end of 21 days, the participants had significant increases in antioxidant capacity and nitric oxide in their blood—both very good things. They also had reductions in oxidative stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.1 In just 21 days, eating a whole-food, plant-based diet significantly improved their risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Just like Daniel and his mates, they got healthier. A king’s diet is not a healthy diet. It is a diet of excess. The king’s diet in Daniel’s day sounds a lot like the diet most of us eat today—a diet rich in meats, cheeses, sweets, and alcohol.

as no processed food, additives, preservatives, white flour, sweeteners, caffeine, or alcohol. At the end of 21 days, the participants had significant increases in antioxidant capacity and nitric oxide in their blood—both very good things. They also had reductions in oxidative stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.1 In just 21 days, eating a whole-food, plant-based diet significantly improved their risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Just like Daniel and his mates, they got healthier. A king’s diet is not a healthy diet. It is a diet of excess. The king’s diet in Daniel’s day sounds a lot like the diet most of us eat today—a diet rich in meats, cheeses, sweets, and alcohol.


The first phase of my Massive Action Plan to heal cancer was essentially an amped up 90-day Daniel Fast. I was determined to live and to change my internal terrain in order to make my body an environment where cancer could not thrive. Step one in this process was eliminating all processed man-made food and animal products in favor of an organic, whole-foods, plant-based diet.

In 2005, medical doctor and clinical researcher Dean Ornish at the University of California San Francisco, along with colleagues from UCLA and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, conducted a study which proved that the progression of early stage prostate cancer can be reversed with intensive diet and lifestyle changes, specifically a low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet, exercise, and stress reduction. The 44 patients in the study who adopted a plant-based diet and incorporated daily exercise and stress management techniques instead of conventional therapy had a 4 percent drop in their PSA cancer-marker counts on average after one year. A 4 percent drop may not sound like much, but it indicates that their cancer had stopped spreading and that their bodies were healing. The patients with the strictest compliance to the diet and lifestyle program had the best improvement.

Meanwhile, the 49 patients in the control group, who didn’t make any diet and lifestyle changes, had an average 6 percent increase in their PSA counts after one year, indicating disease progression. Researchers took the blood of the patients put on a plant-based diet for one year, dripped it directly onto cancer cells, and found that it had eight times the cancer stopping power. The plant-based patient blood slowed down the growth of prostate cancer cells in the lab by 70 percent. The blood of the control group eating the standard American diet (SAD) only slowed cancer growth by 9 percent.2

Another study took ten men with advanced prostate cancer whose PSAs were rising after having their prostates removed and put them on a similar program, which included a low-fat, wholefoods, plant-based diet and stress management. After four months, five of the ten patients had significantly slower PSA growth and three of the patients had lower PSAs than when they started, indicating disease reversal. Only two patients did not show improvement.3 Just as in the Ornish study, those who committed to the program and followed it as directed had the best results.

In 2006 some of the same researchers from the Ornish study conducted a similar study on breast cancer cells. They took blood from overweight and obese postmenopausal women eating a standard American diet and dripped it on three different types of breast cancer cells. The SAD blood had only a small effect in suppressing the growth of the breast cancer cells. Then they put the women on a low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet and had them take an exercise class every day. Twelve days later they took more blood samples from the same women and dripped their blood on the breast cancer cells again. After just 12 days on a whole-foods, plant-based diet with daily exercise, the women’s blood stopped the cancer cell growth between 6 and 18 percent and increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) between 20 and 30 percent.4

In 2015 after reviewing 800 scientific studies, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified processed meats including bacon, sausage, ham, corned beef, canned meat, and jerky as Group 1 carcinogens. That means these foods directly cause cancer. They reported that eating 50 grams or 1.75 ounces of processed meat per day—that’s only about two strips of bacon—increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.5 The IARC also classified red meat as a Group 2A carcinogen, which means there is limited evidence indicating that it probably causes cancer. The highest risk is for colorectal cancer, but links between red meat and processed meat consumption and pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer were also reported. Another meta-analysis associated increased consumption of red meat and processed meat with colorectal, esophageal, liver, lung, and pancreatic cancers.6

Will eliminating processed meat and red meat from your diet cut your cancer risk? Absolutely. But that’s just one part of the equation. Eating animal products can also promote the growth of cancers in a number of ways.

