Hey all! I have a lot of people ask me what I eat so I wanted to share some snippets of my diet with you. Before I post any of those, I wanted to address nutrition in general. I’ll start off by saying that when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I immediately and drastically changed my diet. I was already eating organic, mostly Whole Foods but switched to a vegan, mostly raw diet and I was militant about what I consumed. I became a little more lax after the first year but was still pretty strict and unfortunately, food and meals became a huge source of stress and anxiety for me. I would scrutinize everything I ate or considered eating. I’d evaluate if it was organic, on the dirty dozen list, GMO-free, how it would affect my glucose levels, and so on. It was exhausting and completely stole the joy of eating from my life.
A few years ago, I realized that while nutrition IS the foundation of our health. I realized that what we eat and how we eat matters, that I was causing me constant and chronic stress. The more I learn about cancer and any disease is that stress literally depresses the immune system by raising suppressor T cell levels while decreasing NK cell levels. Stress also increases histamine and cortisol levels which have negative effects on our health via our inflammatory responses. I could do an entire post on how stress affects our health but I’ll save that for another time. I will leave you with this medical journal article on the subject. Suffice it to say, I realized I had to stop stressing over my diet. I had to choose to consciously stop worrying about what I was eating. If we ate out, I needed to enjoy the menu even if I didn’t know if the items were organic/non-gmo. I needed to enjoy a small treat of cake at a birthday party. I needed to eat clean carbs in moderation and not worry about spiking my blood sugars (and remember I take medications and supplements to help with those spikes). I needed to let go of my control over my food, simply make good choices, and leave the rest that I couldn’t control to God.
I believe that choosing to let go of that stress and control was a huge step in my healing process. I personally focus on a Mediterranean diet when I can control my food. I typically intermittent fast from dinnertime to “breakfast” (1800-10/1100) most days. On a normal morning, I’ll have a quick shake with organic protein powder (I typically do chocolate but the vanilla is pretty good too), spirulina, mushroom powder (this or this) , organic soy milk, and a few drops of liquid stevia. This quick and easy “meal” is packed with nutrients, the mushrooms help boost my immune system (especially the natural killer (NK cells), spirulina has a myriad of health benefits, stevia is a natural sweetener that has some health benefits too. I intake 2 servings of organic, non-go soy (or flax seed meal) daily to help prevent a recurrence of my ER+ breast cancer. On the soy note, if your doctor is still telling you that “soy increases breast cancer risk,” they are spewing outdated and extremely wrong information and I’d encourage you to do your own research on the subject. Below are just a few articles on soy and breast cancer.
I also drink 1-3 cups of organic green tea daily, I love to make a matcha latte with matcha tea, soy milk, and a few drops of stevia. Another favorite of mine is combining green tea with earl grey tea (but I steep the black tea twice as long as the green tea). Why so much green tea? Well it’s delicious and it’s packed with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). You can read about the science of green tea/EGCG and it’s effects on cancer here. The benefit to Earl Gray tea is the bergamot (assuming it has actual bergamot). Black tea comes with its own benefits but the bergamot has some potent anti-cancer properties. I actually take citrus bergamot every evening with dinner. Tea has always been part of my life. Growing up, my babysitter, who became a surrogate Grandmother to me, “Auntie Anne” had immigrated from the Netherlands and had a thick Dutch accent (like my own Beppe) and we enjoyed tea time every afternoon. Of course this meant I grew up with milk and “sue-ghar” (how she pronounced it) in my tea which as an adult, has turned into a love for my tea “lattes.” I’ve replaced whole milk with soy milk and sugar with stevia but a cup of tea is always a calming treat for my body and soul, morning of or afternoon.
You’ve seen me type that much (not all) of what I eat is organic or non-GMO. These two labels can certainly be misleading and are surrounded by conflicting information. Suffice it to say, if you analyze ingredients and pesticides/herbacides that have been banned in other countries because of their negative effects on human health and the environment and consider that the US still allows many of these things basically because of special interest groups profiting off them, you will realize our soil and our water is contaminated, our crops are contaminated, the food that is mass farmed doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits it did 100 years ago AND are now contaminated with things like glyphosate. I do my best to either grow my own food, buy locally from people/farmers who’s pesticide/herbicide practices I’m comfortable with, and buy organic when necessary. I don’t think it’s necessary for EVERYTHING to be organic and I understand the “organic” label can be misleading as well. I check the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” lists annually to see which foods have the most and least pesticide/herbacide residue. I also think it’s absurd that farmers have to pay crazy fees to prove their crops are “organic” rather than the food that’s sprayed with harmful chemicals being labeled as such. But again, special interest groups/politicians have squashed any attempts at such labeling. It’s all about the money in America. Again, I’d encourage you to do your own research on the subject but I will provide a few links below.
To summarize, what we eat is the foundation for our health but I feel it’s just as important not to allow my diet/nutrition to be a source of stress for me. I try to do everything I do, even eating and drinking, to the Glory of God. Sometimes that means eating a piece of delicious cake to celebrate a birthday or not worrying about eating a non-organic salad or food a friend lovingly prepared!