Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The dark mood continues

Sorry I haven’t been my usual attentive self. I am still processing the information about our friend with cancer and trying to talk things out with our other friends. So far I have only cried once in the last two days which is an improvement over the past week. I wanted you all to know I am not spending any time on the internet other than putting up my post so that I keep my funk to myself. Sometimes when you are down it is better to be alone rather than inflict that on others at least that is what seems appropriate to me. I wanted to spend a little more time talking about health and cancer if you will indulge me.

Thoughts on Living with Cancer:

Once cancer enters your world life it will never be the same. Sure we could listen to the majority of oncologists and go about life as usual eating processed food, cakes, cookies and drinking wine. After all the problem is already here live it up while you can. The alternative is to say “hell no, cancer is not going to win” and that is the approach we took. When you wonder why I am so passionate about healthy eating now you know. If cancer can be beat we have every intention of beating it. Can I say for certain we will? No but every day that I spend with my husband is a gift for which I am very thankful. If we were to give up and live like most people I am certain there would be fewer days we would be able to spend together. I have no intention of doing things that will distract our bodies from fighting cancer.

I only wish that we had wised up before we had a crisis to deal with. I hope that something that I write inspires at least one of you to make a change for the better. If it does I will be grateful to have made an impact. I don’t want anyone to deal with what we go through. Cancer sucks! If you can avoid it I strongly recommend you take that path. You really don’t want to deal it because it isn’t pretty or pleasant.

For those of you that thinking “what cancer did I miss something?” No you didn’t miss anything I don’t actually discuss cancer in the specific other than a passing reference now and then. I can discuss cancer in the abstract without getting upset but prefer not to think or talk about is as it relates to us because it is too difficult. Sometimes I go days or even weeks without thinking about cancer but then something happens like our friend and all my fears come flooding back and overwhelm me. There are many days when I wish that I was stronger. I try to do everything humanly possible to beat this beast. This is why I am always reading health and nutrition books or articles on PubMed and taking courses. It is my way of taking control in a process where you have very little and are at the mercy of others. Studies have shown that certain lifestyle habits can slow the doubling rate of cancer. We employ all of those tactics in the hope that when combined together these tactics are more powerful. Studies have also shown that food combinations can slow cancer growth so the same should be true for combining food and lifestyle.

When I put up the post talking about eating healthy food versus toxins I knew that many people, maybe most people, would disagree with me. It wasn’t that my thoughts weren’t valid but that it is human nature to not want to admit that there is something you could/should be doing that you aren’t. I read somewhere that everyone wants to believe good news about their bad habits and I think that is very true. Hell, I used to be exactly the same way. Most nutritionists preach everything in moderation and I was right there. Moderation sounded good to me, I could have my cake and eat it too. Sadly that really didn’t work out well for us. However now that my decisions have a life or death impact I have been surprised by what we are capable of, I think you will find the same thing is true for you.

In our case we have the perfect combination of the right motivation (cancer) and hundreds of hours of research to point us down the right path in terms of diet and lifestyle. Did you know that scientists are now saying that lifestyle is the direct cause of anywhere from 25 to 40% of all cancers and the at genetics account for less than 5%? Knowing things like that make it easy for us to make good choices most of the time.

I don’t expect that most people are ready to believe what I have to say. I wish you were but since most of our friends don’t “get it” I can’t expect other people to embrace the idea either. However I sincerely want to make a difference and if something I write sticks in your head and you put it into practice later then I am thrilled. My goal is for everyone to live a happy and more importantly a healthy life.

Okay that is all the doom and gloom I can take at the moment. What follows is an abbreviated version of what we have been up to. I did document the recipes from Sunday but didn’t calculate the numbers on them maybe  I will get them posted later.


We started our morning earlier than Saturday with two quick trips one to Wegman’s and then Whole Foods. We needed a few things to replenish the fresh produce supply. Most importantly we were out of kale and I couldn’t have Dan starting his day without a green smoothie. Since he has learned to love them, and they are good for him, I like him to have them at least every other day.

Once we got home from grocery shopping and got things put away we had our green smoothies. As usual our smoothies contained: kale, frozen banana, cinnamon, powdered ginger, ground flaxseed, walnuts, a little stevia for Dan (none for me), and water to process.

After breakfast we started discussing what I was going to prepare for the meal with my parents. Since it was cold outside I thought two hot dishes would be better than one hot and one cold (salad). Both my parents like soup and since that is easy it seemed like a good plan. I made a curried crème of carrot soup as a first course.

To accompany the soup I made a dish with Brussels sprouts, red onions, garlic, miso, orange juice, orange zest, stevia, and red bell pepper over quinoa.

