Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yes. I Have Heard it Before.

I was speaking with someone today who asked me about what foods I am eating because they had heard that cancer likes certain foods.

Almost immediately I said I did not know what I thought of that idea. And the person continued to say things I have already heard from others a time, or two, or 10 before.

I really do not know what I think. People who are vegetarians still get - and die from - cancer. I went on the road and ate anything that made my soul feel good. It was not as healthy as I would otherwise eat. I came back after a month to better test results than when I left.

Anita Moorjani in her book, "Dying to Be me" talks about how she went from worrying about most everything she ate, to eating whatever she wanted. Many probably thought after the experience she had, she would have been "more careful."

I have tried a number of things, and I am not sure which - if any - make a difference. They all take money, energy and time. I came to decide that if I might not have much time left I was not going to spend it worried about the food I ate.

Think about it. You think food matters, so you take every bit of energy you have paying attention to it - and then you die. 

You will die. 

And you will never know how much of a difference all of that effort made.  Did you do it because someone thought you should, or because you felt like it was the right thing for YOU to do? Was it worth what you did?

You might think and believe the answer is yes, without really knowing what difference it will make - if any at all. And if you do, then you know what you need to do for you.

As for me, I would rather spend my energy and times in other pursuits, and stop viewing food as a poisonous enemy.  I do a lot to eat the best possible way, and rarely ever eat packaged and manufactured foods. I enjoy what I make so much more than what I can buy, and I like it that way.

Which end of the spectrum is "right" when it comes to beliefs around food? Both? Neither? People on both ends of the spectrum live and die, so how can anyone say anything for certain for all people in all cases?

And, yet, people will. And people will seek to be helpful. It is not that I do not appreciate the care and the concern, but it is hard to hear the same thing over and over and over - especially when I wind up feeling like I need to explain my choices/defend myself. Funny how after all of this time dealing with this many think there are things they could say that I haven't heard and potentially considered.

What is worse, in a way, is that there will be some who will judge me and my choices, and if it comes time for me to die, it will be all my fault because I made poor choices.

How do you explain those who smoke, drink and eat poorly well into their senior years? If the choices were universally poor you would have to think something would have happened to them long before they got to senior-hood.

I, of course, could be wrong. But I could just as easily be wrong the other way, too. In her book, Anita talks about how if we do things "just in case" we are doing them out of fear. I could eat differently "just in case," but that would be the wrong reason to do it.

I had someone who thinks he knows what he is talking about tell me to stop eating avocados and bananas. He may be giving me exactly what I need. The thing is, it does not feel right to me. So I am not doing it.

Others would tell me other things - things that might be at odds with other suggestions of other people. How do I know who is right?

I have decided that I will do only what feels right to me. If it feels good to me to eat something, then that is what I will do. And I will nourish myself in other ways as best as I can.

In the meantime, I try to have patience with those who mean well. Although, quite frankly, I sometimes just want to say, "Stop, please stop." It really does get annoying.

I am so sorry to anyone I may have done this to over the years. It is so hard when you think you have something beneficial not to be "helpful." But I am really trying to take a step back and be different in regard to anything I think I "know." If I offer something to another, it is offered in a very different way now - if at all.

Interestingly, perhaps, I see my former self in the comments of others, and I cringe. The people who write the things they do obviously have no idea that what they are saying is anything but helpful. But how would someone know that? It is what we have been trained to do.

If people don't know any better, why be affected? Because I AM affected. It takes something from me every time I have to go down that road.

I saw something recently about a breast cancer blogger who was being very open, and yet upset when people showed up in a certain way in her life. The implication was that because she was as open as she was, how could she not expect that?

What? Seriously? Just because someone shares something does not inherently mean that they want or desire another person's input or feedback. People share for different reasons - many of which may have nothing to do with us. 

Hard to believe, isn't it? :p

I realize this entry may sound like it has 'tude, and it probably does. A button did get pushed, and often does, by those who mean well. After all this time, one might think it would get better, and in some ways, maybe it has. At the same time, maybe it rubs me in a certain way so I write entries like this so maybe it is helpful to others in some way - at least those willing and able to hear my perspective.

As always, thanks for listening.


  1. Good point. How do some people know which foods give cancer? It really depends on the individuals body.

  2. Though I can understand the fear and concern that prompts people to offer their well-meaning advice, I also can understand why you might get tired of hearing it. But I applaud you for eating what you want. Not thinking of food as an enemy probably decreases your stress, and that's always good! Blessings to you.