An Integrative Approach
After a diagnosis of cancer, how can you bolster your body's ability to contain and ultimately eliminate the disease? Which combination of self-care tools, natural medicines, and innovative therapies can spell the difference between remission and relapse? What strategies will enable you to tap your full potential for reclaiming health and well-being on a daily basis?
Through my studies and personal experiences over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the power of natural medicines and self-healing methods for overcoming cancer. My primary focus is to help you clear cancer from your body, respond better to treatments, heal more effectively, and reclaim your health to the fullest—your energy, vitality, clarity, resilience, flexibility, aliveness, and peace of mind.
Since the late 1990s, I’ve been collaborating with leading-edge physicians who have extensive experience with natural medicines and non-toxic therapies for cancer and other maladies. Working as an integrative cancer coach and nutrition educator, I've been constantly studying the myriad pathways to optimal self-care and healing, and the many ways we can support more effective treatment and remission maintenance.
In the late 1990s, I had the honor of interviewing cancer experts from all over the world in the process of writing the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer for W. John Diamond, MD. Through that experience, I came to learn about the complex politics of cancer medicine, the immense variety of approaches that exist worldwide, and perhaps most importantly, the reasons why alternative and mainstream cancer therapies either succeed or fall short when it comes to treating advanced or aggressive cancers.
In 1998, I began a long-term collaboration with Keith I. Block, MD, Medical Director of the IL-based Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment and Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed, open-access medical journal, Integrative Cancer Therapies, described by Sage Publications as "the first journal to spearhead and focus on a new and growing movement in cancer treatment. The journal emphasizes scientific understanding of alternative medicine and traditional medicine therapies, and their responsible integration with conventional health care. Integrative care includes therapeutic interventions in diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress care, and nutritional supplements, as well as experimental vaccines, chrono-chemotherapy, and other advanced treatments." Since 2001, in addition to serving on the ICT editorial board, I have served as a research associate for the Block center's research division, the Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education.
My most recent professional affiliations include the Holistic Cancer Care facility at Plum Spring Clinic, Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine, Chapel Hill Doctors, Pogo Health, Natural Health Foundation (formerly based in the Netherlands), and Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. I have lectured at the UNC Program on Integrative Medicine, Duke Integrative Medicine, Elon University, and the National College of Natural Medicine. In addition to being a long-time practitioner of meditation and Tai Chi, I hold certifications in Macrobiotic Counseling, Shiatsu, Reiki II, BEMER Therapy, and the Riordan Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC) Protocol. I currently serve as Nutritional Oncology Research Consultant to the Plum Spring Clinic's Holistic Cancer Care Center in Chapel Hill, NC.
Over the years, I've also come to appreciate the life-giving importance of obtaining nourishment on multiple levels—biological, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual. Much of what is called disease seems to stem from a fundamental disconnect from these diverse sources of nourishment. My job as an integrative cancer coach is to guide you toward a plan of action that will support your body in overcoming the cancer using the self-care (nutrition, botanicals, and lifestyle medicine modifications) and natural medicine strategies that are most appropriate for your specific situation.
After a diagnosis of cancer, I believe it is essential to consider the biochemical conditions that support the tumor’s growth and spread. This biochemistry of malignancy can be transformed with the help of specific nutritional, botanical, and lifestyle-related tools. My primary focus is on helping you stay in the clear after you’ve completed cancer treatment. The overall approach must be grounded in the best available evidence and tailored to what is known about the biology of the disease.
Since 1997, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with leading authorities in the field of integrative cancer medicine. In the course of writing the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer for W. John Diamond, MD, I interviewed and profiled medical experts worldwide who are using a diverse range of innovative cancer treatments. Other cancer-related books to which I’ve contributed include Breast Cancer Beyond Convention (Pocket Books 2002), Life Over Cancer by Keith I. Block, MD (Random House 2009), Clinicians’ Complete Reference to Complementary & Alternative Medicine (Mosby Inc., Harcourt Health Sciences 2000), and Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins 1999).
I also serve as an editor for the peer-reviewed medical journal, Integrative Cancer Therapies (Sage Publications), and as a research associate for the Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education, the research division for the IL-based Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. I currently have over 40 scientific articles listed on PubMed, including papers published in the International Journal of Cancer, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Integrative Cancer Therapies, and Cancer Treatment Reviews.
How I can help you. My role is to research options and guide you on the path to health-promoting lifestyle changes that can ultimately help you improve your health and stay in remission. Drawing from my extensive research background, clinical consulting work, and experience with nutritional, herbal and mind-body regimens, I will teach you about innovative approaches for sustaining a remission and maintaining excellent vitality, sleep, energy and resilience long after treatment has been completed. Just as important is helping you become empowered to do what Dr. Larry LeShan called “finding your own song” at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels—that is, your sense of meaning and purpose, your zest for life.
