Diet and Living with LFS

It’s a New Year. Resolutions, diets, everywhere you look are ads about how to get healthier. When someone is diagnosed with cancer or Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, usually one of the first questions they ask is : Can I change my diet to help fight or prevent cancer?

The short answer is – sure. Of course. Just by asking the question means somewhere in the subconscious we know that diet is a factor in our health. It seem obvious, right? Not always. Just WHAT that diet or change is, well- could be anyone’s guess.

Another question that also pops up in cancer circles- A LOT- Does sugar feed cancer? For every article saying yes, there is one that says no. Same with, is wine good for us? Also- Can turmeric cure cancer? For more information on turmeric- check out the blog post linked below.

So what is a mutant to do? Think, research, and live.

Do you remember hearing the saying, You are what you eat? On a basic level- this is true, without posting research articles with words that are difficult to pronounce and understand, let’s just think on this. We eat food. Generally we eat food for energy. Some of us eat food for comfort, don’t judge, but the basic point of eating is to provide us energy and nutrients for growth and healing. We eat an apple, nom nom nom. It gets digested into tiny particles. What is part of the apple becomes part of us. Our bodies work hard to separate the not good parts from the nutritious and useful parts. It is pretty amazing at taking what we need and getting rid of the rest.

There currently isn’t much research on diet and LFS. Colleen Spees a PhD at the Ohio State University, holds LFS and nutrition near to her heart. She’s spoken about cancer and diet many times and started a wonderful program called Garden of Hope for cancer patients and survivors to help them stay healthy through diet. You can hear Dr. Spees talk about LFS and nutrition here-  Hope Grows with Colleen Spees.

Many mutants follow the American Institute for Cancer Research diet guidelines.  Others follow the Mediterranean Diet. Some have tried the various “anti-cancer” diets, such as the alkaline diet and ketogenic diet. Many stick with the SAD diet- the Standard American Diet. Others just try to eat healthy and make good choices while enjoying a cheeseburger or glass of wine from time to time.

New American Plate from the AICR

When asked what diet changes they had made after being diagnosed with LFS, members of our support group’s answers were as diverse as their cancers. Some swear by the success with certain diets, others had failures with those same diets. There were several themes that continued to pop up.

MODERATION- Another saying we hear a lot is “everything in moderation”. I had a doctor tell me once- “everything in moderation, even moderation”.  What is moderation? Moderation is about portion control, balance and variety. Moderation goes against the grain of if a little is good, more is better way of thinking. Think of supplements- 1667% of the Daily Recommended Amount of anything can’t be good. Your body works to use what it needs. Anything more than it needs means the liver, kidneys and other organs have to work harder to clear out the excess. If you eat more food than needed, your body works harder to convert it to fat. Then your body has to work harder to carry that fat around.

DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU- So you don’t like broccoli? Kale makes you turn green? Do not make yourself miserable. Eat the fruits and veggies you do like. The best defense is a good offense, having a strong healthy body helps us fight cancer.  Try to eat organic, there are less chemicals and genetically modified extras that could become part of us or damage our already sensitive DNA. If organic isn’t possible or affordable- real food is always better than processed. Healthy habits are only formed if they work for you.

MAKE SMALL CHANGES- Both the AICR and mediterranean diets have similar recommendations for anti cancer benefits. Eat lots of veggies and plant based foods while limiting sugar, red meats and processed foods. Most fad diets see initial results because they limit something or eliminate it altogether, low carb, low fat, no meat. Start with something manageable, try to make healthier substitutions, limit portion sizes, exercise more so you can have dessert. Vegans still get cancer. Kids get cancer. People who live off of SPAM and rice don’t get cancer. If being vegan makes you feel better, then embrace it. If SPAM and rice are the center of your universe, don’t give it up if it makes you miserable- wrap it in seaweed and call it a Musubi. (Seaweed is a natural filter- like mushrooms and has many beneficial nutrients).

THINK ABOUT YOUR HABITS- Are you a stress eater? Do you live for chocolate? Be honest with yourself. If you love something, it doesn’t make sense to deprive yourself. Many follow the 80/20 rule. Healthy eating 80% of the time and splurging 20%. This could be split however suits your habits. You could eat healthy all day and have dessert after dinner, you could make good choices during the week and spurge one day during the weekend.

