Keto for Cancer: The Positive Effects of Removing Sugar From Your Life
Editor’s note: Talk to your healthcare provider about your particular situation as it is best to check with your healthcare team before starting any new supplements or diets.
No more wine, bread, pasta. Really???? What does an Italian do while battling metastatic breast cancer without these three ultimate food items? Let it be noted that I continue to make homemade red gravy (or sauce) and meatballs and love to see people eat and enjoy. Along with my former love of pasta, the wine was my constant companion.
In October 2017, I knew I had to lose weight. I decided to begin using a phone app to track everything I was eating and drinking. What an eye-opener and a blessed day for me. I began losing weight. I am 4’11” and at that time, weighed 186 pounds. What recording every bite of food and sip of wine or other did for me was to show me although I was keeping my calories under control, many of my food and drink choices were not healthy. I was drinking too much alcohol and eating too much sugar.
Fast forward to April 4, 2018, and my diagnosis of MBC became a reality. That was the day, I stopped drinking and began embracing the ketogenic way of life specifically targeted for cancer patients. A friend recommended I read the book “Keto for Cancer” by Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS, and this same friend advised me to consult with her. Miriam lives in Montana but having a skype session with her was one of the first things I did on my path to wellness. Miriam’s story began with her 4-year-old son being diagnosed with a brain tumor and how this led her to earn a graduate degree in nutrition. Her research and writing subsequently followed and she wrote a book to help people with cancer. To say she is a wealth of information and guidance is an understatement. Besides nutritional advice, she told me to get moving and keep moving. Miriam told me to get a personal trainer to strengthen my core and upper body since the cancer was in my spine and ribs. (To this day, I continue to meet with this personal trainer often.)
What is my ketogenic meal plan?
Before I get into specifics, I practice prolonged nightly fasting which means I stop eating at 7:30 p.m. and I have my first meal at 11:30 a.m. (Fasting is highly recommended for cancer patients.) So here is my day.
Two cups of bulletproof coffee before 11:30 a.m. This is the ketogenic way to start the day. To make this delicious beverage you combine and add grass-fed butter, organic extra virgin coconut oil, cinnamon, liquid stevia with vanilla. This is a great way to begin the day and helps with hunger pangs as well as give me lots of energy!
Typical First Meal
Organic egg, avocado, kale or a leftover veggie or avocado with chicken salad and sunflower seeds. (approx. 11:30 a.m.)
Grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish, organic vegetable of your choice watching out for those veggies that contain sugar. Add some avocado mayonnaise or blue cheese dressing to add some good fat. (approx. 6:30 p.m.)
I need to eat dessert right after dinner so fasting can begin. I make my own unsweetened whipped cream, adding slivered almonds, keto-friendly dark chocolate baking chips and unsweetened dried coconut – super yummy!
My favorites are Keto Bark and Keto Cups – dark chocolate with no sugar.
Limiting your protein and carbohydrates are very important. You must put the macronutrients into your app (specifically, for me, I must adhere to 44 grams of protein, 20 grams carbohydrates and 130 grams of good healthy fats). This is something the author of Keto for Cancer and I discussed.
I believe the ketogenic way of life has helped me increase and maintain a wonderful energy level, so I can continue my daily exercise plan. Keto has made me look at my habits especially my consumption of sugar and alcohol.
This new way of life finds me lifting weights not a glass of wine. Food is no longer a perfunctory gesture based on a craving. My food choices are very thoughtful, and my eating habits are mindful. Cancer cells consume extra sugar (per the NCI) and sugar can contribute to obesity, which is a cancer risk factor, however, studies haven’t found that reducing sugar intake impacts the growth rate of cancer. One of the greatest side effects of Keto is transformation. I went from 186 pounds to 125 pounds and when I look in the mirror, I am proud of who looks back at me.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on November 5, 2019, Linda passed away. Linda’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?