Full credit (for a great portion of the information shared in this post) and appreciation, goes to Kathryn Alexander, D. Th. D., author of Dietary Healing and Detoxification, for her easy to understand explanations of an otherwise complicated nutritional protocol. I highly recommend anyone on, and or considering, a nutritional healing program to get her guidebooks; they have been absolutely invaluable to me. You can get her Resource Guide For Those Following the Gerson Therapy, here, for free!
The Diet Rationale
Absolute requirements for a nutritional healing program:
- must be non-toxic and organic;
- must not prove a burden to the body or the organs of elimination, particularly the liver and kidneys;
- the diet must be easily digested, which is why the instructions for the preparation of juices and cooking techniques must be adhered to;
- each meal must be freshly prepared;
- must restore the potassium status in the cells and stimulate detoxification from the cells, hence the bias towards the volume of vegetables both raw (salads and juices) and cooked in the diet;
- sodium (salt) must be excluded in order for the tissues to take up potassium and heal;
- protein must be reduced in order for detoxification and sodium elimination to occur. Protein feeds tumor tissue and delays the healing in most chronic degenerative diseases. Enough protein is derived from the diet for healing and tissue regeneration.
As a diet therapy all the foods must be easily digestible and have maximum nutritional value. It is also essential that the diet is wholly organic.
- Raw vegetable and fruit juice makes up a bulk of the diet which, if correctly prepared and fiber-free, allows maximum digestion and absorption.
- The juices are rich in live enzymes and nutrients which are readily accepted by the body cells.
- Foods that are cooked are done so slowly, at low temperatures, making them more digestible (as slow cooking breaks down indigestible fibers) and therefore adds nutrient value to the person healing.
Carrots are very detoxifying; in juice form they are able to draw toxins out of the cells. In agriculture they are seen to have the same capacity; farmers will crop carrots to “clean” the soil (another reason to avoid juicing commercial carrots). In traditional Chinese literature carrots are regarded as a liver stimulant, or supporting Liver Qi (energy).
Green juices are tonifying and build the blood. They are a primary source of protien and are rich in vitamins, minerals and other trace elements not found in carrots. I will share more of the nutritional 411 about the greens used on this therapy in Part 2.
Apples (green) are critical because of their high levels of malic acid and pectin. When the pulp of both the apple and vegetable are mixed together before pressing, the malic acid solubilizes and extracts a greater nutrient value than the vegetable would produce on its own. In addition, the pectin in apples is an immune-stimulant.
Excess dietary protein inhibits the elimination of sodium and toxins via the kidneys. A reduced protein diet is known to influence the immune system positively (increases the cell population that deals with tumors, TB, viruses, candida, etc.) and reduces the incidence of auto- immune disease.
Fats heat and over-tax the liver. By removing fats from the diet (temporarily), the liver is allowed to concentrate on its detoxification duties.
About Flax Oil
Flaxseed oil once embedded into the cell membrane will increase the uptake of oxygen into the cell, increase the energy capacity of the cell membrane and help to regulate inflammation.
It also (as noted in Healing the Gerson Way):
- detoxifies fat-soluble toxins and helps to dissolve and remove plaque
- is a carrier of vitamin A, which is important for the immune system
- removes excess cholesterol
- contains both essential fatty acids – linoleic and linolenic acid and is a rich source of Omega 3′s
About (some of the) Primary Supplements
The aim of the therapy is to restore normal cell metabolism. In all chronic degenerative diseases, cells lose their function to a greater or lesser degree. All supplements are used to support the diet therapy, specifically by increasing the energy capacity of the cell and by increasing the rate of detoxification, both of which are essential to healing .
Thyroid, Lugol’s and the Potassium compound solution act together, in concert, to increase the energy-capacity of the cell by stepping up its oxidative functions. Potassium not only encourages detoxification of sodium from the cell (sodium inhibits oxidation and perpetuates the disease cycle) but is also a key activator in the oxidative cycle hence it governs oxidation, energy production and the metabolism of the whole cell. Thyroid governs the overall energy metabolism of the body by stimulating replication of the cellular mitochondria (energy factories of the cell where oxygen is “burned” and ATP is formed).
CoQ10 and Niacin (active B3) are both critical in the energy cycle. They both shuttle energy from the mitochondria and deliver it to oxygen.
Digestive enzymes and acidol pepsin assist the digestion of the foods and the juices which is critical to a diet therapy.
To this a variety of other fresh, organic fruits and vegetables is eaten daily to provide a broad spectrum of additional nutrients.
So as you can see there is both rhyme and reason behind this food medicine protocol. In actuality it is far more complex than one single post can accomplish to explain, but I hope this provides a general understanding! I will delve a little further into the food medicine facts next time, so keep an eye out for Part 2.
All love from my kitchen apothecary to yours,
Additional Sources Noted:
Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases
by Charlotte Gerson with Beata Bishop