This first article in the Summer Cancer Prevention Series begins this journey with the topic of food and drink. Let me start by saying that I welcome you to this series of blog posts. If this is your first visit, please stop by the introduction this series first. I hope that you find some useful information, inspiration or both! To bring about change or improvement it is necessary to begin with yourself and work your way out. This can apply to anything in life like your job, relationships, community and so on. So in the spirit of beginning with ourselves, let’s look at our food and drink. We are what we eat after all.
If you eat junk, over eat, indulge too often in treats, yo yo diet, get food poisoning, drink too much alcohol, starve yourself or throw your food up, rely on appetite suppressants or other “drugs,” take in too much caffeine or basically abuse food and your body, you feel yucky either immediately, soon there after or accumulate sickness over time. The more abuse you take on and cyclical it becomes the harder it becomes to eat like a normal human being. Functions are compromised and every offense builds a mountain of work to be undone while chipping away at your foundation of health that was bestowed you upon birth. I believe we are all guilty of this in some way.
How is it that we have become so callous to the precious nature of our existence? I know that I felt for a very long time that the power was out of my hands. I made all kinds of excuses and tried lots of different things to find the “right” way to eat. Meanwhile, I was not seeing the big picture. I was lost in it. As I make educated and nourishing choices for myself, the fog lifts and the picture is becoming clearer and clearer. The voices of people out there fighting the good fight hit home and I find myself evolving. Sometimes I stumble but I get right back up and continue being present. Here are some things I have found.
Cultural pressures and economic limitations can really hinder someone’s honest attempt to restore their body. So many of us know that we don’t feel quite right. If we only could lose those extra 5 pounds right? Or we are overstressed and tired so we drink WAY too much coffee. Perhaps we take energy pills to keep our workouts going because we just don’t have the drive. Whatever it might be, we KNOW somewhere inside that we are not making a good choice. Heck, we might even say it out loud to make light of it. The thing is: the more we drown that voice of intuition out, the more sick we get. The earth gets more sick. The more exceptions to our health we make, the sicker we get. So if you are interested in preventing cancer in your body it is time you consider prevention the same as healing. For yourself, the earth and its inhabitants healing your body and preventing cancer is utmost important. This will make better sense as I move along through this post and this series. It is not easy to buck trends and seek a path less traveled but as I find myself getting healthier, clearer and cleaner, I know that I am on the right path. It is something many of us have experienced before with diet and exercise only to have fallen off the wagon and accept the less than stellar food we consume or passive inaction with our bodies. Our culture celebrates excess and flaunts abundance, especially with food. Its treated like a disposable toy: pull of the plastic, throw it in the trash and entertain ourselves with what’s inside. We are like children. Or, some of us are conservative but still struggle due to the economical restraints of purchasing organic produce and cannot imagine all the trips to the grocery store this requires. With all of this struggle going on, we do not even notice the processed, chemically enhanced, sugar laden, force fed and “beautifully” packaged junk that agribusiness is pushing on us. It is scary but it is worth looking into and opening your heart and mind to a new way of living. In this article I will share with you a few things I have learned about food and drink that you may or may not know. Consider making some priorities and changing a few habits. You just might find yourself on a new wave of pleasurable eating that is not only good for you but healing and it gently spreads to those around you, preventing disease in you, your community and the very earth we seem to be attacking like a cancer. REMEMBER: In respect to prevention, you need to understand that you are probably somewhat sick already and need natural and simple HEALING.
Its really important to open yourself to healthier eating and to not be afraid of dialogue with others. I am not suggesting that you heatedly debate or attack others. Not many people like to be preached to except when going to church. Don’t go there. Just be happy with yourself, inform others that you are making some changes so they are aware and let people ask you questions. I have found this to be a great way of having my own goals and space to pursue them while knowing I am having a subtle impact on others.
I highly recommend that you consider growing some of your own food. This was an exciting but very daunting idea for me because I do not know what I am doing. The trial and error necessary to learn the techniques along with the uniqueness of your own situation is a big hurdle to get over. But just like anything else, once you get rolling and confidence builds the end result is a delicious homegrown meal that tastes better than any chip, pizza, burger, hot dog, grilled cheese…whatever. It tastes great. Your own tomatoes taste a world apart from the store bought ones. No, they do not last as long and you have to eat them soon because they haven’t been picked early, preserved, transported, treated with chemicals to ripen and sit on a shelf or in your refrigerator indefinitely! How much produce goes to waste in your fridge because your eating is out of whack? Once you embrace a diet that is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables you will look back on yourself and giggle at the child you were. I know that after exercise became a regular part of my life, I felt horrible when I did not work out and still do. That is how you begin to feel when you change your diet around to a whole and healthy one. It gains traction and then you wonder how you ever lived without it. For the things that you cannot grow you can shop at the farmer’s market and health food store. You will saving so much money by growing your own foods that the cost difference will not mean as much!
