I trust that most of you reading this today have read Parts I and II and are waiting to hear my own personal anti-cancer regimen. This has been a tough call for me to write about. Not just the memories of the scare and the fight, but owning up to what I do, and do not do, to prevent cancer's recurrence. What the hay, here goes.
First let me say that I don't personally classify myself as traditional, in terms of medicine, yet I also don't really think of myself as holistic or maintain a naturopathic physician's number on my cell phone. I guess you could say I combine the elements that feel right to me. How do they feel right? Instincts, intuition, analysis of my lifestyle leading up to the cancer--I'm not really exactly sure, but I do trust my inner voice. I hope that is a good thing.
My dietary and other lifestyle changes that came as a result of the cancer, didn't just slam dunk one day. A few did, upon diagnosis, become quickly a part of my new practices. But many were gained along the journey from reading, talking to other cancer survivors, and research. I probably did not cover everything, but here's what I can recall changing:
- Concentration on cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli. I could eat it every day; I LOVE it!
- A secondary concentration on berries 3-5 times a week. Berries are notoriously expensive, at least here in Central Florida where we don't grow them. Clearly I'm not focused on being a Locovore (dedicated to eating locally grown foods), but that is primarily because my main goal is to prevent the cancer from returning, not to save gasoline. Disagree with me if you like, but I'll take life over a shortage of petrol any day. That's not to say, of course, that I haven't made changes in my driving and personal habits to decrease my petrochemical use.
- Increasing my tomato intake was no trouble at all, along with switching to healthier oils.
- Increasing my onion and garlic intake to daily servings has been easy, since they flavor so many foods well. However, I also added Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract capsules to assure a therapeutic level.
- Wheat Grass juice proved to be less than easy to get and drink fresh, so I resorted to Kyo-Green, a supplement that you stir into juice. It includes wheat grass, barley grass, chlorella, and kelp, among other nutritional supplements. While many of the powdered forms of wheat grass are terribly unpalatable, I found Kyo-Green to be quite acceptable when stirred into a glass of apple juice.
- Daily juicing was part of my regimen initially, and continued for a few months after the radiation therapy. I chose a blend of mostly apple and carrot juices, adding a small amount of dark, leafy greens to each batch for extra B vitamins.
- Reducing red meat to no more than 1 serving per week and cutting many meat servings in half has allowed for an extra serving of vegetables with many meals. Finally, I enjoy fish at least once a week, even if only smoked salmon on an organic bagel with cream cheese (one of my favorite lunches, topped with sliced red onions).
- Increasing fiber in my diet has not only had the obvious effect, but also helps to sweep the lining of the intestines--a known caner preventer. Watch for my upcoming post on strategies for increasing the fiber in your diet.
- After reading The Hundred Year Lie, I did a major turnaround in my eating and went about 90% organic at home. I'll admit that first pantry clean out was expensive to replace, but there was something therapeutic in that exercise that had a healing effect on my mental state. I felt I had done something truly significant to assure my future good health. It may sound crazy, but the simple act of dispensing of unhealthy foods conjured up images of growing old with my husband and grandchildren playing at my feet. Hmmm?!!
- I replaced most of the plastic containers that were used for cooking or freezing foods, when I learned about the increased danger of heating and freezing plastic. I use mostly glass now, and never cook in plastic or freeze water bottles.
- Water is now taken in reusable bottles as often as possible, with bottled water used about 80% less.
- Soda and other products with High Fructose Corn Syrup are no longer a part of my diet.
- Making the switch to alkaline foods proved challenging and is an ongoing daily consideration. I keep the list in the kitchen and tip the scale toward the alkaline side for a reasonable approach. Most challenging is the constant battle with my sweet tooth. Sugar is acidic and I try to make up for some daily sugar with more daily alkaline foods.
- Daily exercise includes walking or biking with the dogs, dog agility training (they can run much faster than I can) and water sports. Tanner loves to race with me in our lap pool. Sometimes he wins and sometimes I win. I have the advantage of being able to dive farther or he would win all the time.
- Household plants were switched out to include more of the ones that have an air-cleaning and filtering capability.
- Personal care products have also gone organic, or at least all-natural, to assure less absorption of trace amounts of toxins. I was especially pleased to lose the lipstick with food colorings, parabens and preservatives, and I am thrilled with my new brand.
- Focusing on natural fibers, I am making a concerted effort to use more cotton and less polyester, along with the other bad boys of the fabric industry.
- Organic pest control and Organic lawn care products have been introduced to eliminate toxic elements being added to my primary environment. This proved to be much easier than I thought it would, as there are an increasing number of companies offering such services. Isn't it great that we can fertilize with fish emulsion and worm guts and get green grass instead of blue-stained sidewalks.
- All natural cleaning products, soaps and detergents are used to the extent possible. Vinegar, borax, baking soda, lemon juice and lemon oil are my primary cleaning crew now. Here in hot, humid, Central Florida, where mold and mildew are rampant, an occasional dose of cleanser or bleach is needed to kill the spores, particularly in the shower grout. I'd love to learn about other ways to do this. Anybody got a cure for mildew?
- Finally, switching my pets to organic food and all-natural shampoos, flea and tick control assures that I'm not allowing those toxins into my environment also. The flea prevention has been the most challenging, but my current program is working well. You can read my program at Flea Season is Here: What's a Pup to Do? at my other blog, All Things Dog Blog, where I enjoy sharing tips for happy dogs and happy families.
That may not be everything, but it is certainly the lion's share. To put it in a nutshell, I eat healthier, eliminate much toxic exposure from both foods and environment, and use personal care and cleaning products that leave no toxic residues on me or my home.
While I do not claim to be a purist, I can say that I am now a cancer survivor, 2 1/2 years after the fact. I plan to be saying this again in another 2 1/2 years, and eventually living the pantry cleaning dream of growing old and watching my grand kids play. I hope you'll still be reading and can join me in being cancer free.
FYI, juicers die hard and fast, unless you buy the champion. This is mine: