You Are What You Eat

<Soapbox Alert>

I eat. Every day. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I eat less. Sometimes I eat only because I know I have to. I usually enjoy eating. I usually enjoy cooking. I’m a pretty good cook, in fact – or so I’m told.

I’m vegan. That means I don’t eat anything that comes from an animal. I’ve been vegan for a long time – since I was 22. My family is vegan – my husband and my children. My mom is an occasional vegan. My brother-in-law is vegan. I have many vegan and vegetarian friends. The truth is that sometimes there’s some animal product in our food (which sounds really gross when I put it that way.) Occasionally, we get some egg in a baked good. Caseine can be tricky to avoid. They hide ingredients derived from animals by calling them something unrecognizable. We eat honey – we don’t believe in bee oppression. But we only eat one kind of honey unless we can’t avoid it. Heitkam’s Honey makes all other honey seem like high fructose corn syrup. Craig didn’t pay me to say that, it’s just the truth. You can find Craig and his honey at the San Jose Flea Market every weekend.

Cancer can be a very effective diet (as in weight loss) plan. I don’t have the kind of cancer that eats away at my body. I didn’t spend my 6 week non-spa treatment vomiting. I did start eating way less (except when I was on steroids). I stopped drinking alcohol (except for an occasional glass of wine). I have small snacks between my small meals. I do a better job of drinking water throughout the day. I read labels and I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I’ve lost weight – enough to need new clothes. While I wasn’t overweight, it was weight I probably needed to lose, so now I’m where I really should have been before. I’m trying hard not to lose more. Even so, I would not recommend cancer as a way to lose weight. Ever. It’s extreme and unnecessary.

While I’d highly recommend the vegan diet, it takes work and practice and diligence. It’s the one my doctors were happy to hear I already practiced. It’s the one my kids’ pediatrician puts her overweight patients on to get them back on a healthy track. You can read story after story about people who have lost a lot of weight when they went vegan. But it’s not really about the meat or the cheese or the eggs. It’s about eating healthier. It’s about moderation. It’s about being informed. It’s about knowing about the food you put in your body and your family’s bodies each day. There is proof of a link between diet and health – if not cancer. It doesn’t seem like rocket science when you really think about it. What you eat determines whether you have the nutrients your body needs to grow and thrive and function as intended.

There seems to be cancer everywhere around me. Maybe it’s like when you learn about a new car and then all of a sudden you see that car EVERYWHERE…you probably saw it before, you’re just looking for them now. BUT, ask yourself – what effect does genetically modified produce, factory farmed meat (full of hormones and antibiotics), produce full of pesticides or highly processed ‘food’ have on your body.

My diet couldn’t have prevented my kind of cancer, but it could prevent other kinds. So, climbing on to my soapbox, I’d suggest:  Eat more whole foods, less processed. Eat more green, less beige. Eat more fruit, less sugar. Cut out the soda, buy a re-usable water bottle and keep it filled and at your side. Don’t feel like you have to clean your plates when you eat out – some American portions could feed an entire family. Learn about where your food comes from. Understand what Organic and GMO really mean. Learn about food additives like artificial food coloring. Read labels and ask yourself if you want to eat that thing you can’t pronounce. Ask yourself why some chemicals, additives, and GMO are banned in other countries and not in the US.

I’m not saying you should be vegan, it’s not for everyone. But maybe read, learn, and make even small changes. I know it’s not easy to change the way you eat, but it can be done and it just may save your life or the life of someone you love.

Some resources I’d recommend:

100 Days of Real Food

Food, Inc.

The Non-GMO Project

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Dr. Weil

Dr. Sears

(Climbing down off of my soapbox. Happy eating!)