One year ago today I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. It is a day and moment that is scorched in my memory, especially as I go in today for my 18th cycle of treatment. What a roller coaster it has, and continues, to be.
They told me what to expect. I listened. They told me it would be tough. It is. They told me it would change me. It has. They told me I wouldn't be here now. I am.
I've learned to make the most of the good days. I've learned how precious life is. I've learned who is important to me. I've learned what is important to me. I've learned to let go of control. I've learned who I am. I've learned why I am here. For that I am grateful.
Remember it isn't life's situations that define you, its your reactions.
If you are reading this, you are a part of my life. For that, I say thank you. You provide me strength, you provide me support, you make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me realize how lucky I truly am.
As you know, things have been going in the right direction for me since being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer last fall. Although I am getting my port put back in this week for some clean up treatment, and things continuously go up and down, this experience has led me to following a passion of mine, and starting an apparel line with a greater cause - it is dedicated towards making lives of patients better, while engaging the support of people like you. I'm calling it CureWear. Simply put, CureWear provides patients comfortable clothing during treatment and provides you top notch athletic gear that stands for a cause.
I took some time to put this list together, some highlights of what I’ve learned. It’s somewhat of a nutritional best practices that has allowed me to heal, stay healthy, and live the right way.
Make changes that you know you can make.
What I mean is know yourself, and don’t make too quick of a change to handle, otherwise you won’t enjoy it and it won’t stick. Maybe that means small steps at first, or maybe you know there are certain things you aren’t ready to give up or change. Know yourself, but I assure you there are many ways to implement and incorporate a healthier lifestyle.
Plant Based Diet
Everything in bold below are the highlights, but instead of using list form I wanted to write it out so its explained a bit more.
There is a lot of modern evidence showing how animal based products lead to disease and illness in a wide variety of ways. On the other hand, there is no evidence of a plant based diet leading to any illness or disease, and in fact there is evidence of the exact opposite - it can heal from and not allow disease and illness to form and/or grow.
I would suggest starting slow, and perhaps replace two days a week as vegetarian or vegan meals.
Focus on a plant-based diet high in green (especially cruciferous) vegetables, and a ton of color when you can - color can come in the form of fruit or veggies. and all items should be fresh. If something doesn’t perish, that is very unnatural. Avoiding grains that are high carb grains is good, and can be replaced by super healthy ones like faro or buckwheat, using sprouts whenever you can, and using seeds like quinoaas well. Nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews) and seeds (pumpkin, hemp) should be a part of your diet as well. Legumes and beans provide much needed fiber and are a great source of protein.
My Super Foods
Fruits - acai, goji, blueberries, strawberries
Allium family (garlic, shallots, onions)
Vegetables - wheatgrass, blue green algae (chlorella & spirulina), broccoli, kale, spinach, beets, cauliflower, and sprouts
Nuts & Seeds - almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, quinoa, pumpkin, chia
Spices - curcumin (turmeric), ginger, cardamom, cinnamon
Juicing - like every liquid, it goes right into your bloodstream and avoids the need to digest. In order to get the equivalent of only 1 ounce of juice you’d have to eat 2 pounds of that food. That is how powerful juicing is, and it gets all the amazing vitamins and nutrients into you. I can go on an on here, but really juicing should always include vegetables.
Eating Raw - There are enzymes in food that naturally help do the ‘work’ behind digesting. At 118 degrees, they don’t survive, so by cooking something at those high temperatures, we are first putting more strain on our digestive system, and secondly at very high temperatures (grilling) we are altering the DNA of food, therefore making it unnatural. Raw foods are very easy to incorporate into a diet, and I try to take the 80% raw / 20% not raw mentality to my diet.
Vitamins. I take a plant based multivitamin, along with a pill of Chlorella, Spirulina, and Curcumin. I could go on with so much detail why these are great to incorporate, but simply put, these are essential building blocks that give our bodies exactly what we need to be healthy, and provide us with things we won’t get from food otherwise.
