Are people usually receptive to a healthier, plant-based diet?
Most people are very receptive to my ideas and I work with them to incorporate theirs too. I will always cook the healthiest version of whatever we agree upon (organic/non-gmo, lots of fresh veggies, free of dairy/gluten/sugar/ and most refined fats and oils). I think it’s really important that they are listening to their bodies too, and feel that what they are eating is what their body needs at that point in time. Cancer treatment can make eating in general pretty awful no matter what the food is, and often it is just about eating something. I see a big part of my job as making sure that that something isn’t just crackers and noodles.
Do you think that emotional well-being and one’s relationship with food also has a strong impact on how our body processes our food?
Yes, I really believe it does! Being relaxed and at peace while your eating is far better for our digestion. Have you ever felt anxious or stressed and not felt like eating? It’s because the blood is focusing on our extremities in case we need to run for it, (not in our intestinal system to make sure our lentils digest properly). No arguments at the dinner table!
If someone is really, really tight on time and money, what would you suggest as being something they can do to still be able to eat healthfully, and still enjoy their food?
Why do you like Zimt so much?!
Because I’m human! …Also, pure cacao is full of antioxidants, and Zimt chocolate is raw which means those antioxidants haven’t been cooked away. You also use coconut sugar as the sweetener, which is lower glycemic than most sugars as well as being rich in minerals. No dairy, no weird ingredients, it’s just pure, guilt-free, really delicious chocolate. It’s the perfect treat. And I love that you are local (to me).
I love that, too. Dana! Where do you want your business to take you, and others?
I hope to keep on learning as research reveals more about the power of food and the effect it has on our bodies. I would like to continue to use this information to empower others during a seemingly powerless time. I would also like to help people start thinking about it now instead of waiting for a diagnosis, to make changes. Cancer can be scary, but there is all of this information at our fingertips about prevention, we just need to apply some of it.
There have been quite a few good documentaries out on healthful eating. Have you seen any and which are your favourites? Why?
When my Mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, there wasn’t a lot of information out there about the power of food and battling cancer. Crazy Sexy Cancer was one of the first documentaries that I saw around that time that really inspired me to make some big changes. It’s still a good one. We are so lucky now, there are so many documentaries that talk about the importance of diet and our health –Food Matters, Forks Over Knives & Hungry for Change are all worth seeing. Dirt! The Movie was really interesting; it’s about soil, why it is so important and what is happening to it in our modern world.
I’m going to make a note of watching some Dirt! Soil depletion is a rather terrifying reality- gotta get informed… Indirectly related, what piece of advice do you have for those of us living in such a fast paced, high stress, grab-and-go environment?
Find a roommate or partner who really likes to cook healthy food! Seriously though, we live in a world with so many chemicals and so much pollution that we really can’t control day-to day. Putting good food into our body is something that we do have power over and is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Take the time to set new routines that allow for some home-cooked/prepared meals. It gets easier as it becomes a habit and is so worth it!
Any stories you’d like to share about your particular line of work? It is a rather fascinating one!
No specific story but it has been really inspiring to see how friends and families come together when someone has cancer. A diagnosis can be scary and everyone tends to respond differently, but on a whole, I have been really lucky to witness so much love expressed during some of the hardest times. Cancer sucks, but it brings people together and forces you to think about what matters.
Yes it sure does, Dana.
Many thanks to Dana for her insight into healthy eating, and her wisdom and dedication to making it work for those struggling with a very, very hard aspect of many lives.
I encourage you to keep checking The Crushing Cancer Kitchen – for delicious healthy recipes, and if need be, much more.