Recorded Live, enjoy this exclusive interview best-selling author and natural foods chef, Liana Werner-Gray! Hear about her wake up call to get healthy and the idea behind the Earth Diet, learn about how you can heal yourself by eating foods straight from nature, and find out more about her newest book, Cancer Free with Food.
Read the transcribed version below…
00:00 Dr. Michele Burklund: Hi, everyone. My name is Dr. Michele Burklund. I’m the Chief Science Officer here at Puriya, and this is our Living Well series, where we interview amazing people in natural health. Today, we have bestselling author, natural food chef, nutrition, health coach, Liana Werner-Gray with us. Thank you very much, Liana, for joining us today.
00:23 Liana Werner-Gray: Hi, it’s pronounced Liana.
00:31 DB: Liana. Okay. I will give everyone a little bit of your background too, and you can feel free to add in because it’s small, and I know you’ve done a lot, so we’re gonna get into the questions too. Liana? Liana.
00:44 LW: That’s it, yeah.
00:46 DB: Werner-Gray is a sought-after speaker and advocate for natural healing using a healthy diet and lifestyle. After healing herself of many negative health conditions, including a precancerous tumor, digestive issues, and disorderly eating through embracing a natural lifestyle, Werner-Gray began lecturing and teaching about the Earth Diet internationally.
01:10 DB: She’s the author of the new cookbook, Cancer-Free with Food, which offers a comprehensive guide to healing through food. Through her company and book, The Earth Diet: Your Complete Guide to Living Using Earth’s Natural Ingredients, Liana has helped thousands of people improve, and in some cases, entirely heal conditions like cancer, diabetes, addictions, depression, acne, heart disease, obesity, and more. Very amazing. Thank you.
01:39 LW: Awesome. Thank you.
01:43 DB: To give people your background, you have a really amazing story about how you had this wakeup call, and the idea behind the Earth Diet, and the precancerous tumor that kind of started this whole thing.
02:00 LW: Yeah. I grew up in Outback Australia, and so from a very young age, I had a nutrition education because at school, half of the kids were white and half of the kids were aboriginal, so we had a very indigenous-rich culture and education. We were taught how the aboriginal people lived, and it was fascinating because they lived off the land, and they sourced their food from the earth. They believed that they would take from the earth to feed themselves, and nourish themselves, and then give back to the earth, so they’re always taking care of the earth in this very sustainable, healthy way.
02:34 LW: I remember just admiring them thinking, “Wow, they look so healthy, they’re so lean, and the cancer rate is 0% in the indigenous community.” Someone just said, “My head is a bit cut off.” Okay, okay. “Thanks, Helen, for that.”
02:51 DB: I’m sure it’s Helen. [chuckle] Of course, Helen.
02:53 LW: Oh, my God. I just moved back a bit, and I think it’s better.
02:56 DB: Thank you, Helen.
02:57 LW: Thanks for that, Helen. Shout out to Helen Gray, yay! Helen actually did all the nutrition facts in the book as well. For all the recipes, it has a breakdown of nutrition facts, not just calories facts, carbs and protein, but vitamin C levels, vitamin E, vitamin D. This is awesome. If someone has cancer and they’re like, “Okay, I need recipes rich in Vitamin C,” you can see all the ones in there that have that, so that was awesome.
03:26 DB: I love that. I love that.
03:27 LW: Yeah. Okay, I had that nutrition training from a very young age. Then when I was 18, I moved to Brisbane City and I basically just ate… All that went out the window, I started to indulge in a very fast-paced lifestyle, and eating fast foods, and junk foods. I ended up binge eating on junk foods every single day for five years. I knew it was wrong because these foods had no nutritional value whatsoever, gummy bears for breakfast, pizza for lunch, McDonald’s for dinner, that kind of diet, and so…
04:01 DB: Very intense.
04:02 LW: Yeah, very intense. I knew it wasn’t sustainable, and I was like, “This is dangerous, I’m just filling my body with dead matter.” I started to notice my health decline, so I tried to stop it, but I told myself, “I’ll start again tomorrow, I’ll start again Monday.” I was just so addicted to it. Chemically, my body had changed that it just craved that sugar and that sugar high, and so I wasn’t able to break it.
