Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My New Take On Food

I've ALWAYS enjoyed food.  But, it wasn't until I began approaching my late 20's that I really began appreciating it.  We ate some great food growing up.  My mom, who is a fabulous cook, cooked almost every single meal for our family.  We very rarely ate out and each meal prepared at home included a variety of foods from each of the food groups.   I still have some favorite meals from childhood that are in our regular rotation of meals that I cook for my family.

Because we didn't eat out that much as a family, I wasn't exposed to other cultures' dishes until I began approaching my 20's.  Until then, when I ate out, it was typically at a chain restaurant.  As I approached my 20's I began to realize I had more means (money) to venture out and try new restaurants.  I tried Indian food, Thai food, Vietnamese food, new Italian dishes and other cultural dishes.  As I opened up my palate, the Food Network became one of my new favorite television networks.  Then, I discovered restaurant.com.  Restaurant.com is a site that offers significantly discounted gift certificates to some of the best restaurants in town.  Equipped with these valuable yet cheap gift certificates, I was able to try some of the restaurants I always wanted to try (but didn't want to spend the money, not knowing whether it was worth it).   This was one of my and Drew's favorite pastimes when we were dating and even after we were married (before kids were born).   We tried some great restaurants and soon had a little list of our favorite places.  Some of our dates even involved trying to replicate dishes from our favorite restaurants in our own kitchen.  We evolved into self-proclaimed foodies.

Enjoying a chocolate dessert in Switzerland on our honeymoon.
Our philosophy on food has always been to use fresh ingredients, and try to keep it healthful yet tasty.  I felt like we ate pretty healthfully.  Then, when cancer reared it's ugly head, I tried to figure out what possibly could have caused it.  I felt like I was pretty active, really had none of the risk factors, and was a really healthy person--or so I thought.  I don't even have the genetic mutation known to cause breast cancer.  The pitfall of my diet was that I didn't consume enough vegetables and it was heavy in sugars (I love me some dessert!) When Luke was born, his pediatrician prescribed a bowl of ice cream per day for me to consume.  He said since I was breastfeeding and I was "a little thing", I needed to ensure I consumed plenty of calories.  Well, I took this prescription for a bit longer than the 13 months I breastfed Luke.  In fact, I didn't stop eating my bowl of ice cream per day until I received my cancer diagnosis (Luke is now 3 years old).

When I received my cancer diagnosis, I knew things needed to change.  I wanted to fight this thing with every tool possible.  This meant I had some research to do to figure out how to use food as a tool in the battle as well.  It has taken me nearly four months, but I figured out what will be my new philosophy on food for life.  As many books, articles, case studies and blogs as I have read, I felt like I have prepared to write a thesis.  It feels like I am back in graduate school.   But, I feel what I learned the past few months is way more important than anything I have researched in the past (besides my faith).  So, because I feel that what I have learned is so important and interesting, I would like to share what I have learned here and there in regular posts on this blog.  I will call the posts, "Nourishing Bytes".  I now still enjoy food as a foodie.  But, I also am so much more aware of what is going into my body, and how it can possibly help or harm it.   Also, I have really learned to enjoy and appreciate healthful foods. 

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).


  1. Hey, Heather,
    Drew's work colleague, Becky, here! I've enjoyed reading your blog as you journey through cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I will be interested in reading your "Nourishing Bytes"! I am also curious to know if you have researched the Paleo Diet? I was introduced to it at a cross-fit gym and have read 4 different books about it (although they all say about the same thing). I can't say that I am a convert and I haven't tried the 30 day "eat nothing but Paleo" challenge. I'm not sure I will and I doubt I will EVER get my husband to give up carbs! Once he is able to eat normally again my challenge will be to put back some of the 50 lbs he has lost during treatments, surgery and his subsequent infection!

    I have been eating "mostly" paleo for the last few months and I have lost 10 lbs - but that could be from stress! :-) At any rate, I will enjoy learning from your nutrition research!


  2. Hi there Becky! Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. It sounds like your husband has had a tough time with the treatments and surgery and then the infection. We will pray for his full recovery and peace and comfort (less stress) for both of you!

    I had not heard of the paleo diet until you just mentioned it, but I just did a quick google search to see if there are commonalities with the other information I have read. It sounds very interesting and right along the same lines as what I have researched. In fact, it sounds similar to the "Maker's Diet" by Jordan Rubin. I will research the paleo diet further to see if there is additional information I would like to include in my new take on food. Thank you for sharing!