Few know that my father passed away this past May after a long fight with Pancreatic Cancer. I didn’t make a big deal of it on social media. It’s nobody’s business and I wasn’t looking for condolences and for people to tell me how bad they felt, blah blah blah. No offense intended.
For me, it was not a surprise. Firstly, it was not his first battle with a kind of cancer. Secondly, it was a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer and so many people were ready to tell me that he was going to die in 6 months or less—which he didn’t. Even his doctor was flippant about his ability to survive for long. So much so that he found another doctor! I’m glad he took ownership like that—we all should. Doctors aren’t the final word about your life—you are.
It’s also inevitable that we all die so I wasn’t shocked to know that he could within a time frame that wasn’t necessarily expected. And I’ve had so many friends who have had cancer or passed from it that the announcement isn’t alarming. What is alarming is the sheer quantity of people who I know that have passed as a result of cancer. Something is wrong with our culture.
If you know me, you know that when I look at any subject I tend to dive in and learn what I can. Now, that said, I’m not an expert and I continue to learn more and more. But it’s also true that you can have a good fundamental understanding of almost any topic within a relatively short amount of time. 20 hours is what research is showing. I don’t know if that’s true in every context but that’s not terribly long. Claiming to be an expert is an investment of approximately 10,000 hrs. or about 5 years of full-time study. I’m nowhere near that.
In any case, as a martial artist, and a person who truly believes that we play a role in how we navigate life, it makes no sense to me to worry about defending myself against a ”bad person“ when I have not taken some simple steps to also prolong and improve the quality of my life every day. That momentus life event is happening to me right now with every passing moment. It just happens to be a slow burn.
That drive in me though has been the impetus for me to seek out as much information as possible. To that end, it’s important to know that we do play a role in the battle.
In fact, I was today years old when I learned that 95% of all cancers are caused by environmental factors. Only about 5% of cancer is genetically determined. (The Model Health Show – Shawn Stephenson Episode 3) That surprised me but actually makes the most sense. If you think about our species from an evolutionary perspective it makes no sense that the cases of cancer increasing would be genetic and that it would have more to do with our environment.
I’m not going to drone on about these ideas because I’m not the expert, but what I have been learning over the past few years can be distilled down into this: Ask yourself what are you putting in your body, on your skin, in the air, and so on? More importantly, what can you change?
- Remove aluminum deodorants and antiperspirants. Don’t go around smelling bad, but find something that works for you. Also, stop using antiperspirants, I stopped several years ago because your glands, which is where your sweat derives from, are meant as a way to remove crud from your body.
- Drink more water to flush your body. 75% of people are chronically dehydrated and it messes with every area of your health. This is the greatest neglected detox that exists. It’s too simple and overlooked but increasing your water flushes your body of crud. It also hydrates your cartilage and helps your brain function the way it was intended to. (I could go on about this…it even helps to lower blood pressure.)
- Remove chlorine and fluoride from your water through filtration.
- Eat as few carbohydrates as possible so your blood sugar remains more neutral. (Cancer has a 30x higher growth rate with high carbohydrate intake—this includes alcohol which spikes insulin and creates insulin resistance. Yes, I’m sad about this.) All carbohydrates are ultimately converted into Glucose in your body. Yes, fruits and vegetables are better because they are slower to process and they often contain anti-oxidants.
- This includes grains and any items with a high glycemic index.
- Create a cycle of autophagy through fasting. Studies show that fasting, particularly water-only fasting over a period of days creates an environment that battles cancer. The body turns to eat itself-that is autophagy. However, your body is intelligently evolved. The process first focuses on cells that are damaged, dying, or cancerous. And when you stop fasting, it triggers your body to regenerate and releases stem cells to hyper-activate the new generation. This has been shown to make cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy, responsive again.
- Eat foods like Rishi Mushrooms, Curcumin, Walnuts, Cruciferous Vegetables, Apple Seeds, and apricot kernels. Yes, Apple seeds have cyanide in them, but they also have Amygdalin which induces apoptosis and causes cell cycle arrest in cancer (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29308747/). The same is true of Apricot kernels. However, an apple a day is probably best as a prevention rather than as a treatment for cancer and maybe go easy on the seeds.
- Consider eating foods that have not been genetically modified or processed.
- Get sun/vitamin D. Yep. D is good for your body and you can’t make it or get it from food. You get it by time in the sun—but maybe not so much that you have to put on an aluminum sunblock…
- Reduce stress and find exercises that relax and calm. Don’t just zone out on T.V. It’s not the same. A daily walk is a proven health benefit and is far more relaxing. Also, talk it out. Verbalizing struggles and challenges to a confidant is an excellent way to reduce stress.
- Wash your foods to remove pesticides and fungicides. Pesticides are on the top of the list for reasons we have cancer. Organic gardening and organic foods might be the way to go but wash everything.
- Reduce your use of plastics. We all know plastics suck. At the very least they are horrible for the environment.
- Stop working shift work and maintain a healthy sleep cycle. This jacks with your cortisol levels which can make your body a more susceptible environment. Your body needs rest for anabolism or repair.
- Laugh more. Your mind plays a role in your health. People who believe themselves to be losing weight, generally lose more weight than those who don’t. Likewise, those who believe themselves to be dying can often manifest an auto-immune deficiency which leads to illness.
Ok, that’s a lot. I’ll stop. Obviously, I cannot guarantee that you or I will not get cancer, but I can guarantee that I have already begun to live differently. Do I expect you to? Probably not, but maybe you can identify the smallest things you will do today to make progress toward a healthier life.
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This list of sources does not directly provide a pile of information but will also lead you to sources that do and confirms what has been written in this article.