Curing Cancer with Broccoli and Duct Tape!

Like many who have enjoyed the sun for many decades, I have ended up with occasional spots of squamous cell cancer. Instead of minor skin surgery I developed a treatment using broccoli and duct tape . . . an inexpensive treatment I can do at home and which provides a complete cure!

It is generally considered that these cancerous breakouts occur in cells that were damaged, perhaps many year ago by ultra-violet rays and particularly when severe sunburn was experienced. Often only one or two such sunburns will result in damage decades later.

I first experienced squamous cell cancer in 2009 when my GP referred me to a dermatologist in response to my complaint about a scaly area on my ear. The end result was a Mohs surgery to repair the damage. In this type of surgery, the surgeon removes a thin layer of the affected area and tests are made to determine if all the cancerous cells are removed. This process is repeated until all the cancer has been removed. I was fortunate and only one scrape was required to clean out the cancer. Once that is done, a skin graft is made to cover the affected area. In my case a bit of loose skin from behind the ear was used for the graft. The following is a photo of the end result. The graft is the pinkish area on the forward central part of the ear.

As a result of that occurrence I started having annual screenings of my whole body for skin cancer. Immediately, I received treatments on my face for areas which are deemed to be pre-cancerous. These are areas that typically get a bit scaley or rough. I recognize them now and seek treatment if they occur. The treatment consists of cryotherapy with a liquid nitrogen spray that freees the area killing the skin cells in that area. The killed cells slough off over a period of a few days and the new skin is smooth and not pre-cancerous.

About 2014 a body screening discovered a spot on my back that looked cancerous. A biopsy was done and it turned out to be squamous cell cancer. I went back to the dermatologist and a small portion of the skin was removed to deal with the problem.

Then in the summer of 2018 another such spot was detected on my back. Again a biopsy was done and it turned out to be squamous cell cancer.

Squamous cell cancer growth located on back near the spine. It is about 1/8th inch in diameter (9 August 2018)

I was traveling a lot at that time and after three failed attempts to schedule the minor surgery, I got to wondering if there was something I could do about it myself.

In 2018 Dr. Joel K. Kahn’s book “The Plant-Based Solution” [1]was published. I had read the book and recalled that he had written of the science behind the cancer fighting qualities of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Many other authors had commented on the importance of these foods in the diet for fighting cancer and we had been consuming such vegetables as an important part of our diet. Yet I still was getting these cancer instances. Here is what Dr. Kahn wrote:

“Many Studies show that the higher the intake of [cruciferous] foods, the lower the risk of cancers. There is a beneficial chemical called sulforaphane that can be produced by eating these foods. Sulforaphane leads to an increase in the production of protective anti-oxidants via a pathway called nrf2.

The trick is getting the most sulforaphane from your cruciferous vegetables is to chew them. Cruciferous vegetables are like a “glow stick” because before ou break them open by chewing, two chemicals are kept apart. The enzyme called myrosinase is separated from the precursor of sulforaphane called glucophoranin. . . . When the foods are chewed and cell walls broken down, the precursor and the enzyme mix together producing the sulforaphane, and then the nrf2 pathway is activated” [1]

I recalled the gist of this explanation on a flight which I had to take on short notice and which had caused yet another cancellation of the surgery to remove my cancer. I recalled, too, that Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., in his lectures (for example in his PlantStock 2012 presentation) had also talked about the need to chew cruciferous vegetables to get the full cancer fighting benefit of the food.

I got to wondering: It is fine to do all this chewing, but then the food goes through the digestive system and into the blood stream and then has to make its way to where the cancer is in the body. In this case the cancer was on my skin. Why not just break up the broccoli cells using a mortar and pestle and put it directly on the cancer to save it the long, somewhat random trip through the body?

When I returned home from my trip, I explained to my wife, Christine, what I had planned. It required her assistance because I could not reach my back where the cancer was growing. She looked at me in utter disbelief! However, she did agree to put some ground up broccoli on my cancer to see if it would work (I pulled out all the stops! I remembered that in my childhood some of the older people sometimes had mustard plasters on their bodies — mustard is cruciferous). Then the problem was how to keep the ground up broccoli on my cancer spot. Solution! Duct Tape! (it solves a lot of problems). But we also needed to keep the moisture in the ground broccoli so that it could work. Nothing like a bit of plastic wrap. And that is how we started the treatment.

Making a mash of broccoli using
a mortar and pestel
Putting the broccoli mash onto
the affected area
putting plastic wrap over the
area to retain the moisture of the mash
Holding the broccoli patch in
place with duct tape
We eventually converted to using these commercially available patches A broccoli patch using the Tegaderm product

At the same time, Christine, ever sceptical of my strange ideas, decided to do her own research. Lo! and behold! It turns out that this approach is practiced in New Zealand. An article written by Dr. J. Rozencwajg, NMD in the The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine [2] describes how cases of squamous and basal cell carcinomas, much more serious than mine, are successfully treated by applying broccoli to the wounds. Dr. Rozencwajg provides many photographs to illustrate the success of the treatment as well as a detailed discussion of the biochemical nature of the cure. The article also provides a number of other references supporting the science behind these cures.

More recently, Life Extension Magazine has produced an article on the value of cruciferous vegetables. [3] This article gives a good description of the value of cruciferous vegetables in curing cancer as well as the the problems of delivering the sulforaphane to the cancer site. It also discusses DIM, another active nutrient also found in these vegetables. Life Extension sells a supplement that packages the myrosinase separately from the glucophoranin in a capsule so that the two do not mix until they reach the small intestine, hopefully thereby improving the
bioavailability of sulforaphane at the sites of cancer in the body. But if you are dealing with skin cancer I think that a poultice is the best solution.

So we applied the poultices to my back. It was a somewhat random approach. We would put a poultice on and then forget about it for a number of days. Then we would replace. This went on for a couple of months or so. When we took the poultice off we could see that there was still some evidence of the cancer and we would continue with another one. But eventually, after a few months we found that we could no longer detect the cancer and so we stopped applying the poultices.

A few months later, I went in for a routine body scan for cancer. As usual, I was again ‘zapped’ on the face for pre-cancerous ‘rough’ spots. But, then, the dermatologist realized that the previously diagnosed cancer was still there. She wanted to do another biopsy. I declined, which led to a ‘CYA’ letter from her organization. I realized I needed to go back to my broccoli treatment.

By this time I had found a suitable, commercially available, alternative to duct tape. We resumed the treatment and tried to be more rigorous in pursuing it. After a couple of months or so, the cancer seemed to have again disappeared. However, based on our previous experience, we continued the treatment for several more weeks, although we could not see any evidence of the cancer.

Recently, I had another body scan by my dermatologist. SUCCESS! The dermatologist confirmed the cancer was gone!

Conclusions

  1. Avoid sunburns!
  2. Squamous cell cancer can be cured using broccoli poultices
  3. The more frequently you refresh the poultice, the quicker the cure will occur
  4. After all signs of the cancer have visibly disappeared, continue the treatment for awhile
  5. Have a dermatologist verify the cure.

References:

[1] The Plant-Based Solution, Joel K. Kahn, MD, Sounds True Inc., Boulder, CO 80306, 2018, ISBN9781622038619, p.82
[2] A Simple, Natural Topical Treatment fr Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Maybe Others, Dr. J. Rozencwajg, NMD, The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine, February – May 2013., http://www.natuhttp://www.naturalmedicine.nralmedicine.net.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Broccoli-for-Non-Melanoma-SkincancerNATMED-8-p63-66.pdf
[3] Reducing Cancer Risk with Cruciferous Vegetables, by Kirk Stokel, Life Extension Magazine, August 2020, pp 55-60 (.pdf download available at link)

Longevity Resources

Where does one go now for information on longevity? As I explained in our introductory pages, I have been interested in longevity at least as far back as the 1970s. For the first years of the this site, our focus has been mostly on health and nutrition. In the past two years, however, I have focused more directly on the burgeoning field of biotechnology that is addressing aging, how to arrest it and how to reverse it, the aim of which is to enhance longevity. In this blog I give a list of resources that I use to pursue my interests in this area.