04:31 LW: Then after five years of eating like that, I ended up in hospital with a golf ball-sized lump in my neck. The doctors did a biopsy, and the results came back. I actually got three diagnoses, one was stage zero, one was stage one, and one was precancerous, so now people… Now doctors are like, “Okay, that’s a form of lymphoma.” The diagnosis for cancer can be super confusing, also misplaced, because doctors still… They don’t always know. They’ll just be like, “Okay, you have lung cancer. You have this. You have that.” There’s a fine line with being diagnosed also, which is what I learned. There is…
05:13 DB: Diagnosis is the hardest part always, too.
05:16 LW: Yeah, yeah. Then I was given an option to take a cervical cancer vaccination, and I was like, “Why do I need that if I have this? What’s the connection?” It was just such a… That was my first experience with the medical industry, and that’s when I knew something was up, and something was wrong with the medical industry. I was like, “Okay, I’ve got early stages of cancer. I am a mess because all I wanna do is eat junk food. What can I do to change my life because all I wanna do is go and eat junk food now that I feel terrible?” That’s the first time I fully surrendered, and I just… I did a prayer, and I was like, “Okay, universe, I need help, and I need to be shown how to be healthy now living in the city and in this modern world. What do I do with these cravings?”
06:09 LW: A few days later, I had an idea that completely changed my entire life, and that was the idea to start The Earth Diet blog, and eat only foods from the earth for 365 days. That’s what I did. I just focused on everything that came straight from the earth that actually had nutrition. Every time I had a craving, I thought, “Okay, how can I fulfill this craving for chocolate peanut butter cups, ice cream, chicken nuggets, burgers?” I just replaced all of my cravings for all of these homemade recipes that I was making.
06:44 LW: My father’s a chef, I felt very confident in the kitchen. I was making all these recipes, and I was like, “What? I can actually eat this chocolate peanut butter cup, and it’s healthy for me.” I was mind-blown. I was so excited. I did that, as well as juicing, six times a day. Then I also did coffee enemas, colonics, and some other natural treatments. In three months, the golf ball-sized tumor had completely dissolved, completely gone, and I’ve been cancer-free…
07:12 DB: Very impressive.
07:13 LW: For 10 years. This is my 10th year.
07:15 DB: Congratulations. Congratulations.
07:17 LW: Thank you.
07:19 DB: Yeah, I think that’s a brilliant idea too. You did a blog. You were accountable to the world every day, checking in. Did you take pictures of your food, or did you write down all the ingredients?
07:30 LW: I did. Yeah, I took photos of the food. Then I also wrote down the recipes sometimes and the ingredients. I was like, “Okay, I’m making chicken nuggets, and so I’m just gonna coat it in egg and some turmeric, and some almond flour.” Back then, my recipes were like, “Okay, just get some chicken breast, put it in egg, and then dip it in almond flour, turmeric and salt. I had no measurements or anything, I was just like, “This goes with that… ” Yeah.
07:58 LW: Yeah. Every day, I studied something different. I studied about dairy. I studied about water. I studied about colonics. I studied about the effect that skincare products have on our immune system. I studied the effects of household products, what they have on our health. I just study, study, study.
08:16 DB: Did you expect yourself to go into the natural health world, or it seems like it was an accident in a way, and then you found your passion through all of this?
08:29 LW: Yeah, I feel… It was an accident because I was in film and television, and that was my biggest passion at the time. Then I started going with the blog, and I started feeling better and getting healthy. Then when I was fully healed and transformed, and no longer craving junk foods, I was like, “I did not know this was possible.” I felt so alive and so grateful, that I just wanted to share these recipes and these health concepts and this natural life with the world. I was like… That took over, and that was my biggest passion. I was like, “Okay, now how can I turn this into getting paid as well, so I can continue to do it?” I started working at a health food store and making juices and smoothies for people. I started selling my chocolate balls at the farmers’ market.
09:18 DB: Nice. Very nice.
09:21 LW: Yeah, I just made it work.
09:23 DB: From your blog came The Earth Diet. How did that come about? How did that transition into this amazing book? It’s from… It’s based on all these recipes. Or was that kind of the inspiration, and then you took it to another level? Tell me about that.
