I found myself staring blankly into the bathroom mirror as I made fish-like faces at the mirror. All I could think about was my Bulletproof coffee that was calling my name in the kitchen. No, I wasn’t doing a morning face gym workout, but desperately attempting to gather saliva (of course). I was trying to muster up enough spit to fill this tiny plastic tube so I could ship it off and scientists could extract my DNA from my saliva sample — just a casual morning. This, my friends, is called Fitness Genes, a DNA test that curates your nutrition and fitness routine based on your genetic makeup. Is your science nerd totally geeking out right now? Because mine is. I waited patiently for my results to return and about a month later, voila, my DNA analysis, personalized workout advice, and genetically tailored diet plan popped into my inbox like a fitness fairy god mother.
Now more than ever, it’s very important for me to know how my body is going to respond to different foods and workouts post-cancer treatment — especially since I’m experimenting with raw-vegan (ish). If you didn’t get the “ish” part, keep reading! Cancer patients should especially be aware of how to best fuel and train their body post-treatment because they are in such a fragile state.
I scrolled through the massive amounts of data and, I’m not going to lie, it was a little overwhelming with a lot of scientific terms. Thankfully my nutritionist, Kelly Leveque, and Google helped me drive home some key insights.
1. Opt for a holistic plan
I learned that I have fast-twitch muscle fibers and endurance genes — AKA sprints are my friend (jokes). In layman’s terms, that means I should be signing up for Barry’s Bootcamp, which is comical because my physical therapist told me to focus on yoga and pilates because stretching is key to my specific recovery (tibial nerve removal). A caveat to my apparent bootcamp breakthrough, I have a hard time clearing lactic acid which is produced after sprints. So, sprints are now bad…? You can see how someone can get easily confused with all of this information. You have to take these kinds of test results with a grain of salt and not solely use an analysis from Fitness Genes or elsewhere to plan your wellness routine. You should look at everything as a whole — from science to your soul. Strive for a balance that feeds your body and soul!
2. Halt the Coco Craze
If you take a peak in my kitchen cupboard, you will most likely first see a sh*t ton of herbal adaptogens, but then you will see stacks of coconut wraps, a massive bottle of Bulletproof MCT oil (a very pure form of coconut oil), and CAP beauty coconut butter — Artisana is great too! I’ve gone coco crazy! However, I am on a heavily raw-focused diet so fat is my friend, but Fitness Genes thankfully let me know that I have a propensity to gain weight when I eat a high saturated fat diet. So, you may hear things on the internet, from your nutritionist, or from your wellnessy friends about the amazing benefits of coconut oil, butter, and fat (maybe even ghee!), but just remember that every body is different and it may not be the right fit for you! Great alternatives to coconut oil are olive oil, avocado oil, and algae oils.
3. Raw Vegan Isn’t a Cancer Cure For All
There is a lot of science and data backing up veganism(particularly raw veganism) to help prevent cancer reoccurance. I will admit that I was fully on board with this at first because science doesn’t lie, but when I started looking at my diet from a broader perspective, I was lacking a lot of vital nutrients and essentials (ie. protein) to help rebuild muscles, cells, and nerves. Furthermore, Fitness Genes flagged that I am predisposed to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and low vitamin D. Consequently, I have added organic, cage-free eggs and Sokeye salmon back into my diet about 2 to 3 times per week. Sockeye salmon because it is always caught and raised wild. When fish is farm-raised, antibiotics and other harmful toxins are used to feed and grow the fish. So, when in doubt, eat wild! Other than those two additions, I am still a sugar-free raw vegan, but now I simply call myself a “flexitarian” because there really isn’t a label for my lifestyle at the moment — not mention, labels make people go CRAZY. Overall, my point is, you have to listen to your body, do your research, and get second (even third or fourth!) opinions because every mind, body, and soul is different!