One session, and free follow-up support. My work is not prescriptive but educational and empowering. During a session, I will share information about effective strategies that include specific foods and herbal supplements as well as physical care and the mind-body connection. It will up to you and your physician to decide which strategies to implement. Many people find that one session coupled with the comprehensive report provides all the information they need for their present purposes. As part of the consulting process, I work closely with physicians and caregivers to explore strategies for optimizing qualify of life and survivorship. The fee includes follow-up communications by phone and by email.
My approach to nutrition and integrative health coaching is based on my master’s training in Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as well as many years of studying foods and supplements in a wide variety of health-related situations. Food and super-food based preparations serve as the foundation, while supplements can be used in a targeted way to provide numerous biological benefits.
In addition to my work experience at several integrative medicine clinics, my background as a health writer (contributing editor to Natural Health throughout much of the 1990s) and medical journal editor has given me the opportunity to interview health experts from all over the world on cancer, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, sleep disorders and many other health problems.
- Circulatory/Cardiovascular Problems. Studies of the relationship between nutrition and cardiovascular disorders (atherosclerosis in particular) have mainly focused on the impact of dietary fat intake on blood lipids and the genesis of heart disease. Just as important, however, are specific protective nutrients and phytonutrients that curb inflammation and promote vascular health. Specific nutritional, herbal and lifestyle strategies can help stop and even reverse vascular damage and other aspects of cardiovascular disease, while laying the groundwork for nourishing a robust heart and circulatory system.
- Poor Blood Sugar Control. In diabetes mellitus, the individual has a high blood sugar level as a result of the body either not responding to insulin or not producing enough insulin. Insulin resistance, the body’s inability to utilize insulin properly, may be a key contributing factor to type 2 diabetes as well as other serious health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, hypertension, and certain hormone-sensitive cancers. Specific nutritional, herbal and lifestyle strategies can promote optimal blood sugar control and long-range metabolic health.
- Chronic Joint Pain. Arthritis affects millions of people in the form of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and, most recently, Lyme arthritis. Conventional medicine has focused on the relief of symptoms, using anti inflammatory drugs and other agents that often fail to halt the progression of joint damage and can have severe side effects over the long term. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet in concert with nutritional and botanical strategies can help prevent and even reverse chronic inflammatory conditions, and can moreover reduce the need for anti inflammatory medications.
- Poor Bone Health. Osteoporosis is an overall decrease in bone mass that typically affects post-menopausal white women but also many elderly men. Nutritional and lifestyle interventions (e.g., bone-bearing exercise) can help curb and halt the development of osteoporosis. To help avert the development or progression of osteoporosis, I emphasize the benefits of a comprehensive dietary and supplement approach, along with strategies to improve absorption of intestinal calcium and improve vitamin D status. This approach is highly individualized and may be combined with hormone testing in order to assess anabolic factors that support optimal bone health.
- Degenerative Neurological Conditions. Degenerative neurological conditions (MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s) are increasing in prevalence as our aging population continues to expand. Although the causes and mechanisms are complex, research in nutritional science has shed light on the many ways in which diet and supplementation can impact the course of these conditions. For example, reducing oxidative stress (excess free radicals) with the help of specific nutritional and botanical agents can help promote healthy brain aging. In addition, a number of “brain-specific” nutrients have been found in controlled studies to enhance memory and prevent age-related cognitive decline. Specific nutritional strategies may hold the greatest promise for preventing and possibly reversing these degenerative neurological problems.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASDs include Autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). These conditions generally manifest as impaired thinking, poor communication, and a limited ability to interact socially. There is some evidence that many children with ASDs are born with a reduced capacity to neutralize and eliminate toxins from their bodies. Moreover, various nutrient deficiencies have been documented in children with ASDs, and targeted nutritional strategies are often very helpful and again make other strategies more effective. In addition, certain “trigger” foods can perpetuate behavioral problems linked with ASDs. Specific combinations of foods and supplements can help restore behavioral harmony and stability.
- ADHD and Learning Disabilities. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder that may affect many children and results in considerable disruption in the classroom setting. Inability to focus or pay attention is the hallmark sign of this disorder, and in many children it is accompanied by hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Many children with ADHD also suffer from low self-esteem and poor performance in school. Children with ADHD often show a dramatic reduction in symptoms when they follow a gluten-free, casein-free diet as well as avoiding sugar and food additives. Certain “brain-specific” nutrients can also be very helpful in promoting calm focus in your child. I teach parents and young adults cutting-edge nutritional strategies that can help prevent and reverse ADHD tendencies.