Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Post-cancer Diet, Part 1

In the aftermath of my cancer experience, I have been a little confused about some dietary things.  I am familiar with the universal fear that probably much of our food contains chemicals that can be cancer-causing agents.  My mom has asked me for years to quit drinking my Pepsi because she knows it is not good for me.  I have cut back, but I have not quit, much to her chagrin. :)  I fully expected my oncologist to discuss a change of diet with me, but he did not.  A friend gave me a book that goes in the opposite extreme and suggests going all natural, even limiting the treatment you take that is recommended by doctors.  Now, while I agree that an all natural diet has to be better for my body, I cannot agree with everything this book recommends.

So, how do I find that happy medium?  First, I listened to my doctor and completed that treatment that is known to work very effectively.  At my age, with 4 small children, I am not skimping on anything that will help me live longer!  Now that my treatments are complete, I am investigating the changes I feel are realistic in my and my family's diet.

The first easy change that I am making, and my family has not even noticed, is to get rid of the "high fructose corn syrup" in any way that I can.  I love the commercial with the young couple having a romantic picnic in the park and she offers him a popcicle.  He says, "Honey, No!  That contains high fructose corn syrup!"  Then she talks about how corn is a natural substance and that just like sugar, the corn syryp is fine in moderation.  The problem with this logic is that the high fructose corn syrup is an artificial substance that our liver cannot break down and our body does not know what to do with.  And....who gets it in moderation?  You don't realize it, but it is in almost everything we eat or drink!  It really is not that difficult to find alternative products.  Here are a few easy changes you can make to get you started...

  1. BREAD: Sara Lee to Natures Own
  2. KETCHUP: Heinz to Hunts
  3. JELLY: Smuckers to Welch's
  4. PEANUT BUTTER: Jiffy to Peter Pan
  5. POP: Pepsi to Pepsi Throwback :)
We have not been able to get rid of this chemical in our food totally yet, but every way that we can decrease what we are taking in has to be better!  When I started going through our cabinets and looking at the ingredients, I was shocked at how many products contain this chemical!  This in my challenge to everyone...go through your cabinets, find out which products contain this type of corn syrup and then on your next trip to the super market look for alternatives!  You don't have to look hard or read all the fine print.  Most companies that are no longer using high fructose corn syrup are putting it right on the front of the item!  Happy hunting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Three Years and Counting!

Yesterday I celebrated my 3 years "CANCER FREE" mark!  It does not seem quite like 3 years since I just finished the last part of my reconstructive surgeries 6 months ago, but it has been 3 years since my initial surgery to remove the cancer!  My breast surgeon says that for my rarer kind of cancer, the highest rate of return in within the first 2 years, so I am celebrating that I have passed that milestone.

I still have to be careful I know.  It is up to me to be aware of what is going on with my body and alert my doctor of any suspicious change or pain in my body.  I am finding out that this is just something cancer survivors have to live with for the rest of their lives.  So, I try to remain aware, yet not live in a paranoid or fearful way.  The 5 year mark is when the survival rate for my type of cancer reaches 90%, so I am celebrating my 3 years and still counting up to 5!