Sitting at the expert conference in San Francisco, about two days before my seizure, I met a gentlemen named Gary, who is an expert in how water benefits your health. Gary sells ionized or alkaline water machines. The general principle behind alkaline water machines is to raise the pH of the water we drink from 7.0 to 9.5. So, the question is, why should we drink alkaline water over regular water? It's the same question that applies to what we eat because everything we consume is either alkaline or acidic. So what is the difference between the two?
Diseases cannot exist in alkaline environments and acidic environments are a breeding ground for illness. Increase the alkaline level of your pH and get rid of disease. It's (apparently) science.
If your body is made of 75% water, than 75% of your body is affected by this pH change. Some call this complete snake-oil and some call it a miracle. But to be honest, it didn't really matter to me. At that point I was more interested in Gary's outrageous New York accent, not to mention I was a completely healthy young chap... for about 48 more hours. (Side-note: In addition, Gary kept buying me great glasses of pinot noir so he had my full attention.)
The main reason I like to tell the story about Gary is that he discovered alkaline water when his wife had Grade IV cancer. She drank the water, she got better and her cancer went into remission. The doctors were all very pleased to see this until Gary mentioned his wife had stopped taking chemo as she was dying more and more each day. So she started chugging alkaline water as a last resort. He told me, in his thick NY accent, that he was embarrassed to tell the doctors that she stopped chemo and the only treatment that seemed to be working was drinking this water. Embarrassed? Rightly so! When he told them this, they laughed at him. (P.S. - She's still alive and surpassed her 'due date' which doctors have attributed to 'spontaneous remission'.)
Gary was also cured of his variety of diseases that I can't remember, but the funny thing about him is that New Yorkers don't always get the label of being 'gullible'. But he was so sold on this water, he started chugging 9.5 pH water daily. According to him, it took him a full year before he gathered the courage to start telling his friends that the water did the trick! All it took was raising the pH of his body to create an alkaline environment where disease can no longer exist. I asked about the results from alkaline food which he said was also very important but very difficult to pull off. Yet he thought the best combination was to create an alkaline environment in our bodies through both food and water.
Yes, the more alkaline your body is, the less disease can exist in your body. There are two natural ways to make your body alkaline; food and water. Considering that your body gets is main nutrition through food, it's very important that if I plan on beating cancer, I must move to an extremely heavy alkaline diet. I've considered buying a water ionizer but haven't done it yet. I want to try to accomplish this with food first. Not to mention, ionizers are expensive and you can use other elements to alkalize your water such as lemons. Yes, surprisingly, lemons are extremely alkaline, not acidic.
So with all that in mind, I am posting what my diet actually consists of these days. I call it 'The Operation 55 Zebra Diet'. Just be warned, my diet doesn't really make you feel great about yourself. It doesn't help you feel full, make your life more convenient, or save you money. It basically sucks. It takes tons of time, more money and basically strips away all of your joy and comfort previously found in food until you don't care about eating anymore...
Sounds great, doesn't it?! Let's get to it!
* I don't like disclaimers but as you've seen, I'm not above them. This is my diet that I am choosing to do. If you want to do it as well, go for it. Please don't do it because you heard it from me, but do it because you educated yourself and feel it's best for you. In other words, if my crazy diet of eating fruits and vegetables somehow kills you, don't sue me. What you eat is YOUR responsibility. Knowing that you are responsible for your health, I hope you pay close attention to these suggestions and give it serious consideration in your own life.
The general premise is that I am on the Alkaline Diet. This diet has been given many other names so that people can steal the basic info and make money off of it, but it's a very simple formula. The idea behind the diet is to eat 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. Click here to download the Alkaline Food Chart. I'm not promoting the guy who designed this list but he had enough graphic design sense to put together something readable, so I'll promote his common sense. After reviewing the list of foods 'to eat' and 'not to eat', you'll probably get depressed and go to your favorite Italian or Thai food restaurant. I will not judge you considering that's what Amy and I did.
I am a vegan, except with some slight cheats of wild-caught salmon and eggs once or twice a week. And that says quite a bit for me considering I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska where even the indoor football team is called the 'Omaha Beef'. (I wish I was joking about that...)
