I have a truly inspiring story to share today. I feel humbled and excited to introduce you to the gorgeous Tina Mast. Tina describes herself as "a communications director for a garden center and an avid gardener. She’s interested in saving the planet, eating great food, and enjoying the good things in life which include but are not limited to friends, beautiful places, good books, good movies, good wine, snuggling, and neck massages. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four somewhat off-kilter cats."
I don't normally quote people in my introductions. But Tina is so magnetic and entertaining that I feel like if were to paraphrase her words much would be lost in translation, and I would be robbing you of discovering just how magical and fun this woman and her story is.
Tina found my site through Dr Young's Alkaline Green Smoothie post and she left this comment:
"Starting a juicing regimen is one of the best things I ever did! I'm always singing its praises. I've never felt so good, and I came through radiation therapy with absolutely no fatigue. In the interest of expedience, I make the same juice most days. I know I should rotate, but it's hard when it's the first thing you do in the morning and you're not a morning person!" She then shared her amazing juice recipe:
Tina Mast's Anti-CancerJuice: (read her post about not drinking this every day)
I immediately felt a connection with Tina and emailed to thank her for sharing her personal story and delicious recipe. When I asked to feature Tina's whole story she wrote, "I'd be more than happy for you to share my green drink recipe on your blog! The more the merrier, and go team, right? I'm also happy to share my story because I truly feel that nutritional support for cancer therapy is sadly lacking in the U.S., and I would love to do what I can to encourage cancer patients to augment their treatment with good nutrition." Don't you love this woman already?! Oh, you will.....
She then followed this up with, "Can a part-time meat eater be a piggy? *slightly worried* I'm on the paleo/primal thing but love incorporating raw and massive quantities of veg where possible. Actually, I already wrote the intro when I woke up in the middle of the night, and scribbled it out on post-its that were the only paper in the bedside table. Thank heavens for pens with little lights in them so we don't wake up our husbands."
I fell in LOVE with her instantly! We have kept in touch every since, and with every witty and hilarious interaction I think to myself, "I just have to meet this woman and celebrate her story toasting with her green juice one day!"
That we will.
Read Tina's inspiring story of how she restored her health from a battle with cancer with the power of juicing and whole foods.
Tina - thankyou for graciously sharing your story with our community.
You inspire me...
My juicing journey began with a big freak out. I was 39 years old with no family history, but suddenly found myself staring a breast cancer diagnosis in the face. Fortunately, it was caught early and I wouldn’t have to have chemotherapy, something I dreaded. Not having a family history of breast cancer but getting it anyway, and so young, bothered the heck out of me, though. What had I done wrong? Even though I was overweight, I always thought of myself as having a fairly healthy lifestyle otherwise. More importantly, what could I do now to help myself be as healthy as possible?
My oncologist was not a great help in this regard, though he clearly has a massive intellect and is highly respected in the medical community. Nevertheless, he had few nutritional or lifestyle guidelines to give me which was a little frustrating since I wanted to do my part to help myself, too. Though I respect the advances medical science has made, I think we’ve got a long way home still on cancer and many other diseases, and I think not enough emphasis is placed on lifestyle and nutrition. The more engaged a patient is, I believe, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome. Plus, it always feels better to be doing something to help oneself rather than just passively receiving what is being done for you.
Armed with my trusty laptop, I started doing research online as well as through books I discovered. Got a bit obsessed, actually, and was online day and night reading all about cancer, cancer therapies, nutrition and more. I tell you, we are very lucky to have the Internet for informational resources not to mention awesome blogs like Tess’! (NO, she didn’t pay me to write that!) Some books that were very helpful were NATURAL STRATEGIES FOR CANCER PATIENTS by Dr. Russell Blaylock; ANTI-CANCER: A NEW WAY OF LIFE by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber; LIFE OVER CANCER by Dr. Keith Block; and CRAZY SEXY CANCER TIPS by Kris Carr.
Some common themes jumped out at me over time. One of them was: eat lots and lots and LOTS of vegetables. Okay. I like vegetables, but TWELVE servings a day as recommended in Anti-Cancer? My god, what else would I be doing all day besides eating vegetables? More importantly, how would I have room for chocolate? (Organic, extra dark, of course.)
Juicing was the answer. Though, now I’m thinking I need to be getting one these Vitamixes Tess is so fond of so I can make hot veggie soups. Nevertheless, I was gung-ho to try out juicing and incorporating more live, raw foods into my diet. We got a juicer and dove in. The main thing was not to juice too much fruit since all of my cancer information sources said to avoid sugar including large amounts of that found in fruits. I have a friend, also a breast cancer survivor not to mention a stellar cook, who had a juice recipe she liked so I tried it out. The ingredients are kale, cucumber, celery, carrots, lemon juice, hot sauce, and a drizzle of olive oil. Let me tell you first off that the lemon juice is absolutely KEY here! The hot sauce, too, in my opinion. The olive oil is for helping absorb fat soluble vitamins in the produce.
