You may have heard of the Gerson Therapy because you suffer(ed) from cancer or a chronic disease and got the devastating news "There's nothing we can do for you anymore". You may have come across it because a loved one has cancer or a chronic disease and you want to help them heal in a more holistic, natural and healthy way. You may have stumbled upon the therapy looking for ways to detoxify, feel light, healthy and energized again.
"There are many reasons to start the Gerson Therapy" says Nicolette Richer from Richer Health Consulting, also CEO and founder of the Green Moustache Organic Cafe. "I've heard so many reasons. And really, any reason will do because it means you are taking action. You are taking your health in your own hands. And that is the best gift you can ever give yourself."
As a Gerson home set-up trainer, Nicolette has been teaching the Gerson therapy for over a decade. With cancer being the leading cause of death in Canada, the alleged alternative cancer therapy is becoming ever so popular.
Founded in the 1930's by Max Gerson M.D., a German physician, the therapy started out as a personal experiment to cure Dr. Gerson's own heavy migraines. He found that food had a tremendous, healing impact on his chronic illness. And even more; the treatment, based on 100% nutrient dense, organic food, was not only ridding patients from their migraines, but also from other degenerative, chronic diseases and even cancerous tumors. "When the body heals, it heals completely" says Nicolette with a big smile quoting Max Gerson's daughter Charlotte.
So, let's "talk Gerson" and see what this therapy is really about. I sit together with Nicolette who shares the 4 basics of the therapy and adds 3 extra, essential tips to help you kick cancer and chronic disease for good.
GERSON BASICS 1 - JUICES
On the therapy you drink 3 to 13 freshly juiced, cold pressed, organic, 8oz juices per day. The number of juices depends on the type of protocol followed. The juices provide your body clean, easy to digest, directly absorbable and much needed nutrients that will - step 1 - flood your body with nutrients and then - step 2 - push the toxins out of your cells.
Think about it. Our bodies have built up a tremendous amount of toxins from eating years and years of crap – yes crap! TBH, I don't really want to acknowledge what I've put into my body (...). Bursting my own bubble here as a "healthy eater"- but hey, we're detoxifying so let's come clean completely, shall we?
We're talking about a build-up of toxins as a result of years of drinking alcohol, eating refined sugars, salts and hydrogenated fats hidden in cookies, snacks, fast food, packaged and processed food, etc.. We can't even trust healthy labels anymore! The food industry is a non-stop, brainwashing machine trying to lure us in from every angle. And don't even get me started about the selling strategies supermarkets and stores are applying, tricking us into buying what they want to sell (I'll keep that rant for another post).
Where was I? Oh yes, toxins from eating crap. Well, we need to flush these out people. And that, my friend, is exactly the goal of this orthomolecular based therapy.
"Think of the juices as being IV bags giving you the desired nutrients to heal in an accessible way." Wouldn't it be better to eat the food? I ask Nicolette. "Well yes, I totally agree. It would be better to just eat the food. But most people on the therapy are too sick and don't have the digestive capacity to actually be able to digest that much food. Mind, this is no juice cleanse, nor can the juices be swapped for smoothies."
You do eat food, a whole lot in fact, when doing the Gerson therapy. Oh, we do like the sound of drinking clean, fresh juices and eating good, healthy, nutritious food!
*PING* And that's the sound of the Gerson therapy cashing its first bonuspoint.
GERSON BASICS 2 - FOOD
I wonder, is it going to be only raw food? Cooked food? Fermented food? Nicolette smiles her big smile again. Having dealt with this questions a bazillion times before. "That's why I love this therapy so much: it is so accessible. You eat raw and cooked food. You can have it all! It makes it so much more easy introducing it into your family life. Our family eats like this 95% of the time except when we go out for sushi."
Both the raw food and the cooked food are eaten for specific reasons, each having their own health benefits contributing to the healing journey. The raw food provides much needed fiber we need to clean out our gut. "Think of it as a broom that sweeps your system clean." says Nicolette "It also delivers good stuff: enzymes, pro- and prebiotics that help build it up again."
