As they say "we are what we eat".....indeed we are! Would you put petrol in a diesel car? No.....because it's not the right fuel and certainly wouldn't convert to a smooth drive. Our bodies are the same. We need to fuel them properly to maximise well-being and optimum function and health. Our body requires and thrives on certain nutrients and balanced food groups. I am far from a nutritional expert and do not have any formal training whatsoever but I can speak from personal experience and positive outcomes experimenting with my diet and eating habits in an effort to keep my cancer in quarantine and rise above debilitating symptoms of chemo and cancer treatments.
The cleaner I eat the better I feel physically, mentally and emotionally. The cleaner I eat the leaner my liver is hence has a higher ability to fight cancer and creates a foundation for greater resistance to all things nasty. The greener I eat and drink the clearer my mind is and the more uplifted my mood is which then translates to making better choices with respect to sustaining a healthy diet and committed to and engaging in exercise - even if it is a walk around the block. Movement is essential to fight cancer and illness and maintain a well-rounded state of well-being.
The biggest change I have made to my diet is to consciously cut out as much refined sugar as I can and I am reaping the rewards with respect to my fight against cancer and my overall well-being and ability to manage life!
Cutting out sugar isn’t easy, but the health benefits are exponential—and they kick in almost immediately after you rein in your sweet tooth
Eliminating sugar has been a mammoth challenge for me being an avid lover of chocolate and all things sweet including biscuits and cakes. Sugar is addictive and triggers withdrawal symptoms when we stop eating it. Like drugs, sugar stimulates the release of dopamine, a "feel good" chemical in the brain. The more sugar we consume the more dopamine receptors our body creates that lead us to crave more sugar, resulting in a vicious cycle of sugar consumption. All my life I have indulged in chocolate consuming it daily and the addiction and adversity of it's impact cannot be underestimated. Processed foods and sugar, in particular, are not what we have been built to eat and have been contrived by humans mostly to make money - at the expense of our health. Refined sugar was practically nonexistent in the human meal plan until recent times. I use to think eating a piece of chocolate (or a block of chocolate or a handful of chocolate biscuits) would make me feel happy, but the fact is sugar consumption has been linked to higher rates of low mood and even depression and research backs this up with proven studies and trials that show sugar can lead to chronic inflammation, which impacts brain function. So it makes perfect sense that as a result of cutting out sugar, our mood will be enhanced and any fog will lift!
Sugar provides empty calories and has zero value in nutrition. Sugar actually robs our bodies of essential minerals. Sugar also damages our immune systems by lowering the efficiency of white blood cells for hours at a time after consumption. When fighting cancer it is fundamental to do whatever one can to preserve the immune system. Personally, being on chemotherapy I need to be especially mindful of my compromised immunity and started to seriously question why I would feed myself sugar when it was putting me at risk. No brand of chocolate or temporary "feel good" is worth that. Sugar compromises the immune system and hinders our ability to fight disease and infection. When I find myself craving sugar (multiple times a day) and contemplating even the smallest chocolate treat, I ask myself and I do so out loud "how will this treat serve your body and your mind Tracey?" and "is this the best kind of fuel you can feed your body?" I can assure you I feel so much better when I find the strength not to succumb to the treat and swap it for something else. It could be a handful of nuts, a big glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and lime juice, a punnet of blueberries, a green salad, a couple of boiled eggs, a tin of tuna, a big cup of green tea, vegetable soup and the list goes on. I have become very creative with meals and the simplest of meals have become more exciting, tasty and enjoyable.
Sugar has also been associated with the development of some cancers (excessive amounts of insulin in our bodies encourages the growth of cells); to being detrimental to our liver (the only organ that can metabolize fructose and if it is overloaded converts it to fat that can build up over time and ultimately lead to disease); weight gain and diabetes; heart disease; premature aging; cholesterol; chronic fatigue and mood swings as mentioned above.
Today I made myself a big bowl of salad - filled with crunchy power greens including kale, celery, sugar snaps, avocado and snow peas topped with tuna and dressed with a mix of coconut oil and apple-cider vinegar and it was delicious. I also make sure I sit to eat uninterrupted and eat slowly relishing every mouthful and chew my food properly. All things I have learned that collectively have an influence on the positive responsiveness between our bodies and food.
I walk away feeling full, satisfied and nourished. I hope you can get high on greens and cut out sugar! I promise your body and mind will love you more for it!
I want to emphasise that this is a daily "work in progress" for me and a serious mind game to maintain the willpower to resist my sweet addiction and requires an ongoing commitment to be organised enough to have healthy, clean food on hand when desperation sets in for that chocolate/sweet/sugar fix. I must also admit that I do revert to "everything in moderation" and believe in being consistent and having a balance so I am allowing myself the occasional treat (once or twice weekly) hence I never feel deprived. But I am becoming more in tune with my body and the many triggers for certain types of foods and eating behaviours.
That sugar fix isn't what it is cracked up to be!