Starting a diet because of inflammation, I have a few questions - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-22-2013, 09:17 PM
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a friend advised me to become raw vegetarian after I injured my foot with a thorn two months ago and ...the foot never healed.


I have a very strong inflammation (don't ask me how many doctors and hospitals I went to). I will also have to take antibiotics for several months.


My main problem is the pain caused by the inflammation. I have an appointment with a pain specialist but it is weeks from now, and in any case I don't want to be on opiates.


I believe the inflammation and the low immune system are due to the meds (the latest one is Tamoxifen) that are keeping my stage 4 breast cancer in remission.

Since all I can change is my diet, I plan to transition as quickly as possible to eating anti-inflammatory foods.I started eating only fruit and veggie smoothies, and an occasional egg or hummus.


I have encountered a few difficulties, and I hope you can give me some advice.


1) I found that nuts, legumes, and olive oil are irritating and I can eat only extremely low doses. What alternative food can I eat to get proteins and oil?


2) As many people living with cancer, I have to be careful of blood clots and of vitamin K wich causes them. I can eat leafy vegetables but I have to be consistent in the amount I eat every day. So, I can't go from almost nothing to having leafy greens as my main staple. What else can I eat instead, and how quickly should I increase the amount of leafy greens?


3) In theory I am not allergic to greens, but right after drinking a carrot and greens smoothie (which I now do every morning), my body gets very hot and sweaty, and pardon the detail, I really stink. Does this mean I am allergic? Am I moving to this diet too fast?


4) I would like to know about the interaction of foods with my medicine, but doctors know next to nothing about food, and nutritionists know next to nothing about meds. Do you know how I could find a specialist who knows about both?


5) Since the inflammation is a reaction to a plant (I probably have some microscopic thorn debris the surgeon could not extract), would eating plant material actually make the reaction worse? I found no information anywhere about this subject.


I know these are a lot of questions, but this is my first post, and they are questions that my research, and the books I read, could not answer.


I am very happy to have found this forum, and really nice people.


I hope you can shed some light on my doubts.


Thank you very much,


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#2 Old 07-23-2013, 06:39 AM
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Laura, welcome to VeggieBoards.


My best advice to you is to try and find a doctor who is experienced with raw/vegan diets. There are some out there and I think it well worth your while to find one. Try checking on


Another suggestion is to get yourself tested for allergies. You say that you can't do well with nuts/legumes/olive oil but then you eat humous which is essentially seed/bean/oil! Perhaps some data will help you make an informed decision.


I found this article along with the many links to supporting papers, particularly enlightening.


Good luck!

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#3 Old 07-23-2013, 07:04 AM
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I think Siv gave you some good advice, LauraVeggie. My father is also facing stage IV lung cancer and I understand that diet can sometimes be a balancing act, especially if you're on blood thinners.

While some here may be in the medical field, it wouldn't be prudent of them of offer you advice that could potentially conflict with your other medicines. You really should do your best to seek out a doctor who would be knowledgeable about both the nutritional and medicinal aspects of your care plan.

Perhaps getting in touch with your local chapter of the American Cancer Society?
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#4 Old 07-23-2013, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LauraVeggie View Post


4) I would like to know about the interaction of foods with my medicine, but doctors know next to nothing about food, and nutritionists know next to nothing about meds. Do you know how I could find a specialist who knows about both?



Doctors also know next to nothing about meds! Its simply not their specialty, they just look at the summary in their reference book.

A good person to consult would be a pharmacist. Not a pharmacy technician but the head pharmacist, they are actual medical doctors and are trained in knowing pharmaceuticals very well and they often have a fair grasp of potential interactions with foods. They earn a quarter million dollars a year for a good reason, and remarkably they're free and usually willing to be quite helpful if they are not busy. They arent infallible and some are better than others, but generally they are more knowledgeable about pharmaceuticals than most anyone else you'll find.



Originally Posted by LauraVeggie View Post


5) Since the inflammation is a reaction to a plant (I probably have some microscopic thorn debris the surgeon could not extract), would eating plant material actually make the reaction worse? I found no information anywhere about this subject.


Probably not. You have two (primary) immune systems, innate and adaptive. The innate immune system is where inflammation comes from, it does that to get immune cells to an area with an infection or a foreign particle in. So your body is doing that inflammation in order to fight something that should seriously not be where it is. Plant bits are supposed to be in your stomach and gut, cross reactivity shouldnt happen. Its possible a plant allergy could manifest from the process of fighting the wound but thats not the norm.

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#5 Old 07-23-2013, 03:43 PM
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Hi, welcome.


1) beans are an excellent source of protein, and please remember that most food has some protein so you really don't have to try much to get enough protein every day if you are eating enough calories from a variety of plants.  avocado and coconut are good sources of fat (oil).


