Optimize Conquer Cancer

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101 Classes

Conquering Cancer 101

How I’m Helping My Brother Fight Cancer + What I’d Share With You as Your Friend + Coach

My brother was recently diagnosed with cancer. As I wrapped my brain around how to best help him, I realized that, unfortunately (and obviously), our family is not alone in fighting cancer. Although we haven’t met (yet!), I consider you a friend and a part of our extended family. So, I created this class imagining myself supporting you and your family as your friend if you happen to be dealing with cancer like us. Big Ideas we explore include understanding the fact that our habits are more influential than our genes, the importance of an empowered mindset, and the nuts and bolts of what we scientifically know helps Optimize “the terrain” (from nutrition and movement to stress management and environmental toxins) to best prevent and fight cancer. I hope you enjoy and I’m sending love to you and your fam!

101 Classes

Conquering Cancer 102

Rethinking Cancer: Theory + Therapy

In Conquering Cancer 101 we focused on the nuts-and-bolts of how to Optimize our terrain and make sure we’re cutting off cancer’s supply lines while getting our minds strong and aiming for the long tail, etc. Our primary source of inspiration for that class was Anticancer by David Servan-Schreiber and the dozens of references to cancer in other Notes over the years.

In Conquering Cancer 102, we cover all the wisdom I’ve picked up since that class over the last month. Theme: Rethinking Cancer: Theory + Therapy. Featuring Big Ideas from Tripping over the Truth (great intellectual overview of the history of cancer theory/therapy), The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (GREAT (!) practical roadmap on how to Optimize terrain by my brother’s new consulting oncologist), Cancer as a Metabolic Disease (by the leading research scientist on the approach we’re following), Keto for Cancer (by my brother’s day-to-day nutritional consultant), and Radical Remission (by a leading researcher on who’s studied 1,000+ case studies of people who have thrived outside of traditional approaches).


The Metabolic Approach to Cancer

Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies

This is the third book specifically on cancer I got after my brother’s recent diagnosis. When I asked my friend (and coach) Ben Greenfield what books I should be reading he told me to read this one and to “follow it to the t.” So, of course, I immediately got it. It’s astonishingly good. I echo Ben’s advice and say, THIS is the book to read if you or a loved one are dealing with cancer. Dr. Nasha Winters was diagnosed with stage IV terminal ovarian cancer 25 years ago. She was given 3 to 6 months to live and was told Western medicine couldn’t do anything for her so she committed herself to figuring it out—becoming a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist and fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology in the process. 25 years later (!) she’s thriving and has helped thousands of others thrive through cancer by focusing on, as per the title, a “metabolic approach to cancer” that integrates “deep nutrition, the ketogenic diet, and nontoxic bio-individualized therapies.”



A New Way of Life

I got this book immediately after my older brother had a major surgery and was diagnosed with cancer. David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and published more than ninety articles in scientific journals. David was diagnosed with brain cancer at 31 years old. At the time he was very skeptical of anything but the well-known, traditional Western therapeutic approaches. But, as he drilled into the scientific literature, he realized just how important Optimizing the “terrain” within our bodies is to the prevention and treatment of cancer. This book is an overview of what he discovered. It’s incredibly thoughtful and thorough. Big Ideas we explore include Genes vs. Habits, cutting off cancer’s supply lines, the three keys to nutritional detox, the anticancer mind and the best protection against cancer.


Cancer as a Metabolic Disease - Book

On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer

This is our eight Note on cancer books. It’s also our second Note on Thomas Seyfried’s work. We started with the journal article also called “Cancer as a metabolic disease.” Seyfried has taught and conducted research in the fields of neurogenetics, neurochemistry and cancer for more than twenty-five years at Yale University and Boston College. He is the leading scientist pointing to (and nearly screaming at!) the SUPER-compelling evidence that says cancer is caused by dysfunctional energy metabolism—providing evidence that the genetic mutations are a secondary, downstream epiphenomenon of that primary cause. Big Ideas we explore include the metabolic theory vs. the genetic theory of cancer, nuclear-cytoplasm studies (perhaps the most powerful case for the metabolic theory), metastasis (Mr. Mo builds your MOAT!!), apoptotic vs. necrotic cell death (aka naturel/nontoxic vs. unnatural/toxic), and the cancer solar system (make sure the metabolic cancer-sun is in the discussion!).


