Cathy Biase – The Health Hub, circadian rhythms, fasting

Cathy Biase is a registered holistic nutritionist and cancer coach who's dedicated to helping people understand the power that lies at the end of their fork. I talk to Cathy about the importance of circadian rhythms, fasting, stress and detox. Cathy works with cancer patients but there is advice here for everyone.

Cathy Biase – The Health Hub, circadian rhythms, fasting Introduction

Now today’s episode deals with some important questions. Why is it important to attend to the health of the microbiome in cancer care? How do circadian rhythms impact on cancer prevention and treatment? How can fasting be used in cancer care and why should you avoid detox programs when going through cancer treatments? Well, my guest today is Cathy Biase.

Cathy is a registered holistic nutritionist and cancer coach who’s dedicated to helping people understand the power that lies at the end of their fork. Yes, your food as medicine. A breast cancer survivor herself, Cathy specializes in the functional application of nutrition for root cause health. Improvements for chronic disease with a particular focus on cancer care.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto with a major in psychology. She graduated from the Canadian school of natural nutrition and is a certified professional cancer coach. She’s currently the host of the health hub, a radio talk show and podcast covering, various aspects of integrative health. It’s always good to talk with hosts of podcasts. I hope you enjoy this conversation, I had with Cathy Biase.

Podcast Transcript

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hello and welcome to Unstress, I’m Dr Ron Ehrlich. Now today’s episode deals with some important questions. Why is it important to attend to the health of the microbiome in cancer care? How do circadian rhythms impact on cancer prevention and treatment? How can fasting be used in cancer care and why should you avoid detox programs when going through cancer treatments? Well, my guest today is Cathy Biase.

Cathy is a registered holistic nutritionist and cancer coach who’s dedicated to helping people understand the power that lies at the end of their fork. Yes, your food as medicine. A breast cancer survivor herself, Cathy specializes in the functional application of nutrition for root cause health. Improvements for chronic disease with a particular focus on cancer care.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto with a major in psychology. She graduated from the Canadian school of natural nutrition and is a certified professional cancer coach. She’s currently the host of the health hub, a radio talk show and podcast covering, various aspects of integrative health. It’s always good to talk with hosts of podcasts. I hope you enjoy this conversation, I had with Cathy Biase. Welcome to the show, Cathy.

Cathy Biase: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Cathy, a nutritionist, a cancer coach, a major in psychology, all of those things obviously very much connected, but I wondered if you might share with us your own journey that’s brought you to this point.

Cathy Biase: I was working with my father, so still within the investment industry and, after his illness, we had to shut down his business, about, oh, I would guess within a month and a half. I felt a small lump in my right breast and went for my first mammogram because I was only 47 at the time. And really, no history of breast cancer.

My mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, so the history hadn’t been really developed, so I was not really flagged to come in early. So I went in for the mammogram and, long story short, it was breast cancer. So I went through a year of allopathic treatment in combination with integrative care. And from that journey, my dad’s business closing down because of his illness and then my illness and the subsequent year of fighting off that, I just found that there needed to be something more within cancer care.

And to be clear, I was extremely happy with my care. I loved my physicians. I loved everything about where I was at Sunnybrook Hospital. But what I also had, and it was serendipity because I had just joined a small boutique gym and before I had my diagnosis.

And then when I got the diagnosis of breast cancer, this group of three went to task for me and developed, a very loose but powerful, supplemental exercise and nutrition protocol. And I just felt, that it really helped me through everything. I didn’t experience much in the way of side effects from my treatments. I recovered very quickly and that, alongside of what I had seen going through my year in the medical side of things, was other people who didn’t have what I had.

Cathy Biase: You know, when you’re lining up and you’re waiting for your treatments, especially on the radiation, you know, you sit and you wait and it’s because you’re going continuously day after day for, you know, on average about 25 sessions. You see the same people. And you know, I chatted to a lot of people and, and a lot of people had quite a difficult time getting through their treatment.

