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No red meat? What else?

christeleb's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear friends,

When I was diagnosed I was told to stop eating red meat and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. At first, I stopped eating meat all together and just ate fish. But I got sick of it. Now I eat chicken and fish.

I was wondering how you changed your diet. This will really help me!

For those that have followed my story: I'm getting my second round of chemo next week and feel really good so far!! I even went back to work full time.



Stage IV colon, 36 yrs old, 10 months old baby.

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alta29's picture
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

My Dr. also told me to cut on red meat...my gastro told me to eat in once or twice a month....I just don't eat it at all...I do eat a lot of starwberrys/rasberrys and a bunch of vitamins...I cut on sugar and changed to dark sugar...I'm also trying to buy as much organic food as I can....
God bless

robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Christele,
Glad to hear you're handling the chemo well. My onc, GP, and surgeon had very little to say to me about diet. Surprising actually when you consider that colon cancer has a lot to do with what we eat. Most of my nutritional advice has come from an integrated health community I belong to. They recommend a good healthy diet to avoid cancer causing toxins and chemicals, maximize the benefit of natural cancer fighters, and support the immune system. Adopting such a diet can involve a significant shift in eating habits but be very helpful in preventing a recurrence in the long run. You may want to look into it for later.
But for now... you're on chemo! So it may depend a little on what side effects you're experiencing. While I'm on chemo I generally want to keep my appetite up, minimize my weight loss, maintain good protein level (since your body is always repairing the damage chemo does), and minimize bowel distress.
You might find this website helpful. They seem to have good sections on cancer prevention foods and specific chemo realted problems... http://www.healthcastle.com/cancerdiet.shtml
TTFN... Rob
"The wise person should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine." Hippocrates
"A Cancer Journal" www.rob-pollock.blogspot.com

PGLGreg's picture
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I haven't changed my diet. None of my doctors said anything to me about diet. My gastroenterologist recommended 1200mg/day calcium supplement, and I take that.

I have heard that red meat may be a predisposing factor for colon cancer, but for those of us who have already had colon cancer, I don't know what point there would be in avoiding it.

catherine58's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

Hello Christele

I'm so impressed by how brilliantlyl you're coping with chemo!

Unlike the previous correspondent, I believe there's a huge amount one can do with nutrition to help prevent a recurrence. If nothing else, eating an optimum diet makes one look and feel so much better! The best book I've read on the subject is "Beating Cancer with Nutrition" by Patrick Quillin.

I try to base my diet on the guidelines in this book, plus what I have read elsewhere. I don't eat any red meat, convenience foods or sugar, and try to keep salt to a minimum. During chemo I have completely stopped drinking alcohol but am looking forward to the odd glass of wine once I've finished! I eat masses of fruit and veg: probably at least ten portions a day (including juicing) and I try to have at least one from each colour group every day (i.e. orange, dark green, yellow/light green, purple and red). I have tried to replace refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta etc) with complex carbohydrates (brown rice, wholemeal bread, spelt pasta, unsweetened organic museli etc). I keep up my protein intake (important during chemo, as Rob says) with organic chicken, fish, eggs and tofu. I hate soy milk so still eat a little dairy, mostly low fat yoghurt and semi-skimmed milk, but try to keep saturated fats to a minimum and completely avoid hydrogrenated fats from margarines etc (never ate these before anyway). I sometimes snack on unsalted nuts and seeds. I drink copious quantities of filtered water.

I also take a lot of supplements, with the blessing of two oncology nurses and the tacit approval of my oncologist (he's not really interested), but I know that taking supplements during chemo is controversial. If you're interested I can send you a list.

Research has shown that moderate exercise is also very important In helping to prevent a recurrence, although of course most people don't feel like embarking on a gruelling regime at the gym during chemo (perhaps you do!). I think just half an hour's gentle walking a day is better than nothing.

Hope this helps.

All the best


nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

Yes, I to changed my diet thinking it would help because no one could give me an answer on why or how I got colon cancer. I eat more than I used to. I used to only eat once a day, which was dinner and that was NOT HEATHLY at all. Now I eat 3-4 times day.

I eat more fruit, apples, watermelon, melon, blueberries

I eat more vegs. I buy the Birdseye SteamFresh vegs and just eat those for lunch or dinner.

I eat more Kashi and Fiber-One cereal bars

I eat chicken, red meat, pork, etc probably 3 times a week at the most.

I stay away from Fast Food as much as possible. Maybe 2 times a month at the most now.

I drink plenty of water 64 + ozs a day and drink 1 soda a day.

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2004

Just like all of our treatments are different, all of our diets will be different.

Since I was stage IV colon with mets to the liver and had my liver resected, it was important that I eat as much protein as possible. So I had eggs, bacon and sausage every morning. I even had this in the hospital.

