(Versus ‘The Planetary Health Diet’)
This is a long post, but is perhaps the most important on this website. The Budwig Protocol forms the basis of all the recipes I shall be sharing with you in the coming months.
It is scary to think that in this country one in eight women will battle breast cancer and one in eight men will at battle prostrate cancer at some point in their lives, and that does not even consider other common cancers such as bowel, lung and kidney. This is a statistical certainty – one that I have seen playing out in my own family and those of my friends - unless we drastically change our lifestyles and attitudes to food, stress and pollutants.
At the beginning of the 19th century, cancer was a little known disease. So it stands to reason that its escalation to epidemic levels over the last century must have something to do with modern living. Growing up, I hardly ever heard mention of breast cancer, now I have too many dear friends who have been challenged by this disease.
The Budwig Protocol was designed for all cancer patients across the board, but following its general guidelines will also help towards general protection against cancer.
The principles of this dietary Protocol, devised in the 1950s, is currently strangely echoed in an article about a new diet, launched to great fanfare in January 2019.
This new diet was instigated by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health and is called ‘The Planetary Health Diet’. It is a diet that severely reduces our reliance on meat-based foods, and was devised to save lives, feed 10 billion people and severely limit our impact on and damage to the planet.
A group of 37 scientists were brought together as part of the EAT-Lancet Commission.
Their mandate was to provide a diet that:
- prevents chronic disease and cancer
- reduces obesity
- feeds more people with fewer resources
- minimises greenhouse gas emissions
- prevents the extinction of animal species
- limits the expansion of farmland
- preserves water resources.
The Commission limited meat but did not ban it outright as they believed evidence was inconclusive that a vegan diet was the healthiest option for all. Empirical evidence suggests that a vegan diet does not suit everyone – see “The Blood Type Diet”by Dr Peter J D’Adamo.
The ‘Planetary Health Diet’
Nuts - 50g a day
Beans, chickpeas, lentils and other legumes - 75g a day
Fish - 28g a day
Eggs - 13g a day (so one and a bit a week)
Meat - 14g a day of red meat and 29g a day of chicken
Carbs - whole grains like bread and rice 232g a day and 50g a day of starchy vegetables
Dairy - 250g - the equivalent of one glass of milk
Vegetables - (300g) and fruit (200g)
The diet has room for 31g of sugar and about 50g of oils such as olive oil per day.
This roughly works out to the equivalent of one large (420g) steak a month, or one small hamburger (100g) a week, two small portions (100g) of poultry a week and two small portions of fish (100 g) per week.
The diet echoes something I have long thought about meat – if you choose to eat it then it should be used almost as a condiment and not as a huge slab of something on a plate. This of course involves being creative with your food.
However, what struck me the most about this diet was its similarity to the Budwig Protocol, a diet devised by the late Dr Joanna Budwig in the 1950s based on her cancer research. She held a doctorate in physics and chemistry and was nominated 7 times for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her work on cancer – but never won. Dr Budwig was ahead of her time.
Joanna Budwig lived a healthy life until her death at 94 from an accident. She claimed that her Protocol had a 90% success rate across all cancers. The purpose of the diet was to significantly reduce the toxic load on the body as well as promote increased oxygen in the body based on the belief that cancer cells proliferate in anaerobic conditions. Her Budwig Muesli actively increases the body’s uptake of oxygen, and when you start to take the Budwig
Muesli you can actually feel a difference after only 24 hours.
The general principles of the Budwig Protocol are:
- Sugar-free - only organic dates, RAW honey (honey that has not been heated beyond 40 C – look at www.latinhoneyshop.com products which are excellent) and Xylitol (the type extracted from Birch bark) is permitted. This limits what sweeteners can be used in cooking, but surprisingly there is much that can be done as my recipes will show you. Sugar has been demonstrated to feed cancer cells and removing refined sugar from the diet has increasingly become perhaps the only general nutritional advice that people with a cancer diagnosis are given by doctors.
