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!


Julie & Patrick said...

We've been on the no high fructose corn syrup kick for a long time. It is amazing how many products contain it. Good for you for taking on this challenge! And congrats on the 3 year cancer free mark!


Peter and Nancy said...

I've noticed that labeling trend too -- and I appreciate it! I'm sure it's still hiding in other things that I don't know it's in, but there are a few things we consistently buy HFCS free. (I just invented that term!) :o) The thing I watch out for is hydrogenated fats -- I have genetically-inherited high cholesterol, and that is poison for me (and everyone else!).