Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Should Be Juicing!

It was mid-November. Iris and I sat in our car parked outside Jeremy's house late for rehearsal. We we were listening to my buddy Jonathan's voice as it emanated from the speaker hanging from the sun-visor. He was explaining that he'd just been diagnosed with lung cancer. It was one of those surrealistic, WTF moments where you just can't get a handle on it. One that would evolve into a twelve-week adventure into the world of cancer and cancer treatment.

I've been encouraging Jonathan to write about his experiences and I'm hoping that he'll share them with you. I will tell you that it was a remarkable experience for me and Iris to watch and participate in Jonathan's response to cancer. After finding out that his cancer was advanced, Jonathan called me. As we talked, he pondered, "Why should I treat this any differently than any other problem I'm working on. We've figured out heart attacks. We've figured out epilepsy. How hard could it be?"

Jonathan dove into the literature on cancer, consuming all the texts that are typically studied by doctors who specialize in cancer. He quickly filtered out the superfluous background information and got to the core of causes and treatments.

The doctors prescribed an extremely aggressive protocol of radiation and chemo-therapy (the one that Jonathan had already determined on his own) and although they warned him about the side-effects such as losing weight and losing hair, Jonathan decided to train for it like he would a race or boxing match, losing weight, getting in shape and deciding to do it all well. Long and short, Jonathan underwent six weeks of intensive radiation and chemo therapy, and surgery in which they removed a lobe from his lungs. He didn't lose weight or hair, and except for a couple of days where he felt a bit "depressed" after chemo sessions, if you didn't know what was going on, you wouldn't have even thought to question that something was going on.

Last week, Jonathan got great news from his doctors who said they'd found no traces of the cancer left. When he asked them what that meant on a scale of one-to-ten, they beamed and said, "A Ten!"

Do Not Feed the Cancer
The thing I wanted to talk about this morning is one of the elements of Jonathan's personally crafted, custom treatment program that Iris and I participated in: juicing. One day, Jonathan called me to explain that pretty much all the research on cancer fell into one of two areas: the factors that cause cancer cells to form (typically environmental) and the methods of eradicating them once they have formed. However, it seemed that little attention was paid to a third area, answering the following question:
Why do the mutated cells that become cancer survive in the first place? Sure, there are factors like smoking and exposure to carcinogens that cause and accelerate mutation, but generally speaking, mutations don't survive. So forgetting for the moment how they got there, why is it that the mutations didn't just die? There must be something in the body that provides a fertile environment for the newly formed mutations. What is it?
Based on his research, Jonathan told me that, if you want to create a cancer friendly environment, then you want to load up with sugar. Cancer cells love sugar. They thrive on it. He went on to explain that he wasn't just talking about the white granular stuff that you put into coffee and tea, but any simple carbohydrate: cane sugar, white flour, white rice, potatoes, you name it. Additionally, it didn't matter whether it was all natural or organic or processed; some sugars come with more nutrients than others, but in the end sugar is sugar.

So with that, Jonathan decided that he'd eliminate sugar from his diet and that, in order to ensure that he was getting all the vitamins and nutrients that he would have otherwise got from foods and beverages with sugars, he was going to start juicing. He'd already narrowed his search for a juicer to two and was trying to decide which of the two to purchase. So I said, "How about I buy one, you buy the other and then we both start juicing? I can be your control group, but instead of being the one with cancer who keeps eating sugar and doesn't juice, I'll be the one who eliminates sugar and juices, but who doesn't have cancer!"

The next day, Iris and I ordered our Omega 8006 slow-masticating, single-auger juicer and (except for when traveling) we've been juicing every day since.

Chew Slowly
Every morning we feed our little juicer a combination of vegetables including a variable mixture of carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, brussel sprouts, beets, kale, cucumbers and tomatoes: all vegetables and no fruits (which are much higher in sugar). I'm always waiting for the juicer to stop and say something like, "What's up doc?" as it slowly chews up the vegetables separating the moisture (that drops out the bottom into a basin) from the pulp (that is extruded out the end into another basin).

The reason we chose a slow-masticating juicer is that it leads to lower oxidation of the vegetables which in turn leads to better retention of nutrients. Working slowly, the juicer doesn't get hot (it doesn't cook the vegetables) and it doesn't churn them to so quickly as to blend them with the air (there's no foam).

We always make the juice first thing so that we can drink it on empty stomachs allowing the nutrients to be absorbed immediately through the stomach lining. We play with different improvised recipes (I like fresh ginger root and tabasco in my juice, Iris doesn't) and we use organic vegetables (you can really taste the difference).

So What?
I wouldn't have believed it, but I started seeing results the very first time I juiced! First thing in the morning, we got up and made our juice. I drank mine and in just a few minutes, I felt this rush of energy. I told Iris, "I must just be psyching myself up or something, but I'd swear that I can already feel this working."

Then Jonathan explained to me that, by consuming the juice on an empty stomach, the nutrients were bypassing the normal digestive processes, being absorbed immediately through the stomach lining and that, yeah, you could feel the effect within minutes.

Since we started juicing, I've had a lot more energy which apparently I already had too much of, at least for some people. I need less sleep, I'm clearer and I feel really great.

Another unexpected side effect is that I've lost weight. It's not that I'm dieting; it's just that I don't experience hunger as frequently. Turns out that you often experience hunger because your body is simply missing one or two essential nutrients. So you eat and eat until you happen to consume them. With the juicing, you've got it covered.

One more thing: I simply don't get sugar cravings. When you start juicing, you just don't want anything sweet. Further, in the absence of eating sugar, everything that contains sugar starts to taste really sweet, too sweet. You'd be amazed at all the stuff that has sugar once you start being able taste it.

I imagine there are other benefits to juicing outside of having more energy, needing less sleep, being more focused and clear, not feeling hungry and losing weight, but those are a pretty good start. (Oh yeah, I almost forgot the not-filling-your-body-with-cancer-fertilizer one.)

Having been pretty much an omnivore, I've always sat on the sidelines amused by the array of diets my friends have paraded past me and I'm the last one in the world to be recommending a dietary change, but I gotta tell ya, "You should be juicing!"

Happy Saturday!

1 comment:

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