Ep.38: Avoid Cancer with Chris Wark
I bring back Chris Wark for a discussion on cancer. In spring of 2017 we had 2,000 people join us for the Green Smoothie Girl 26 Day Detox. As a special bonus for all of our detoxers I put together this interview with Chris. I think of him as a little brother on a very similar path. We are both students of alternative roads to wellness. In this episode you will learn his secrets to health and happiness.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Learn more about how Chris Beat Cancer HERE!
Robyn: Hey, everyone. Robyn Openshaw here. Welcome back to Your High Vibration Life. This is episode 38, and you know, we are in our third season now. It’s kind of exciting to be bringing you back someone who I’ve already interviewed. I interviewed Chris Wark in episode 21. It was epic. I hope you did not miss that. If so, the nice thing is about podcasts, you can go listen to it anytime you want. Chris Wark told us in episode 21 a more detailed story of his being diagnosed with cancer and beating cancer without chemotherapy or radiation. I did this interview, that you’re about to hear parts of, for our detoxers. In spring of 2017 we had 2,000 people join us for the Green Smoothie Girl 26 Day Detox. As a special bonus for all of our detoxers I put together this interview with Chris. I think it’s very, very special, and I wanted to share part of it with you.
It is Chris’s thoughts on beating cancer, what he wishes that you knew about how to avoid cancer in the first place. He’s funny. He’s charming. He has a vast knowledge of the data out there, the published research on what specifically, not just in diet, but in everything lifestyle related, what helps you stay well, and what helps you get well?
Hey, everyone. It’s Robyn Openshaw, and I’m really excited to introduce you to someone who I think the world of and you’re going to learn a lot on this call, so stick with us, because I’m asking my good friend … I think of him as a little brother on a very similar path. We are both students of how to be well, as well as cancer and alternative roads for people diagnosed with cancer or people who have a lot of it in their family and would like to avoid it, which is what we’re talking about today. I’m introducing you to Chris Wark, and if you follow my podcast, Your High Vibration Life, you may have heard the extended version of his story in episode 21. If this episode fascinates you, make sure you go back and hear the expanded version in episode 21. What we’re focusing on today is a little bit different, but first of all, welcome, Chris Wark.
Chris: Hi, Robyn. Great to be with you.
Robyn: You’ve been all over the place doing such exciting things with our celebrity friends, Mike Adams and [inaudible 00:02:50]. Chris’s, his whole career is just exploding right now. Everybody wants to talk to him, because inside his brain is a massive encyclopedia of knowledge about how to avoid cancer and how to heal from cancer that does not involve chemo, radiation, or surgery, which is the three prongs of the modern oncology industry. Chris, I’m so glad to have you back. Let’s just assume everybody hasn’t heard your story, but we’re going to tell the nutshell version of what is really remarkable, beautiful story. Tell us about being diagnosed with cancer, what age you were, whether you’re prepared to take this path that you’re taking. Just tell it to us.
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. Thank you. I was diagnosed when I was 26 with stage three colon cancer, and of course it was a big shock. Like any cancer patient, didn’t expect it, didn’t see it coming. I was having some abdominal pain for many months, and I thought it was an ulcer. Turns out it was a tumor in my large intestine. I was diagnosed with a colonoscopy. They took a biopsy, and they, you know, sent it to the lab and said, “Hey. You’ve got colon cancer.” The next thing I knew they were basically booking me for surgery, just they wanted me in surgery just within a few days, and that’s very typical of the cancer industry. As soon as you get a diagnosis, they’re trying to get you into treatment before you even get a chance to get a second opinion. Right? You don’t even have a chance to think about your life, or what’s happening to you, or why you might be sick, or all the factors that are involved. It’s just, “Oh. We’re so sorry. It’s just bad luck, and we better get you into treatment right away.”
I postponed the surgery about a week, because it was a couple days before Christmas, and I just didn’t want to be in the hospital on Christmas. Cancer’s depressing enough. Can I at least not spend Christmas in the hospital? I had surgery on December 30th. They took out a third of my large intestine, took out this tumor, and some lymph nodes that that cancer had obviously spread to. When I woke up they said, “You know, it’s worse than we thought. You’re stage three C, and that’s one click away from stage four. You’re going to need nine to twelve months of chemotherapy.”
All that happened so fast, and I was in the hospital on heavy pain medication, because they cut through all my abdominal muscles and cut out some of my intestines and stitched them back together. The part of the story I love to tell so much is the very first meal that they served me in the hospital was a sloppy joe, and it’s the best example of the worst food you can eat. Right? It’s so bad that they don’t even serve sloppy joes in restaurants. Nobody likes them. Right? But they gave it to me to eat as a cancer patient as the first meal after they cut me open, took out some of my intestines, and sewed me back together. That was a bit of a red flag, just in terms of me starting to question the medical establishment and their sort of turning a blind eye to nutrition. To me it seemed important, and to them it obviously wasn’t.
That happened, and then the day I was supposed to check out from the hospital the surgeon came in to check on me and do his final rounds with me before I went home. I asked him, I said, “Hey. Are there any foods I need to avoid?”, because, again, they had just cut out my guts. Right? So, everything you eat is going to pass through there, and I didn’t want to eat the wrong thing and mess it up, like hot sauce or something. I asked him, and he said, “No. Just don’t lift anything heavier than a beer.” So, you know, sort of like another strange red flag and another clue that the medical profession had no interest in nutrition, no interest in health or healthy living. It still kind of left me wondering like, “Why is there such a disconnect between health, and nutrition, and medicine?” Right? Of course I didn’t have any of the answer back then.