Just by juicing, I could start the day with 4-5 servings of veggies under my belt. I started juicing just before radiation therapy began having been told to expect fatigue from it. Oh yeah, they said. Radiation can take it out of you. You might not have your old energy for 6 months, they said. Well, crappitydoodah, I thought, but it could be worse. But you know what? It never happened! I was juicing, exercising, eating salads every day, sides of veggies at dinner, whey protein shakes with blueberries buzzed up in them, getting lots of sleep, and practicing deep breathing relaxation techniques and healing visualizations. And, I felt STELLAR. I mean, fab-u-lous.
I was losing weight, too. That’s another thing a lot of the cancer information resources tell you to do if you’re carrying around extra poundage. I spent a good portion of my life overweight. I love to cook, I love to eat good food, and I have a husband who doesn’t mind a little junk in the trunk, as it were. But, 90-100 lbs overweight is too much. I lost about half the weight long before the whole cancer roller coaster. Exercise and portion control work. But I was always hungry. After losing the first 50 lbs, I was like,”Man, I’m tired of being hungry. This weight is good right?”
Fast forward to the breast cancer diagnosis and suddenly the remaining 40-45 lbs are looking like a major obstacle to my health regardless of how I feel in the dressing room or in a bathing suit (which would be Not Good). I had already been exercising regularly for a few years. Did you know you can exercise 5 days a week and not lose weight? It’s true what they say about food intake being 75% of the driving factor in weight loss. I dialed down on my eating eliminating anything that did not make the grade and strove for whole, unprocessed, fresh foods (organic, if possible) in addition to the juicing. Somewhere along the way, I discovered the Primal/Paleo diet.
Now, I know that in this forum a lot of folks may prefer the vegan and/or raw lifestyle and to them I say “That’s great!” Ya gotta go with what works for YOU. There is clearly a case to be made for the inclusion of plenty of raw food in the diet. I just can’t hack it 100% of the time myself. Besides, Primal works for me like nothing else, and mainly because I’m not hungry all the time (and also because the majority of my blood work tests come back outstanding so I must be doing something right). I used to get these crazy blood sugar swings and would turn into a jittery Wicked Witch of West if I got too hungry. What my poor hubby had to put up with just because skipping a meal was a catastrophe is something I’m too embarrassed to describe in detail. But, that’s all in the past now because my appetite control center and blood sugar regulation system are working like they are supposed to. If I have to skip a meal, or even two, I can do that. And, I don’t even need to rip anyone’s face off! And, I lost the rest of the weight eating delicious food.
Recently, I discovered something a little bothersome about my juice recipe. I found out that, though they are loaded with cancer-fighting goodness, eating too many cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli in the raw state can inhibit thyroid function as these foods are goitrogenic when eaten raw in too much quantity. And, I’ve been juicing kale 5 days a week for 2.5 years. And my thyroid function tests came in at low/normal for one value and a little on the high end for another. Fortunately, these were nothing severe enough for the doctor to get concerned about but having fired up the research engine again, I find that these foods are generally best eaten cooked the majority of the time.
The new juice recipe substitutes romaine lettuce for kale and I am finally going to take Tess’ advice and start rotating juice ingredients. (Smart woman, that one.) Also, I think I’m going to get a Vitamix finally! I don’t know yet if I will use it for blenderizing raw veggies to drink instead of using my Breville Juice Fountain but I need an easy, convenient way to regularly get cooked cruciferous veggies. If I can buzz up some hot soup in a few minutes and pound that down with meals, that’s that much more kerPOW I can add to my diet.
So far, all my blood work, scans, and exams have come back normal and for that I am beyond grateful. That’s early intervention and the grace of god for you. But it’s also because I jumped in and said “Oh, hell, no! I am fighting this crap TOOTH AND NAIL.” Food, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, I think, are absolutely vital to a happy, healthy body and to giving it a fighting chance when it is under attack or in a disease mode. Thankfully, I was able to figure this out and had the resources to implement these changes.
And, thank you to Tess for being one of the beacons out there for the rest of us helping light the path to great health. I’m looking forward to trying even more of her amazing recipes once the Vitamix arrives! My sweetie and my friends say that I look so fit, that my skin glows, and that I seem to be aging in reverse.
That’s how I feel!
Wishing all of you reading the best of health and life.
P.S If anyone has any comments about using the Vitamix for juicing instead of a standard juicer, I would love to hear them! How is the texture? I’m wondering if it will be too thick (gag). Also, I would love to know about people’s experiences using the Vitamix to make soup. Thanks!
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