Before you read further, I am in no way saying that my poor eating habits are the cause of me getting cancer. It’s firmly in the family genes and as I’ve said before, there are many reasons behind a cancer diagnosis.
I was recently asked if I would be prepared to share my current diet. I’m happy to share more than my diet as I think that there is such a psychology behind food and how we nurture ourselves with it or choose not to.
For me it’s not only the food choices that you make, it’s also about how you connect mentally to the food you prepare and eat that makes all the difference, or so I’ve discovered.
When I lived on my own in my little apartment in South Africa, food was never an issue for me. Besides having a massive sweet tooth and easily finishing a packet of sweets or a slab of chocolate in one sitting, I was on a good innings when it came to planning healthy meals each day. When I gave up my home to travel on tour for nearly three years with The Sound of Music, things changed. Perhaps that’s when the cycle began. I was fortunate enough to stay with family and friends in between tours and so I got the benefit of home cooking for a couple of weeks before I set off on the road again. A huge thank you to my aunt Lynndy who makes the tastiest meals, Ricky and her mom Ina for their incredible food and all the laughter we had in the kitchen together, my JenBen in Cape Town – I miss our rusks and coffee in the morning and anyone else who cooked a delicious meal for me over that time. Thanks for the spoils 🙂
Moving to London definitely escalated the problem. I was in survival mode in the first year, so nurturing my body wasn’t exactly a priority. I was more focused on getting through the day and spending as little money as possible, as I wasn’t earning very much.
I was also sleeping in the living room, on a sleeper couch in a gorgeous little flat, with my brother Ash and his girlfriend Cazz, who is now his wife and my sister. Yay!!! Cazz makes delicious vegetarian food and can turn anything into a meal from the Gods. They would often, very generously invite me to eat with them and sometimes I would. Mostly, I didn’t want them to feel the need to include me in their dinners and I wanted them to have quality time for one another at the end of a long day at work.
Another concern was taking up space in their fridge. None of these issues were theirs, I was the problem 🙂 Love you both millions for taking such good care of me in those first 6 months.
This is a big part of my realization since my diagnosis. I don’t feel comfortable taking up space in someone else’s home. I don’t want to be in the way and often find myself apologizing in case I am. This is a longstanding and rather deep layer from my childhood which has taken a while to work through, but I’m peeling back those layers thankfully.
With all this in mind, I would grab sandwiches or pastries after work and because my job as a telephone fundraiser was rather depressing, I drank one cup of coffee after another. It was one sugar with every cup of coffee and on tough days I could knock back at least 5 cups or more. Then I’d get home and have tea and chocolate digestive biscuits and there was sometimes no end to that cycle.
I’m sure you get the picture.
The reason I’ve chosen to include all of this and not just give an outline of my diet is because I have undergone such a massive turnaround as a result of a cancer diagnosis and the end result is extremely positive and healing for me, physically, mentally and emotionally.
As I’ve mentioned before in my writing, I live with a wonderful family who have shown such support and generosity. I take up space in their kitchen. I have my own drawer in the fridge, which, if you can believe it, I asked for. That alone is a miracle and a sign of growth. I have my own shelf in the cupboard and even though I still ask most days if I’m in someone’s way, it’s out of politeness and not because I’m feeling guilty for being there. Jen very kindly asked if I would like to eat with the family at dinner times which was extremely helpful after my surgeries and now, while I’m going through chemo, is one less stress for me. I said yes to that too! Yay!
I have always been fiercely independent in how I manage my life so these changes are all a part of me learning to let go and receive. Being grateful is an understatement.
What was supposed to be a short explanation and introduction to sharing my diet has now turned into over 800 words, so we’ll talk ‘pomegranates’ on the next blog 🙂
Make good food choices today…and every other day! You won’t regret it!