- Dairy free - except for the 2% fat Quark/Cottage Cheese used for the Budwig Muesli - a concoction of linseed oil, quark/cottage cheese and freshly ground linseed which helps increase the uptake of oxygen into the cells of the body. A little organic non-homogenised sheep/goat's cheese is permitted – 50g per week. I also personally use a little organic quality parmesan cheese, as it is virtually lactose free. But no milk, no butter, yoghurt, cream cheese etc.
- No animal fats are to be used, eg lard and suet. This is because animals store toxins and hormones in lipids/body fat – this includes pesticides, herbicides (especially Roundup) and other chemicals that are sprayed onto their grazing ground and antibiotics and other chemicals that are put in their food/bodies. It is important to remember that anything the body does not recognise as food is stored in fat until it is able to be dealt with.
- Oils for cooking are limited to coconut oil because its molecular structure is not compromised by high heat. Organic olive oil may be used, and organic sunflower oil, but only in their raw state and COLD extracted, i.e. for dressings/mayonnaise, not for cooking. Heated/roasted seed oils, such as toasted sesame seed oil cannot be used. And ‘vegetable’ oils should never ever be consumed as their origins and production are often difficult to verify.
- All foods where possible should be organic, or at the very least washed in a plant-based vegetable wash. Some vegetables and fruits should never be consumed unless they are organic, such as strawberries, tomatoes, citrus and spinach as these are subjected to high levels of pesticides and fungicides pre- and post-harvest. I use ‘Veggi Wash, Fruit Too’ which removes farm chemicals, waxes, surface grime and insects and is made of plant-derived ingredients – coconut, sweet corn and palm kernel oils.
- A portion of the Budwig Muesli is to be consumed up to three times a day. This is the most important aspect of the Protocol and will be discussed fully in a later blog. This is essential eating if you are battling with cancer – Budwig recommended for it to be consumed at least twice a day. However, it can also be consumed as a prophylaxis. Since my remission, I now consume a portion every other day. The recipe is 6 tbs cottage cheese or quark that is less than 2% fat, 3 tbs organic high quality COLD extracted linseed oil and 2 tbs freshly ground flax seeds. Mix with a stick blender until the oil is COMPLETELY bonded to the quark, stir in freshly ground flax seeds and consume within 20 minutes as after this time the flax seeds will become rancid. This can be flavoured with chopped onion, chopped tomato, fresh coriander, salt and pepper, avocado, raw cacao powder and raw honey. On Amazon, you can buy a high quality linseed oil that is specifically for the Budwig Protocol called Ol Vita.
- Pork and pork products are forbidden. Pigs do not sweat which means that they do not excrete their toxins via their skin and have no lymphatic system to remove toxins from their body. They also have a digestive system that digests foods quickly, and are scavengers, eating whatever comes to hand. Remember pigswill? Additionally ham, sausages and bacon are processed with sodium nitrite - which converts in the body to nitrosamine - a known carcinogen. Nitrosamine is especially harmful to the prostrate. In fact the pinker your ham or bacon, the higher the level of sodium nitrite. Under Halal and Kosher rules, the pig is considered unclean and even in British culture pork was traditionally only consumed when there was an ‘R’ in the month – i.e. not consumed from May to August.
- No shellfish such as prawns, shrimp, lobster, Balmain bugs, crab, mussels, oysters, clams etc (sorry - Lol). This is because these creatures are bottom and filter feeders, feeding on animal and other waste. Their habitat is increasingly compromised by poor water conditions, especially in coastal regions. Under Halal and Kosher rules many of these foods are also forbidden for the same reasons. You may have noticed that farmed king prawns often taste fusty, which is a reflection of the water quality of their growing conditions.
- Only fish allowed is white fish, and oily fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, herring etc. Farmed salmon can often be contaminated and cannot be used, although I believe the Norwegian salmon farming methods are considered safe. Tuna, swordfish and other large fish such as marlin, sailfish and shark consumption should be limited to once a month because of high mercury levels.
- Avoid white flour, white bread, white pasta and gluten rich foods.
- Avoid soy and soy products – except naturally fermented soy sauce. Clearspring is a good brand. Many soy products are created with shortcuts and are genetically modified. They have a suppressive effect on the thyroid and the immune system.