The recent developments in this flourishing, potentially disruptive, field of biotechnology have occurred mainly since about 1990 as a result of the evolution of an ‘engineering’ based approach to analyzing aging. In this approach aging is interpreted as a gradual decline of the functions of the body due to degradation of functions at the cellular and sub-cellular, even molecular level, in the body. In response to this view, the task is to arrest such decline and then to reverse such decline through rejuvenation of the original levels of functionality.

Books

Ending Aging

Perhaps the seminal work in this field, the publication of which built on work of the previous decade or two, is “Ending Aging” written by Aubrey deGrey, Ph.D. with Michael Rae in 2007. Added to this publication has been their efforts through the SENS foundation to promote these concepts to lead to treatments that achieve the desired reversal of aging.

Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To

Written by David Sinclair, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School with Matthew D. lApLante, this book published in 2019, gives an up to date view of many aspects of the current state of life extension therapies as well as a view of the future. The authors provide some of the background for the belief that aging is a disease that can be treated, information on recent developments in biotechnology to support that belief and some discussion of the implications for society of extending life span.

Telomers

There is a belief in some areas of the community that the introduction of telomerase into cells will make them perpetual, leading to increased longevity. Stem cells in the body (as opposed to stomatic cells) do have telomerase. Cancer cells also have telomerase and so there is fear in some circles that upregulating telomerase will cause cancer. Telomerase treatments have been done in lab animals and (outside the regulated world) to some humans. There are a few books on telomers as well as many research articles. The Telomerase Revolution by Michael Fossel, MD, PhD published in 2015 is a good introduction to this field

Organizations

There are a number of organizations that support research, education and political activity to promote longevity. These include:

SENS

The SENS organization, is located in Mountain View CA, it supports research and promotes understanding of ageing as a disease

The Methuselah Foundation

The foundation supports research into longevity through grants and educational programs.

Vitality in Aging

This is a longitudinal and interventional program launched at RAADfest in 2019 and funded by Life Extension and the participants. It is an outgrowth of the Age Reversal Network. The founding presentation at RAADfest, by Bill Faloon can be viewed online.

People Unlimited

People Unlimited is located in Scottsdale, Arizona and was founded by Jim Strole and Bernadeane who also run the RAADfest. Membership is free through their site. They have many events in Scottsdale and many of the event presentations are available through their site.

Age Reversal Network

The Church of Perpetual Life

The Church of Perpetual Life was founded by Bill Faloon (founder of Life Extension and major contributor to many of the activities in the cryogenic and anti-aging community) to provide a pulpit for expounding on his belief of the possibility of perpetual life. There is a physical manifestation of the church in Hollywood, Florida. The presentations made at the church are available on line and include those by many of the leaders in the anti-aging community.

Conferences

There is a rapidly increasing number of conferences related to longevity. Generally they serve three constituencies (which overlap): the research community, the investor community and the consumers who are looking for solutions now. There are various lists available of upcoming conferences, a couple of which are:

  • John Furber provides a list of aging related conferences on his Legendary Pharmaceuticals website. John’s list tends to be of the more academic sort of conferences
  • Reason provides as list of upcoming events from time to time in his weekly newsletter
  • Below are some of the conferences that I have either attended or hope to attend:

    SENS Berlin

    This conference which has been held since 2002 (first biannually and now annually) is mostly focused on the research community with an emphasis on presenting new research, generally within the framework of the SENS program outlined in Ending Aging. It is now held in Berlin under the auspices of SENS and Forever Healthy. The next meeting is in Berlin on May 21 – 23, 2020. In 2019 approximately 500 persons attended. Here are some of my notes from the 2018 conference.

    RAADfest

    RAADfest (Revolution Against Aging and Death)is now in its 6th year. It is orientated towards the consumer — persons looking for solutions now to enhance their longevity. Founded by James Strole and Bernadeane of People Unlimited, it is closely related to the work of the Life Extension Foundation which was created by Bill Falloon
    This conference focuses on delivering information on therapies that are available now. Some of the talks are excellent in terms of science and results. Many others are of little practical use. It is a vibrant community and more than 1100 people attended the last conference. The next conference is in October 2020. Here are some of my notes from the 2019 conference.

    Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

    The Life Extension Advocacy Foundation sponsors an annual Ending Age-Related Diseases: Investment Prospects and Advances in Research, in New York City conference. This year’s conference will be on August 20-21 at the Stern Auditorium of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York City, USA). Videos of presentations at earlier conferences are available on their website.

    Longevity Therapeutics

    The second annual Longevity Therapeutics conference was held in January 2020 in San Francisco. It is anticipated that the 3rd will be next January in the same city. Reason has written an excellent review of the conference.

    Magazines, E-magazines and Websites

    Life Extension

    Life Extension is a company based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL which sells supplements. They produce a monthly magazine, named Life Extension and maintain a website to promote and sell their products and which also provides links to their magazine on-line. Their magazine is free and can be ordered from their website. It contains many detailed and fully referenced articles on aspects of health and longevity. I recommend the magazine.

    Fighting Aging! Newsletter

    The Fight Aging! Newsletter is an e-magazine that is published weekly. It contains summaries of research papers with comment and review. In addition it provides commentary on the state of longevity biosciences and biobusiness. It is free from the website. At first I found it a challenging read but as I become more familiar with the field I find it easier to read and more vital to my understanding of what is happening.

    Forever Healthy Newsletter

    Forever Healthy issue a newsletter on an infrequent basis which provides information on research into treatments for aging. It is free by registering at their website

    Methuselah Foundation Newsletter

    Sign up for the newsletter on their website

    Peter Attia Website

    Peter is an MD as well as a scientist and athlete. He His website and newsletter provide podcasts and information on healthspan and longevity.

Notes from RAADfest 2019

The Revolution Against Aging And Death (RAAD) is growing! Over 1100 revolutionaries attended the 4th annul RAADfest in Las Vegas this past weekend. There were flag waving revolutionaries, but even more exciting were the results reported by the revolutionaries. The battle is well engaged and there is significant progress towards victory!

I was part of the movement meeting at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. There are very interesting developments occurring in reversing aging by bio-regeneration. In some cases it will take years for these developments to go through the regulatory steps in the United States and Europe. However, some are available now, through delivery in other countries (this is particularly true for stem cell therapies that are proving effective). In other cases costs at present are very high and it will take a few years for scaling factors to reduce these costs to more accessible levels.

There were about 1100 full time attendees registered for the three day conference with additional numbers attending on day passes. The conference consisted of a series of presentations on progress against aging, an exhibition hall called “RAADcity” where vendors could display/sell their products, communal meals at lunch on the Friday and Saturday as well as supper on Saturday, and a party on Saturday evening. For those paying a premium fee for VIP status there was a “Speakers” party on Friday evening in the penthouse (where Elvis stayed when he played at the hotel).

The RAADFest 2019 website was prepared before the show and the information on it contains some information for the 2019 event but also information from the 2018 event.

Presentations

The conference started with a welcoming statement by James Strole and Bernadeane. They looked forward to reaching the tipping point on aging when most people and governments would regard aging as a disease.

After introductory remarks by James Strole and Bernadeane, there were three days of presentations. I comment on some of the presentations in the first two days and unfortunately was not present for the last day.

