Self-Love: Fight Cancer With Food

Posted: August 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

Time to grab a cup of joe (or bottle of ice water with this heat!) and settle in for another great self-love reflection and story. Remember, I am sharing YOUR strengths and stories now because you all are just so dang inspiring. This week comes courtesy of Alex from Fighting Cancer with Food. Her story gives me chills. So read it and then give Alex some love with a visit to her blog and/or a hello in the comments. You want to know this chick!


Hey there! I’m Alex...


...and it is absolutely wonderful to meet you.

I feel a little uncomfortable writing this. I’m better at “It’s just what anyone would have done,” and then changing the subject. Possibly with granola. I’m really good at granola.


But if I’ve learnt anything from reading Tina’s blog, it’s that my triumphs are worth shouting aloud. My strengths and accomplishments are not average or every-day. They are mine and I own them. Own them with me? Let’s jump in at the deep end.


In April 2010 my Mum was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. First was Breast Cancer in 2002. Then secondary cancer in her spine. Third time’s the charm and she ended up with Advanced Breast Cancer that metastasised to her liver. It was as if the disease had finally reached its breaking point. It was pissed off and had come back with a vengeance. The first two times had some side effects, but I began to think that the world had been lying to everyone. Cancer wasn't that bad. Chemotherapy didn't make you ill.


Well, they weren’t lying.

I was in the final year of my degree, just 4 weeks away my dissertation deadlines (yes, plural. I was an absolutely geek and did seemed like a good idea at the time). Despite all that, there was no way I was leaving her to go through treatment on her own.

It was stressful, tiring and incredibly emotional, but I don’t regret a single second of
it. I attended all of Mum’s early appointments with her. From the point when we were still hoping that chemo would shrink the tumour in her liver to a manageable size to the point when a nurse suggested that she stay at a local hospice for a few days, for what they called ‘respite care’. Little did I know that the next time she would come home, would be the week before she died - three short months after her diagnosis. We went through some truly horrific things at the end, but I was there holding her hand.


One thing we decided together was that we needed to kick cancer’s ass. It had obviously taken a liking to her body, so we needed to make her body as unwelcoming as possible. We began to look into the links between diet and cancer and discovered that there is so much evidence out there for what food can do to cancer cells. I researched big time, and we completely overhauled our diet.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save her, but it ignited something in me that I cannot forget. What started as a little bit of research became the passion that has managed to drag me through losing her. Learning about what I could do to protect myself against this destructive disease gave me something positive to focus on, and it’s completely changed my outlook on life. I love food more than I ever have, but I am also aware of how we can use it to arm ourselves against the things that feel out of our control.

latte porridge

Okay, deep breaths. That’s the background of it all.

Tina’s Sunday posts are all about self-love, and I wanted to shout out about my story for two reasons:

First off, because I never do. People tell me how strong I have been, and more often than not I will brush off their compliments. But you know what? I did good. I rocked my degree. I don’t know how, but I managed to come out with First Class Honours.It was pretty incredible that I did so well, and my Mum found out my results while she could still tell me how proud she was of me. I’ll never forget that look on her face.


I was at my Mum’s side when she needed me the most and I know how much she
appreciated the small things. Glasses of water after she’d been sick; laughing instead of
crying; hugs; someone to watch daytime TV with. It all mattered.

I am inspirational. This is the one I get most embarrassed about, but I hope it carries on. I started my blog Fight Cancer With Food as a way to tell people about how easy and tasty it is to live the anti-cancer lifestyle. While I don’t expect everyone who reads it to change their diet in the same way, I have received so many lovely comments about how amazing it is. And no, it isn’t all crazy health food – I like serious comfort food – I just know the simple ways to anti-cancerfy your favourites.


For the second reason, I simply hope that some good might come out of my Mum’s illness. I am strong because of her strength, so it feels right that I might go on to help someone else because of it. It hasn’t been easy, and of course there have been (and still are) some truly dark days, but I have come out stronger. Here I am, a year later, and I know that she would be incredibly proud to read this post.

Find the good in awful situations. Live with every fibre of your body. And somewhere along the way, fill that body with granola. Because life should be long and taste fantastic.

  • What is something that has sparked your own healthy living passions?