Like usual we had something quick from what was in the refrigerator. This time it was leftover barley risotto and a green salad with black beans and curried tomato sauce. Intentional leftovers are so handy when I don’t feel up to cooking.


Monday really wasn’t much better than the last few days for me emotionally. We did go to the gym and I managed to stay on the elliptical and spin bike except for ½ mile on the indoor track. Fortunately my knee held up pretty well.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with wild blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, ground flaxseeds and walnuts.

Lunch was a small bowl of red lentils of quinoa with fresh basil.

My afternoon snack was an orange with two Brazil nuts.

Dinner was a bowl of quinoa topped with Mexican flavored black beans and tomatoes finished with cilantro. Clearly we would have starved without intentional leftovers. ;-)


The gym wasn’t going to open until 11am this morning which meant working out at home instead. I was confused about when the gym went back to its normal schedule which is next week.

My breakfast was white potatoes topped with lentils and tomatoes, parsley and olives.

I wasn’t particularly hungry so lunch was a bowl of marinated mushrooms topped with parsley.

Dinner was a giant salad with mixed greens, the lentil and tomato sauce, cucumber, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and walnuts. Once again without intentional leftovers who knows what we would have eaten.

Tomorrow is a busy one but I need to find time to cook since we don’t have any more leftovers on hand.

Happy Thoughts:

With my mood happy thoughts are hard to come by at the moment. Hopefully I will be more like myself in a few days. Presently I am happy to functioning and doing the things that I need to but other than that I don’t have anything positive to report. Sorry!

Signing off:

I hope you are having a better week than I have been. Tomorrow will be a busy day for me. With a little luck my mood will improve and I will be back to my old self. I am wearing myself out with all this doom and gloom. Talk to you again as soon as I am up to it.


  1. I amsorry you are having such a bad week. I will be praying for you :) your blog is great and it has impacted me and I have learned a lot! Your food encourages me to continue eating healthy since I have no friends or family who encourage it. Thank you for all your great posts and try to keep your head up!

  2. "lifestyle is the direct cause of anywhere from 25 to 40% of all cancers and the at genetics account for less than 5%"

    im telling my husband this right now!

    and you say that people might not believe what you have to say,(?) i dont really understand that. your opinion is based on fact..not on thin air. we re lucky that we have somebody that goes through all that and posts it. you have no ulterior motives...what the heck is there not to believe! sorry that really got to me!

    give yourself time, all the new news, is really hard to handle. its a big shock. im just so sorry its so close to home. cancer is so scary, thank you for doing all that you can.

  3. Ali,

    If it makes you feel any better, I made your barley risotto w/mushrooms and butternut squash and it was so good. You have influenced both my and my husband's eating (through me) and when you mentioned the china study the other day i picked it back up and started reading it again and it has been really impactful. So you have made a big difference in this person's life and hopefully these healthy choices will give my familhy a better quality of life.

    But I will also pray for you.


  4. I think your food choices are spot on — everything you make looks great. It's hard to deal with all the emotional issues you're facing, and be courageous all the time. I hope you can recover your positive thoughts soon. Thinking of you.

  5. *Nods head* and reaches out to give you a big cosmic hug!
    Like I have said before, you have inspired me and my husband and we live more consciously as a result. Much compassion for you going through this and I am happy to hear you took on the fight and are better for it!

  6. The beans and quinoa dish looks perfect for a Mexican Monday Meal or even for a Taco Bowl Tuesday!

    I am so sorry that you're still so down. Makes me sad because I know there's nothing I can do really. But do know I am here thinking about you!

  7. I am sorry you are suffering so much Ali, my thoughts are with you.
    Loads of hugs..

  8. Ali, you absolutely inspire me to be a healthier eater. I use far, far less oil now and am much closer to being 100% vegan. I'm enjoying your Pecan Dirty Brown Rice with Spicy and Lemony Mushrooms for dinners this week, too. I do know what you mean about cancer, though. My stepmother died from small-cell carcinoma of the lung that metastasized on her spine when I was 19. I've been on an anti-smoking tirade ever since. I'm sorry things are rough on you. I'm here if you ever want to talk.

  9. I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with yet another episode of cancer. I have trouble balancing how our lifestyles cause certain troubles for us with the fact that we don't really deserve such trouble. I can see why your research is such a great interest, and I'm glad you're seeing results.

    Hope things start looking up for you and your friend.

  10. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

    Your friends may not yet be ready for what you want them to know, but when they are, your blog and the wisdom and information you've shared there will be available. For that, I am grateful.

    Hope the black cloud moves off soon. Hugs.