  • Bill Faloon, CEO of Life Extension, announced the launch of the “Vitality in Aging” longitudinal study of aging, combined with an intervention program in which some participants will receive treatment(s)to try to slow or reverse aging. The slides of his presentation are on Slideshare. A particular offering of the presentation was the option to join the study for $595 (details of this are in the slides). The Life Extension booth that was offering this was swamped throughout the show. The major problem with joining was the amount of time it took to get through the enlistment process (generally a few hours, including completing a 10 page health questionnaire, medical exam and blood samples)
  • Ray Kurzwell gave a video presentation, from his office at Google, on the impact of AI on Medicine. It was a fascinating talk which included coverage of the exponential growth of computing power in AI and forecasts of having our brains directly connected to the cloud by 2040.
  • Dr. Orn Adalsteinsson, founder of the International Strategic Cancer Alliance, presented on developments in cancer treatments. Of particular interest to me was a tumor targeted approach in breast cancer where a needle tipped with a laser is inserted into the tumor and the light is used to destroy the tumor cells which are then removed by the normal immune system reaction. Some of this work is not yet approved in the US but is available in Nassau in the Bahamas.
  • Dr. Nichola Conlon, CEO and founder of Nuchido, gave a presentation on the TIME+ product they have developed to enhance NAD+. She reported that their treatment was four times as effective as using NR supplementation. They had a pallet of their product in their booth. It was sold out in a few hours. The product (made and warehoused in the US) is available through their site.
  • Dr. Valerio di Nicola of the West Sussex Hospital NHS foundation Trust gave a fascinating presentation on the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques to provide stem cell support to joint repair. The procedure involves developing a scaffold embedded with the stem cells and then inserting it through a small incision at the joint. A short video demonstrated the procedure. Images of the resultant repair showed regeneration of missing tissues as well re-alignment of bone structures. The treatment is presently available in Italy.
  • Dr. Dmitro Klokol of Stellar Biomolecular Research and European Wellness presented on recent advances in stem cell research. He indicated that they were being successful in treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in this way. The research was largely being done in Germany and with treatment delivery at some of their hospitals around the world.
  • Dr. Bill Andrews, founder of Sierra Sciences, and one of the pioneers in telomere research, gave a presentation on the current state of telomerase inducement. He reviewed the science of telomeres a field in which he has been working for many years. In his conclusion he indicated that a clinical study for tolomerase gene therapy in a patient, should start in November 2019. More details can be seen on the website of Libella.
  • Dr. Ward Dean, Medical Director of International Anti-Aging Systems, presented on cognitive enhancement. He covered the development of treatment for Parkinsons’s leading to a detailed discussion of the drug deprenyl which he believes everyone should be taking.
  • Dr. Greg Fahy, CEO Intervene Immune, presented the results of the work they have done on thymus regeneration using a mix of FDA approved drugs (Metformin, DHEA and rhGH). He explained, as widely reported in the press, that the participants of the study reduced their biological age (as measured by four separate epigenetic “clocks”) by an average 2.5 years in a one year period. The work has been published. Intervene Immune is now seeking to raise $1+ M for a larger study of their intervention technique.
  • Liz Parrish, founder and CEO of BioViva reported on the work being done by her company in the area of gene therapy. They hope, by scaling delivery and delivering multiple gene therapies in one delivery vector, to significantly reduce costs of treatment (which currently can amount to $300,000 per patient). She was the first person to receive telomerase gene and myostatin inhibition therapy in this manner. BioViva is looking for investors

RAADCity

A great feature of RAADCity was the portion of the event devoted to booths for organizations selling anti-aging and rejuvenation products, raising funding, etc. I did not have enough time to do a thorough review of all that was there and can only provide a few broad overview comments:

  • By far the busiest booths were those of the new VIA (Vitality in Aging) booth, The Life Extension Booth and the LAbcorp all associated with the in initiative announced by Bill Faloon (see above). The number of people interested in joining the study overwhelmed the facilities at times, blocking the aisles in front of other booths
  • There were many booths selling infrared red light treatments of various sorts
  • There were several booths with offerings to enhance NAD+. Of these the busiest was Nichido’s, especially after Dr. Nicola Conlon gave her talk. A small booth, there was always a line up of people buying or registering to buy the product and to talk with Nicola.
  • There were a number of booths offering skin treatments, massage therapy, muscle treatments and similar products/services, often with demonstrations
  • There were several booths looking for investors including Intervene Immune, BioViva, and Zhittya

RAADCity hours were not the most convenient which added to the difficulty of determining what was available.

Breakfast with Jose Cordeiro

On 4 May 2019, Christine and I spent an exciting hour with Dr. Jose Cordeiro author of “La Muerte de la Muerte” and candidate for the European Parliament. While currently living in Spain, Jose is in many ways a citizen of the world continually traveling as he pursues the many areas in which he is active. He is an exciting futurist with fascinating view of the opportunities that are evolving for mankind. During the short time we spent with Jose we talked about a number of the interests that he has:

  • Food. We met for breakfast at a hotel. That is always a difficult situation for us, food-wise, as we follow a whole foods plant based diet. However, with Jose this was not a problem. He does intermittent fasting from Friday noon until Monday noon, it was Saturday morning, and so we had coffee. It is interesting to see how many people in the longevity community do some kind of fasting as well as being very careful what they eat. They all are virtually all healthy and youthful in appearance and actions
  • The situation in Venezuela. Jose is from Venezuela though now living in Spain. We share a common concern for the plight of the people of Venezuela and the state of the country under the Maduro regime. We talked about the Monroe Doctrine and the need, unfortunately, for U.S. action particularly when faced by the reality of major Cuban and growing Russian support of the Maduro regime. Jose had spent the previous two days in Miami meeting with the Latino community working on their efforts to help Venezuelans
  • The European Parliament elections coming up on 26 May. Jose is running to be a Member of the European Parliament for Spain, where he now lives. He is with the MIEL party. As he describes MIEL it is not on the left and it is not on the right — it is from the future. Jose is devoting all of his time and resources to the campaign. We have made a contribution to his campaign. Please look at some of his campaign material and if you can make a contribution to his campaign. Leaders of his caliber in the European parliament will not only benefit Europe, but the world
  • Brexit. In the context of European government Jose made some comments I had not heard before concerning the state of politics in Europe due to the Brexit situation. Jose described how the on/off status of the departure was creating paralysis in the European Parliament. We have been getting a lot of reports on the impact in Britain but had not been aware of the effect in Europe.
  • Aging is a disease. An important part of Jose’ work is his effort to get governments to recognize aging as a disease. This is part of the platform of the MIEL party. Recognition of aging as a disease will cause governments to support research into methods to reduce the tragic mortality from aging, through better health and life extension
  • Cryogenics. Jose was in Tampa to present a paper on cryogenics and government. There are interesting legal questions associated with the concept of death if a person chooses to have their body preserved through cryogenics for subsequent resuscitation. What is death in such a case? How does a person preserve their assets for use after resuscitation?
  • Population Triangle. Jose described the problem with populations in the developed world. In the past there would be many children, fewer parents and even fewer grandparents and older people. Now most developed nations (e.g. Germany and Japan) have shrinking populations as not enough children are born to even maintain population numbers. This will have major impacts on nations and economies. Coincidentally our son, Adrian, sent us at the time we were talking a link to an article describing exactly this issue.
  • La Muerte de la Muerte. Jose is co-author with David Wood of the book “La Muerte de la Muerte” (“The Death of Death”), written in Spanish, a best seller in Spain now in its second printing. The book is available in other languages but not yet in English. The Portuguese version is coming out soon.

Treating Your Prostate Cancer

Coping with Prostate Cancer

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be a life-shattering experience, although the prognosis for 5 year survival is very high. There are alternative/supplemental treatments, to the standard treatments, that actually provide a cure so that after remission there is disappearance of the cancer and no recurrence. In this blog I outline some of the information I have encountered in the past few years.

Some Background

A number of years ago a friend of mine died from prostate cancer. He was a little older than me, a WWII veteran who as a senior officer in the military police had been assigned in the closing weeks of the war as a liason officer with the British forces in the north of Germany. We knew each other through an organization called the Scottish American Military Society. He would tell the fascinating story of the immense power of the bagpipes. In one city in northern Germany, an SS commander would not surrender his forces to the advancing British Army. The British commander, not wanting to attack with his forces, with the resultant casualties amongst his troops, decided to use his ultimate weapon — his pipe band! This pipe band moved forward, and within earshot of the enemy, started to play. Eventually, the Germans started to try to wipe the band out with mortar fire. The band moved and started again. After a few hours of this ‘cat and mouse’ manouvering, the Germans acknowledged defeat and surrendered!. My friend was a great example of the best in the U.S. Army and it was a great honor to salute him at his funeral. But back to the sad circumstances of his death and the problem of prostate cancer.

This was the closest I had come to the disease and I was concerned about my ignorance of it and also of whether I needed to be concerned for myself. <--!I will relate my experiences below.–>

A few years ago I met a particularly vibrant and exciting person through my work. I have since come to consider him a special friend with whom I share a number of common interests. He is a successful businessman with a lovely family and the kind of person who was keeping himself in good shape by continually exercising.