I went home, and my wife and I prayed together. I didn’t have a good feeling about chemotherapy. I had a very strong internal resistance to it, and my gut was telling me, you know, “Don’t do this. This is a mistake.” I was actually more afraid of doing chemotherapy than not doing it, because I was very, very skinny. I was underweight. I was just in really bad physical shape, and I thought, “This treatment could kill me. I’m so weak. I’m in such bad shape.” My wife and I prayed, and I was just like, “God, if there’s another way, just show me, because I don’t know what to do, and this does not feel right.” I got a book that was sent to me two days later from a man in Alaska who knew my dad. He sends me this book, and it was written by a man who had healed his own colon cancer with a radical change of diet and his lifestyle. I mean, he changed his whole life and adopted a hardcore anti-cancer diet, which I’ll talk about in bit. Within a year his tumor was gone. He didn’t even have surgery.
This one man’s story gave me enough inspiration, and hope, and encouragement that I could heal, that I just immediately adopted this hardcore anti-cancer diet and made a decision to change my life and do everything in my power to get well, because up until that point I was completely powerless. The medical industry and the medical professionals that I had talked to and dealt with had all led me to believe that nothing I did contributed to my disease, and this is what many cancer patients are told, “It’s nothing you did. It’s just bad luck. You know, unfortunately it’s probably genetic or heredity, and therefore there’s nothing you can do to help yourself, except for show up for treatment.” Right? Showing up for treatment you give the doctor all the power and authority and put all of your faith, hope, and trust in him or her to save your life, and then you go home and hope that whatever they’re doing to you is working.
This completely changed my perspective, because I’m a person who does take responsibility for my decisions, and I looked at my life, and I thought, “Wow. My life’s a mess. My physical body’s unhealthy. My thoughts, my emotions are unhealthy. I’m just unhealthy, and it’s no surprise I have cancer.” Once I had that epiphany I realized, “Wow. I have a lot of room for improvement, and what would happen if I changed my whole life?” The prospect of changing my whole life got me really excited, and so I just went for it, I mean, head first. I’m sort of a shoot first, ask questions later, to borrow a cliché, but that’s the way I’ve always been in life, and so I just dove right in and changed everything. I built a support network around me. I found a holistic nutritionist. I found an integrative oncologist.
I had very little support in the beginning, a lot of opposition from friends and family members, who thought I was … They love me, but they thought I was making a huge mistake, but I’m stubborn and hard headed, and I’m an only child, and so it’s just like, “Well, I’m doing this anyway. I understand you disagree, but it’s my life, and I’m taking full responsibility to get well,” and I did. I got well, so all that happened. I was diagnosed in December, 2003, so here we are, you know, over 13 years later, cancer free. I’m in the best shape of my life. The long story short is my body healed, because I gave it everything that it needed to repair, and regenerate, and detoxify. The foundation of my healing journey was nutrition, but I did a lot more, which of course we can talk about, so yeah.
Robyn: Okay. [crosstalk 00:11:39] That was a good, short version. I’ve heard your story many times. It’s always inspiring. At Chris Beat Cancer Chris interviews people and their cancer stories all the time, and I’ve been a guest on his video podcast. In fact, I tripped on it, Chris, on YouTube recently, and there’s just tens and tens of thousands of views. That was a really fun one, one of my favorite podcast episodes I’ve ever done as a guest, and Chris has been on my podcast as well, episode 21, like I said. We’re sharing today with … We’ve had 2,000 detoxers join us for our spring detox, and you’ve sent your followers to detox with us, and we’re deeply grateful for that, and I know that probably they’ll be really overrepresented, because they know you well, and they trust you.
A couple quick questions. These are small ones, but I love that you took responsibility for … You know, the medical profession just wants to say, “This just happened by magic. You’re completely unlucky. You didn’t do anything,” but you had decided immediately to take responsibility for your past choices that may have led to higher risk for colon cancer. I don’t think that’s shocking, but some people do, and some people get really angry if anybody says you may have done anything that contributed to this. It’s not a blame game. It’s an accountability thing. What role did that play in you getting well, and what role would that play in you staying well or not getting sick in the first place?
Chris: What role did taking responsibility play?
Chris: Yeah. I love that question, because one of the things I tell cancer patients, I talk about it all the time, is one of the first things I tell them is, “Look. If you have cancer, then you need to assume that the way you’re living is killing you.” Right? “Not to make you feel bad about yourself, or guilt trip you, or douse you in a bucket of shame, but when you take a step back and just say, ‘Okay. Maybe this is my fault. Maybe I have contributed to my disease,’ guess what you’re doing? You’re taking responsibility. You know what? Maybe it’s your fault. Okay? That’s okay. If it’s your fault, it’s okay. If it isn’t your fault, it’s also okay, but either way, you can still take responsibility to fix it. Right? You can take ownership of your problem, instead of just saying, ‘I don’t know what to do. I hope the doctor can help me.’ You can say, ‘No. I’m going to do everything I can do to help myself,’ right? Even if you’re working with a doctor, do everything you can do to help yourself.”
Yeah. That’s what I did. That was the attitude I adopted. I think it’s the attitude every cancer patient should adopt. Unfortunately, many of them don’t, maybe because they just don’t hear this kind of a message from anyone saying, “Hey. There’s so much you can do.” These aren’t just esoteric ideas that, you know, weird, fringe natural health people think. All of these are rooted in nutritional science, evidence based research, epidemiological studies from populations around the world with the lowest rates of cancer, which we can touch on later, if it comes up. We have so much amazing science that shows what causes cancer, and the leading cancers in the United States, and Europe, and Western nations are caused by diet, lifestyle, environment, and stress, so they’re not bad luck. Less than 5% are actually genetic. They’re mostly caused by the choices we make every day, but we don’t realize that we’re making unhealthy choices.
That’s really where my mission and my passion is, and I know yours is too, to just educate people and help open their eyes to see that the choices they make every day can impact their health in a very powerful way and help them prevent cancer, to prevent ever developing cancer, prevent a recurrence, and even empower their bodies to heal existing cancers, because we know the body created this, and the body can heal it, but it takes full commitment, and you have to give it the proper nutrients and care. Detoxification’s part of the process.