- No processed foods whatsoever. Foods should be eaten as fresh as possible. Foods consumed must be additive and sulphite free. If the occasional processed food is all that is available, always read labels as sulphites are surprisingly added to so many brands. Sulphites also include inorganic sodium and potassium meta-bisulphites, a common additive.
- No artificial sweeteners of any kind, this includes diet sodas.
- No commercial ice creams, mayonnaise, salad dressings or toppings. This is mainly because the integrity of the oils used – contamination and oxidation cannot be guaranteed, as they generally have a longer shelf life than home prepared condiments. The Healing Pantry will have lots of recipes for clean, organic condiments that taste so delicious you won’t even want to buy off the shelf.
- No peanuts, or peanut oil. Peanuts are prone to aflatoxin, which is a known carcinogen. Aflatoxin can have acute or chronic toxic effects of a teratogenic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, immunotoxic or hepatotoxic nature - basically that's bad!
- A little lean organic lamb/venison/organic beef allowed up to twice a month, small portions of organic chicken, duck and turkey (Riverford are an excellent source: www.riverford.co.uk) allowed once to twice a week. Lamb is the least interfered with of all the meats as it is a young meat, likewise wild venison. I tend to eat only lamb, and as long as I know my source and know the practices of the farmers, I do not always need to eat organic.
- Maximum of 2 small glasses of red wine/champagne per week. If possible sulphite-free and organic should be consumed which are increasingly available. See www.organicwineclub.co.uk/collections/sulphite-free-organic-wines
- Tap water should be filtered where possible. The Berkey Filter System is one of the best available on the market and filters out 99.9% of all pathogens and can even be used to process pond water. https://www.berkeyfilters.com. The use of fluoride should be avoided i.e. tap water should be filtered and non-fluoride toothpaste should be used.
- Teflon saucepans and frying pans should not be used as microscopic amounts of Teflon migrates into food. Teflon is especially bad for the reproductive system. It is also important to limit your use of aluminium foil – if you do use it put a piece of greaseproof paper between the foil and the food, likewise with cling film as certain toxic plastics migrate into food, especially into fatty foods such as cheese. The nastiest of these toxic chemicals is Bisphenol A (BPA) linked to cancer, fertility and foetal development. I am always horrified when I see a Masterchef participant poaching foods wrapped in cling film - this is something we were warned against at Leith’s Cookery School back in the 80s.
- Microwave. Microwaved food destroys many nutrients and health giving benefits of foods. Mine has not been used for three years.
This may seem a huge list of can’ts and don’ts. The whole focus is to reduce the toxic load on the body and to allow the body the space to deal with the cancer and other chronic and degenerative diseases. But in truth, there is so much that can be done as long as you are creative. Everyone knows that vegan food is labour-of-love intensive, and so is this Protocol. Food must be freshly cooked. This requires planning and having a bit of a store cupboard, as well as buying certain items of equipment for your kitchen that will cut down on cooking/preparation times, such as a Vitamix, a quality stick blender, a food processor and a quality juicer.
Recently, I spoke to a nurse at a clinic specialising in Cancer who had been working there for 10+ years. I asked her what basic advice she would give to cancer patients, and what was the one thing that made a difference to surviving this disease and not surviving. She said: "One word: diet". She herself made her own mayonnaise and sauces, saying that she would never buy commercial brands and completely avoided sugar. She was a woman well into her 60s who looked great.
All the recipes to be launched over the coming months have been developed to fit in with this Protocol and, most importantly, are delicious and moreish. I don’t want to eat dull, flavourless food and nor, I expect, do you. Food should not feel like a drudge to prepare and eat, and no one will follow such a Protocol if food is not exciting and delicious. One thing I promise is that all the desserts and treats as well as daily food will be delicious, colourful and nutritious and on point with the Protocol. Can’t promise more than that.
Please note that I have received no payment from the companies whose products I endorse. I endorse them simply because I use them myself as part of my own anti-cancer protocol and consider them to be excellent.
Shannon Elizabeth x