  11. Big hugs. If you want to vent or whatever, be my guest. I find that helps me release the negative emotions instead of bottling them up inside. Once I've had a good cry, vent, or rant (whichever is most appropriate) it's easier for me to move on. I'm always happy to lend an ear!

    I read yesterday that Whole Foods plans to open up it's 1 week nutrition course to customers that it currently offers to employees. I know it's plant strong and is connected (in some way I don't quite recall) the Engine 2 Diet.

    Anyway, not sure of the details but it sounded interesting!

    Hope today is a better day.

  12. Sending good thoughts your way.

    I truly believe in what you say. There might not be a peer reviewed, scientific journal published, study to prove it, but it's true. If they did study it, they would end up putting junk food, pharmaceutical, and cleaning product companies out of business, so of course nobody is going to study it. It's much better business to keep us unhealthy and scared of germs.

    I recently lost my brother to cancer and tried to convince him to change his diet during his battle. It didn't work, but I know of many others that doctors gave little chance of survival, yet their lifestyle seems to have greatly swayed things in their favor.

    Hopefully your funk will end soon. Remember that positive thoughts do produce helpful physical changes in your body and the bodies of those around you. When you get tired of reading up on nutrition, check out some of the noetic science research as well.

    Keep spreading the word on your blog. You have obviously touched many people!

  13. I have been thinking about you in your absence this week. I am sorry things have been so rough for in the last week. Hang in there, and keep doing all of the amazing things that you do to better yourself and help others. *hugs!*

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Hang in there. Sending good energy your way.

  15. Ali..I was afraid when I didn't read anything from you in a few days you were suffering over your friend...it is very hard to get out from under the cloud isn't it?
    I have a family riddled with cancer..young and old..I am 60 years old and struggle with the thought that I probably already have it and just don't know it yet..I have been interested in nutrition from a young age..only I came to find out this summer it was all wrong!!! Protein, dairy, fat etc...I used to tout the Zone..so you can see where I have come from. How about you think of all of us as your family who read and love what you say and are trying to put it into practice?? Prayers and hugs Coco

  16. I'll be praying for you, too. My husband and I went through the mill last year when he turned 50. I'm a Ph.D. student doing gastrointestinal research on a medical campus, so I can't escape it either. I had the resources to dare ask questions- and change our lifestyle. We're pescatarian and mostly vegan, with tomato products and crucifers EVERY DAY now. The research is on your side. You inspire me to push harder toward 100%.
    One funny little thing you'll appreciate: I feed feral cats in my neighborhood and let them shelter in our detached garage. Sometimes (like recently when our life is better), none come around. At other times, when life is stressful, I've had up to 4 hanging out in our tiny backyard- and they were friendlier than usual, coming up quietly as I gardened for a little petting. I can look outside and tell by the number of cats how the day will be. "Oh Lord, not a three-cat day." Sounds like you are having many-cat days right now. Hope your little angels are ministering to you.

  17. Thank you, as always, for sharing, Ali, and for sharing your "why behind the what." I believe the research.


  18. Ali,
    Your posts are always so inspiring. You continue to remind me to eat healthier and I know that I am gradually making the switch to a clean diet, but it is certainly a gradual process. I hope you are feeling better today.
    Lots of Love,

  19. I am so sorry that you are so stressed out. I can only imagine how much anxiety your friends diagnosis brings your family...

    I think it's wonderful that you are doing every single thing you can do to keep your family healthy.

    I think it's good that you're allowing yourself to feel. The negative emotions are awful, but necessary to confront.. not easy at all.
    One of my favorite quotes that I remind myself all the time, "The only way out is through"..

    Give yourself time to feel.. time to heal. By giving it to yourself, you will find that you wake up soon and you will feel energized and not as scared.

    I feel fear a lot and one way I deal with it is imagine it as an external source, an energy coursing through my body.. almost like a light.. I feel it in my cells and just as strong as it's there, then I imagine it flowing through me... and into the ground and the air and allowing it to disperse in the universe.

  20. I believe you. You inspire me everyday.

  21. Ali,
    Hang in there. I really sympathize, I am pretty crappy at dealing with stuff like this. I love recipes, they have inspired a lot of new food at our home.

  22. This is a gentle reminder that mood impacts health too. Believe me, I do understand grief, and you must feel it when it comes. But when the light starts peeking its way through, I urge you to grab onto that.

    One of the things I find most impressive about you is your bravery-lots of people give up in the face of cancer. It's also obvious from your posts that you believe in laughter and love, and are grateful for those small joys life hands us every day. Your friend is lucky to have this bravery, laughter, love and appreciation of joy in their life. So as soon as you see hope, grab on. Your friend, and the rest of us, need your light!


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