I am known to I love a good pistachio gelato or mochi every now and then, but for the most part, I have always been an all-around healthy person. I focus on organic produce, drink green juices, eat mostly paleo, the list goes on. So, when I was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma at just 24, I felt like it just HAD to be a mistake. Despite that I worked out regularly and ate healthy, it wasn’t a silly admin error. Now that I have recently completed five sessions of chemotherapy and my final surgery, it is time to kickstart my new foodie lifestyle as a raw vegan.
I was bombarded with advice when I was first diagnosed with cancer, and one of the first things I learned was that cancer “feeds” off of sugar, thus a sugar-free diet (including natural sugars like fruit) is best. I didn’t waste any time and dismissed all sugar (however, I did keep natural sugars) and cut out red meat, sushi and pickled foods to lower the risk of infection. After my second round of chemotherapy, I was hospitalized and decided to listen to my body and indulge in what my body craved during treatment. Your body needs fuel to fight off disease and personally, it felt better to gain weight than loose weight. Similar to a hangovers increasing cravings for greasy foods and the feeling of “fullness”, I felt better having a few more lb’s to fight through treatment, and that meant eating healthy with indulgences every now and then. Depending on the stage and type of cancer, I definitely would not recommend this route for everyone.
I did a lot of research on which “diet” is best for fighting off cancer and kept coming back to the raw vegan diet – check out this article and this article. Please take note that the majority of these articles are based off of more common cancer’s like breast and prostate, however, having synovial sarcoma, I’m now more susceptible to other cancer’s so why not give it a shot?
I decided to gradually transition my diet from full-on carnivore to vegetarian for a few weeks then vegan for a couple months and finally, raw vegan. All of these stages are sugar-free including natural sugars. I truly believe it is best to slowly ween off of certain foods rather cutting them out cold turkey. In my case, I still have one month of radiation which is extremely exhausting so I thought including carbs in my diet would be the best to supplement vital energy.
In addition to my own research, I work with a nutritionist who helps guide my decisions. He noted that it’s very important to be conscious about my protein intake. One exclusion to my all-veggie diet is whey protein, which is not plant-based. My nutritionist recommended whey protein because it is a complete, high-quality protein, that contains all of the essential amino acids – read about more whey protein health benefits here. An easy way to incorporate it into your diet, is to throw it in a green smoothie – I do this every morning.
I also bought a dehydrator to incorporate more textures and variety into my raw vegan diet. You can dehydrate veggies to cook snacks like crispy truffle oil vegetable chips and spaghetti squash straws – SO excited to try this out. I’ll be sure to expand this section once I explore more recipes. For starters, I’ve copied my raw vegan grocery list and a few book recommendations below for your reference. Feel free to message me directly with any thoughts or questions. As always, I would love to hear from you!
Kara’s Sugar-Free Raw Vegan Grocery List: