This is a question I asked myself many times over the last couple of years.
While studying Nutritional Science and Therapeutics, I gained background knowledge, and science around nutrition and the body. I realise that every individual has very different nutritional needs. No two people are the same, and therefore, a diet that is perfect for one person, may be really harmful for someone else.
With the knowledge I gained, it allowed me to delve much more into the research of cancer and how diet could play a major role in keeping me cancer free. Throughout my college years, I went from eating a raw vegan diet, to primarily a vegetarian diet containing lots of whole grains, such as millet, quinoa and brown rice.
I tried many variations of both a vegan and vegetarian diet, but could not get rid of the bloating I was experiencing after almost every meal. It was affecting my every day life.
In my clinic, I use a wide range of functional tests for clients, so I see first-hand the difference it can make to ones health. And I thought it was time to start running some tests of my own. I was tired and frustrated. I began to peace the bits of the puzzle of my health together, it was clear I needed to make some major changes to my diet.
I had avoided meat for 26 years and was deficient in Vitamin B12 where I needed monthly injections, and my cholesterol was extremely low.
I also felt I was putting on a few extra pounds, and as I’ve never been a calorie counter, I really didn’t want to become obsessed with looking at the scales. So I began to do some more research along with slowly changing my diet, bit by bit.
The research I had embarked on, led me to gradually reduce grains and after a long period and numerous test results, I began adding a little fish and meat to my diet again. This was a major transition from where I had been only a few years earlier, eating a raw vegan diet to eating a little meat and fish every week. But not only this, I began to increase my fat intake (definitely not calorie counting) in order to enable me to stay full between meals for a longer period of time and do a little intermittent fasting throughout the week. I did this very gradually.
Consuming meat or fish again, was not something I had ever planned to do, but my health was clearly suffering. My local butcher provides me with the best quality, organic, grass fed meat and also fish, from sustainably fished sources.
Within a few weeks, my energy increased, my blood glucose is now completely normal, my cholesterol has also improved, and I no longer need B12 injections. I realised my body simply does not run well on grains.
I realise this diet is not for everyone. Some days I really struggle to stay on track, but I’ve also allowed and accepted that being too rigid can end up causing me more stress. I feel it has been a long road and a lot of experimenting with my own body, through functional testing and taking the time to really recognise how food was making me feel.
I don’t believe there is any one diet to suit everyone and biochemical individuality must be taken into account when I deal with each of my clients. A vegan diet can really suit some people, but for me, the test results and the results food were giving my body, were enough for me to make such dramatic changes.
Taking the time to listen to your body and adapting dietary and lifestyle changes that are required, can dramatically enhance a person’s life after cancer. No major changes are easy, but we have to learn to stay positive and appreciate that we all have choices.
And realise that no one diet fits all!