lifestyle

Functional medicine: an alternative treatment for cancer: Fitter Food Radio episode 11

I’m listening to  Fitter Food Radio episode 11 with Jo Gamble on Embracing Nutrition.

It is quite fascinating. Focusing on Jo Gamble explaining the value of functional medicine for health.

Jo is a nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner who specialises in alternative treatment for cancer.

I’m getting to know the show so I can only comment on this episode. I’m always interested in different approaches to help and I like the way Jo tells her story. So I share for reference.

Functional medicine certainly sounds interesting but so do most approaches in the hands of a good promoter. The problems cited with the existing health system we’ve all heard before. I like the holistic approach we hear from Jo.

Though I’m still curious how much we really know and how much relies on the ability of the practitioner. The same can be said for the existing system as much for alternatives.

Jo makes the point that

doctors knowledge of nutrition is often not as good as our own

Given how much Doctors are required to know along with the lack of support to help them gain this knowledge and keep it up to date. I feel it is important to keep considering other ways of achieving the same result. Helping people gain health.

What are the things Jo says are critical to preventing cancer through lifestyle

  • enough sleep: atleast 8 hours
  • stress: too much leads to problems.

These are the things I see across all diseases. The same lifestyle factors leading to disease. Lack of sleep prevents your body fixing itself and dealing with problems. Of course this leads to disease, why would it not.

To much stress overworks you creating too much damage. It also prevents sleep and thus stops any repair.

Thanks to Matt Whitmore and Keris Marsden for an excellent show.

What is Functional Medicine?

Wikipedias introduction is:

Functional medicine reflects a systems biology approach which involves an analysis of how all components of the human biological systeminteract functionally with the environment over time. The Institute for Functional Medicine contrasts this approach with an organ system biology broken down into modern medical specialties.

Functional medicine, in agreement with modern medicine, holds that the entire “patient story” needs to be heard and understood in context in order to truly help the patient.[6] Where functional medicine differs from mainstream medicine is its willingness to employ treatments and drugs which may not be well evidenced by clinical research, including orthomolecular medicine and detoxification of unevidenced toxins.

Related links

Is Gently Cooked Food Better for You?

I just came across Is Gently Cooked Food Better for You? from the excellent Marks Daily Apple. Something I’ve wondered for a long time. Given the chance I prefer gentle cooking. I feel flavours and textures are best with this approach. My wife is the opposite. She prefers quicker cooking and loves well done steak.

The article reminded me of Advanced Glycation Endproducts produced through certain types of cooking that can cause damage. Wikipedia starts by saying:

In human nutrition and biology, advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs, are substances that can be a factor in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis and chronic renal failure.

Mark has created a lengthy article covering all sorts of angles.  Some key topics covered are

  • Heterocyclic Amines
  • Advanced Glycation Endproducts
  • Oxidized Lipids

I never see these types of articles as a list of stuff you shouldn’t or should do and basically something to reduce fun. I use it to guide my fun. Reminding me to learn more about marinades and other ways to make cooking easier and the results more exciting.

The stress of life: a modern complaint?

Stress

Stress

In The stress of life: a modern complaint? the Lancet takes a look at the implications of over work and over worry.

The report notes that

Late 19th-century doctors and their patients also believed that stress could generate or exacerbate physical illness. Clinicians sometimes explained the development of cancer, diabetes, and thyroid disease, or the appearance and severity of influenza, in terms of the debilitating effects of over-work and over-worry.

going on to say

The emotional stresses and strains of bereavement, domestic difficulties, financial problems, and the pace of life were all regarded as plausible triggers of pathology. In 1872, an article in The Times suggested that rising death rates from heart disease were the “unavoidable result of the great mental strain and hurried excitement” generated by steam and electricity, over-crowded communities, and the relentless and exhausting struggle for existence.

Contemporary belief in the capacity for stress to produce both mental and physical disease was so strong, according to the prominent Cambridge physician T Clifford Allbutt (1836—1925), that many people regarded the 19th century as “a century of stress”.

I’ve previously asked  the question Do we cause irreparable harm when we push ourselves too far? trying to do too much too soon and not pacing ourselves properly

In this article they make a similar point

In the 1970s, the left-wing American writer Alvin Toffler argued that post-war populations were suffering from “future shock”, a state caused by “the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time”.

The final thought is quite balanced

past populations were no less stressed by warfare, epidemic disease, unemployment, and poverty than their modern counterparts are. Since at least the mid-19th century, narratives of distress have been bound together not only by mutual understandings and shared experiences of stress, but also by the apocalyptic fear that stress is the inevitable result of the psychological pressures generated by the unfettered growth of industrial and technological capitalism.

If I have sparked your interest then checkout The stress of life: a modern complaint?

90:10 The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Stress

For another angle checkout this video from DocMikeEvans which I include because it gives you a nice story. Stress has provided the pressure on which us humans have evolved so the answer is generally to find ways to manage it or even thrive on it. I think you will enjoy the way DocMike explains this paradox.

Why eating while moving can be bad for you?

Building on the idea that it’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it it’s important to explain the reasons why moving while eating can be bad for you. Knowing this can make sure it never is bad for you by empowering you to get all the benefits and not the problems.

Moving around conflicts with Digestion

Besides health and safety reasons like distracting you while doing dangerous things or encouraging you to spill liquids when you are working around high voltages its really an issue of your body finding it hard to move around while digesting food at the same time.

Resourcing

So it’s actually a resourcing issue. Moving requires more oxygen, energy, water and other nutrients which are all delivered in blood. So moving means more blood is delivered around the body. The faster you move and the higher its intensity the more blood that’s required.

