Monthly Archives: August 2013

Circus, Swim, and Nails: Three Cancer Stories

Last weekend we want to see Cavalia Odysséo, a circus of horses, acrobats, and aerialists. It is a magnificent show.

Our trip to the circus began, in a way, many months ago. In March 2012, I got an email that began, “My mother has terminal cancer.”

PHD and Laurette Charron’s Cancer

The email was from Michel Charron, an aerialist with Cavalia Odysséo. Here is what he wrote:

I rushed home from Miami … to New Brunswick, Canada, to see what I could do for Mom.  The doctors say there is nothing they can do for her now….  The doctors have already decided that she is dead, and that there is nothing to be done but to keep her as comfortable as possible to the end.

She has cancer of the liver and of the colon.  They have found lesions on her lungs, which they believe are also cancerous….

When I arrived ten days ago, my mother was totally unrecognizable.  She was taking six pain pills a day, had no tone in her facial expressions, could not pronounce the letter ‘s’ properly, had severely restricted mobility, as well as difficulty concentrating and following regular conversation….

We are all alone here and would greatly appreciate some friendly advice.

I gave my cancer suggestions. The gist of my dietary advice for cancer can be found in these two posts: An Anti-Cancer Diet, September 28, 2011, and Toward an Anti-Cancer Diet, September 15, 2011. Extracellular matrix is very important, so soups and stews with connective tissue are important. Good, balanced nutrition is crucial; many nutrient deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances promote cancer. Lifestyle is very important too: circadian rhythm entrainment may be the single most important factor determining cancer prognosis.

I didn’t hear from Michel for seventeen months. Last Friday, Michel sent another email:

I contacted you last year regarding my mother, Laurette, who was diagnosed with generalized cancer and given very little time to live.  You proved a light in very, very dark times.  My mother not only lived nine months longer than predicted, but the quality of her life improved dramatically.  Thank you for that.

Cancer is a terrible disease, and had Laurette’s cancer been caught earlier there would have been hope of recovery, but Michel was grateful for the extra time he had with his mom. She got off most of her prescription medications, dropping from 22 drugs to 5, and became physically and mentally able to enjoy what remained of her life. Michel and Laurette were able to spend time together, share their love for each other, and say farewell.

It happens that Cavalia Odysséo is playing in Boston right now, and Michel invited us to the show. If you ever have a chance, it is well worth a trip. The horses – there are 63 horses in the show – are a pleasure to watch; the scenery is magnificent; and the performers superb. This trailer will give you an idea of the show:

Here is the circus tent:

cavalia 01

Michel invited us back stage after the show. Here we are with some of the performers – Michel is holding our book:

cavalia 03

With Michel and his wife and co-performer Tomoko:

cavalia 03b

Some of the horses, exhausted by the show, turn their backs to visitors:

cavalia 02

And here I am getting a lesson in aerialism from Michel:

cavalia 04

Thank you, Michel! It was a magical night.

The Big Swim

If you’ve read the jacket of our book, you’ll know that Court Wing, head trainer at CrossFit NYC, says in his blurb, “One of my best friends was on the diet while undergoing chemo and his bloodwork numbers were so good that they would have been considered average … for a person without cancer.”

I haven’t yet told the story of Court’s friend, D. Kirk MacLeod. Kirk discovered he had cancer when his colon ruptured in August 2010. He’s had multiple surgeries and chemotherapies since.

Kirk has now done something remarkable. On August 4, he swam the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island – an 11 mile swim. He wrote beforehand:

I really do feel like I am accomplishing the impossible… I have gone from less than 160 pounds, weak and worn from chemotherapy before Christmas (less than I weighed in high school!) and two major surgeries in February and March…to 185 pounds, fit, strong and ready to swim over 14 kilometres on Sunday, August 4th!!! I started slowly training at the beginning of June!

