Tag Archives: Nutrition

Raw Health Series

This lifesaving journey I have been traveling these past seventeen months has taken me from sick and on the brink of death to thriving and vibrant. So many friends and family members have shared in this journey and told my story to others that not a single week goes by when I am not peppered with questions about how what people eat can improve wellbeing and ways to incorporate changes into a busy life. Sharing my experiences and knowledge is invigorating and I never tire of engaging in these conversations. This is one of the many reasons I am thrilled to partner with Be Raw Food and Juice in Dallas to deliver the Raw Health Series. These monthly classes will cover a range of wellness related topics, the dramatic ways food affects vitality and how to adopt a plant-powered lifestyle.

Below I’ve posted the flier for this month’s class and a link to register. This is an invitation to anyone interested in attending. Seating is limited so sign up early.

 

Juicing final

Click HERE to register.


Unexpected Side-Effects

The adrenaline pumping chaos that ensues each morning as our family endeavors to depart the house punctually leaves little leeway for idle conversation. After my wife hits the snooze button too many times (I am the snooze button), we stumble over each other and hurriedly shower, prep food, juice vegetables, feed growling stomachs, diaper the naked two year old, pack lunches, stuff backpacks, clothe both adults and children then leave, Lord willing, on time.  One morning, however, as I stood in front of the bathroom sink and I swished water between my cheeks to rid myself of the toothpaste residue I noticed my wife had paused in the midst of the bedlam and was checking me out. She leaned casually against the countertop, toothbrush paused mid-stroke and stared at my arms.

“Huh,” she said.

“What?”

She leaned over and touched my bicep.

“What is it?”

“I think your muscles are getting bigger.”

“Whatever,” I said.

Are they really bigger? I thought.

“No. I’m serious. Your muscles are definitely bigger.”

I stood in front of the mirror and flexed.

I think she’s right. Look at those guns. Definitely bigger. How about the triceps? Yep, looking good.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe a little.”

“No maybe. You’re muscles are definitely bigger.”

“If you say so.”

“Come on, you can’t see it?”

Oh yeah, Bruce, you’re looking buff.

“I suppose they’re maybe a little bit bigger.”

“That makes me sick,” she said.

“What? Why?”

“You haven’t been to the gym in a year and your muscles get bigger without even trying. I wish I could make my muscles grow on command.”

“Hold on a second,” I said and waited a few seconds, “I think they just grew some more.”

This physiological change was noticeable because during the first few months after my diagnosis I lost seventy pounds and much of that weight loss was muscle mass.  As a man who had spent nearly two decades lifting and pressing heavy pieces of iron around the weight room, that erosion was difficult to witness. A metamorphosis took place, seemingly overnight, and my bulky frame withered. Clothes hung like rags across my slender shoulders and the reflection in the mirror appeared to be somebody else.

The joke in our house was about my magical muscles which grew without any concentrated effort on my part. We marveled at the results of my diet and Teri wondered when her muscles would start to get bigger.

“I’m one of God’s favorites,” I joked.

One evening about a week later I returned home from the office and found Teri sitting in front of the computer, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Are you okay? What’s going on?” I asked.

“I’ve been reading a book by Dr. William Kelly.”

“Oh right. One Answer to Cancer. I’ve read part of it.”

“Did you know he has helped over 33,000 people fight cancer using nutritional therapies?”

“Wow, that’s a lot.”

“Let me read you what he wrote,

 

In almost every case of cancer, particularly those cases of long standing, the protein from the muscles has been used to maintain life. In other words protein metabolism has been so poor that the body had to take protein from the muscles and, to a very great degree, the muscles have been consumed.

After the cancer is destroyed, the muscles begin to rebuild.

My mouth dropped open, eyes widened and I threw my arms to the air in a victory pose.  Teri jumped out of her chair and wrapped her arms around me. Soon tears of joy were falling, dropping from my cheeks onto the top of her head.

Could this explain, at least in part, the physical changes that had transformed my body? Had my body been so starved of nutrients it “ate” my muscles? Does the growth of my muscles signify the healing process is working?

