The Benefits of Eating Raw Food vs Cooked

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Image source:

The Benefits of Eating Raw Food vs Cooked

As a breast health coach one of the things I recommend to my clients is the benefits of eating raw food vs cooked food, it’s part of my wellness recommendations for them. Let me be clear – I am not saying everyone should switch your diet to all raw (although some do and are quite happy to). In this article I hope to share with you why raw food should be considered part of a healthy regimen and in what quantity.


According to health expert Philip Day, the top six causes of disease deaths in our western culture are ALL diseases of chronic malnutrition, especially cancer. Yes – malnutrition! Hard to believe in this day and age, but it’s absolutely true. Our bodies are literally starving for the nutrients they need to run properly.

The primary goal of eating a diet high in raw foods is to help your body get those easy-to-digest, high quality nutrients it so badly needs. Our bodies are naturally designed for this sort of diet. Secondly, cooked foods create a higher level of acidity in the body, while raw foods neutralize acid and help the body be more alkaline. We know that high levels of acidity are associated with increased disease.

Cooking vs Raw

The problem with cooking food is that heating it can destroy many of the natural nutrients and enzymes the food would normally contain. This is not a good thing because those enzymes assist with digestion and help in the fight against chronic disease (yes, even cancer). Foods that are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) simply don’t stand up well to cooking.

Cooked foods can also produce inflammation in the body and this is something we definitely want to avoid because cancer is an inflammatory process. So anything that creates or promotes inflammation is to be avoided wherever possible.

Some of the benefits of incorporating more raw food into the diet include less inflammation in the body, less acidity, better digestion, healthy weight promotion, good quality dietary fiber (helps elimination so less constipation), reduced food allergies, less joint pain, improved heart, liver and colon function, reduced need for vitamin supplements, more energy, clear skin, and more importantly, more cancer-fighting nutrients.

My Recommendations

One of the key parts of a breast healthy diet is one high in cancer-banishing phytonutrients that come from raw fruits and vegetables. Depending on which style of raw food diet you wish to follow, you can begin by just adding more raw fruit and vegetables into your diet every single day. There’s no need to completely make over your diet on day one. Start slowly and aim eventually for a 50/50 ratio of raw to cooked food – that’s a really great goal. Here’s a tip:  at each meal, fill a plate half way with fresh, raw, non-starchy vegetables and fruit and the other half of the plate with cooked or lightly steamed food.

For a list of the best anti-cancer fruits and vegetables to eat, check out my page Diet and Cancer. My personal feelings are that there is little need to go completely raw (unless you want to), because it’s too easy for a person to become deficient in protein and to feel deprived, unless they are following a very specific and rigorous raw food regimen. I’m finding many just don’t have the time or inclination for that.

So as to not feel too deprived I recommend people also include fish, sea vegetables, sprouted grains, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, also seeds, nuts, eggs, and small amounts of organic meat and chicken. This is definitely a matter of personal choice, however, and if you feel the need to completely avoid eating meat, that’s your right. We can agree to disagree.

You definitely want to avoid most packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery store like bread, cereals, crackers, cheese and most dairy products, condiments, highly processed oils and meats. One naturopath went a step farther and said to me “If it has a bar code, avoid it!” That’s not strictly true anymore as even fruit can have bar codes these days. But you get her meaning, right? The more natural (and preferably organic) that it is, the better.

Good Raw Food Websites

There are some wonderful websites out there that share loads of tasty and inventive raw food recipes. I recommend beginning with just one new recipe per week that you will enjoy and build up your recipe repertoire over time. Get familiar with the world’s leading raw food websites. Here are some of my favorites:

Raw Food Recipes


Please remember the benefits of juicing too. Juicing vegetables and adding phytonutrient-rich green foods and fulvic acids to your diet gets some cancer-blasting nutrients into your body in a hurry. So if your diet has been less than optimal lately, today is a new day. Do some juicing. Eat a new raw food salad (my favorite one is at the top of the page here). Get some greens into you. Give your body what it needs. Raw vegetables and fruits RULE!

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The Ugly Truth About Fish Oil

Photo courtesy of and Ponsulak

Photo courtesy of and Ponsulak

The Ugly Truth About Fish Oil

I sat in on a radio show today between breast cancer coach/blogger Elyn Jacobs and Prof Brian Peskin, a scientist specializing in parent essential oils — termed PEOs — and their relationship to both cancer and cardiovascular disease.  He’s just written a book, “PEO Solutions”, which will be available for purchase in November 2013.

It was an interesting discussion, Prof Peskin is an animated and passionate speaker who believes we are being misguided and conned by the health food industry (among others) into thinking that fish oils are good for our health.  It sounds as though this couldn’t be farther from the truth, there are real problems with fish oil, not the least of which is the fact that so many of our fish are now polluted by the waters they swim in.

We Don’t Die From Breast Cancer, Typically, But From Cardiovascular Disease

Prof Peskin’s arguments against fish oil have a great deal of merit and I wanted to share them with you because I’ve been reading that people who have had breast cancer don’t generally die from that, but from cardiovascular disease.  If you are taking fish oil to prevent cardiovascular disease, you’d better keep reading (and keep an open mind)!

According to his website,, “First reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, a very large well-done study in Italy showed that fish oil was completely ineffective in preventing heart disease for a very large group of high risk patients.  Soon after, Dr. Eric Topol, renowned cardiologist from Scripps Health (La Jolla, California) and editor-in-chief of Medscape, recommended discontinuing all fish oil supplementation for the prevention of heart disease. It doesn’t get any more main stream than Dr. Topol, so I gladly accept the designation of an advocate for a rational, now mainstream approach for combating heart disease.”

What Are Parent Essential Oils?

According to Prof Peskin, there are only two parent oils we should be consuming – LA (parent omega-6), also known as linoleic acid, and ALA (parent omega-3), also known as alpha-linolenic acid.  These oils must come from food and to work properly in our bodies, they must not be heated, must be chemically unprocessed, organically raised and processed in such a way as to guarantee full physiologic functionality.

All other essential fatty acids, notes Prof Peskin, are termed “EFA derivatives” and these are made in the body already – AA, DHA, EPA.  Derivatives are made in the body from the parent oils, LA and ALA.  Thus, by taking these supplements we are actually overdosing on oils we already have in our bodies – and generally the oils we are supplementing with are rancid and actually promoting disease, not health!

Since our diets contain many oils that do not follow the above standards (think about that fried chicken or french fries you had last week), we are setting ourselves up for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

100 Trillion Cells Need Parent Oils

To properly understand how crucial parent oils are in our bodies, think about the fact that we have 100 trillion cells, and every single cell has a double layer of fats (known as a lipid bi-layer) comprising the membrane.  Of these fats in each cell’s membrane, 25-33% are parent oils.  If we don’t consume the healthy parent oils in our diet, our cells don’t have the building blocks they require for proper functioning and could very well lead us down the garden path to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and many other disease processes.

The Best Parent Oils Are…

Prof Peskin apparently is developing his own plant-based proprietary formulation of parent oils.  Until that becomes available, the best ones come from organically grown sunflower, safflower, pumpkin, and evening primrose seed oils, as well as coconut oil.

I recommend you go to his website,, and download some of the PDFs he has available on parent essential oils.  My favorite is Cancer: A Complete Overview With PEOs to the Rescue.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

Eating Organic – So Important With A Breast Cancer Diagnosis!

Photo courtesy of / stockimages

Photo courtesy of / stockimages

Eating Organic – So Important With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis!

According to a report I was reading the other day by Consumer Reports, spending on organic products has risen by nearly 20% over the past decade and nearly 2/3 of American consumers purchase at least some organic products.  I find that to be good news, it means that consumers are voting with their purchases that they are no longer willing to allow tainted foods and products into their households.  If you have a breast cancer diagnosis, eating organic becomes doubly important.

Why Is It So Important To Be Eating Organic If You Have Breast Cancer?

First, for the simple fact that many of the toxins that are being sprayed and injected into our food supply are being linked to the development of cancer.  Organic food doesn’t contain pesticides, heavy metals, dangerous industrial chemicals, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives, bovine growth hormones or antibiotics. 

We, as a human race, have only encountered the 100,000+ chemicals added to our food chain and animals in the last 70 years or so – right about when the incidence of all kinds of cancers began to increase.   Our bodies have no way at all to deal with these dangerous chemicals.

