Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I’ve come to a point in my life that I don’t think of vegetarians and vegans as “crazy hippies” or “wackos” anymore. I know right? I’m so mature now! Now I just see them as people wanting a different lifestyle for themselves. Most of them are just regular people making choices in their life just like the rest of us. Occasionally you’ll get the activist that throws paint on a fur coat … but every lifestyle has its extremists, right?

Since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve done a nose dive into nutrition. I have been, and continue to, research disease-fighting foods, people who have foregone pharmaceutical drugs and turned to nutrition for healing, and the difference in America’s food consumption compared to other countries, whose heart disease and cancer stats are minimal to none.

So, I’ve taken to the “vegan” challenge, an entirely plant-based diet. Consequently, my family is also eating a more plant-based diet. However, you’ll have to pry a tuna steak out of my husband’s cold, dead hands! We’ve been eating less meat and more quinoa over the years, so the concept of eating less meat and more plant-based foods hasn’t been an entirely foreign concept.

Now, whether you’re a carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, etc., I think you owe it to yourself to make a conscious decision about what you eat. Understand and be aware of your food. You already try new foods, new recipes, and new restaurants from time-to-time. Therefore you’re already used to making yourself smarter about food. However, if you’re at all like me, you probably grew up on a “meat and potatoes” style diet. Classic meat protein as the central feature on the plate, likely a potato or other starch as the main side, and then maybe a secondary vegetable or salad to “round out the plate.”

Over the last few years, I thought I knew a lot about food in general. I’ve tried more fruits and vegetables in the last 10 years than I can ever remember doing in the past. In hindsight, I was so incredibly uneducated and likely so are you (no offense). Some of the documentaries I wanted are listed below. It’s enlightening and makes me feel more in charge of my own life. We all deserve that. So, do me (and yourself) a favor and start (or continue) your food education by watching these documentaries.

Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. This entertaining documentary showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who discover they can change the world one bite at a time.

Food, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights. See the incredible film, learn about these issues and take action.

exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don't want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what's keeping you from having the body and health you deserve and how to escape the diet trap forever.

“Crazy Sexy Cancer, the documentary film I wrote and directed (and my loving husband edited), premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and then later aired on TLC and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. In 2003, when I was a 31-year-old actress and photographer, I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage IV cancer. Weeks later I began filming my story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, I share my cancer journey with courage, strength and lots of humor. This is truly where my mission, passion and work began…

As experimental treatment was my only option, I became determined to find answers where there were none. Traveling across the country and interviewing experts in alternative medicine, I dove headfirst into a fascinating and often hilarious holistic world. Along the way, I met other vivacious young women who were determined to become survivors and included them in my documentary. Their stories are as poignant and exciting as the women who tell them. As my journey progressed, I realized that healing is truly about living rather than fighting.

Crazy Sexy Cancer is more than a thought-provoking documentary; it’s an attitude! It’s about rising to the challenge of life and turning lemons into champagne.”

Food is better medicine than drugs.

Now wait, before you raise the meat shields and say it’s an attack on your lifestyle; it really isn’t. We learn about proteins, nutrition, factory farming, morality, and choices I need to make on my journey. It’s not an attack on anybody, it doesn’t say one way is right and another way wrong. But it does arm you with knowledge about what you put in your body. My theory is this: if you can’t go vegan, maybe you can become vegetarian. If you can’t be vegetarian, perhaps you can avoid red meats and opt for chicken and fish. Any step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Ultimately, it’s about improving your health and that of your family, and hopefully minimizing the suffering of animals.

Getting cancer changed my lifestyle immediately. I began researching an alkaline cancer-fighting diet and found plant-based diets to be fairly comparable and not unrealistic. Plus, I have felt great. Strong, even after chemo! I’ve since had zero desire to eat meat and dairy products. Honestly, I look forward to my morning shakes, so much so, that I go to bed at night thinking about them and wake up thinking about them.

These studies have certainly made me more aware of where I will choose to get products from as well as how much I consume. Simply put, I’m making a conscious decision about my food and my health. Don’t you owe it to yourself to do the same?

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