09:42 LW: Yes. After the blog, because I told my blog readers I’ll do it for a year, and then I would just post it on Facebook to my friends and be like, “Here’s my blog. You can read it, or not.” It turns out, a lot of people were secretly also addicted to junk food and sugar, but weren’t telling anyone, so a lot of people started reading my blog and sharing it with friends that they knew were struggling with healthy eating. At the end of the year, the readers were like, “Can you put all of this into a book? Can you make all the recipes into a book?” I thought, “Actually, that’s a great idea.”
10:18 LW: That’s what I did after the blog, I wrote The Earth Diet book and I self-published it. This was before I really knew about having a publisher or an agent. I didn’t really know about the book publishing world at all, so I just put it together, and I wanted to put it on recycled paper to keep in the earth-friendly theme. The book cost me like 16.50 to print one book. I did it locally in Long Island. I just put it on my website, and yeah.
10:52 LW: Then all of my Facebook friends and stuff started buying it, and it did really well. I was so busy, and I was like, “My God, I have no time to do this.” Because at the time, I would get the books, sign them, and then write the envelopes and go to the post office and ship them out myself.
11:10 DB: Wow. Wow.
11:12 LW: Yeah. Yeah. Then after a while, I was like, “I literally have no time for this. How can I keep up with it?” Then I was like, “That’s where a publisher comes into place.” That’s when I reached out to Hay House, and Hay House was such a good fit because it’s mind, body, spirit, and it’s about healing using supernatural ways with food and prayer and meditation and soul, so it was such a good fit.
11:39 LW: Then Hay House, they republished The Earth Diet. The Earth Diet as we know it today is republished by them. The self-published book, you can’t get any more of it, so now it’s an art piece in some people’s homes.
11:53 DB: Exactly. It’s the original, it’s the original one.
11:58 LW: Yeah.
11:58 DB: Very cool. I think Helen and I both met you together in Colorado, in Denver for the first time, through Hay House.
12:10 LW: Yes.
12:11 DB: We were there in Seattle, I combined the two, but I think it was there. There you go, we love Hay House.
12:16 LW: I remember meeting you in Seattle as well, at the women’s events.
12:21 DB: Yeah. Yeah. I know, I haven’t been back to Seattle in a while now.
12:27 LW: I love Seattle.
12:30 DB: I miss it. I miss it. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I just talked to Dr. Paul Anderson like a month ago, who did Cancer Outside the Box too, and so it’s a perfect combination. We love Hay House writers here too, and Hay House. I have a great question for you. You’re passionate about eating food straight from nature. What are some easy ways to do this, like to get… To help motivate our viewers? Because even like me as a doctor, I think that people love the idea, but it’s always hard for them to integrate it into their daily lives. I think you’ve kind of mastered that, and mastered teaching that to people too.
13:17 LW: Yes. I just repeated this teaching over and over and over again. I work every Wednesday and Thursday in New York City at a medical health center, it’s called Complete Wellness. This is the main thing that I have to talk to patients about because it’s like we live such busy lifestyles, and sometimes our lives are like on this cycle of autopilot, so sometimes it’s hard to incorporate new things as the wheel is spinning. It’s like pull something in, okay, now it’s in, until it becomes a habit and part of the lifestyle.
13:50 LW: One first major thing is I always ask patients, what is your number one biggest obstacle when it comes to food? Is it bread, cheese, dairy, chocolate, cakes, cookies, gummy bears? What is it, pizza? What is your biggest obstacle when you just feel like you have a weakness of like, “I just wanna eat that.” You know it’s not right, like you intuitively feel like this isn’t right. What is that food? Then I say, “Okay, let’s look at how we can upgrade that.”
14:22 LW: The upgrade system is like, let’s say for example, let’s say, for me, it was chocolate. Chocolate was my number one biggest craving, so that was the first thing I wanted to replace because I was eating the wrong kind of chocolate that had soy lecithin as a preservative or emulsifier. It had dairy, it had white sugar, and so that’s when chocolate is not good for us.
