Posts Tagged ‘Dairy and Cancer’

Food; is it Good for Our Health or Our Cancer?

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

As a cancer survivor, I wanted to do more than just the suggested surgery.  I felt that if cancer liked my body once, then it might like it again. I wanted to do everything I could to prevent the cancer from coming back. What I discovered was that the best thing that I could do to improve my health was to improve my diet, and maybe support that diet with some supplements– especially for some nutrients that are hard to get in one’s normal diet, or certainly in the amounts I felt were necessary.

So what do I eat?  Tons of fruits and vegetables, including a bounty of fresh herbs,  beans, healthy fats such as  nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, brazil), flax and chia seeds, avocado, olives and olive and coconut oil,  green tea, some organic eggs and occasionally, some grass fed Elk or local fish.  If I eat cheese, it is locally produced, organic and full fat.  When it comes to produce, I believe a wide variety is critical, eating the rainbow, so to speak, but I also believe it is a good idea to pack in a few key items daily.  Crucifers (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, radish, Brussels sprouts, etc.) are essential as they have compounds that are very powerful against cancer; try to eat a wide variety and focus a bit on broccoli.  Celery and parsley can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing; carrots are free-radical scavengers and can be eaten cooked, raw or juiced. Doc had it right; an apple a day does keep the doctor away.  For more of my favorites, please visit Eating to Cheat Cancer .

I don’t like the word ‘no’.  I have two kids, so I have tried to perfect this, but words such as no, never, don’t and can’t—these are very negative words and are not helpful when you are trying to make healthful changes.  I like to ask my clients to start with small changes and aspire to eating well 80% of the time; I find that this allows them the flexibility they need and before you know it, they are more like 90-100%, to the point when they no longer consider food choices to be a diet, but rather naturally gravitate to healthier options.

The easiest way to transition to a healthier diet is to find foods that you enjoy, and build the diet around those.  In other words, if you don’t like broccoli, don’t start there, but maybe throw a few sprouts into your smoothie; small change, powerful response.  Like almond butter but trying to avoid grains?  Smear it on raw carrots or apple slices. 

Ok, so back to the topic.  Is eating bad for your health?  We know that what we eat greatly affects our health and our risk for cancer.  However, we hear so many conflicting stories, and read so many articles on the perils of what we thought were healthy choices.  Plus, there are so many different strategies when it comes to choosing a dietary protocol.  It is no wonder we are all confused.  I often just want to throw my hands up in the air and say…eating is bad for your health!  But before you do that and give up the quest, know that food matters and know that the best strategy is the one that works for you.

So let’s take a look at some of the controversies.

In our quest to avoid dairy, many of us switched to almond, soy or hemp.  But a peek at the ingredients sends us right back to our local dairy farm. Make our own almond milk?  Not likely if you have kids or a full time job.




Gave up the full fat as you heard the bad stuff is mostly in the fat?  Think again, take out the fat and lose the health promoting naturally occurring CLA.  Traded beef for chicken?  Ever read what they feed chicken these days?  Plus, chicken (eggs and meat too) are inflammatory; consider organic grass- fed meats.  Get the rod out and catch dinner?  Ah, the PCB’s and red tides; think again.  Like shrimp?  Consider the source; farmed shrimp from much of Asia is raised in a toxic environment.  Grains and wheat?  Dr Mark Hyman calls the wheat today Frankenwheat  and suggests we avoid eating it, and so much has been written on the perils of gluten and grains.  However, think gluten-free is the way to go?  Only if the food is naturally gluten free….not some chemical substitute for the real thing.



So what can we do?  Relax. Eating a small amount of anything isn’t going to kill you.  Eat as close to nature as you can, and employ food as your ally.  Worried about the sugar in carrots and fruit?  Start your day with cinnamon.  Just one to two teaspoons can help regulate blood sugar.  Worried about BPA exposure?  Add more probiotics (and a few other agents) to your diet.  Concerned about heavy metals such as mercury?  Eat more cilantro. Food really is thy medicine.

Want to know more about specific anti-cancer diets and protocols? Over the next few weeks, I will have several health experts on Survive and Live Well.  We will hear from Elaine Cantin, survivor and author of The Cantin Ketogenic Diet;  Ellen Kamhi, RN, The Natural Nurse;  Wellness Coach, Jan Jargon; Dr Christopher Nagy;  Dr Michael Schachter; and author Sarto Schickel, whose wife  utilized the best of conventional medicine alongside the Gerson therapy to treat her stage IV cancer. All will share valuable insight on food and its impact on healing.

Food, it is good for our health, and if done right, can be downright unfriendly to cancer.  Eat like your life depends on it, and yes, enjoy a bit of red wine–if that is something that gives you great pleasure. In fact, have it with some dark chocolate.  Sure, chocolate has some sugar, but it is loaded with antioxidants and reduces inflammation, so if you crave dessert—have one that comes with benefits.

