Our guest blog today is from our own WhatNexter Kendall Scott, CHHC, AKA Kendallhhc, on WhatNext, stop by her profile page and thank her for the great information.
I had never even heard of juicing B.C. (before cancer). Healthy juice to me was a glass of O.J. from the carton for breakfast – and that was usually paired with a bagel with cream cheese and a lot of coffee. Actually, I usually skipped the O.J. completely. And sometimes the bagel with cream cheese too. My breakfast was basically coffee. And a donut. Okay – so my breakfast was coffee and a donut. You got me.
But back to juicing. After my diagnosis, I felt like it was only in my nature to do all I could, alongside my doctors, to help heal from the cancer. When I asked one of my cancer team doctors what I could do, or if I should eat better to cope more easily with surgery and chemo and help in kicking the cancer, I was told “No, there’s really nothing you can do.”
Whoa. Really? I mean, really? I didn’t know a thing about what healthy eating meant at the time or that diet does in fact affect cancer risk and our ability to heal from any disease; but I did know that this doctor had to be wrong.
Besides, I needed to be a part of this. I needed to know that something I was doing was making a difference, even a small one. I couldn’t just leave everything in someone else’s hands. This was (is) my life we’re talking about.
So countless hours of research, seeking expert guidance, personal experimentation and a board certified health coaching credential later, I discovered that food, indeed, does matter. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reports that “90% of cancers are rooted in environment and lifestyle” and that includes diet. Since diet is something you can actually control, why not make improvements there? At that point I had begun making changes in my own diet on an ongoing basis. Amazingly, I discovered that eating well also made me feel a whole lot better physically, mentally and emotionally in the middle of treatment.
The one food habit I got into was raw juicing. Juicing raw veggies, with a little fruit, is like liquid gold for your body. It is likely the single, most effective food-related thing you can do for your health. Juicing is an easy and efficient way to pump your body full of nutrients that most likely otherwise wouldn’t be able to eat in whole food form. It helps move toxins out of the body, and it also gives the digestive system a break, which lets the body focus on supporting the immune system (80% of the immune system is located in the gut!). Additionally, juicing helps to restore the natural pH balance in your body, which is more alkaline. Most diets today tend to be too acidic, with too much processed food, animal protein and refined sugar. Juicing helps to support a more alkaline (and less cancer-friendly) environment in the body.
If you’re interested in getting into juicing, here are some tips to get started:
• Get a juicer. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you’ll likely spend a minimum of $80 for a decent juicer that will also juice leafy greens easily. And you could spend far more than that. After a few years on my Jack Lalanne $120 juicer, I upgraded to an Omega 8006 and I LOVE it. It’s well worth the investment in your health. If you know someone with a juicer, try borrowing theirs to try out first.
• Juice mostly vegetables. Fruit is naturally higher in sugar, and once the fiber is removed in the juicing process, this can spike your blood sugar. Use fruit, like a pear or an apple to help make your juice more palatable.
• Prepare veggies and fruit by gently washing/scrubbing. Cut into pieces small enough to fit in the juicer chute.
• Try simple combinations to start, using vegetables that you like to eat normally. Your juice should taste good, not make you gag. Then add in other veggies, including leafy greens, like kale, cabbage and spinach. Have fun experimenting. An easy juice start with could include 1 carrot, 1 apple, 2 ribs of celery and 1 cucumber.
• Try drinking your juice first thing in the morning, followed by a whole food breakfast, like oatmeal with nuts and berries, if you are still hungry.
Remember that your juice does include much protein and no fat, so it does not replace a meal, unless you are using it in a cleanse or detox program.
Kendall was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 27. She quickly became her own health advocate to do all she could, alongside her doctors, to heal from cancer and adopted a “food as medicine” philosophy. She is a board certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). She recently published Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend's Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, which was named #3 of The Top 25 Cookbooks of 2012 by The Daily Meal. She is the cofounder of The Kicking Kitchen , helping women find their groove in cancer, life and the kitchen.