I have always believed in the saying “You reap what you sow”. The idea is almost universal at this point and I think everybody has their own version or saying to express this point. You reap what you sow especially in cancer fighting gardens is really a special truth. In other words, it couldn’t be more true!
In Vivo or In Vitro
We have all seen the news reports, magazine articles and blog posts that say if you eat “this or that” then you reduce your risk of cancer. What they don’t tell you is that most of these experiments are done in the test tube or “in vitro”. Now, that probably doesn’t mean anything to you but let me explain. The other option, among others, is “in vivo” meaning that the experiment is conducted within living tissue. Here is why this is important.
When a cancer study is performed “in vitro” the person conducting the study takes the cancer cells and performs the test in a test tube or in a dish. When a person conducts the study “in vivo” they study the cancer in living tissue for example, in a mouse. Here’s why that matters. Now, please endure the exaggeration for the sake of making a point but you can pour gasoline in one of these test tubes and kill the cancer but you cannot ingest gasoline and kill your cancer without killing yourself.
So, when you ingest something to kill your cancer, like a vegetable or supplement, then you probably should not reference an “in vitro” study as your motivation for doing so. An “in vitro” study does not take into account your digestive system and how your body processes whatever you have ingested to fight your cancer. Also, the substance they have used in the test tube may never even reach the cancer cells when you ingest the veggie or supplement you have chosen. Also, “in vitro” studies tend to use concentrated forms of these substances which means, for example, if you are discussing ginger, you may have to eat 50 ginger roots a day to have the same affect. So, when you look for veggies to grow you should look for “in vivo” studies and things like apoptosis (cell death) in the study. You can read more about this topic in one of my previous posts. Read More
Why A Garden
You may be thinking now that eating vegetables is pointless. I think that depends on the type of cancer that you have and how far it has spread. After I was diagnosed, I decided to change my diet. I started juicing like a maniac, eating sprouts and so on. I did all of this in the hopes of reversing, shrinking my tumors or even slowing their growth.
After learning the extent of my tumor burden, I came to the conclusion that diet would probably not change the course of my cancer because my tumor burden is extensive. About half of my liver is full of cancer and it has spread to my legs, arms, spine, ribs, G.I. Tract, Lymph Nodes and other places. That’s a lot of cancer. So, for me, I do not expect a diet change to impact that amount of cancer…not that I rule that out. 🙂 What I do believe is that changing my diet may help in ways that cannot be measured. You see, I have always taken the approach of diet and alternative therapies combined with standard treatment would be best for me. Of course, you must make your own decision.
So, is a garden helping? I think it is helping me in a number of ways. First, I feel better when I eat less meat. Also, I do believe that some foods and veggies do help prevent and fight cancer so…I am eating them. Lastly, I don’t want to my family, or myself, to end up like the rats in this picture who were fed only GMO corn and developed huge tumors. I don’t want my son ingesting insecticides and weed killer. So, we grow our own food as much as we can.
This should probably be called “how to start” but I liked small beginnings better. 🙂 It lets me remember what I did to get started. If you want to do something you must really start small, don’t you agree? After learning of my diagnosis, I decided that I would do my best to take care of my health in whatever ways I could. You know, gardening is the easiest way to take back control of your life….at least part of it.
Here is our first garden in North Carolina. David and I planted it. We had more beans than we could handle and to be honest…planting and harvesting this little bit was more than I could physically handle 😀 So, how do you start? Wherever you can and however you can. The pots were free at my garden center, the seeds were off the rack and the dirt was a bag from the shelf at the garden center. 🙂
Now, that you’ve gotten this thing going what do you do? Well, don’t overdo it the first year. It’s good advice….but if you know me, then you know I don’t take my own advice. 😛 I did have a plan in my head and it involved gardening in a way that I could enjoy without taxing myself physically. So, I created garden boxes with seats. Well, actually, I paid a friend to make them for me. Here’s a picture of what they looked like. They are filled half way with standard top soil and the other half with wood chips. It makes keeping the garden weed free much easier.
These little garden boxes let me do my thing and sit when I get tired. When I started, I would plant 1/2 of a packet and then sit. After I would get my energy back then I would work my way back to the house. In the morning I would have my son turn on the water and if, I was still sick, he would turn it off when he got home from school. As he would say “easy peasy”! Finally, I would fertilize once a week with 10-10-10. Nothing too strong and nothing too weak. 😀 I might increase my fertilizer to 15-15-15 or something similar this year.
The trick is this. You must figure out what works for you! First you must decide what to grow and then make a plan to do it. 🙂 Those two buckets up top might be enough for you, or even more than you can handle, but for me, I wanted to make a big impact on our lives so I went big. 😀 It has worked out pretty well so far.
Garden Tip: If you’re just beginning, beans are so easy and chives are little onions with pink flowers. You can grow summer squash which is another easy crop too. There are lots of things that are not very difficult. Stay away from things that have long maturation dates, such as pumpkins or watermelons because too much can go wrong. Also, avoid veggies that are known to be labor intensive like corn. Oh, peas are easy too! 😀 Everything you see below is easy to grow. Cucumbers, summer squash and beans. 😀
Once you’ve got yourself going, you may want to increase your momentum! Use what you’ve learned and apply it on a larger scale. Maybe a 4×4 vegetable patch mixed with flowers?! Better yet….edible flowers. 😀 Maybe you only get one harvest of beans and then nothing did well. Well, next time do it a bit differently and try to get 2 harvests of beans. The key is not to give up. Sow your efforts into your garden and you will reap the rewards of a healthier body, and if you grow the right things, maybe help fight your cancer! Here’s a post on the best cancer fighting veggies to grow. Read More
I neglected to mention my espalier fruit trees but that is for another day. 🙂 Also, we added T-Frames to my garden with wires going through holes in the cross piece. This will support vegetables that grow on vines. I just tie a string to the wire and a weight at the bottom of the string and my beans shoot right up the string. 🙂 We also added a little arbor and 10 blueberry bushes. Blueberries are super cancer fighters BUT only if they are grown without pesticides and not GMO. In fact, one of the “dirtiest” foods in regards to pesticides is blueberries. Since one of the best cancer fighters and family favorites is so contaminated, I decided to grow my own. 😀 Here’s an article on cancer fighting berries. 😀 Read More
Reap Your Harvest
This comes at the end of the process, right? You work, work, work and at the very end you get rewarded, right? Wrong! 🙂 It comes at each stage which is the wonderful thing about gardening. 🙂 You get to reap your rewards at each stage of the project. When you are at the beginning stages you harvest a little crop and when you move on to the baby steps stage then you get a little more. At each stage you get a bit more and it becomes more and more rewarding. You can also grow things that have short harvest dates like peas, beans and so on. 🙂 Maybe, if we do it correctly and are lucky enough to pick the right veggies we will impact our cancer fight. If not, we will be healthier while fighting cancer which cannot be bad at all! 🙂