Thursday, June 18, 2009

PHOTO: My newest accessory

Several people remarked that I looked different in the recent photo I posted...meaning 'different' in a good way :)

First of all, thank you!

If I do look changed it could be due to the fact that I've lost a little bit of weight by modifying how I eat. In order to prepare myself for the battle ahead I have given my diet a major overhaul.

Food-wise, I am in warrior mode.

I've been a vegetarian for almost 8 years now, and a vegan for a little over 6. Prior to that, when I weighed as much as 300 lbs, my diet consisted of alot of junk food punctuated by frequent but failed attempts to turn over a new leaf. When Megan was born, that leaf was in a sense turned over for me, as I recently blogged about. (hey, that whole leaf metaphor works rather well since I'm a plant-eater, huh?)

Anyway, people unfamiliar with a plant based diet often think it is limiting or all about deprivation. Trust me, it's not. Gourmet food abounds that is veggie friendly. And while many of us can be rather health conscious it is still possible to pig out on plenty of junk food, too. French fries -- vegan. Oreos -- yup, vegan. You'd be surprised at all the readily available vegan foods, not to mention that places like Whole Foods have an array of temptations at the ready for even the strictest vegetarian gourmand.

Clearly I didn't lose 130 lbs and maintain it for all this time by indulging in too many Oreos or french fries, lol. Once I went veg, compared to typical Western standards, I ate a pretty healthy diet. But after Daniel was born and life got more hectic I admit to relying more and more on convenience foods instead of eating the fresh, home-cooked meals as often as we did before.

However since my breast cancer diagnosis I have been back to following a leaner, cleaner version of my usual vegan diet, and then some. Now I eat virtually no processed foods and absolutely no sugar -- no sweeteners of any kind, in fact. Sugar is inflammatory and the last thing you want if you are dealing with an illness is increased inflammation, especially when it comes to cancer.
I've also tried incorporating alot of macrobiotic principles into my new approach to food as medicine. A typical day has me easily eating at least 9 servings of fruits and veggies, (more veg than fruit, even fruit has natural sugars) and 3 or 4 large servings of whole grains...a couple servings of beans and some sea vegetables too. I still microwave some of my food (a no-no in macrobiotics) but rely more now on steaming, blanching or light sauteing. I always bought organic if available before, but I've stepped that up to eating at least 90% organic now.

The results are that I feel -- well, great, actually. If I didn't have cancer I'd swear I was the healthiest I've ever been. My energy level and ability to stay calm (relatively speaking) under dire circumstances is evidence enough that this way of eating is healing and serving me well.

And I really enjoy the foods I eat! A dinner plate half covered with a rainbow swath of a variety of veggies and a luscious mound of rice & beans is beautiful, colorful, and more hearty than you can even imagine. Real food tastes delicious, especially if you give your taste buds half the chance to recover and again relish the vitality of natural flavors.

So, maybe this is why I look different. I guess you could say quality food has become my best new accessory :)


Sheila said...

That's so inspirational! Although I'm not a vegetarian, I try to eat as little processed food as possible. Yesterday I counted 12 fruits and vegetables! I know that I feel so much better for having such a varied diet rich in whole food.

I recently have been weaning myself off sugar (and sugar substitutes/artificial sweeteners) and use honey when it's absolutely necessary (to me) to have sweetness.

Good for you! This will make a huge difference in your fight against cancer.

Jean said...

Kayleigh, you are one determined lady! Not only are you determined to fight this cancer, but you are determined to do it looking fantastic along the way! I'm in total awe of you, I don't think I would have the foresight to do what you are doing. Amazing.

You go Kayleigh - kick some cancer ass!

p.s. When I went on the recent buddhist retreat I ate mostly vegan food, and it was mostly fantastic although I still maintain that tofu is the invention of the devil.

goodbyetoboobs said...

Just leaving some love for a fellow vegan ;) Your post made me hungry!

La Belette Rouge said...

You are good! You make rice and beans sound like gourmet food.Seriously, you made he hungry! Good for you for taking such good care of yourself.xoxo

Alison said...

You do look wonderful! I'm so proud of you for eating so healthy for your body to be at it's best. This is not an easy task. You are an amazing woman. Thank you again for telling us your story and keeping us updated. Take care!

Chuck Dilmore said...

THAT is the image of a HEALER!

Kayleigh - you are soo gonna kick its axx.
and you are soo gonna breathe at the end of this
and say: Somehow... i feel stronger, now.

the life and vitality that i see in this portrait
is the same that i saw the first time
i saw your profile portrait.

you have things to accomplish on this journey...
and you will. for you. for your children.
with your husband.

sweetest, best energy to you!

Mervat said...

Your enthusiasm for your healthy lifestyle speaks loud and clear. Not only are you looking fabulous you are sounding so much more positive. And that is such a good thing on *all* levels.


Unknown said...

This is a fantastic post, and so true! I sometimes think we cook so much meat just because it's easy, especially in this country where the food culture is so meat-centered. I've been trying somewhat unsuccessfully to eat a more vegetable-based diet, but this is inspiring me to stick to it.

I've been making some good vegetable dishes lately and I'll post the recipes on my blog. :o)