when cancer comes back

A Health and Wellness Journey, When Cancer Comes Back…

 

 

 

Hello,

This blog is dedicated to the most creative, funny, critical thinker, and supporter to my many crazy endeavors. MY DAD. He is very much with us and going strong! He doesn’t know it but has always been my hero. We definitely can have our differences of opinion, but I know he loves me.

 

Dad, Thank You for being my first client or being open to some changes in your diet and listening to my endless chatter on nutrition. Thanks for being my inspiration for Health and Wellness and I know with(HOPE) more people will become AWARE, EDUCATED, and INSPIRED around what they eat.

 

I had the chance to interview my dad the other day. His cancer recently came back, although we also learned that it has not spread! So we are teetering on the border between relief for today and worry for tomorrow. Here is what he had to tell me about his diet over the years.

1. What did you enjoy most growing up around food preparation, and as a family, what was the normal ritual around preparing a meal? What was your favorite food your mom or dad cooked and why?

Sunday meals were special, with the smell of cooking fried chicken permeating throughout the house in the early morning. I would wonder into the kitchen, and a whole chicken would have been cut up and floured the night before and placed into a deep cast iron skillet full of lard! This grease and chicken fat would be made into gravy. Before church, Mom would prepare homemade biscuits to be put into the oven after church. Vegetables varied depending on the time of year, but butter beans, corn collards, squash and tomatoes were always available and cooked in butter or grease with an added tablespoon of sugar! Iced tea was the beverage of choice, always with sugar and lemon, of course. Dessert was consistent—either pie or cake—and when guests were over, it  always included ice cream!

2. Do you think society has changed in the way we eat? What additions to our nutrition, good or bad, have we added? How do you think it impacted families in the 70’s and 80’s and why?

Our society’s eating habits have changed most with breakfast. I usually ate a full breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon or a slice of country ham, and toast with butter and homemade jam. Now our younger people eat no breakfast, or they consume an energy drink or a Starbucks latte! I did many physical chores every morning before school, like feeding cattle and chickens! This time of my life versus during the transition from the 70’s to 80’s is different as far as the physical is concerned. However, I did consume many regular Cokes, and when I was about 6 years old, I drank my first Pepsi! I didn’t have a diet drink or any artificial sweeteners until in my late 20’s!

3. What foods did you add to your diet in the last 50 years that are different than what you grew up eating? Which foods would you eliminate from your diet and why? What have you changed about your diet since you found out your cancer has returned? How does this make you feel? What emotions does cancer bring up for you? Remember, Dad, I love you, and I am wanting to make a difference in a small kind of way through awareness, education, and inspiration.

My number number one diet change in the last 50 years is added artificial sweeteners and GMOs! Since my second bout with cancer, I stay aware of my diet by eating less meat, more fish and vegetables, and reading more nutrition labels to learn about the contents of my food! With my cancer returning, I approach everyday with a cloud over my head, but I remain optimistic in making the right choices in my diet and researching a complete cure. I’m sure my children will live to see a complete cure for cancer, and I believe diet and life styles are apart of the preventable solution.

I know that this topic isn’t one that I need to spend a lot of time explaining to my readers. Almost everyone has had a close and personal encounter with the disease called cancer, whether it has happened to themselves, a member of their immediate family, or a friend and loved one. Sometimes these stories end in tragedy, sometimes in a brief respite, and sometimes in a hard-earned lesson about the value of life and the gratitude to be carried through it every day.

 

When Cancer comes back
Life is a Journey of Health and Wellness

In my case, my dad has experienced two episodes of cancer. It’s always difficult to face this again, already knowing the hardship that it can bring ahead of time and dreading its return. When this terrifying and life-threatening disease rears its ugly head, I think many of us agree that there’s not much we wouldn’t try to insure that it either goes away once and for all or never shows up in the first place.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful seminar put on by David “Avocado” Wolfe. If you don’t know who he is, you can read more about him at his website here. He is a leader in the holistic health world, a best-selling author, spokesperson for Nutribullet, entrepreneur, and lots more. He is a big advocate of doing things like growing your own food, being outside, and making everyday as good as it can be—all things that I can completely get behind!

At this event, he also happened to be talking about different herbs and antioxidants that might help battle cancer. You can read his blog post here about all of the different foods that he says will strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation, which, according to the Cancer Institute, can lead to cancer and other diseases. These foods are: goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate (yum!), pecans, artichokes (a personal fave), elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, and cilantro.

Here’s a little meal plan that I cooked up for you that combines all 10—that’s right!—of these super-delicious, super-cancer-fighting foods.

Entree: Red beans and rice. If you use brown rice for an alternative that’s higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index, you’ll want to just soak the rice for an hour before cooking. Try this delicious recipe from the Food Network that includes cilantro, as well!

Side: Boiled artichokes are such a simple and satisfactory part of a hearty dinner. If you whip up some aioli to dip them in, made with a heart-healthy olive oil mayo, you can totally elevate your game!

Dessert: berry crumble. Using goji berries, wild blueberries, elderberries, cranberries, and blackberries, you can make this delicious gluten-free crumble (with the pecans!) from the Minimalist Baker.

I hope that, if your family or loved ones are dealing with this particularly difficult part of life, that you can at least hit pause and take some time to sit down and enjoy one another’s presence over a delicious meal, especially one that includes some antioxidant-rich foods.

when cancer comes back
my dads journey to health and wellness

What is one of your favorite recipes with antioxidant-rich ingredients?

 

What is one of your favorite recipes with antioxidant-rich ingredients?

*(HOPE) This blog is guided by HOPE. Everyone needs hope! This is also in dedication to my Aunt Cathy who is and will always be my Hope!

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