And, I just felt that that piece which had been so crucial, I felt for me, was missing. And I wanted people who go through cancer, a lot of us are so grateful to come through the other side that we want to give back because it is very difficult and this is what I wanted to do. I just felt that this was something that, I could do to help other people. And then it just sort of evolved. I looked at how I could incorporate nutrition.

I went back to school and then subsequently from that I took a course in cancer coaching. And, I hooked up with a naturopathic doctor. Again, things just aligned for me. And, right out of the shoot I was aligned with a naturopathic doctor that specializes in oncology. And in a nutshell, that’s my story and that’s where I am now.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm, wow. There’s just so much that we can already talk about because, you know, this idea of a breakdown leading to a breakthrough and, also your embracing, and I’ve had a similar personal experience with my own diagnosis. I had a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Very, very grateful for the incredible skill of the allopathic doctors that I embraced. But I was really surprised that the, which would have made their jobs so much easier. It’s just not a standard part of cancer care.

Cathy Biase: Exactly. I agree wholeheartedly. And, and it’s not, you know, I really like to make this distinction when I talk to people, it’s not because the allopathic system doesn’t care. I think it’s because they are overwhelmed and you really can only go in so many lanes and be successful. But what I would love to see is a turnover from the allopathic care and a handshake between integrative. I don’t, I don’t like to call it, alternative. But I, I would love to see that handshake where this is what we do and we do well on the medical side and let’s set you up with somebody who can work on your health. And that’s what I do. I work on health, which is extremely important.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yes. Tapping into the body’s innate ability is quite a remarkable tool to have in your armamentarium, isn’t it?

Cathy Biase: It certainly is. And I don’t think we appreciate, you know, we look at disease as a breakdown and some view it as a weakness and really, most people would say if they really took a hard look, they were seeing symptoms before the big event and our body has this wonderful innate ability to heal and that’s what I want to tap into. So when you go through treatment, you need time to heal after, if you prepare properly and strengthen your body before whatever treatments you are going to go into, you really just, you heightened the chances that you’re going to come through.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, you also listed quite a story of stressful events. I mean, your father is ill, business closing down, your mother being diagnosed and then bang, you end up with into an unexpected, I don’t think we ever expect it but an unexpected diagnosis. So this connection between stress and cancer, I mean, we’ve heard, I think we’ve all heard this story personally from if we bothered to ask some stressful events. Well, you know, this is an important part of the picture, isn’t it?

Cathy Biase: It certainly is. And you know, too, to be, to be perfectly frank, it was stressful, my dad watching him sort of decline, but I didn’t have one of those like huge events that some people can, you know, really pinpoint as this, this was really traumatic for me, this was life. You know, I was a busy mom. I have four children. And, at that age, you know, they were going hither and Yon and, and I wanted to be the supermom and I wanted to do everything well and I worked.

And this is the way a lot of us live our lives. So it’s, I don’t want anyone to think that you know, it’s a traumatic event that causes stress, just not attaining and dealing with the stress of every day, it accumulates. And this is an important thing to deal with, you know, in cancer and beyond, you know, stress is impactful and so many diseases and so many aspects of our health that, you know, really giving that a good look at and really including that in your health model is very, very important.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm-hmm. Listen, why don’t we just take a step back a little bit and just paint a picture of, I mean, if you know this, how are we going cancer wise? What’s happening out there in the world? People hear a lot about it. What are the statistics tell us, do you know?

Cathy Biase: Well, the statistics are that one in two men, one in three women, and it’s really becoming one in two across the board, will have a diagnosis in their lifetime. So that is quite high and survivorship is going up and this is also another aspect of cancer care that really does need attention to as well, we have a lot more people surviving, survival rate statistically is, is five years. That’s statistically what they will, we’ll use as a survival rate.

But we have a lot of people that are living beyond, you know, well beyond that, you know, getting through cancer and living a long life. But that preventative piece, once you’ve got through your treatments, you know, you finish and you’re still in the, in my own. I can, you know, I refer to my own experience.

