Not by Kale Alone.

Salmon Berries in a glance of sun last spring.
Salmon Berries in a glance of spring sun last year.

As we collaborate to design our life together as a family, we are trying to integrate as many facets that contribute to a thriving life as we can. We are defining a thriving life as balanced, productive, happy, of service, and long. Though we have always eaten lots of kale, we are trying to crank up the nutrition towards maximum thriving around here by being mindful about eating real food at regular intervals.

Keeping a plan in action has been my MO for as long as I can remember. Even before watching The Truth About Cancer documentary series last week, I have been realizing that we have gotten a bit lazy about the ‘thrive’ food plan around here.

No one is healthy by Kale alone

It is a bit ironic that the recommended “cancer fighting diet” is not really that much different from what I have been eating for my entire adult life.  Which might lead you to wonder, “Does eating GMO-free organic food really make any difference?” Well, yes it does, though to put it into perspective:

“Iris, they are pumping poison directly into your blood stream right now, I don’t think having non-organic blueberries once is going to make much of a difference.”     my sister Kathleen, 2014

Which is probably my favorite quote from going through treatments. At that time Kathleen would come over to make me breakfast while I was at the apex of post chemo weakness, on the mornings Joe had to work. At that time, my breakfast started with a smoothie to minimize nausea.  We had run out of blueberries, the store was out of organic blueberries, and consequently Joe had purchased some agribusiness berries the day before.  When I expressed concern, and suggested she make the smoothie sans blueberries, she gave me a reality check – which made us laugh.  Oh Yeah right, I’d been eating nothing but organic foods for years and still ended up with a serious case of cancering.

Cancering starts in the body due to a complex synergy of dis-ease factors. Toxins + emotional, energetic and physical imbalance swirl together to produce broken stem cells, which breed legions of cancering daughter cells.  The only way to regain health is to address all these things. Eating real food is the foundation.

I’m not going to launch into the many facets of how our industrial processed food directly contributes to the decline in national health. Or how chemical farming kills and depletes the soil. How Glyphosate, C 3 HNOP, AKA RoundUp, is implicated in a huge assortment of diseases, including cancer. If you don’t know already I’m not sure anything I can say will inspire you to change your diet. Plus, the way I see it, avoiding anything is likely reactionary – what I’m more interested in is what happens when we lean towards what we want. Rather than seeking to avoid sickness by avoiding certain things – lean towards what supports our health and happiness.

Some of my many Cookbooks
Some of my many cookbooks

Two books have informed some of the changes in our household eating habits, Anti Cancer and Radical Remission.* As regular readers of Pookaride know, I am not drawn to referring to myself as a cancer survivor, nor embarking on an anti-anything lifestyle. I want to define myself with as few qualifiers as possible.  So rather than embrace an anti-cancer lifestyle we are embracing life.  That being said, the book Anti Cancer talks about using different foods to defuse cancer activity, and Radical Remission talks about making deliberate radical changes to the diet as a force for healing.

Anti Cancer especially leads to learning about the huge role of maintaining a balanced blood sugar level to our health, and learning about which foods are especially good at giving our body what it needs for optimal immune system health. Another book, One Spirit Medicine, brings up the importance of daily periods of fasting to give the body time to do repairs.  There is a tremendous amount of research on all of these facets, and certainly being informed has totally validated some of my choices.  All of these things deserve attention, however for now I want to focus on reframing the why, so that eating well is not a chore, but a pleasure.

Though this may seem like silly semantics, it makes a difference for me. When I think I’m making a smoothie with blueberries because “They have antioxidants, which might keep cancer cells from resurging.” It feels much different than “I’m making a smoothie with blueberries because they are so yummy I’m going to live to be 100 just so I can keep eating blueberry smoothies.” Which road do you want to walk?

Eggs from our chickens on the LEFT. Store-bought-organic-free-range eggs on the RIGHT. You decide which you would rather eat.
Eggs from our chickens on the LEFT.
Store-bought-organic-free-range eggs on the RIGHT.
I know which ones I would rather eat.

If fear fuels my eating choices, than it is also fueling any energetic and emotional imbalances I may have. Which is so unnecessary, because real food tastes fantastic, and is a delight to prepare.  We have had more than one worker at the Scorcher who arrived with fast food habits, having never really eaten real food – and who left a year or two later with completely transformed healthy eating habits.

Don’t get me wrong, changing how you eat is generally pretty challenging.  When we figured out Sam’s allergies when he was little, we needed to completely transform our meal plans to eliminate the things he is allergic to. Ingredients which just so happened to have been central to our meals. I get how tough it can be. At first I thought about it daily, now we don’t even miss those foods.  The toughest part is the initial effort to change.

Those Scorcher workers had the support of having someone make them heathy meals daily. Simply put, when you work in food service, you eat the food where you work. If you don’t have the advantage of working at an organic vegetarian restaurant, you may need to figure out other ways to support changes you want to make in your diet. (That is assuming you are interested in incorporating more real foods.)  Make small steps at first – or if you have time, empty your cupboards and take a more radical approach. Whichever you choose, figure out what you can do to feel joyful about your choices. Because how you feel matters.

A summer salad prepared for me by Martin.
A summer salad with edible flowers prepared for me by Martin.  COLOR!

If I were going to sum up our first step in our strategy to maximize the healing powers of what we eat in one word, it would be COLOR.  Prioritizing eating lots of colorful plant based foods about sums up both an Anti-Cancer Diet and a pleasurable Thrive Diet. Watching that huge documentary last week is inspiring me to take it all to the next level, I’m working on a plan for greater thriving right now.

Take away message

Food is of great importance to your health. Eating nutrient dense foods: colorful, organic, quality proteins, reasonable amounts of carbohydrates, GMO-free, healthy fats, and include micronutrients – AKA Real food – is the best way for your body to have what it needs to maintain itself.  Getting too tweaked out about purity can make you crazy, and be a sign that you are making choices based on fear. Fear is not compatible with thriving.  What motivates you matters. I am tempted to say that how you feel about what you are eating is nearly as important as what you eat.

So around here we will continue to eat Kale daily as we have for years. I’m probably going to start making smoothies again after a hiatus. This time because they are yummy, not because I want to avoid throwing up.   I’m considering what to put on our shopping list to up our game, and starting little seeds for our summer garden of delights. I look forward to eating fresh salmon berries on walks in the weeks ahead.

My advice to you, is let food be thy medicine, but also your joy.


*Check out my Brand New and Evolving Library Section! It is just getting started. I am creating a pictorial bibliography with notes on all the books I have read that seem relevant to the Cancering Magical Realism perspective.

BTW If you are cancering Food for Breast Cancer is a well researched site with tons of notation for cancer studies around foods.  See Food for Breast Cancer here. 

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