The Importance of Organic

I fully support the hypothesis that the reason cancer is so prevalent in the United States is due to the food we put into our body. To further emphasize my point, here’s an excellent Ted Talk with Robyn O’Brien worth watching. The video really isn’t that long and is jam packed full of enough information to get the gears turning. Hope you enjoy it!

When I began my cancer journey, I had been eating organic for nearly two years. But prior to that, I didn’t much attention to labels or any of the ingredients that went into the food my son and I ate. I grew up on bleached, enriched-flour, Bisquick pancakes, regular milk (no doubt loaded with hormones and antibiotics), fast food, delivery food, Little Debbie snack cakes and brownies…there really was no limit to what was on out table and in our cabinets.

Not too long after moving back home in 2010, I went to see a friend of mine who also does tattooing. During our tattoo session, I started to fade. My blood sugar was dropping and I needed something quick. He ran upstairs to his kitchen and brought down a few organic lollipops and I was saved. I asked him where he had found them and when he told me Whole Foods I wondered how I had missed that aisle in the grocery super store. I wasn’t yet a frequent shopper of the store but had gone in a few times here and there since moving back.

Sure enough, the next time I went in, I found the organic candy aisle. It wasn’t too long after this that I started my journey into better eating. Not only better eating, I also became a more informed, much more aware consumer. My family and I have been eating organic for nearly five years now and I will never ever go back to the way we used to eat.

As a journalism student at UMass, I was able to photograph a local “March Against Monsanto” for my PhotoJournalism class. I began teaching my son (now nearly nine-years-old) about the importance of organic, how the food we eat fuels the way we feel, how our bodies grow and heal.

He quickly became an organic eating food connoisseur, nagging my mother incessantly about the food she was eating “Grandma, do you know what’s in this stuff? It’s basically poison in a box! You can’t even pronounce it. You know high fructose corn syrup is really really bad for you right?”

organic-farm

I truly, truly believe that eating organic while going through chemotherapy is one of the many reasons why I did so well battling cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it was no walk in the park. I had my days of not wanting to go on, of being so exhausted I couldn’t get out of bed or so nauseas I couldn’t eat.

One thing I know for sure, is that when I experienced side effects it wasn’t medicine prescribed by my oncologist that helped. It was the holistic remedies. I ended up changing oncologists because the one that I started with had no concept what so ever of organic living and when I asked him if he knew of any organic remedies, he caught an arrogant attitude and said “Well you’re doing everything organic except for the chemo right? This is what we prescribe for patients so if you figure something else out, let me know.”

For the nausea I would drink organic, ginger, tea daily–sometime three to four cups per day rather taking the Ondansetron he had prescribed. I also found some organic, vegan, ginger-snap cookies at Whole Foods Market that I would nibble on throughout the day. To keep my bowels moving normally (hey if I’m going to share my story I may as well be 100 percent truthful, some people get backed up when they go through chemo and I happened to be one of them) I would drink several cups of organic, green tea and found that increasing my water intake as well as eating fibrous, organic, fresh fruit (peaches and pears mostly) helped me out tremendously. Far more than the polyethylene glycol the oncologist had prescribed. Seriously? Polyethylene glycol? If ethylene glycol is fairly toxic to humans and animals and propylene glycol is what goes into anti-freeze…why the hell would I want to put something so closely, chemically related in my body? And on a daily basis nonetheless???

We have an obligation to ourselves to take the best care of our bodies that we can. I also believe that it starts at home, with healthy life-style choices. Passing this knowledge onto our children, onto future generations, is just as much a part of that responsibility.

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