Cathy Biase: You’re so heavily ingrained for about a year in the medical system or I was, you know, there wasn’t a day that there wasn’t a phone call or a result of a treatment or something, you know, a recovery and then all of a sudden it stops and you’ve got to go back to a new normal. And this aspect, the survivorship aspect is an area that, I have a special attachment to because I was one of them.

And I know that feeling that will, what do I do now? And then there’s the feeling of what will it come back? What is this ache? What is this pain? And there’s a lot of stress in that aspect of, of your cancer journey as well. So statistics wise, that’s where we’re going, you know, there is an increase in lung cancer. So it’s just a battle that is, is having many successes, but yet not enough.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hmm. And we’re often told it’s because we’re getting older, but I’m not sure our kids are doing that. Well, do you see many kids in your practice?

Cathy Biase: I do. And it’s, difficult to deal with in practice. We’ve lost, a few children. It’s very difficult to watch. It’s, you know, to see moms, most of the children that I have seen personally, the visits are mainly with the moms, they come of course dad’s working or for the most part is the situation that I’ve seen, I have seen two parents come in at once, but you know, oftentimes these are families that have more than one child, so you need one to take care of the one-child and then the parent is attending to them, the child that’s ill and, it’s very difficult.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: What sort of cancers are we seeing? What sort of cancers do we see in kids?

Cathy Biase: There’s one type of cancer called DIPG that’s a brainstem cancer. It’s very difficult to work with a lot of childhood leukemia is, and those are, you know, those are what I see in practice, more than anything, as we get older, not as much. Definitely, in the area it does shift.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: But let’s talk about some of the things about that we can be focusing on in the care of cancer. And a topic that comes up a lot we’re hearing a lot about is the microbiome. And certainly, you know, it’s, we’ve had this very adversarial approach to bacteria everywhere, whether it be in, in the soil, whether it be in our mouth, whether it be in our body, in our skin, in our homes. What about the microbiome? How important is that in cancer care?

Cathy Biase: It’s the focus of my practice and everything stems from it, the microbiome is, is vastly impactful on the immune system in controlling inflammation in detoxification, in brain health. And, and that’s, you know, an area that I find more and more interesting to look at as well because when we’re dealing with things like chemo brain and that sort of thing, a lot of people don’t consider that when the gut, the intestinal health is compromised.

This can impact brain health. And, going through diagnosis is stressful. Going through treatments can impact, cognitively, but working on gut health can also have a positive impact on that, I’m not sure if I mentioned detoxification. That’s also extremely important and new research is coming out as well that, the makeup of the microbiome can influence certain medications, certain treatments, immunology, immune therapy is one area that has been studied.

That particular bacteria can have an impact positively or negatively on how well, that treatment goes. So it’s new, although there are thousands of studies on the, in dealing with cancer because cancer is such a complicated disease, we’re just starting to get into, into that aspect. But again, in my area of expertise, working on the health of the microbiome is just, it’s very important to all of these functions and to help the patient get through treatments successfully. So that’s where I start. The microbiome is an exceptionally important area of concentration for me.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: I can only imagine that what came out on radio does is so a, almost like scorched earth, I guess for the microbiome or at least the diversity of the microbiome. How do we support people through their therapy? And then how do we rebuild?

Cathy Biase: Well, a lot of doctors still are not on board with supplementation during treatment, probiotics, there have been studies both ways, clinically, we look at blood work and if we feel that the immune system is quite compromised, we will refrain from introducing probiotics. That’s a clinical decision for us. However, when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle, there is a lot that we can do, adding fermented foods to the diet and, and we’re not talking therapeutic doses here.

So, adding things like greens and vegetables, you know, the microbiome will convert, nutrients and food to make them more bioavailable to us. So supporting it, with that, with the food, sleeping properly, exercising when possible, all these things go into supporting a very healthy microbiome. So fibre, prebiotic fibre, whether that’s from, a powdered form, if, if you’re having trouble eating or whether it’s from increased fibre, prebiotics are exceptionally important as well.

So these things can very easily be worked into an oncology diet. And it’s where I go to, to support the microbiome. I also, if one of my favourite supplements is actually butyrate because butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that’s a byproduct of fermentation of gut bacteria.

