My Story – Part 2: My path to a Vegan Lifestyle

The Illness

I started my Masters programme here in London in September 2013. I was so excited to come study in London; as I mentioned it had been my dream for several years now back when I lived in LA.  I had a pure fascination with the city; there’s so much culture and art and history on every single street. I knew long ago it was the place for me.  So I was over the moon when I came over to start my course.  Now, unfortunately the late night studying was taking its toll. I wasn’t sleeping very well and constantly woke up covered in sweat. I was fatigued lots and my stomach just wasn’t right.

Now here’s the thing. Throughout my life I struggled with digestive issues, I was constantly bloated, with constant pain after eating. Even when I was a child I struggled with this issue. My single mum who was working long hours, knew nothing about gluten free/dairy food sensititivies/IBS  (as many people didn’t until recently). I continued to drink milk and eat bread as child but was chronically sick with tummy troubles. This continued until I figured out the connection a few yeras ago.  Interestingly enough there is correlation between sensitive individuals and tummy issues such as IBS.  Also i can tell you that I BELIEVE my years of toxicity: emotional and physically (with my IBS) contributed to the next bit I’m going to tell you. (Probably will do a blog post about this in future because it deserves its own mention.)

So flash forward to February 2014. I had a hard lump on my neck that didn’t go away. I went straight  to the GP here in London. Sadly enough, the doctor in LA dismissed it entirely. Here in London, I immediately got an ultrasound and was sent straight to MacMillan. If you aren’t familiar with MacMillan they are a well-known cancer charity. My heart dropped.  But I had already known instinctively that something was terribly wrong.

I went in by myself. It was the 26th of February. I was alone and it was cancer or more specifically pT3 (20 mm), N1b (16/48 with extracapsular spread and lymphovascular invasion) M0 papillary carcinoma of the thyroid…..Thyroid Cancer is the ‘best cancer to get if you’re going to get cancer’ Mr Liu the consultant said in a deadpan voice. (Sure, doc, whatever you say!)  Why me? HOW? I had always been a pretty clean eater even though I struggled consistently with IBS. I had never had any surgeries or even had an overnight stay in hospital. It was just pure unadulterated horrifying shock and I didn’t know how to process the entire thing. I was in a new country on my own without a real support network..It was all a massive disheartening shock to the system.  And I didn’t know how I was going to cope.

After this followed a next frenzied couple of months of treatment. First, I was rushed into into surgery in April of that year, and then a had a starter dose of Radioactive Iodide in July.  I had 48 lymph nodes removed and a total Thyroidectomy. As if the surgery weren’t enough, the choice of treatment for this cancer is to lock one up in a room, take a radiation pill and turn into the Incredible hulk for a week away from people because of becoming a radioactive human. Even the nurses couldn’t come near me. I did this once but  my very scary  and pushy oncologist threatened to kick me out of her clinic if I didn’t opt to have this done repeatedly to my body. Mind you, she didn’t say HOW MANY doses were needed to eradicate the cancer. She said a few doses were needed and even then it wouldn’t be certain that it would get rid of the cancer or that it wouldn’t come back! And I remember looking in disbelief at the yellow form they were going to have me sign stating in black and white that the side effects of the treatment was GO FIGURE…ANOTHER CANCER! 

To me this just didn’t add up. Why submit my body to countless doses of radiation without proof that it was going to work….And thus after yet another follow up surgery, I chose to continue healing on my own. This is to say via a holistic route, via supplementation, exercise, detoxification, etc. (Check out this post about detoxification from two years ago.)

Now this is not to say that I’ve ‘cured’ myself using my own methods. I get irked when I see people claiming they ‘healed’ themselves holistically when they had medical treatment. No way! I committed to an INTEGRATIVE treatment, one encompassing both my medical treatment which I’m very grateful for…and alternative therapies and supplements in the past two years or so. But whose to say that if I hadn’t eradicated the bulk of the tumor load when I did, that it wouldn’t have spread past my lymph nodes? I could  never be one of those who would say that I did it all naturally. I was very blessed to have a thorough surgeon and I’m incredibly grateful to the NHS.

And I do want to mention that I powered through my studies and even with treatment, still managed to finish my research and dissertation and even walked with my class. So very proud of myself for getting that done instead of going home back to the States and giving up my lifelong dream.

My transition to a Vegan Lifestyle

So if this all happened in the past few years, why bring this up now? Well the reason I’ve brought it up now is because my health issues have brought me to the minimally processed whole food plant based (WFPB) Vegan lifestyle that I currently  follow.

When I was diagnosed in 2014,  again I had been pretty much been what you would consider a healthy eater,  however I still ate eggs and fish. Throughout my life I had been plagued with IBS symptoms  however, I didn’t really make the connection until the past few years.

Anyways, after my diagnosis I began wholeheartedly exploring alternative lifestyles.But it wasn’t until I heard Good Karma Diet author Victoria Moran speak at London’s Vegfest back in October 2015, that my mind was blown. Here was this pint-sized bobbed, super stylish and vivacious woman who at nearly 70 was glowing with health! Wow! I was  FLOORED. Honestly I was.  The premise that she makes is that if you eat a plant-based diet, not only is it healthy for you physically but it’s also good for you on a KARMIC level, and well that just HIT HOME right then and there.

