Tag: anti-cancer

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut bacteria: The key to health All disease begins in the gut. ~ Hippocrates We have 70 trillion cells in our body. And we have 100 trillion cells in our gut. Meaning the gut bacteria we house far outnumber our own cells. There’s a reason […]

Creamy Celery Soup: Vegan Paleo Keto-Friendly Recipe

Creamy Celery Soup: Vegan Paleo Keto-Friendly Recipe

More Soup for You It’s October and while the days have still been warm, the mornings and evenings are cool and the air has that distinct autumn crisp. I’ve totally been feeling all the fall feels. Pumpkin, squash, soup, and yes, more soup. So today […]

One-Year In the Clear Remission Re-Birthday: Thank You Letter to My Universe

One-Year In the Clear Remission Re-Birthday: Thank You Letter to My Universe

Dear Universe

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for this day, thank you for this life. Thank you for everything – all of it. 

Today is September 27, my one year ‘cancerversary’ of my remission scan – my re-birthday. Which means my second birthday this month! One year in the clear and cancer-free! Woot! I said it before: September is the best month of the year! Life should be celebrated every day, but this month, there’s a gazillion reasons to celebrate a little extra hard. 

Remission Cancerversary
Remission, One Year Later: Same same but different, in all good ways

The Gift of Perspective

A full year has gone by, which allows for some serious perspective. This is one thing cancer generously gifts to fighters and survivors in spades: a giant dose of perspective. Today marks a full year from the official end of the crazy, from the end of the treatment whirlwind, and from the end of the cancer cloud handing over my head. A full year from my last PET scan which made it official: I was in the clear and cancer-free. Truly, the best news of my life. 

Post-scan I forged ahead with life: I’m done, I’m out, I’m moving on.

And forge ahead I did. I bopped about New York City in the weeks after my last round celebrating freedom and my birthday. I jumped back into barre and light fitness. I hopped on a plane to the Caribbean for a yoga retreat and some bliss on the beach. I started my first health coach training. I got my scan – cancer free. In the following three days, I maid of honored and celebrated hard at my sister’s beautiful church ceremony, the rehearsal dinner and the gorgeous, epic wedding celebration.

I dove in to my new training and researched all things wellness and business. I visited my friend in Philly. I visited my Nana in Boston. I hopped on another plane to visit my friends in LA, then tagged on a trip to San Diego to attend a health coaching conference. I got dressed up, attended parties and events, celebrated the holidays with friends and family, rang in the new year with sparkles and some bubbly, and even dated a bit here and there.

I survived, and life was meant for living, so I was out living mine, not just surviving, but thriving. 

The Gift of the Post-Chemo Reality Check

But in reality it wasn’t quiiiite so easy putting the pieces back together. The optimist in me was like Oh yeah, I kicked cancer’s butt, I got this healing thing no problem! I’m completely fiiiine!

But chemo brain lingered, I forgot to replace my probiotics, and neglected to really ramp up the supplements. Right after new years, right at the start of a planned cleanse, my body started freaking out. It was abundantly clear: I still had some healing to do and some lessons to learn. 

The reality is: chemo is rough. And 600 hours of it does a number on the body, no matter how well you get through it. The past year of healing has had its ups and downs, roadblocks, and frustrations to be sure, but I am HERE, and I am HEALTHY and ALIVE, and, really, that’s all that matters. And everything seems to be falling into place exactly as it should. 

The Gift of Hope

And what got me through it all? Hope. Hope and love and the support of an amazing community that was there for me throughout diagnosis and treatment, and which continues to be there, and which continues to grow.

Now, my ‘chemo brain’ has largely subsided, my gut is more or less healed and back to normal, and I’ve regained my strength, endurance, and flexibility. My post-chemo hair is thicker (and curly) and finally lookin like a purposeful pixie. And while the color is different, the red is showing through again. I still have a few back aches here and there, and the occasional fatigue from disrupted sleep (another post-chemo side effect), but a year and a few cleanses and detoxes out, and all in all I am better than ever! 

And with the gift of a mountain of perspective, when I look back on the last year, in spite of the challenges and frustrations, I have made a lot of progress. And I really have made a lot of positive changes. My body is healed, I’ve completed numerous trainings, and I have started a business pursuing my passion. That’s definitely something to celebrate!