Robyn: You know, you mentioned what you were fed in the hospital, and I love that you pull these amazing details into your story that help us all relate to it. Having had four babies in a hospital and a couple surgeries … I had a pregnancy that went wildly wrong and blew up inside me, and I almost died. I’ve been in the hospital half a dozen times. The food that they feed you in the hospital is among the worst food ever. In my life it’s as bad as fast food through the drive through. Similarly, I just want you to answer a question about nutritionists and dieticians. Obviously there’s some very good ones, just like there are oncologists who step outside of the exclusively cut, burn, poison methods and learn integrative techniques, and they learn about detoxification, and they learn about rehabilitating the immune system and why we get cancer in the first place. There are dieticians, and let’s say dieticians, and nutritionists who self-medicate outside of the mainstream education. I think I’m sort of begging the answer here, which is lame. Tell me your answer. Why are our hospitals and our schools feeding us among the worst of the processed standard American diet?
Chris: Yeah. Because nutritional science and nutrition education is not a part of medical education, so we have a many, many, many decades of practicing physicians that have been educated by the medical system, which is funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and we have an ingrained belief in the medical community that nutrition doesn’t really matter, and that people are just going to get sick, and we just need to do the best we can with medications and surgical procedures to help them, and that’s the only way to really help people. They’re also not educated on prevention, because there’s no money in prevention. Right? There’s only money in treatment. I will say this though. We are seeing a shift and many hospitals now have shifted their cafeterias to all organic, and lots of fruits, and vegetables, and even plant based dieticians on staff and things like that, so things are changing for the better, but there’s still a long way to go. Right?
You mentioned dieticians, and it’s true. The American Academy of Dietetics is basically a bought and … That’s who certifies nutritionists. Right? This organization is owned by the large food producers, so if you went to the Annual American Academy of Dietetics, the Annual Conference for Nutritionists, those conferences are sponsored by McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Nabisco. All the major producers of junk food, and unhealthy food, and even large scale agricultural industry organizations sponsor the, quote unquote, certified nutritionists, and so they’re dispensing out advice that is basically spoon fed to them by the big ag and the big food industry.
You know, a lot of people don’t know this, but the tobacco companies got in huge, hot water when it was finally proven in court that cigarettes caused cancer, and they knew it, and they covered it up for decades. Right? They finally got busted, and this was several decades ago when it all hit the fan, but what the tobacco companies started doing when they realized, “Uh-oh. We have to put these warning labels on cigarettes. This is going to impact our sales,” and it has …. Smoking is at the lowest levels it’s been in many decades now, which is great, and as a result, lung cancer rates are way down. All that’s good, but what the tobacco companies did is they started buying up all the junk food companies. The major tobacco companies are Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, and they started buying up Nabisco, and Kraft, and all of these junk food and fast food type processed food producers, and so their biggest money makers are not cigarettes anymore. It’s junk food.
Robyn: Yeah. Very similarly, the drug companies, big pharma, has been buying up the supplement companies. Gosh, if you take one thing from that, it is control your own food. Grow your own food. Make your own food. Make it from ingredients you understand and can put together simply. You know, you and I have talked about this a little bit. Right now the reining kings in the diet wars are Paleo and Keto, and they’re all the talk out there, and really smart people I know are doing these diets. What do these have to do with disease prevention? Is weight loss, dieting the same as eating right for disease prevention? Talk about those two diets and whether they have anything to do with decreasing your cancer risk.
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. There’s lots of hot debate obviously about the healthiest diet. Before I get into it, let me address something. The number one cause of cancer is still tobacco. Okay? Smoking and chewing tobacco, that is the leading cause of cancer. The number two cause of cancer is obesity. Most people have not heard this, you know, except people that follow me, but obesity is the second leading cause of cancer. This is not Chris’s weird idea. This is from the National Institutes of Health, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the World Health Organization. All the major government research organizations are in agreement. Obesity is the second leading cause of cancer, so any method to lose weight is actually kind of a good thing. Right? Any way that you can get the weight off is good. I mean, even doing crystal meth, if you can do that, get the weight off …
Robyn: It’s better than staying obese, you mean?
Chris: Yeah. It’s better than staying obese. That was a joke, but the point is any diet that helps you get back to your normal weight, into a normal BMI range, between about 18 and 25, is in the short term a good thing, whether it’s Weight Watchers, or Paleo, or Keto, or something, but what we know is that most diets are crash diets, and people will get really fired up, and they’ll stick with it for a short period of time, and they’ll get results, but then they go back to their old habits, and they gain the weight back, so there’s really no benefit to it in the long term. In order to get the long term benefit, you have to get down to a healthy weight and stay there for the rest of your life, like stay at a healthy weight range.
Okay. Having said that, yeah. The Paleo Diet is an American fad. It is not rooted in science. It’s rooted in hype, and it’s rooted in sort of a mythology that our caveman ancestors ate a diet that was mostly meat, and maybe some root vegetables, and leafy greens, and nuts, and seeds, and that they didn’t eat any carbohydrates. If you adopt a Paleo Diet … and I will say the principles, you know, eating clean, grass fed, organically raised, pasture raised type meat and wild caught, wild killed meat, those principles, sure. That is a better quality of animal product than your commercially raised beef, and chicken, and pork, and stuff like that. Right? They also, many Paleo advocates, they advocate for eating whole foods and not processed food. That’s great advice. I totally agree.
But they’re very down on fruit, and they’re very down on starchy vegetables, because there’s just this idea that’s been propagated and regurgitated that our paleolithic caveman ancestors didn’t eat that stuff. Well, the reality is if you actually look at the science, there’s a fantastic spread in Scientific American, where they investigate what is the real paleolithic diet. What they found is that the actual leading paleontologists, who are, by the way, not the authors of any Paleo Diet books … Those guys are not actual scientists or … they may do a little research, but they’re not actual paleontologists.
The leading paleontologists around the world, when they investigate the remains, the bodies that have been pulled out of the Earth from prehistoric man and paleolithic peoples, guess what they find in their teeth? They find starchy plant matter in their teeth and digestive tracts, so we know they ate lots of starchy vegetables, and they ate very little animal products. What we have now is we have this movement, and the Paleo Diet is really, you could actually just call it the meat lover’s diet. That’s what it is. It’s branded as this healthy, cutting edge thing, but it’s really just a diet for people that love to eat meat and want to justify it as it’s the latest, greatest, healthy way to be, like our ancestors.
