You may or may not be surprised to know that one of my biggest challenges this past year has been learning about FOOD and implementing huge changes to both my diet and my kitchen.
Getting diagnosed with an illness such as cancer makes you look at yourself and ask the question: Where did I go wrong? What am I doing that my body does not like?
Although I can not answer these questions, I have come to realize that it is not one thing or another that I did to cause my cancer. I do know that I can change what I put into my body going forward, to help support it in its fight against cancer.
I don’t think that FOOD caused my cancer, nor am I of the belief that FOOD alone will be the cure. But I am a firm believer that what we eat contributes to our overall health more than we think it does. I believe that we can ward off illness and even prevent serious diseases by taking better care of ourselves and controlling what goes in our bodies. If we get our bodies into an alkaline state with an abundance of nutrients to work with, I believe we will have a better chance at healing.
I have never been the unhealthiest person, nor have I been the healthiest. I have had an addiction to candy since I was very young, but over the past 8 years or so I have taken pretty good care of myself. I exercised fairly regularly, was a healthy eater (aside from my LOVE of candy) and I was not a heavy drinker, smoker, drug user etc. And even so, I got sick.
My body is fighting like crazy to stay healthy and when I got diagnosed I knew I had to drastically change my diet to give myself all the healthy nutrients I needed to fight harder. This meant giving up some of my most favourite things and adding a lot of my least favourite things into my day to day meal planning.
Here is a list of my biggest lessons over the past 12 months:
- We really need to support local small growers that do not spray our fruits and vegetables! ORGANIC is best!!! Now this has been a struggle. When you switch to an organic grocery list, you have to eat what’s in stock and sometimes it is not a lot in Central Alberta. Summertime is great when you can grow your own veggies, take advantage of Purearth Organics weekly ordering system (open year round) or even try a local veggie box program such as the one over at Steel Pony Farm.
- Sugar really is BAD for you. We all know this and we all need to seriously look at the amount of sugar that is in our day to day diet, but I really needed to quit cold turkey. Cancer loves sugar. Did you know that they inject you with a glucose based solution before you a PET scan? They look for the areas in your body that are metabolizing the glucose the fastest and that is where the cancer is found (with some exceptions). I won’t get into the science of sugar and cancer as it is very controversial and I am not educated enough on the nitty gritty, but check out the references below for some great reading. No more m&m’s, mini eggs and Bulk Barn runs for this mamma (insert really sad face here). *I do however feed my soul and have a treat on really special occasions (YAY)
- We eat wayyyyyyyy to much processed food. Fast food, boxed food, canned food (not all bad!) and junk food. I never thought I ate too much of it, but when I changed over my kitchen, I had to pretty much get rid of my entire pantry. Not only does processed food have a lot of additives and preservatives, it has a lot of sugar and salt added too! I challenge you to take 3 items from your panty that are processed and replace them with real, raw food. My rule is, if I don’t know more than one ingredient on the box, I don’t buy it!
- Cooking can be fun!! Learning new recipes is a great thing to do as a family. I will be the first to say it does not always taste good, but when it does it sure feels good. Feeding your body and your family food with real whole foods is super rewarding.
- Kids love healthy food too!! My son is one of the healthiest people I know. He was only 10 months old when I was diagnosed, so has never really had any “garbage” food. He does not really know what sugar tastes like unless it is from fruit or honey and he thinks blueberries and raisins are treats! He eats all his veggies and I never have to worry about him not getting all his nutrients from whole foods. His tastebuds have never experienced junk food before so real food tastes amazing.
- Eating healthy is expensive! Yes, organic veggies cost more and junk food is cheap! In the long run though, you will buy less medicine, feel better and look great! I promise that the extra money spent is well worth it. YOU and your health are worth ever penny! There are also lots of ways to save money. Check out my next lesson learned on gardening and this dirty dozen list that you can use when shopping to help you save money and shop smart.
- Gardening is healing. My challenge to you this year: PLANT A GARDEN. Even if you only start out with a pot of strawberries or tomatoes. Grow your favourite and enjoy eating the fruits of your labour (literally). I will post about my garden project later this month.
- Juicing and Smoothies are a great way to add additional veggies to your diet. They are both great for you and they both taste delicious. Here are my go to recipes for drinking my veggies. I have had my share of really gross ones over the past year, but I am getting much better at knowing what to put with what to make it taste good.
1 frozen Banana
4 slices of frozen Pineapple
1/4 frozen Lemon with peel
2 cups spinach or kale
handful of fresh Parsley
1/2-a full Cucumber
1-2 cups of Water or Coconut water
3 or 4 Ice cubes
2 or 3 stalks of Celery (optional)
1 Kiwi (optional)
1 TBSP Flax or Chia seeds (optional)
Insert all into a blender or vita-mix and blend until smooth
Makes 2-3 servings
2 handfuls of Kale
3-4 stalks of Celery
1 Stem of Broccoli
1 handful of Parsley
1 handful of Pea shoots
1 inch of Ginger
1/2 a Lemon
1 Green Apple
Juice all in your favourite juicer and Enjoy!
Makes 2-3 servings.
Changing your diet is a lifestyle change. Yes, I still miss my candy and tiger tiger ice cream (YUM). But, I also know that my body is healthier and happier than ever before. I have learnt to bake treats from scratch to satisfy my cravings and have started to enjoy my time in the kitchen with my family. It is worth the time and extra money to have a happy, healthy family.
What have you learnt lately about the food you eat? Share your stories, your favourite recipe or both below or on Facebook and lets learn from one another!!
Lots of LOVE,
*Top Photo taken by Jayme at The Paper Deer Photography
For more reading on Sugar and Cancer or Chemicals in our food check out these posts: