For the first time since my cancer diagnosis, I was told yesterday by my oncologist that there is a link between cancer and the Western Diet. I have thought this all along, but not one of my eight oncologists told me this…until now. Interesting to say the least.
I have always been interested in nutrition, vitamins, herbs, etc, and I thought I ate pretty well. For example- My Mom and Grandma always steamed veggies, NEVER boiled them, because the latter takes out all the nutrients; they gave me my first vegetable steamer when I was 17. To this day, I do not boil anything, not even corn on the cob.
When I was diagnosed with two cancers last year, I read every book you can think of about nutrition and cancer. The American Cancer Society andMD Anderson Cancer Center recommends the Mediterranean Diet, so I read two books about that. I have read books about how deadly sugar is, the Paleo Diet, low carb eating, low fat eating, hormones and nutrition, anti-cancer foods, vegetarianism, the Vegan Diet, organic foods, the Alkaline Diet, green smoothies, high protein diets, high fiber foods, grass fed animals, caloric needs, etc. I could go on and on.
Yesterday, I watched 'Forks Over Knives', and ordered the book The China Study. (Thank you to my cousin for the recommendation!)
My general eating habits:
No food allergies.
Rex and I cook from scratch 90% of our meals.
I hate milk, and I love cheese and yogurt, although I don't eat many dairy products now because they tasted so weird on chemo.
I like almond milk in my coffee.
No soy, I have never liked it. And it's a no-no after breast cancer.
Lots of protein- mainly from chicken. Red meat 1-2x week. Fish 1x week.
Fruit every morning.
At least one salad everyday, generally with chicken and spinach.
Lots of veggies.
I love olive oil.
I juice fruits and veggies several times a month.
Some bread, but not much pasta, rice, or potatoes.
I LOVE mexican food.
I also love nuts, Doritos, and Triscuits.
Dark chocolate everyday.
I do not eat fast food. (I do eat Subway and Fiesta Ole')
Besides cancer, I have been healthy, or have I?… I have never had a problem with high cholesterol, high triglycerides, thyroid, etc. My labs have always been normal…. I am on ZERO prescription medications. But, I have been 15-20 pounds heavier the last four years, and losing weight has been really hard to do… There is a link between cancer and the Western Diet, so where did I go wrong? What turned on the cancer cells in my body?
So here I am, almost done with radiation, and entering the next stage of life- staying cancer free. The Triple Negative Breast Cancer I had is a very aggressive kind of breast cancer, so there is a very high chance of recurrence in the next three years. I am determined to stay cancer free, so my diet has to change. This is not optional for me.
I am not promoting any certain kind of diet, because I feel each person has to do what feels right and true to them. But this is where I feel I went wrong:
Did I eat too much meat? YES
Did I eat too much dairy? YES
Did I eat enough fruits, veggies, and whole foods? NO (even though I thought I did)
I encourage you to take a step back and look at your eating habits, and educate yourself about the link between the Western Diet and disease.
1 in 3 people in the US will get cancer.
1 in 3 people in the US will get diabetes (due to obesity)
Not to mention heart disease kills more people every year than all cancers combined. Holy wow.