Rainbow Light (multi vitamin)
Mountain Rose (Chlorella, Spirulina)
Alkazone (alkaline drops)
Essentia (water, 9.5ph)
Vega (great bars, snacks, powders)
Processed foods, non natural sugars, animal products, GMO’s, pesticides & herbicides (only choose organic)
My Ideal Meal:
Breakfast - fresh fruit combined with some sort of sprouted grain or nuts. Think acai bowl with sprouted grain and fresh fruit. Ezekial ‘raw/sprouted’ cereal with almond milk (any nut milk), fresh fruit, almonds, cardamom and hemp seeds.
Mid Morning Juice - Carrot, Kale, Chard, Lemon, Ginger
Lunch - Any crucierfous vegetable at its core, red bell pepper, sprouts, nuts/seeds, avocado, lemon. Can make a salad with this, or put on sprouted bread.
Dinner - Steamed cruciferous vegetables with a healthy grain (faro, buckwheat) or quinoa. If cooking on stove, only use coconut oil, and start with garlic, shallots, onions as base.
Liquids - Alkaline water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, green tea
Snacks - Vega Bar, nuts, seeds, sprouted bread toast with guacamole
How do you start your day? If you aren't already, I highly recommend drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning to kick start your digestive system. Very simple - take warm water and squeeze a lemon (or a half, up to you) into it.
Benefits of doing this are GREAT, you'll notice a difference right away:
1. Boosts your immune system - Lemons are high in vitamin C, and high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure, and the vitamin C will help you fight colds.
2. Balances pH - Drink lemon water everyday and you’ll reduce your body’s overall acidity. Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods around, and as I've shared many a time now, you want your body to be alkaline!
3. Improves Digestion - Since lemons are high in fiber, it helps flush out unwanted materials. You will notice the difference, I promise!
4. Cleans skin - The vitamin C component helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes, and lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well. You could apply it directly to scars or blemishes to help reduce their appearance.
5. Keeps your breath fresh - Why not start the day off with fresh breath, right?!
6. Relieves respiratory problems - Warm lemon water helps get rid of chest infections and halt those pesky coughs. Allergy season is here, give this a try.
7. Calming way to start your day - I couldn't find any 'medical' research here, but I notice when starting my day with warm lemon juice, it fills me with a sense of calm. Not a bad way to start a day!
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence - it is something I have learned a tremendous amount about, and it has helped me with my current fight.
Although it has been around for a very long time, Western cultures are just scratching the orange surface of its amazing health benefits. It is traditionally used as a spice in curry, and even though I use it in cooking all the time, I also take it in a supplement form.
Here are some evidence-based health benefits of the mighty spice:
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color, and has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to support what the Indians have known for a very long time. The compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and acts as an extremely strong antioxidant.
I usually add black pepper or peppercorns when cooking with turmeric, and my supplement contains curcuminoids and piperine - this enhances the absorption of cur cumin.
Although short-term inflammation is beneficial to us, it can become a major problem when it is chronic. In fact, it is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. It turns out that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, and is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin actually targets the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level. Curcumin blocks something called NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases.
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind many diseases and the aging process. It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins, and DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial, is that they protect our bodies from free radicals - curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure, while also boosting the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. Although there are many contributing factors, curcumin has been shown to reverse many steps in the heart disease process. The spice has been shown to improve the lining of the blood vessels in the heart, and in fact, one study shows that is as effective as exercise.
There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation. Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment, and as I mentioned before, it has been helping me with my fight.
It can postively deter growth, development, and spread at the molecular level. Also, studies have shown that it can reduce growth of new blood vessels in tumors, in addition to contributing to apoptosis, which is the death of cancerous cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet, therefore, prevention is important. There may be good news on the horizon, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and as we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both.
Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
Makes 3 cups
The human body is inextricably dependent on the quality of food and no less its' compatibility with the needs of our bodies. People have awakened to this realization recently, especially in the form of trends and 'diets', but the value of juicing and its 'mysterious' workings on our human bodies cannot be denied, supplying us with the ability to make use of minerals and vitamins we are putting inside of us. I discovered this while going through a health issue of my own, but have learned a ton and incorporate at least two juices a day into my every day life.
Coconuts for Coconut Oil
10 Ways I Use Coconut Oil
Some oils are unsafe to cook with at high temperatures, coconut oil is a great alternative. Cooking with coconut oil is almost fool-proof due to its high smoke point, and it imparts a rich flavor with subtle hints of tropical paradise into every dish. Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It can be substituted for almost any other oil at a 1:1 ratio and is commonly used in baked goods and sautés. Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat - one of nature's best sources of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are quickly absorbed by your body to deliver a natural boost of energy.
You can buy coconut oil in two forms: refined & virgin. Virgin coconut oil retains its natural scent and taste of fresh coconuts, while refined coconut oil has a more bland taste due to the refining process. Both have a shelf life of up to 2 years.
1) Cooking with Heat - simply use instead of any oil you would traditionally use. I love adding fresh garlic & turmeric for additional health benefits and taste.
2) On Toast Instead of Butter - I use sprouted bread for the best nutrition, and when toasting, use coconut oil instead of butter. For a great snack or meal, try adding huac, tomatoes, and baby kale to make a delicious nutrient dense sandwich.
3) Smoothies - add one tablespoon of coconut oil to your favorite smoothie recipe to reap the benefit of the oil’s MCTs.
4) Kale Chips - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut Kale leaves into thirds, and place on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 10 minutes or until chips are lightly brown. Add cayenne pepper to taste and enjoy!
5) In Your Tea - let a teaspoon of coconut oil melt into your tea for some added flavor and benefits
6) On Your Greens - my favorite dressing consists of Bragg sauce, lemon juice, fresh ginger, and some coconut oil. You will be craving more in no time.
7) Moisturizer - coconut oil not only feeds our insides, it does wonders to our skin and hair. Apply generously to skin & hair, as well as lips until satisfied.
8) Add to Bath Water - a great way to add some natural moisture & aromatherapy is to add around 1/4 cup into your warm bath.
9) Shaving Cream - believe it or not, coconut oil is great for shaving, give it a shot next time.
10) Oil Pulling - I try and start my days with a good oil pull. Take a spoonful into your mouth, and swish around for a few minutes. The oil literally pulls toxins out of you, helping detox your body and a great way to start the day.
Broccoli, like any cruciferous vegetable is essential in your diet, and helps maintaining an alkaline system. Broccoli in particular contains glucosinolate and sulforaphane, both great for battling cancer. That same sulforaphane is known to kill bacteria helicobacter pylori, a major cause of stomach cancer. Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body's detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.
Wheatgrass contains more than 90 elements from the soil, and it is one of nature’s richest sources of vitamins A and C. Contains all of the known mineral elements and is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sulfur, sodium, cobalt and zinc. Wheatgrass is also abundant in vitamin B-17, a substance that can destroy cancer cells selectively.
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon soursop
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Dutch Oven Deliciousness
Quarter all ingredients, roast on 400 for 36 minutes
I'll quote the doctor when he shared 'a phenomenal report!'
Most of the tumors in the liver are GONE and the few remaining are significantly smaller. The stomach lining is still enlarged, but the initial tumor causing the pain is not seen as well. The plan going forward is for continued treatment with longer intervals between treatment, and another scheduled scan in March. At that time we will then dig further into the stomach, and address it in it's own way.
Bottom line is AWESOME news. We are winning in a way this oncology team has never seen before. We are quite literally redefining the approach to cancer. A lot to think about but the path we are on is working and I'm not changing that until we win. And we will win.
You are a big part of this incredible story, and we are defying medical odds with how we are doing. This is not over, but with your continued support, positivity, and love, there is nothing we can't accomplish. I love you and am forever grateful for having you into life.