Shortly after I met him I learned that he was a prostate cancer ‘survivor’. Ten or more years ago he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had been given treatments which included radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer had gone into remission for a few years but then, about the time I met him, it had recurred and he was again on treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, which I learned about sometime after I met him.

I encouraged him to consider moving to a whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet. While he listened and thought it might be helpful, he was not ready to do that at the time — sometime in the future he thought. Over the past couple of years as I heard of his continued treatments I would again raise the suggestion but it did not take. Sadly, in more recent months he come to experience one of the dibilitating side effects of his treatment. He is now suffering from lympho edema which has balooned his body below his rib cage so that he now has trouble walking and sitting. It is agonizing to see this happen to such a fine person.

I believe, and there is evidence to demonstrate, that if he had adopted a WFPB diet his condition would have stabilized and perhaps he would have seen some reversal of the damage before it reached such a debilitating stage. Perhaps I did not provide convincing arguments to win him over? So it occurs to me that I really should take the time to summarize some of the reasons that I think anyone with prostate cancer should at least supplement whatever treatment he is on with a conversion to a WFPB diet. I cannot compete with the professionals who have written on this subject, but I can provide some summaries of their work highlighting the reasons they give.

How Not To Die, chapter 13, by Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. Greger is a highly respected, best selling author and proponent of the WFPB diet. His Nutrition Facts website and free service provides an immense range of information on the details of plants, nutrition and health. Do sign up for his free daily emails which usually provide a 3-4 minute video on some specific aspect of nutrition.

In his best selling “How Not To Die”, his 13 page chapter “How Not To Die From Prostate Cancer” is a fact filled presentation of the research supporting a WFPB approach to treating prostate cancer. (This presentation is well documented with references to peer-reviewed articles published in leading medical journals). I just list some of the highlights:

  • for most men prostate cancer does not progress very aggressively. Five year survival rates approach 100% (note in treating cancer there is little talk of cures, just five year survival rates!) There is time for someone diagnosed with prostate cancer to research the literature, inform themselves and make rational decisions for themselves, based on their personal conditions, prior to opting for medical intervention.
  • milk and milk products (butter, cheese, etc.) as well as eggs and poultry are proven in vitrio (in petri dish experiments) to enhance the growth of cancers, including prostate cancers. In human studies with control groups and with prostate cancer patients, such foods promote the growth of prostate cancers. In epidimological studies of human populations a decrease in consumption of these foods correlates with lower incidence of prostate cancer
  • exercise is important in fighting cancer, but the impact of significant exercise (such as 1 hour per day, 5 days a week of intense exercise) is not as significant as a WFPB diet in controlling prostate cancer
  • There is a long discussion of the value of lignans in the diet to stop the progression of prostate cancer or even in some cases to reverse it. Flax seed is a particular, readily available lignan and consumption of 3 tablespoons per day has been shown to give the desired effect in many people. Note that the flaxseed needs to be milled and to preserve its potency it is a good idea to keep it in the freezer after opening your package.

Here is a video of this information as presented by Dr. Greger. (about 6 minutes)

The Plant Based Solution, Chapter 7, by Dr. Joel Kahn

Dr. Kahn, founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity is a best selling author of many books related to cardiac health and nutrition. He has been a vegan for over 40 years having started in his teens.Most recently he produced “The Plant Based Solution” which clarifies why you should be on a WFPB diet.

In chapter 7 of his book, Dr. Kahn highlights the importance of a WFPB diet in preventing, arresting and/or reversing cancer. He devotes much of the chapter to covering the effectiveness of the diet in dealing with prostate cancer. He particularly singles out and advises how to use broccoli as a main nutritional pillar in dealing with prostate cancer. This is an easy suggestion to adopt and follow: do read and heed!

You might also want to read this list of five items that Dr. Kahn suggests for dealing with your prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer by the numbers

I’m a mathematician and so I always like to analyze situations from a numerical point of view. Here are some numbers as they apply to prostate cancer (these statistics are for the United States — similar numbers apply to other nations in the developed world.)

  • population: The population of the United States is about 325,000,000
  • prostate cases diagnosed per year: about 165,000
  • prostate deaths per year: about 30,000; almost as many as are killed in car accidents
  • 5 year survival rate: about 98.2%

Most of these numbers come from the National Cancer Institute website.

Prostate cancer will affect about 11.2% of American males during their lifetime. Most of those affected will be over 50 years of age so this is a significant concern for older males, which is why rectal exams and PSA tests are often ordered for them. Not only do you want to ensure you are monitoring these factors but you also want to be taking proactive steps such as those recommended by Dr. Greger and Kahn to protect yourself.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Certain symptoms might be indicative of prostate cancer, including:

  • a frequent need to urinate
  • waking up frequently in the night to urinate
  • pain or difficulty in urinating

Additionally many physicians will recommend one or both of two tests that are commonly used to look for prostate cancer – a digital rectal exam and the blood test used to detect prostate-specific antigen (PSA). But a firm diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be confirmed by a biopsy.

It should be noted that a digital rectal exam only allows the physician to feel about a third of the prostate gland, so that abnormalities in other parts of the prostate might not be observed.

The PSA test is done on a blood sample but is not usually included in a general blood analysis and usually needs to be ordered as an additional item. Again, some physicians will order this routinely for older men. Generally a PSA measurement of less than 4.0 ng/mL is considered normal. Again, as with the rectal exam, your actual value may or may not indicate a cancerous condition. This article from the National Cancer Institute provides more details on the issues involved.

The Treatments for Prostate Cancer

There are a number of possible treatments for prostate cancer.

The first four treatment options, the last three of which are sometimes combined, are the typical ones that will be prescribed by medical doctors (urologists) in the developed world (which, incidentally, is where most cases occur)

‘Standard’ Treatments for Prostate Cancer Treatments

  • wait and see: Once a firm diagnosis of prostate cancer is received a major question is how advanced is it and how quickly is it progressing. A standard approach is to wait a period of time, perhaps 6 months and then repeat the diagnostic tests to determine what is happening. Colin Campbell, best selling author of “The China Study” and “Whole” (see especially pp 34 – 36, the Cancer Minefield and pp. 197 – 202) gives a couple of fascinating reports on his experience with oncologists, waiting, and the effectiveness of a WFPB diet in dealing with cancer.
  • surgery: there are many different surgical procedures that are used in the treatment of prostate cancer. These range from complete removal of the prostate to ‘roto-rooter’ surgeries that attempt to restore a normal flow of urine from the bladder. The former procedures are discussed in the Mayo clinic article referenced below. The latter surgeries are discussed in Dr. Greger’s book mentioned above. Generally surgery can only be effective if the cancer is localized — that is it has not metasized and spread through your body. Because of this surgery is often paired with chemo-therapy, as further discussed below.
  • radiation: Radiation therapy involves trying to kill the cancerous cells. Its effectiveness depends on the ability of the radiation specialist to actually determine where the cancerous cells are. While radiation can effectively kill cancer cells, the treatment may also kill other cells with side effects not expected. And because of this lack of certainty, chemo-therapy is also added to a radiation treatment approach.
  • chemo-therapy: Chemo-therapy is a generally very effective way of killing cancer cells. Unfortunately, most chemo-therapy also kills a lot of cells which are not cancerous — which is why you see all those photographs of cancer patients without hair. As mentioned above chemo-therapy is often recommended in addition to surgery or radiation treatment

These various treatments are discussed in some detail by the Mayo Clinic

Alternate Treatments for Prostate Cancer Treatments

  • nothing: if you are sufficiently old, you are not experiencing problems, and the cancer is not aggressive, perhaps the best solution is to just let it be; combined with some of the steps below you might well even arrest or reverse the damage so far created
  • fasting: fasting — relatively long fasts of a few weeks — have long been used to cure ailments, especially in other cultures. In the United States the True North Clinic in northern California offers support of fasting as a cure. This is described, in part, in chapter 15 of “The Pleasure Trap” by Douglas J. Lisle and John McDougall. An investment of a few weeks to try this cure might well be a very effective solution to your cancer.
  • a few fasting mimicking diet sessions. A fasting mimicking diet is a 5 day process where you greatly reduce your caloric intake. The leading firm in this field is Prolon headed by Valter Longo Ph.D. who has published many papers on the disease treating and longevity benefits of such a diet. Prolon sells a package for the five day fast. You can find many youtube articles featuring Dr. Longo on the internet, such as this. I have done my own FMD and you can read my comments here.
  • flax seed and broccoli diet: If you do nothing else, heed the advice of Drs. Greger and Kahn and adopt a diet which include 3 tablespoons of milled flaxseed and 1/2 a head of raw broccoli every day. This is very low cost chemotherapy, in dollars, time and risk. If you do this along with other actions and the other actions demand recognition, give it and keep up the regemin!
  • WFPB diet: This is what you really need to do — according to Drs. Greger, Kahn and a host of other researchers in the field of health. *I have been on this diet since February 2012
  • Eastern medicine, herbs, etc.: I have not researched this field as it relates to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is not a very common problem in southeast Asia where these medical practices have evolved over thousands of years. I do use their knowledge in dealing with some other issues. You might well want to research this area.

The Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatments

A full discussion of the possible side effects of the standard methods of treating prostate cancer is a very significant undertaking and beyond what I can provide in this article. I can provide some links to other articles on the internet that deal with this very important subject:

  • Anyone contemplating the standard treatments for prostate cancer, namely some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, really needs to read carefully the comments on this topic by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. They treat the side effects by type of treatment
  • Many men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 60. Many will opt for surgical removal of the prostate feeling this is the least dangerous procedure for them. This article, from Renal and Urology News, provides information on how the risks of surgery increase with age.
  • Death is an unexpected side effect of medical treatment. This article from Johns Hopkins identifies medical errors as the third most common cause of death in the U.S. — something to think about. (Prostate Cancer is the 12th most common cause.

Measured against these complications it is important to recognize that there are no known side effects to adopting a Whole Foods Plant Based diet to combat your cancer, either as your sole approach or as a supplement to whatever other treatment you decide to follow.

Case Histories and Other Resources

There are large numbers of videos on prostate cancer, its treatment and the experience of those who have had prostate cancer and have been cured. Here are a few:

  • Peter Starr is a well known documentary film maker who also was a stunt driver of motorcycles prior to a serious accident. You can search for some of the videos available on line that feature him and his treatments. Here is an interview with Peter Starr where he talks about his experience in surviving prostate cancer.
  • The Truth About Cancer website. Go to the videos section and scroll through the pages to see videos of people who survived cancer, without the standard treatments.

Your Oncology Team

When diagnosed with cancer you are usually quickly passed on to a team of oncology specialists. So quickly, in fact, that you may not pause to wonder what their qualifications motivations are. Of course they want to keep you alive. That is the natural human reaction and they have been taught that is what they are to do. Keeping you alive is very important, too, for their employment and the financial success of the organization they work for. If you die the revenue stream also dies. So they may well want to keep you alive even though you have suffered enough. But it is also true that the revenue stream also dies if they cure you of your cancer. Think about those issues when you talk with your oncologists. Your oncology treatment is a very expensive venture — even if you do not pay the bill directly. What are the steps you take when you make a large purchase that comes directly out of your bank account?

Here are some other things to keep in mind as you work with the oncology team:

  • It is likely that the members of your oncology team have little or no training in nutrition — medical doctors usually have no more than one semester course in nutrition during their training. They consequently will not usually contemplate treating your cancer with a nutrition approach. See if it is possible to have an oncologist who is vegan — such a doctor will have a much better understanding of nutritional options and supplementary treatments
  • Determine the qualifications and experience of your oncologists. What is their success rate? Have any of their patients ever been cured without remission? Have they been sued or disciplined in anyway for malpractice? Can they provide you with a list of references of people who have had long term survival without serious adverse side effects?
  • For any recommended treatments get a clear and detailed statement on the possible adverse outcomes and the likelihood of such results. Remember that those who give you surgery or radiation or chemotherapy will likely recover well from the treatment — likely within minutes. You are the person who will endure the long term effects as you hopefully recover.
  • The standard treatments for prostate cancer include one or more of surgery, radiation or chemo-therapy. These treatments generate significant revenues for the medical institutions the oncologists work for.

Coming Research

Oisin Oncology a subsidiary of Oisin Biotechnoglogies is developing a treatment that has demonstrated great effectiveness in reducing and perhaps removing prostate cancers in mice. The research arm is located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. There they have raised mice with large human prostate cancers growing on their backs. The treatment is demonstrated to reduce a large percentage of the tumor in just days through selective targeting of the cancerous cells and causing the cells to self-destruct. It is hoped that human trials will move forward in 2019. This research uses ground breaking science that may open the door to successful quick treatment of prostate and other cancers.

Conclusions and Recommendations

From my review of the sources listed above as well as other readings over the past few years, my conclusions of the actions to take if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer are as follows:

  • It is likely the cancer is not growing rapidly. You should take time to carefully study prostate cancer and the recommendations of your oncology team, but also to consider the other non-invasive approaches to treating the disease
  • If you can, and if you are not already on it, immediately adopt a whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet. See the “Getting Started” section of our website. There are no known adverse side effects to doing this.
  • Seriously consider a prolonged fast or some periodic Fasting Mimicking Diets (FMDs) to bolster your immune system and help keep the cancer in check

A Personal Note

I have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer, nor even dealt with the concern that it might be in my future. This blog has been prepared only because of the number of really special people I have come to know in the past few years who have been so diagnosed. None of them have adopted a WFPB diet. All of them have taken conventional, intrusive treatments for their diagnosis. All of them are still suffering from their prostate cancer or . . . sadly, some of them have died.

I have been monitoring for prostate cancer for the past 35 years. It was when I was about 40 that I had my first rectal exam. Since that time my annual checkups (which really only occur every 2 – 3 years) have usually included a rectal exam and in some cases a PSA test. It was a bit of a surprise to me to learn sometime in the last 6 months or so that the rectal exam only checked about 30% of the prostate!

Here are some of my PSA scores, which have fortunately always been fairly low (below the 4.0 level at which it becomes a concern.) While I have had blood analyses done many times over the past 20 years. a PSA reading was not always taken. From my records here are some of the results I have.

1/10/2007: PSA 1.80
10/13/2009 PSA 2.05
11/17/2009 PSA 1.10

on 02/01/2012 I adopted the Esselstyn diet and have since been completely on that and a WFPB diet.

04/18/2012 PDA 1.6
10/25/2013 PSA 1.98
12/11/2017 PSA 0.8

SENS Conference, Berlin 2018

Three days in Berlin this spring were perhaps the most exciting three days I have lived in the past few years! I was attending the SENS Conference for 2018 — a conference focused on research aimed at letting us live longer, in fact much longer, lives. If you have hopes of living longer (not just to 80 or 90 or 100 years, but potentially into the hundreds of years) then you really must learn what is going on. The results I heard at this conference were just amazing — I am looking forward to next year’s conference!

To explain what was happening at SENS 2018 it is necessary to give a little background. In 2005, Aubrey de Grey with Michael Rae produced the book “Ending Aging“. The thesis of the book is that we age because of a gradual decay in the microbiological makeup of our bodies. In particular this degradation occurs in seven major areas of our cellular and extra-cellular body structure:

  • cell loss, cell atrophy
  • junk outside the cells
  • crosslinks outside the cells
  • death resistant cells
  • mitochondrial mutation
  • junk inside the cells
  • nuclear mutations– only cancer matters

A more detailed description of the proposed research approach is given on the SENS website.
Ending Aging was published in 2005 and I read it shortly after publication. In 2009, de Grey and others created the SENS foundation to promote research in support of the tenets of the book. A description of the proposed research approach is given on the SENS website. Over the years a number of conferences had been held to review and report progress, firstly in a biannual basis and now, as more activity is occurring, annually. I had been waiting for many years for the sequel to the book and it didn’t come so I thought I would attend the 2018 SENS conference. This year it was held in Berlin.

