You know when you are just going along, living your life, doing your best and you think all is pretty good. Great husband, awesome kids, good job, nice house… life is going just fine. Sure there are some things that could be done better – less processed food, less take out, more exercise, more me time… I thought that I was doing alright until January of 2015 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. And that changed everything.
I did the surgeries, I did the chemo and I came out on the other end a little bit scarred (literally and figuratively). But I made it through and am grateful. I don’t ask why this happened to me but I did decide I would do everything to make my body strong and to be the healthiest person I could be. After being introduced to the whole foods plant-based diet (how did I not know about this before?) I became inspired to change the way I was eating. That was the day I began to research what I could do to get and stay healthy and I signed myself up to become a Culinary Nutrition Expert.
I don’t subscribe to a particular diet but I do follow some guidelines that are important to me and that are best for my health. I eat small amounts of meat week once or twice a week, I eat some seafood, I avoid dairy and gluten, I do everything I can to eat and buy local and I avoid processed foods. I shop on the outside of the grocery store or at the local market or I get my veggies from the local CSA. This way of eating has helped me to build a lifestyle that includes being as healthy as I can and developing an appreciation for cooking from scratch.
With my cancer diagnosis has come a great deal of emotion and reflection. I have accepted that I am part of that group of people that live with cancer. It is interwoven into my life story as are gratitude, joy, love, fear and a whole lot of happiness.
A large part of my happiness comes from being able to push the reset button on life. After my cancer diagnosis I decided that I needed a change. I needed to revisit how I was living and what I was doing. The greatest change I made was leaving my full-time teaching job. After 17 years of teaching I knew I could not go back; I needed to explore a different passion that was less stressful but equally fulfilling. And I have found it! I am a Culinary Nutrition Expert! I want to help people to understand that what we eat is who we are. That food feeds our cells and our souls and that when we make food choices we are also making life choices. These choices that will lead us to health or away from health. These choices will help us to feel good about ourselves and to love what makes us who we are.
So let’s get out there and spread the good news!
Eat to be healthy; Live to be happy.