In my last article, i quoted some oncology dietitians. It’s always fun for me to have conversations with other cancer dietitians because it’s like a little support group. It’s people who know what you’re going through and have experienced it themselves!
I quoted Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD in the last article. As we were sharing thoughts on the celiac diet, we shared a rant. I LOVE how Suzanne worded this and thought you all might enjoy as well! All of the information in quotations below is from Suzanne, an experienced oncology dietitian and nutrition expert!
Eat Your Veggies
” For nutrition and cancer, I often refer people to AICR. They
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recipes and ideas for moving toward a plant-based diet, which in my
mind, is the basis for any improvement in nutrition that will achieve
cancer risk reduction. People often don’t want to hear that “eat your
fruit and vegetables” really is the best advice, at least for starters.”
Julie’s Comment: I know you are probably already sick of hearing me say the same thing! If there’s only one thing you remember from everything I share… it would be to eat more fruits and veggies!
Healthy Foods Don’t Need Labels!
“I often tell people, if you are reading labels, you’re not eating the
right food. You don’t need a label to tell you that apples, broccoli, or
oatmeal are healthy. You just know they are. ”
Julie’s Comment: I cannot agree more! Yes, reading labels is important when it comes to food that someone (food company) has prepared or processed for you. But most of the food you eat should not even have a label!
Eat Real Food!
“I tell people they have to
embrace real food. They don’t have to be vegetarian (although that’s
great if they chose that route), but they DO have to eat the bulk of
their calories from unprocessed plant foods. No more relying on
processed snacks, power bars, granola bars, etc. (Except when other
options simply aren’t available – you make the best of the ‘not-so-good’
I’m not a “food nazi” but I do think most people plain don’t get the
idea that we have to get back to real food. They want to count servings
and know they’ve “hit the mark.” They want to treat eating well as a
check list, but I believe that if you are eating properly, “servings”
are a non-issue. You simply end up eating mostly plant foods and you
easily reach the 10-serving per day mark for veggies and fruit.”
Julie’s Comment: This is the trouble with most people’s “diets”. They are trying to check off a list thinking that if they check the right things, then the scale will reward them. The problem is more of a root issue. Food should not be your enemy, and something that you are keeping under control. Food should be your nourishment, something that you look to in order to provide your body what it needs to function at it’s best.
Eating Healthy Doesn’t Come Easy for Dietitian’s Either!
“Do I sound like a nut job? I’m really not and I do believe in moderation
(I’d die without chocolate, I swear!), but I feel like people have to
have it pounded into their consciousness that the ENTIRE PATTERN of
eating in the US is not healthy. If you want to maximize the chances of
avoiding cancer or avoiding recurrence, you must overhaul your entire
And I encourage people to view this as a journey. My diet is a million
times better now than it was 15 years ago, but I didn’t do it all at
once. I learned to love cooking, to love plant foods… I used to eat
fast food and junk food, just like everyone else. It’s not rocket
science. Anyone with an open mind (willing to try new things and not
just say “yuck” to things like kale, for example) can succeed. And there
is no magic “quick fix.”
Julie’s Comment: If you could see me in my office, I would be nodding my head emphatically to everything here! If Suzanne was giving a lecture, I would be standing up clapping! Us Dietitian’s are on the same journey as everyone else. I also had to learn to cook and try new foods. I’ve come to learn it’s not about right and wrong foods, it’s about all-the-time and sometimes foods! I constantly have to resist the urge to choose the convenient, processed food and instead plan ahead to have healthy, fresh foods on hand.
Enough about us… What about you? What have you learned on your journey? Share it on the Cancer Dietitian Facebook Page or comment on this article!