There’s one guy. I won’t name any names, but he has this painful, painful slogan, and I read an article he wrote about all the virtues of the Paleo Diet. One of his, you know, top reasons was, quote, “It worked for your ancestors, and it’ll work for you too.”
Robyn: That is truly awful, because, you know, like you said, not only were there starchy vegetables in the dental structures of ancient man, but there’s this study out of University of Utah that shows that 3.4 million years ago early Hominids had cereal grains in their teeth.
Chris: Of course.
Robyn: If you look up what the paleontologists show us, the actual people who are studying 3.4 million years of human history since we wwere upright, and they are different people than the ones who are out marketing the latest fad diet, which is really just an iteration and slight tweak on the Atkins Diet, which was maybe the worst diet in history, you learn that there are zero of the pods of paleolithic men for many thousands of years who ate meat three times a day, like people eat in the Paleo Diet. Right?
Chris: That’s right. Yeah. They weren’t eating bacon and butter, and they definitely weren’t drinking coffee. It seems like every Paleo person I know eats tons of bacon, butter, and drinks a lot of coffee. The reason they drink a lot of coffee is because their protein heavy diet is such an energy depleting diet that they need coffee just to have a normal energy level throughout the day, which is crazy, because it takes a lot more energy to digest animal protein. It’s highly thermogenic, which is why it actually burns calories, why you lose weight eating a high protein diet, because your body actually has to use more energy to break this stuff down to convert it into energy. There’s an energy cycle in digestion, so you eat food for energy, but then it takes energy to break it down to convert it into a form … In other words, protein is converted into glucose in your liver. Anyway, the point is … But, yeah. It makes you feel sluggish and tired all the time when you eat tons of protein.
Even if we didn’t have research on, like you said and like I talked about, paleolithic man, and we know what kind of foods they were eating, which was plant foods predominantly and then hunting and killing when they could, they weren’t … Even if we didn’t have that science, what we do have is we have many, many, many studies from around the world on the healthiest, longest living people on Earth, and these are people living today and people that have been alive in the last hundred years that researchers and scientists have been able to actually go and live with, and study, and track their disease rates, and take their blood. Right?
We know that the healthiest, longest living people with the lowest rates of disease eat a diet that’s 95% plant based on average, and they eat tons of starchy vegetables. In fact, that is their main source of calories comes from starches, like rice, beans, corn potatoes, grains, of course fruit, and they eat very little meat and dairy, like I said, less than 5% of their diet. That can equate to eating meat a few times a week to a few times a month, and in some cases a few times a year, depending on their poverty level. The healthiest, longest living people with the lowest rates of western diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, actually are the poorest people in India, Africa, China, South America, Southeast Asia, in all of these undeveloped countries.
There is so much we have learned and can learn from these people groups, but unfortunately the message that eating a western diet that’s rich in meat, and dairy, oils, processed food, fast food, and junk food is bad for you and will give you cancer and heart disease is not a popular message. Even to the Paleo community, who are avoiding processed food and junk food, the message that a meat centric diet high in fat and animal protein is going to promote cancer, and heart disease, and diabetes, they don’t like that message at all. They’re fighting it constantly. They’re constantly trying to fight it, but you know, you just really can’t fight the truth. Eventually it will prevail, and their entire movement is built on a fallacy, and it’s built on, again, it’s mythology that our cavemen ancestors were super healthy and lived long, healthy lives free of heart disease and cancer.
Of course, cancer rates were much lower, and the thing is about animal protein is we can’t say for sure that animal protein causes cancer, but we know that it fuels cancer growth, and there’s several factors in animal foods that fuel cancer growth. Number one is animal protein raises IGF-1, which is insulin-like growth factor. That’s a hormonal response in the body that is like cancer rocket fuel. Animal protein raises methionine, which is an amino acid that cancer cells are dependent on to survive, and then animal foods are high in animal fat. Animal fat is high in palmitic acid, and palmitic acid also fuels cancer growth. Palmitic acid’s also in palm oil, so processed, refined, commercially produced oils and animal fat fuel cancer growth as well, so it’s animal protein and animal fat.
By the way, for anybody listening, this is not a message of be vegan, but if you have cancer, avoiding animal foods is absolutely critical, because they feed cancer. In fact, I just interviewed a man, a brilliant man, Dr. John Kelly, a retired general practitioner from Dublin, Ireland, who wrote a book called Stop Feeding Your Cancer. What he found was that every cancer patient in the last roughly 10 years that came through his office, he told them to get off all animal foods. The ones that followed his advice had remarkable survival. I mean, most of them are still alive. The ones that didn’t follow his advice, a lot of them have died. It’s just a matter of their diet. He didn’t do any advanced therapies, and a lot of these patients were doing conventional treatments as well, so they had much better survival rates than the other conventional treatment patients, who were eating this typical diet of the UK, which is the diet of the United States. Right? It’s tons of meat, and dairy, and processed food, and junk food.
Now, I’ll just say, you mentioned the Keto Diet, so the Ketogenic Diet is in a whole class by its own. It’s just an experimental diet that is a high fat diet, so it’s very high fat, a moderate amount of protein, and a very, very extremely low carbs. Of course this diet will also cause you to lose weight when you eat a high fat diet, and there’s no population anywhere in the world that it lives in ketosis. Ketosis is a survival mechanism triggered in the body when you go without food. Let’s just say you lived hundreds of years ago and you grew your own food and raised livestock. Well, in the winter, you know, maybe you were a hunter. All the animals are hibernating. You can’t grow any food, and so there are extended periods of time where you don’t have any food to eat, and so you might go for a day, or two, are three days, or even a week, or maybe even a few weeks where you had very little food.