We agreed this was not an official diagnosis merely observations about physiological changes I am undergoing paired with a statement from a book. These words can’t tell us if the tumor that showed on the scans are still there, smaller or gone. They do, however, give us great reason to be optimistic.

In the battle with cancer, however, moments of rejoicing are often too short lived and are quickly overcome by fear and anxiety. Tears of joy succumb to the pressure of the mind to worry about what outrageous “what if” my imagination conjures.  As I near the one year mark from the date of diagnosis I grow increasingly apprehensive about what is lurking behind every sensation that trickles across my skin. Over the course of the past several weeks I’ve experienced constant detox symptoms, which has led to a parade of thoughts marching through my brain.

     “What if the doctors were right and I really did only have twelve months to live? That only gives me a few weeks left.”

     “What if the cancer is silently, and without symptoms, growing?”

     “What if the scratch on my head isn’t just a scratch?”

     “What if the growl in my stomach at noon isn’t just hunger pains?”

     “What if the Dallas Cowboys actually made the playoffs this year?”

Physically I am doing well but the toll of the emotional weight of carrying this fear became obvious to at least two people. Last Thursday, in the span of 24 hours, both my wife and a co-worker pulled me aside to ask me if was doing alright. “You just haven’t been yourself,” they said.

“No, I’m not okay,” I confessed, then fell to pieces.

Fear, it turns out, is perhaps the most vicious side-effect of cancer.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of my thirteen day stay in the hospital and the start of my journey with cancer.  Each day I find myself thinking about what I was doing on that day last year. One year ago Tuesday, the 15th, I learned I was anemic, drove myself to the ER, received a blood transfusion and was checked into the hospital. The next three days I spent enduring tests designed to figure out the source of internal bleeding.  One-year ago this Saturday, the 19th, I was told I had a softball size tumor intersecting my intestines (which caused the anemia) then promptly wheeled into surgery. A few days later test results confirmed what I suspected. Melanoma. The life expectancy of someone with stage IV melanoma, according to the doctors, is eight to twelve months from the date of diagnosis.

Despite all evidence to the contrary that my body is healing (I have the biceps to prove it), my mind is so quickly overcome by fear. I am writing all of this down so that one year from now I can reflect on how silly it was to be afraid. For those who have read my previous updates, you know that I am eternally filled with hope and confidence.

The following passage from Psalm 116 has brought comfort and peace during these past weeks.  Thank you for your continued prayers.

     I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;

     He heard my cry for mercy.

     Because he turned his ear to me,

     I will call on him as long as I live.

     The cords of death entangled me,

     The anguish of the grave came over me;

     I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

     Then I called on the name of the Lord;

     “Lord save me!”

     The Lord is gracious and righteous;

     Our God is full of compassion.

     The Lord protects the unwary;

     When I was brought low, he saved me.

     Return to your rest my soul,

     For the Lord has been good to you.

 


Operation Hummus

“Sir, is this your bag?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to have to search it.”

The Transportation Security Administration agent stood over my carry-on, an insulated food storage apparatus, and unzipped its compartments.  His thorough inspection uncovered ice packs, apples and paper towels, none of which posed any danger. While suspect, his scrutiny of the broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and red pepper revealed no security breaches. In the final pocket, however, he uncovered a serious threat to airline security: an unopened container of hummus.

He spun the devious substance slowly in his gloved fingers and analyzed with a foreboding glare. A look of grave concern crossed his face as he read the list of ingredients.

“I’m not certain I can let you through with this,” he said.

“It’s hummus,” I said, hoping the simple description of the contents would quickly resolve the confusion. His expression didn’t change so I added, “It’s not a liquid.”

“But in the form of a paste it is classified with gels like toothpaste.”

“I’m not going to use it to brush my teeth, I’m going to eat it with the vegetables in that bag.”

“We can’t allow gels through security,” he said, unfazed by my impeccable logic. “Peanut butter is similar and we can’t let it through either. If it were frozen it wouldn’t be a problem,” he rapped the lid with his knuckles, “but since it’s not, we’re going to have to confiscate it.”