The cooked food is easy to digest by using two specific, low temperature cooking techniques: the long and low cooked dish and the baked dish. Both techniques brake down the fiber partially but still offers a maximum of nutrients, plant compounds and -very important- flavour!
Another aspect making this science-based therapy even more loveable: you will be eating an abundance of food. Approximately 23 pounds of organic produce a day to be exact! Suffice to say you will not be hungry. And the beauty of it is that you will find a stabile, healthy bodyweight.
*PING*PING* I have to admit this therapy is scoring bonuspoint after bonuspoint. Can this be true?
"I've seen it time and time again: those who are underweight, gain what they need in a healthy way. Same for those with the extra kilo's: they lose them over time and the kilo's stay away because the body finds a balance." Nicolette explains.
I wonder how my body would react to this nutrient-abundance and if I could help it heal even more?
GERSON BASICS 3 - SUPPLEMENTS
There are about 9 key supplements to take on the Gerson therapy, but not the usual supplements you would buy at the local healthcare store or pharmacy. They come from a compounding pharmacy which makes them (1) inexpensive because they come in big bottles of 1000 pills, (2) there is no money spent on marketing, the bottles are plain, white and simple, and (3) they are trustworthy, good, clean supplements void of fillers and dyes.
The large bottles are very handy since this orthomolecular based treatment is about consuming nutrients in high doses. "The nutrients will flood your system, jumpstarting and rebuilding your organs and tissues, setting them up to fight any kind of disease coming your way, especially cancer."
The supplements are vital to replenish the nutrient deficiencies built up over years from - dare I come forth again? - eating a Standard American Diet. Starting the therapy we cannot get enough nutrients through food alone since our bodies are sick and need all the extra help they can get to break down the foods and juices into their most basic parts so that our gut can easily take in the nutrients.
"When you start taking these extra nutrients, that's when the therapy really will kick in." Nicolette explains: "The body usually is adjusted to eating good, clean food for a couple of weeks before you get your supplements. Yet, when clients start taking them is usually when the healing reactions kick in strongly."
Healing reactions can range from feeling hot and being red as a lobster to old scars getting infected before vanishing completely to having a headache, nausea, diarrhea, fever and spending half a day on the toilet getting it all out. We are talking deep, deep, DEEP healing here.
Should we become scared? "Not at all. It will be a rough time getting through -I am not going to lie- but it is the only way to heal completely. And afterwards you feel so good." Nicolette says assuringly.
Hmmm. Still, this sounds more like a "minus one" point... Although, in the end what's worse: going through a rough, short(er) bout of healing reactions, getting rid of the bad stuff for good? Or depriving your body more and more from what it needs? Avoiding the healing reactions, but slowly eating your way into cancer and chronic disease with every bite you take?
Okay. I know I made a solid point there. So lets say I do get rid of all those toxins, all the excess stuff that serves no purpose. How can I give this process a hand? How can I make it easier for my body to flush them out?
GERSON BASICS 4 - DETOXIFICATION
This last key element of the therapy is the most talked about: helping the liver detoxify by doing the infamous coffee enemas. According to Nicolette you have to try it before you dismiss it. "If you never did a coffee enema before, you just don't realize it's probably the best, most efficient, most effective, and the most safe way to support your liver to detoxify faster. If you have a chronic disease or cancer, guarantee your liver has been sluggish for a really long time despite all the bloodwork telling you otherwise."
If you've never done an enema in your life, there's nothing to worry about. It is easy and you can do it from the comfort of your own bathroom. There is no need for any crazy equipment. You can get an enema kit online together with organic, medium-roast coffee to cook on your stove.
The magic ratio for detoxifying is doing 1 coffee enema for every three 8oz juices. Drinking 3 juices means doing 1 enema a day; drinking 6 juices equals doing 2 enemas a day. Nicolette advises her clients to take this time as me-time. Making the experience as relaxing and enjoyable as you can by creating comfort: "Lay down on a yoga mat, soft towel or rug, prop up a cushion under your right shoulder. Keep a blanket, maybe some candles, and relaxing music at hand to make it as pleasurable as you can."
