Friday, February 20, 2015

What we eat

FOOD! I love food! Usually. With cancer and Crohn's and chemo, sometimes I really don't like food and it makes me sick just thinking about it. But in general I do absolutely love food.

Currently we focus on eating fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and healthy fats. We avoid sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains.

So that's the general rule of thumb. There are some exceptions and I'll tell you about them! But if you are going to make us food (thank you!) just go with the above statement.

We love vegetables! We like them in soups, salads, raw, steamed, baked, mashed, the list goes on and on. There are so many different types of vegetables out there too! It's fun to experiment or find new ways to cook old favorites. Vegetables are usually the main dish, but this can be hard to stomach sometimes when my body isn't feeling great.

We also are trying to juice more often, and the best juices for your body have tons of vegetables! Again, sometimes I can't deal with drinking juice, but when I can I do!

We have switched to buying organic produce as much as we can. One reason is because while I'm on chemo my immune system is shot, and pesticides can actually get me sick. Another big reason is GMOs—just look into them and maybe you'll change your mind.

Derek loves fruit! And I do too (but not as much as him). But, sugar in any form is cancer's favorite source of energy, so I've cut back to 1 or 2 servings of fruit a day. Again we're on the organic train here, and we also like dried fruits like coconut, mango and dates.

Meat and fish!
We do eat meat and fish! And a fair amount of it. Especially chicken, because that's what my body feels like it needs and can usually tolerate eating. We don't eat too much red meat because of the high iron content, which is another favorite for growing cancer cells. Any meat we do eat we choose to buy organic: grass-fed for the cows, free-range for the chickens and eggs. This makes a huge difference! Not only in flavor, tenderness, and deliciousness, but in quality. There is a major difference between the rotisserie chickens at Costco and the ones at Sprouts (our local health food store).

There are so many reasons why buying organic meat is so important (ethical, health, common sense) so look into it and try to make an effort to buy good meat and fish.

We also are into making bone broth from leftover bones! It is so delicious and full of good nutrients and gelatin. Just google 'bone broth' to learn about the benefits.

Healthy fats!
Fats are not bad! Your body needs them. For real. So cut the margarine and read the first chapter of Nourishing Traditions. It's about fats. We eat and cook with extra-virgin olive oil (but never heated), coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, and lots and lots of grass-fed butter (for me especially). Not all fats and oils and created equal, but these ones are awesome!

Nuts and seeds!
We do also eat some nuts and seeds. We've been making our own almond milk, which is amazingly delicious. We'll snack on nuts every now and then (mostly Derek) but if they aren't soaked it can irritate my gut.

Now, here's what we avoid, and why:

As soon as I was diagnosed with cancer we cut this guy out. And it's gonna stay out. We haven't really missed it, to be surprisingly honest. We still eat naturally-occurring sugar from fruit, and we do occasionally nibble on dark chocolate or raw local honey, but other than that we are pretty sugar-free (and by "sugar-free" we're definitely not eating products that say they're "sugar-free" because there's usually aspartame in them which is way worse for cancer). I get headaches from drinking a bottle of Gatorade (to stay hydrated with them electrolytes, which is super important while on chemo) and tummy aches too. So sugar in nearly all forms is out of our diet.

Milk and I are not friends. You can read more about this on Derek's blog. Other than our homemade raw milk yogurt and the occasional high-quality cheese, we currently have no dairy in our life.

Pretty straightforward here. We don't eat beans. I don't feel good when I eat them, so we don't eat them. I'd like to experiment with soaking and sprouting in the long run, but right now we are just doing without.

Total avoidance of gluten due to gut irritability. So no white or wheat flour for us. We actually do eat some grains. It's so important that I don't lose weight, and sometimes that means nothing sounds good except rice and butter. We occasionally eat rice, quinoa, rice noodles, and corn tortillas. But many meals are totally devoid of even those grains. It's not hard to have a delicious vegetable-heavy meal.

Please note:
None of these foods are inherently "bad" or "good." Moderation and balance are key, and right now we are listening very intently to my body. This diet works for us because we've done a lot of research about foods that are the least inflammatory for my Crohn's, while maximizing calories and nutrients to help keep me strong enough to fight cancer.


  1. Do you eat eggs or soybeans (and soybean derivatives?) And does this soy sauce alternative* sound good? (To give you a brief overview, there are no preservatives, it is certified non-GMO, and it is basically just made from soybeans. No salt or other things added).


    1. Liquid aminos are sitting in our pantry right now! Yes we eat eggs often, and yes we eat soy but less often. The occasional tofu in soups or curry is about it.

      And I don't like peas, so no, we don't eat them. Unless they are snap peas still in the pod. Then I do eat them. :D

  2. Likewise, do you eat peas? (I ask because both peas and soybeans can be considered legumes.)