According to some schools of thought, cancer is a disease of slow metabolism. When the body does not produce enough gastric secretions to metabolism the food consumed—not enough hydrochloric acid, enzymes, and bile—meals are not digested properly. Some food may break down through fermentation which causes abdominal rumbling, not to mention toxic gases; but some food is stored as a metabolic residual. Sugar and fat are generally stored in the liver, often clogging it to point of insufficient capacity to perform critical tasks. The overflow goes into reservoirs in other parts of the body.

This is one theory. It is not difficult to imagine fat being stored in adipose tissue or cholesterol moving into the blood stream and arteries. What few people consider is that a tumor could also be a place where excesses as well as toxins are warehoused. Obviously, this is the case with lipomas, but what about malignant tumors? The truth is, no one knows, but there are tumors is which only a few atypical cells have been found. The rest of the mass may consist of infectious material, yeast and molds, or even nests of parasites. Despite the billions of dollars spent on research, we know very little about malignant tumors, but we can find corroboration of some of these contentions by surfing by-roads. For instance, instead of going to a "credible site" on cancer, go to the CDC web site and look at pictures of parasites or go to the University of Adelaide web site and look at mold. On these sites, you see tumors that are comprised of far more than a few atypical cells of human origin. Given that most people do not know about these types of tumors, how difficult would it be to imagine that the malignancy consists of metabolic residuals from your own plate?

We do know enough to be fairly certain that tumors are high in iron, but what type of iron? industrial waste or food grade iron suitable for making good hemoglobin? Some tumors are high in iodine. Did the iodine needed by the thyroid make a mistake and go somewhere else or was the iodine of a type the thyroid could not use?

I want to present two reasonable hypotheses, but only after discussing the theory of digestion according to Ayurveda. Dr. Vasant Lad used to say, "Sooner or later, all food is cooked." He drew pictures on the blackboard of flames in the abdomen, not hyperacidity and heartburn type fire but fire used for cooking. This was basically something he said in response to those who felt that raw foods diets were critical because their new-found understanding of nutrition was based on enzymes and the destruction of enzymes by cooking.

Enzymes are important but Ayurvedic medicine has a different view of digestion than Western nutrition. It states that the part of food that gives us energy is the prana, an invisible energy field surrounding food. This is destroyed by cold so refrigerated food is, according to this theory, worse than cooked food. In fact, to make something that is hard to digest, something like dairy products, Ayurvedic physicians recommend boiling milk with black peppercorns and perhaps also cardamom. Or, they use sour (acids) to make paneer, a sort of soft cheese used in Indian cooking. It is much more digestible than the cheese on top of a pizza.

In Ayurveda, each person is seen individually, and it is recognized that some people are able to produce more gastric juices. These people are fire types; they have what is called "agni" or fire and are therefore able to transform food into nutrients the body can use and separate out the waste products, such as indigestible fiber. These people are also good detoxifiers because fire is needed to destroy harmful substances, like microorganisms. Fire is catabolic; it is the opposite of water which is anabolic. Most cancer patients have too little fire and not enough water. More importantly, from a temperamental perspective, most people like it this way even if it is not good for digestion.

Fire types take more risk, but where food is concerned, they tend to burn off the excess. They are better at destroying germs because they run fevers, which is quite rare among cancer patients. Fire types are also prone to diarrhea, meaning that if exposed to pathogens, they tend to be able to rid themselves of the danger more efficiently than other types. In fact, there is a theory now of autism that suggests that the children who are ill are the ones who have more difficulty excreting mercury. In other words, all children may have similar levels of exposure through vaccines and other hazards, but the ones who are ill are the ones who can't push the mercury out of their systems.

If you are comfortable with these ideas, then think about the possibility that those who cannot metabolize meals efficiently would benefit by measures that correct for the lack of gastric secretions. Basically, there are several ways to achieve this goal.

