I’ve had cancer for over a decade. While there has been many roller coasters along the way, the first few weeks after a diagnosis were the most stressful and mentally draining. Through my cancer journey, like my business career, having role models and mentors were critical. I had many people look out for me and so I believe in doing the same. While I never wanted to be “Caryn with Cancer,” if my stories and learnings can help someone else find a little ease with this disease, then I want to share them all. When it comes to the initial diagnosis, unfortunately you can’t bury your head in the sand for long. You have to make several decisions in a short amount of time. Below are some tips that worked for me when it came to handling those first few weeks.
As a breast cancer survivor, I’m not sure whether I love October or fear it. Seeing the spectrum of pink colors everywhere can be overwhelming. It’s a constant reminder that I’m sick. And yes, I know that thousands of women and men are afflicted with this disease yearly, so the pink promotion isn’t about me being ill. But sometimes, I just get inside my head. My thoughts go to the scary places that we all want to push away. And sometimes, I just want to cry.
I’m a juice junkie and obsessed with green smoothies, but I wasn’t always this way. As a former work-aholic, I spent years consuming energy drinks, cups of caffeine and carb-loaded meals. I thought these would bring me energy. I was right, just the wrong kind. You can feel a BIG difference between an immediate energy spike from a sugar-laden coffee vs. the mind-clearing, sustainable energy that wholesome foods provide. One of the BEST choices I made when I changed my lifestyle was to eat and drink more plants. And when I speak or write about taking small steps toward better health, my recommendation for everyone is to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, which is easy when you start incorporating homemade juices and smoothies.
When people say that chocolate is healthy, they unfortunately don’t mean the sugar-filled Belgium truffle or bakery fudge bite. The true gold mine of health in regards to chocolate is cacao. Cacao nibs are raw dark chocolate cocoa beans that were dehydrated and crushed without further processing. Filled with tons of antioxidants and magnesium, unsweetened cacao nibs are perfect to add to shakes, smoothie bowls and yogurt parfait. Even though my sweet tooth has lessened now that I eat clean, I still enjoy the sweet taste of cacao. In my quest to find healthy treats, this healthy fudge recipe has easily fooled my dessert-loving friends, and kids think it’s a decadent and sugary snack.
It’s back-to-school season, and while most of us rush to find the best sales on the teacher recommended school supplies, it’s also important to keep an eye out for eco-friendly items. Not only do they help the environment, but they’re also better for our children’s health.
Have you ever come home from vacation nearly 10-pounds heavier than you were before you left? Did you give yourself the “I’m on Vacation” approval to eat anything at anytime? I’ve been there and done that. Ate gluttonously for weeks, then returned home with little motivation to eat better and exercise. Now my daily diet isn’t about losing weight and looking pretty, it’s about being well. Nearly four years ago, on my first real vacation after I started eating clean, I challenged myself to enjoy my vacation while maintaining my healthy lifestyle. I also gave some thought on how to help my family indulge, just not excessively.