Friday, April 21, 2023

Health and Healing Through Food Part 1

 Good morning friends! I hope you all had a nice week. This was our first week back after spring break and it's funny to me how my kids reacted very differently to going back. Lily Grace couldn't get out the door fast enough to go see her teachers and her friends. She told me multiple times over spring break that she "didn't like breaks, I love school!" Liam on the other hand... also loves school, but is quite the homebody. Liam is the kid that loves school once he's there, but getting him out the door can be an ordeal. 😅 

So now we are back in our routine and we begin the end-of-year stretch. Summer will be here before we know it!


One of the first appointments I had post-diagnosis was a meeting with a nutritionist through the hospital. Why a nutritionist? There is a ton of research out there stating that a healthy diet (and light exercise) can reduce the side effects from treatment, and of course, leave you healthier and stronger throughout receiving treatment. We were already healthy eaters beforehand, but I was very curious to hear what the nutritionist had to say about how diet can impact a cancer diagnosis. It turns out, a Mediterranean Diet is the recommendation of choice. A Mediterranean diet is a "majority plant-based diet with a focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, high fish intake and minimal animal fats" (according to the info packet from the hospital).

As most of you know, Devin and I made a switch to a Plant-Based Diet back in July 2021. Initially we decided to try this to see if we noticed a change in our energy levels and overall health. We were both shocked by the difference we felt just by changing what we were fueling our bodies with. Our energy levels were through the roof, our skin looked better, we were sleeping better, we even lost a few pounds (that wasn't our goal, but we weren't complaining). We went 100% plant-based for the first month, and then we have been 80% plant-based/20% regular food ever since.

A typical grocery haul back in 2021. I should do these more often! I love a good grocery haul pic. 

Well, another added side effect of eating more fruits and veggies in your diet is the health benefit of healing from diseases. I already knew this from reading many other people's testimonies over the years about why they tried cleaning up their diets, but after meeting with the nutritionist I learned even more. 

The Mediterranean diet is basically what we were already doing, but adding a lot of fish and some low fat dairy. The nutritionist highly recommended getting 3 servings of fish per week. Fish are an excellent protein source that are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are very helpful for cancer patientsI could easily get on board with this, I love seafood and otherwise, it wasn't much of a change! 

Why should a chemotherapy patient eat this? Chemotherapy puts a high demand on your body and will break down cells and tissues. Protein is the building block for new cells and healthy tissues to develop. Protein is critical to a chemo patient's healing and recovery. Eating enough protein will also help reduce fatigue and support a healthy immune system. During treatment, you need twice as much protein as you do normally. So while a plant-based diet isn't considered "bad" by any means, the nutritionist said it would be easier to get more protein in by also eating fish, eggs, and chicken. 

Is this just for cancer patients? No! In fact many people with other chronic illnesses have been able to reverse their illnesses just by changing what they eat. If you go to they have countless testimonies of people reversing illness by switching to eating more whole, healthy foods. Here are some examples:


Diabetes and Cholesterol

Heart Disease

Those are just a few, there are many more things you could type in and research there. 

This TED Talk by the way is a fascinating look at eating to "starve" cancer:

These are some of the foods he recommends:
Isn't it fascinating that just by eating certain foods you can "starve" the cancer cells?

The chart above ties in very well with what the nutritionist told me. She emphasized the importance of "eating the rainbow" throughout the week. Different colored foods have different nutrients, and by eating a variety of colors you are helping your overall health. Here's the chart from the nutritionist:

Another thing all of my doctors/nurses/nutritionists have been adamant about is the importance of light exercise. They have been quick to point out the importance of not overdoing it (no training for any races right now-- as if I could anyway, hah!). They have stressed even just a 15-minute walk, regardless of the pace, is very important right now. Yoga is highly recommended as well, which I try to do daily if possible. I have also been approved to start running again, and I went for my first run this week! I'll be honest, it was much more of a walk than a run, but I'm taking baby steps and I'm perfectly okay with that. 

I made today's post a "part 1" because there was a lot of information the nutritionist gave me that I'd love to share.. but it can be overwhelming in one post. I will happily report back in a few weeks with more details like what specific foods are recommended and how much of each. In the meantime I hope you have a happy (and healthy 😊) weekend. See you back here Monday!

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. 


  1. I am so glad you are posting about this! I definitely believe that this is true! I need to add more fish. I really love it, but I just resort to chicken and beef most of the time.

  2. Thanks for sharing about this - it is definitely interesting!

  3. Well, this is a good reminder that I could really improve my nutrition. We have gotten a lot worse about fruits and veggies with the kids out of the house. Thanks for the information and hope your weekend is good!

  4. I find this all so interesting and how close you were to eating this way already. So happy to hear that you have been cleared to run again.

  5. Great post! I love fish but we only ever really eat salmon every couple of weeks. I think I'm spoiled because I grew up near the ocean so I think now that I'm landlocked that the fish choices aren't good enough. I think I need to be less snobby and just pick up whatever fish I can find, even if it's frozen (horrors!!, haha). I find protein so hard, do you have a protein powder that you use and like?

  6. Thanks for sharing this. The foods in the Mediterranean diet are all foods I love! Unfortunately I've found that tomato products, garlic and onion contribute to reflux for me 😬 Trying to work around that! Look forward to your 2nd part. Have a great weekend!

  7. It's good to get back into a routine and it seems such a short time before the summer break.
    It sound likes going onto a plant based diet has really helped you. It was really interesting reading about all the food and what to eat.

  8. Thanks for sharing this! It is a good reminder to broaden our fruits and veggie horizons. Way to go on a 1st run! That is absolutely incredible considering how much your body has been and is going through. Sarah @ Sunshine & Books

  9. This is all so interesting! Thanks for sharing. I love the picture of you in your look like you could be on the Food Network :) It's so great to hear you are out walking/running...I hope you all have had a great weekend.