Cancer as a Metabolic Disease - Journal Article

Open Access Journal Article from Nutrition & Metabolism

This is our fourth Note specifically related to cancer I created after my brother’s diagnosis. The Note is on an open access article from the scientific journal Nutrition and Metabolism that Nasha Winters says is a “must read!” (I agree! Super compelling.) Thomas Seyfried is the leading research scientist making the case for the metabolic approach to cancer (vs. as we’ve discussed, a genetic approach). He and Laura Shelton brilliantly and lucidly unpack the case for cancer as a metabolic disease. Bonus: Your brain gets a nice workout as every word is chosen wisely for peer-reviewable hardiness. Big Ideas we explore include the genes vs. metabolism discussion, why your mitochondria are so important, and the two key therapeutic responses if you believe the metabolic approach.


Radical Remission

Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

This is the seventh Note we’ve created on books specifically on cancer. Kelly Turner is one of the world’s leading researchers and psychotherapists in the field of integrative oncology. She got her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley (one of the best graduate programs out there) studying the remarkable stories of people who were told they had a limited amount of time to live and then RADICALLY defied those odds. In fact, she’s studied over 1,000 (!) case studies of what she calls “Radical Remission.” In the book, she shares the nine “key factors that can unlock your pathway to dramatic healing.” Big Ideas we explore: The definition of Radical Remission, the #1 key factor (hint: change your diet!), being a patient vs. a CONQUEROR, symptoms vs. systems, epigenetics, and identifying your reason for living.


Tripping over the Truth

How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms

This is the second book specifically on cancer I’ve read after my brother Rick was diagnosed with cancer. (The first book was Anticancer.) Travis Christofferson is a science writer. In this great book, he provides a compelling look at the history of scientific research on cancer and the traditional therapeutic models offered—juxtaposing the (traditionally accepted) Somatic Mutation Theory (or SMT) with the (much more compelling) Metabolic Theory of Cancer. Big Ideas we explore include the fact that we’ve spent $100 billion researching cancer and spend $100 billion annually on cancer medications and we’ve seen ZERO improvements in the real death rates from cancer since the 1950s. We look at the one prime cause of cancer (via the Warburg Effect), a fascinating experiment with “recon” cells demonstrating that it's the cytoplasm (not the nucleus) that drives cancer, how to starve cancer and a vision of cancer clinics in the future.


Keto for Cancer

Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy

This is the fifth Note I've created specifically on cancer after my brother's diagnosis. Miriam Kalamian is one of the leading nutrition consultants focused on cancer. She helps people approach cancer with a therapeutic ketogenic diet. In fact, she's my brother's day-to-day nutritional consultant. She has been AMAZING. (And, given the fact that food is, ultimately, our most powerful medicine, in many ways I consider her our brother's primary care physician. :) People have asked what nutritional approach we're following. THIS is it. The book is PACKED with wisdom on, as the sub-title suggests \"Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy.\" Big Ideas we explore include: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy 101, the basic plan, \"Diet doesn't matter\" - Your Oncologist","\"Yes, it does.\" - Your Cancer, Boost + Ensure (eliminate to boost and ensure well-being), and the importance of measuring glucose and ketones daily.<\/p>"]


Outside the Box Cancer Therapies

Alternative Therapies That Treat and Prevent Cancer

This is the sixth book in our Conquering Cancer series. It’s a great overview of the importance of an integrative oncological approach written by two naturopathic medical doctors with over 40 years of combined clinical experience and a ton of experience researching and teaching these principles to other medical professionals and their patients. It’s almost encyclopedic in its analysis of “outside the box cancer therapies” and the kind of book you wish you could instantly download into your traditional oncologist’s brain for a quick introduction to how a powerful integrative approach works. Big Ideas we explore include defining “integrative oncology,” looking at the root causes of cancer (and integrating conflicting theories), the philosophy of integrative medicine, strategic considerations for your cancer plan and the importance of “secondary prevention.”


