I have been working with a particular client since last year. In the Spring of 2013 she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer which was shocking news to her and everyone around her. A few months later I was recommended to her by one of my clients. Since then I have been providing Personal Cooking for her and sharing any advice, books, and knowledge that I thought might be helpful. She was doing regular chemotherapy treatments, seeing a Naturopath, and also taking advice from her Medical Doctor when we first met.
There were many days working with her that I would be cooking and she would ask me my opinions on everything from supplements to food and diet (mostly if her occasional healthy sweet treats were okay to have..lol) which I always answered that I thought it was most important that she feels balance in her diet. This may mean different things to many people as we are all unique and everyone has a diet that works for them. In Nutrition school we learned about the 80/20 rule. This rule is about eating healthy, nutritious foods most of the time (80%) and having foods that may not be the most nutritious but make you feel good on special occasions (20%) of the time. This rule works great for my lifestyle and I never feel bad when I indulge in that decadent chocolate, wine, or even sometimes a poutine that satisfies that craving because for the most part I am getting an abundance of very nutritious food.
Since sugar was and is a major craving for this client I suggested to stay completely away from any refined or white sugar and to use small amounts of natural sweeteners as well as natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables for treats. Some would have said to completely stay away from all sugars as there have been studies saying that sugar in any form feeds cancer but In my opinion I think that quality of life is so important during this time and I didn't agree with depriving her of something that she seemed to have control over and that brought her great pleasure on occasion.
For meals I implemented a lot of raw foods into her diet (when we started it was in warmer weather!!), healthy proteins and fats from both vegetable and animal sources, soups rich in nutrients and fibre, foods with probiotics and prebiotics such as ferments (kimchi, kefir, tamari, kombucha, etc.), soaked grains, beans, and legumes, and lots of fresh vegetables. I have tried to pick ingredients that are health supporting, healing, detoxifying, and most of all taste good and feel nourishing.
The amazing and wonderful news is that she HAD Ovarian Cancer, as of yesterday her Doctor gave her a clean bill of Health!! I couldn't be more excited for her and her family. When chatting with her daughter yesterday and the topic of diet and it's role came up we agreed that eating more nutritious foods has played a major role. I truly believe that Food is Our Medicine. As important as I know diet is I also believe that her optimism, lifestyle changes, support from her amazing family, and overall belief and inner determination to heal herself were what made this happen. I feel so grateful to have her as my client and friend because she is an inspiration to me everyday!
I guess I couldn't have anticipated all of the blessings I would get from this job and how much I look forward to it. When I was offered my first client for in home personal cooking I knew I needed to make money and was confident with my nutrition knowledge and many years of working in the food industry that I could do the job but I didn't expect it to be so fulfilling. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurts, sharing knowledge and passion for healthy food that gets people excited, hearing about how a meal that I made was truly enjoyed by others, and of course the amazing news from this client yesterday that maybe a small part of my work with her plays a role in this news, are just a few of the things that make me excited to go to work!