Researchers Say Eating Like This Can Starve Cancer Cells Out of Your Body

Researchers Say Eating Like This Can Starve Cancer Cells Out of Your Body

by November 18, 2016

Many of us are familiar with and fully appreciate the value of a low-carb, high-quality high-fat and moderate-protein diet, but implementing it can be a challenge. Domini Kemp and Patricia Daly have written an excellent resource to help with this, called “The Ketogenic Kitchen: Low Carb. High Fat. Extraordinary Health.”

By Dr. Mercola

Nutritional ketosis has powerful therapeutic benefits, not only for treating a wide variety of chronic degenerative diseases but also preventing them. The primary challenge really lies in implementation and compliance with the program.

Kemp and Daly are both cancer survivors who say nutritional ketosis played an important part in their recovery. The book was written to fill a need they themselves had while learning how to implement this powerful metabolic intervention.

Kemp’s Bouts With Melanoma and Breast Cancer

An Irishwoman born and raised in the Bahamas, Kemp is a chef and food writer now living in her native Ireland. In her 20s, she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. This was followed by a breast cancer diagnosis in her 40s. 

“It was at that point I went, ‘OK, I need to do a lot more than just the typical diet we’re being advised [to eat]. Certainly in [Ireland], the food pyramid is still heavily promoted. I looked at all the leaflets in the cancer ward and I thought, ‘No. There has to be a better way,’” Kemp says. 

“I kept trying to find what was going to be suitable for somebody with breast cancer who’d been diagnosed for the second time with cancer, and what I could do to support my system to the very best [of my ability] through treatment.

Really, going on a low-carb diet seemed to be an absolute no-brainer … For me, low-carb was just great. I really upped the exercise and focused on just supporting my system through chemotherapy, a mastectomy and then radiotherapy. It was around that time I met Patricia.”

Daly’s Fight to Keep Her Eye

Daly became a nutritional therapist in 2011 and had been in practice for about a year when she met Kemp. Like Kemp, Daly had been diagnosed with cancer at an early age, receiving a diagnosis of malignant melanoma of the eye at age 28.

She got the standard of care, which involved plaque radiotherapy — one of the most invasive therapies in conventional cancer care. As a triathlete, she knew her body well and recognized the importance of taking personal responsibility for her own well-being during and after treatment.

“Having grown up in Switzerland, I grew up with a lot of complimentary therapy. For me, it was always obvious that I want to do something to help myself as well. That’s why I started training in nutritional therapy a month after finishing treatments,” Daly says.

“Initially my treatment worked very well, but I relapsed very quickly. Not even two years after, the tumors had more than doubled in growth and I had to go back to … the strongest possible radiotherapy on my eye.

The tumor had moved so close to my optic nerve that they had to radiate the optic nerve as well. As a consequence, … just 18 months later, my vision had tunneled in and things were looking dire.

I had pretty much everything you can possibly develop in an eye. I had edema. I had excessive angiogenesis (blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor) … I had cataracts on the way to developing glaucoma. You name it.

I got so desperate it was suggested that I do Avastin injections as a first protocol, and if that wouldn’t work, I would have to have my eye removed. I was 30 at the time. I was just, ‘Whoa, there has to be another way.’ I’d had the ketogenic diet in the back of my mind already.

I had started researching it, obviously, as a nutritional therapist. That’s when I [decided], ‘OK, now I’m really being pushed to the edge. It’s now or never. I can’t lose anything now, except my eye.’”

Bridging the Gap Between Science and Cooking

Both Daly and Kemp grew up on carb-based diets. Daly, as a triathlete, was particularly into carb-loading. Today, Kemp is in remission after completing her cancer treatment three years ago, and she feels great.

Daly has been officially in remission for six years now, and she still has vision in her eye. Personally, I believe a ketogenic diet has the power to alleviate tremendous amounts of suffering.

Every day, 1,600 Americans die from cancer and the evidence suggests a majority of them may be effectively treated with this dietary approach. Kemp and Daly are really great examples of this.

When Daly and Kemp first decided to embrace the ketogenic diet, there were virtually no eBooks or recipes available, which made it difficult to tailor a meal plan.

“I very much relied on the research of Dr. Johannes Coy and Professor Ulrike Kämmerer in Germany,” Daly says. “I was very blessed to have the [German] language. [A]t the time, Thomas Seyfried, [Ph.D.], Dominic D’Agostino, [Ph.D., they] were all just coming online. 

But it was very difficult to bring it all together and fill that gap between science and cooking, basically. How do you actually cook to match that?”

Kemp agrees, saying one of the main incentives for writing the book in the first place was that this is the book they both wished they’d had when they were diagnosed with cancer and were trying to implement a 

I’ve always had problems with hormones. Initially I was skeptical. Will I mess my hormones up? Actually my cycle has never been more regular. It clearly suits me. I’ve now started to go three or four days a month where I do a 24-hour fast. I just have one meal a day [and] that’s after years of ketosis …

At the time when I started, I didn’t come across [the fasting] option. I started with just going down to 60 grams of net carbs a day and reducing [meals down] to three meals a day, which for me was, as I said, a big pain.”

What If You Don’t Need to Lose Weight?

As with fasting, a ketogenic diet really facilitates weight loss, as it retrains your body to access and burn body fat. But what if you’re considering nutritional ketosis as a metabolic therapy but you don’t need to lose weight? Can you still do it safely? And, is it possible to actually gain weight if you need to?

“There are certain supplements that sometimes can make a difference,” Daly says, “especially omega-3s (ideally from seafood like wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and oysters). Sometimes you have to [increase] the carbs. That can make a quite big difference. Just a little bit. Good-quality carbs obviously.

Then also look [at] the protein. Obviously, where are the calories? Are you monitoring your calories? … Look at branched-chain amino acids and … just generally, amino acids (protein) can help as well. There are also psychological tricks. It can be helpful to eat little and often, and to put food on a much smaller plate. I have seen that with some clients it works incredibly well … 

I do organic acid tests quite a bit to see, are we missing certain really crucial nutrients like CoQ10 or L-carnitine? They’re the ones that are helpful. Obviously it needs to be carefully assessed.”

While the strategy to put food on a smaller plate may seem counterintuitive, as this technique is often used to eat smaller portions, Daly explains that when someone with no appetite is presented with a large plate full of food, chances are they eat about 10 percent or less. A smaller plate of food will seem less daunting. You’d also need to increase meal frequency as well though.

The testing she mentions is one of the reasons why it’s so helpful to have a coach. Most people can certainly implement this program by themselves. Get the cookbook, use and apply the information. But there are circumstances in which you’re really going to need a knowledgeable professional to guide you.

Certainly, if you’ve been wanting to implement a ketogenic diet but had trouble figuring out what to eat and how to plan your meals, I highly recommend getting Kemp and Daly’s book, “The Ketogenic Kitchen: Low Carb. High Fat. Extraordinary Health.” •

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