Conscious Eating to Combat Cancer

I have been wanting to share my new findings about what I eat and why I am eating it. I remember reading an article or blog post a few years ago about being intentional with what you are putting into your body. It sparked something inside and now I am seeing it unfold in my life. I totally agree with using the terms intentional, conscious and mindful when it comes to what goes into your body. I mean, this is my TEMPLE. The only reason I get to experience life through my eyes is because I was gifted this body. And yes, we are all going to die eventually but that doesn’t need to be an excuse to mistreat your body and damage it.

I have realized that I have been damaging my temple my whole life. From the chemicals we rub on our skin to the ones we chew up and swallow, I had no idea how bad everything was. After cancer infected my body I took it as a wakeup call: “now or never”. I am 28 years old and I want to see life past 50. I feel that this is my best bet at living a long, healthy life! I won’t get too deep into this topic because I could go on forever…

I am not a nutritionist or a doctor but I have been doing lots of research as a result of my diagnosis with breast cancer. My research has led me to make drastic lifestyle changes from skincare to the food I am eating. I am sharing this information because I wish I had learned it sooner. I am happy to refer you to sources from which I have found information as well as answer any questions to my best ability in the comments below.

I am forever learning and I want to share the food that I have been eating lately with a brief explanation of why. I do not eat animal products, processed flour, sugar or sugar substitutes, processed foods, conventionally grown produce, and the list could go on and on. I don’t eat much of the food that is readily available in America and that is what makes this so hard. I had never thought about the fact that most of what I was eating was made in a factory. But now that I do, I can only make changes and hope that it is enough to cure me of this disease. So here are some food choices I have been gathering to share. I will explain why I am eating whatever it is and what I am avoiding when making my meals (feel free to message me if you want to discuss further details on anything).

Here we go! So let’s start with…

BREAKFAST

  • Oatmeal with Berries, Chia Seeds, and Nut Butter

I made this with quick oats. They are organic oats from whole foods and it took less than ten minutes to prepare from start to finish. Cook your oats as the package suggests and then top with ANYTHING. Here I did blueberries, strawberries, black chia seeds, and peanut butter.

All of the produce we buy is organic (Basketeria is the BEST place in Cleveland – they are in the West Side Maket and we go there a few times a week). Sometimes, on rare ocassion, we will buy a non-organic produce if it is crucial to a recipe we are making.  I would recommend doing research wherever you live. Start shopping around to find what to get where. It is a pain and can be expensive but knowing what to get where is super helpful. I have done research on the Denver and Cleveland areas – let me know if you are looking for the best organic spots in either location and I am happy to share.

Any organic chia seeds are great to add or flax seeds – whatever you have.

Any organic nut butter is great – make sure it is sugar free and salt free. Let’s talk about the sugar.

Sugar is in EVERYTHING. Most things that you think are healthy have sugar added. Always always always read the ingredients. And natural sugars may be okay but if you are worried about too much natural sugar consider the sugar levels in different fruits and be mindful of the balance between sweet and not so sweet.

On The Go? Another way I like to do the oatmeal is in mason jars for a quick wake up. For these, I mash a banana in a jar, add 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of nut milk, cinnamon and stir well. Seal up the lid and in the morning, throw some bloobs or strawberries in the jar and hit the road with a delicious, filling snack.

  • See Smoothies and Toasts below

LUNCH/DINNER

  • Falafel

Falafel is my current favorite. We either always have chickpeas soaking, or have falafel ready to fry in the fridge. Cody is the falafel man and makes the best fried chickpeas in town. I will write a recipe soon with our version of falafel. With falafel on hand, you can mix it with hummus, stuff some pitas with fresh veggies, or make a fun snack board.

We also whip up our own hummus regularly and make extra. This can be used for toast, falafel dipping, or spring rolls. We use organic chickpeas and try to avoid using canned beans but sometimes we used canned if we are short on time. Organic lemon, tahini, garlic, paprika, and oil are the extent of necessary ingredients. Hummus also takes just 10 minutes or less to make. I can post a recipe soon or just find one on pinterest for now.

For our lunch today, the falafel board was an easy way to pile everything on one dish and share a meal. We added greens and tomatoes as well as roasted potatoes (see below for how we make those).

  • Roasted Purple Potatoes

Some anecdotal sources we’ve found in our research suggest that purple potatoes are supposed to fight against cancer so we try to find these often. I love the small ones that are finger food size. Garlic is also said to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods. All you need to do is spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, smoked salt, garlic, nutritional yeast, and fresh parsley/basil and then bake for 1.5 hours at 375 Farenheit. Be sure to go as light as you can handle on the salt!

HERE IS YOUR WARNING THAT THESE THINGS ARE ADDICTING.

*Garlic should be chopped at least ten minutes before cooking.

*Fresh Herbs- we grab organic plants from trader joes or a local grocery any chance we get. This means we aren’t frequently spending money on organic herbs. This alone has been a big money saver and always adds to the freshness of any meal.

  • Grilled Anything! Summer is the best time for this and we love to grill. Since we are supposed to eat a lot of the cruciferous family of vegetables, we will grill cauliflower, broccoli, romanesco, brussel sprouts and much more. We toss these in some oil and season with salt and pepper and throw it on our little $10 charcoal grill. Zucchini is also great and so is eggplant, skin down.

