My life took an abrupt turn last December when I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I had two surgeries, followed by six weeks of radiation treatment. The next step in the customary protocol was to begin taking a five year long course of estrogen inhibiting drugs. After learning of the side effects and risks associated with these drugs, and a deep-seated reluctance to take prescription drugs, I decided to take a different course entirely. I chose to change to a whole food, plant-based diet to control, to the best of my ability, my cancer recurrence risk.
But after having made the decision to go this direction, I felt confused and lacked the appropriate information. What do I cook and how do I cook it? I was aware of which foods to eliminate, but which foods can I eat? How do I live without cheese and will I ever be able to bake again, now that I don’t eat eggs? Will I ever enjoy eating again? What does an appealing and tasty meal look like? I literally stood in my kitchen one day with my husband, both of us totally confused and not knowing what in the world to make for dinner! Shortly after that I attended a Food For Life Nutritional Cooking Class, sponsored by the Cancer Project. I learned so much from that class! It was a life-changer! I was still in radiation treatment at the time, feeling quite fatigued, but knowing it was time to make dietary changes. The class had quite an impact on both my husband and me. We came away from the class equipped with the pertinent information we needed to begin our new life of eating only plant based foods. Not only were we feel better informed, but we were genuinely excited to begin to experiment with all these new and wonderful foods!
I know I am not the only plant-based convert who has felt confused (and hungry!) after giving up all those high saturated fat, high cholesterol, hormone inducing foods! It is now my passion to offer assistance and encouragement to other people who have a desire to live healthier lives and reduce their risks of coronary disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Having a family history of breast cancer (my Mom died of it when I was only three) and other family members who have suffered from the disease, I always considered heredity to be the greatest cancer risk factor. Even when receiving my own diagnosis, I was surely not shocked! I had always believed that with my heredity, it was just a matter of time before I would have cancer. But wait! Not at all! I have since learned there are now so many studies linking food and disease outcome! It is astounding that what we put in our mouths is the most significant factor in maintaining good health and reducing disease risk. An even greater factor than genetics.
I fundamentally believe that diet is the best course to take to achieve the healthy quality of life I desire. And the more I learn and research, the more convinced I am that the only way to live this healthy life is to eat only whole plant-based foods. The scientific evidence is there. Now go Plant-Based and live well!