I was not at peace with the idea, that after doing surgery, chemo and radiation, I had a 50/50 chance of being disease free in 5 years. With children aged 2 and 4 at the time, that just wasn't cutting it. I resolved myself to eat only what I needed to eat so that my body could have a chance to heal. I was determined to saturate my system with foods and nutrition to support my body's defense against cancer. It was a significant transition, but a small price to pay for feeling like I could actually do something myself to sway the pendulum of my prognosis in my favor. I felt that I wasn't at the sole mercy of the medical profession. If I had to eat sprouts for the rest of my life I would do it, if it meant I could be alive to see my children grown to adults and could watch the years carve wrinkles in my face. I want to become old. Very very old. Healthy and old and then die. Die because I am full of life, not because I was overcome by cancer.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I worked simultaneously with the medical profession and a naturopath, Sat Daharm Kaur, from Owen Sound, Ontario. Sat immediately put me on a vegan diet. It was quite funny actually. At the same time that I was diagnosed with cancer, I radically switched my diet and, for a couple of weeks, when the learning curve was steep, I really didn't know what to eat so I didn't eat much. Much of what I had been previously eating was off the menu. I very quickly lost about 15lbs. Of course concern followed because there I was announcing this disease and losing weight pretty swiftly at the same time! People must have thought I was already half dead! But I wasn't dying, I was just having a hard time figuring out what to eat on my new vegan diet. I had been vegetarian for many years when I was growing up, but vegan! That was a completely new terrain.
Often people commented to me that if they had to be vegan they would feel like life would not be not worth living. To live without all that lovely cheese, rich cheesecake, steaks, french fries and ice cream. They wondered how can I live without all those lovely sensations for the tongue and still enjoy my life. I had decided not to let my tongue rule my life. Nothing like a nice strong diagnosis to make that a simple descision. Suprisingly I did not feel deprived in the least, in fact I felt inspired! The temptations of the chocolates and rich dinner parties had nothing on the liberation I felt knowing that I could do something to help my body! I was aiding my body not working against it. This was an idea I fell in love with. Maybe I did look longingly at those rich apple pies or freshly baked thick lasagna for a sec, but they had no power over me! I wouldn't go near them now if you paid me! The "too much salt" and the "too much sugar" lost its appeal when life and death came into the conversation. As the Hippocrates Health Institute teach, "It is not the food in your life, it's the life in your food." that count!
Around the same time as I was dramatically changing my diet, I was reading Suzanne Somers' extremely helpful book, Knockout. Suzanne Somers, by the way, was one of the first celebrities to dare to publicly take a stand and speak out about alternative cancer treatments. I believe the right to claim that something "heals" is now reserved only for the pharmaceutical industry. Despite ridicule, she dared to inform the public of all of the many other options that are healing cancer. She has been paying the price for speaking out ever since! It was her book that opened windows where I thought there were only walls. There were so many different approaches that were working I knew it was just a matter of finding a fit for me. That idea alone gave me wings.
I watched some of her interviews where she talked about her experience with cancer. She said she turned down chemotherapy and decided to “eat like my life depended on it.” This struck me. What a novel idea. Eat like my life depended on it. As if somehow it didn't. As if somehow what I ate and my state of health were not related. I did have the helpless belief that cancer just happened to me and I was helpless to defend myself against it. But Suzanne's book and the teaching from Sat, my naturopath at the time, blew my mind wide open and it sent me on a path to discover how much I can do to heal my body. It allowed my beliefs to stretch and incorporate the possibility that my body could truly heal from cancer!
Before this time, I had never really taken the idea of eating for my life seriously. That may sound funny, but judging by all the fast food joints around the place and the vast amount of processed foods in our grocery stores, neither do many other people! We've been tricked into feeding our tongues and not our bodies. I had the belief that eating those muffins and drinking my coffee would not really affect my body. Not like cancer really. I knew there was probably a few fats in there that weren't so great for my cells, and a few additives that maybe could be carcinogenic, but I had no real sense of how my food choices really effected my body and its ability to take care of disease and do its job...keeping me alive to thrive.
After becoming vegan, a good friend mentioned that Dr. Brian Clement from the Hippocrates Health Institute was coming to our area to talk about raw food. Raw food? I really hadn't entertained the idea before. My friend shared that she had experienced serious skin problems on her face and tried many creams and doctors, but had been unsuccessful. On advice from a friend, she decided to have the local raw food restaurant cater all her meals for a week. Within a week her skin problems had completely resolved. She thought I might benefit from learning more about it, given my quest for health. So we went to see Dr. Clement speaking. That evening changed my life forever. I heard that people healing terminal cancers and life threatening diseases were the norm in the raw food world. I heard why a change in lifestyle works and how raw food supports that shift. I heard information that was completely new to my ears and boggled my mind. I came away knowing that this was the lifestyle I wanted to pursue.
After six months of researching Hippocrates and Drs. Brian and Anna Maria Clement, Ralph and I decided to invest in my health and the health of our family by sending me to the Hippocrates Health Institute to learn from the experts how to take care of our minds, bodies and souls in a way that will sustain health. What I learned there changed every corner of my world. I came away not only with the tools to take care of my body, and teach my family how to, but with an unshakable understanding that my body can heal! In fact, what I learned there, was that when there is a total commitment to life, there is very little that the body cannot overcome. When we are born, we are given all we need to truly thrive, all we have to do is provide the right fuel from our food and thoughts and watch the miracles of our life unfold!
After all the research we have done since that time, I now believe that what I ate contributed greatly to the terrain in my body that fostered cancer. Equally, what I eat now, I believe, contributes greatly to a terrain that will make it impossible for cancer to thrive. Of course there are countless other contributors, genes, environment, mental health etc, which also warrant exploration, but food is our fuel. It can turn on genes and off genes, it can prevent the domination of cancer or it can foster the growth of cancer. Amazing really. Amazingly simple! So how could my former ideas about food, the fuel for my body, the fuel for my life, be so out to lunch? Check this out:
“You are what you eat” bounces around all over the place these days, but do we take it seriously? Do we ever consider eating as if our life depended on it? And it we did, if we really decided to eat as if our life depended on it.....what would it look like? If for just a day, you ate only to fuel your body? How would that change things? Listen to some more interesting ideas about our food and our health:
For more information or to watch these provocative, stunning documentaries go to our resources on eating. This is fabulous information that could save your life! Click here for more resources about eating and foods to help you thrive.