On Sunday, June 3, communities across the U.S. will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day. It is a day of triumph for survivors and their families, a day of hope for cancer patients, and a day of remembering for the loved ones of those who were taken by the disease. However, cancer patients deserve more than just one day of recognition. It is both a debilitating and expensive condition that has confounded the best medical minds in search of a cure. And it is growing. A new documentary, “The Food Cure,” set out to feature the very real struggle of cancer patients and their families by following their lives for five years. The film breathes new light into the accepted standards of cancer treatment and offers an alternative to the harsh chemotherapy and radiation so often prescribed by doctors. What if plant-based nutrition could be the cure?
Faced with dire diagnoses from their doctors and varying degrees of severe cancers, the six individuals featured in this film decided to forego the conventional treatment methods and try a more holistic approach. Although this method is unproven and extremely controversial within the medical field, all (save one, who tried a similar program) trusted their lives to Gerson Therapy. This treatment shifts the focus from destroying cancer cells to nurturing healthy cells, with the idea that by strengthening one’s immune system, the body can fight back against the malignant cells. This is done by following an extremely strict and rigorous eating and juicing regimen, in addition to daily coffee enemas, and avoiding household toxins for a full two years.
Although a plant-based diet is easy to follow, the Gerson diet is extremely demanding. The plan is not only devoid of all animal products, but gluten, sugar, alcohol, salt, oil, and other trigger foods as well. Further, patients must make and consume a fresh juice every hour, typically consisting of either greens, carrot, or carrot apple. None of the six people featured in the film were vegan to start, and the film captured their experiences (and many frustrations) with this plant-based plan. Some scenes are comedic – a seventy-year-old truck driver from Canada hides from his wife when she comes for him with his green juice. Others, however, are more sobering, as in the case with Michele, the Mississippi resident who could not afford all of the organic produce and eventually lost her home, her partner, and her job.
The film is full of highs and lows. The audience falls in love with Jeremiah, the smiling five-month baby who grows up to love fruits and vegetables. They laugh at the truck drivers’ (Fred) slightly sarcastic personality, and they are taken on a breathtaking adventure in Luzern, Switzerland, with Verena. However, each patient endured dark phases during their treatment, from serious financial difficulties, broken relationships, and the most devastating of it all – no results. Even for those who are fortunate enough to have not been touched by cancer, many can relate to the frustrations these people face with the medical industry. Despite all of the medical advancements and innovations in pharmaceuticals and technology, doctors do not always have the magic cure.
“The Food Cure” is an entirely engrossing documentary and offers seminal insight into the role of plant-based nutrition and disease. The film debuts June 4 in San Diego and will proceed with select screenings across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. To learn more about the film or to host a screening, visit the film’s website.