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#188: Jess Kelley, MNT- The Ketogenic Diet, Cancer Prevention & Nutritional Oncology

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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Mike Mutzel Podcast High Intensity Health

About Jess Kelley, MNT

Jess is a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT) specializing in Oncology Nutrition. She is the founder and CEO of Remission Nutrition, a global nutrition consulting and education firm that advises cancer patients on personalized, therapeutic diets, supplement protocols, and lifestyle approaches. Jess completed her 2-year MNT certification at NTI in 2010, and has since become certified in Environmental Medicine through the University of Arizona Medical School and Blood Chemistry Analysis, Thyroid Disorder Management, and Endocrinology through Apex Energetics. Jess has been teaching and involved with program development for NTI since 2011. Jess also holds a B.A. in Journalism, and has written health and nutrition articles for a variety of local and national publications and is the co-author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (Chelsea Green Publishing) 2017.

Connect with Jess

Oncology Nutrition Certification Program


Resources Discussed in this Episode

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health


Show Notes

02:17 Links between Nutrition and Cancer: About between 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are caused by genetics. The rest is rooted in diet and lifestyle. 95% of all cancers can be prevented and mitigated.

03:17 Traditional Oncology and Nutrition: Recommendations while going through chemotherapy are things like angel food cake, ice cream or cookies.  The only nutritional advice is “Just don’t lose weight”.

03:37 Cancer Therapy Diet: Cancer cells consume glucose at a rate much faster than healthy cells. Restricting carbohydrates and attaining ketosis is a powerful therapeutic diet. Jess reports great results from this in her clinic. When you fast before chemotherapy, generally there are fewer side effects and the clinical outcome is better. The therapeutic zone is around 48 hours before. After chemotherapy, patients break their fast with fat to stay in ketosis.

05:31 Antioxidants during Chemotherapy: There is no evidence that you should avoid antioxidants during treatment. New research is showing that antioxidants during chemotherapy can be beneficial. Jess prefers that we get our antioxidants from phytonutrient dense food.

06:42 Cancer and Fasting/Ketogenic Diet: Jess has seen positive results using a ketogenic diet and fasting across all types of cancer. Brain cancer tends to respond the best. It helps slow the cancer process and improves quality of life.

08:11 Therapeutic Range of Ketones: Patients start with urine testing to follow glucose and ketone levels and then move to blood testing. The therapeutic range is glucose below 70 and ketones 3 or above. Everyone is different and it may take some fine tuning.

08:56 Variables Influencing Ketosis: Sleep impacts glucose regulation. Stress and exercise also have an impact. Many people eat too much protein, especially eggs, while on a ketogenic diet. Eggs are high in glucogenic amino acids, making an easy transition into glucose. Ferritin levels are run on patients before getting the green light for red meat. High iron can drive the cancer process. Food quality is important. Examine food labels for carbs, sugar and ingredients.

12:34 Importance of Phytonutrients: Jess designed a phytonutrient formula for consuming 10 different vegetables a day, yet keep your grams under 15 carbs. Oxidative stress is common for those of us receiving radiation or chemotherapy. These can be neutralized using phytonutrient dense foods. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, celery, cilantro and vegetables with low carbs are part of a healthy ketogenic diet. Get as much variety in your plant intake for you microbes and antioxidants. Healthy plates need color.

15:25 Acceptable Fruit: The only sugar sources that humans had for 2.6 million years until about 10,000 years ago was honey and berries. Sugar cane has bagasse, a fiber which is beneficial to your microbiome. Tune your diet to your environment and season. We get more phytonutrients and fiber in berries.  Athletes might consider consuming more berries after a workout to combat oxidative stress and aid in recovery.

18:45 Carbs and Kids: We think that kids need carbs, but that is incorrect. We have essential fatty acids that are required by the body. We have essential amino acids. We have no required carbohydrates for homeostasis. Kids do better on high fat diets. It promotes better behavior, skin and hair quality, and other subtle things. Kids who eat high carb foods are pickier eaters. Kids need to be exposed to a food 12 times for them to develop a taste for it. Keep putting it on their plate. Fasting inhibits certain kinds of leukemia in kids. There are times when kids don’t want to eat and we shouldn’t force them.

22:30 Jess’s Morning Routine: She begins her day with Bulletproof Coffee or Tea. After getting her daughter off to school, she exercises for at least an hour. Then she may have eggs and sausage with tons of vegetables. She does intermittent fasting twice a week.

23:38 Fasting: Every one of our cells has a clock. We are programed to eat within a 6 to 8 hour window during daylight hours. People who skip breakfast tend to have more adrenal fatigue issues. Skip dinner instead of skipping breakfast.

26:46 Jess’s Favorite Exercise: If she could only do one exercise for the rest of her life, she would be a runner….or do yoga.

27:13 Jess’s Favorite Herb/Nutrient: Fish has everything you need: essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. Fish is inherently high in selenium, which has a binding affinity for mercury.

28:25 Jess’s Elevator Pitch: Help to cultivate food security in small farms so people begin to be connected to their food sources. Teach people how to grow their own food and better educate children and adults about nutrition. The quality of organic food you grow is superior to what you find in the grocery store. The more a vegetable is exposed to oxygen and is oxidized, the more it loses its nutrients. Eat local.

30:59 Jess’s E-Course: Jess has been practicing oncology nutrition for several years. Options for continuing education were extremely limited. If you are a registered dietitian and you have 1,000 hours of working in a hospital, you can take a board exam, but it does not teach therapeutic nutrition. Jess developed a course, in conjunction with MDs and Naturopathic Oncologists. The course provides information on how to do therapeutic nutrition for cancer prevention and management.


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