Overcoming Brain Cancer with the Raw Food Diet

in Pop Culture
October 24th, 2013

Raw Foods

The Basis of the Raw Food Diet

There is a 17-year-old girl named Megan Sherow who was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer at the age of 13. The doctors showed no signs of optimism toward her survival, even after an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. Megan did not want to give up on her battle to survive, and so she came across the raw food diet, which changed her life completely.

The raw food diet is based on the consumption of all raw, non-cooked, foods, mainly plants. Fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of valuable nutrients. If animal foods are eaten, they too are raw, and milk would be consumed unpasteurized. The plant-based diet mainly provides nutrient-dense foods that are rich in fiber. Fiber acts as an “intestinal broom” that picks up toxins deposited in the intestinal tract and carries them out.

The diet avoids processed foods, thus eliminating trans-fat, and providing low levels of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Processed foods contain chemical additives to make them look and taste better, chemical preservatives to make them last longer, and some synthetic vitamins and minerals that attempt to restore the foods’ nutritional values. Some artificial substances pass through the body, but others that do not get trapped in the kidneys, liver, intestines, and tissues like the heart, blood vessels, and brain.

Cooking foods exposes the nutrients in the food to heat, which can destroy them, especially water-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats, a popular one being omega-3s. The nutrients can be converted from an organic to an inorganic state, rendering them useless to the body. The beneficial effects of dietary fibers can also be altered and reduced. Cooking meat can lead to charring, generating heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic compounds. Cooking carbohydrates may produce acrylamide, which is also a potential carcinogen. Cooking has the potential destroy enzymes, lessen the nutritional value of food, and raise its acidity.

Vitamins and minerals destroyed by processing or cooking that are added back to the food in an attempt to make it more nutritious are mostly inorganic and are not all bioavailable, meaning they cannot be absorbed and used by the body. On the other hand, most of the vitamins and minerals in raw foods are in fact bioavailable and can be used by the body. Conventionally produced meat and dairy products are acid-forming, and the higher your internal acidity is, the more susceptible you are to disease. The high protein in meats has the potential to enhance cancer cell growth, moving through the digestive system very slowly, and releasing toxins back into your system.

Raw Foods

The Raw Food Diet Pyramid

The raw food diet helped Megan Sherow overcome her terminal brain cancer, and she is completely cancer-free and healthy now. For breakfast she ate banana whip with mangoes and strawberries, for lunch she had another banana whip or perhaps a smoothie, and for dinner she ate fresh romaine lettuce. These meals were also sometimes accompanied with other fruits and vegetables, depending on her daily activities of that day. She found the certain foods that gave her just the right energy boosts, such as nutrient-rich dates before her theater performances. Now at 17, she still continues the raw food diet and finds it very beneficial to her health and well-being.

Although the raw food diet does have its evident benefits, it is still important to note that there are foods that are more nutritious when cooked. Although cooking does destroy some nutrients, it also destroys some of the harmful anti-nutrients that bind minerals in the intestines and interfere with the utilization of nutrients. Destruction of the anti-nutrients increases absorption. Steaming vegetables and making soups breaks down cellulose and alters the structures of the plant cells so that fewer of your own enzymes are needed to digest the food (not more enzymes as needed for raw foods). The potential carcinogens from carbohydrates and acrylamides are the most generally recognized of the heat-created toxins, but they are only formed with dry cooking, not boiling or steaming. Most essential nutrients are more absorbable after being cooked in soup, not less absorbable. Also, there have been recent studies confirming that the body absorbs much more of the beneficial anti-cancer compounds from cooked vegetables than from raw ones.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many researchers that have been examining the raw food diet, although the raw food diet has its benefits, it is important to have a balanced diet with both raw and cooked foods. I do believe that people choose to eat more processed foods nowadays because they are so readily available, and cooked foods tend to be more pleasurable. It is therefore essential to incorporate more raw foods into our diets to get the benefits from both worlds, but perhaps we should lean more towards raw foods than others. What you eat has a great effect on your health. Read labels, know what you’re eating, and be smart.

-Elizabeth Virtgaym

The Raw Food Diet, Overcooked – Huffington Post

Teenager Overcomes Terminal Brain Cancer with Raw Food Diet – Conscious News Media

What is the Raw Food Diet? – Medical News Today

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