SMOOTHIES/DESSERTS

Sugar has been one of the hardest things for me to give up. Not so much the sugar craving but the fun, delicious things I liked to eat with sugar. Like donuts and ice cream – there is something about both of these that I just daydream about. I haven’t had either in months now and it feels good to know I can do it. When I need something sweeter, I reach for the fruits. One of my favorite smoothie combos includes peanut butter and even if you get the sugar-free kind, it is sweet and delicious! My skin likes this diet much better.

  • Fruit smoothie with Peanut Butter (or another Nut Butter) – about a handful of each
    • Strawberries (you can leave the greens on)
    • Blueberries
    • Kale (crucifereous family of vegetables and is a known cancer fighter)
    • 1 Banana
    • Almond Milk or Water (sugar free)1/2 cup
    • Ice
    • Flax Oil (Considered to be helpful in certain cancer protocols like Gerson & Budwig) – 1 tbsp
    • Flax Seed/Chia Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Coffee Smoothie
    • 1 Banana
    • Almond Milk or Nut Milk (sugar free) 3/4 cup
    • Cold Brew Coffee 1 cup
    • Ice Cubes 2 cups
    • flax oil (optional)
    • Flax Seeds/Chia Seeds

TOASTS

I am a firm believer in a quick, delicious toast for any meal. I didn’t want to classify it as breakfast or lunch or dinner. Sometimes I eat PB Banana Toast for dessert because sometimes that’s what I need.

The bread is where it gets tricky. Since I avoid processed flour I have found a few options that are within those guidelines but pretty darn good. There are sprouted grain loaves such as ezekiel, and loaves with flax seeds, quinoa, and many more all in the freezer section of most grocery stores. These work well for me becasue I can keep them in the freezer and use a few pieces at a time, reducing food waste. We got rid of a toaster years ago and use the broiler to toast. So I throw that in (and keep the oven door open as a reminder because if I don’t, I burn it EVERY DAMN TIME). While the bread toasts, I prep the toppings.

  • Maitake Mushroom, Hummus and veggie toast
    • chop maitake shrooms, tomatos, parsley, onion, garlic and sautee in sunflower oil. Spread hummus on toast, add veggies, Enjoy!
  • Avocado Toast
    • Mash avo, add lemon, salt, cayenne to taste
    • spread on toast
    • add tomatoes, balsamic, or any other veggies you like
  • Banana PB Toast
    • Spread Sugar Free PB on toast
    • Add chopped banana
    • sprinkle cinnamon over top

JUICING

Juice is a way to pack way more than you can eat. I mean I buy 2lbs of carrots and 2lbs of apples every time I see that or am able to. Then anytime I have a free ten minutes I try to juice real quick and it fills up a 12 oz mason at minimum. There’s no way I could eat that much in that amount of time. A lot of cancer fighting diets like Gerson recommend juicing 12 times a day and fresh each time. The idea behind drinking it fresh is the immediate nutrient that are fresh. The longer it sits the more vitamins lost. Realistically, I am not able to juice 12 times a day for time and money reasons. And this is ok. Again, everything in moderation even some of the great healthy stuff may not be possible for everyone but doing them when time and money allow us better than not at all.

  • Carrot and Apple Juice –this has been my go to juice
    • 1lb green apple
    • 1lb carrots

*juice should not sit for very long at all in the fridge. I make 1:1, 1 lb of each to optimize nutrients and lower the time it sits in fridge.

ALCOHOL

Now this is probably a tough thing to give up for most people. Not because they have a problem but to be social in our society it is very easy to hop on the drinking train. I don’t mind parting ways with alcohol but sometimes I allow myself to drink for special occasion. I believe everything in moderation. So to avoid sugar when I do drink I have found some good cocktails to sip on. I am NOT recommeding you drink by any means but I am suggesting a better option if you are going to drink.

  • Tequila – is said to be the go-to spirit for those avoiding sugar.
    • Mix with:
      • Cold peppermint tea and muddled mint
      • apple carrot juice and a splash of bubbles
      • soda water and lots of lemon and lime juice
      • soda water and muddled mint
      • kombucha
  • You can also find organic wines but these have a lot of sugars in them

Avoid for sugar content: Pop/Soda, Super sweet juices, tonic water

We also just read somewhere that hops increase the estrogen levels in the body. My cancer is Estrogen + which means it is fed by estrogen. So I avoid sugars as well as anything that promotes estrogen in the body. Other things that are believed to increase estrogen on the body are: turmeric, dairy, and meat.

So I think that is a good start. If you are reading this because you want to make a change, start now. Do not go and change everything at once – this does not work and is very overwhelming. I know, I tried to do it all at once and realized it was not beneficial for my mental health. Instead of looking at the big picture become more conscious of what you are putting in your body. If you are going out to eat, ask restaurants if they add butter or cheese that is not mentioned. Start by bringing awareness to what you are fueling your body with. From there, over time, you will begin to notice a few things click.

*These meal ideas are not certified by a nutrtitionist or cancer doctor but they are what I have found are good options from the research I have done over the past three months.

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