Daily Archives: August 26, 2011

My Complimentary Therapies

Happy Friday!

So I have to admit, I was a little nervous talking about “alternative therapies” yesterday. I know it’s a topic a lot of people feel strongly about and I was nervous because I’m not entirely on that bandwagon yet. As a cancer patient, you get a lot of recommendations of things you can do to 1) make the cancer go away, and 2) help ease the side effects of traditional treatment.

I am always open to hearing new things in this regard. I want to have as good an experience as possible and will try anything that will make this easier for me. With that said, going through treatment is a very emotional, physical, and mentally draining process. I’m a strong believer that in order for therapies to work, you need to be 100% ready and committed to them.

That’s not to say I won’t ever try certain things, but I do know where I am in my “journey” as of today. I’m only six weeks in to treatment and often still feel overwhelmed by what is going on. Introducing tons of new therapies right now makes me feel even more overwhelmed!!

With that said, there are two additional complimentary treatments I already believe in 100%. They’re at the heart of this blog and something I will always use to heal my body: food & exercise.

As I’ve mentioned before, the food aspect of my healing is a work in progress. No one can overhaul their diet overnight, not even someone with cancer. So far I’ve been trying to focus on cutting back meat and dairy, while increasing the amount of organic produce and good seeds & grains. There is more I’d like to do, like thinking about glycemic index, alkalizing foods, etc. Baby steps!


In terms of eating better, the best thing I’ve ever done is sign up for a CSA box. Chemo screws with my food tastes, making the idea of fruits and vegetables a lot less appealing. But having a box of local, organic vegetables arrive every Wednesday forces me to eat them up.


The hardest part about eating all these veggies is that I no longer have the stamina in the kitchen to make wonderful meals with them. Food while on chemotherapy is all about simplicity. One of my favourite things to do is just chop up veggies and throw them in a pan with good oil and protein.


Favourite flavour additions include pesto, sriracha, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and fresh cheese.

On days when I feel like I can digest raw veggies, I whip up giant salads with everything that’s in the box.


And lots and lots of coleslaws. I love coleslaws. I take a peeler and just peel everything into the bowl. Usually I make my own simple oil and vinegar dressing, but sometimes I’ll make a creamy dressing using thinned out laughing cow cheese.


This dressing, by the way, is gross. Don’t do it.


Coleslaw is either the side dish or the main show. Here dressed up with goat cheese, olives, and plain grilled pork.

I also get a lot of herbs in the CSA, which has led to some great meat toppers.


The best one so far – caramelized onions and fennel, with orange juice, Old Bay seasoning, and corn starch. On top of grilled salmon. It was to die for.


The chemo also has me craving lots of comfort food (okay, maybe it’s just because I’m sick!). I love cooking up Annie’s shells as a treat with Rain Coast canned tuna (ridiculously expensive but ridiculously good) and some green veggies from the CSA box. I highly recommend adding smoked paprika to your mac and cheese for some added oomph!


Cutting back to one meat serving a day as been a bit of a challenge for me, but cutting back on dairy has been a cinch. I never ate much to begin with. I have been experimenting with new non-dairy alternatives, such as Daiya cheese, for fun. So far I’ve had a grilled cheese, fried egg sandwich, and toasted salmon sandwich with it.


My thoughts on the mozzarella flavour is that it is tasty, but doesn’t taste anything like cheese. It’s VERY rich and buttery tasting. It’s missing that bite that regular cheese has. I would buy it again though, because I do enjoy the flavour. Just don’t expect it to taste like cheese.

And would you believe chemo has me hating the taste of chocolate? I know, I know. I do still crave dessert, but usually just dried fruit or a homemade cookie.


Or a spoonful of marshmallow fluff.


Favourite way to eat fruit these days is in smoothie form. Super easy way to get a bunch of servings in one go. I’ve been making smoothies using plain goat yogurt and they are really, really good. Goat yogurt is not good on its own, but adds a really great tang to smoothies, try it!


Also drinking lots of iced green tea and Emergen-C. I can’t eat citrus fruits because they hurt my mouth (chemo breaks down the lining in your mouth) which means I’m missing out on my usual Vitamin C. A very important vitamin these days since I’m trying so hard to keep my immune system up!

Finally, there’s exercise. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful exercise has been for me during this experience.


It boosts my mood, alleviates my pain, nausea, and fatigue, keeps my body strong, and gives me something to do every day.

After a crummy July, Moncton has had a beautiful August. So I’ve been taking it outside lately to get in as much sunshine and fresh air while I still can.


Usually I put on a podcast and walk until it’s over. Preferably routes with hills or nice scenery. Can’t wait until i can jog again!

Then there’s dancing…


That would be my sister and Nana dancing to my other sister’s bands last night. I got to watch her sound check before the bar filled up with germs – I mean people. Pretty sure good music and family are healing too.

Have a great weekend!