It’s my plant-based diet that kept my cancer early stage and allowed me to race!
I am a 47 year old mom, wife, and triathlete. I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, and vegan for just over ten years. It all started for ethical reasons, because I love animals - but over time, the effects on my health and the environment were obvious additional benefits. I started triathlon training in 2016, and since I was already a vegan, I learned how to eat and train with only plant-based foods/supplements. I’ve raised my daughter as a vegan since birth, and she’s a thriving, healthy eleven year old today.
I am also a physician, and I was pretty appalled at the paucity of nutrition education among allied health professionals - we do a terrible job of learning about the relationship between food and health, and an even worse job of educating our patients. I recently started an evidence-based podcast about plant-based health for providers called physicianplantpodcast.com - check us out!
Being October, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my stage 2 lobular breast cancer diagnosis in 2021. As an athletic vegan with no risk factors or family history of breast cancer, the diagnosis came as a shock. But over the course of treatment and recovery, I think it’s my plant-based diet that kept my cancer early stage and allowed me to race three 1/2 ironman distance races within months of treatment. My lesson and message for breast cancer awareness month is to do your self-exams: my tumor was missed on mammogram, and I felt the lump myself!
Team VPA has been an amazing support and community of like-minded athletes, and it has been such a joy to share in our goals and accomplishments. Coming back from breast cancer led to finishing my 5th Ironman this year, in Alaska, and I credit my diet and lifestyle with my recovery and getting back to my pre-cancer activities. My favorite training foods are Tailwind, Picky Bars, and peanut butter. My favorite vegan cookbooks are “The 30 min vegan” by Mark Reinfeld, and “Isa Does It” by Isa Moscowitz. I always treat myself to some French fries after a monster training day.