The Truth in Small Doses

Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer—and How to Win It

This is the ninth Note on cancer we’ve done so far. I picked this book up after Travis Christofferson referenced it a couple times in Tripping over the Truth. Clifton Leaf is a great writer and the Editor-in-Chief of Fortune magazine. He tells us that nine years before he wrote this book he began his reporting on cancer with a five-word question: How did we get here Specifically, Leaf wanted to know: How did we get to a point, 40+ years after Nixon declared War on Cancer, where the real death rate is, essentially, the same as it was in the 1950s? That’s a great question. And, he provides a powerful look at what’s gone wrong and how to fix it. Big Ideas we explore include the power of taking a different route to the summit, the truth (but only in small doses), dogma vs. science, the power of prevention, and the power of counting—aka, the truth in large doses.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Emperor of All Maladies

A Biography of Cancer

This is the 10th book on cancer we’ve featured so far since my brother’s cancer diagnosis. Although brilliantly written (Mukherjee won a Pulitzer for it), I didn’t start with this 570-page tome because, I read this book last because, frankly, I wasn’t interested in starting with a book that featured, as per the inside flap, “cancer as the protagonist.” I wanted my BROTHER (and you and your loved ones) to star as the conqueror of cancer, not the other way around. Alas, frankly, this book was painful to read as Mukherjee is a devout follower of the “cancer is a genetic disease” camp—which is why, from his vantage point, cancer looks unbeatable (and why, from my vantage point, we’re *losing* the War on Cancer). This Note is a little different than all the rest in that we’ll take a critical look at the underlying premise of the book (i.e, that cancer is primarily a genetic disease) and present a way to conquer the emperor (by seeing cancer as a mitochondrial METABOLIC disease).

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The End of Alzheimer’s

The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer’s. Even just thinking about that dreaded disease freaks you out a bit, eh? Over 5 million people in the US alone have Alzheimer’s. 1 in 9 people over 65. We’re told that there’s little we can do to prevent it and even less (make that: nothing) we can do to reverse it. Well... What if we could put an End to Alzheimer’s? Dale Bredeson, MD tells us we can via, as per the sub-title: “The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.” Bredeson wants us to know this: “Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases its associated decline can be reversed.” This is a potentially life-changing book. Big Ideas we explore include the ReCODE protocol (playing chess vs. checkers), the three threats that lead to three different types of Alzheimer’s (inflammation, deficient nutrients, toxins), how to give yourself Alzheimer’s (just live like most people!), genetic risk (ApoE2 + ApoE3 + AppE4), and heroes behind progress (it isn’t easy!).

Locked +1s

#337 Cancer-Fighting Mindset

Pulling Levers in Our Lives
In our last +1, we talked about a super powerful way to keep your telomeres nice and long. Specifically: By seeing the stressors in your
Locked +1s

#338 Anticancer Levers

Pull These Four
In our last +1, we talked about just how important it is to have a sense of Empowerment when we approach life — especially if we’re
Locked +1s

#339 Genes vs. Habits

Which Matters More for Cancer?
Continuing our Anticancer theme, let’s have a pop quiz! What percent influence would you guess our genes have on the likelihood of getting
Locked +1s

#340 How to Win the Cancer War

Cut Off Cancer’s Supply Lines
Continuing our Anticancer theme, let’s chat about another brilliant idea from David Servan-Schreiber’s book, Anticancer. Imagine this.
Locked +1s

#341 Anticancer Nutrition

Our 80/20 Strategy = Do These Three Things
Continuing our Anticancer theme, let’s take a quick look at the key things to consider nutrition-wise, largely inspired by David
Locked +1s

#342 Cancer Statistics & You

Information vs. Condemnation + Target: Long tail
Stephen Jay Gould was one of the leading scientists of the 20th century. A Harvard professor and popular evolutionary biologist, he was
Locked +1s

#343 Cancer’s Roots & Leaves

Modern Medicine: Strengths + Weaknesses
In Conquering Cancer 101, we talk about how powerful modern medicine is in dealing with acute illness. For example, the surgery my brother
Locked +1s

#345 No More Ice Cubes, Please

More on Root Causes vs. Symptoms
A couple +1s ago we talked about taking a systems approach to disease vs. just a symptoms approach. We referenced Dr. Junger’s metaphor of
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#360 Isn’t That Extreme?