Blood supply

The problem is that the stomach is generally the body system that requires the most nutrients and therefore blood. Moving is basically the only thing that requires more blood so these two systems often compete for a limited blood supply. It is why your pulse goes up when you exercise. It’s your bodies way of getting more blood around the body.

The same can happen when you eat, just at a much smaller scale. It’s why you often feel tired after a big meal. All the blood is being diverted to digest the food you ate so less is available.

This is why the most important factor in whether activity is ok or not is the intensity of the activity versus the difficulty of the meal to digest. This is about the size of the meal and type of food eaten.

High intensity exercise is fine when a meal is easy to digest meaning it is:

  • small
  • high in water content
  • low in bran and high fibre foods
  • low in protein
  • preferably liquified like soups, thinner soups preferred

Medium intensity exercise is preferred when your meal is moderately difficult to digest. Things like:

  • bits of softer food like cooked pasta and rice.
  • a medium size meal
  • thicker soups

Low intensity exercise is better when your meal is hard to digest. This includes:

  • a big meal
  • high protein content particularly tough meats like beef
  • lots of hard solid food: not liquified

I can see quickly how these lists can be misinterpreted so I’ll work on them over time. For now I hope their simplicity can be a useful guide. Common sense is always recommended, these details just complement.

Don’t challenge your stomach

The basic idea is that anything that’s a challenge for the digestive system will require more blood from the body. That puts it in conflict with the blood required by the movement system. If the blood required for both digestion and moving is greater than your body can provide then problems arise because one system or both won’t get enough. So either you can’t move as well as you like or your body can’t digest things properly.

The right balance

You must therefore find the right balance with the key being eating foods that are easy for your body to digest. That’s why liquified foods like soups and drinks are so good when you move. Your body just doesn’t have to do so much to digest them because they are already broken down. Reducing the challenge on your digestive system and thus your body and its ability to supply blood.

Stomach pains

Dehydration, whether it is caused by exercise or something else can cause pain while your body digests a meal. Tomorrow I will explain how I have learnt to deal with stomach pains from dehydration

Everyday activities

In two days I will explain how knowing all this helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

Get fit to make the most of every minute

The point of cell your sole is to make you fit enough to chase what makes you happy. It’s also about the reverse. Chasing what you love and finding the activity in it. Let the activity itself make you strong.

Chores have value

You may not love shopping but you might love good food or entertaining others. You do what you can on the web to save time but going out to the shops, walking around and browsing also makes you healthy. So all you have to do is make it fun, even realising that chores like this are good for you and get you where you want to be can motivate you to do them. The point is you’re not adding chores to your life. You’re just using what’s there to maximise your health and your fun.

Find activity in things you love

Even better is when you start to find the activity and movement in the stuff you love. I love tennis. Obviously to play it is being active but watching it can be too. I happily sat in the wimbledon queue waiting for the chance to watch some tennis. It’s more effort than it sounds. I had to

  • get to London
  • then get across to Wimbledon. That’s a ton of walking to and from stations.
  • Then from Wimbledon station to the ground,
  • then all the way to the back of the queue. It’s a suprisingly long way before you even start actually queueing.
  • Queue to get in
  • Then once you get in the grounds the walking doesn’t really stop.

So, most of the time you are either walking or standing. That’s a lot of effort but I’d do it again because it is part of something I love. So I play tennis so I can enjoy more days like these. The rigours of playing prepare me well for the rigours of watching and other trips. In fact I never miss a day of work because I’m lucky enough to be able to play Tennis at work. It doesn’t matter if it’s Snow, sleet or whatever I still like to play. I’m not the only one.

The point is about what you enjoy this much. is it dancing, cooking, gardening, acting, singing. We all have our passions and all passions have activity and movement.

Get fit for days out

It’s the same story for loads of common life events and like visiting theme parks, Gigs, sports events. The great thing is that when you think about it this way you realise that much of the live fun stuff involves a lot of movement. Of course that sounds tiring but it’s also generally the most fun you will have for a while. So my best form of weight loss and health motivation is to book a cool event to go to, for me its tennis, for others and football match or maybe the good food show. Then get in training for all the moving, carrying and general activity you’re going to do.

You see. You might not consider yourself or your life very active and you might consider most of your fun to be sedentary. Given the list I just gave do you still feel that is true. Or atleast are these ideas of fun that you actually look forward to and would like to do more of?

I’m just pointing out that fitter people find these things easier than those who aren’t fit and that getting fit just means doing these things or things like them. It doesn’t mean running around. Shopping, playing with your kids, taking the dog for a walk. They’re all things we all do that can help towards a big or a small day of fun.

I’ll leave you with another example. My wife, not the fitness fanatic that I am, loves singing and music in general. She recently saw her favourite band Muse live and absolutely loved it. She gets tingles each time she remembers the experience. The one regret she has is staying seated the whole time. She just wanted to get up and dance, or even just stand. She has never wanted to do that in her life but this time she just felt it would make the whole thing even better. Even for the 3 hours of the gig. That really surprised me. I know it can really make a different it just wasn’t something I would expect her to say. So next time she sees them live she wants to be able to stand. All she needs to do is stand more throughout the day and it’ll be a breeze. It’s that simple but our lives and jobs get in the way.

So the question is. How can we add that little bit more standing, walking and moving into our days so that we can get more out of our time off and essentially smile more?

What do you do to be that bit more active. Walk a different way to work, park a little further or visit a fun trip and just see where that takes you. Let me know in the comments below.