Want to talk about your specific needs for an anti-cancer diet? Visit my website to schedule an appointment for one-on-one coaching.


Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. Find Elyn at www.elynjacobs.wordpress.com. To tune into the Survive and Live Well show, visit www.W4CS.com, Tuesdays at 1pm, EST.

Follow Elyn on Twitter @elynjacobs and @survivelivewell, Facebook @Elyn Jacobs Consulting and LinkedIn @Elyn Jacobs

The Dark Side of Peanuts and Dairy

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Peanut butter is a staple in many children’s diets.  Peanuts (which, by the way are a legume, not a nut) are hign in protein, so why not eat them?  Peanuts, and expecially peanut butter are often contaminated by a fungus-produced toxin known as Aflatoxin (AF).  Aflatoxins often occur in crops in the field prior to harvest, but after harvest contamination can occur if crop drying is delayed and crops are stored in moist conditions.  Aflatoxins are found occasionally in milk, cheese, corn, peanuts, cottonseed, nuts, almonds, figs, spices as well as in feeds for animals (the reason AF is found in dairy and meat products).  However, the commodities with the highest risk of AF contamination are corn, peanuts and cottonseed.  Peanut butter is often contaminated with levels of AF as much as 300 times the amount judged to be acceptable in U.S. food, while whole peanuts were much less contaminated.  This disparity between peanut butter and whole peanuts originates at the peanut factory.  The best peanuts, which fill “cocktail” jars, are hand selected from a moving conveyor belt, leaving the worst, moldiest nuts to be delivered to the end of the belt to make peanut butter.  The visual here makes me never want to even look at peanut butter again.  So besides the unappealing idea of eating moldy peanuts, what’s the real issue?  AF’s have shown to cause liver cancer in rats, and are thought by many to be the most potent chemical carcinogen ever discovered.  So where’s the FDA?  The FDA allows AF’s at low levels in nuts, seeds and legumes because they are considered “unavoidable contaminants.”  The FDA believes occasionally eating small amounts of aflatoxin poses little risk over a lifetime, and that it is not practical to attempt to remove it from food products.   The problem here is the word “occasional.”  Occasional is a bit like the phrase “in moderation”; the problem being that it is easy to have too much of something you enjoy.

 To help minimize your exposure to aflatoxin, the FDA recommends purchasing only major brands of nuts and nut butters and to discard any shelled nuts that look discolored or moldy. Some medical research has indicated that a diet including vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, celery and parsley may reduce the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxin, and a study by the Johns Hopkins University also suggests that foods high in chlorophyll can be helpful.  Green vegetables – asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, celery, collard greens, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, green olives, parsley, romaine lettuce, sea vegetables, spinach, and turnip greens are concentrated sources of chlorophyll.

Who is most susceptible to AF contamination and its cancer-producing effects?  Children are major consumers of peanut butter.  (I will add that I practically survived on peanut butter for much of my early adulthood, and certainly suspect that was part of my demise.) Children are also major consumers of dairy products, and a well-known study called The China Study produced compelling evidence that casein, the protein in cow’s milk, helps promote and nurture tumor development.  The study produced significant evidence that a high-animal protein diet combined with even a small amount of aflatoxin resulted in very high rates of liver cancer in adults as well as children.  They also found that in those people who consumed considerable AF’s and very little animal protein, cancer rates were very low.   They found that casein, and very likely all animal proteins, may be the one of the most cancer-causing substances that we consume.  Adjusting the amount of dietary casein we eat may have the power to turn on and off cancer growth. What does this mean?  It means that while we should still be concerned with AF’s, it makes sense to reduce our animal protein consumption. (Overall, animal protein is not the best protein source for most people. While a high animal-protein diet can promote cancer growth, plant protein does not, even at high levels of intake). To reduce your animal protein consumption, consider almond, rice or hemp milk instead of cow’s milk, and switch to a mostly- whole foods, plant-based diet.

Need another reason to toss the peanuts?  Peanuts are an inflammatory food, which means consumption increases inflammation in the body.  Inflammation is known to provide a cancer promoting environment in the body.  Can’t imagine giving up peanut butter?  Try almond butter.  It may take some getting used to, but your body will thank you and may just find it delicious!

For more information, please visit:




and added 12/19/2014: Peanut component linked to cancer spread

Elyn Jacobs




  Elyn Jacobs is a certified cancer coach, a breast cancer survivor and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation.  She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  Elyn helps women to uncover the nutritional deficiencies and emotional stress patterns that may have contributed to their cancer and to support their body as it activates it own natural ability to fight the disease. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services or to learn more about eating for life, please visit:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com.