  1. One can take supplements that augment the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Many will also find that enzymes are needed.
  2. Another method would be to consume foods that are easier to digest. These would be one of two types.
    • Predigested food is fermented, like tempeh instead of meat or kefir instead of milk.
    • Spicy food is stimulating. There are times when the taste of the food causes more salivation and more "arousal" of the gastric fires, but sometimes the ability to produce more digestive juices just is not there. In this case, cooking food in the spices helps a little but not usually enough.
  3. The third strategy is to take post-digestive measures to make sure the food moves through the stomach before fermentation begins. This is achieved through the use of digestive bitters (and sometimes more enzymes.)

Convalescing patients as well as those on chemotherapy or pain relievers are often severely challenged by digestion as well as elimination. This is dangerous and needs to be addressed as serious issue. Many patients have told me they are afraid of not getting enough nutrition. This is where juice becomes extremely useful. Strained juice made from organic fresh vegetables is important to almost all patients. I have said that most patients must have at least two tall glasses of juice per day, 8 oz (250 ml) per day.

Some people have benefited from fasts, three days, the "master cleanse" fast of Stanley Burroughs or John Christopher's mucusless diet. Breuss has a 42-day fast and Johanna Brandt's grape cure basically lasted "as long as necessary." I know people for whom these fasts were invaluable. I also know people who fasted beyond what might have been the point of actual benefit, people who became too fanatical.

In general, vegetables are more regenerating and fruit more cleansing but vegetables are harder to digest than fruit because fruit, of course, has acids that make fruits easier to metabolize. However, my original point was that sooner or later, all food is cooked. I have prepared curry soups for people in the hospital on morphine and they could hold this down easily whereas the ubiquitous jello was indigestible for them.

Subscribing more or less to the teachings of Ayurveda, a medical doctor told me that she believed that her breast was a reservoir and that the storage depots for unmetabolized food products would be lessened if she had a mastectomy. She tried very hard to avoid this operation, but in the end was not willing to risk having the mass penetrate the chest wall. In my view, the reservoirs are secondary concerns; the primary goal must be balance. This means that the food ingested must be metabolizedusing one of the strategies mentioned above.

This said, I want to share some tips that I have found useful for many patients with weak digestion.

      1. Avoid everything that has been preserved or stored . In short, do not eat anything from a box or can.
      2. Do not thaw or cook anything in a microwave oven.
      3. Use the freshest food available and try to grow some food in your own garden.
      4. Do not refrigerate what is leftover. Give it to someone else or your dog.
      5. Keep it simple, no smorgasbords!

Next, make the food interesting and savory. Work up interest in the taste and nutritional value of the food. This is more important than you imagine because anticipation is what excites the gastrointestinal system and induces it to produce the secretions needed for digestion.

Learn which foods are easy for you to digest. For instance, walnuts might be nutritious but they are usually hard to digest. Coconuts have had some bad press, but you can live on coconut water (young coconut milk) practically indefinitely.

Years ago, I had a clinic and sometimes cooked for patients. No one had any trouble digesting this food because I knew how to prepare food that is easy to digest. However, after an ordeal, it is normal for the gastrointestinal system to be weak. Keep in mind that the body has limited resources and will generally allocate those resources where they are most needed. Therefore, toxicity will keep the liver so busy with detoxification that it cannot help as much with digestion. A little bit of draksha often relieves distress. This is a very mild tonic from India. It is made with wine, usually only about 3% alcohol, and some bitter herbs and spices.

Spices are bitter because of alkaloids and bitters are a tonic for the liver, but they are cold. By adding some spices to a fermented beverage, draksha is balancing. I found most patients liked the taste and thrived, more or less the way an elderly person might sip some brandy before bedtime. One takes draksha in a medicinal dose, not as a beverage. In other words, you take a little bit in spoon, not even a shot glass. You can make your own by putting your favorite spices into your favorite wine and shaking the bottle twice a day for two weeks, but I think you will like the ones that experts have already made.


15 oz.

Vata Digest, formerly called Hingvastak

90 tablets

Digestive Aid

60 vegicaps


Warning: Be sure not to use irradiated spices!


Kicharee Recipe





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