Oh what a week! Who amongst you looks forward to a gathering of loving family ties, a table laden with otherworldly delights, a day (or two!) off from work, the pleasures of creating culinary genius in your kitchens? Right. Same here. I'm jagged midway between my hourly conviction to welcome such goodness along with my DNA hounding me otherwise, from memories of rabid dysfunction to outright paranoia about what I will and will not be tempted to throw down my gullet. Peace and joy are not too far away, however!
May I pause right now and wish you reading this a truly blessed occasion of giving THANKS to God as you understand God. Gratitude IS big medicine!
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22. (NIV)
I was shown that Old Testament line over a year ago in the home of the people whose healthfully laden table you see in my photo. Yes, I regularly boast about Kevin and Jennifer Van Kirk at Hallelujah Acres in prosaic Golden, Missouri, about 45 minutes from Branson.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22.
I suspect that every blog of a fighting cancer warrior includes their path of food and nutrition. How 21st Century hospitals can put multimillion-dollar equipment in their wards, require the most stringent training of all nurses and doctors and yet pile the cafeteria plates with such wretchedness is beyond me! I complained in BOTH of my hospitalizations! My friends brought me organic meals from Whole Foods when they visited! So this post is about Food, Glorious Food - giving thanks to God for God's bounty and sharing a smidgeon of my own "experience, strength and hope" as I continue to rebuild all of me as wisely as I know.
If you have any form of cancer - and I avoid generic references to it as each one is VERY different! - and are searching the Web for wisdom, I pray that the core of your search involves a Divine Source of guidance that informs all of your actions as well as building a team of people you can trust to the depths of your being. I'm not doing this on my own, believe me.
Awright awright - so what do I eat?
After 4-1/2 months as a "high-raw" vegan, two of my now-four holistic healing practitioners made some noises about including meat in my diet. I was appalled. The great and not-so-great thing about running with the raw vegan crowd is that they err on the side of "our way or the highway." Do I think it's a worthy way of nourishing oneself? Absolutely, if you're of a physical and even psychological constitution to benefit from it. I have doubts as to its efficacy as a long-term path. There are raw vegans out there who write books, give lectures and look FANTASTIC. Lord, bless them! And if anyone is on anything that resembles the Standard American Diet (aka the SAD), after some detoxing symptoms, they are going to feel GREAT going raw and vegan. For awhile at least! For myself, having been raised on animal protein from the local Jewish butcher shop, I responded positively to slowly adding it back in.
Being a high raw vegan did not help my blood counts. As it's my bone marrow I'm on a path of healing, that is pretty darn important.
Meaty Caveat: I will not touch feed lot meats of any kind nor fish that is taken from oceans or lakes in a non-sustainable manner. Please see the movie End of the Line regarding the latter comment, and do any amount of online research on "organic meat" to show you how poisonous is eating the flesh of any poor animal tortured in a feed lot environment. It's bad juju and it's bad for the human body, period. I gratefully enjoy organic ONLY red meat and poultry and thank them for helping me to grow in health.
ORGANIC is my rallying cry and commitment to health. Rarely do I touch anything grown commercially with pesticides. I admit that it's in my better interest to eat a non-organic apple (well washed!) than a wholesome organic brownie, even though a part of me will probably always try and steer me towards the latter. Sigh! Fruits and veggies - yeah! - both raw and cooked. The salad bar at Whole Foods and I are very good friends.
NO SUGAR, period. Yes to moderate use of honey, occasionally to agave (current controversies aside), never to Stevia 'cause I don't like the taste.
Almost NO dairy. I simply can't justify it, and as well being a Church singer, I don't want to clog my pipes. Do I yearn for rich creams and cheeses? Duh! I believe that I can get my healthier proteins and fats elsewhere. If it's refined, I look the other way. I lean into wholegrain or sprouted bread and grains, although I endeavor not to overdo.
Plenty of pure filtered water and herbal teas! Hydrate hydrate HYDRATE but not during meal times as it dilutes healthy digestion. I admit to a current run on aged pu-erh teas, which while caffeinated seem to have some health benefits. I haven't had a regular coffee or espresso in over a year, although I do treat myself to Swiss Water Process decaf.
Will I sample yummy naughties on Thanksgiving or other celebratory occasions? Yes.
The most important thing I can say about food is giving thanks. Blessing one's food, every morsel, transports their molecules and healing properties to a goodness I call God's Grace. I try to listen to the unction of the Holy Spirit in how I nourish myself. What good is fanaticism or glowering rigidity? Likewise I pray for Godly discipline, since inside of me is a little cookie monster who will justify and gussy up any chance for a treat. The checkout line at Whole Foods is a particular weak spot for me, with their overpriced organic chocolates whispering, "I'm so small… you've worked so hard for me today!" Nearly 24 years of continuous sobriety ain't got nuthin' on my recovering sugar jones!
If you have any form of cancer, it is crucial how you nourish yourself. Find spiritual and nutritional wisdom that resonates with you. And use common sense. I do not believe that diet alone can cure this monster, however Twinkies and Big Macs are not the way to restore a broken body.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine…" Proverbs 17:22a.