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Diet For The Chronically Ill

Category: Diet and Nutrition
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor

The chronically ill person has a long-term degenerative condition
that is not immediately life threatening. This condition usually
causes more-or-less continuous symptoms that are painful, perhaps
unsightly, and ultimately will be disabling or eventually capable of
causing death. To qualify as "chronic" the symptoms must have been
present a minimum of six months, with no relief in sight. People
with these conditions have usually sought medical assistance,
frequently have had surgery, and have taken and probably are taking
numerous prescription drugs.

Some examples of chronic conditions are: arthritis, rheumatism,
diabetes, early onset of cancer and aids, asthma, colitis,
diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, some mental disorders,
arterial deposit diseases, most of the itises (inflammations).

Before fasting, the chronically ill often do have time to prepare
the way with limited dietary reform, and frequently begin to feel
relief quite quickly. Before actually fasting they should limit
their diet to raw foods and eliminate all toxic foods like alcohol,
coffee, tea, salt, sugar and recreational drugs for two months if
they have been following a typical American diet.

If the chronically ill had been following a vegetarian diet, perhaps
a diet including with eggs and dairy, if they had been using no
addicting substances, then one month on raw foods is sufficient
preparation for fasting. If the person had water or juice fasted for
at least a week or two within the last two years, and followed a
healthy diet since that time, one or two weeks on raw foods should
be a sufficient runway.

During preparation for a fast, I never recommend that a chronically
ill person quit taking prescription medicines because doing so can
seriously disrupt their homeostasis. However, if their symptoms
lessen or vanish during the pre-fasting clean up, the person might
try tapering off medications.

The length and type of fast chosen to resolve a chronic illness
depends largely on available time, finances, availability of support
people, work responsibilities, and mental toughness. If you are one
of those fortunate people 'rich' enough to give their health first
priority, long water fasting is ideal. If on the other hand you
can't afford to stop working, have no one to take care of you and
assist with some household chores, and/or you are not mentally tough
enough to deal with self-denial, compromise is necessary.

Ideally the chronically ill person would fast for an extended period
under supervision until their symptoms were gone or greatly
improved, with a fall-back plan to repeat the whole process again in
three to six months if necessary. If you are not able to do that,
the next best program is to fast for a short period, like one or two
weeks, with a plan to repeat the process as often as possible until
you are healed.

I have had clients with potentially life-threatening conditions such
as obesity with incipient heart failure, or who came to me with
cancer, that were unable to stop work for financial reasons, or who
could not afford a residential fasting program, or who felt
confident in their own ability to deal with detoxification in their
own home. These people have fasted successfully at home, coming to
see me once a week. Almost inevitably, successful at-home fasters
had already done a lot of research on self healing, believed in it,
and had the personal discipline to carry it out properly, including
breaking the fast properly without overeating.

Foods To Heal Chronic Illness

Sprouts Baby Greens Salad Juices Fruit
alfalfa sunflower lettuce beet grapefruit
radish buckwheat celery celery lemon
bean zucchini zucchini lime lime
clover kale kale orange orange
fenugreek endive radish parsley apple
wheat tomato tomato raspberries
cabbage cabbage cabbage blueberries
carrot carrot grapes
spinach apple peaches
parsley grapefruit apricots
sweet pepper lemon strawberry

Fruits should be watery and lower in sugar. Some examples of poor
fruit choices would be pineapple, ripe mango, bananas, dates,
raisins, figs. Fruits should not be combined with vegetables.

Vegetables should not be starchy, packed-full of energy. Poor
vegetable choices would be potato, parsnip, turnip, corn, sweet
potato, yam, beet, winter squash. Sprouts and baby greens are
vegetables and may be included in salads.

Juices should not be extremely sweet. Apple, orange, beet and carrot
juice should be diluted with 50% water. Fruit juices should not be
mixed with vegetable juices or with vegetables at the same meal.

Salads should include no fruit. Salad dressings should be lemon or
lime juice, very small quantities of olive oil, and herbs. No salt,
soy sauce nor black pepper. Cayenne can be okay for some.

I have also helped chronically ill people that were not mentally
prepared to water fast, but were able to face the long-term
self-control and deprivation of a raw food cleansing diet that
included careful food combining. These people also regained their
health, but it took them a year at minimum, and once well they had
to remain on a diet tailor-made to their digestive capacity for the
rest of their life, usually along with food supplements.

Jim was such a case. He was 55 years old, very obese, had
dangerously high blood pressure poorly controlled with medication,
and was going into congestive heart failure. He was on digitalis and
several other heart medications plus diuretics, but in no way was
his condition under control. He had severe edema in the feet and
legs with pitting, and fluid retention in the abdominal region
caused a huge paunch that was solid to the touch not soft and
squishy like fatty tissue.

Jim had dreamed of having his own homestead with an Organic garden,
now he had these things but was too sick to enjoy them or work in
his garden without severe heart pain and shortness of breath. Jim
had retired early in order to enjoy many years without the stresses
of work, and he was alarmed to realize that he was unlikely to
survive a year.

The day Jim came to see me the first time I would have classified
his condition as critically ill because his life was in immediate
danger; but he responded so quickly to his detox program that he was
very soon out of danger and would be more accurately described as a
chronically ill person. Jim was not prepared to water fast. He was
attached to having his food and he was aware that at his extreme
weight he was going to have stay on a dietary program for a long,
long time. He also wanted to choose a gradient that he could manage
by himself at home with little assistance from his wife. He had been
on a typical American diet with meat, coffee, etc., so that in spite
of his dangerous condition it did not seem wise to me to add the
heavy eliminatory burden of a water fast to a body that was already
overwhelmed with fluids and waste products.

Jim immediately went on a raw food cleansing diet, with no
concentrated foods like nuts, seeds, or avocados, and with one day
each week fasting on vegetable juice and broth. He did enemas daily
even though it wasn't his favorite thing. In one month he had lost
30 pounds, his eyes had started to sparkle, and his complexion was
rosy. The swelling had disappeared from his feet and legs, and he
had to buy new pants.

Starting the second month he gradually withdrew from prescription
medications. From the beginning I had put Jim on a program of
nutritional supplements including protomorphogens (see chapter on
vitamins and food supplements) to help the body repair it's heart
and the kidneys. In only four months he had returned his body to
glowing health, and looked great for his age, though he was still
overweight. At the end of one year he had returned to a normal
weight for his height, and only cheated on the diet a couple of
times when attending a social event, and then it was only a baked
potato with no dressing.

He was probably going to have many qualitative years working his
garden and living out his dreams. The local intensive care ward lost
a lot of money when they failed to get Jim.

Next: Diet For The Acutely Ill

Previous: Diets To Heal The Critically Ill

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