In early 2014, I felt a lump in my breast and a doctor told me, “You have stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.”
I didn’t believe her. I didn’t even understand the words she said as I had never heard them before.
"That's breast cancer with a capital B," she had to explain.
It didn't matter that I had not one of the 20 or so risk factors I looked up for breast cancer. On top of that, I thought I was eating healthy and living an active healthy lifestyle and was embarrassed to be sick to that degree and kept it largely a secret from most of my extended family and friends.
That solid year of slash, slash, poison and burn left me really scared and scarred mentally, physically and emotionally when it was all over. Sitting there bald, pale and quivering, just waiting for the cancer they said could come back at any time.
Since I knew about kale and acai berries, I thought maybe there was something to the idea of avoiding cancer recurrence through super foods. I decided to ask my oncologist.
"What foods should I be eating or not eating to keep the cancer from coming back?" I asked her.
My oncologist answered matter-of-factly, "It doesn't matter what you eat. I want you to take these pills for the next 10 years which is proven to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence."
I was furious as she repeated to me that food makes no difference. But then I realized she truly believed that because they serve cupcakes and cheese crackers in the chemo room.
So I went home and consulted "Dr. Google." I was searching "cancer and food" and "nutrition and cancer" and came across the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.”
I was struck by lightning when T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., explained how his research found that eating animal protein turns cancer cells on and not eating animal protein turns cancer cells off. In study after study for many different types of animal proteins and in every different way he and others tested it, the results were the same. In fact, he could turn on and turn off cancer cells in the lab by changing the level of animal protein exposure every 21 days. And, eating animal protein and other processed foods high in salt, sugar and fat was proven to have many other negative, serious effects in causing chronic diabetes and heart disease, too. The medical evidence was overwhelming and this was something I had the power to do for myself right then and there, so I went whole food vegan that night.
At about that same time, I heard about a new book called, “Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds,” by Kelly Turner, Ph.D. This book outlines 9 common factors (out of the 75 factors tested) she found that can make a real difference in keeping cancer away. Aside from changing my diet overnight, that book gave me 8 more things I could easily do in my life to keep cancer away. And some of them were: Increasing positive emotions, releasing suppressed emotions, deepening your spiritual connection, embracing social support, taking control of your health and following your intuition.
So, when my adult daughter, who was home visiting said, “Hey Mom, you want to go to a yoga class with me?” We went.
And that day was the first time I learned from that beautiful yoga teacher of that beginner yoga class how to focus my mind on something other than “fear, fear, fear…” I also began to put back my cancer treatment-ravaged body, one pose at a time. What I didn’t know at the beginning is that physically, practicing yoga is a wonderful and thorough way to regain range-of-motion and strength in my chest muscles and both my arms and shoulders weakened by the cutting of the muscles to remove my breasts and lymph nodes during surgeries. Sometimes I cried to myself on my mat about how weak I was.
But I learned with yoga, you just go and you grow.
And so through going vegan and practicing yoga day by day, my scars faded, and I began to feel better every day. Lighter and not so scared. I began to feel that I did have some control over my health and that I was doing everything I could do to avoid cancer recurrence.
I wanted to show other people suffering how they could take back their health too. Especially those who want to go vegan for their health.
I wanted to scream it from the rooftops. So, I became a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator and now I help people go vegan every day, all day long (while also practicing compassion and saving as many animals as possible). I help people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired struggling with obesity, diabetes, heart disease. I show people how to fall in love with food and themselves again and feel the best they have ever felt in their lives while reversing these chronic diseases.
Because I know how scary the words, “you have cancer” are and to feel you have no control over your health. Because I opened my eyes and my heart to the truth and found out how one simple change of what’s on my plate can solve not only my own health problems, but our environmental problems and the sad, tragic truth many don't want to know about what we do (and pay others to do) to the animals people eat, wear and use every day.
Yoga is SO vegan and learning more about the 8 limbs of yoga and how these two practices were also in alignment with each other made me fall in love with both and quite literally taught me how to live.
- Naomi Green, VLCE
Facebook Group: Going Vegan For Health with Vegan Coach Naomi Green