Please forgive me for neglecting this blog since August. That month my sweet husband was diagnosed with throat cancer, and we spent the rest of 2019 battling (and winning!) the fight. As anyone who has gone through cancer treatment knows, the toll on their bodies and the mental health of their loved ones can be stressful. Here's what we did to alleviate his discomfort during treatment, which resulted in what his oncologist has described as just short of miraculous:
1. We eliminated animal products from our diets and consumed mostly high-alkaline foods. Why high-alkaline? Cancer happily exists in a highly acidic body, which is usually full of meat, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, and sugar. By eliminating the animal products and consuming plants, grains, seeds, and fruits, Mike was able to feel healthier and more energetic, and even went to work every day during this treatment!
2. We tried to exercise. Whenever he felt up to walks, we'd walk to keep his strength up. It's so easy to settle in and allow being sick to take over our physical bodies and our mindset, but the endorphin release he felt when he could exercise gave him energy and made him feel happy and strong.
3. We rested. Weekends were for sleeping and recovering from the week. We unabashedly stayed in on Saturdays and only attended one church service on Sundays, when we normally attend Sunday school and the regular service. We also gave ourselves permission to pass on volunteer opportunities, even with our beloved church family and our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
4. We stayed positive. It was almost to the point where we questioned if we were taking his cancer seriously enough! But we were convinced that this wouldn't be the end of our story, but a minor blip. I'll admit I spent many hours crying over my love feeling sickly and not being able to taste the food I was cooking to nourish him. (As a chef, it was a sad feeling of helplessness.) Again, we were not going to lie down and feel sorry for ourselves, discussing illness with whoever would listen. That only makes for bummer conversations!
By March 2020, he was done with treatment and feeling great! We've decided to continue eating a vegan diet because we both feel so great about our health, and personally, I love that we're helping the planet by preserving even more resources. (What's more zero waste than preserving forests and animals?)
How does this apply to you? During this pandemic, it's so easy to stay at home and mope. In fact, the media is imploring us to do just that by streaming fear to us by their many effective outlets. Know this: if you're eating well, exercising, resting, and having a positive mindset, you're already doing better than the majority of Americans who consume the Standard American Diet and get little to no exercise or sleep each day. People who are already in poor physical shape will certainly succumb to illness that comes their way.
Here's the good news: you can flip that script! Mike decided in April 2018 that he was tired of carrying 70 pounds more than he had when we met. That month he started eating smaller portions and healthier foods, coupled with daily exercise. By June 2019, he'd lost 50 pounds and felt healthy enough to hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail! (Here's the truly miraculous piece: had he not gone for the hike and returned in Afib, his cardiologist would've never found the tumor in his throat, and the cancer would've been found at a much later stage!) Mike decided that he was too young to have health issues and be shackled to medications. He took charge of his own health and wellness.
So are you ready to own your health? What specific goals can you make to change your eating habits or lack of exercise? Don't be vague. "I'll exercise" is not going to work. "I'll walk for 10 minutes per day" will set you up for success. "I'll eat better" isn't a goal; it's a statement. "I'll stop buying chocolate chip cookies and nosh a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth" is a real goal. What's there to lose? And how can I help? Shoot me a DM on Instagram @lisa.plants.and.cooks for some motivation!
Bless your health,