Ketosis is a process where your body burns fat for energy, so it burns stored fat, converts it to ketones, which your body can use as fuel, instead of glucose, and it burns those and keeps you alive. It’s a wonderful, brilliant, intelligently designed, backup survival mode that your body kicks into when you’re trying to survive, and fasting’s very beneficial. I’m a huge advocate of fasting. You know, three to five days on water is a very powerful fast, but the point is there’s a segment of the scientific community and fad diet community that has taken this idea of ketosis, which Atkins really popularized, and really taken it farther than he ever did, and they’re encouraging people to just stay in ketosis, to eat this high fat diet just for the rest of their life essentially and that it’s healthy, that it’s good for them, but there’s no precedent anywhere in the world. There’s no population, no people group, not even the Eskimos, who did eat a lot of fat, where in ketosis.
It’s a highly experimental diet. A lot of people have made claims that it’s the best diet for cancer patients, and there’s virtually no evidence of that either. It’s all sort of theoretical, hypothetical speculation that because cancer cells feed on glucose, that if you convert to a diet that has no glucose in it and you’re eating all fat, that the ketone bodies, cancer cells have a hard time metabolizing fat, and you’ll survive, you’ll get better. But we actually know there’s studies that tumors feed on fat, like I mentioned palmitic acid. Tumor cells have fat receptors, and they use those fat receptors to feed on fat and to metastasize.
Again, I could talk about this at length, but you can tell I’m not a fan of the Paleo Diet or the Ketogenic Diet. I look around the world at the healthy populations with low rates of cancer, and heart disease, and diabetes, and that’s the diet we want to imitate. Let’s just go ahead, instead of experimenting with something that’s never been proven, why don’t we just imitate what’s working for people?
Robyn: You know, you and I very first connected over my grandmother’s story and what she did to beat cancer, really unconventionally, like you, with nobody in her support group really or her family too stoked about it. You had one or two people, like your mom was pretty supportive, neutral, not against what you did. My grandmother had my mother, who was pretty positive about her choice to not do chemo and radiation and instead do an all raw, plant based diet and tons of juicing, especially green juicing. You’ve done such a great job, Chris, of covering what’s wrong with the Paleo Diet and what’s wrong with the Ketogenic diet, and we should probably make a quick note that, tell me if I’m right, I believe that both Chris and I, as wellness influencers with large followings on the internet, want to say, tell me if I’m wrong here, we like that they get you off of processed food. Right? There’s some good things there.
Chris: Yeah. That’s absolutely good advice. It’s always good advice to tell people not to eat processed food and junk food.
Robyn: Yeah. That’s where, you know, our agreement on the obsession with protein and fat ends.
Chris: Yeah. It’s good advice to tell people to eat organic produce, organic fruits and vegetables. A lot of the Paleo people say that.
Robyn: And wild caught, and organic, and grass fed. If you’re going to eat animal proteins, that’s much, much better. Right?
Chris: Absolutely. That’s the cleanest, quote unquote, healthiest form of animal food would be wild caught, organically raised, grass fed, wild killed. Even kosher takes it a step up. Organic and kosher would be sort of like the pinnacle of healthy, clean meat, because you want to get the blood out. Blood carries a lot of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and pathogens, and a lot of heme iron. Well, guess what? Heme iron is the one thing I left out earlier. Hem iron, which is the free form iron that’s in blood and muscle meat, fuels cancer growth as well. You really want to drain and soak the blood, get the blood out of meat if you eat it.
Robyn: Oh. I feel slightly nauseous, as a plant based eater, who hasn’t eaten any of that kind of animal in many, many years, but thank you for that. This is where it’s going to get really exciting and actionable. We’ve talked about Chris’s opinion based on many years of research, similar to my own research, and life experience with cancer and disease and beating disease. You should know that Chris has been well over 13 years cancer free, which puts him at a level of risk for cancer that’s the same as yours and mine, if we haven’t been diagnosed with cancer, which is pretty exciting. Right, Chris?
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely.
Robyn: It helps that he didn’t go through chemotherapy, so he didn’t dump lots of heavy metals and toxins into his blood stream and organs. I don’t say that to make former chemo patients panic. I say that to let you know, because you’re in our detox. You’ve got bigger challenges, and you have more reasons than anybody to be committed to detoxing. You know that I don’t want you to do the detox once. I talk a lot about biannual detoxing as a fundamental, very important thing that you do, if you’re going to live in this toxic world, which there’s no way out of it. Right? We all live in it. It’s super, super important, if you’ve been through chemo and radiation, to heal those cells and help the body optimize eliminating, but I want you to hear …
I want to get really actionable next. I want to break the next of our interview time with Chris, who is a super busy guy, I want to break it into what he did, what he did with his nutrition, his diet, and then I want to talk about some things he did that aren’t related to his diet at all, that have everything to do … and I think it’s pretty scientific at this point. It’s not just woo woo stuff, you know, I need to stop being so mad all the time. I want him to drive as many stakes into that idea as well, his emotional healing that he did.
The rest of our time let’s talk about what did he eat. I love hearing Chris talk about what exactly he ate, because he and I have both been on the internet for many years and have fielded thousands of questions, and this is what people ask us all the time, because our similarity in our stories is we used to be really, really sick. Now we’re really, really healthy. They say, “What did you eat?” Chris, you went from college student diet to, you know, musician diet, both of which are sort of sort of equally crappy, overnight. What did you eat? How did you do it? How did you make that transition so quickly to completely eliminate the cancer growth in your body?
Chris: Yeah. I’m glad you said college student diet, because that is exactly right. I mean, the way I ate in high school and college was the way I ate as a young adult when I was diagnosed. It was tons of fast foods, I mean literally. Breakfast before cancer was maybe cereal, or some waffles, or some microwaved sausage biscuits, maybe a half a grapefruit with it, and then of course, eggs, and bacon, and sausage, and stuff, so your very typical American breakfast. Lunch was always some fast food, you know, grab it and go in a hurry, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway, KFC, a barbecue joint, and then dinner was maybe more fast food or a microwave meal, like some kind of microwave lasagna, or my wife might, a few nights a week she might have cooked something really basic, like some chicken and some green beans, or potatoes, or maybe some cheap, little filets or whatever, with some kind of vegetable side. Neither one of us were eating healthy at all.