Some me-time sure sounds good! And since drinking coffee is a no-no on the therapy, we might as well have our daily cup of Joe through the other entrance, right? States yours truly not stepping -but clearly leaping- out of her comfort zone... Don't they say that's where the magic happens? ;)
NICOLETTE'S TIPS FROM OVER A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE
With 10 plus years of helping clients on their healing journeys, Nicolette knows better then not to see the body as a whole. "It is not only the Standard American Diet that makes us sick. There are other aspects that co-create health and well-being and can't be neglected."
She shares with us 3 extra tips that will help you achieve true health of body and mind:
NICOLETTE'S TIP 1 - EXERCISE
Max Gerson did address this one as well, but they don't emphasize it as much in the therapy as they do the food part. All-round, exercise is a no-go on the Gerson therapy. This for the sound reason you don't want to waste extra energy doing anything else then healing, regenerating and rebuilding your body.
You can walk, do gentle yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Chong. Or any other activity you want that is really gentle on the body. But nothing that exerts energy.
NICOLETTE'S TIP 2 - REST
Take rest! And that's an order.
Nicolette explains that during the therapy, especially in the beginning, chances are you will feel exhausted. So take rest. Listen to your body and do what it asks you to do: sleep. "You will sleep like you've never slept before, even when you were a troubled sleeper in the past. Sleep is so important. It is a time of pure restoration."
Now, doesn't that sound like bliss? Do I hear another *PING* in the back?
NICOLETTE'S TIP 3 - STRESS
"Pretty much every scientist out there knows that stress is responsible for 95% of diseases. It is super important to manage the stress in your life. Think about the things you experience as stressful. If there is too much stress on a daily basis, take care of it."
There are two ways of coping with stress: either taking the stressful elements away or changing your perception of them. Make stress your friend, not your enemy. If you don't, eventually the stress will suppress your immune system just the same as refined sugar, hydrogenated fats and other chemical crap in food suppresses your immune system.
Nicolette illustrates: "If you detoxify the body but you still have a high level of stress it is that much harder for your organ systems, immune system, hormone system to balance out and repair themselves, because you're basically going to be at fight-and-flight mode the whole, entire time. We don't need you fighting people! We need you feeling it's not about fighting. It is about loving your body and giving your body everything it needs."
Point taken: no fighting, but loving. *PING*PING*PING*
Taking away this information, I might give this holistic, orthomolecular based therapy a shot myself! "Why not?" Nicolette says "We design custom programs for everybody. We work one on one or you can join our 5-week Eat to Beat online course during which you can start boosting your health from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace."
The key elements of this therapy make sense now. Doing the juices, eating an abundance of organic raw and cooked food, taking the supplements for that extra support, even doing the coffee enemas! They are al essential to achieve that optimal state of health we're al longing for.
While working on ourselves, why not go for gold? Striving for that complete state of health: in body ànd mind. By acknowledging exercise, rest and stress as crucial factors to achieve this. Loving ourselves and spending time with ourselves. Because a healthy body needs a healthy mind to live in and vice versa.
Do you want to achieve optimal health? Do you know someone with cancer or chronic disease that would benefit from doing the Gerson therapy? Sign up for the online 5-week Eat to Beat online course and start your healing journey.
Do you have other health promoting tips and tricks to add to the list above? Share your stories and know-how in the comments below. We'ld love to hear about them.
Want to learn more about the Gerson Therapy? Re-watch Nicolettes Live Facebook Q&A video's on the therapy here. Make sure to tune-in next Tuesday at 12pm PST to ask her all your questions.
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Stephie Hennekam likes to think of herself as a knowledgeable foodie, wandering traveler, teacher, active yogi, lover of nature, free spirited writer & life long student. She loves going off the beaten path, following her (gut)- feeling and isn't shy to try new stuff. After all, nothing beats experiencing something yourself. As a former university college teacher, researcher, independent (sports)dietitian and jack of all trades at a vegan restaurant, she has now discovered her life goal of teaching & helping others to work towards a healthy, energised life filled with love, peace & happiness.