The scene was electric! The total number of attendees was a little under 400. The mix was interesting. There were the researchers who were presenting or monitoring progress at a technical level. There were investors looking for a chance to invest in a potential gold mine. There were students looking for a field in which to work. And there were a few people like me (hard to believe there weren’t more) who just want to live a long time. We all milled around together and took in a hectic schedule of talks and pauses (where we could network and eat — all meals were supplied). The days lasted from morning until well into the evening. Here is the schedule of talks.

I was one of the attendees who had most TATS (trips around the sun). I am not a cellular biologist, although I have been reading about cellular biology for 60 so TATS. While able to generally follow many of the talks, many were beyond my understanding. So, it is not easy for me to provide a very detailed account of what was presented. Instead, I will summarize my understanding of four talks that I think I understood, and which I thought had very interesting possibilities in terms of longevity, addressing health problems, and/or investment. These are preliminary understandings on my part; I hope to improve my understanding through further research and may have to re-visit and amend these descriptions.

A Treatment for the Symptoms of Alzhiemer’s disease

Doug Ethell, Ph.D., CEO of Leucadia Therapeutics Inc. gave a fascinating presentation titled “Early Alzheimer’s Disease is a Reversible Plumbing Problem”.

Alzheimer’s is a disease which affects over 5 million Americans. The disease results in the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrallatory tangles (called tau tangles) in the brain. The disease begins with mild loss of cognitive abilities and progresses to dementia and complete loss of mental control of the body. The brain shrinks as the disease progresses and permanent irreversible damage occurs.

Dr. Ethell described how the molecules that cause the plaques and tau tangles are normally cleared from the brain by natural processes in a healthy brain and so do not accumulate and create Altzheimer’s disease. The clearing mechanism is through transport from the cranial cavity in the cerebrospinal fluid which drains from cranium through the cribriform plate. The molecules that are so draining are relatively large (too large to pass through the blood/brain barrier). In some individuals the porous channels in the cribriform plate gradually get plugged or sufficiently blocked (perhaps through trauma) to prevent the removal of the larger molecules that are normally purged.

There have been thousands of clinical trials to test drugs which might treat the disease. They have not been successful.

Dr. Ethell presented an approach which does not deal with the cause of the disease (consistent with the SENS approach) but, on the other hand, presents a curative treatment which might arrest the progress of the disease and possibly cause some reversal of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s. It is a surgical procedure, which involves the insertion of a stent into the cribiform plate to allow easy drainage of the spinal fluid. The insertion would involve entering the cranial cavity through a nostril a procedure which he described as likely less intrusive than a tooth root canal treatment. It is an outpatient treatment.

Following on from successful in vivo trials with animals, Dr. Ethell reported that his company hopes to start human trials in early 2019.

A Treatment for Macular Degeneration

As many as 11 million Americans have some form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a degradation of vision which can lead to blindness. There are no currently known cures or medications for the disease.

Kelsey Moody of LysoClear gave a presentation where he reported on the results of a SENS type approach to dealing with the problem of AMD. AMD is caused by a gradual buildup of a deposit of lipofuscin in the retinal area. LysoClear investigated a number of enzymes that had the potential to absorb and dispose of the lipofuscin buildup and eventually determined that recombinant manganese perozidase (rMnP) was particularly effective in destroying almost all types of molecules that make up the lipofuscin. They then developed, using techniques which are known in other medical treatments, a method to deliver the rMnP so as to effect the removal — a process that required packaging the rMnP suitably for absorption into the cells and linking with lysosomes so as to degrade and remove the lipofuscin.

The procedure has been proven in vivo with mice and the firm now hopes to go forward in early 2019 with human trials. There are a class of sufferers from macular degeneration who have the condition as a result of inherited genetic defects ( Stargardt and Best diseases) which lead to early blindness. It is hoped that testing on these patients will allow a quicker passage through the FDA approval process for the treatment

You can see Kelsey Moody’s presentation here.

A Treatment for Prostate Cancer and Senescent cells

Dr. John Lewis from the University of Alberta and also Chief Science Officer of Iosin Biotechnology gave a presentation on work that they have been doing to cause senescent cells to commit suicide. The technology is fascinating. In a very abbreviated and simplified description it is as follows: Senescent cells express the P16 protein. Dr. Lewis and his team have created plasmids, encapsuled in lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) which, being so small as to be unnoticed by the immune system, enter cells without generally creating a problem. The plasmids in these LNPs react to the presence of P16 and cause the iCasp9 protein to be generated. This protein in turn causes the cell to ‘commit suicide’. This results in annihilation of the senescent cell. A particular application of this technology is the treatment of prostate cancer which expresses protein p53.

You can see Dr. Lewis’ presentation here (scroll down a bit).

Dr. Lewis reported successful in vivo treatments of prostrate cancer and promising results on longevity with mice. The company plans to proceed with human trials on treating prostate cancer in 2019.

Biomarkers for Aging

Attila Csordas, founder of AgeCurve, gave a fascinating talk on the potential for using biomarkers to measure and monitor the phenomenon of aging.

Attila discussed how, because aging is a multi-faceted form of bodily degradation, biological aging can only be measured by monitoring many different biological factors. While his work in this area is just getting off the ground, he gave a convincing argument for a broad-based measurement of proteins in bodily fluids as a way of creating a database against which individuals could determine where they were in the spectrum of aging and also, from the information, plot strategies to reduce the speed of aging. The method he is using is to take a sample of saliva and then have that sample analyzed, using mass spectrometry, revealing measures on over thousands of proteonic variables (human proteins, bacterial species and bacterial proteins).

The project started in the U.K. and is now available in the U.S. The cost of the package is around $300 US (check the AgeCurve website for current prices).

After hearing his presentation I purchased the service and have been very impressed with the results. The next step is to start using the information to decelerate my personal rate of aging.

An interesting announcement, just recently, indicates that Aubrey de Grey has joined the advisory board of AgeCurve.

Attila’s SENS Berlin 2018 presentation is here.

Topics That Were Missing?

While the conference was incredibly stimulating and full of information that might lead to the target of Undoing Aging, it seemed to me that there were some topics missing — topics that would have been of relevance to the general theme and also of importance to some of those who were attending. Here are my observations:

Planning for Longevity

What should we be doing now? I, like many others, attended the conference looking for guidance on what we should be doing now to improve both our lifespan and our healthspan. There was little or no discussion related to how we take certain actions now to be sure that we were still be alive when ‘longevity escape velocity’ (when we gain at least one year of added life for each year that passes) is achieved.

Nutrition

It appears that the only so far proven method of extending life in humans is through caloric restriction. There was no discussion of this. Is there no further work in this area that is worth reporting?

In addition to caloric restriction there is clear indication that some diets are more beneficial to good health, and hence to increased healthspan, than others. The food at the conference was all catered in a buffet style offering. It was interesting to note that there were many vegan (and after the first day, vegan and gluten-free) options available at each serving. (The food was excellent!). I thought that some focus on nutrition might have been beneficial (especially in the context of actually living long enough and with sufficient good health to achieve significantly extended lifespans).

The Microbiome

We have gradually recognized that perhaps only a quarter of the cells in our bodies are cells with our characteristic DNA. The other cells are bacteria that co-exist with us. What is the relation between these cells and our existence and our longevity? What steps should be taken to nurture our microbiome to enhance longevity?

Does SENS make Sense?

“Ending Aging”, the book published by De Grey with Rae in 2007 described a promising future in which a number of causes of aging (see introduction above) could be overcome by methods of bio-cellular engineering leading to lifespans (and healthspans) into the hundreds of years. de Grey has not written a sequel to let us know of the progress in this direction. It seems relevant, to me, to both examine the model, as presented in the book, and to examine the progress in achieving the goals presented by the authors.

As one not part of the academic, research environment in which progress is occurring, (and since de Grey and Rae have not published a sequel) I would have appreciated some sort of presentation or panel discussion which would have given an balanced assessment of where the model is in the light of current knowledge.

The Future

Where do we go from here?

For me, with 75 TATS, an important issue is will I get to the position of escape velocity?!

And, yes, I do plan to attend SENS 2019.

Why and How I Walk

Walking, for humans, is a natural form of locomotion. Our bodies have evolved in such a way as to be able to walk and walking is a form of activity that keeps our bodies functioning properly. However, walking is generally a slow way of getting from A to B and so people use other forms of locomotion to achieve the task of transportation. We do this, arguably, at the risk of our health. Generally people who walk regularly maintain good physical fitness.

