Why everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would
Man I tried to stop man I tried the best I could
But (You make me smile)
“Addiction”- Kanye West
I must admit, just thinking of sugar makes me smile. Cake is my ultimate frenemy. We have an intensely complicated relationship, and just when I believe I’m ready to let go, the memories of our good times together flood my brain. Remember that time back in ’88 Shells, when you had a rough day at school, but you came home, and I was waiting for you with open arms in the form of an Oatmeal Crème pie? Yes, Little Debbie, I recall. I blame it on my upbringing. Every important event, accomplishment, celebration, and even sad moments like funerals, sugar was always there, silently waiting in the wings to comfort me and make me feel happy again. Whether it was my Aunt Anne’s homemade Lemon Cake (which she still has not shared the secret recipe), or the chocolate ho-ho sitting at the bottom of my lunchbox, sweets treats have been there every step of the way.
You may be asking yourself why I am even discussing my struggles with sugar on my blog about cancer. But touché my friends, the phrase “You are what you eat” have never become clearer to me until after diagnosis. I’m an avid reader, so immediately upon being diagnosed with cancer, I was adamant about educating myself on the disease as well as prevention. As I dove headfirst into all of the material, one ideology was ever-present: Sugar is the DEVIL. Being the sugar addict that I am, I took this very personal. In my mind, I began to defend sugar like any BFF would do. But after each book I read, I came to the harsh realization that I have been sleeping with the enemy for 28 years. When I got to page 67 in the book “Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber (2 time brain cancer survivor), the first words on the page said “Cancer feeds on Sugar”. I had to let that marinate for a second. Did you know that the PET scan machine, used to detect cancer, simply measures the areas in the body that consume the most glucose? Yeh, I didn’t either. Cancer LOVES glucose, and the more glucose in your system, the more you are feeding the cancer, and assisting it in its growth. Scary thought huh? Yes, imagine how I felt. I could not help but wonder if all those gummy bears and cupcakes I ate assisted the tumors in my breasts to grow. It also reads “They promote the factors of inflammation, which, as we saw in chapter 4, also stimulate cell growth and act, in turn, as fertilizer for tumors”. Inflammation is one of the causing factors to all disease in the body, so if you are eating foods that promote inflammation, you are preparing your body to become sick. It’s as simple as that.
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 40% of breast cancers are preventable through diet and lifestyle measures. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I want to raise awareness that diets are a major cause of adult cancers, including breast cancer. I also want to raise awareness that women are not powerless against breast cancer or any type of disease for that matter – mammograms for ‘early detection’ are not the only defense. You have the power, and the power is in what you EAT! It is possible to take responsibility over your health so you never have to walk down the road I did.
In Proverbs, the Bible says we live and die by the choices we make, and to choose life. But I realized that people don’t have this mentality when it comes to food. You look both ways before crossing the street to prevent getting hit by a car, but then you eat fried and high fat food every day, and never think of preventing diabetes or heart disease. Last week I watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”. During the course of his travels across America while on a 60 day juice fast, Joe interviewed many people about food and their ideas on fasting. Most of them thought he was absolutely insane, while others felt like food is just food, and I’m going to die anyways, it might as well be at the hands of a pork chop. SMH. One brotha even proclaimed, “Well when I die, I sure hope God has ribs in Heaven”. Le sigh. Having a disease twice made me think twice about what I eat, but I know this is not the case for many people. I’m willing to go to extremes to stay healthy and live as long as I can.
In one of my favorite books Crazy Sexy Cancer, Kris Carr tells her story of being diagnosed with an incurable, inoperable and medically untreatable liver cancer. She was diagnosed at stage IV, and the doctors told her to just “watch and wait”. *insert straight befuddled face* Kris took matters into her own hands and adopted a diet and lifestyle that promoted health and wholeness, transforming herself into a Wellness Warrior. 11 years later, though she still has cancer (which is now stagnant), she’s thriving and living a healthy lifestyle, and spreading the message far and wide. Your body was designed to fight off any disease, but many of our immune systems lay dormant and defenseless because they aren’t being properly charged up.
In an effort to step outside of my comfort zone, and challenge myself, I have decided to embark on a 10 day juice fast, inspired by the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. I’ve done many fasts before, but never one with just fresh juice. I’m especially interested in starting the fall season out with this juice fast because traditionally, this is the season that I gained at LEAST 7-8 pounds. This is normally the time of year when I let my sweet tooth make all the decisions for me, and as a result end up gaining weight that I usually regret by Dec 31st. This year will be different. I am putting my health first now, and not waiting for the New Year to make drastic changes. CanSer (as Kris refers to it) partially forced me into a healthier lifestyle, and I definitely look at as an upgrade. Kris says “My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out..I learned that a nutrient dense, plant-based diet rules, the Standard American Diet kills, stress sucks (all life-force), exercise is non-negotiable, joy is utterly contagious, and having fun must be taken seriously.” I couldn’t agree more!!
So who wants to take your health life by the horns and join me on the juice fast?? Cheers to the good life! I’ll drink some Mean Green Juice to THAT!