I tried being a vegetarian about 10 years ago, but my blood pressure dropped to 80 over 40 and the doctor told me I should never be a vegetarian.

I've always eaten a lot of veggies. Being half Japanese, I always ate a lot of tofu and drank green tea. But, I'm just one of those unlucky people who just got colon cancer because.

So now I actually eat more red meat than before. My blood is always good and healthy. And when I eat red meat, my liver doesn't feel as taxed.

The problem is, I don't like red meat that much, and when my blood pressure gets low, or if I feel tired, I eat a steak or burger and feel a lot better.

So follow your doctors orders and do what is right for your body and chemo regiment.

I was diagnosed in July of '04 and have had no evidence of disease since September of '04.

alta29's picture
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

I will always wonder what really causes cancer...Is not the first time that I read stories like yours....and I am giving up red meat !!! ggggrrrrrr Hopefully one day we will know...
God bless

christeleb's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Apr 2007

Thank you for your responses. it really helps!!


2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Christele,

Colon cancer, I have read, is 80% dietary related, so it made sense to me to start there on healing it (post surgery of course). I opted out of any chemo (Stage 3 lymph pos), and healed from cancer using alternatives, Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as dietary measures.

Cancer feeds on SUGAR so it's really a good idea to eliminate that completely and totally. Cancer cells have more sugar receptors than normal healthy cells so starve those cancer cells!

As for red meat, or any meat in general, it takes up to three days for meat to be evacuated from the intestinal system. During these days it sits in there rotting and putrifying and creating toxins that get into your system. Meats are also acidic and cancer likes acidic pH. It is better to be alkaline which you will be with your fruits and veggies.

Raw fruits and veggies are full of LIVE ENZYMES which are healing where as meats are "dead foods". There fore your body needs to use its enzymes to digest the meat.

If we have gotten colon cancer to begin with there may be a lack of certain digestive enzymes so it makes sense to rely more on LIVE ENZYME foods than ones that deplete your enzymes--especially when we are trying to repair and restore our digestive systems after having colon cancer.

Dairy is also not the best choice at this time unless it's live active cultured yogurt which introduces good bacteria into your gut. Diary gums up the works so to speak. It's mucus forming and cancer also like mucus. Again, starve the cancer while feeding the body.

All Whites should be eliminated as well. White sugar, white flours, white grains. Anything processed is not a good choice. Alcohol is all sugar so not the wisest thing to be drinking during cancer healing/curing.

Doctors, in my experience, really don't discuss much about nutrition nor do they study it much (which is ironic since so many diseases are about diet). they practice medicine which is quite different from health.

Personally, I adopted a vegan macrobiotic diet along with juicing fresh organic veggies which I followed for 6 months. I am now vegan and still juice but don't particulary follow a specific macro

I happen to love meat and tried to reintroduce it but it tends to constipate me. I do well as a vegetarian so it works for me.

If you do opt to eat meat, I highly recommend that you only eat organic meat and not very often. Grass fed beef is supposed to have some good cancer fighting properties in it.
I have remained cancer free for almost 6 years (in August) having never done chemo but many other things!

I hope this helps.

peace, emily the Juice Chick

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi Christele,


You are so lucky to have a doc that is knowledgable about the dietary impacts in regards to colorectal cancer. My oncologist is just starting to "get it too" and says the "oncs in training" are getting more then a single course in Nutrition like he got. Great news for us all.

While on chemo for my stage IV rectal cancer I started to research and change my diet some but was much more focused on maintaining my weight and not throwing up back then. Once I stopped chemo I took my lifestyle/dietary changes to the highest level I could for 9 months. I juiced, ate only organic and natural foods, tooks lots of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. I only ate red meat twice a month and made sure it was always from cows not injected with growth hormones and fed antibiotic laced food. I ate all healthy poultry and fish once a week too. No preservatives either which ruled out lots of foods including almost all fast food. I found it very intimidating and difficult (not to mention expensive) at first but now know how to shop the specials and have adopted most of my favorite recipes to a "healthy one". I do not think it is a coincidence that I have had no recurrance in over 2 1/2 years.

My research tells me that cancer cells feel more comfortable and grow in certain conditions within our bodies so I chose to reverse that comfort level while boosting my immune system and have had great success thus far. If you want to learn more about my specifics, you can check out my personal web page on this site.

Keep up the great attitude and keep asking those great questions.

Lisa P.

Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2007

hi christele, I've read a lot of books about nutrition, they all have great points, but I don't take any of them as gospel. some are pretty extreme, I think every thing in moderation. eat what you like or what tastes good to you while your on chemo, I know its hard for the first week to taste anything. but its important to nourish your body during this time.

good luck and god bless Dale

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