I have always loved animals and have always had a very close connection with them, cats especially. I thought to myself why does my cat better than a poor chicken whose had to suffer her entire life to give up her egg for me to eat it or for that poor fish in the (already polluted sea) ? And so right after Victoria’s talk. coming out of the auditorium I burst into uncontrollable sobbing and tears. I had experienced a lightbulb moment and meltdown. I was like I I want to be THAT at that age! And by that, I mean energetic, attractive, youthful and well ALIVE!  I want to not feel encumbered by my health issues and lack of energy and depression stemming from a cancer diagnosis. And so I went vegan from right then and there and there was no turning back.

When you eat an organic plant-based minimally processed diets that are full of vibrant colour and flavour you are eating nutrients, antioxidants and an anti-cancer diet at that. When you cut out animal products you are doing your body a favour.

………HERE’s THE PLETHORA OF research: 

  • In terms of meat eating and cancer: There have been several studies showing the link between eating meat and cancer  including this Japanese study where the morbidity rates were noted to be 8.5 times higher in women of high socioeconomic strata eating meat daily compared with women of low socioeconomic strata who do not eat meat daily.
  • And most of us are aware of this very publicized study by the World Health Organization 
  • In terms of eggs there’s that this too:  And then also there are studies on the link between ovarian , prostate, breast cancer and dairy as well that  are further documented.
  • And in terms of  IBS: Dairy is a common allergen for IBS sufferers and so in sum that was was a no-brainer for me!
  • The China Study also contains a wealth of epidemiological evidence for the association of dairy foods with many types of cancer.
  • In the critically acclaimed Beat Cancer, Professors Djamgoz and Plant discuss the substantial evidence from a wide range of studies that show that too much animal protein is at worst dangerous. This has to do with the fact that evidence from studies in the USA and Asia show that consuming animal products increases oestrogen which is a Category 1 carcinogen.
  • Harvard University’s School of Public Health issued a statement that Dairy is not part of a Health Diet back in 2012. And this study goes even further to say that milk may even have deleterious effects even.
  • In terms of IGF-1, which is the growth factor found in dairy products strongly linked to cancer. in Beat Cancer Djamgoz and Plant discuss the problem in full.  They note that some experts suggest that ‘IGF-1 is to cancer what cholesterol is to heart disease’

Now…after being vegan for over two years now, I can tell you this, last I checked my cancer markers have DROPPED (Keep in mind this was after I stopped all treatment!) And while I haven’t lost any weight, I do feel fairly healthy even though my immunity does tend to suffer and thus that’s why I’ve gotten the flu and a few colds this year. And also I’m still sorting out my gut issues with my friend and nutritional therapist Joan. There are more than likely related to my calcium levels (from having my parathyroids removed) and also due  to my hypothroidism issues, amongst other issues, I do feel good for the most part. And I feel GREAT knowing that I’m not only helping my health but also helping reduce suffering of my fellow sentient beings, helping to reduce my carbon footprint and doing my best to help the planet!

But I’m ALWAYS dilligent. With cancer you always have to be. But veganism makes it so much easier to stick to a whole plant based minimally processed foods such as these: AVOCADOS, TURMERIC PORRIDGE and TOFU, BERRY & MATCHA SMOOTHIE BOWLS, COLOURFUL SALADS AND BUDDHA BOWLS………….Check out my instagram for more healthy food porn here: 

Best of 2017
These were my top 9 most liked on Instagram in 2017!

In any event,  in 2018 I plan to keep blogging more timely, promised!

Future Topics I’d like to discuss are:

*The Ketogenic Diet

*Cancer charities that have supported me along  my journey:

@Together Against Cancer 

@Yes To Life

*More of my Detoxification Protocols

*Turmeric and other Superfoods and their role in my healing journey

*Supplements that I have taken through my cancer journey

*Emotional toxicity and its role in disease

and my FAVOURITE topic

*FOOD AS MEDICINE

And perhaps I shall host another workshop and start doing a Youtube channel. I have  lots of plans for 2018 and like I touched on in my previous blog post.  I’m going to dream big…And why not? …..you only have ONE LIFE so best make it a good one! 

Thanks so much for making it to the end! 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “My Story – Part 2: My path to a Vegan Lifestyle

  1. Girl, your journey is inspiring – I applaud your tenacity and passion to share your story with others. So thrilled you’ve found plant-based eating to be so beneficial, it truly is LIFE!! Honoured to know you sister, and always look forward to your healthy, colourful, drool-worthy #foodporn.

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    1. Awwwww so touched that you read it all the way through ;)! Thank you so much for the positive words! Sharing my story was something I wanted to do for a very long time but wasn’t ready yet. However recently, I felt ready and that it was a great way to start the year. Eating this way has changed my life for the better and I am just in awe of how powerful food can be as medicine! Aww thank you so much for your words of encouragement and your amazing support; means sooo very much! XOXO

      Like

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