One significant anti-cancer effect of a whole-foods, plant-based diet appears to be its ability to reduce insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the body. IGF-1, a growth hormone directly linked to uncontrolled cancer growth, increases in your body when you eat a diet high in animal protein and/or refined sugar. After just two weeks on a whole-foods, plant-based diet, the blood of breast cancer patients was found to have significantly lower levels of IGF-1 and increased cancer stopping power.7

Many human cancer cells, including colorectal, breast, ovarian, melanoma, and even leukemia, are dependent on an amino acid called methionine.8,9 Without it, they die. Methionine is one of nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body. It must come from food. And guess which food group has the highest levels of methionine: animal foods! One way to deprive cancer cells of methionine and control cancer growth is to stop eating animal foods. Overall, fruits contain little to no methionine. Vegetables, nuts, and whole grains have small amounts of methionine. The highest source of methionine in the plant kingdom is beans, but animal foods have more. Milk, eggs, and red meat have more than twice as much methionine as beans, and chicken and fish have five to seven times more.

Beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils contain a valuable anti-cancer compound called inositol hexaphosphate, also known as IP6 or phytic acid. IP6 has been found to reduce cell proliferation and contribute to tumor cell destruction. It’s even been shown to enhance the anti-cancer effects of chemotherapy, control cancer metastases, and improve quality of life.

A 2014 study found that middle-aged Americans ages 50 to 65 who reported eating a high-protein diet with more than 20 percent of calories coming from animal protein were four times more likely to die of cancer or diabetes and twice as likely to die of any other cause in the next 18 years. But those who ate a plant-based diet did not have any increase in risk. A diet high in animal protein is typically also high in saturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat has been found to increase your risk of lung, colorectal, stomach, and esophageal cancer.It also increases your risk of breast cancer if you’re a woman and prostate cancer if you’re a man.

Another cancer promoter found in animal food is heme iron, a highly absorbable form of iron found in meat—especially red meat, organ meat, and shellfish—but not in plant food. In small amounts, iron is good for the body and necessary for the formation of healthy blood cells, but in excess iron causes oxidative stress and DNA damage and can catalyze endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds, which are potent carcinogens. Excess dietary iron has been linked to an increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancer as well as colorectal cancer. Excess iron that is not used in blood cell formation accumulates in your liver, heart, and pancreas and can contribute to iron overload because your body has no way of ridding itself of iron except by bleeding. In addition, research published in 2018 concluded that two common forms of iron used in iron supplements, ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, might be carcinogenic as they increase the formation of amphiregulin in colon cancer cells, a known cancer biomarker most often associated with long-term cancer with poor prognosis.Another form of iron, ferrous sulphate did not have this effect. A little-known benefit of menstruation is that women naturally shed excess iron every month until menopause. A 2008 VA Hospital study found that intentional blood iron reduction every six months in patients with cardiovascular disease resulted in a 37 percent drop in their cancer incidence and that those who developed cancer had a much lower risk of death.

Non-heme iron is abundant in plant foods, especially in legumes, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, and dried apricots.

When you stop eating animal products and replace them with whole plant foods from the earth, you stop eating animal-derived protein and saturated fat; reduce the levels of cancer promoters like growth hormone IGF-1, methionine, and heme iron in your body; and increase the levels of thousands of anti-cancer phytonutrients found only in plant food.


For many years, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute have recommended that we eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day to protect against cancer, but a 2017 study concluded that eating 10 servings is even better. Eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (800 grams) was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 percent reduced risk of all cancers, and a 31 percent reduction in premature deaths!21,22 Fewer than one-third of Americans eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In addition, the fruits and vegetables most commonly consumed by Americans have the smallest amount of cancer-fighting nutrients. Our modern diet, loaded with animal products and processed food and deficient in fruits and vegetables, is not only polluting our bodies, but is also depriving us of essential anti-cancer compounds.

My anti-cancer 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 1 to 2 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 all organic. Like most of the world in January 2004, I had never heard of the raw-food diet, and I was fascinated by it. There were no raw-food social media superstars back then, and I didn’t have anyone to follow other than a handful of fringe health and wellness authors. But something about it made sense. I was fascinated by the idea of only eating organic fruits and vegetables straight from the earth. I loved the simplicity and purity of the raw diet, and I was excited to see what effect it would have on my body.

My anti-cancer 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 anti-cancer compounds found in plant food. You can’t accomplish this by taking a handful of supplements. This approach required massive action and my Massive Action Plan consisted of three main elements, aka the Super Health Triad:

  1. Juices
  2. The Giant Cancer-Fighting Salad
  3. The Anti-Cancer Fruit Smoothie


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, which is why eating a big meal will often make you sleepy. 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. There are a thousand different combinations of veggie juice, but I kept it simple and typically either drank straight carrot juice or one of the following combinations.



5 small carrots

1 to 2 celery stalks

½ beet root (and a few beet greens)

1 knuckle gingerroot



5 small carrots

1 to 2 celery stalks

½ beet root (and a few beet greens)

1 knuckle-sized piece of gingerroot (or as much as you can stand)

1 to 2 knuckles turmeric root (or as much as you can stand)

¼ to ½ lemon or lime, unpeeled

1 whole green apple, unpeeled

1 clove garlic (or as much as you can stand)

NOTE: A knuckle is the length from your fingertip to your first knuckle.