This is so much the case that we are continually advised by doctors and fitness experts to walk shorter distances rather than taking transportation, to climb stairs rather than taking elevators or escalators. Contrarily some say that walking is not good enough and that we must run or jog or swim or do other forms to actually benefit from the exercise. That argument will continue amongst the talkers. I chose to be one of the walkers.

Note: If you plan to walk as I describe below, please, please read the cautions at the end of the blog before starting on such exercise.

Why I walk

I walk about 1 1/2 miles probably 5 times a week. I generally walk this at the military pace of 3 miles per hour, the pace I learned in the military as a young man. It works for me. If the weather is warm (80 F or higher) this will be fast enough to work up a bit of a sweat. Otherwise it is about as long a walk as I can take without feeling I need to be doing something else.

In addition to getting a bit of exercise, the walking provides some relaxation. I walk along the linear park in Clearwater and Dunedin, in Florida, that runs between the Alt 19 highway and the intracoastal waterway. This park is teeming with birds of all sorts which I enjoy observing. Sometimes the mullet are jumping. I usually walk in the morning and it is interesting to see the play of light on the water and on the buildings a few miles away on Clearwater Beach. As I walk I exchange greetings with the regulars who also frequent the park and also with the many visitors that we have in the area. All of this provides a relaxation which is about as close to meditating as I get.

How I Walk

I have gradually come to realize that there are a large number of different factors that I take into account as I walk.

Our linear park has a sinuous concrete walkway running its length. Almost everyone who walks the park walks on the concrete walkway. I do not. I gradually came to realize that walking on an essentially flat concrete surface was not really what our bodies evolved to do. When walking on the concrete most of the muscles in the leg are not exercised. There are no rotational forces acting on the foot, ankle, knees and hips and so all the many muscles that have evolved to deal with such forces do not get exercise and atrophy. Additionally, it takes more physical effort to walk on the grass as it yields instead of providing a firm reaction to your foot when it lands on the surface — this is good as I am interested in getting the exercise.

linearpark

Walking on the ‘grass’ along our linear park. Note the uneven nature of the trail at this point

One of the additional forms of exercise that you get from walking on the grass is improved balance. Because your feet are continually connecting with the ground in different attitudes, you need continually to be adjusting the way your body is holding itself so as to not fall. When I first started such walking I was very conscious of this need to be continually re-balancing. Now, after a few years, my balance has returned and I hardly notice it. I also further work on my balance by doing 360 degree turns while walking and by walking backwards for about 200 feet every day. Balance is also enhanced by dealing with the minor obstacles I encounter when I walk on the grass. We have ‘potholes’ and occasionally I step into one — but I don’t fall. I have to change my pace sometimes to deal with crossing gaps or stepping from one place to another. The surface changes from grass, to mulch, to concrete blocks, to whatever, all requiring adjustments in the pacing.

There are a few other things that I notice in my walking:

  • I am not a dog person. Almost all dog walkers walk on the path and they keep their dogs on the path when passing me, so I do not have them confronting me and usually not barking at me. (I was attacked by a dog as a child and have never fully gotten rid of my consequent fear of dogs).
  • Ah, but there is still a dog problem — dog poop. While most dog owners obey our local ordinance and pick up after their dogs, occasionally there is dog poop on the grass. It pays to keep an eye on where you walk.
  • Bicycles share the path with walkers. We have a “Wheels yield to Heels” policy but I always found it disrupting, even scary, when someone on a bike came up behind and passed me when I was unaware of the approach. Bicycles seldom go on the grass so I avoid that unease

Now that you are improving your physical conditioning by walking you really need to consider some additional physical activity. I fell, while walking, a couple of years ago. I had not been paying attention to where I was and what debris was in the path. I tripped, bounced off a tree and crashed into some concrete. It was not nice and I was banged up with abrasions and a sore arm from trying to break my fall from it. I month later I started a training program based on some Pilates with a bit of resistance training. A year later I again fell — I was playing with my cell phone trying to take a photo rather than paying attention to where I was walking. The cell phone was not damaged — I was. But not nearly as bad as the previous year. My core muscle strength had helped considerably in letting my body deal with the accident and I just had a couple of scrapes. Do get onto a program that address your core muscle strength and also your shoulders and arms. With such conditioning you will be in better health and, if you do fall, better able to handle the impact.

Cautions:

  • If you are planning to start walking and have not been doing any exercise of this sort you may perhaps want to discuss this with your medical practitioner before starting
  • If you have not walked on uneven surfaces like the grass I walk on, you might want to consider using a walking stick for added support in case you stumble
  • Pay attention where you are walking. I have fallen a couple of times and banged myself up a bit: Don’t text and walk!

Fasting Mimicking Diet

On our recent Holistic Holiday cruise a leading vegan cardiologist, Dr. Joel Kahn, gave a talk entitled “The Miracle of Heart Disease Reversal”. Joel is an interesting cardiologist who has been vegan for 41 years and is active in promoting vegan health through his practice and by operating the Green Space Cafe and another vegan restaurant and a vegan food truck in the Detroit area. (Which reminds me of one slide that Dr. Kahn showed. It quoted the head of the American Cardiology Association saying “There are two kinds of cardiologists: vegans and those who have not read the literature” — do you really want a cardiologist who hasn’t read the literature?)

The last ten minutes of Dr. Kahn’s talk were devoted to the restorative and life extending results of Fasting Mimicking Diets (FMDs). His presentation was inspiring and, having been thinking for the last couple of years that I should have another fast (I did a 5 day “water fast” in 2002) I was motivated to try an FMD. Joel indicated that he had been taking an FMD for the last three months and found that it was very beneficial and in particular that it trimmed off some belly fat that was otherwise not disappearing. (Yes. you can have belly fat on a vegan diet!)

A water fast is a fast where you abstain from all food and only drink water for some period of time. Water fasts have been well documented as curing many kinds of ailments, including cancer. The True North Clinic in Santa Rosa CA, provides water fasting to help cure various ailments. Also on our Hollistic Holiday Cruise was Dr. Michael Klapper of True North who gave a number of lectures on plant based diet healing. It was interesting to hear him suggest a water fasting diet to a cruise attendee who was having a number of problems and for whom a whole food plant based diet had not solved the problem. Dr. Klapper suggested that a water based diet might give his immune system an opportunity to reset and thereby deal with his medical issues.

Getting back to FMDs, these provide an opportunity to get many or perhaps more benefits from a fasting process. There are companies who provide ‘kits’ to support the fasting process. One of these is Prolon. To order the FMD kit from Prolon you answer a short questionnaire. I took the questionnaire and I did not meet two of their criteria. My weight/height profile (essentially BMI) was too low and my age too high. They also wanted the kit to be ordered by a health professional. So I decided to go it alone (I had done one water fast a number of years ago and have not trouble going without food for a day or two so I was not too concerned about being supervised). Looking at the Prolon site I determined that an FMD would include a five day diet that allow 1100 calories on day one followed by 700 calories for days 2 through 5. It was indicated that I should not drink alcohol and should skip any exercises I would normally do. Also it was suggested that I should skip caffeinated drinks. There is a photo on the Prolon website which gives some idea of the contents of their diet kit: water based soups and a few other items and I used that to structure my diet for the week.

I have never counted calories so had little feel as to what that meant. I plunged ahead with the attitude I would just eat very little until such time as I could figure out how to count the calories. Since I expected to lose a few pounds I tracked my weight as well as what I ate. I usually do some exercises for about 40 minutes every day. I find they wake me up and so I decided not to skip them. I also am doing a fair bit of digging in my garden and lugging bags of compost around at this time of year and could not really put that on hold for the week. I also usually have a cup of black decaffeinated coffee each day but skipped that on several of the days. The following is my log for the five days.