2) yes, you do need to be careful about increasing foods with vitamin K.  probably slowly increase, but of course consult your health care provider about this too. Are you taking coumadin?  if so, that may also be contributing to the slow healing of your wound. 


3) Hot, sweaty, and stinky don't really sound like allergy symptoms, but that is an interesting reaction to the juice.  It may be a kind of detox.


4) That's a tough one.  The internet has a lot of info about medications and nutrition, maybe for now just try to learn as much as you can about both.


5) I don't think eating more plants will be bad for the infection, there isn't really any science to support that theory.  

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#6 Old 07-23-2013, 06:14 PM
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Some of your reactions to food could certainly be related to your cancer treatment. Keeping a journal of what you eat, any negative reactions, and any change in your cancer treatment could be helpful. I would definitely recommend talking to others who have been treated for breast cancer, whether on an online forum or a real life support group -- you may find others who had similar problems and get some new ideas of how to cope.

On the issue of vitamin K, if you are taking warfarin, it is important to talk with the clinic or pharmacy that follows your lab values and adjusts your dose. They should be able to advise you on how to safely add greens to your diet.
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#7 Old 07-25-2013, 06:53 PM
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I am a cancer fighter as well. I connected with naturopaths at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where I got my second opinion. They have continued to provide support even though I'm being treated locally.

My PCP prescribed a home monitoring device for my INR, as I take Warfarin. It really helps me stay on track, as I continue to eat healthier.
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#8 Old 08-01-2013, 11:05 PM
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Thank you for all the info! And I am glad there are fellow cancer survivors on the board.


I read a book, Green for Life, about eating only fruits and vegetables, mostly in the form of smoothies. I am trying to follow that diet because it is true that when I eat grains I can't breathe very well. However, today I broke down and ate an organic vegetarian pizza. It tasted heavenly, but now I don't feel too good. The Tamoxifen makes me hungry. That's why I was asking if you know of a good staple food to eat to stave off the appetite.


My Cancer Center sponsored lectures on nutrition, but the advice was basically to eat a balanced diet. Nothing I didn't already know, other than the advice to stay away from sugar (fruits are ok), that now I follow. By the way, I asked my pharmacist about advice on the meds and all they said was to keep taking what the doctor ordered, and to talk to my doctor. I am no loger taking warfarin (blood thinner) or monitoring the inr..

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#9 Old 08-02-2013, 04:17 AM
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Although I don't have a problem with inflammation, my husband has rheumatoid arthritis, newly diagnosed a year ago, and suffers greatly because of it despite meds.  I am vegan (2.5 years now) and have tried and tried to get him to eat more plant foods and less meat and dairy.  He does eat mostly vegetarian at home now but still drinks his milk and loads everything with cheese.  I really think cleaning up his diet would do him a world of good.  I will be watching this thread with interest. 


I have heard of foods with anti inflammatory properties, such as bromine in pineapple (I ate a lot of this last year when I suffered a stress fracture in my pelvic area), and turmeric.  I have a book called "Thrive: The Vegan Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life" by Brendan Brazier, and while it is not geared specifically for people with illnesses, it focuses a lot on eating mostly (but not all) raw and eating a more alkaline diet with highly usable energy.  I think he talks about inflammation and diet in his book in several places.  I think there are less allergenic whole pseudo grains like millet, buckwheat groats, and quinoa that have a lower inflammation factor that would satisfy cravings without causing a bad reaction or making inflammation worse that you could try.  I try to stay away from flours unless I make them myself in my high speed blender with whole seeds like buckwheat or millet.  I don't tend to feel too energetic if I consume breads and flours but I don't have terrible reactions either and every once in a while I have to make allowances or I will end up bingeing.  There is a site called nutrition data or something like that that lists the inflammatory factor in foods.  You can type in the name of any food and it gives you the nutrition data and includes a measurement of the inflammation factor on a scale.  I thought this was really interesting. 


At any rate I hope to see some more responses here.  Best wishes to your health!

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel

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#10 Old 08-12-2013, 02:23 PM
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 I am very interested in this thread as well. Having been recently diagnosed with rhuematiod arthrits, I am currently started on a DMARD but it will take 3 months to begin to work. I have taken 2 short courses of prednisone in the past 2 months just to get the pain and inflammation under control. So I am looking for all the information I can find on antiinflammatory foods, because I do not want to take steriods.  I have  read that the nightshade veggies can be inflammatory, and that the raw kale/spinach/beets/ etc smoothies are natural detoxer and help the inflammation at the cellular level. So I would agree  that #3 may just be detox.

1) the answer may be to start out slow with the beans and legunes. Small amounts at first and soak them overnight if making from scratch.

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