Organic certification is your assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without toxic chemicals.  When you see that a product has been certified organic, it’s your best bet that the product, its ingredients and the manufacturer have gone through a thorough investigation.

Second, when you have breast cancer, your immune system is already compromised, it’s under attack.  You don’t want to be putting anything into it (or on it) that will cause any further harm or detriment.

What Foods You Should Buy Organic

There are times when you just can’t buy organic – either it’s not available in your small town, or you are traveling, or you just don’t have the extra money for organically grown foods.  Here’s a list of the things you should definitely be buying organic, especially if you are fighting breast cancer, have babies or small children, because their small body size means toxins can accumulate quickly:

  1. Meat – organically grown meat reduces your chances of contracting mad cow disease (always fatal), and organic meat and poultry must be fed grain that was grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
  2. Dairy Products – including yogurt, ice cream, milk, butter, cheese, cottage cheese
  3. These Fruits – the most highly sprayed fruits are peaches, apples, strawberries, pears, cherries, grapes and nectarines.  Buy these organically grown whenever possible.
  4. These Vegetables – the most highly sprayed vegetables are bell peppers (capsicum), cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, celery, spinach, lettuce, potatoes.  Buy organically grown when you can.
  5. Eggs – It’s true that happy chickens lay the best eggs.  Organic eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam freely in a yard not treated with chemicals, they are fed with organic feed and not pumped with chemicals or given antibiotics.
  6. Coffee and Tea – Most people don’t think about this, but coffee and tea is generally grown in countries that don’t regulate the use of pesticides or fertilizers.  One more consideration – look for the Fair Trade Practices label that most organic coffee and tea carries.  This indicates that the people who produced the coffee beans or tea leaves were paid fairly and treated well.
  7. Baby Food – Babies and small children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.  Baby food is often made of condensed vegetables and fruit, so the level of any chemicals found on the food is magnified.  Please buy organic for our little ones, or better yet (kudos to my daughter-in-law who does this), make your own with organic produce and freeze it.
  8. Almonds, Peanuts, Pecans, Soy Foods – All tend to be highly sprayed.

Foods You Don’t Really Have To Buy Organic

Because these foods have thick peels or protective coverings, or are not as highly sprayed, they are generally not as crucial to buy organically grown:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Bananas
  4. Blueberries
  5. Broccoli
  6. Cabbage
  7. Cantaloupe
  8. Cashews
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Eggplant
  11. Garlic
  12. Kiwi
  13. Macadamia Nuts
  14. Mango
  15. Onions
  16. Papaya
  17. Peas
  18. Pineapple
  19. Rhubarb
  20. Sweet corn – I’m on the fence about this one, though, because so much corn in the USA is now GMO and we don’t even have labeling laws to protect us from that.  I still buy sweet corn organically grown.
  21. Sweet potatoes
  22. Watermelon
  23. Zucchini

I hope you found this article helpful!

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Alcohol and Breast Cancer – To Drink Or Not To Drink…


Alcohol And Breast Cancer – To Drink or Not to Drink…

I am frequently asked whether the consumption of alcohol can indeed increase your risk of getting breast cancer. It’s a good question, right? We all want to know whether or not it’s safe to have a drink now and again.

Some studies indicate that alcohol consumption absolutely does increase your risk, while others say that moderate consumption is actually good for you because it can increase HDL type blood cholesterol and thus decrease your cardiovascular disease risk.  Also red grape skins contain a high degree of resveratrol, which is supposed to be an anti-cancer phytochemical.

So who do you believe?