I immediately converted. I read a book called God’s Way To Ultimate Health. This book was making the case for the raw food diet, organic, so a raw, organic diet. I loved it. I loved the idea that … I believe that God created the Earth. I’m a Christian, so it’s very easy for me to accept that if God created the Earth for us, then everything that comes from the Earth is also for us. Right? The food that grows on trees and grows out of the ground for us, we know what’s poisonous now and what isn’t, so these foods that come out of the Earth are created for us. If we get back to a diet that is just fruits and vegetables, it’s just pure, natural diet of food from the Earth, it was made for us, that it will have just an incredible benefit to the body.
Over night I read this book, and we was talking about these sort of concepts, and I was like, “I believe it. This makes so much sense to me.” It makes so much more sense than putting manmade, toxic, chemical poison in my body in order to try to get well. Right? Again, there may be listeners that have had chemo. I don’t want you to feel bad, or freak you out, or whatever. The decisions that you made at the time to do what you did, you made a decision with the best available information, and that information came from your doctor, which ultimately came from the pharmaceutical industry, because that’s how they make money is selling drugs to people. The point is no shame. It’s okay. We just got to move forward if you’ve gone through it. Detoxing is very important, and I’m about to get into that.
I converted this diet. I started juicing. I bought a juicer, started making fresh vegetable juice every morning, about 64 ounces. That would last me throughout the day. It was about 8 8 ounce servings. In the beginning it most mostly carrot juice, and then I started adding other things that I would kind of read and learn about, beets, and celery, and cucumber, and ginger root, so other very powerful, potent fruits and vegetables to my juices to just even amp them up even further. I would put a scoop of a greens powder in the juice as well. I believe you have your own greens product too. Right? It says barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, spirulina, things like that in there. I would juice throughout the day, and then I would eat giant salads for lunch and dinner.
It was a very simple plan that I’d created for myself, because I knew two things. One is I had to make it simple and sustainable, or else I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. Two, I tried to do raw food recipes, and I found that they were all lacking. Right? Most raw food recipes would have a handful of ingredients, but my giant salad had like 20 ingredients. I was putting broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, sprouted beans, and lentils, and then I was putting spices like turmeric, curry powder, cayenne pepper, oregano. I was putting sauerkraut on there, which is cabbage, which is delicious, apple cider vinegar, some olive oil for dressing, and just making this huge, and delicious, and insanely nutritious anti-cancer meal and eating it twice a day.
I learned later that the most potent anti-cancer vegetables were the ones that I was eating, all the cruciferous vegetables and then the alium family, which would be like garlic and onions. I just kept it really simple, and I just did it day in, day out, every single day. When you make a radical diet change or you’re going through Robyn’s detox program, a lot of these are the exact same principles. There’s a momentum that happens in your body when you keep putting good stuff in day in, day out. Right? Eating one healthy meal, there’s not much benefit to it, but when you eliminate the junk food, processed food, fast food, all that stuff, and meat, and dairy, and you just keep putting in fruits and vegetables, your body starts to go, “Wow. Man, there’s all these extra vitamins, and minerals, and antioxidants, and enzymes, and phytonutrients that we’ve never had access to before. Let’s put them to use.” That’s when healing happens. You start to develop a healing momentum in your body. It’s really exciting, and cool, and fascinating, and also scientific. That’s what I did.
The cool thing about that is the biggest principle to detoxification is to stop toxifying your body. That’s like step one. You have to stop putting toxic crap in your mouth. Most of that toxic crap in your mouth, besides cigarettes, obviously, comes in the form of processed food and junk food, and a lot of meat and dairy products are tainted and contaminated. When you eliminate those things, you’re automatically reducing your toxic load. You know? Then you’re replacing it with foods that are rich in water, and rich in fiber, and rich in antioxidants, so fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, water, and fiber are [detoxificating 00:47:23] foods. They assist your body and your liver especially in excretion, and they assist in … High fiber foods absorb liver toxins that your liver excretes into your colon, and those high fiber foods, fruits and vegetables, absorb those toxins and carry them out the back door, before they can get reabsorbed and recirculate in your body and your blood.
So many people are toxic, because they eat a diet that is high in meat, and dairy, and processed food, and they’re constipated, and their digestion is very slow, and so all the stuff that they eat is putrifying in their colon and releasing these toxins. Some of them are called fecal mutagens, which is one of the most disgusting terms I think in all of science. Fecal mutagens are literally cancer causing compounds created by your feces when it putrefies. It irritates and inflames your colon, causes damage to your cells in your colon, DNA damage, mitochondrial damage, and then you reabsorb those toxins through the wall of your colon, back into your blood stream, and they’re recirculating constantly, and people just feel like crap all the time, because they’re reabsorbing some of their crap.
The great news is that when you stop eating all that horrible food and you start replacing it with fruits and vegetables, then you stop toxifying, and you speed up the detoxification process. Then there are additional things you can do, like coffee enemas or water enemas, to improve and increase your liver’s ability to excrete toxins as they’re metabolized and processed in your body. The body stores a lot of toxins in fat, so as you lose weight, there will be toxins that will be broken down and released in your bloodstream and will circulate around, and they can make you feel kind of bad while they’re circulating and while your body is metabolizing them and trying to eliminate them, but the good news is it is eliminating them. Weight loss is also a detoxifying practice too.