“He has specific dietary restrictions and we’re not able to buy food from just anywhere. That’s why we had to pack up all our food and bring it with us,” my wife said. She was fired up and ready to fight for our right to bear hummus.

He looked me up and down as if to determine the veracity of the statement. “Let me see what my supervisor says.”

The supervisor was beckoned and with him arrived two other TSA agents, interested to witness the capture of a dreaded hummus smuggler. The container was passed to the supervisor who imitated the inspection of the first agent then declared this highly suspicious mixture of organic garbanzo beans, olive oil and garlic unable to pass the security checkpoint into the sanctuary of the airport.

“He has a medical condition that requires he eat a special diet that we’re not able to buy inside the airport or on the plane.” My wife was on a roll now.

The supervisor looked at me and asked, “Do you have a doctor’s note for this hummus?”

“A doctor’s note? For hummus?”

* * * * *

Besides being irresistibly cute, my wife has an abundance of strengths that complete my weaknesses. The retort to the TSA agent is an example of how her mind whirls at amazing speeds during a confrontation and promulgates rapid and rational responses when a personal injustice is being perpetuated. In the midst of stressful situations it’s her, not me, you want to help dig you out of it quickly. I only bring a couple of assets to the marriage and fast thinking when confronted by an authority figure isn’t one of them.

Her tenacity is also powering our fight for life. Even before I left the hospital she spent hours researching the best ways to confront my situation. The investigation revealed cancer is a symptom, a warning light indicating my immune system was no longer working correctly. The healthiest way to repair what is broken, not merely destroy tumors but fix the underlying problem, is to overdose on nutrition.

Human physiology is majestically designed and, given the right fuel, can fight off an array of illnesses. Research has shown the best source of nutrition needed for the body to repair itself comes from plants. Chlorophyll, found in green vegetables, possesses a cellular structure nearly identical to that of blood. Filling my diet with kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts (to name a few) provides nutrients and enzymes that can be readily used.

Plants are also highly alkaline, meaning they raise my pH levels. My body is in constant battle for neutrality. Testing pH is like a seventh-grade science experiment (yes, my dad, the retired seventh-grade science teacher, is proud).  Each day I use litmus paper to measure how diet impacts my alkalinity. The results serve as a kind of thermometer for how my body responds to what I put in my stomach.  Red coloring on the litmus paper designates acidity and a dark green tint indicates I’m neutral. If I don’t eat food that will preserve balance my body becomes acidic and pulls the nutrients it needs from reserves found in bones, organs, muscles and tissues to make up the difference. A vegetable rich diet provides the right ingredients to maintain a neutral level which in turn empowers my immune system to fight off the cancer.

Healing the body of cancer is a long process but eleven months after my diagnosis I feel great and energy abounds. Nutrition is saving my life. While I am thankful to be doing so well, each day brings moments when a peculiar sensation, news story or conversation reminds me of the stakes and the uncertainty of the future. It is the continued encouragement poured out from family and friends through emails, phone calls, cards in the mail and prayers that serve to buttress me and my family as we continue to rebuild my health.

* * * * *

“A doctor’s note? For hummus?” she asked.

“Yes.” He was taking his job seriously.

“No, he doesn’t, but his treatments require organic food which isn’t available in the airport.”

“What’s your condition?” he asked me.

“I have cancer.”

The supervisor’s eyes bulged at the mention of cancer. There was a legitimate and serious reason for my hummus and he suddenly wanted to escape. He realized he wasn’t merely dealing with a problematic traveler who wants security to look the other way while they slip their contraband by their checkpoint. One final time he shook the container of hummus then handed it back to the original TSA agent.

“Test it,” he said. “If it’s negative let it through.”

The lid and freshness seal were pried off. A strip of paper over the gelatinous paste and drops of a chemical applied to the paper before it was inserted into testing machine which would determine the fate of our vegetable dip.  After a few tense seconds the machine beeped and gave the results: negative. The hummus was safe.

Having safely escorted the hummus through the security line the next stop was the pat down where, I hoped, they wouldn’t find the zucchini hidden beneath my shirt.