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19 Comments to “Self-Love: Fight Cancer With Food”
  1. Khushboo says:

    Wow Alex, that was such an uplifting read. I am sorry to hear that you lost your mom but your strength and determination are both inspirational. My mom had a lump which was diagnosed malignant but fortunately it was at the early stages and has been removed. The fear that it could come back and that my sister and I are both at risk is a huge motivator to continue with a healthy lifestyle. I’m a firm believer in ‘prevention over cure’ and I rather not wait till healthy living is a necessity. Thanks again for your post and I wish you all the best.

  2. Beautiful post! you really are an inspriation. I am heading over to your blog now 🙂

  3. stevie says:

    Chemotherapy and radiation are some of the worst things you can do to your body. There are many other ways to fight cancer but they are not nearly as profitable. The truth is the FDA will never find a “cure” for cancer unless it is very expensive and will keep the business of cancer in full swing. Dr. Burzynski has been treating patients with a higher success rate than chemo and radiation. Yet the problem is the FDA refused to recognize this inexpensive method as an option to fighting cancer. Check it out! It’s good for people to know there are more options than they are told!

  4. Ela says:

    Thanks for sharing, and what an inspiring story! You know what’s especially inspiring, is that you own how inspirational you are. It’s really good to know and say that.

  5. Maren says:

    I don’t think I could have done what you did. Reading your story made me cry. I’m so glad you shared and your story really is inspiring.

  6. Wow, Alex you truly are an inspiration. What a great reminder of how we should all live our lives. If you can find inspiration in a situation like this, we can all do the same in the more trivial ones of day to day life.
    Loved this post!

  7. I am loving this new series! This is definitely another post that I have needed to hear. My father-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 2 Colon Cancer about 2 weeks ago, and just recently, they believe he might also have liver cancer as they have found 2 small lesions in his liver that might be cancerous (they don’t want to do a biopsy since it would be a very invasive surgery). My in-laws (including my husband’s) eating habits are drastically different than my own healthy lifestyle. After my FIL’s diagnosis, my MIL came to me regarding a diet overhaul that might help him fight this cancer better. I was on board – and Alex’s blog will be passed on and read religiously! Thank you so much!

  8. Wow- Alex, you are an amazing person! This was a sad, but inspirational story.
    Something thats sparked my healthy living is the fact that diabetes runs through the family, and so does cancer. I want to live a healthy life and feed my body nutrients so I don’t end up with diabetes, or diagnosed with cancer.

    Love the story, headin over to your blog as we speak 🙂

  9. Alex, I don’t remember how I originally found your found your blog but I have been touched by your posts. My sparks to healthy living involved several health problems of my own and my dad being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Hearing the word cancer scarred me. Seeing my parents change their diet and how it helped them sparked me to change my own eating habits and learn more about what I was putting in and on my body. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  10. Thank you for sharing your story and STRENGTH with us Alex! I can’t wait to check out your blog. One of the biggest ways I have begun to counter my negative relationship with food is by focusing on nutrients like this. To be honest, I haven’t been doing so well lately, and your post has re-inspired me to think about food in this healthy way and focus on the good things food can give me, not the ‘bad’.

  11. teresa says:

    You ARE inspirational and I will follow your blog. I do believe it’s important to eat for health and since I’m an older mommy (46 with a 4 year old), I’m much more aware of staying healthy to be here for her. I can’t take anything for granted.
    I love the middle photo of you and your mom. It’s beatuiful.
    I’m sorry you lost her already. I believe firmly that she is still with you and loving you… but I know it’s different.
    big hugs to you!

  12. I am absolutely heading over. For some reason, I hadn’t thought use a diagnosis as a reason to change your diet. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinsons last year, and this makes me want to read up on diet’s effect there. Thank you for your inspiration!

  13. So so so so so glad I read this post. Thanks Tina for introducing us to this lovely lady! Can’t wait to follow her blog.

  14. Jen says:

    Wow. Beautiful, powerful and inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

  15. Lauren says:

    This is soooo inspiring and so much like what we are doing with Susan with our latest fundraiser. We’re selling granola to help benefit her relief efforts. If you haven’t had a chance to get out my or Janetha’s giveaway, please do. I am so proud that there are similar things going on to help this cause. 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    Alex, you certainly are an inspiring young lady and you deserve to shout out about your achievements! Count me amongst your new followers 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  17. This is a beautiful, inspirational post. You are definitely a brave young lady and deserve praise for your strength! So excited to follow your blog now!

  18. Thank you so, so much for all your lovely comments, it means so much to me! 🙂

  19. My goodness, Alex. That is so inspirational. I can’t wait to read your blog. Your outlook on things is amazing. This just brought tears to my eyes.

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