And butyrate is essential for, for many things, but really essential for the health of the intestinal tract. So, when cancer patients are, you know, it’s not just strictly cancer patients, when the microbiome, when the intestinal tract is compromised, having the end product, that short-chain fatty acid is something that a, it’s one of the supplements that I go to quite often to support the microbiome.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mm. And you mentioned sleep and that’s obviously a big one right across the board in whatever things we’re talking about. But I also know that you focus a lot on circadian rhythms and, and I think this is a big story that we’re kind of just beginning to get our heads around. Tell us a bit about circadian rhythms and their importance, not just in our health, but also in well in cancer prevention and then treatments that tell us about circadian rhythm.

Cathy Biase: Well, so circadian rhythm are, is one rhythm and in the chronobiology study, so circadian rhythm is our 24-hour cycle. They’re even talking about 12-hour cycles, now, but you’re right, we are just starting to understand the impact that the circadian rhythm has on, on health. So just a brief overview. You’ve got the superchiasmic nucleus in your brain, which is sort of the master control of all of the clocks.

All of your organs have their own clocks, tissues, cells have their own clocks and they function and do different things at different times of the day. And there are things called zeitgebers, but they’re, they’re environmental clues, mainly light and day and daylight and darkness. So what, their circadian rhythm does and what these clues do is basically engage different aspects of our makeup. So for instance, on a, on like broad sweeps, our liver functions during the day in the digestive lane.

Cathy Biase: So it’s working to help the body digest food, glucose management and so forth. But at night that the liver shifts to a different function and that will be more of the detoxification and repairing. So for someone who’s going through cancer, because we’re talking in this vein, you want to make sure that your circadian is, are very well managed because you want your liver on point for digestion and nutrient absorption and detoxification and everything like that.

But you also want to work absolutely properly in the area of detoxification and repair at night. So when we are reading the external, markers, things like the time of day, whether it’s sunshine or whether it’s going into darkness, if our body is tuned properly, then these systems will run well. It’s when we cross and blur the lines of how our body is perceiving things that, we have difficulty with health.

Cathy Biase: So our eyes help us to see. But they are also mechanisms that signal the brain of change, of light and darkness. And when these, the light and the darkness, change, different hormones are introduced into our system. So when darkness comes a, you know, an, an ideal system when the sun starts to set.

And you know, back in the day when there were no and things, the body would release melatonin and then that would sort of cue us to sleep and the body reacts that way. We go to sleep and everything runs well, now we are really messing up our systems with, staying up too late. But a big thing is blue light and artificial light because our eyes still perceive this as like sunshine that’s still perceiving it as light. So we’re staring at, our TVs are staring at our computers, our brain is perceiving for lack of anything better.

This is sunshine, so it’s not getting the hormones, clicking into place. And then we go to bed and then things, the hormones aren’t being released on time and our system gets messed up. The other big thing that I work on with people is their habit of eating because if you’re eating far too close to bedtime, again, you’re messing up your circadian rhythm where your liver wants to be in the mode of repairing.

When you go to bed repairing and detoxification, you’ve now forced your liver into digestion, which is something that it likes to do basically in the light time hours. So these are all very, very important. You know this is just sort of the surface, of, of everything. But you can see that if our clocks aren’t working, then our organs and, and ourselves are not doing what they need to be doing when they need to do it.

Cathy Biase: And this can be very impactful, there’s even research coming out now about taking medications at certain times of day to either, prevent circadian rhythm, shifts. So, for instance, I was speaking to Dr Michael Smolensky, who’s is a very big doctor in the area, a researcher in the area of circadian rhythms. And they’ve done research where if you take blood pressure medication, say at 12 o’clock at night before you go to bed, because of the timing of how the heart works and, and many other things, it has a much more professional and effective for preventing heart attacks than if you take it first thing in the morning.

And this again has all to do with the circadian rhythm and where mechanisms are functioning. So a very interesting area of study. It’s hard to work in the medication aspect with chemotherapies just because of the execution of them. But, it is an area that is being very closely looked at in cancer care.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hmm. I love this you know, making this point about livers function during the day as gestation and during the night as detox and repair. I’ve never really, I mean, that is really important. That’s a real aha statement, you know, which we shouldn’t just, I don’t want that just to go past and not have our listener really understand. That’s, that’s actually really quite important.

It’s also interesting how we’ve, you know, you talk about blue light and the importance of that in terms of melatonin release, but we’ve come to demonize the sun as well, haven’t we? And that’s had a, as sort of another down the other end of the scale had an effect on melatonin production.

Cathy Biase: But when we’re talking about circadian rhythm, it’s, it’s really, and melatonin isn’t just the sleep-wake cycle a hormone either. I mean it’s a, it’s a very potent antioxidant. So you know, if, if you look back in time in caveman days, you know, basically we should be going to sleep as soon as the sun starts to go down and we’re up early in the morning and that’s, that’s ideal.

That’s ideal body function. And that’s ideal. As we get older too, our melatonin production decreases and that can become a bit of an issue. But lots of studies in the area of sleep, wake disruptions and breast cancer. There have been lots of studies and of course, you can’t point a straight line at this, but you know, antidotal studies of nurses and incidences of, of breast cancer and flight attendants.

So it is impactful and it is an area that has had a lot of the corollary I guess is the best way to put it. It is being studied and I think sleep in general in all aspects of health is really becoming a much more talked about points.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hmm. Yes. Well, it’s the big one.

Cathy Biase: And whether or not you actually really want to equate it to circadian rhythm, you know, people who or may not know the word or don’t know anything about chronobiology. You know, just in the general population, people are learning and understanding the importance of sleep for weight loss, for hormonal management. And just because we don’t know the exact words and connecting them as I did.

The word is getting out that sleep and proper sleep is important. So developing proper sleep strategies, I’ll go through a list of, of things to, to help people sleep better. And, you know, one of the big things and the hardest thing really is to get people to shut their TVs off and their computers off at least a half-hour before bed. That’s a biggie. We’re so tied to our phones and our TVs. It’s a tough one. And you know, you look at the pattern of illness and chronic illnesses is on the rise and you know, this, you know, maybe a portion of it.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm. What are some other strategies you suggest for people to improve their sleep?

Cathy Biase: Sleeping in a cold room, sleeping in a very, darkroom, I have people I suggest to people, especially if they’re having a difficult time sleeping to change up their bedtime routine. Then, the body will respond to routines. You know, just like it responds to the sun going down and hormone release.

It will also respond if every night you do the same pattern, your body will say, okay, she’s getting ready for bed now and your body will respond and go into sort of that sleep mode, I’ll often have people do some deep breathing if they’re having difficulty sleeping to slow the heart rate down and, if they can’t get into a room that’s completely dark to where, you know, the eye masks, those are the big things. So we’ll cool room darkness, eye mask, routine, proper breathing. Those are all important things, you know, slowing your heart rate down, trying to cleanse the mind.

Cathy Biase: That’s what the breathing does. It cleanses your, you often go to bed, especially if you’re bumping up into TV time. We often go to bed and our, we’re thinking of the next day and task to do another big thing that a lot of people have had, you know, come back to me instead of them. Very helpless. Writing a little gratitude journal at the end of the day it sort of closes out your day, and it can put, you know, active thoughts to rest.

Once you’ve written things down, you know, a lot of us go to bed thinking, Oh shoot, I gotta do this tomorrow and I’ve got to do that. Write it down, put it aside. And you can go to bed more peaceful small things it seems like. But you know, when you do them, they can execute them routinely. They’re very helpful.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm, no, I’ve heard, sleep described as, have a built-in non-negotiable life support system. So why wouldn’t you use it? Why wouldn’t you use it if it’s free? How, how expensive is not getting good sleep.

Cathy Biase: It’s hard to attain that golden ring sometimes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm. But I, I think your point actually about prioritizing it is actually the big one. Until you appreciate its importance, you don’t actually elevate it. And I’ve found it really interesting dealing with a lot of doctors and hearing there, and unless they personally in their own lives consider it a priority, they actually won’t convey that to their patients. That’s been my experience. What do you think?