Chemo curls
The chemo curls – with the addition of some blond highlights 🙂

The Gift of Confidence

I was well enough a year ago – pretty much straight outta chemo – to embark on a whole new career path: the health and wellness coaching. With the support of my community, I had the resources and capacity to research and utilize every healing modality possible, and I got through treatment incredibly well – the doctors and nurses were impressed and surprised at how well I was doing by my last round (and now my doctor isn’t even making me get follow up scans – win!!).

Finishing treatment strong enabled me to jump right back in to life. With confidence and conviction, I forged ahead and pursued my passion. To be sure, I had that healing left to do, but clearly the health coaching helped me heal myself. Now, I am officially certified as a health and wellness coach twice over, and by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching through a program approved by the National Board of Medical Examiners no less! (Sounds so fancy.) 

The Gift of Purpose

My trainings confirmed and solidified everything I had learned about healing, and have broadened and deepened my knowledge of all the factors that contribute to overall wellbeing. Now, I am finally, formally, bringing together my background in psychology, my yoga certifications, coaching and mentoring skills, and my personal passion for wellness and incorporating it all into my coaching so I can share these resources with others.

Because really, after going through I went through and learning everything I did during treatment about healing and thriving, how can I not? My goal is to take my knowledge and experience and help others truly heal through a holistic approach – whether it be from cancer or other ailments or chronic diseases, and ultimately enable others to get on the path of wellness and create a lifestyle that supports their optimal wellbeing. 

My absolute ideal: people never get to the point of receiving a chronic or critical diagnosis in the first place and they live deeply meaningful, fulfilling lives. Everyone wakes up energized and excited for the day… imagine that! I want to help people heal, revitalize, and truly thrive.

remission, life after cancer, purpose
YES to a fabulous life!

The Gift of Clarity

Life after cancer is full of possibility, and I believe there is a possibility of life without cancer. I’m aiming to do my part to make that possibility a reality. My certifications are complete, my website is live, and I’m creating group programs to complement the individual coaching. In my life before cancer, I had a vague vision of what I wanted, but it felt so far off in the distant future. I didn’t know how to get there. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t really know what was coming after, but I knew my life was changing, and I am so excited and grateful to have gotten to this point! 

Another gift I received from cancer? The gift of clarity.

The Gift of Gratitude

So, thank you universe. Thank you life. Thank you for this journey, and thank you for bringing me right here.

And thank you to everyone – the literally hundreds of you who have supported me along the way – for helping me get through the darkness and emerge on the other side better than ever. During the most difficult time in my life, the thoughtfulness and generosity of my community brought so much love and light into a very dark situation, and because of this I was able to get through it and come out on the other side stronger and all the better for it. I knew I was supported, I knew I was loved, and I knew there was so much more life awaiting me. 

Life After Cancer

I was able to take the time to focus on healing and change what needed to change in my life, and I am so excited to share what I’ve learned as health and life transformation coach, in a position where I can use everything I learned through my own journey to pay it forward and help people heal and overcome their health issues and ultimately reclaim their lives from the stress, overwhelm, and health issues that I am now all too familiar with.

I am so grateful to be on this path, and just so, so appreciative of the gracious support I have received; for the perspective I’ve gained; for the clarity, confidence, hope, purpose, and gratitude I’ve been gifted. Now my hope is that I can play my part in helping people prevent serious illness and not go through what I did…  and live a life full of vitality and thrive! 

With deepest gratitude and love,

Amanda xx

The Benefits of Meditation: Boost your Health and Happiness

The Benefits of Meditation: Boost your Health and Happiness

Meditation and My #HappyMe Challenge September is my favorite month. I am admittedly slightly biased because it just so happens to be my birth month, but I’d still probably prefer it even if I wasn’t lucky enough to have the sapphire as my birthstone. Crisp […]

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Cleanse your system the fun way The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to […]

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Watermelon is good, and good for you

Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is amazing! So I get a giant watermelon and find all sorts of ways to eat it.

And because I’m oh-so-curious about the health benefits of everything I consume, I did a little background research, and it turns out it really is a whole lot more than water!

It also just so happens that watermelon is very detox-friendly, which is great for my current cleanse efforts. There’s even a few versions of a watermelon detox diet that calls for eating or drinking pretty much just watermelon for a couple days. It’s great for cleansing because watermelon is low calorie and since it’s made up of 92% water, it’s extremely hydrating.

While I’ve never gone full-on watermelon, I have been incorporating watermelon into my summer cleanse recipes as much as possible, and here’s why.