No, It’s Not — This Is
Susan Peirce Thompson wrote a great book called Bright Line Eating. She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is one of the world’s leading
Locked +1s

#374 Make the Connection

What’s Working? What Needs Work?
In our last +1, we talked about the importance of making the connection between your two ADDs: your addiction to digital devices and your
Locked +1s

#382 Conquering Cancer: Part II

Shocking Stats + Rethinking Cancer: Theory + Therapy
Not too long ago we had a series of +1s on how to conquer cancer. Although I’m somewhat hesitant to jump back into the cancer discussion
Locked +1s

#383 Bad (Cancer) Math

$100 Billion + $100 Billion = 0
Today we’re going to talk about some bad math. Specifically, bad cancer math. Here’s the short story: Two days before Christmas in 1971,
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#384 Genes vs. Habits: Part II

Pop Quiz: What % of Cancer is Genetic?
Today we have another Pop Quiz. And, we actually already had this pop quiz but it’s a question we want to make sure we get right as a lot
Locked +1s

#385 Two Theories on the Origins of Cancer

Genes vs. Metabolism <-- What’s the REAL Cause?
So, on one hand, as per our last +1, science shows that genes play a surprisingly small role in the cause of cancer. Yet… Guess where
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#386 Otto Warburg and PET Scans

And Hot Spots of Glucose Metabolism
Otto Warburg was a really smart guy. He won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for his discovery of the fact that cancer cells create energy in a weird
Locked +1s

#387 Genes vs. Habits Part III

Making the Connection Between Habits and Metabolism
Remember that study done with kids adopted at birth? What’d we learn? Another quick recap: We learned that whether or not the kids’
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#388 Recon Cells + Cybrids

Cytoplasm vs. Nucleus: Which Drives the Cancer Show?
For Today’s +1, please dust off your high school biology class textbooks and open to the page on cells. Recall that a cell has two primary
Locked +1s

#389 The 80/20 180°

First Steps in Moving from Theory to Therapy
Today we have an Optimize +11. (Hah.) Although this one’s longer than the normal installment, I hope you find it helpful! As we discussed
Locked +1s

#390 Cancer’s Achilles: How to Exploit

Metabolic Inflexibility: Ketones + Glucose
In our last +1, we talked about our 80/20 180 phase in which we implemented a number of high-leverage lifestyle changes. After that
Locked +1s

#391 Radical Remission

Exemplars, Long Tails and The Science of Self-Efficacy
This is our final idea in our second +1 series on Cancer. We’re going to cultivate more hope. But… First, let me step back up on the
Locked +1s

#417 Patient vs. Conqueror (+ Doctor)

Submit vs. Conquer (+ Teach)
Today we’re going to talk about the ancient etymology of the word patient. Pop quiz: Do you know where the word comes from? (No one I’ve
Locked +1s

#497 Poison into Medicine

The Ultimate Alchemy
Continuing our “let’s create an indestructible self” theme (!), here’s another way Alex Lickerman encourages us to think about it in
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#846 Diagnosis vs. Prognosis

Believe One, Question the Other
In our last +1, we chatted about my little burpee saga and had some group gratitude hugs. Today I want to chat about a line I once heard
Locked +1s

#848 Statistics Show Trends

They Can’t Predict Your Life
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been exploring some history-making heroes. Most recently, the Mahatma himself: Mr. Gandhi. Today we’re
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#904 Got Immunity?

Hide and Seek Part Deux
In our last +1, we went on a little hide-and-seek adventure in search of our serotonin. Where’d we find it? Well, we discovered that 90%
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#905 The Origin of Disease

Hippocrates Says: Check the Gut!
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been hanging out in our guts. (Good times! 🤓) Surprisingly, that’s where we discovered 90% (!) of our
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#914 Reasons to GET UP

vs. Reasons to STAY Up
In our last +1, we had a quick chat about sleep efficiency as we shined a (night) light on how much sleep you’re ACTUALLY getting. In bed
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#933 Illnesses: Acute vs. Chronic

Strategies: Checkers vs. Chess
Alzheimer’s. Even just thinking about that dreaded disease freaks you out a bit, eh? Over 5 million people in the US alone have
Locked +1s

#963 Words Matter - Part II

With What Words Are YOU Priming Yourself?
Continuing our brief exploration of the power of placebo-words (and expectations), I’d like to go back to Harvard and walk from Benson’s
Locked +1s

#1177 Cancer Candy (Aka Sugar)

And All It’s Secret Identities
A couple +1s ago (right before taking out the carbage yesterday), we had a brief chat about the links between sugar consumption and