But in honor of attempting to save my life through diet, I have become:
- Processed Sugar / Flour Free
- Meat Free (minus cheats on Wild-Caught Salmon, Organic Grass-fed Eggs)
- Gluten Free
- Salt Free
- Dairy & Animal product Free (minus cheat on cottage cheese for Budwig Diet)
- Alcohol Free
- Caffeine Free (minus Green Tea)
- Organic Junkie. All fruit and Vegetables must be certifiably organic grown
- And no more processed foods. If it comes in a package, has more than 5 ingredients, unpronounceable ingredients or your great grandmother couldn't recognize it sitting on your counter, toss it.
So what do I actually eat? Good question... Essentially the best diet that explains what I do is the 'Raw Foods' diet. I don't completely follow a raw food diet (which includes no cooking) because we do occasionally cook vegetables, oatmeal or salmon for sanity's sake. If we didn't eat something hot every now and then, I would probably throw myself off our 2nd floor balcony a la Pegasus style. A Raw Food diet is pretty hard core to pull off and I'm not there yet. My menu:
- Gluten-Free Raw Oatmeal with a piece of fruit; Favorite = banana
- 1 Egg (one or twice a week)
- Green Tea
- Chopped vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, etc...)
- Blended smoothie consisting of spinach, celery, banana, pear and apples.
- Raw and unsalted Pumpkin / Sunflower Seeds
- Budwig Diet (more on this later...)
- Steamed Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes / Steamed Potatoes
- Wild rice, quinoa and Millet (Millet without salt is about as tasty as it sounds, but for some reason, if you close your eyes you can pretend it's rice you can gain small enjoyment from it.)
- Wild-Caught Salmon (once or twice a week)
Special things I've added:
Kombucha Tea: Part of the modern hipster diet plan, this tea is high in Vitamin B which is why I take it. But for social climbing purposes, I have recently learned that if you buy kombucha tea in local markets, everyone thinks you're cool. And the only thing cooler than buying Kombucha is growing it yourself which involves a 'mother' - a living creature that looks like a placenta. Also, considering that the tea is actually in a state of fermentation it includes trace elements of alcohol. Since giving up all wine and beer, sometimes I drink it really fast to see if I can feel a buzz. Results = Negative.
Budwig Diet: Developed by Dr. Johanna Budwig back in the 50's (more info later), she discovered that proper usage of unsaturated fats and oils are key to health through increasing oxygen in the body. It has also been shown to promote tumor shrinkage. She has developed the perfect combo to maximize the benefits of fats via a protein solution. Mix (with a beater) 1 parts Flaxseed oil with 2 parts low-fat cottage cheese. Grind another teaspoon of flaxseeds into a powder and mix in with spoon. You can add tomatoes, grapes, oranges, etc... if you want something else in there. Of all the things in the world I loathe, cottage cheese takes the gold meal (FYI - this list also includes windshield wipers with poor timing mechanisms, potato salad, the mathematical science behind creating statistical models and Rascal Flatts). It seems that apparently 'diet revenge' is a dish best served with flaxseed oil mixed in.
Juicing: The general principle behind juicing is to get a ridiculous amount of vitamins and nutrients from fruits and vegetables without eating all of the fiber which would pretty much ruin your social life.
- 2 Red Juices: I do this juice as an anti-inflammatory drink. It contains celery, grapefruit and beets (w/ beet tops). It looks exactly like blood and tastes surprisingly good.
- 3 Green Juices: This is the motivation killer... I take about 7 or 8 types of lettuce including romaine, spinach, swiss chard, a few types of kale, bok choy, collared greens, savoy cabbage, beet and carrot tops, etc... and juice it. It's a green color with a slight shade of misery. Drinking this makes me consider radiation and the invitation of long-term brain damage.
So what have the results been? To be clear, I am not promoting this diet because I like it, but I am promoting it because I feel that, after research, it is right for me.
I wouldn't consider myself an overweight person by any means, but in about a month, I shed about 15 pounds. It's as though my body knew exactly how much it should weigh and took me there rather quickly and stabilized. My weight hasn't moved in 2 weeks. I am definitely not underweight now. In fact, I am back to what I used to weigh in college. And I know this is dangerous to say, but I didn't do any serious exercise. I operate normally each day with my energy levels, but since the seizure I've had a general sense of being tired. It may come from my anti-seizure medicine which has drowsiness as it's main side effect. So it's been really hard for me to raise my heart beat for too long. So the best I can pull off is a quick bike ride or a 1-mile jog around the block. I feel guilty for divulging this... but as we've agreed, full-disclosure!