Juice all the ingredients together and determine how many ounces of juice your juicer yields. Then multiply the ingredients to the get the desired amount of juice you want to make each day.

These additional ingredients may be added after the fact to amp up the nutritional value:

1 scoop greens powder

¼ to 1 teaspoon amla powder

¼ to 1 teaspoon moringa powder

¼ teaspoon matcha green tea powder

2 to 6 ounces aloe vera gel


Carrots are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients. 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 B-6 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.23 Another powerful anti-cancer compound in carrots is falcarinol, a fatty alcohol (which sounds terrible, but isn’t), and is also found in Panax ginseng. Falcarinol has been demonstrated to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-cancer properties in laboratory studies, specifically against leukemia and colon cancer.24


Beets are one of the highest antioxidant vegetables, and, like carrots, they are also rich in carotenoids, lycopene, and vitamin A, with strong anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic activity. Beets contain a potent anti-cancer phytonutrient called proanthocyanidin, which gives them their color. They contain betaine (a natural anti-inflammatory compound), vitamin C, folate, manganese, and potassium. Beets have also been shown to help lower high blood pressure and increase athletic endurance. Make sure to juice both the beetroot and the greens.


Like carrots, celery contains the anti-cancer 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 anti-cancer flavonoids in celery are apigenin and luteolin. In May 2013 researchers at Ohio State University demonstrated that apigenin could stop breast cancer cells from inhibiting their own death.25 In other words, it made the cancer cells mortal again, like normal cells. Apigenin blocks aromatase, an enzyme in the body that helps promote the cancer growth hormone estrogen, and inhibits breast and prostate cancer cells.26 Apigenin has even been found to make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy by activating a tumor-suppressor gene called p53.27 Luteolin helps protect cells from DNA damage, and both apigenin and luteolin have been shown to be anti-angiogenenic.28,29 Another good source of luteolin is artichokes, while parsley and chamomile tea have high concentrations of apigenin.


Ginger is a powerhouse root that contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compounds.30,31 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.32,33,34 Fresh gingerroot is spicy, and a small slice or knuckle goes a long way. Go easy on it the first time you add it to your juice.


First and foremost, it’s important to buy organic produce for your juice. In the United States, 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. Vegetable juice is wonderful for you. Just get it in your body. You can also dilute the juice with purified water if the taste is too strong.

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, wheat grass, 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, dinnertime, and finish what’s left before bed.

If you’re serious about juicing large amounts of produce every day, you will need a good juicer. Cheap ones tend to jam up or don’t produce much juice, and can frustrate you to the point where you won’t juice at all. 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.

To get the maximum amount of juice out of your produce, you can use a Champion Juicer as a grinder and then press the juice out with a Welles or Peoples hydraulic juice press, which will yield about 50 percent more juice. This two-step process can produce as much as 2 ounces more juice per pound of carrots than the Rolls Royce of juicers, the $2,400 Norwalk, at only a third of the cost.

If money is tight, look for a used juicer on eBay or Craigslist, or ask your friends on social media. Chances are, someone you know has a juicer collecting dust that they will give to you for free or lend to you indefinitely. Don’t let your circumstances stop you. Ask for help. The most important thing is that you get on the juice!

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 anti-cancer 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 anti-cancer 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 anti-cancer 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. I never worried about the sugar content in carrots and beets, and I don’t think you should either.

What about fruit juice? Some of the literature I read back in 2004 claimed that even freshly juiced fruit juice had too much concentrated sugar for cancer patients, so I 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 anti-cancer 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.


Store-bought fruit and vegetable juices are not recommended because they are often not fresh and has 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. Back in 2004 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 5 pounds of organic carrots, which yield approximately 40 ounces of juice, and then I added gingerroot, beet root, 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 between 1 and 3 quarts of juice per day. On the Gerson Therapy, cancer patients drink 13 juices per 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.


I wanted to ensure that my body was getting all the nutrition it needed to repair, regenerate, and detoxify, and as a result I ended up drinking so much carrot juice that I turned orange. Overdosing on carotenoids temporarily turns your skin yellowish orange; it’s common in babies when they eat too much carrot or sweet potato mush. This phenomenon is called carotenemia, but one nurse thought I was jaundiced, a symptom of a sick liver. The major difference between jaundice and carotenemia is that jaundice turns your eyes yellow. If your skin starts to turn yellow/orange, don’t worry; it will eventually go away after you cut back on carrot juice. It’s not uncommon for cancer patients who have turned orange from carrot juice to be warned by their doctor that too much vitamin A can be harmful and damaging to the liver. This opinion is based on studies using isolated vitamin A supplements, not carrot juice.