Cathy Biase: I think again, back to their busy-ness, I was, when I went through with my doctor and he told me not to eat as much meat, I was surprised, you know, because I didn’t expect any sort of, you know, point a direction on nutrition at all. And again, I don’t want to come down hard, you know, on the side of the anti medical field. But I just think that they’re overwhelmed.

I mean, the lineup of people to check-in for treatments and appointments, I found it, you know, it was outstanding to me. I was shocked the first few times I went, you had to line up for these appointments. And I just, I just think that they’ve got things that they’ve got to focus on. And that’s, you know, getting back to the beginning of the show. I just, you know, if we could get that partnership with lifestyle coaches, with, you know, nutrition people and, and doing the whole package because, you know.

I know that there are dieticians that are associated with most cancer programs and, but a lot of people that come see me are almost frustrated with that because they seem to feel that they’re lacking information and they’re just being told, you know, eat whole foods include more fruits and vegetables, which is extremely valid.

But, you can only, you know, you, you can eat great food, but you have to be able to absorb that and that goes far deeper than just what you’re chewing on. And, that’s, that’s the frustration that I’m seeing with other people, that they’re, they’re getting these side effects and they don’t feel that their energy has changed at all. So there’s a whole lot that goes into, the nutrition of a cancer patient, other than just what they eat.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hmm. Now, that’s a good segue into something you mentioned with sleep and that was about the timing of food and on top of that, well let’s talk about that because the timing of food is really important on many levels. Can you talk to us about that?

Cathy Biase: It is and this is something that I’ve introduced within the last year to most people that I work with, again, everything’s individualized, so it depends on the health of, of the cancer patients that I’m working with, but timed eating is not, in my practice, a weight loss mechanism, timed eating is eating within a window that helps cultivate good sleep. It helps balance hormones and for patients going through treatment.

There’s been a lot of very good research that’s come out that decreasing calories before treatments can increase efficacy and decrease side effects. So I like to have people with the research that’s out there and it seems to be very solid. And, and adding on to that, the nuance that in general, we eat far too much and with the understanding now that you have of chronobiology eating within an eight-hour window is very appropriate for proper health.

So, this is foreign to a lot of people and it’s difficult for a lot of people because we often will eat and nitpick right up until bedtime. And again. So now just going back to that understanding that you’re sort of throwing your system off when you’re doing that, you don’t want to go to bed digesting food, you want to go to bed ready to repair.

And we’re also talking about the kidneys and many other functions. But, so this is a practice that I introduce, with the large majority of the people that I work with and especially going into, and it will, and it will sort of, gauge the therapy and the time, the timeframe, depending upon the person sitting in front of me. But this nutritional therapy also before chemotherapy and radiation, I will implement for cancer patients to help them get through treatment.

Cathy Biase: So for example, if I’ve got somebody sitting in front of me who is healthy, so if I’ve got somebody that’s very thin, this is not something that I recommend. So again, it’s is not carte blanche for everybody, but the majority of people can do this, will cut down their calories to below 500, approximately a day before treatment, a day and a half before treatment.

And what this has been shown to do is basically weaken cancer cells so that the therapy can come in and really do a good job. And it also has been shown to mitigate side effects. And clinically we’ve seen this. So, the research shows that, and we have seen it practically. So this is one aspect of nutritional therapy that I use. And then as a general rule of thumb, well, I’ll start with cutting back three hours.

So if someone is eating, you know, throughout the day and you know, right up to bedtime, often if I say, you know, aim for three hours before bedtime, that’s our launchpad. And again, trying to get into that eight to 10-hour window of eating, this is not a weight loss thing.

This is not the impetus for what I’m using it for. Although this can be a corollary of it because again, you’re getting your circadian rhythm and balance, you’re getting your hormones in balance and once you start doing this, a lot of health problems seem to, you know, unwind, but this, this eight-hour window, there are two ways I’ve seen people go with it, when I first started doing it, I became very tired. And it wasn’t until actually, my daughter said to me, you’re not eating enough.