 

watermelon health benefits

Top health benefits of watermelon

Kidney Health. Beyond being simply hydrating, one of the primary benefits of watermelons is that it improves kidney function. It acts as a mild diuretic and due to this kidney-cleansing property, it has a history of being used to treat kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Watermelon contains high amounts of calcium and potassium, which aid the kidneys in flushing out toxins and reducing the concentration of uric acid.

Heart and Bone Health. Watermelon also has the highest percentage of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable – it contains 18mg in two cups compared to just 4mg in a medium tomato. High lycopene consumption is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and improved bone health. The deeper the red, the higher the lycopene concentration, so, the riper the better!

Cancer Treatment and Prevention. Bonus – lycopene has been directly linked to cancer prevention and treatment. Research indicates that lycopene can induce apoptosis of cancer cells, interrupt cancer cell growth, and regulate carcinogen metabolism. Lycopene also reduces insulin growth, which is a key component of fighting cancer

Blood cleanser. Watermelons also contain high amounts of citrulline, an amino acid that is converted into arginine by the kidneys and other organs. This conversion is thought to improve blood flow, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health as well as filtration of the blood, which by definition ‘cleanses’ the blood.

Insulin regulation and Weight Loss. And interestingly, evidence from health studies indicate that the more this citrulline-arginine conversion happens, the better your body is able to prevent the excess accumulation of fat cells. So for anyone watching their weight, eat up!

Furthermore, a study on obese, diabetic patients found that L-arginine had a significantly beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Inflammation-fighter. Furthermore, these two amino acids have been found in research studies to reduce inflammation, which is an underlying factor in many diseases, including cancer. Evidence indicates that watermelon itself can improve inflammation.

Antioxidants. Watermelon contains a good amount of antioxidants, which are crucial for combatting oxidative stress. This is extremely important for our overall health because oxidative stress is associated with damage to DNA, biological membranes, and proteins in humans. Consuming sufficient antioxidant-rich foods can help combat this oxidative stress by mitigating the harmful effects of free radicals.

Digestion aid. Watermelon’s high water and fiber content also aid in digestion. It eases constipation and promotes regularity.

…I could go on, as watermelon and its health-boosting properties have been associated with easing muscle soreness, lowering blood pressure, improving skin, and more. Phew!

 

watermelon health benefits, vegan watermelon feta salad

Watermelon every day, every way

So, perhaps needless to say, I’ve been making extra efforts to get more of this pretty melon in my system. Watermelon is delicious in its own right, but I’ve done juices, smoothies, cold soups, and even salads.

I love putting watermelon in my salads, especially with cucumber. Now, I have always been a fan of combination watermelon – feta combo. It strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory: it’s juicy and tangy, light and rich, crisp and chewy.

But of course since I aim to be dairy-free, I swapped out the animal feta for my simple vegan feta. While it’s not quite the same, the flavor profile hits the mark.

I put it on a bed of arugula because I love the contrast of the bitterness arugula provides in this recipe, but other greens like spinach or chard work well! Cucumber adds another refreshing touch, and I top it with avocado, seeds to add a little crunch, mint if I have it on hand, a drizzle of lemon and olive oil and a little seasoning. Delish!

So here’s my simple version of vegan watermelon feta salad!

 

cleanse-friendly watermelon vegan feta salad recipe

Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • handful of arugula (or greens of choice)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp vegan feta
  • pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • mint, fresh or dried (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make:

  1. Assemble your salad (put all the ingredients in a bowl).
  2. Eat up!

Cheers!

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

 Detox Me, Maybe? Juice cleanses. Detox programs. Cleanse supplements and detox teas. These days, these products are ubiquitous in the world of wellness and nutrition. But what’s all the hype about? Why is detoxing beneficial and really – is it? As with all things health […]

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Cool for the Summer: Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Ohhhh yes, this raw vegan creamy celery herb soup recipe is a win! More raw soup. Souper delicious. Souper healthy. Creamy. Refreshing. Bursting with layers of flavor. So I went to the local farmer’s market […]

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Pass the Cheese Please… Or not.

So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled with going vegan in the past but cheese was my downfall – I didn’t want to give it up. It’s just soooo gooooood. The textures, the nuanced flavors, the saltiness, the creaminess, the chewiness. It’s so darn satisfying.

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Juice Pulp Muffins: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Recipe

Juice Pulp Muffins: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Recipe

Juice up your life Last year after I was diagnosed with Lymphoma, I immediately went into research mode and dove into everything I could find when it came to anti-cancer nutrition. Carrot juice came up time and again: there were numerous stories of miraculous recoveries […]