French Study Says Alcohol Does Increase Breast Cancer Risk

A large-scale French study found that women who drank alcoholic beverages with meals, normally beer and wine, were more likely to have breast cancer, and the risk increased with the amount of beer, wine, and total alcohol consumed.  The drinkers had a one-and-a-half times greater risk.  A mere three drinks per week was linked to a higher risk of breast cancer among women, notably those under age 50. [1] 

American Study Says Breast Cancer Survivors More Likely to Die from Cardiovascular Disease

Much more recently than the 1986 French study, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in April 2013 [2] indicated that breast cancer survival was similar between women who drank alcohol after diagnosis and those who did not. The researchers followed close to 25,000 breast cancer patients for an average of 11 years, and found that women who drank moderately – 3-6 drinks per week – before developing breast cancer were 15% less likely to die from the disease.  Polly Newcomb stated “The results of our study would suggest that moderate alcohol consumption after a diagnosis of breast cancer does not adversely impact either breast cancer-specific or overall survival,” 

The study noted that breast cancer survivors are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than breast cancer in long-term follow-up.  My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that many suffer heart and associated tissue damage from their chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

British Study Says Alcohol Definitely Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Another study, called The Million Women Study [3], [4], was done in Great Britain between 1996 and 2001.  The study recruited 1.3 million women over the age of 50, through National Health Service breast screening centers.  One in four women in the target age group have participated in the study, making it the largest epidemiological study of its kind.

Participants were asked to fill out two surveys: one when they joined the study and one three years later. The surveys asked the women (among many other things) how many alcoholic drinks they had each week. About 25% of the women didn’t drink alcohol. The women who drank alcohol averaged about one drink per day.  The researchers then looked at the medical histories of the women for the next seven years to see if there was a link between cancer risk and regular consumption of alcohol.

The study revealed that about 69,000 women from the 1.3 million developed some form of cancer and the women who drank no alcohol had the least amount of cancer incidence.  The researchers estimated that each daily drink increases breast cancer risk by about 12%. So compared to a woman who doesn’t drink, a woman who had one drink per day had about a 12% higher risk of breast cancer, and women who had two drinks per day had about double that – a 24% higher risk.

This study also looked at the use of hormone replacement therapy by study participants and confirmed that there was a relationship between HRT and the risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.  The Million Women Study has had a dramatic effect on HRT prescription patterns and prescription guidelines, and many feel has led to a reduction in breast cancer rates in the UK.

To stray off the subject of alcohol and breast cancer for a moment, one thing that wasn’t clear to me was whether the women were asked about their intake of Vitamin D.  Breast cancer is the commonest form of cancer among women in the UK, known to have a scarcity of sunshine.  It would be interesting to know whether the higher incidence of breast cancer is directly attributable to the scarcity of sunshine (which is where vitamin D comes from if you don’t supplement) or from other sources.

Back to My Original Question…

Which study does one believe?

I think it all comes down to the old adage “Everything in Moderation”.  If you have a drink or two on your birthday or at Christmas, don’t fret over it.  A drink every single day might be something to be concerned about.  Please weigh the benefits of drinking alcohol against the risks.  If you are a heavy drinker, be aware that heavy alcohol intake does increase your risk of liver disease, colon and rectal cancer, it raises the blood pressure,  and it is implicated in gout.

If You’re Going to Drink, Go Organic

Since the one study indicates that a moderate amount of alcohol appears to be protective for the cardiovascular system without increasing your breast cancer risk, let me make this suggestion.  If you do decide to have the occasional drink, make your drink of choice organic wine.  Organic wines are produced with organic grapes, they are not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, they contain less sulfites than traditional wines (sulfites are added as preservatives to prevent microbial growth and are implicated in a whole host of other health problems.)


[1]  Le, M.G. et al. “Alcoholic Beverage Consumption and Breast Cancer in a French Case-Control Study,” American Journal of Epidemiology (Sept 1986).

[2] Alcohol Consumption Before and After Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Associations With Survival From Breast Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Other Causes –



If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Pesticides in My Favorite Tea!

Photo courtesy of and Jana Koll

Photo courtesy of and Jana Koll

Pesticides In My Favorite Tea

I was hugely disappointed to learn this week that one of my favorite herbal teas was found to be adulterated by pesticides… and not only adulterated, they were at the top of the list for pesticide residues. 

The maker of my favorite teas, Celestial Seasonings, is located right here in Colorado.  I have loved and consumed their teas for years, so I was shocked and saddened to learn of this report, “Dangerously High Pesticide Levels Found in Celestial Seasonings Teas“.

In particular, their Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which has no safe harbor limit under California’s Proposition 65.  It is a known carcinogen!

