(Adopting an Anti-Cancer Diet to Kick It Down Again)
It’s something I don’t like to always wear on my sleeve, but my husband is a cancer survivor, being first diagnosed in his mid-30‘s. When I think about how much having celiac can suck, I think about his challenges and what he has endured, and suddenly feel silly. Having an autoimmune disease can really be a pain, but when you get down to it, it’s just food, it’s just being a little more careful with eating out, food preparation, and some lifestyle changes. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s truly just a little speedbump in life for me.
Recently my husband had his annual cancer scan and something came up on the radar; after a biopsy and some bloodwork it turns out his cancer has returned after six years of being clean of cancerous activity. It was a devastating blow for us. We looked back at our lifestyles and thought of what we did that could have prevented the recurrence. Most would say nothing could have been done, it’s just the hand you are dealt in life. But there are some things we thought about and realized maybe we can start making some pretty big changes to combat it (on top of the obvious medical approaches, which he will definitely undergo as well).
We have already gone through the tears, frustration, the anger. Now we decided to make it a joint effort to fight against this cancer growth in any way we can. We’re pissed and ready to kick cancer to the curb once and for all.
After a lot of research we learned a pretty simple fact: Cancer loves garbage. It loves junk, and feeds on it. So slowly but surely, we are working on ways to make ourselves healthier by making cancer a really hard place to thrive by making the following lifestyle changes:
1) No more refined sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup. Sugars will be consumed through natural sources like fruits, and in small amounts like honey, pure maple syrup or coconut palm sugar. I plan on marathon training with whole foods instead of candy and using Honey Stinger gels for races. Desserts of the past, like ice cream, cookies and candy are being replaced with homemade granola and almond milk, fruit, and nuts.
2) More whole foods, less refined foods. With a produce market close by, I can buy massive amounts of fresh foods for a minimal cost. We’re snacking more on fruits and vegetables and less on things like crackers, chips and candy.
3) Buying more organic produce. There are certain fruits and vegetables that are high offenders when it comes to pesticides, such as tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and apples. So we are looking into buying organic for certain foods, but eventually would love to grow our own! I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening, so it’s pretty intimidating, but I would love to give it a try.
4) More vegetarian meals. He has big concerns about chemicals and hormones in meat, so we are going to eat organic, free-range meat only two days a week and vegetarian the rest of the time. With me having celiac disease, you would think it’s a challenge, but I started brainstorming on vegetarian meal ideas and realized there is still a LOT of variety. Free range meat is three times more expensive than regular meat, so we will adopt a 80% vegetarian lifestyle to offset the cost on days that we enjoy meat with a meal.
Will these steps work? I don’t know. Does it hurt to take these steps? Absolutely NOT. It’s been a full week and we’ve already gone through the cranky sugar withdrawals. Food suddenly tastes AMAZING and we aren’t taking it for granted. It feels so good to be alive to treat our bodies right and not pump them full of garbage.
We have a lot of challenges ahead, and I will continue to post progress as it comes along. I plan on wearing a F*ck Cancer patch on my running singlet, and possibly will go back to fundraising with Team in Training for a future event. He has stood by my side when I went through my celiac diagnosis and diet changes, and I will wholeheartedly stand by his side to fight cancer yet again.
I know some people think it may be an extreme way to live, but to be honest, if your life and health depend on it, you would do anything to sustain that life by making drastic changes. It’s worth it.