Cancer Remembered: Eating Healthy

This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at http://www.caringbridge.org.
I originally wrote this post last weekend, but I waited to post it until after Valentine’s Day. See how thoughtful I am?

So here’s the deal. When I started this journey, one of the best pieces of advice that I received was to eat healthier. And I’m here to tell you, that is correct.

Healthy eating gives you energy. Healthy eating boosts your immune system. Healthy eating leaves you feeling fuller, longer. And if you aren’t careful, healthy eating eliminates your cravings for unhealthy food.
I have the added benefit of also eating a low-iodine diet. But I will honestly tell you that doing the following allows me to feel amazing despite the 13 cm mediastinal mass in my thoracic region. (Yes, I have say something medical at least once per blog post.)
1. Start your day with green juice.
I typically don’t eat vegetables for breakfast, but I need at least 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Green juice gives me at least 2-3 servings. That way, I can drink my vegetables in the mornings, eat a salad with my lunch, and eat another salad and at least two sides of vegetables with my dinner. I will also usually have one or two more cups of green juice throughout the day.
Green juice does look weird, but it tastes amazing. You can make it yourself by making smoothies, or you can buy it already prepared. My favorite green juice is made with broccoli, kale, spinach, kiwi, and green apples. See, everything is green…hence the name, “green juice.”
2. Make a modified, healthier version of the one junk food you love. For me, it is french fries. I am a french fry connoisseur.I have always known that fries are bad for you, but I was addicted. I have been known to get dinner from one place and get the fries from another, because of the quality.
So that I don’t give up fries completely, I now enjoy baked sweet potato fries. And they are so very tasty. One serving is more than enough for me. And I’ve gotten my fry fix.
3. Drink a lot of water. 8-10 glasses a day is not necessarily going to do it. You need to drink one-half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you weigh 160 lbs. then you need to drink at least 80 ounces of water. That’s a lot more than 8- 8 oz. glasses of water.
4. Take some kind of vitamin supplement. For most of us, a multivitamin will work. If you have certain medical issues though, you will need to take supplements for those issues. I have to take additional iron, vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements each day. If you have high cholesterol, you need to take fish oil. If you have high blood pressure, take garlic pills. If you need help with your digestive system, take acidophilus.
5. Whole grains are your friends. I like bread and rice. I have found that when I eat whole-grain bread and brown rice, I don’t have that stuffed. bloated feeling that I get when I eat white bread and white rice. Nutritionally speaking, I don’t know what the difference is, I just know I feel much better when I choose whole grains.
6. Exercise. I can’t to this one too much right now, but you should. Even if the only thing you can do is go for a brisk walk. Like the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It.”
7. Stop cooking. Well not really. Increase the amounts of raw vegetables you consume. Raw foods are nature’s goodness. If the ingredients have something you can’t pronounce (including the pesticides), don’t eat it.
8. Change where you shop. I have been loyal to Walmart, Kroger, and Albertson’s over the years. However, I get a better produce selection at Whole Foods, Central Market, and Sprout’s. I know those stores are more expensive and the type of produce I’m buying (organic) is more expensive, so I compromise. I buy the organic produce I need, and then I do the rest of my shopping at Aldi. Then I’ll also pick up a good deal or two at Tom Thumb if I use their “Just For You” app to do my shopping, so I do that. It is a bit more time consuming, but that time is well worth it if I’m eating cleaner and healthier.
9. Learn from the experts. One of the best healthy eating blogs I read is called, “Crazy, Sexy Kitchen.” (Thanks Amy!) The woman who writes is a cancer survivor and she is a clean eater. I can relate to her story and she is inspiring. Find someone in Blogland, or on tv, etc. who can inspire you.
Well, that’s all I’ve discovered for now. Do you have any healthy eating tips you’d like to share?

 

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