By Neil Ebsworth, guest writer for sense* and brother of sense* Founder, Jonathan. Neil, who is a cancer survivor, shares his story and some of the recipes that helped him avoid chemotherapy and radiation following his cancer diagnosis. These provided him with options that tasted great and helped him to build his immune system against future attack. The views expressed in this article are those of the author not sense*.
Get Straight to the Recipes…
1. Chocolate Brownie cake – Tame your sweet tooth with this recipe which contains NO flour and NO processed sugar. High in Omega 3 oils, antioxidants and vitamin C this brownie will satisfy the sweetest tooth whilst giving your body a well needed influx of fruit and nuts. Click HERE
2. Lasagna – A vegetarian version of the Italian classic. It looks, tastes and feels like the high carb, meat and pasta dish. But this version takes the carbs out of the pasta. Replaces the meat with high zinc alternatives including lentils and chick peas. Click HERE
3. Spring Vegetable & Bean Stew – a stew of vegetables, chick peas, lentils and beans that will satisfy you after a long day and invigorate your digestive immune response at the same time. – Click HERE
Covid-19 – The Upside?
I think you would forgive me for saying that we are living through unprecedented times. As the world is gripped by this global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus or Covid-19, it has truly been heart-warming to see that humanity has returned to our lives.
As a result of this crisis our focus on ourselves has been diverted in the direction of and for the well-being of others.
And in that spirit I have written this personal testimony about my recent experience with cancer and share some of the recipes I used to help fight it off.
Not medical Advice
Of course, this isn’t in any way supposed to be medical advice. Always seek advice from your medical practitioner if you suffer from a condition. I am merely sharing what I have found to work for me.
As someone who was drifting into middle age, generally unfit and slightly over-weight when diagnosed.
To the person I am now. Using simple underlying principles and natural, fresh foods to get back to health, avoiding toxic medication and defeating my personal nemesis…testicular cancer.
No Quick Fix for the Immune System
There has been much written since the virus struck about ‘boosting’ immunity to fight off Covid-19, some of which I think is misplaced. There is no quick fix to repairing a damaged immune system.
The problem we face today is that the western lifestyle of high carb, sugar, salt and gluten has been depressing our immune systems. Combined with our alcohol and tobacco intake this means the ability of our body to fight off infections or mutation is at an historical low.
Food and nutrition is the fuel that makes our bodies tick and our organs work properly. Simply put, you can’t put chip pan fat in a Ferrari car and expect high performance. So why should you expect your body to do the same?
My Point of View
My humble aim is to hopefully start you on a path in a new direction with some great recipes. Not to give you a one stop solution. It is a path I had to take for specific reasons and the recipes here are just a glimpse of how you can alter your diet by replacing bad choices with good ones.
By using the point of least resistance you can, by changing some ingredients, change your whole nutritional input. And do this without necessarily losing your favourite foods along the way or drastically altering your habits.
Although I am a cancer survivor, it’s hard these days to find someone who hasn’t had to deal with cancer. Whether themselves or with a member of their family. So I don’t hold it up as some kind of badge of honour but more as an explanation and background to this article.
I should also point out that I am not a Vegetarian or Vegan. I do though hold in high regard those who are able to tread the path of a plant based diet. There are very good reasons both biologically and environmentally why plant based diets are the way to go.
Unfortunately, like many people I am a creature of habit. I am not a fan of total change! But once diagnosed with cancer, I looked in the mirror (literally) and knew that something had to give. So plant based food became far more prominent.
Not a Broken Record but Important Stuff
To anyone reading this that is currently on a high carb, high sugar diet this is a good place to start to change your habits but your immune system will take time to recover from a depressed and damaged state. I see many articles about boosting your immunity to Covid-19 like its an overnight short term thing that you can turn on and off like a switch. The short answer is, you can’t and it’s not.
Conditions such as gut inflammation and insulin resistance that many people suffer from without really noticing are long term chronic conditions that take time to recover from and therefore so does the damage that these conditions do to your immune system. Please take these unprecedented times as a wake up call to change your habits for the long term.
Good Reason to Listen
As someone who has had a testicle removed by surgery I feel empowered enough to state without exception that prevention is by far the better option than waiting for the cure!
Getting back on track, I set about making a plan to try and ensure that the changes I needed to make would cause the smallest impact on my eating habits.
This would make them sustainable over the long term because once you have cancer, there is no going back. Its not a short term diet. It becomes your way of life. That is not to say it diminishes the quality of your life. It most certainly does not. It is just different. And minimizing the ‘differences’ I found was the key to sustaining that change.
Creatures of Habit
We are all creatures of habit. Unfortunately, our society has developed in a way that those habits are mostly bad ones.
Ever since the baby food industry started adding sugar to its products because it knew it was addictive, the food industry has competed to add the most addictive toxins to our food so we keep going back for more.
More salt, more refined sugar plus a myriad of synthesised chemicals. It is testament to the human body that we manage to endure. But the cost is our susceptibility to chronic illness.
Cancers, Autoimmune and other chronic conditions are the prices we pay. And just like any addict trying to get clean, changing the habits of a lifetime is hard.
The pain of the ensuing withdrawals on top of the treatments for the disease are usually too much change at one time for most people.
So masking the change in the form of foods that tasted like the ones I was used to…but without the toxicity that they delivered and instead, crammed full of the nutrients my body was craving was the single most important step towards not only beating the cancer, but to making sure it never returned.
Fighting Coronavirus v Fighting Cancer
Having read much of what has been written on the effects of Coronavirus and the best way to increase immunity against it, I realized that my ongoing battle with cancer and the diet I adopted provided some interesting similarities.
Boosting dietary requirements for minerals such as zinc whilst excluding gluten, processed sugar and carbohydrates were all common factors.
As I’ve said, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan for the reason stated. My focus has always been on health. If you are either of the aforementioned, I know there are substitutes for some aspects of these recipes that will fit well. Where possible I have mentioned alternatives but I’m sure there are more knowledgeable people out there who can adjust for their own requirements.
Let’s Get The Introductions Out of the Way….
Hi, My name is Neil and about a year ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. In some respects I received the news with a level of inevitability.
Today, we all know people who have one form of cancer or another. We have either all accepted it as a part of life or are just too over worked to notice that cancer stats have gone from 1 in 4 to nearly 1 in 2 over a period of just a few decades.
The way we live our lives today is just too busy to deal with illness until it happens and when it does, we think, (or hope), that the doctors have a treatment that will sort it out.
Unfortunately, I had already witnessed the effects of cancer treatment on my wife who has been battling the ongoing effects of chemo and radiation for the past eight years.
It was something I was determined to avoid at all costs and so when my cancer diagnosis was confirmed I set about making the changes I needed to fight it.
I had two initial goals. Stop the cancer spreading whilst I waited for surgery and try to avoid the need for chemotherapy after the tumour was removed.
In practical terms this meant removing gluten that causes gut inflammation, processed sugars which feed the cancer cells and carbohydrates which are really just sugars stuck together. And like most people this meant trying to alter my diet which contained all of these elements in large quantities.
Covid-19 v Cancer – Different Invaders – Same Fight!
You might think that there must be a lot of differences between an external virus threat and a growing number of mutating cancer cells. But our bodies response is the same.
The immune system doesn’t differentiate between something it doesn’t recognise and will, if in good working order, defend against the threat to the best of its ability.
In both cases, having a working immune system can hold the key to life and death.
Like v Need
So how to replace the food that I was used to eating with the foods I now needed to be eating with the least impact to my taste buds.
I didn’t particularly like the healthy options. I wasn’t conditioned for the change in taste and textures. Being forced down that path would have made the whole cancer journey that much more difficult.
So I set about trying to recreate food that my brain could recognise and, more importantly, my body would also appreciate!
Food is Chemistry
When we combine ingredients to make a dish we are creating chemical reactions.The ingredients react to the heat and each other to create the resulting look, taste and overall experience that we would expect from the recipe.
So my goal was to create the same end result of look taste and enjoyment but by swapping out the bad ingredients and substituting in some that would actually enhance my immune system.
Eradicating Refined Sugar, Carbs and Gluten
My aim was to eradicate added or processed sugar and reduce carbohydrate and gluten content whilst at the same time introducing nutrients that the body needed to boost immunity.
Through much trial and error I came up with some great alternative recipes for some family favourites.
The three I have shared with you here are just some of a wider experiment. They jumped out at me as being particularly helpful in terms of immunity and high zinc content amongst other great ingredients in relation to Covid-19.
I just had a perfect result on my blood work and scans to say that after 9 months post surgery I’m still clear of all signs of cancer.
Not that these 3 recipes were the sole reason. They made up part of a wide variety of dishes, treatments and supplements combined with exercise that has led me to this point.
When I was offered chemotherapy post surgery as a ‘preventative’ measure, I politely declined.
I had spent 3 months prior to surgery detoxifying myself and oxygenating my body with good food medicine. I decided to continue the path rather than poison myself with a carcinogenic treatment. As my mother commented on the recent ‘all clear’ news, ‘I must be doing something right!’
I hope you enjoy the recipes.
1. Chocolate Brownie cake – Tame your sweet tooth with this recipe which contains NO flour and NO processed sugar. High in Omega 3 oils, antioxidants and vitamin C this brownie will satisfy the sweetest tooth whilst giving your body a well needed influx of fruit and nuts. – Click Here
2. Lasagna – A vegetarian version of the Italian classic. It looks, tastes and feels like the high carb meat and pasta dish but this version takes the carbs out of the pasta and replaces the meat with with high zinc alternatives including lentils and chick peas. – Click Here
Related articles that may interest you….
This is not a sense* article. There may be opinions or statements in this article that are not approved by sense* and do not represent the views and opinions of the company.