I just started this year with herbs and tomatoes in pots because I moved to a new location in the summer. I couldn’t get a jump start this spring. But I am planning and preparing to grow an abundance of food for my family next year. In the meantime, I am shopping at the farmer’s market and health food stores; stretching my dollars into a voice for change. In preparation for my garden I am currently reading, and will review for you as soon as I finish, is Fresh Food From Small Spaces – The Square Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R.J. Ruppenthal.
If you have little money to work with, here a few tips:
Buy organic carrots at the market. They are less expensive than other organics. Also bagged potatoes are a good economic choice. There are so many things you can do with these.
Think of onions and garlic as okay to buy not organic. If they have a little odor, they are most likely turning away the pests and farmers do not focus on treating them as much. Plus they are SO good for you!
Make a meal that is part raw and part cooked, like baked potatoes with raw Swiss chard, thin sliced raw carrots, and small raw broccoli florets. You can use whatever seasonings you prefer but go easy on the salt and sugar. (Most dressings have a lot of sugar. Look for ones with little sugar over less fat.) Check out this dressing recipe that I really like if you would like to try making your own. Save the chard stalks, carrot remnants and broccoli stalks in a large bowl while you prepare. Then whatever you or your family does not eat of the meal (there might be leftovers if you are just introducing this type of eating) you can add to the bowl, put it in the refrigerator and use for tomorrows dinner. You ate a lot of raw with that meal so the next evening you could saute some onion and garlic, throw in the leftovers and add them to a soup with grains(preferably non gluten) or whatever you like. JUST DO NOT MICROWAVE IT! Lose the microwave, sorry. The key is to start thinking frugally but to experiment too. Two of my favorite books on the subject of food are The Body Ecology Diet and The Raw Food Detox Diet. I read these books and then tailored their philosophies to my lifestyle. I am not ready to go whole hog on either one but am gently easing into their techniques and seeing what works for me. This might change as I transition further into a healthy and clean way of eating. Think of it like this: if you improve your body ecology you can do even greater things to improve the ecology of your environment because you will be functioning at your best!
Some common threads that I have found in my readings have been:
1. Sodium is dangerous and should be handled with care. Most experts say sea salt is alright in moderation but if you are ill, its probably best to cut it out.
2. Depending on your current level of health, sugars need to be handled with care.
3. Detoxing and cleansing your system regularly is a MUST.
4. Vegetables are the foods of God. You really can’t go wrong, with a few exceptions if you have a certain maladies.
5. Its all about cleaning your intestines and colon and keeping them clean. It is also very important to focus on liver function.
6. Food combining is really important. If foods are properly combined they go through your system quickly and if not, they back log and get toxic. This is why detoxing and cleansing is so important. Chances are you are a bit back logged:) I have found that when I follow these rules, I get results on how I feel and look quickly! Here is an easy chart to follow.
7. Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as much as you can. Especially look out for high fructose corn syrup. Its in just about everything these days:(
8. Chew your food well. If you chew your veggies really good you release more enzymes and make the particles easier to digest. Chew slowly: slow down and make your meals important. Imagine a stew of rainbow veggie colors sailing through your system, cleaning it up and healing it. Now imagine gooey cheese and thick bread/pasta, or tough cooked meat…not a pretty picture. I am not saying to eliminate these things but at least eat them in moderation and if you are just getting started in treating yourself well, try 2 all veggie dinners a week. You can do that. As they begin to work, you will feel great and want more.
Just make a real effort to eat more vegetables, raw and steamed and souped. I know it is difficult to imagine not eating the way you currently do but chances are, like most Americans, you are probably not eating a well balanced diet. You may be asking yourself, “Why not just take vitamins?” They are bulky and do not absorb as well as the real deal. Real whole foods, greens in particular, come with enzymes and chlorophyll, which are meant to be in our systems on a regular basis! The earth inherently wants to provide these things for us, so choose them and choose the earth.
Stay tuned to this series as I elaborate on these notes and delve into several other issues related to cancer and disease prevention. I am sure you will find the Gerson Methods of preventing and treating cancer, with the basis of juices and food fascinating, as I will share my interview with Charlotte Gerson with you in the week to follow.
I realize that I have been quite brief in my explanations but stay tuned. I will elaborate on the statements I am making and it will all come together with much more cancer and disease prevention tips and information! Remember, I am still learning and going through this with all of you. We are all in this together, but please, today, begin with you.
Check out my next article on Wednesday the 5th, about Food and Spirituality.
Love and light,
Questions or comments?