Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM, is the visionary and CEO of Optimal Terrain™. She works to educate clients, doctors and researchers worldwide on how to apply integrative oncology philosophically and therapeutically. Passionate about nourishing, quality food and its implications in healing or poisoning the body while targeting many of the processes that drive cancer, she co-wrote The Metabolic Approach to Cancer with Jess Kelley, MNT.
Lecturing and attending oncology-centric conferences worldwide, Dr. Winters remains on top of cutting-edge research and exploring ways to manipulate the metabolic, cytotoxic, immunologic potential of the terrain of clients. Her work is based on her proprietary approach to analyzing labs, molecular profiles, epigenetics, trauma history, personal and family medical history, diet and lifestyle choices, and beyond. http://OptimalTerrainConsulting.com/
The prevailing (and failing) dogma in Western medicine today is that cancer is caused and driven by genetic mutations, or just bad luck. This theory asserts that when a cell endures extensive damage to its genetic material (DNA) it eventually reaches a point where it goes rogue from its intended function and becomes cancerous. Cancer research and treatment development have bene locked within the tiny confines of this tenet for over 75 years. The problem is that this outdated mutation focus is not getting us any closer to preventing or curing this scary, heartbreaking, expensive, and painful disease.
A new approach to cancer is sorely needed since the current model of conventional oncology is based solely on treating the tumor and cancer cells through aggressive strategies that can – and do – diminish the tumor but often with significant cost to the patient.
Despite growing evidence to suggest that diet DOES matter when it comes to cancer, we are spending very little, if any, time educating patients and their families on how best to feed themselves through the cancer process and beyond. My hope is that the book my colleague, Jess Kelley, MNT, and I co-wrote, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, will change all of that!
What is the Metabolic Approach to cancer? Metabolism is the combination of physical and chemical processes that occur in the body to create the energy required to maintain life. Simply speaking, metabolism is how the body utilizes the food we eat to obtain energy. Thus, our metabolic approach to cancer is nutrition centered. It utilizes the medicinal powers of traditional foods, therapeutic diets, and nontoxic lifestyle approaches as cancer counteragents and preventatives.
It is not uncommon to see fast food restaurants in hospitals, cookies served to patients receiving chemotherapy, and echoes of the old adage: “Eat whatever you want, just don’t lose weight.” This is grossly misinformed and, frankly, negligent when it comes to patient care. Using common sense — can you drive a car on bad gas? Then how can you drive your cells on bad food? The diet of today has more sugar and chemicals than ever and each bite you take impacts your gene expression, mitochondrial function, hormones, metabolism, and ability to ward off infection.
Overeating of grains, legumes, fruit, and tubers are just as much to blame as overindulging in sodas, cakes, and candy. When we went on our low fat craze decades ago we substituted the fat with sugar and now we are paying the price. We have drastically changed our food over the last 70 years. CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that utilize hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, corn and soy feed), glyphosate (RoundUp), GMO, preservatives, synthetic nutrient enrichment, water fluoridation, plastics, food colorings, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG are but a few additions since World War II.
Scientists are busting myths left and right, realizing sugar, not fat, is the driver for most of our chronic illness today. Eggs (if organic, pastured) are not the devil. Salt (if non-iodized natural sea salt) is actually GOOD for you. Meat is not bad if you have the right chemistry within and the right quality of the protein (organic, grass fed and grass finished, wild caught or hunted, pasture-raised). The common thread for all anti-cancer diets is a plant foundation and low glycemic, nutrient dense, REAL food.
“If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” ~ Michael Pollan
In cancer research, an entire world is opening up as we revisit Otto Warburg’s theory from the 1920’s. In oversimplified terms, the Warburg Effect is the change in energy production and utilization in cancer cells, favoring sugar as the main fuel source. We have gone from 5 pounds of sugar per person per year in the late 1800’s to over 175 pounds of sugar per person per year today—no wonder we are feeling the impact on our health and health care system. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s are but a few of the chronic diseases that have sugar as the main driver. By 2020, cancer will be the number one cause of death in the US, already reaching that status in 12 EU countries as of 2016.
With the overwhelming evidence that is now available (links to resources below), it is no longer acceptable to state that diet doesn’t impact cancer.
“People are fed by the Food Industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the Health Industry, which pays no attention to food.” ~ Wendell Berry
- Folks, This Ain’t Normal, by Joel Salatin, discusses the change in agricultural practices.
- Death By Food Pyramid, by Denise Minger, sheds light on some of the drastic changes we have made to our food supply.
- Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis, and Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter, elucidate the cost of modern gluten/grain to our health and wellbeing.
- Tripping Over the Truth, by Travis Christofferson, offers a layperson’s understanding of the emerging theory of cancer as a metabolic versus purely genetic process.
- Can We Eat to Starve Cancer? — A TED Talk by William Li on eating to halt angiogenesis (new vascular growth to tumors).
- Sugar in Western Diets Increases Risk for Breast Cancer Tumors and Metastasis, by Lorenzo Cohen, presents his research at MD Anderson on the impact of sugar on cancer.
- Fighting Cancer By Putting Tumor Cells On A Diet, by Dr. Craig Thompson of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston University, discusses the findings that you CAN starve cancer.