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This week's Book of the Week feature, produced by Chelsea Green Publishing, is The Metabolic Approach to Cancerby Dr. Nasha Winters. 

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The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Chapter 1: The Solution Is a Metabolic Approach

Changing the Focus

Every organism on this Earth requires food to create energy in order to live and reproduce. Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies driving down the road. All of the energy, genetic instruction, and structural and regulating materials for your terrain come from nutrients. Simply put, food and the nutrients obtained from it are required to sustain life. When nutrient levels become deficient, symptoms (such as headaches, fatigue, weight gain, aches and pains) will be followed by disease. Low vitamin D causes rickets, low vitamin C causes scurvy, low folate in a mother results in spina bifida in the child. Without food, we die in approximately 40 to 180 days (this depends on a person’s body weight; some obese people have survived and remained healthy without food for over five months!). With the right foods, we can heal. It’s time to start giving credit where credit is due: Certain foods and dietary habits have kept us alive for 2.6 million years. Deep nutrition, a metabolic approach, is the answer to cancer. And where Western medicine is trying to isolate the active forms of food to create synthetic versions able to be patented, we recommend the whole foods and dietary practices, such as fasting, that have sustained us for millennia. Yes, not eating is powerful medicine. All foods contain more than one active ingredient, and we strongly believe in the therapeutic power of synergies.

When sugar, processed grains, soda, preservatives, additives, trans fats, synthetic oils, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified corn and soy, and junk food are replaced with organic, wild, and fermented vegetables, bone marrow and organ meats, healthy fats, specific herbs, and adequate hydration, the terrain shifts in a matter of days. We’ve seen it happen—and tested it—hundreds of times during our multiday cancer retreats over the years. Epigenetic markers change, blood sugar levels decline, immune systems are fortified, hormones balance, digestion improves, toxins are removed, and fogs of depression are lifted. When stress, endocrine and sleep disruptors, and environmental and emotional toxins are removed and replaced with peace, purpose, nutrients, nontoxic products, rest, exercise, and healthy relationships, the body becomes incredibly resilient. All these elements are powerful enough to affect DNA, and that’s good medicine. Cancer doesn’t like that.

Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies driving down the road.

You’ve heard it before, but it is true: You are what you eat. But of course we take things further: “We are not just what we eat, but what our food eats.” When it comes to deeply nutritious foods, the quality of the soil where the food was grown is also essential. When animals are fed toxic diets they become toxic to eat. If you feed animals antibiotics, hormones, and genetically modified grains and legumes, they go from being healthy to four-legged Superfund sites—not to mention propelling antibiotic resistance. Our approach dives deep into food quality and also bio-individuality. There is not, cannot, and should not be a one size-fits-all diet all the time. What you eat needs to change with the seasons, for example, and is largely based on what your genetics can tell us. We look at many nutrigenomic factors (meaning, how our genes affect our foods and vice versa) throughout each chapter.

As you can see from the title of the book, we subscribe to the metabolic theory of cancer—the proven fact that cancer cells are fueled by sugar and that altered mitochondrial metabolism is the ultimate cause of cancer. In fact, a December 2016 meta-analysis research paper assessed more than two hundred studies conducted between 1934 and 2016 and concluded that the most important difference between normal cells and cancer cells is how they respire, or create energy. Cancer cells use a primitive process of fermentation to inefficiently convert glucose from carbohydrates into energy needed to sustain their rapid growth, a process we discuss in detail in chapter 4. But the most important finding is that fatty acids (dietary fats) cannot be fermented by cancer cells, which makes a ketogenic diet the most powerful dietary approach to cancer identified to date. And thanks to more than a hundred years of research by the physicians and scientists Otto Warburg, Thomas Seyfried, Dominic D’Agostino, and Valter D. Longo, as well as a rising number of others, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that low-glycemic, ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting should be an integral part of an effective anticancer diet program. We discuss these in relation to almost all ten terrain elements.

We realize there are many people who are drawn to what we are talking about and others who are not. Our approach aims to empower people. Sadly, many cancer patients spend more time looking at a new car than at their grocery list. Using diet to prevent and manage cancer requires engagement, and that is not always easy. Conventional medicine, on the other hand, allows the patient to be passive—the doctor performs surgery or administers chemotherapy, and the patient just waits for the test results. In the conventional model the healing, and ultimately the trust, lie with the doctor. We believe, however, and have seen over and over in our practices, that true healing occurs when the patient is an active participant in the healing process. Our process is for those who are motivated to take charge of their health and willing to make lifestyle changes. It’s about getting to know yourself, and maybe changing things you never thought possible. It’s about asking questions, and not shying away from answers. It’s about undoing the notion that you are a victim of cancer and you have no control over the process. Because you do.

Learn more about The Metabolic Approach to Cancer here.

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About The Author:

Dr. Nasha Winters

Dr. Nasha Winters is the founder, CEO and visionary of Optimal Terrain Consulting. She is a naturally board certified naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She lectures all over the world and consults on projects, including the ketogenic diet, which is showing huge promise.


Dr. Nasha Winters will be making multiple appearances at the 2019 Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show this Dec. 9-12 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Dec. 10, she will be leading an intensive Eco-Ag U workshop about Connecting Our Health to the Food System. Nasha will also be speaking at the regular conference, Dec. 10-12, about Vitalism: Farmaceutical Prescriptions to Optimize the TerrainLearn more and register.

2019 Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference & Tradeshow

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