How many times have I heard, ” Eating healthy is too hard to do long-term.” I am working on being a more patient person and meditation helps, but when I hear some individuals with cancer whine that ANY lifestyle change is too much for them, I want to smack them upside their head. I want to say to them, “Do you know what’s hard? What you are going through right now. Jabbed with needles. Poked. Prodded. Poison dripping into your veins. Throwing up. Losing your hair. If you can do all that, you can make some healthy changes in your life.”
Since when did eating healthy become a punishment or some huge chore? Have the mega corporations who sell their poisoned crap turned the average American into a junk food addict? Does ANYONE believe a bacon cheeseburger is good for you? One woman actually told me she doesn’t cook, when I suggested she make herself a salad. Hello! Making a salad is not cooking! It requires no special skills. All your doing is throwing some vegetables in a bowl. I am not a talented chef but I can make healthy simple recipes. Anyone can. All it takes is will power.
Next month is my three-year anniversary volunteering at the infusion center. I am starting to see patients who were in remission in 2011, return for more treatment because their cancer came back. Some had the same cancer as me but not as severe… until now. I can’t help but wonder if they went back to their old habits. I have to be careful what I say to patients because most doctors at that hospital believe a patient can eat anything they want and do whatever they want. When I was a patient in the hospital, a nutritionist came to see me and she pushed the same junk food sold in most grocery stores. Ensure protein drink is usually what hospital staff recommend. It’s packed with sugar and God-knows-what else. It’s garbage and is definitely not good for you.
I do tell patients my story though and that includes my lifestyle changes, that’s when some of them give me the “it’s too hard” spiel. I don’t want to lecture them, ok, I really do but I can’t and they probably wouldn’t listen anyway. It boils down to free will. We all have it, but free will comes with responsibility. Every choice we make has a consequence.
When I was diagnosed, I was given a ten-percent chance of survival. When I heard that, I decided right then, I would beat those odds and I still am. I also recovered faster than my doctors thought. I was cancer free within five months of my stage IV cancer diagnosis. I went the slash/burn/poison route but I built up my immune system with healthy food and supplements and continue to do so. Cancer is and should be a wake-up call to anyone who is diagnosed. In order to be a success story the patient has to be a willing participant in his/her wellness plan. Sometimes that means to look for other healthcare options and other survivors. Find out what they are doing. I’ll bet they changed their diets and lifestyle. Everyone I contacted did.
Treating cancer is like going on a diet. The person follows a diet plan and when the desired weight is off, the person goes back to his/her old eating habits. What happens? The person gains back all the weight he/she lost plus more! The cancer patient who goes through all the treatment and is told she is in remission returns to her old habits and guess what? The cancer returns and comes back with a vengeance.
Do you know what keeps me from going back to my old habits? Remembering how sick and miserable I was. I will do anything to prevent that from happening again. I’m the type of person who is “all in” or “all out” when deciding something. I don’t do anything important half-assed. Eating an occasional apple or piece of celery is not enough. In order to make a positive change and to (hopefully) undue the years of damage I did to myself, I have to eat right, exercise, meditate, get adequate rest and stay positive. Being vegan works for me. I don’t even miss meat or dairy. The smell of grease coming from a fast food place makes me nauseous.
You, on the other hand don’t have to be vegan, but choosing foods, like chicken or fish should be organic. There is too much use of antibiotics and growth hormones in live stock these days. Why? Because they make more money.
Buy local produce, in season when you can. If you can’t find organic, choose produce you can peel and wash well.
Everyone has time to walk twenty minutes a day. It’s free and you get outside in the fresh air and sunshine (which gives you vitamin D). If you want to do something else for exercise, do it. Do what turns you on! Get adequate sleep. There are natural sleep aides you can use, if you have trouble in that department, Melatonin is safe and non-addictive. Spending “quiet time” for ten minutes a day helps manage stress. I like meditation but just sitting quietly is just as good… wait! That IS meditation!
Find a buddy who wants to get healthy or your loved one. It’s easier when you have emotional support if you need it. My hubby changed his awful diet and that’s a miracle alone! You know what did it for him? Watching me go through cancer treatment.
Next time you find yourself saying “I can’t, say actually, I can!”
I guarantee after a few months of eating “real food” your taste buds will change, and you will notice the difference if you eat something processed. It will taste “fake.”
I can honestly say I feel 100% better than I ever felt in my life. Changing my life so I can live longer and healthier is not hard. Why? Because I am worth the effort and so are you.
Be Well and Be Happy!