I’ve been debating with myself for some time now about how much of my cancer treatment story I want to share. When I was first diagnosed, I knew it was something I wanted and needed to talk about. Between doctors visits, researching my hind end off, surgery and 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment, I am left feeling exhausted. I’m ready to have my life back already. That’s not to say the full story won’t one day be told, but for right now I’m just enjoying my life as a newlywed and being thankful for each special moment. It’s time I start looking toward the future and going full force with what I really want to do – inspiring others to live a healthier life.
After my diagnosis, I put my aspirations and work on hold. Healing my body became my full time job – my life depended on it. I’ve always been a huge advocate for self-care, but healing myself from cancer has brought that to an entirely different level.
Here is what my personal protocol looks like:
- juice myself silly (lots of green juice)
- daily meditation and journaling
- eat organic
- movement (right now it’s jogging, yoga and the occasional dance party)
- sleep (like 8-9 hours a night)
- eat those greens!
Along with these things, I’ve also adjusted my philosophy on what health looks like for me.
I became vegan in 2009 and followed a whole foods version of that lifestyle for over 5 years. During that time, I resolved health conditions including chronic migraines, food sensitivities, acne, allergies and anxiety. Changing my diet led me down a path of overhauling my entire life, which was incredibly empowering. I felt better than I had in years, felt more at ease in my body and I also became more attentive to my body’s needs as I gave up meat, dairy and processed foods. I learned so much about nutrition and the realities of food production that I never really thought I would consume animal products again.
And then last summer, something started to shift. My body began craving animal products – specifically eggs and fish. I have never been a big fan of eggs though. I’ve always had a sensitive stomach to them, so this deep craving had me a bit confused.
After months of trying to hide these feelings from myself and those around me, I decided to give in to them. So I ate scrambled eggs for the first time since I was a child. And you know what? They tasted great! And even more surprising, I felt good. Having fish or eggs every so often felt right after that point. There must have been something in these items that my body needed.
Sometimes we need to come full circle to fully heal.
Shedding the vegan label has been tough. I can’t lie, the title I adorned myself with seemed attractive and gave me a sense of entitlement. It was also a place to belong. I’ve realized though, that labels are too confining and restrictive.
I’ve made peace with the fact that I now eat a plant-based diet, with the occasional animal product. I like having the freedom to openly accept what my body needs at different times, places and stages of my life. I’ve learned to dissociate those feelings of guilt and shame, and instead, practice gratitude and presence while I am eating – and through my day.
Food is supposed to nourish and support our bodies with everything they require to survive and thrive. Let’s ditch dietary dogma. I believe there are many paths to health and everyone should explore what feels best to them. It’s all about achieving a balance.
My new health philosophy is simple: Go back to basics. Eat real food – whole, plant-based food. Sleep well. Drink water. Manage stress. Exercise and move that body. Have positive relationships with others. Engage in work that makes you truly happy. And have fun!!
Have your diet and health goals evolved over the years? Please share your story below!