The Optimal Terrain to Heal Cancer – Dr. Nasha Winters
An Interview with Dr. Nasha Winters of Optimal Terrain Consulting
I had the distinct pleasure of getting the opportunity to pull aside Dr. Nasha Winters of Optimal Terrain Consulting for a quick interview at this year’s Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Conference! Optimal Terrain is a consulting practice that exists to supplement care one receives from a primary physician or oncologist, helping cancer patients to formulate a plan for their health unique to their “individual biochemical terrain” rather than simply diagnosing and treating a disease. I’ll come right out and say that based on my conversation with her and looking further into her work, at this point in time if I were looking for a “cancer coach” in addition to the care I was receiving from my or my child’s oncologist and potentially even naturopathic oncologist, Dr. Nasha and Optimal Terrain would likely be my first call.
Optimal Terrain Consults with Patients AND Parents
And yes, you read that right, I said for me or my child. Dr. Nasha Winters and her consultants at Optimal Terrain consult with both cancer patients and cancer parents alike. She also points out that kids really do want to be engaged with all of this information (sometimes even more than the parents), which is something I really try to keep repeating. It’s imbedded in children’s nature to want to learn and incorporate new things. If we present them with the right information and especially highlight why it’s important, they WILL pick up on it and run with it.
Developing the Optimal Terrain to Heal
I asked Dr. Nasha Winters my favorite about all the various theories of cancer, from epigenetics to cellular metabolism to microbial infection to even a few less common ones discussed at the conference, we hear about in the natural or alternative world and how she rectifies all of them in her approach. Talk about a softball question perfectly tailored for her to expand on exactly how she helps people in her consulting practice! Nasha points out that even by the American Cancer Society’s definition, cancer is a collection of more than 100 individual diseases. So it’s never going to be as simple as finding one particular cause or one particular agent to treat the disease(s). We’re always going to have to do much more homework than that.
To that end, Nasha has formulated the Terrain Ten framework that herself and the Optimal Terrain consultants use to assess individual patients’ needs. In her view there are ten patterns that need to be addressed, how much work each pattern needs will be different for each person. Dr. Nasha describes a tree to represent these patterns and how they relate to each other. The canopy of that tree represents the epigenetics, the soil it’s growing out of is the microbiome, the trunk is the mind / spiritual aspect, and the branches represent blood sugar, toxic burden, immune function, inflammation, blood circulation and angiogenesis, hormone balance, and stress and biorhythms. It’s a very interesting way to look at it and I really need to see this graphic!
Fruits vs. Keto?
We talked a bit about the fruits and starches vs. a ketogenic / metabolic focused diet. Again I liked her answer as rotation and adaptation seem to be central themes coming up again and again in my research. She does often (again of course tailored to the individual) recommend a low glycemic diet up front to hit the metabolic front and then add more of the fruits and starches back in once the metabolism is back online. My personal opinion, and it sounds like Nasha would likely agree, is that ketosis can be a powerful tool in the toolkit, but not necessarily the optimal lifelong diet. It’s a great way to force healthy cells to adapt to an alternate fuel source and weaken unhealthy cells when they are unable to make the adaptation.
I asked Dr. Nasha Winters about any treatments or supplement she tends to recommend across the board regardless of the specific situation. With the preface of course that every situation IS different, she did mention mistletoe as one of her more common go-tos. Reason being that it hits so many of her ten terrain points all at once, which is something I’m always looking for in a therapeutic agent – how do I get the biggest multi-faceted bang for my buck? Mistletoe is usually delivered via subcutaneous injection, but I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that it can also be nebulized which would be a much easier and more sustainable delivery method for children! I’ll certainly be looking further into that one.
Sense of Purpose (Still) Crucial for the Optimal Terrain to Heal Cancer
My other favorite question, the three golden rules to staying healthy and disease free. I’ll let you watch the video for all of them but I have to point out that Dr. Nasha Winter’s is the last of three interviews with naturopathic oncologists (the other two being Dr. Paul Anderson and Dr. Chris Holder) I did at the conference, and when asked this same question ALL THREE had a sense of purpose in their answer as one of their rules. As Nasha put it, you can be hitting the diet and supplements and exercise and all of that just fine but if you don’t have a sense of purpose then you don’t have much of a need to be carrying this container around. Think about it!