We try to control what we can, more importantly, we have to find joy in living. Food is a part of us, it can make us healthy, it can make us sick. Supplements can help balance what we can not get in our diet due to location or tastes. The most important changes are ones that help you feel better. No one food or supplement will cure cancer, if it did, cancer would be cured. Be sure to talk with trusted professionals to get more information on what might be best for you. With balance and moderation, we can help our bodies stay strong against tumors and Live LFS.

For More Information:

Nutrition and LFS: IP-6 and InositolEver since we were kids, we are told to eat a healthy diet. When we were young- cereals and other gr…Sep 26

The Anti-Tumor-ific Properties of TurmericTurmeric is a spice from a root related to ginger that’s been used in Asian and Indian cooking for t…Nov 6

Mushrooms: Anti Cancer or just Fun Guys? Mushrooms. The Magical world of Mushrooms. There are many types of mushrooms.  Some mushrooms are …Nov 24

Should we ((HEART)) CoQ10?A friend with LFS recently asked me about CoQ10 supplements and their anti cancer effects. Supplemen…Feb 26

Mushrooms: Anti Cancer or just Fun Guys?

Mushrooms. The Magical world of Mushrooms. There are many types of mushrooms.  Some mushrooms are edible and some are not, some cause disease and others cure it. Ancient Egyptian Pharoahs declared mushrooms only fit for royal consumption. Many varieties of mushrooms are used in Chinese medicine and have been for thousands of years. Mycology, the study of mushrooms comes from the ancient greek word mycos which means fungus. Mushrooms were originally more closely associated with plants, but studies revealed they are evolutionarily closer to animals.

Five Mushrooms You should Consider Adding to Your Diet:
White Button(agaricus bisporus)
Shiitake(Lentinula edodes)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Oyster(Pleurotus ostreatus)

*Cordyceps sinensis- not easily found to eat, but can be found as a supplement

Mushrooms are not yet on the American Institute of Cancer Research’s list of Foods That Fight Cancer- but it is listed as coming soon because they are currently conducting studies to evaluate the cancer fighting properties of these fun guys.  Mushrooms have antioxidants and nutrients that are already shown to fight and prevent cancer. Mushrooms have nutrients that protects the cells and strengthen our bodies’ immune fighting capability. All in all they are a good choice to add to your diet because the preliminary results show mushrooms are a player in the nutritional fight against cancer.

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms:
-Low Calorie and fat free
-Great source of B vitamins and Vitamin D
-Good source of Minerals(Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Ergothioneine)
-Good Source of Beta Glucans(Immune stimulating, cholesterol lowering and anti tumor)

Known Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms:
-Helps lower cholesterol
-high in antioxidants- helps protect cells from damage and prevent heart disease
-Strengthen immunity

Mushrooms and Cancer:
-Researchers at City of Hope Hospital found that button mushrooms fight the estrogen properties that help breast cancer grow and spread. It is a natural aromatase inhibitor.

– A Korean Study found women with higher diets of mushrooms had a lower incidence of breast cancer.

-Oyster mushrooms(Pleurotus ostreatus)  slowed growth of breast  and colon cancer cells with or without p53.

-Chinese studies showed Coriolus mushrooms enhanced immune system, improved quality of life, survival, and reduced chemotherapy side effects in lung, gastrointestinal, nose,  throat and cervical cancers.

How to Prepare Mushrooms– via Huffington Post

Some other FUNgi Facts about MUSHROOMS:
-Fear of mushrooms is called Fungophobia
-some can seemingly appear overnight due to absorption of water: where the expression mushrooming comes from
-mushrooms can be toxic, fight viruses, eat wood, and absorb heavy metals- even radiation.

The Mushroom lady
Mycology Wiki

NIH Review of Mushroom Anti Cancer Properties
UK Cancer Research Review of Mushrooms in Cancer Therapy
City of Hope- Mushroom Research

American Cancer Society Complementary Medicine-Diet and Nutrition

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center- Integrative Medicine

NIH- Mushrooms reduce Breast cancer cell proliferation
NIH– Oyster mushrooms work with or without p53 pathways in breast and colon cancer cells
NIH-Mushrooms and cancer therapies
Journal of Nutrition– Button mushrooms are Aromatase Inhibitors
Korean Study – linked higher quantity of dietary mushrooms to lower risk of breast cancer.