And it didn’t Dawn on me because you know, if you’re busy during the day, you get up, you don’t eat till 11 or 12 and then you’re stopping at so seven or eight and that’s busy part of a lot of people’s day and you can actually not eat enough. So you’ve gotta be very mindful that you’re getting enough calories in those eight hours, but the other side of it isn’t, it’s not a free for all within that eight hours as well. So, that’s how I used timed eating, in my practice.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. So before, before a cancer treatment, reducing the calories a day or so before to less than 500 is the one way to go. But after their treatment to get them into a routine of an eight-hour window of eating and allowing three hours gap between the last meal and bedtime.

Cathy Biase: Yeah. So I’ll start off with the three hours and then we work back from there. So we’ll start off with, with that and if they’re doing well, then we start to pair it back. So it can be a very gradual process to get in that window. And again, some people can’t do it if they just, so, you know, it’s a back and forth. But once people, especially people that are, are, have gone through a health crisis, once people, start to see them, and they understand, it’s much easier for them to implement.

So, you know, you realize that when people are coming to see me in Canada, it’s not a health cupboard thing in most cases. So these people are, are really, they’re motivated to change, which is wonderful for me because they very quickly see the benefits of it. And, it’s a very key piece to what I do.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm. Because I mean, the whole idea of this a restricted, as you mentioned, it weakens cancer cells, but it also, fasting is an important part, actually mops up weak cells as well of which you would hope cancer cells.

Cathy Biase: You’re right. Yes. It ran, it really resets our immune system, and that’s, that’s a big thing, you know, and to this, you know, once people are through their treatments and, and they’re really on a good path to health again, you know, we can play around with a one day fast maybe, and, and do things like that. Because I, you know, I, I do, for instance, once every, I’ll say quarter now, that’d be too much. I don’t do it that often to be honest. So three times a year,

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Aspirational Kathy, aspirational.

Cathy Biase: Well, three times a year I’ll do a three-day juice cleanse and it really does make you, it can be challenging through it, but it really does, make you feel invigorated after, and you know, I’ll play around every once in a while cause I like to change things up, I think it’s important to change things up. I don’t like everything always the same. I’ll do a one day water fast, things like that. I’m just playing around with their diet. You know, your digestion takes a lot of energy and when you give your system a break, it allows it to do other things. So it’s quite reparative.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm. And that’s a good segue into another thing that I wanted to ask you about, which was a detox because we hear a lot about it, you know, people are on detox and all of this. What is, what should we be focusing on when we embark on a detox or what do you focus on with your client, with your patients?

Cathy Biase: Okay. So when I’m dealing with a cancer patient, detox is a loaded word for me. When I’m dealing with cancer patients, for me, when I am talking to them about detoxification, I’m talking about supporting their channels of detoxification.

So the microbiome that we spoke about, I won’t name them all, but the liver, the kidneys, your skin, your lungs, those are all important avenues of detoxification and your body detoxifies quite well if supported properly. But when people are going through cancer treatment, when they have cancer, we have to be very mindful.

There’s no for active, you know, aggressive detoxification during this time, especially through chemotherapy, and people would need to understand that because chemotherapy and the medications are very strong. In your body. If you push too hard to get these things out of your system, it can overwhelm your system.

Cathy Biase: So when I’m working with a cancer patient, I support the liver, we support the microbiome, with proper food, rest, all these same things that keep coming back, but really enhancing our system. So I have a specific liver protocol with foods and sleep and you know, and the nutrients that are supportive of the liver have phase one and phase two detoxification, things like saunas are, you know, people often say, well, can I go into a sauna and sweat it out? Well, no.

Now’s not the time to do that. When we’re into prevention, when you’re out of chemotherapy, when you’re out of treatments, then we can push a little bit. But it’s key to support and not overwhelm the system when you’re going through treatment.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: I liked that. I liked that sort of gentle approach because people have this idea, well, I’m going to detox. Let’s get it all out. And that’s not a good thing. That’s not a good thing.