Anyway, I was doing all that stuff. Now, the weight loss, I was never over weight. I didn’t have any body fat to lose. That was the on piece of my story that doesn’t apply to some people, but I adopted every therapy I could find and afford. Another big one that’s so important is exercise, because when you sweat you excrete toxins. You know, there are certain toxic heavy metals that are eliminated more in sweat than in your pee or your poop, so sweaty exercise, whatever form you like, whether it’s Zumba, Jazzercise, Tae Bo, you’re running, wrasslin’, whatever you like to do to get your heart pumping, get your blood pumping, and get sweaty is wonderful. Saunas are great too, but there’s a benefit to exercise that you don’t get from a sauna, which is exercise increases blood circulation, and then it switches on a lot of cancer protective genes and switched off a lot of cancer promoting genes. Sauna’s are wonderful, and beneficial, and therapeutic, but I’m a big fan of sweaty exercise, so when in doubt, do both. If you don’t have a sauna, don’t fret. You know? Not everyone can afford one or has access to one. You just focus on getting 30 minutes, up to 60 minutes of sweaty exercise every day.
Robyn: Yeah. Just break a sweat. Break a sweat most of the days of the week. I know you did more than just change your diet, and I love to hear you talk about what you ate, because it’s so simply, and it’s a lot simpler, very frankly, than most people do when they’re going on a cancer preventative diet and they’re making themselves all kinds of gourmet meals. I spent my first couple years struggling with a raw pizza recipe that took me 36 hours of soaking, dehydrating, and it can be daunting. Right?
Chris: Yeah. I bought a book right in the beginning. It’s a very famous book. It’s called The Raw Gourmet. Yeah. I was going through it, looking at recipes to make. Beautiful pictures. Everything looks amazing, but I’m looking at the prep time, and you got to buy a dehydrator and make this pizza crust out of dehydrated vegetables, and I’m just like, “Oh, my gosh, man. This is like so much work to do this. It could be fun to do this, but I’ve got to pare it down to the absolute minimal, maximum effective, but minimal time, energy, and effort.” That’s a giant salad. Someone can Google the giant, cancer fighting salad, if they haven’t found it, and they’ll find my post about it and how to make it. It’s pretty easy. You chop up some vegetables, throw them in a bowl, add a bunch of spices.
Since I wasn’t doing chemo, I had a lot of people that, again, thought I was making a huge mistake, and so I had to live. I had to survive. I couldn’t bear the thought of my wife putting me in the ground. I couldn’t bear the thought of my mom and dad putting me in the ground. I’m an only child, you know, so I was like, “I just got to live. There’s no other option.” Right?
Robyn: You couldn’t even imagine at the time that you would have, had you chosen not to go this route, you perhaps wouldn’t have gotten to meet your two beautiful daughters.
Chris: That’s right. It’s a good opportunity to just tell a little story about my wife, which is that she … About three months after I was diagnosed we had a conversation. Cancer has this way of illuminating what’s important. You know? It illuminates everything in your life that is important and not important, and there’s a clear sort of dividing line that happens in your mind, and you just sort of realize what’s important. Most of what’s happening, stuff in your life, isn’t important at all. What’s important is A, your health, your life, relationships, and not much else.
To me, I wanted to be a dad. I wanted to have a family. You know? I was 26 years old, and I always planned on being a dad and having a family. All of a sudden this was threatening my life and my life plan. My wife and I talked about it, and I said, “I really would love to start a family.” She made what I believe is one of the most courageous decisions of anyone I know, and that was to … she said yes, like, “Let’s try to have a baby,” not knowing if I was even going to be alive to help her raise it. We started trying to have a baby. Everyone knows what that entails. She got pregnant right away, right away, so between three and four months after I was diagnosed my wife was pregnant. Now, I had this little baby on the way, and that was something else to live for. She just made this beautiful, sacrificial, and courageous decision, that she just loved me so much that she was willing to have a baby with me, and so our first born daughter was born 13 months after I was diagnosed.
Chris: It was pretty intense. It was still very much an intense time, but that little baby girl brought so much joy into our lives, and again, just gave me even more determination to live, and to take care of myself, and just to be determined to get well. Then we had another baby girl about three years after that, so I’ve got two girls that are now 12 and 8.
Robyn: That’s so an amazing part of your story, and it was brave of you both. Three actionable things that someone who would like to not have cancer, because we’ve seen our parents, or our grandparents, even our siblings … I have a younger brother who was diagnosed with cancer just last year. Tell us three actionable things that have nothing to do with food that we can do to prevent cancer that have been part of your healing journey as well.
Chris: Yup. Before I do that, I want to say two things. One is I need to answer your question, because I got on [inaudible 00:56:18] and I didn’t really answer it, but a big part of the process for me was also dealing with stress, and dealing with bitterness, and resentment, and unforgiveness, because what I didn’t understand then, and I understand deeply now, is that when you’re carrying around bitterness and resentment toward people that have hurt you, those negative emotions produce stress. That stress is real. Physical stress creates inflammation in the body, and it suppresses your immune system. As soon as I learned that I was like, “Hey. I need to de-stress my life as much as possible, and I need to forgive everyone who’s ever hurt me.” I set about to just start forgiving like crazy, and I literally would just go through and think through my life and try to remember any person who had ever hurt me in any way. I just was tired of holding onto bitterness and resentments, and I let those things go, and I forgave everyone by name.
Gratitude is sort of the antidote to all unhappiness, because anytime you’re in the middle of some unhappy emotion, whatever it is, you can always catch yourself and say, “You know what? I’m angry. I’m upset about this right now, but let me just focus on … For one second let me just remind myself about how many good things I have in my life.” You have a thousand things to be happy about. Pick one. I’m still challenged on a semi-regular basis. I’m still challenged with negative thinking or thoughts, and attitudes, and things, and I still have to follow my own advice and catch those things. That’s a big part of it.
The other thing I wanted to throw out there, before we do some tips, is that you mentioned courage or being brave. You know, something that this process taught me a lot about is that courage, I think most people don’t know what courage is. Courage is not the absence of fear. In fact, courage cannot exist without fear. It’s in the times that you’re most afraid, that’s the opportunity to be courageous, and so courageous is simply going forward while you’re afraid. Right? It’s going forward in battle when you’re scared. When you want to run away, it’s going forward. A lot of people think because they’re afraid, they can’t be courageous or that being courageous means being unafraid, and it’s actually not true. People say to me sometimes, “Wow. You were so brave or courageous,” and my response was, “You know what courage feels like? Courage feels just like fear. That’s what it feels like?”