The second component in my anti-cancer diet was eating the biggest, baddest salad on the planet. The reason behind this salad was simple. I wanted to put as many anti-cancer vegetables into my body as possible every day. When I first started the raw-food diet, I bought several raw-food recipe books, but many of the recipes were complicated and time consuming and didn’t contain the large variety of foods I wanted to be eating daily, so the giant salad ended up being my staple meal for lunch and dinner. I didn’t mind eating the same thing every day because it was quick to prepare and delicious. Plus, I didn’t have to put any time into planning my meals; I knew exactly what to buy at the grocery store every week and I ate everything I bought. No waste! There’s really no secret formula, but I did follow some guidelines: No meat, cheese, or store-bought salad dressing. Use organic produce if you can get it and afford it to reduce your exposure to toxic chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.


Leafy greens: for example, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, arugula

Broccoli or broccoli sprouts


Purple cabbage

Slice of red, yellow, or green onion


Red, yellow, or green peppers (I know these are technically fruits)

½ or whole avocado (and so is this)

Sunflower seeds

Almonds or walnuts (unsalted, raw, or roasted)

Sprouted garbanzo beans

Sprouted black lentils

Sprouted mung beans

All vegetables are wonderful. Feel free to add any others you like. Availability and pricing will vary based on the season. Also, soaking and sprouting unlock enzymes and nutrition in nuts and seeds and may make them easier to digest, but it is not mandatory. Unsprouted nuts and seeds are wonderful healthy foods as well. Legumes should be soaked and sprouted if consumed raw. Otherwise, cook them.

Fun with Fermented Food

Fun with Fermented Food

Health starts in the gut, and it’s not uncommon for sick people to have digestive problems and unhealthy guts. The causes: eating a diet rich in meat, dairy, and processed food; eating conventionally grown produce sprayed with glyphosate; and taking antibiotics, all of which can either directly damage the gut or promote the abundance of inflammatory, disease-promoting bacteria. A critical part of the health restoration process is healing your gut and rebuilding your digestive tract. The first step is eating tons of plant food, which is rich in starch and fiber (these are prebiotics) and serves as food for probiotics, the good gut bacteria. The second step is eating a small amount of fermented foods daily, which contains live cultures of probiotic bacteria. Fermented foods help repopulate your intestinal flora with good bacteria, which displace bad bacteria and can improve your digestion and immune function. Pickled vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, as well as apple cider vinegar, are my preferred fermented foods.

Traditional sauerkraut is made with only three ingredients: cabbage, water, and salt. Kimchi is a spicy Korean version of sauerkraut typically consisting of fermented cabbage, onions, garlic, and pepper. Recognized as one of the top five “World’s Healthiest Foods” by Health magazine, kimchi has high concentrations of vitamin C and carotene in addition to vitamins A, B1, B2, calcium, iron, and beneficial bacteria.

As the old saying goes, “The dose determines the poison.” Fermented foods may end up being unhealthy if you consume too much. Asian cultures with the highest intake of pickled vegetables also have the highest incidence of stomach cancer. A meta-analysis of observational studies conducted in Korea and Japan found that a high intake of pickled vegetables was associated with a 28 percent increased risk of gastric cancer. Kimchi accounts for approximately 20 percent of sodium intake in the Korean diet, and the high amounts of sodium used in pickled foods may be the real culprit.35 Knowing what I know now, I still don’t see any problem with adding a small amount (¼ cup) of either sauerkraut or kimchi to my salads every day. Look for organic sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles in the refrigerated section of your local grocer or health food store. When comparing brands, look for the one with the lowest amount of sodium.


Apple cider vinegar (I love Bragg)

Extra virgin olive oil and/or extra virgin flax oil (I recommend Bragg and Barlean’s)

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 (I recommend Bragg, again!)

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.

NOTE: Some people who switch to a raw-food diet may experience gas and indigestion. That’s normal at first. If your body isn’t used to eating lots of plant food, it may take a few days or weeks to adapt. Chewing your food really well, eating fermented foods daily, and taking a high-quality digestive enzyme with meals can help your body adjust. If digestion is difficult or painful, try the Giant Cancer-Fighting Salad blended up as a smoothie or blended and cooked as a soup.

Oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, has been found to kill cancer cells in the lab in less than an hour.36


Another way to get all of these anti-cancer veggies into your body is to put all (or most of) the ingredients of the giant salad into a blender with 1 to 2 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, kind of like a cold, bland vegetable soup. Not very appetizing sounding, I know, but keep in mind that this is medicinal food. You aren’t drinking it for the taste. Even if you have to hold your nose, do it. Just get it in your body. Another option with this blended-up salad concoction is to warm it up on the stove. If you want to keep it raw, just warm it up to around 100 degrees, spice 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