In July I started training “hard” under the guidance of Court Wing (my Crossfit coach from Crossfit NYC) and Max Wunderle (my swim coach of TriMax Fitness). I also had invaluable eating advice from Paul Jaminet (The Perfect Health Diet). Their help and direction has been phenomenal – I couldn’t have done it without them!

After the swim, Kirk wrote:

It was brilliant… It was hard as hell…and it was an accomplishment I never imagined….

I finished in 6 hours and 25 minutes. We figure I swam about 17 km … maybe more.

I was only cleared to train at the end of May and started training in June…I began at zero. I couldn’t even do basic exercises with weights. I wasn’t a swimmer. I had never trained in swimming.

It’s an incredible story and an incredible accomplishment. Here’s Kirk:

cavalia 05

Kirk did his “Big Swim” to benefit the Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society, a charity for chronically ill kids. If you’d like to reward his hard work, donate here through Canada Helps.

Cancer and Nailbiting

Reports from other cancer patients suggest that cancer therapies are much less toxic when patients are eating PHD. Here, for example, is Bill Rafter:

About 6 months ago I learned that I had metastatic prostate cancer. The treatment recommended was hormone therapy and targeted radiation…. The effects are a total suppression of sexual drive, hot flashes similar to those experienced by menopausal women, and the feeling that one is an old, old man…. I found the last one particularly brutal, and questioned whether I wanted treatment at all.

A friend gave me a good book on cancer, recommending an all-out approach rather than the sequential attempts favored by most oncologists. Nutrition was a major part of the approach. I then trolled my friends for books on nutrition and one commented that PHD was the best he had ever read. I am overwhelmed by what it has done for me.

After reading PHD, I immediately adopted the recommendations in full, with the exception of fasting. I then went thru 44 radiation treatments, and never felt fatigue, a common symptom. No more old man feelings, and no thoughts of quitting treatment. Hot flashes are completely gone, which really puzzles the oncologists. Everyone wants to know what stopped the hot flashes.

Of course breezing through therapy is not the same as recovering, but it is a good start. If therapies have fewer side effects, higher doses can be utilized, and treatments might be more effective.

Bill continued:

But that’s not all. Ever since grade school I have been a nailbiter. I knew the habit was caused by a chemical imbalance, rather than behavioral, but could never figure out what. But since adopting PHD, my fingernails have grown to the extent that filing them is annoying. That makes me wonder that if PHD brought my system into balance, how many other imbalanced people could also benefit.

I think a lot of people can benefit from PHD. Similar to Bill’s case, it’s rare for only one health condition to improve when diet and lifestyle are improved. Usually all or nearly all health problems improve. This suggests that poor diet and lifestyle are contributors to many diseases.

Invitation to Perfect Health Retreats

A few recent events have increased my interest in how PHD, or ancestral diet and lifestyle generally, affect cancer:

  • Shou-Ching and I have recently been asked to assist in developing the dietary and lifestyle advice for a cancer clinical trial.
  • Our Perfect Health Retreats provide a fairly controlled environment where we might be able to see and measure the effect of PHD on cancer patients. Michel told us that when he put his mother on PHD, he saw notable improvements after two weeks. So a thirty day program may be long enough to generate observable results.
  • The launch of the Journal of Evolution and Health gives a scholarly forum for communicating observations and exploring hypotheses.

As readers know, my mother died of cancer, so this is of special interest to me. I suspect that diet and lifestyle have a much bigger impact on cancer than most realize. There is shockingly little research underway into this aspect of cancer management.

To gain more insight into how diet and lifestyle may affect cancer outcomes, I’d like to invite cancer patients to come to our Perfect Health Retreats. Perfect Health Retreats are not a medical program, there is no medical treatment or advice available – just great food, an environment designed for optimal healthfulness, and an educational program teaching how to live for optimal health. So the program will not be suitable for severely ill patients.

If you’re interested in participating, please contact Paul Jaminet at and 617-576-1753 or Whitney Ross Gray at and 910-763-8530.

