At this time I would like to skip over 6 months of my life and discuss something I feel is very important……my lifestyle change. In particular, I would like to discuss my new diet. I can’t say that I previously ate horribly. I just had glaring weak points. Over the past years I have reduced the red meat consumption and increased the poultry, pork and fish. We even bought organic chicken and pork most of the time. Due to digestive issues from my ileostomy, I tend to stay away from leafy and high fiber vegetables unless they are what most people feel are over-cooked. So I basically would eat string beans (from a can) and “over-cooked” broccoli or carrots. My real downfall was in the pasta and sweets areas. I love pasta and bread and a lot of it. Hey, I’m Italian. Cakes, donuts and cookies, when they were available, are another weakness. These were not only a weakness but I also would eat plenty of them at one sitting.
Well, after three cancers, three rounds of chemo, the removal of my thyroid, a stem cell transplant and being pricked, probed, tested and basically feeling crappy off and on for two years, I decided to listen. For the last 4 or 5 years, Elena has tried to eat healthier and basically follow a more plant-based life style. She was inspired by our daughter Marlena, who is a strict disciple of this style of eating and has been a real source of information and inspiration through the years. I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan at first; however, the mere thought of another treatment of chemo was enough to make me want to listen and listen hard.
After two years of chemo and cancer treatments, my weight had ballooned to over 270 lbs. I have always fought my weight but have always stayed in cardio shape over the years by playing basketball and jogging. When the years caught up with me, I started to walk, use a treadmill or elliptical or recumbent bike. Well, 275 was way too high for a 53 year old man recovering from cancer with high blood pressure and GERD (acid reflux). I had to do something to stop the comfort eating cycle I was stuck in.
It started in the hospital after my stem cell transplant where at the end of my 18 day stay I started to eat just three square meals a day. Not three good meals, just three meals. They were not healthy by any stretch of the imagination nor were they tasty. At least I started to shed a few pounds. When I got home, I continued with this pattern, just with more healthy food and the avoidance of cakes, cookies and sweets. Marlena wanted me to talk to Dr. Fred Bisci, a nutritional consultant and health expert, so we set up the consult over the phone. Wow, what an eye opener. If I thought I was doing things the right way, Dr. Bisci sure set me straight. After our consult, I found out that eating meat a minimum of two times a day (sometimes three) was not going to cut it. How about three times a week in small servings? Organic lunch meat? Garbage!! Pasta? Only if it’s brown rice pasta. White bread? Forget about it! Canned vegetables? You kidding! Cakes, cookies or sweets? Dr. Bisci would rather cut off his arm! It looked bad for me. I like my food and while I have cut back over the years and lost weight at times while dieting, this was not a diet. This was a lifestyle change.
To really get into what Dr. Bisci represents you should google his name and read up about him. Read his literature and it will make sense and if you can handle his plan you will be the better for it. I will admit, I was totally overwhelmed and had very little confidence that I could pull it off….even though he just wanted to start me off on the intermediate plan. I just want to reiterate that I was not doing this for weight loss and that my goal was to give myself the best chance I could to not get cancer again. Basically, Dr. Bisci wanted me to eat whole grains, green leafy vegetables, potatoes and yams, lentils and beans, raw nuts, brown rice pasta, cow, buffalo, lamb and goat. Foods should be all organic, non GMO and gluten free if possible. All meats should be organic, hormone and antibiotic free and grass-fed. No alcohol, sugar, white flour, caffeine, dairy, cold cuts, peanuts, saturated fats or processed oils.
Dr. Bisci also is big on food combining and not eating between meals to allow the body to heal itself and not be in perpetual digestion mode. The food combining is really interesting and not as easy to follow as you might think. Basically, you can eat vegetables with anything and at all meals. When you eat proteins as your main meal you need to avoid carbohydrates and when you eat carbohydrates as your main meal you need to avoid protein. Therefore, when you eat pasta (brown rice only) you avoid the meatballs and sausage. Instead, you eat your pasta with either marinara sauce or vegetables. Having fish or meat then you need to eat vegetables only. No potatoes, yams or rice. You eat three meals a day with no solid foods in between meals and no eating late at night. You also exchange acidic foods for more alkaline foods. The following is from Natural News.com. “The typical American diet is a deadly one, consisting primarily of toxic and acid-forming foods like processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined grains, conventionally produced meats and dairy, and hidden genetically modified organisms. All this, combined with a plethora of other challenging environmental factors (such as lack of rest, psychological stress, and pharmaceutical drugs), mean it's no wonder that more and more people are being diagnosed with chronic, degenerative illnesses or otherwise deadly conditions for which modern conventional medicine claims to have no known cure.”
My next post I will describe how I overcame so of the obstacles with this lifestyle change and modified Dr. Bisci’s intermediate diet to fit my lifestyle.