FOX 2’s Katie Fehr was diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago. Today, she’s in remission. She credits her doctors and local hospitals but she learned a lot of tips for taking better care of herself along the way. This piece is written by Katie – in her own words – to share what she learned about incorporating healthier foods into her diet.
FOX 2 friends – can I get real with you for a minute? I’m a Junk. Food. Junkie. I have always loved my soda and chocolate… plus some red wine at night to unwind. I was in a bad habit of daily trips to the vending machine and putting foods in my body that didn’t help my health. We’re all smart enough to know that good food means better health, but as a working mom of three, I just didn’t have the time/motivation to do anything about it.
Until I was diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer – it turns out – is one HECK of a motivator.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer – there wasn’t much I could control – but I COULD control what I was eating. I went vegan – I also cut out all soda and alcohol. Some studies have shown a link between breast cancer and alcohol – so why give cancer a helping hand?
Instead of starting my day with a soda – I started doing a juice. I had read that carrot juice was a cancer fighter as well as apples – so I started every day with a big glass of juice I made myself. My juice recipe:
LOTS of carrots
Makes 20 ounces of juice.
I use a Breville juicer called the Juice Fountain Plus
Juicing is great, but it can take some time – so I started doing smoothies on busier days when I didn’t have as much time. What started as a simple green smoothie as evolved to incorporate as many cancer fighters as possible.
Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor, just a journalist – but I did a lot of reading about nutrition and cancer and came up with this smoothie based on what I read.
I don’t generally measure things out, but I did for the sake of creating a recipe – which you can also watch in the video.
Katie’s Cancer Fighting Smoothie:
½ cup orange juice with calcium
2-3 handfuls of greens, I use baby spinach and kale
½ frozen banana
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons hemp seed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon Amla Powder
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen strawberries
2 cups pineapple
2 cups water
I mix it all in a powerful blender like a Vitamix - or I use my Nutrabullet, which is more of a single serving. I like the consistency to be like a milkshake.
Why do I use these foods? Some of them I read about in a book called “How Not to Die” by Dr. Michael Greger. Some links are below.
The OJ has vitamin C but I also get the kind with calcium, great for breast cancer survivors on medications that can hurt our bones.
Kale – is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli – and cruciferous veggies are thought to be cancer fighters!
Flaxseed has been shown in studies to be a breast cancer preventative. I try to get two tablespoons a day.
Amla powder is considered a powerful antioxidant!
Pineapple – makes it sweet and makes bitter things like kale and amla powder go down. It’s also anti-inflammatory which is helpful for breast cancer survivors like me who are on medications that can make our bones and joints hurt.
Hemp and Chia seeds – I add for more protein and fiber.
Berries – lots of antioxidants! I’m not a big blueberry fan, but in a smoothie, I love them!
That’s my cancer-fighting smoothie! Note, it’s not a diet drink – it has quite a few calories once you add in all the seeds.
I don’t miss my daily soda at all – and I juice or drink a smoothie every day – generally it’s my breakfast. Although I’m not a vegan any longer, I do eat a lot more plants than I did before and a lot less meat and dairy. I do believe that plants have helped my health and I do try to steer toward a plant-based diet. Not an easy task for a kid raised on processed food – but my health is worth it….and so is yours.
My current status – I’m NED, as in “no evidence of disease.” A fancy way of saying I’m in remission. I’m not saying my smoothie did that – my great doctors at Beaumont Hospital and the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center accomplished that task.
But healthy habits can’t hurt – and while I wholeheartedly believe in science and modern medicine, I also embrace integrative cancer care and some natural treatments like those suggested by my Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Jen Green.
One last thought – we hope to see everyone at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk this Saturday October 12th. Check in is at 8 and the walk is a rolling start from 9-10. Anyone is welcome to join our team! You can do so here.
Katie Fehr is FOX 2’s Community Service Director and a breast cancer survivor