14:51 LW: I was like, “Okay, I still wanna eat chocolate, but I’m gonna use the real cacao powder, mix it with some almond flour, some honey, some vanilla, some sea salt, maybe some organic peanut butter, organic almond butter, or organic sunflower seed butter, sun butter. I just started… Every time I had that chocolate craving, I would eat those instead, and that gave me so much boost and momentum because that bad processed chocolate was bringing me down, so making that switch helped boost my immune system so much.
15:23 LW: I was losing so much excess weight from eating that kind of real chocolate every day. It’s very empowering to replace our biggest obstacle, maybe one that’s been controlling us for a long time. Because for those five years, chocolate was controlling me, I wasn’t in control of it. Now it’s like if I have a craving for chocolate, I’m like, “Okay, let me go buy some organic chocolate or make my own.” A person can do that with everything. There’s an upgrade for everything, cheese and burgers and pizza, ice cream, everything. I love finding out what people’s biggest obstacles are.
16:00 LW: If anyone who’s watching feels like they have one and they’re not sure, let me know in the comments, so I can write you back and be like, “Try this, try that.” Because there’s literally like 10 different options for you with whatever obstacle you have. We’re never stuck, and that’s the most important thing, is to remember like we’re never stuck in that. That would be the first thing.
16:20 LW: The second thing I would recommend would be for everyone to start incorporating chlorophyll into their diet. Chlorophyll is an extract from green plants like kale, spinach, chlorella, spirulina, broccoli sprouts, broccoli. Anything green has chlorophyll. When we consume chlorophyll every single day, it’s basically like a natural blood transfusion. It replaces our blood so quickly and so powerfully, it’s amazing. Drinking that in water, or adding it to a smoothie is super, super, powerful.
16:58 LW: You can just drink a fresh green juice, or a smoothie; but if you don’t have time for that, everyone has time for some chlorophyll droppers. Just take some drops, add it into water, or take the chlorophyll supplements. Everyone has time for that. This should be a daily thing. It helps to cleanse the blood cells, it helps to detox the body as well, keeps the immune system strong. Yeah, I’ve done it every single day for 10 years, and I would say…
17:23 DB: Wow, nice, really nice.
17:23 LW: Yeah, I would say that’s the most powerful health hack that we have available to us on the planet.
17:29 DB: Very nice. With you too, it seems like you travel all the time. I always see you in a different place, in a different state, or a different country. How do you keep up staying healthy, and your routine? Like when you’re traveling? For me, I feel like I’ve been traveling for a long time here and there. Every time I get to a new place, I’m like, “Oh no, how am I gonna do this?” I feel like you are definitely a master at that, too.
17:55 LW: Yeah, my philosophy is make it work, no matter what. When I’m traveling, I always take the chlorophyll with me, or I take a greens powder that has like chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass and broccoli sprouts, and I’ll just mix that in water. No matter where I am in the world, if I can’t get a fresh juice or smoothie, I always have the powder or the chlorophyll drops with me. The chlorophyll drops are a little tricky because when you’re traveling, you don’t want them to spill on your luggage because it’s like green.
18:28 DB: Right, right.
18:28 LW: The powder is usually safer. That’s a necessity, like travel… Always traveling with that. Then I always travel with a ginger tea bag as well. That way, when I’m on the plane, when they’re coming around with drinks, they don’t have organic tea or coffee or anything yet, on the planes yet. I just ask them for hot water, and then I add my ginger tea bag, and that helps just to keep the inflammation down and keep the circulation going in the body. Those little health hacks help a lot. Then I also carry lots of snacks, like chocolate.
19:04 DB: That’s smart, really smart.
19:05 LW: Yeah. I have my organic little Q Chocolate bars, or chocolate-covered almonds with me. I take some organic turkey stick. I’m a meat eater, so personally, that works for me. I take snacks with me, so that I’m not starving because it’s when we get starving is usually when we go and grab the unhealthy things. Yeah. I’m flying to North Carolina tonight, so I have packed some organic chocolate snacks for the plane, and some ginger tea bags.
19:35 DB: I think that’s perfect. Ginger helps with nausea too. I think that’s great for two different ways, healthy and during traveling.
19:41 LW: Yeah, for sure. They should have ginger tea bags on the planes… Yeah.