The Company’s Defense and What Short Sellers Do

In their defense, Celestial Seasonings (via their Facebook page) had this to say:  “The report you’re referencing was issued by a short-seller, an investment firm which stands to benefit financially if our parent company’s stock declines.  We ran our own tests with an independent third-party lab and reaffirmed that Celestial Seasonings teas are safe and continue to meet industry standards. Please be assured that all of our teas continue to deliver on the safety, quality and taste that tea drinkers expect from us.”

The short sell firm Celestial Seasonings was discussing is Glaucus Research.  If you haven’t heard of short sell firms before (and I hadn’t) what I discovered is that they make financial bets against companies, so that if the stocks for these companies fall, they make money.   It wouldn’t be difficult to guess who Glaucus might be betting against.

So yes, it appears that Glaucus is a biased source.  However, it doesn’t make the pesticide reports any less untrue.  Glaucus released the findings to explain its investment against Celestial Seasonings and other companies like Teavana.  It also has analyses on other products from Hain (Celestial Seasonings’ parent company).  The group’s disclaimer clearly states “We are short sellers. We are biased. So are long investors. So is the company. So are the banks that raised money for the company… Just because we are biased does not mean that we are wrong.”

So who to believe?  The whole debacle makes me feel sick.  I’ve trusted this company for years, personally been through their factory in Boulder, Colorado several times (love that peppermint room!) and I even send their teas to my kids in Europe because they love them too.  The thought that I was possibly exposing them to pesticide residue makes me feel absolutely ill.

But their comment about industry standards does not reassure me.  For one thing, I don’t feel that ANY amount of pesticide residue is tolerable, especially having had breast cancer and knowing that pesticide residues are a risk factor.

Until Celestial Seasonings and Hain start creating strictly organic teas, I will stop buying them. 

Keeping Yourself Safe From Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Other Nasties

I still believe our best bet when shopping for food and body products is to look for the green and white USDA certified organic seal on everything you buy.  In Australia, look for the Australian Certified Organic seal.   Doing so provides us with our best defense against fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, sewage sludge (ewww), antibiotics, growth promoters, genetically modified organisms, irradiation, etc because organic growers do not use any of them. 

I found a great article on the website: “Here’s the Deal With the Organic Seal”.  This article explains much better than I can how organic certification came to be, what growers must do to be compliant, and several interesting tidbits, such as the USDA has increased its enforcement of both organic standards and rules for certifiers over the past few years under the Obama administration, which I found to be reassuring.

I especially appreciated the comment that “organic is still the gold standard for food production in the U.S.”  The author of the article went on to state “When you get away from organic, these companies are doing whatever they want without any oversight.”

Just another reason to buy organic wherever you possibly can.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Organic Food vs Conventionally Grown

Great Video on Choosing Organics

Image source: / Simon Howden

I receive a lot of questions from breast cancer patients wondering about the difference between organic food vs conventionally grown.

Like, does it really make that big of a difference? This is a great question, and to answer it carefully I will link to a couple of videos:

This is Why You Should Choose Organic

Should You Go Organic? With Dr Josh Axe

I linked to these two videos because they explained well why organic is better, and the second video discusses which produce you can eat that is conventionally grown – all good, sensible advice.

There are references to “The Dirty Dozen” list and by this they mean the list compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the 12 most highly contaminated produce items you should definitely avoid or buy organic. This list is updated every year and you can find it here. Basically, it is highly recommended to avoid foods that are on the Dirty Dozen list as these are the most highly sprayed fruits/vegetables with pesticides, etc.

The EWG also publishes a list titled “The Clean 15” which is a list of the produce you can safely eat that is conventionally grown – these are things that are not so highly sprayed. You can find that list here.

Why is Organic Food So Expensive?

Another question I get frequently is “Why is organic food so expensive?” Many feel they cannot afford it. This is a more complex question, and a fellow by the name of Ali Partovi gave a great Ted Talk about that very subject. This is a 13-minute talk and well worth your time, very thought-provoking. Here it is: Why is organic food so *#@! expensive??  Basically, it’s because the demand for organic food is greater than our ability to supply it.

If you or someone you love is fighting cancer, you definitely want to be choosing organic produce whenever possible, because the last thing you need right now is more toxins from pesticide or fungicide sprays.  Give your body the best chance to heal and choose organic.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond


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