Cathy Biase: No. And you know, there are back and forth studies with these huge detoxes, you know, we read one paper and it says one thing and you read another. And I’m very much for the conservative approach in most aspects of my life to be perfectly honest. But, when you’re working with cancer patients, you need to be more conservative. You don’t want to be aggressive when it comes to what I’m doing.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm. So now I wonder if we might just finish up and ask, what if you had three, four or five tips for people listening to this program and concerned about cancer having maybe had cancer. What would you, what would be some tips you would give people?

Cathy Biase: Get your team on board. I think if you’ve got cancer, it’s very important that you get a team to work with that you are comfortable with. So, the majority of people that I see are going through the medical system, so they’ve got their medical doctors, their surgeons, and ask questions and feel comfortable with the doctor, just because you’re assigned to a doctor, if you’re not feeling the vibe, switch it up, but then get the other pieces of your team together, your family and friends support, your integrative healthcare support. It’s very important.

If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you have time to do that. You have time. You know you don’t have to rush out right away. This is an important piece of your life. It’s an important chapter in your life and you’ve got to make sure that you’re writing it out properly.

The next thing when it comes to prevention, everything we’ve talked about, starting off sleep, good nutrition exercise is something that we didn’t touch upon too much. But you know, managing your insulin sensitivity and your blood sugar is very, very important. And a key aspect of the whole idea of inflammation is, you know, at the root of chronic disease.

So exercise is very, very important. You don’t have to go run a marathon, but get your heart going. Do some weights for sure, work with your mind, you know, spiritually, mindfully. These things are very important. Carve out time during the day to decompress, learn to say no, these are all very, very important things. When you’re diagnosed with cancer you’ll find that people come to the table that you would be surprised about and other people can’t show up for you.

And that’s fine. That’s fine, everyone has their place. So a lot of people are shocked and say to me, I was very disappointed, but you can’t be. So those are all, those are all to me because when I went through it, these were things that I experienced, it’s a shocking thing to be diagnosed with cancer, but it’s becoming more and more doable, put your mind in the right place.

Get your people on board and get the protocol and your line of attack that is good for you and you’ll feel it in your gut. You’ll feel it in your gut when you know you’ve got everybody on board that need to be there for you.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Look, just finally and taking a step back from your role as a nutritionist, a cancer coach, I mean your own experience. What do you think the biggest challenges for people on their health journey through life in our modern world?

The Biggest Health Challenge

Cathy Biase: I think it’s managing stress. Because you know what? You can eat the best food, you can do all the right things, but if you can’t sleep well if you can’t absorb those nutrients, it all starts with the stress because you know, physiologically you are either stressing or you’re not stressing. And only when you’re not stressing, when you’re in that parasympathetic nervous pathway, that’s when you’re digesting.

Because when you’re in the sympathetic pathway, the body shunts away blood and you’re not digesting anything. So for managing hormones, it’s just, it is key. And you know, research has shown when you’re diagnosed with cancer, the stress of it decreases your immunity. And that’s a real piece of the puzzle that people haven’t quite fit into their protocol yet.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: What a great note to finish on Cathy. Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your wisdom and experience with us.

Cathy Biase: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I had a great time.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: As though you needed reminding of how important stress is even on the best diet, even with the best supplements, but it’s an important message. The influence also of circadian rhythms and in getting a good night’s sleep is as we know, so important. Go back and have a listen to that amazing episode I did at the beginning of the year with Jason Bawden Smith.

That will blow your mind as well, we talk about circadian rhythms and mitochondrial health. We’ll have links to Cathy’s website and her book, “Chemotherapy, radiation surgery, natural strategies for dealing with the side effects of cancer therapy treatments”. Now we have some great things planned this year. There are free webinars and some eBooks on the website.

There’s also a book, five pillars, and a five-week five pillars online course with live Facebook, Q and A’s every week. So look out for that. Now, don’t forget to download the Unstress app at the app store or Google Play and keep up to date with all the episodes, the blogs, the courses, and the events, and of course, leave that review on iTunes and help us get that message out there. If you go to the show notes are, there’ll be a link to make it even easier. So until next time, this is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.