Why I advised my friend with cancer to go vegan and the diet plan I gave her
It took a lot of courage for me to advise my old friend with cancer to go fully vegan as soon as possible.
I messaged her mum first and she said, just message her direct. And so I did, a few times, and it was really hard to do so but I had to.
This close friend of many years has been fighting cancer for a year. I felt like, is it super shitty of me to be saying this so late? Or am I overstepping the mark, insinuating that she’s received inadequate advice?
Regardless, I had to be brave and do it because of what I have watched, read, learned. What I know.
Veganism has been shown to prevent and reverse cancer.
Sounds crazy because no-one tells you – even doctors – but it’s true.
I was also inspired after crying my eyes out to ‘Be Here Now’ on Netflix, about beautiful soul Andy, the Spartacus actor, who died of cancer. He had a very similar cancer to the type my friend has. He did everything right including practising meditation, positive mental attitude (PMA) and gentle yoga. But I couldn’t help noticing he ate eggs and consumed dairy for what appeared to be the whole time. Dairy is full of powerful growth hormones which encourage cancer cells to multiply.
The science is all there, in abundance. But people with cancer are simple not being advised to go vegan.
I have now seen too many well-researched documentaries presenting widespread, peer-reviewed studies demonstrating how harmful a diet of animal-based foods is to health, and yet doctors don’t pass this info on to sick people.
Many doctors receive a shameful amount of education in nutrition.
Plus the animal agriculture business and governing bodies are tightly intertwined with government, plus thanks to rigorous lobbying, policy always favours putting meat and dairy on Eat Well guides. In America, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies make money off sick people, so it helps to keep them a little bit sick their whole lives.
So, this old friend means a lot to me. She and I were very close when we were in primary school and our relationship formed many of my fondest memories. I was devastated to hear what she is going through. She does not deserve it and I cannot image how it must be for her.
I went through a period of thinking about her every day after I found out, and I have been reading her blog about her journey ever since. She thought she’d be cured in six months max, but it’s been double that time and she doesn’t seem to be getting better. Her treatments are increasing in severity.
I have studied nutrition extensively since going vegan, so I messaged to say I believe a plant-based diet can help.
What we put into our bodies in terms of food is imperative in terms of health; eating carcinogenic foods can’t help while fighting cancer. Most animal foods are strongly linked with cancer – dairy, farmed fish, chicken and meat.
There have been many studies showing that cutting out meat and animal products – especially all dairy which is naturally packed full of powerful bovine growth hormones – can help prevent cancer growth. Studies show a vegan diet can help reverse cancer too.
Animal products all contain insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, which is a hormone that causes the body – including tumours in the body – to grow. Plant foods don’t contain this.
My friend’s mum told me she is now eating mostly veggie and have though about veganism.
So I recommended she watch What The Health and Forks Over Knives – science-based, doctor-backed health documentaries focussing on cancer – which are both on Netflix for free.
She said she has already watched at least one documentary and ‘went off on one getting all the info’ on veganism when she was first diagnosed.
But she said that due to going through treatment and juggling a lot of things that can be good for you (holistic therapies, a ‘healthy diet’, cutting out sugar , red meat and dairy), veganism slipped off her priority list.
She said that going the extra level of ‘vegan’ is too hard as she feels poorly organised when it comes to meals or cooking, especially while in hospital. She feels the best way to heal is to do ‘whatever good stuff I can whilst still feeling relaxed and coming from a place of love not fear’ – and food causes her a lot of stress even thinking about it.
Though afterwards she said does really need to address her diet and would love to have vegan meals prepped and ready. She said she would never feel the need to eat anything else but it’s tough as she doesn’t have much help and she is very busy. She said that if her latest chemo doesn’t work she would definitely try it out.
So I made and sent her this EASY A-F vegan meal prep guide
Please use it if you are interested but feel scatty, time poor or terribly unorganised.
Make porridge with oats or muesli and soy milk (use this for hot drinks too). Adding Udo’s oil or walnuts will provide the omega 3s you usually get from oily fish (there’s a cancer link with salmon).
-Boil up a load of carbs: choose from brown rice, quinoa or sweet potato (there’s also purple potato, white potato, freekeh…)
-Boil up a load of plant proteins: choose from brown, split or green lentils, or kidney, black or pinto beans (you could even use tinned baked beans or tinned lentils). OR bake chopped tofu in the oven with soy sauce (YUM)
-Then split them evenly into different Tupperware dishes to see you through the next few days.
-Add organic kale, broccoli or spinach, plus other organic vegetables like carrots, tomato, mushroom, olives red onion and avocado.
Bonus Top tip
Brown rice and lentils boil perfectly in one saucepan so there is no need to cook them separately. Just add some vegan seasoning like Bouillon from Holland & Barrett for tasty flavour.
-Fruit and nut butter: apple, banana, pear… whatever you like. Eat a few nuts or some nut butter with it.
Cheap, quick comfort food
-My partner eats Tesco own-brand vegetarian rolls (vegan soy sausage rolls). They cost like £1.50 a pack, they are filling, indulgent, and require you to simply chuck them in the oven. Perfect junk comfort food without harmful growth hormones, for when there’s little time.
-Any plant milk / plant-based dairy is fine. You can get vegan versions of any dairy in all large Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores as well as Holland & Barrett.
-Eat all fruits & vegetables in abundance. Raw is best. Buy big bags of apples, bunches of bananas, carrots etc.
Hope this helps somebody. I know my old best friend is doing amazingly but it saddens me that she is not in remission. I really hope and pray she gets better soon.