Here is my take on Gerson after a week of doing it imperfectly. This is a complex and restrictive diet, difficult to do. But it gave me the most amazing results that I have ever gotten in my body by changing my diet. In one week:
1. I lost 7 pounds.
2. My right shoulder stopped hurting enough that I could sleep on it without awakening and without increase in pain the next day after sleeping on it.
3. My left foot plantar fascitis pain decreased enough so that I could start exercising again.
1. My right knee did not start hurting with exercise like it usually does.
2. My sleep got better at night.
3. I did not need naps during this whole past week. Naps have been part of my life for quite a while. I have been living in a state of constant fatigue.
4. An itchy irritated patch of skin on my back cleared up.
I consider the information about Gerson Therapy coming into my life to be a gift from God. Will it heal my cancer ( which the blood tests show is still active)? I don’t know, but I pray so. I know it is making my life more vital and pleasurable right now.
Would I recommend this to people as an altenative to conventional medicine? No. I feel that each individual must determine their unique path with God’s guidance, but I personally feel like you should use every weapon. Medicine does not offer me a cure– they can only do repeated chemos to beat back the lymphoma and maybe extend my life a little. That puts me in a unique situation–I can try anything.
The basic premise of this diet is to change the body at a cellular level. Here are some of the changes demanded in this program:
1. No salt except what is naturally in fruits and veggies. This has to do with getting nutrients into the cell and aiding in healing damage.
2. No fats except flaxseed oil and that in very limited quantities. Gerson says fats feed cancer.
3. No meats. They are infused with fats.
4. No processed foods. Gerson is all about organic and unprocessed.
5. No white flour, sugar or white rice.
6. Only oats and rye as grains–both in limited quantities. These are the least allergenic and the most easily digested. He advocates making it easy on the body and aiding it in getting the most nutrients easily.
7. Unlimited fruits and veggies, except pineapples, berries, and avocado.
8. Oatmeal for breakfast and special soup and salad for other 2 meals.
9. No nuts.
10. No dairy for at least 3 months then only fat free.
11. Some spice limits, including pepper and paprika.
12. 1 glass of freshly made juice every waking hour /carrot and apple, orange or green juice.
13. No water– only peppermint tea and that is to be made with distilled water.
14. No baking soda or other products with salt.
15. No fish. Again, this is related to fats.
16. No coffee, teas except peppermint tea, chocolate or desserts.
17. Coffee enemas 4 times a day.
18. Various supplements including potassium, iodine, selenium, niacin, and a few others. Armour thyroid is also recommended. These are basically to rev up the metabolism so the body can fight cancer or whatever it has to battle.
19. No chlorine or fluorine
I checked with 2 doctors about the diet part–not including the supplements and the enemas. They had no problems with the diet. I think many doctors might have issues with the Armor thyroid and the coffee enemas.
There are more things to this program but I will stop at that. Needless to say, I could not do all of these things. This would become my whole life.
I had two big lapses in following the program this week. One was 2 nights ago when I was going crazy with a craving. Finally, I got some sushi and that was what I needed– some protein. And the second was last night, I did some emotional eating of some salty crackers.
During the night I woke up with both my shoulder and foot hurting again, plus my sinuses were stopped up. (I had not even noticed that my sinus congestion had cleared up.) The long term skin irritation also started itching again the morning after the salt. This is anectodally positive that the low sodium is the major effective component of this diet.
Here are the modifications that I have made to customize this therapy to me:
I started potassium supplements but they made my urine burn. Potassium in too high of a dosage can cause kidney damage. Now, I am just using potassium salt substitute on my food without supplements.
Instead of taking iodine which is dangerous and poisonous at certain doses, I am putting it on my skin after I shower. It is absorbed through the skin.
Gerson juicing is supposed to be done with a masticater then extractor, instead of a centrifuge juicer. This is because the centrifuge heats up the juice and destroys vitamins and enzymes. But the centrifuge is what I have, so I am using it. The other process also sounds more laborious and time intensive. The juice is supposed to be carrot and apple. I have added a lemon to this to cut the sweetness. And I alternate it with homemade V8 juice so that I don’t go crazy having so much carrot juice. I also just add greens to this juice instead of making a separate green one. And I eat my oranges instead of juicing them. Furthermore, I am just making 1 quart of juice and drinking it throughout the day in place of making fresh juice every hour.
I drink some very well filtered water in opposition to Gerson’s instructions. This is partly because I am not drinking as much juice as they instruct.
In all fairness towards Gerson and the Gerson Institute, they recommend that each program be customized by licensed practitioners. They would not recommend doing this the way that I am.
And to give the opposing view, there are no controlled studies–just anecdotal evidence. I doubt for these dietary cures there will ever be the large scale controlled studies to prove them. They would have to involve big numbers and long follow ups which of course means big costs. Who would benefit from such a study? Gerson Institute would not have such funds and pharmaceutical companies would have no desire to fund it. As for the danger of some of the supplementation, I agree it is dangerous. These are not supplements that can be played around with. I have no answer to that part of it except that people with terminal cancer will try anything. So I would add a strong caution to that part of the program. It makes sense, but be careful with it.
And lastly, I address how to have a life with this program. This is very difficult, but I am learning how to adapt and still have a life. For instance I went to a party at a restaurant. I ate my special soup before I went. And I made my own dressing (maple syrup, flaxseed oil and balsamic vinegar). Then I ordered a naked house salad.
This is know–I need a little wiggle room. And I will not beat myself up if I don’t do this perfectly. Feeling good again is a great motivator. Three things to remember:
1. My taste buds and my stomach are not my God.
2. Temporary pleasure is not worth long term pain.
3. If food gets near you, it will get in you. Start your resistance at the grocery store.
Three books give the complete program. Dr. Max Gerson’s A Cancer Therapy–50 Case Studies, The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson, and Healing the Gerson Way by Charlotte Gerson. Their website is: http://www.gerson.org/com
Addendum 2/2/10: No more weight loss has happened after 3 weeks on the diet. The interesting thing is that my blo
od counts have improved. I have further changed some things as I continue to study. I have decreased the kelp supplements to 1 per day. It also seemed reasonable to switch to distilled water with occasional Perriers to make sure I get the minerals I need. I deleted the Wikipedia entry as it was not totally factual.