19:45 DB: Yeah. Some day, soon.
19:46 LW: Some day. Everyone would be happy, more relaxed, not feeling sick, yeah.
19:51 DB: Exactly. Tell me… This is a perfect time to talk about your other book, 10-Minute Recipes.
20:01 LW: Yeah.
20:03 DB: What are some favorite recipes in your book too, if you can choose a couple from there?
20:08 LW: Yeah. The 10-Minute Recipe book was after The Earth Diet, when I actually emailed out to all my subscribers, I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna write a next book. What do you guys wanna see? What kind of book do you want?” The response I got back was… Mostly from people was like, “I need quick recipes.” The idea was like, “Okay, let me see all my quickest recipes and put them together.” Legit 10 minutes, it’s awesome.
20:36 LW: One of my favorites in that book is the cashew ice cream bites with chocolate sauce. Yeah, all you need is a blender for this. My gosh, if you love ice cream, this is a must-try recipe. You just blend in… Vitamix is the best.
20:54 DB: Definitely.
20:55 LW: That you whip up some cashews, coconut oil, some… I use refined coconut oil, so it doesn’t smell or taste like coconut, but gives an amazing consistency. Lemon, maple syrup, some sea salt, and that’s it. Then whip that up, that makes a cashew ice cream. Then next whip up chocolate sauce, which is cacao powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, and put it on top, and it’s just like…
21:18 DB: It sounds amazing, it sounds decadent and healthy at the same time, and fast.
21:23 LW: Yeah. Super simple, and fast. Yeah.
21:27 DB: Very cool, very cool. Tell us more about, and I haven’t read it yet, I really want to, your newest book. Cancer-Free with Food.
21:37 LW: Yay, there it is. Yeah, this book came from… I was thinking about my third book, and I was thinking what I was really passionate about. I really wanna help people with cancer, and that’s what my soul is most passionate about doing; even though it’s not always fun, and it’s controversial, but I just definitely feel called to help people know like, “Okay, if you eat this way, you increase your chances of getting cancer. If you eat this way, you decrease your chances of getting cancer.” Then also helping people who… Just say they get diagnosed with cancer today, and they’re like, “Okay, what do I eat?” Because unfortunately, these days, oncologists and doctors, they’re saying to their cancer patients, “Don’t worry about your diet. You need caffeine if you’re going through chemo, you need caffeine for your brain. Go have a Coke, or a latte from Starbucks.”
22:34 LW: Like what? This is crazy. They spent four hours of nutrition training, most of these medical doctors, unless they’re functional medicine doctors, then they obviously have nutrition training. But I spent 10 years on this subject and researching it, and I pulled a lot of studies, science studies on which foods have been proven to kill cancer cells, and which foods have been proven to cause cancer. I think it’s an education that we all need to be aware of if we wanna live happy, healthy, cancer-free lives. Super passionate about this book.
23:12 DB: How is it structured exactly? Does it go through each food, or does it go by cancer type? Tell me a little bit insight, just a hint, of how you structured it.
23:23 LW: Basically, the first part of it is all of the science studies and the research and the concepts, and then the second part is all recipes. But the first part is, I get into the top 15 foods on earth that have been proven to kill cancer cells in multiple studies. Some of these foods have been studied for decades. Then I go into the top 15 most toxic foods, so foods that have actually proven to cause cancer. A lot of it’s common sense.
23:57 LW: Obviously, we know that if we eat white sugar enough, sugar feeds cancer, and we open ourselves up to a higher risk of getting cancer. I wanted to find all the studies on it, especially for people who like reading science studies and stuff like that. Yeah. There’s like 26 endnotes here in the back of all of the science studies and the research done for that. Then it just gives a basic guide of just cut out these foods, incorporate these foods, and then you reduce your chances of getting cancer, and you increase your chances of healing cancer, if you have cancer.
24:38 DB: Yeah. To me, there is no question. There is no question that when you get a cancer diagnosis, or even before, of course, food is medicine, and it should just be part of your daily routine, and part… And place importance. But I think that even saying the basics, like take out sugar, take out this, I think it can help people profoundly because some people still don’t know that, or some people just have separated it so much, and have busy lives, then they get stuck, and then they put their health on the back burner, and then later on it comes full force.
