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Organic or not organic?

When I started reading about nutrition, I came across the dilemma of buying organic or not organic….

I knew a bit about it. I knew about the pesticides and all the chemicals that went into our vegetables and fruits but I didn’t know what it did to us when all of these chemicals went inside our bodies.

I read so many things…and what resonated with me was Dr. Zach Bush who started his career working with cancer patients, moved on to helping pharmaceuticals to find new drugs for cancer and ended up back to studying the food and lastly what was happening where our food comes from, the soil. Dr. Zach Bush is brilliant!

From my understanding, his message talks about the accumulation of pesticides and chemicals which is where the problem is, our bodies can’t cope with it. To make it even more complex, the research we can get access to only research (if they do, when they do) the impact of one chemical on our bodies not the avalanche we are putting our bodies through daily.

I have also come across some more in detailed examples…eating kale (presumably healthy) with the exception that when kale is NOT grown organically, all the chemicals they spray the kale with can open up your gut lining and cause a leaky gut injury. All the fiber becomes a noxious injury to the immune system and you develop an inflammatory reaction. You feel bloated and your digestion slows down. Kale is one of the top most contaminated crops out there and this is just one example (quoted by a Dr. Zach Bush by the way, so yes he is a Doctor)

I can go on and on about it….but reality is eating organic or not organic comes down to changing your priorities, changing where you spend your money on.

Do you want to spend your money on your health or on a new handbag? Do you think it is smart to buy the cheapest food to put inside your body or do you think it is wise to look for good quality produce, full of nutrients with no chemicals?

Our values are inverted. We are led to believe we need to spend our money buying the latest gadgets, following the latest fashion trends and yet we are always trying to find the cheapest deals on our food, the only thing that it keeps us running, the fuel that keeps us alive.

We really need to start asking ourselves more relevant questions as supposed to follow what the masses are doing?

The masses are not eating organic, the masses are eating processed foods, foods that are full of chemicals, preservatives, additives, fast food, foods that don’t add any nutrition to our bodies. The masses are also getting sicker and being diagnosed with more chronic diseases…

So what do you want for your life?

A life full of energy, vitality, a healthy life?

Or a life full of health problems, medications, uncomfortable living and being?

For me the choice is easy….I have been there…unhealthy, filling my body full of heavy medication, trying to climb my way back to health with whatever strength was left in me….and that I don’t wish on anyone and I certainly don’t wish it upon myself again.

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What is clean eating for you?

Since I have been on my eating healthy journey, I have read many books, listened to many podcast, watched youtube videos, movies…you name it. There is a ton of information out there and a lot of controversial information too.

What I came to believe is each person needs to find their own truth within the midst of the confusion. There are some commonalities in all of the books I read and everything I watched indeed but what it is challenging for most people are the labels that come with it. Is this a vegetarian diet? Vegan? Paleo? Keto?

I remember when I was told I had bowel cancer, one of my lovely friends asked me what the doctors had advised me to eat.

Truth is, after my bowel resection, I was told to go home and take it easy.

No dietary information was given and before my chemotherapy started, I attended an information session about bowel cancer treatment.

I was told I needed to stay clear from deli foods and if I needed to choose a fast food chain, it would be better to stick to MC Donald’s as supposed to Subway???

With all due respect, I don’t think fast food was a common denominator in all the books I read about nutrition and cancer.

Anyway my lovely friend then told me, she had checked with one of her nutritionist friends and my best approach was to go vegan., sugar free and gluten free. Yes that is right…You have Stage 3 Bowel Cancer and by the way, you need to start eating a vegan diet to help your body to heal and to stay cancer free.

This is the message I got from her message. I then asked myself: “Are you serious? Now I have Bowel cancer and I need to go vegan???

I devoured books on nutrition and started eating as clean as could. I would read one book and make one change at a time. Slowly I cut out sugar, processed meat, red meat… I reduce my dairy intake, white meat intake and the only gluten I ate (and eat) was our home made bread from organic stone ground wholemeal flour.

For me it was about getting my body back into balance, clear all the shit out, detoxifying from anything that didn’t come from nature, supporting my body through cancer treatment.

I made changes slowly and mostly was about becoming aware, understanding the information and applying the change into my life once I understood the reasons behind it and felt comfortable with it.

I made sure my husband and the kids were on board. Whatever I ate, they ate. I needed to look after their health too. My kids are now on the genetic bowel cancer spectrum and would need to get checked 10 years before I was diagnosed which means for them getting checked at 28 years old.

Now you are asking yourself? I have heard this many times…don’t tell me you cut sugar…don’t tell me you don’t eat dairy anymore…don’t tell me you don’t eat meat…and please don’t tell me you are vegan????

I actually did all of the above and mostly I eat a 90-95% vegan diet.

Unfortunately in the process of becoming 100% vegan for 3 months, my B12 vitamin dived down to “not normal” levels so I started introducing some animal protein again because my choices were either take a supplement (which is not natural either) or eat the food.

I still don’t eat red meat or chicken but I introduced a very limited amount of dairy, fish and eggs (once per week of one of them) as well as taking B12 supplements. My last checked showed my B12 is within normal ranges so I will keep my formula as it is. This is still a trial process for me.

For the ones who don’t know, vitamin B12 is a pretty important one. It is needed to ensure proper functioning and health of nerve tissue, brain function and red blood cells. So no we can’t do without it.

I am not a doctor, a dietitian, a health professional or anyone that pretends to know everything. I am someone who is focussing on improving my health. I monitor how I feel as supposed to just making dietary changes. At the end of the day, I think we all know that our bodies are pretty unique and complex in its own right and sometimes what it works for one person, might not work for another.

But back to clean eating, for me this was a game changer. For someone who ate “reasonably healthy” – meaning we always cooked from scratch at home – before bowel cancer (if you were looking from the outside), I changed my eating habits drastically.

I feel eating clean is eating foods that are alive, things that grew on the ground, things that were not made in a factory, things that don’t have a list of ingredients that are longer than a book, things that I understand where it comes from. Yes that is vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Now you are asking yourself: this is too confusing…too hard…I am not even going to go there.

And my argument is why are we not treating our bodies as a temple? Why are we not focussing in buying the best fuel to our bodies? Why is everything related to eating healthy so hard to all of us? What can we do to make it simpler? Is it a matter of giving value to it? I mean to our health….