Robyn: I like that, because you really can’t even have courage if you don’t have fear. They coexist there is no such thing.
Chris: That’s right. There’s no such thing. Courage cannot exist without fear. It’s something that happens in the fearful moment, and again, courage isn’t the feeling. The feeling is fear, and that’s what I was dealing with during the whole process. Fear was present. It was a part of my life. Every day I would wake up and remember I had cancer. Right? Fear would come over me, and I would have to address the fear, and give it to God, and just kind of press through, and trust that he was leasing me. That’s, again, a short version of the mental, spiritual, emotional journey that I went through. That was completely separate of the diet and lifestyle changes that I made.
Robyn: I have one more questions for us, and that is … It’s really kind of a multi-part question, and you can take it wherever you want. Are the body, and the mind, and the spirit, are they separate, and also, does the body want to heal? Does it know how? Does it have the power? Does our body know how to heal?
Chris: That’s some deep stuff. I am of the belief that your spirit, mind, and body are obviously connected while you’re in your body, but when you die, your spirit lives on. Yeah. There’s a huge spirit, mind, body connection, and your body is a reflection of your spiritual health. Your mental, emotional, spiritual health is manifested in your body, and so many, many people that have sick bodies are also sick at heart. Right? They’re sick mentally, and emotionally, and spiritually, and that has to be healed.
They can do all the diet, and exercise, and lifestyle medicine stuff they want, but if they don’t address the root causes of their disease, which is bitterness, and unforgiveness, and anger, and just a messed up emotional and spiritual life, then that can be the one barrier to them getting well. I see it all the time. I meet people with cancer on a regular basis that are, “I was eating a super healthy diet,” and I would even acknowledge, “Yes. You were.” They were already health nuts, health junkies, health nuts, and all that. Then we’d start talking about the stress in their life, and they were just overloaded with stress.
Now, you asked me about tips. The big takeaways for someone that … Hopefully these will stick with you. One, a plant based diet is the healthiest diet on Earth, and it’s not because Chris thinks so or because somebody wrote a book about it. It’s because we have tons and tons of scientific research from around the world on the healthiest, longest living people with the lowest rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are leading killers. Those people all eat a plant based diet, so lots of fruits and vegetables. There’s no fruit or vegetable that’s off limits, and very little meat and dairy. Number two is exercise, and so exercising every day, even if it’s just walking, brisk walking 30 minutes. You’re doing something great for your body, even though it’s hard to imagine, like really, just walking? Walking is wonderful. Brisk exercise, walking all the way up to vigorous, sweaty exercise for an hour a day is awesome. These are things anyone can do.
Then the third big component is … And I can throw in just a little side bar as, you know, just be very mindful of environmental pollution and environmental toxins. If you’re working in a chemical factory, you should probably start looking for a new job right away. If you live in an industrial area, if you live in the country and you’re surrounded by farmland and they’re spraying pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and dumping this toxic sludge, bio sludge, fertilizer, yeah, it can be poisoning you, polluting you, and wrecking your health. Your environment’s very important, and you need to take a hard look at that.
Then the third big one, again, is stress. Stress is the one thing that can outweigh everything else. Any time something bad or something happens that I don’t like, my knee jerk reaction is to get angry, irritated, annoyed, upset, but on my best days I catch myself, and I say, “You know what? This sucks, but something good is going to come of this.” Right? Something good is coming.
Robyn: Well, actually the macrocosm of that is your career and mine. I love to say that sometimes, if not usually or always, the bad thing becomes the good thing, and your career is a testament to that. You’re a shining light to millions of cancer sufferers out there, who face big choices and face whether they’re going to change their lifestyle or just get in the chair and hook me up the other needle, which is a legitimate choice that they get to make, and you and I will stand by them and support whatever they choose, but we do want them to know there’s more, and there’s more to know. Our lives and our family’s lives depend on it.
I want everybody listening to this, we need to let Chris get back to his family, but I want you to know that he has an incredible resource called 20 Questions For Your Oncologist, that I think is just a treatise on cancer, but you got to have it on your hard drive, because someone close to you will be diagnosed with cancer in the next year. It’s almost a guarantee, unless you don’t have any people in your life. When they do, you need to have something to share with them. We always want to help. Someone’s facing that, and you’ve been there before. Right? You don’t know what to say. This is such a great gift to give them, and what Chris has written is something you can print off and take to your oncologist to ask questions of, but it’s so much more than that. It really educates you. It’s at chrisbeatcancer.com/robyn is an easy way to get to it, chrisbeatcancer.com/robyn, R-O-B-Y-N.
I really want you to have that, whether you’ve ever faced cancer or not. It’s such a great way to look at that moment, that moment that you are diagnosed or that little moment in time that Chris described in his own life where you are totally caught up in fear. They want you immediately in surgery or in the chemo or radiation treatments, and that’s not a time and space to be making big decisions. Sometimes we need a little space, and I think that this document, 20 Questions For Your Oncologist, is so important.
Chris, thank you for making your career and your life, since beating cancer yourself, be all about serving others. I learned so much from you, my brother. I am so grateful to have you in my life, and every time I talk to you I learn something, so thank you so very much for being with us today.
Chris: Robyn, well, thank you for having me. I mean, any time, any opportunity that I get to share my story or share what I’ve learned or what I’m passionate about and what I think is going to be helpful to people, I say yes. Yeah. I’m very grateful for you. I’m so glad we connected and we’re friends.
Robyn: Well, you just keep on keeping on. I’m here to remind you of how important your work is. To everyone doing the detox, I hope that this gives you new inspiration, new thoughts. Chris even accidentally gave you an endorsement to step up from level one to level two, if you’ve been considering it. So many people do in the middle of the program. They decide, “I’m doing it. I’m doing the water flush and then the coffee enemas.” You’ve got a little bit of a sense. Now you’ve heard it from at least two people that it’s worth doing. It was part of Chris’s journey as well. Chris Wark, thank you so very much, and everyone, I will see you next time.