Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rx: Eat healthy, sleep well, and exercise

Someone please remind me that when I eat on my diet, I feel remarkably better! I ate not too badly today, but not to well either. I had plain whole oatmeal for breakfast (should have added some protein and fat to round it out), steak and veggies for lunch (a fire department meal, that was actually right up my caveman-diet alley), and way too much dark chocolate (good in small doses) and bad coffee (bad in any dose). I'm back on the wagon for dinner, with hot and sour soup followed by a berry-soy shake.

Speaking of good nutrition, my oncologist has encouraged me to avoid taking vitamin and mineral supplements during chemotherapy, while my naturopath has encouraged me to continue, even increase, my supplementation. The oncologist's rationale is that there is no empirical evidence that antioxidant supplementation can help someone on chemotherapy, while there is a theoretical contraindication between the two. Many chemotherapy drugs, including some that I am on, are oxidants (they are free radicals, which attack cancer cells). Antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, E, zinc, or selenium (all of which I take) attack free radicals. In most people this is a good thing, but it could reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy. The naturopath's rationale is that there are reports in peer-reviewed publications indicating that antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy is beneficial. To wit, I found this article, about a meta-analysis which showed that antioxidant supplementation during chemo can decrease negative side effects, increasing the likelihood that the patient will complete the treatment, thereby increasing their chances of survival. Considering that I am aggressively supplementing with antioxidants outside of the active phase of chemo, and that I am tolerating the side effects quite well, I am perhaps the poster-boy for antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy.

So, Doc Bob's prescription for everyone is: Eat healthy, sleep well, and exercise. Imagine what would happen to our health care system, or our society, if everyone did just this?

Watching CNN today, I saw a clip that said, "85% of women would chose to live 10 years less if they could do it at their ideal body weight!" Here's an idea, how about eat healthy, sleep well, and exercise? You'll be at your ideal weight and you'll probably live 10 years longer! It's true what they say: "People will do anything to be thin, except eat well and exercise."

For me, a healthy lifestyle has been a work in progress over the last two years (predating my cancer diagnosis). It's not easy. I have to choose each day to pursue health. The best advice I can give is take single steps. Don't try to change everything all at once. Change one thing. Do that one thing (whether that is cutting out sugar, or ignoring fad-diets, or walking to work) until it is a habit, then decide what the next step will be. You won't, "lose 20 lbs. in 20 days!" but a year from now you will be a new person. Every person reading this has the power to take the first step, and the next step, too!


Anonymous said...

Bob, I have been thinking over the past few weeks that you are going to write one hell of a book, based on your experiences, that will help a lot of people -- and after reading your most recent blog, I am now certain of it and want to sign up for one of the first copies -- autographed of course!

Had my 5-year colonoscopy yesterday and should have the results within a few days or weeks. Much less stressful than the last time around -- a new purgative was much easier to handle!

My love and continued prayers to you both.
Hugs & kisses
The Other Jean

Anonymous said...

Bob... it is so hard in this world with all the crap that we are all addicted to to stop from eating it... sugar, processed food etc. You are doing amazing things. Most of us eat more of this bad stuff when we are stressed and your diet has not allowed you to eat your typical stress diet when you are stressed! I admire you so much on this one. Absolutely you need to write a book! I want copy number two! Then I want to go on an expedition on your wagon to extrigate all of these "bad" foods and chemicals and get them off the shelves so no one can eat them or ingest them anyhow.. That I believe is the way to rid this world of the big C forever!! Thanks for keeping in touch