It was early 2013 when I got the scare of a lifetime. While on vacation a sharp pain prompted me to do a breast self-exam. I discovered a pea-sized lump.
I immediately made changes to my diet and my lifestyle. I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I committed to juicing vegetables, eliminated certain foods, and created healthy recipes, crafted with ingredients touted for their restorative and cancer-fighting properties.
Along the way, something happened. Not only did I take back my health — I am now cancer-free — but I somehow I lost 24 pounds without even trying. I was eating satisfying meals in quantities that never made me feel deprived. What was even more remarkable about this is that I had tried in vain to lose those 24 pounds for years. Now I was eating more than ever before, loving what I was eating, and the excess weight was melting away. At the same time, I had plenty of energy, I slept well, my bowel movements were regular, and my skin glowed. I felt like I had discovered the Fountain of Youth.
Try these 12 ways that I took control of my health once and for all:
1. I start my day with a warm mug of lemon water.
This helps to get my digestive juices flowing and aids in morning hydration. To kick it up another notch, you could add apple cider vinegar for compounded health benefits like improved blood pressure, regulating the pH of your skin, and so much more.
2. Tune in and listen.
Listen to your body and eat only when you feel hungry.
3. Hydrate throughout the day.
I like to drink lemon water with a pinch of cayenne. This will keep you flushing out toxins, and the lemon can inhibit calcifications or stones that might form. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces. (For example, if you weight 150 lbs., drink 75 oz.)
4. Have a green smoothie for breakfast, four times a week.
Here's one recipe I like: ¾ cup pineapple, 1 cup spinach or kale, 1 tablespoon hemp, coconut water, and ice. Starting your day with something green is a great way to get nutrients early in the day.
5. Balance your acid-forming foods (proteins like eggs, meat) with green veggies.
For example if you are having eggs, have veggies too, like steamed spinach or broccoli.
6. Try to have a green juice daily (even if it's not for breakfast).
7. Strictly limit or omit packaged foods.
Try to snack on whole fruits or veggies, seeds, and nuts. Limit nuts and seeds to just about ¼ cup or less per day.
8. Support your thyroid and include iodine-rich sea veggies into your diet.
When making soup, add seaweed, or snack on nori chips.
9. Limit animal-protein intake.
Try swapping animal protein out a few nights a week for avocado, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
10. Make Sunday a soup day!
Make a big batch of veggie soup on the weekend and freeze leftovers for the nights that you might not have time to cook.
11. Connect with nature on a daily basis.
Try to spend some amount of time outside: If you get your feet on the grass or on the earth, you will positively affect your vibration. This is called earthing. Lying down with your head on the grass is another way to connect to the earth.
12. Dry-brush your skin with a soft skin brush before showering.
This will help remove dead skin cells and toxins that are escaping your body through your largest organ: your skin.
Photo courtesy of the author