here was my food life before cancer: I ate everything. everything considered “good food” “gourmet food” with relish and gusto and pure delight. I was raised dining out and traveling and my taste buds were highly developed. I was a food adventurer and have had very little tolerance for whiny people who have food “issues or dislikes”.
an average day for me consisted of food choices like : bagel/cream cheese, muffin, toast, croissant for breakfast with coffee or latte.
lunch: sandwich, salad, any kind of ethnic cuisine imaginable, pizza, pasta, burgers.
dinner: chicken, steak, fish, pastas, rice, saucy, creamy rich delicious. salad on the side, always wine. always dessert. we believed in dessert after every meal. ice cream was a perfectly acceptable “breakfast dessert”. not a bowl, but 3 small bites from the carton. good to go. always dark chocolate in the fridge. NEVER chalky milk chocolate.
snacks: tortilla chips, potato chips, cheese and crackers, quesadillas were my go to food for all occasions. apples, grapes, olives, pickles. dolmas.
I ate dairy easily 5 or 6 times a day. cheese was my life force. 80 percent of my body weight was made up of cheese. really, good, expensive cheese. when i went to france for the first time, i wept, for i had found my people. bread, cheese, wine, sauces, chocolate and absinthe. my heaven on earth. dairy was the base of my food pyramid. followed by carbs, starches, meat and sugar. fruits and veges were loved but I just kept forgetting about them….
food was prepared with care and love and delight. fresh ingredients, pouring thru recipes in bon appetit, Martha stewart, the silver palette. food was a central place to come together and share not only the experience of cooking, but laughing, and sharing with family and friends.
I was a food snob as well and developed my own rational about what was healthy. would I eat a donut, go to mcdonalds, eat pizza hut pizza, lays potato chips, eat ice cream that was not haagen das or ben and jerry’s or eat kraft macaroni and cheese? not on your life! white trash junk food would not touch these lips, unless of course I had been drinking…..but that was a long, long time ago…
granted a chocolate croissant from the French bakery is marginally healthier and better for you than a donut from dunkin’s, but just ….marginally. even if the ingredients are not loaded with artificial ingredients and they use organic flour, eggs and butter and even organic sugar, you are still ingesting dairy and sugar. and for me, it was a very large and regular part of my diet.
in short, I ate better and healthier than most people I know. delicious food as sensory delight. good food and cooking and dining out and having dinner parties was central to my life. I have been fortunate enough to eat in some of the finest restaurants in the world. I was fortunate to have had the 3 main relationships in my life all be with men who are great cooks and love to eat and share in the kitchen experience.
when the cancer bomb dropped, I had been watching many documentaries and reading books about cancer and diet. “crazy sexy cancer” kris carr’s film and book was a huge inspiration. I jumped down that rabbit hole. bought a juicer, a vitamix, no sugar, no dairy, limited caffeine (never a big deal for me to begin with) one glass of wine a week, tons of supplements, wheat grass and awa;y I went.
I lost 16 lbs. in 5 weeks. I looked freakin amazing! I had never been this thin before in my life. I felt strong, lean and light. Like there was no extra un needed parts of me. I was taking up exactly the right amount of space. i actually felt like “me” for the first time in my life.
Then I lost about 5 more and felt skeletal, Kept cutting myself and others on my hip bones. Too gaunt.
All of this was without trying at all. NO effort on my part. Change what went in and the pounds went away. I did not feel deprived at all. My life long love affair with cheese was just suddenly over. and although I was eating tasty food, I cannot say that it was a delightful experience anymore. and honestly it was tinged with fear. I read (still do) read labels with a magnifying glass and torture myself if what is in this just might be the thing that kicks the cancer domino over and finishes the game.
stay tuned….part two…..finding my balance