25:14 DB: What I think you’re doing is amazing, in giving those people recipes too. My biggest disconnect is I love eating healthy, but the cooking and the recipe part is… That’s where I go blank, and so I think it’s great that you gave all these amazing recipes too, the creative part of putting it all together.
25:33 LW: Yeah, yeah. I try to make it super simple and easy because food is simple and it’s easy, and food is best in its natural state, just as it is. Just take an avocado and eat that. I try to make it simple, and not intimidating for people. I love seeing people who have been diagnosed with cancer post photos of the recipes they’re making from the book. They’re saying on social media, “I’m not as intimidated to make food anymore, I feel empowered. Now I know what recipes to make.” That’s super great to see that.
26:07 DB: Yeah, very cool. Right now, you’re seeing patients twice a week. Then the rest of the week, you’re educating people on eating healthy, different ways to cook, and traveling the world doing it. I think that’s great.
26:23 LW: Yeah, yeah, that’s the lifestyle circle. Yeah.
26:29 DB: Excellent. Do you have any future books being published soon?
26:35 LW: Yeah, I’m gonna let this one roll for a while, and just keep promoting it and keep pushing it out because I really feel like my mission is not done until I start to see cancer statistics lower. Right now, it’s one in two men are getting diagnosed, and one in three women. That’s just unacceptable. That’s in America. Those stats. It doesn’t need to be like that.
27:03 LW: I lost two grandfathers to cancer, my mom is a breast cancer survivor. It’s just odd to see more people suffer with cancer, and to see cancer kind of as a plague, kind of take over our society. It’s just not right, it’s not right. We have a lot of power and control in our hands, so I’m just gonna keep rolling with this Cancer-Free with Food book, and…
27:25 DB: I love it, I love it.
27:26 LW: Yeah.
27:27 DB: And education, education can go on forever too. I think education is empowerment, and so, very cool. Thank you. Do you have anything else to add to… Do you wanna say anything to our viewers right now? Anything extra?
27:44 LW: Just one last thing I wanna add that comes to mind is that… Also, Dr. Mark Hyman wrote the forward for this book. He’s a great functional medicine doctor, he gets it. When he was in oncology school, he asked the professor, “What is the percentage of diet related to getting cancer?” He was quite surprised at what the oncology professor said. He said, “70% of all cancer is caused from diet.”
28:13 LW: If that’s the case, we really do have a lot of control in our hands to change what we put in our mouth, in our home, and to help change the food industry too. Because in the last 10 years of me doing this work, I’ve seen the food industry change immensely, and it’s going to continue to change as we vote with our dollar and stop buying the toxic foods, start buying the good foods. Then if 70% is caused from diet, what’s the other 30%? It’s said to be stress.
28:42 DB: Stress is huge, yeah.
28:43 LW: On the immune system, so we need to look at reducing stress. Also, there’s some great studies that I read about people who have faith or strong spiritual practice, they have less of a risk of getting cancer, and less deaths of cancer than people who have no faith. And they live longer lives as well, so that definitely helps. Then also genetics plays in that 30%. But with genetics, it runs in my family to get cancer, and we can trigger those genetics or not. Obviously, I triggered them with me eating so much toxic food, but if we start to focus on foods that are super healing like this, then we don’t trigger those genetic parts of us that can expose the cancer. Yeah, I’ll leave you guys with that. Thank you so much for having me, Michele. I appreciate it.
29:37 DB: Thank you, thank you so much for fitting us in your busy schedule too. And I’m glad we got to talk more about your new book too. I think it’s amazing. Continue educating, and continue doing that. Hopefully, I’ll run into you in the world again somewhere, some place maybe.
29:50 LW: Yes. Yes, hopefully, we will. Looking forward to it. Alright, thank you so much.
29:54 DB: Okay, thank you. Bye. Thank you.
29:57 LW: Bye.
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We named our interview series ‘Living Well’ based on the Ancient Greek term “Eudaimonia” translating to doing and living well. The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle uses this term in relation to balance in all areas of life. At Puriya, we believe that living well encompasses much more than health but all aspects of life.