When I was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 1999, I made a conscious decision that I would not make my health all about what I could and couldn't eat. Some cancer survivors believe in eating a macrobiotic or other restrictive diet, but I have always maintained this strategy is really about the quest for control.
Controlling cancer with food? To me, that's like saying fairies dance on the lawn at night. It's possible, but we do seem to be unencumbered by evidence.
I made small changes in my diet I thought might enhance my overall health -- lots of water and no soda. Those were probably the big two, because I love to eat and wanted to live my life enjoying delicious food. Cheese is my downfall, but I don't eat fast food, and we only dine in restaurants occasionally.
Read this, and you will be inclined to think twice before ordering just any old thing. More than 3,000 calories in a simple pasta dish at the Cheesecake Factory. That's about the same amount of calories as a pound of butter! I cannot imagine what they did to fatten up this dish, but I can only assume other restaurants do the same thing.
So, OK, I want to be somewhat vigilant without getting crazy. Several months ago, I gave up orange juice, which I drank for years every morning. In fact, the only time I didn't drink it was during chemo, because it tasted awful. As soon as I was done with chemo, back to the OJ. I stopped when I mentioned my habit in a blog post, and a reader said, oh, you don't really want to drink orange juice.
You can Google how orange juice is made, or you can check out this article. Even the premium "not from concentrate" juice is not what you think. Yes, it is squeezed from oranges, but then all the oxygen and flavor is sucked out and replaced with tasty artificial flavorings made by perfume companies. Would it kill me to drink it? Of course not. I just thought, yuk, I don't need this.
But I do like something sweet and tart first thing in the morning, so I came up with a compromise that works for me. I juice six to eight lemons or limes with a chunk of fresh ginger root and then add simple syrup to sweeten. I freeze the juice in ice cube trays, which I put in a huge ziplock. In the morning, I pop out an ice cube, thaw it out in the microwave and add water. Delicious!
Today I am making my first batch of homemade yogurt. Wish me luck ...