UK Edition; Upcoming Talks; and Other News

I’ve been remiss in failing to announce the release of the UK edition of Perfect Health Diet. It’s out!

Perfect Health Diet is the best book in print on diet and health. If you’re in the UK and haven’t read PHD yet, check it out.

Our thanks to Sololiz for leaving the first Amazon review. We’re most grateful for everyone who leaves Amazon reviews – please do!

Talk Wednesday August 14 in Albany Georgia

As a warm-up for the Ancestral Health Symposium, I’ll be giving two talks in Albany, Georgia next week, plus a book signing.

On Tuesday night, I’ll be speaking to the Dougherty County Medical Society. It’s always a great pleasure to speak to doctors, as we share a common goal of healing and many doctors are eager to learn about more effective approaches.

Incidentally, Shou-Ching and I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Herb Mandell and his wife Peggy earlier this week. Dr. Mandell started our diet six weeks ago and left this reader report:

Dear Paul and Shou-Ching,

I have been on the PHD for just five weeks now and have experienced some dramatic relief! After years of severe GERD, (the same symptom which led to esophageal cancer and death in an older brother), I am experiencing virtually no acid stomach nor reflux. Given my improvement, I was able to cut my dose of PPI in half with the blessing of my GI doc, and cut out extra doses of OTC antacid. I hope to cut back more in the future. (The PPI can cause some serious side effects when taken in large doses for long periods of time). I also am noticing that after eating a filling meal such as spaghetti with (rice) pasta, I no longer feel bloated. Also, I notice less aching in my fingers and wrists, and my arthritic knees are less painful. Thank you both so much for your incredible work!

This made me feel guilty, as I have been meaning to write a blog post on acid reflux/GERD for quite some time; it is, I believe, generally easily cured. Since GERD can lead to serious problems – esophageal cancer as in the case of Dr Mandell’s brother – and conventional acid suppression therapies also lead to serious problems – infectious disease due to impaired killing of pathogens in the stomach; vitamin B12 deficiency due to loss of intrinsic factor; and toxicities, sensitivities, and allergies generated by undigested food peptides – there’s really no excuse for not publicizing the proper natural therapy. I’ll get that up after AHS.

On Wednesday in Albany, Georgia, I’ll host two public events:

  • Between 10 and 11 am I’ll be signing books at the Books A Million in the Albany Mall on Dawson Road. I’ll be happy to chat with anyone who comes.
  • At 11:30 am, I’ll give a talk that’s open to the public at Darton College, Room C-266 (south end of campus).

If you’re in southwest Georgia, please consider attending!

Talk September 19 in Pittsburgh

On Thursday evening, September 19, I’ll be speaking in Pittsburgh in an event sponsored by the group Freedom of Choice in Cancer Therapy. It will be held at the Comfort Inn and Suites at 180 Gamma Drive in Pittsburgh. I’ll have more information as the date gets closer.

What’s Been Keeping Me Busy

Finally, I owe an explanation for why I’ve been so quiet lately. There is much happening behind the scenes. A few projects I can mention.

I’ve been busy creating educational materials for the Perfect Health Retreat. The second group of beta participants has been just as successful as the first; I’ll review their results later this month. But let me extend my sympathy to Jim, who lost 24 pounds in 4 weeks – continuing the string of remarkable weight loss stories at the Retreats – and had a great time in Austin, but returned home to find that his home had been burglarized. At least he’ll avoid the gastric bypass he was considering. Our best wishes, Jim.

Another project that has kept me busy is the Ancestral Health Society’s new journal, the Journal of Evolution and Health. This is an exciting project that will help bring the ancestral health movement more fully into the mainstream of science and medicine. The journal has gathered an impressive collection of scholars and clinicians for its editorial board – testimony to how much enthusiasm is behind the project. Expect to see the official launch and call for papers soon.

Shou-Ching and I are also working on our cookbook, and on other projects too. Stay tuned!