So, apparently the 'Operation 55 Zebra Diet' can help you lose 15 pounds in a month with no exercise! (side affects include: insanity, cravings to eat Taco Bell 10-15 times a day, and a complete lack of a social life)
Here is where it gets interesting. When I stick close to this diet all of my headaches go away. I had a constant headache for about the first 6 weeks that was 'typical' according to my doctors. But when I went on this diet, the headaches were gone. I really don't know what that means. All I can say is that it happened.
And here is the most epic part of all of this. I have rearranged (and by rearranged, I mean destroyed) my emotional connection to food. My mom always tells the story that when I was a baby, there was a 'Burger King' jingle that would sing "Aren't you Hungry?!". Well my older sisters discovered that by singing this to me I would cry uncontrollably because yes, I was hungry. And I still am. It's actually been a joke with my wife and friends regarding the volume and speed at which I eat. I have often told people that eating is my spiritual gift.
And we all know the feeling of coming home from a long day of work and wanting to satiate ourselves with food. We have a beer or a glass of wine. Maybe we make a big plate of pasta or pulling out the Hagen Daas container for dinner (epic fail). Food is a comfort! But what I've realized is that food is more of a distraction, not a comforter. I've used food and drink since I was young to satiate my feelings of unhappiness or frustration. But what happens when you remove all of those distractions? When you get frustrated and you can't run to food, what do you do?
This has probably been one of my biggest struggles to date. I don't want to say too much about it because there is so much to talk about. We'll do that later. So here are a few things to think about.
More Things to think about:
- I am working on an environmental media project these days reading the Biblical creation story over and over. I recently discovered that, without any hint of confusion, the Bible says that God created man to be a vegetarian. In fact, man existed for around 1650 years (rough estimate) until the biblical flood went down and Noah built a cruiseliner. Man was a vegetarian for over 1650 years! Not until after the flood was man given permission to, or even show interest in, eating animals. Check it: Genesis 1:29 vs. Genesis 9:3. So great, now we can eat meat and have no guilt! However, we have NEVER eaten meat at the rate we are eating today. There's a reason why 'killing the fattened calf' was a big deal. Historically eating meat was only used sporadically for celebratory purposes. Now we eat meat because, well... re-runs of Seinfeld are on TV which is every night. If you would like to educate yourself, read The China Study. If you hate change and don't want to be faced with some tough realizations, don't read it.
- Modern people and chimpanzees share 99.4% of the same DNA sequencing which simply means we are more closely related to Chimpanzees that any other animal, hence why they are so good for testing medicines, hence why PETA gets so ticked off for testing stuff on them. They are very similar to humans. Interestingly enough, they are extremely resilient to typical human fatal diseases such as AIDS, Cancer and Hepatitis C. Why? Their diet is mainly comprised of fruits and vegetables. A growing amount of evidence shows that the amount of fruit and vegetable consumption vs. animal protein consumption works directly to lower or raise our susceptibility for chronic illness. Read more in Green for Life and The China Study. So in other words, maybe we should start doing it like they do on the discovery channel.
- Regarding the 'Budwig Diet', in the 1950s, Dr. Johanna Budwig threw down on some doctors in Switzerland. The transcription of her speeches in Flax Oil as a True Aid against Arthritis, Heart Infarctions, Cancer and other diseases is incredible and a strangely intriguing read. If you are a medical professional and disagree with her strategy, read this book and get back to me. Would love to hear your thoughts. If you aren't into medical jargon and want the cliff notes, read this. Again, one of the most fascinating things about Budwig is that SHE ISN'T SELLING ANYTHING! Anyone can go to the store and buy flaxseed oil and cottage cheese. I have mad respect for medical professionals whose evidence to reverse chronic illness make them no money. It shows their true motivation is to help, not to get rich. It's not crazy to realize why our modern medical institutions are promoting pharmaceutical drugs to 'prolong life' over fruits, vegetables and natural substances shown to 'reverse chronic illness'. One path makes hospitals and doctors cash and the other path doesn't.
Alright, that's enough for now. I'm sure you all have plenty of other book recommendations but here are a few more books we have read, looked through or been told about:
- Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life
- Healing Cancer from the Inside Out - Also, check out the DVD with same name.
- How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine
- The Gerson Therapy
If you have a recommendation, provide it in the comments section. But for all you lawyers out there, just because you recommend it doesn't mean that I would recommend it. So... buy books at your own risk.