Day 1:
starting weight 125
first day of fast — anxiety beforehand but feeling good about it now — why not just water fast? — experience (need to research on the internet to get notes from other people who have had an FMD)
did exercises and walk (about 1.5 miles, my usual)
bkfst — 8 oz or so of miso soup – 75
lunch — 1/2 pear and 4 walnuts – 50+100 cals = 150
snack — two cubes of pineapple, 2 oz. pineapple juice, kambucha tea 20 + 0 = 20
supper — bowl of veg broth soup with two sprigs of asparagus and kidney beans plus 1/2 honey oat bar = 75 + 6 + 100 = 181
to bed about 7:30 but to sleep about 8:15 — woke in the night for an hour or so and slept until 6:30
total calories about 425
(note, the calories were calculated on day three)

Day 2:
weight 122 (lost 3 lbs.)
did exercises and walk
bkfst — miso soup with some collards 75 + 11 = 86
snack — kambucha tea – 0 cal
lunch — 1/2 banana, 1/2 pear, 5 walnuts 55 + 50 + 100 = 205
snack — 1/2 cup decaf coffee 2 cals
supper — bowl of vegetable broth soup with some collards and turmeric powder — three small lettuce leaves and 5 olives — 1/2 honey oat bar = 75+ 11 + 2 + 20 +100 = 208
felt pretty good — did some digging in garden, trip to NFP, planted some seeds, worked after supper until about 8 and then to bed
felt bloated after supper and did not sleep well
total calories 500 (note: calories calculated on day 3)

Day 3:
weight 120
exercise but no walk, gardening, more energy, working in evening
late bkfst of two Fastballs and two pieces of pineapple 100 +20
lunch was bowl of thin vegetable broth soup 75
snack — cup of kambucha green tea – 0 cal
snack — small muffin 100
supper — broccoli, sw potato, kidney beans, cauliflower, muffin 200
stomach upset and did not sleep between 1 and 4 am
total 495
Finally on day 3 got around to looking for calorie information using google to find values. I also looked at the packaging for the honey oat bars that I had eaten and realized that each one of the two in a package contained 100 calories, so I decided to make some oat snacks myself — I call them “Fastballs”. They have about 50 calories each.

Day 4:
weight 119.2
no exercise but walk, gardening
although poor sleep still pretty energetic and mind working better.
bkfst 3 Fastballs and decaf, black coffee = 150
lunch bowl of soup = 75
snack muffin and 2 pineapple pieces = 120
supper peas, potato, tomatoes crushed, Fastball =200
total 545

Day 5:
weight 118.5
good sleep, exercise but no walk in morning
bkfst Fastball + 2 strawberries = 58
lunch miso soup + muffin = 175
snack 1/2 pear + 4 walnuts = 150
snack Fastball = 50
supper peas, potato = 100
walk in afternoon — a little gardening — hauling gardening stuff but not much digging — feeling more tired today in spite of good sleep
small supper but drank wine in the evening
total 700

Day 6:
weight 118.5
fast is overover

Related Experience
During the week by day four, partly as a result of the increased energy I was feeling, I finally got around to researching the experience of others with an FMD. Here are three of the articles I enjoyed reading:

  • an article in The Telegraph recording the experience of their science editor, Sarah Knapton trying the Prolon FMD. I was particularly interested to see the positive response to the experience and the statement that she would do it again.
  • This review by Erin van der Meer in Australia is also of the Prolon FMD. She, too, experienced the weight loss, increase in vitality and expressed a commitment to doing it again.
  • “Quantified Bob” (QB)has a website where he gives detailed biometric information on an FMD that he underetook. This report is quite different that the journalistic reports I just listed. Bob has researched the FMD process and he developed his own diet. Before during and after the diet he monitored a number of bio indicators to record his progress, as well as record more qualitative results. It provides a report that is quite technical but also very revealing as to what happened to his body during the fast. One item that interested me was his statement on caloric limits based on body weight (see my further comments below)

Observations and Conclusions

So what was my experience? Here is a quick summary:

  • I had no trouble significantly reducing my caloric intake. That said perhaps my initial targets taken from the Prolon site (1100 calories on day 1 and 700 calories days 2 – 5) were too high. QB suggests that based on information from the Prolon site and patent the caloric intake should be restricted as:
    • Day 1: Total caloric intake of 4.5 to 7 kcal/lb of body weight (10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carbs)
    • Days 2-5: Total caloric intake of 3 to 5 kcal/lb of body weight (9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carbs)

    On that basis my limits should have been 560 – 875 on day one followed by 375 – 625 on subsequent days. I was generally within those limits except on my last day when I went over budget with wine.

  • I ran my diet from Monday through Friday. On a future diet I would start on a Sunday.
  • I experienced increased vitality adding a couple of productive hours to the day after day two.
  • My mind became clearer and I undertook tasks (such as writing this blog) that I had put off for months
  • Like the other reviewers I mention, and like Dr. Kahn, I will repeat this diet. I plan to do so in a months time and then a month after that.
  • I have no way of knowing if I have improved stem cell functioning but can hope so.
  • I did not measure the components of my caloric intake with respect to protein, fat and carbs but will attempt to do that on a future fast
  • I have some hopes that this fast will have allowed my immune and digestive systems to reset. This is something that I hope to measure with the help of my doctor (more on that in a future post)
  • I believe the advantages of the FMD easily outweigh any disruption associated with reducing food intake for 5 days. It is probably a much easier diet for people to follow than a water fasting diet.

    THIS IS A REPORT OF A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. IT IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. ANYONE CONTEMPLATING FOLLOWING AN FMD SHOULD LIKELY CONSULT WITH THEIR PHYSICIAN.

    Go to Plant Stock!

    This is an unabashed Plug for Plant Stock (disclosure: we get no reward if you attend, other than knowing we have helped someone)

    For the past 6 years, about the third weekend in August, an event called “Plant Stock” is held at the Esselstyn farm in Claverack, New York. This year it is being held on 20-21 August. The farm is about a 30 minute drive south from Albany in the Hudson valley.

    The Plant Stock events, usually attended by several hundred people, provide an incredible opportunity to hear and meet some of the leading writers, speakers and researchers in the field of nutrition and health. I attended the second and fourth events and this year will attend again with Christine – her first time.

    This year’s speakers include:

    Many other interesting speakers will discuss various aspects of a whole foods plant based diet (WFPBD), including motivation, food preparation and developments in nutrition.

    DSC_0327_1504x1000_300x199

    With Dr. Esselstyn at Plant Stock 2012

    The venue is incomparable. The grounds of the farm and the ambiance of the place create a restful, friendly atmosphere in which to absorb the impact of all the knowledge provided about food, health and how to cook and thrive on a WFPBD. All meals for the two day event are included in the attendance fee – including a special evening meal on the Saturday evening. And you don’t have to worry about the food — it is all whole foods, plant based! I have found just the dining experience to be helpful in suggesting menus for home.

    If you are new to the WFPBD Plant Stock will give you a huge boost in motivation and the skills to succeed in your new approach to a healthy lifestyle and body.

    I strongly recommend attending PLANT STOCK. Follow the link to see photographs of the venue, details of the event and to register. We hope to see you there.

     

     

    Eat Your Banana Peels

    Eat banana peels? YES!

    My son Adrian brought this Business Insider article to my attention – an article that includes several uses for bananas in food and cooking.

    In particular the article states that:

    “ The sweet flesh of a medium-sized banana contains significant percentages of your daily recommended intake of various nutrients, such as:

    • 12% of your daily fiber, which helps with digestion and may help lower your risk of diabetes
    • 17% of your vitamin C, which is important for your immune system as well as growth and development
    • 20% of your vitamin B-6, which aids the body’s ability to convert food into energy
    • 12% of your potassium, which helps in development of cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body
    • 8% of your magnesium, which is important for the body’s energy productions and regulating glucose and blood pressure levels

    If you then eat the skin along with the flesh you get an even bigger boost in these same nutrients . . .[The skin] contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein . . .”

    I have a green smoothie almost every day of the week and, almost always, I have a banana in my smoothie. When I learned of the nutrients that I was throwing in the compost, I immediately changed my banana preparation from peeling to washing and then taking the ends off for the compost and slicing the rest of the banana into small pieces (about a half to an inch long) and putting them in the blender with the other ingredients. The blender chops the banana feel very finely so you are not even aware that it is there and your smoothie packs that much more nutritional punch!