Crazy, not-so-sexy cancer life

I found it pretty funny that today, during my usual browsing of the website Pinch of Yum (www.pinchofyum.com), I scrolled my mouse over their link to “Food Blogger Pro,” as if I may actually start a food blog. Hilarious. I once burned pasta, the easiest thing to make, if that gives you a sense of my cooking skills. Granted that was about 17 years ago, and I’ve certainly come a long way, but you’re not going to be getting a food blog out of me anytime soon. And though what I make generally tastes pretty good, I certainly don’t put it together in a way that anybody would ever want to see (me: pulling tiny bits of turkey bacon apart before putting it into the frying pan. SHL: It’s easier if you cook the bacon first… Me: Oh).

Having said that, you’ve been hearing a lot lately about my journey with food because it’s been a wonderful way to feel some control in a pretty crazy world living with cancer. A couple of weeks ago I had to call my physician assistant to ask her a question, and fast forward almost 2 weeks later: I am still a giant ball of anxiety. What doctors, PA’s, nurses, etc. fail to realize, I think, is that they can say one thing, and a patient can go into a tailspin. What she said isn’t actually anything that I don’t already know, but somehow hearing the words and the concern in her voice made me feel hopeless. I can’t believe I’m actually even writing those words, and yet here I am. No point in me blogging if I’m not going to be real. Would I ever actually throw in the towel? Absolutely, without a doubt, you’d better believe it, NOT. But… When negativity surrounds you, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Her comment may have been accurate in a very scientific way, but it also doesn’t necessarily mean that g-d willing I won’t have a long, healthy, and bright future. I love Western medicine and appreciate the *%^& out of my doctors, but talking to them doesn’t always make me exactly want to do back flips. Make sense?

All of this is my long way of saying that Kris Carr may have a point: All we can do is control what we eat, drink, and think. And trying new healthy recipes and blogging about them is a way that I feel like I can take charge of me. Like I’m doing something good for myself. Like I have some say in all of this crazy, not-so-sexy cancer life. Am I going to drink green juice 3 x day and never have another hamburger? Probably not. But do I feel better physically and psychologically when I eat my fruits and veggies? You better believe it. My friend MC the other day over lunch asked me if this was going to be my “thing.” She seemed to recognize how much I love sharing my journey. How hard it’s been for me to cut out soda, how tiring it’s been to focus on 4 day a week workouts, and just how difficult it’s been for me to come home exhausted from work and cook for myself, but how rewarding it’s been to have people in my life to share the challenges– and the accomplishments– with. And do I succeed at these things every day? No. But what anybody trying to make changes in their life should focus on are the positive changes, no matter how big or small they are. Am I perfect? I wish (kind of). But have I done these things listed above more often than I used to? Heck yeah! So what will my “thing” be? I’m not sure that I know yet, but whatever it is, I hope that it won’t just help me, but you as well.

The other nice thing about blogging about what’s for dinner, is that it means that I don’t have to talk here about the dark days, which have been more often lately than I’d care to admit. Some days I actually can’t believe that I help people all.day.long with their problems, and still have the time and the energy to come home and face my own.

So what is for dinner tonight? Taco Pizza, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman, who I just love. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/05/taco-pizza/. Except mine will be whole wheat crust and more veggies, but I am looking forward to the beans and cheese, that’s for sure. CPK’s Tostada Pizza is one of my very favorite pizzas, and this looks like a good take on it. And last night I tried a new chili recipe called 30 Minute Spicy Ancho Turkey Chili, found here: http://pinchofyum.com/30-minute-spicy-ancho-turkey-chili. I didn’t have the ancho chili powder, but it didn’t seem to matter, this chili was still rich with flavor. We’d never had faro before, but in the spirit of continuing to try new things, we decided what the heck, since the recipe called for it. And honestly, you can’t taste it too much with all of the other ingredients like cumin, garlic, chili powder, diced tomatoes, salsa, and black beans. But I felt like we were getting a meal packed with protein and fiber. Basically, with some multigrain tortilla chips, scallions, and low-fat sour cream, this was a winner of a dinner. (And leftover chili is so easy and delicious). P.S. SHL texted me today to say that he had some of the leftover chili for lunch. He never, ever (ever!) eats leftovers, so I’d say this was a hit in my house!

Another benefit of being more plant-based conscious? SHL is probably benefiting, too (shhh, don’t tell him). While he still eats a lot of what he wants (he’s not a big fan of whole wheat pasta), I like to think that my being a little bit more health-conscious is rubbing off on him, too. That makes me happy.

I’ve also realized lately that since doing the detox, I’ve been a lot more aware on cutting down my meat intake (though I did use ground turkey in last night’s chill, I went veggie on the Japanese food take-out the other night), and haven’t been craving sugar quite as much (although last night SHL and I looked at each other at the same time after dinner had digested and we were watching a movie; and then simultaneously went to raid the kitchen. I finally decided on a little bit of dark chocolate– 3 pieces is a little, right?– dipped into some melted peanut butter. There are worse things in the world, I think?).

One day at a time, just like trying to figure out life with cancer.

Bon Appetit. xo.

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