Eating well and living well!

Following on from Hayley's question about food - does anyone have any tips on how they motivate themselves or 'nudge' themselves into healthier living habits? I reckon I eat just about ok, but I know I could do much better e.g. at eating more fruit and veg - are there ways anyone has found to change their habits and encourage yourself to eat more of the good stuff, while keeping a balance?

16 Replies

  • My Mother always made us have fruit after our lunch, now wherever possible I try to have 1 piece of fruit after every meal including breakfast, plus a couple of types of veg with dinner. Plums and berries are in abundance at the moment - both succulent and good anti-cancer foods (according to the anti-cancer book). I have started drinking green tea instead of coffee with 1 sugar in it and now a also a cup of hot water and ginger each day. I think the motivation for me is really the chance of a longer remission and as the anti-cancer book says, the feeling of helplessness which have such negative impact particlularly on our type of cancer, can be in part addressed by knowing you are doing what you can to compliment what the medics are doing. Off for my 45 minute walk now come rain or shine (we know which is more likely today ;-)

    Love Lizzie.

  • Thanks Lizzie!very practical advice,just what I need really.hope you had a nice walk!love Cat x

  • Hi Catherine,

    I think the answer is to substitute wherever possible, rather than to do without. For instance, if you love chocolate, get some made with xylitol rather than deadly sugar, substitute ordinary dairy products with grass fed organic if possible, and or soya/rice products if you like them.

    If possible, make your own cakes, biscuits, breads, etc with organic ingredients - or find a local source of these. We have a wonderful network called riverford organics where I am. They provide my dairy products, coffee, etc and veg and fruit when we don't have our own. They are pretty widespread in the south now, being a cooperative of organic farmers.

    I know these things tend to be more expensive and time consuming than just going to the supermarket and picking up the cheaper foods, but they are also so much more rewarding if you have the time to do them. These days, if you don't there are usually local places you can find who will do them for you.

    I had always loved food, and now I love it more and more! Not good for the waist, necessarily (especially at the menopause), but a great deal of what is good is raw and needs little prep. Just off to bake some 'goldies' (no, not my beloved Golden Retrievers), some none-chocolate 'brownies'. Oh and remember, the more you do in terms of exercise, the more you can eat without putting on too much!!

    As for 'bad' stuff - sometimes it's ok to have a treat- just make it occasionally not regularly.

    I suppose I'm a stone and a bit over my 'ideal' weight, and I was bemoaning this fact to my GP since i became ill. She advised me strongly not to diet to lose weight, just to eat well and exercise, and let my body decide, which I do. Of course, it decides to be a bit fleshy - but maybe one day!!??

    I have to say; fear is a good spur to get into better habits - for me, anyway.

    Very best wishes,


  • thanks for this Isadora!can I ask why sugar is deadly?I can't go onto soya because my tumours were oestrogen positive so 'maxing out' the phytooestrogens is a no-no,but I do buy more organic now than before.somehow I think perhaps I am not afraid enough somehow to radically alter my diet-but I used to be very extreme in what I ate (only very healthy things) and I think I just don't ever want to go back to that!when I reflect though,I reckon I'm already doing much of what you suggest.thanks again,Catherine

  • Hi Catherine,

    I was being a bit ironic when I said 'deadly', but Servan-Schreiber says:

    "When we eat sugar or white flour - foods with a high 'glycemic index' - blood levels of glucose rise rapidly. The body instantly releases a dose of insulin to enable the glucose to enter cells. The secretion of insulin is accompanied by the release of another molecule called IGF (insulin-like growth factor-1), whose role is to stimulate cell growth. In short, sugar nourishes tissues and makes them grow faster. Furthermore, insulin and IGF have another effect in common: they promote the factors of inflammation which, as we saw in Chapter 4, also stimulates cell growth and acts in turn, as fertiizer for tumours."

    Best wishes,


  • Good suggestions, both! Thanks! I also get a weekly (free) delivery from Riverford. They are brill at getting me to eat more imaginatively, from the weekly cookbook insert, and also to try stuff I don't usually consider. It's all organic, local, seasonal and really fresh. HOWEVER, at the moment I'm trying desperately to slim into a dress I've bought for a wedding, and I am doing my own version of the Dukan diet! Yes' I know the vegetarians will tut-tut, but it's working for me and I'm eating fresh, unadulterated food and loads of veg and a little fruit.

    Aaaah! Vanity is a good motivator ;-)

  • Riverford sounds good,I doubt somehow the produce would still be good by the time it got to Scotland though!you can't move for box schemes here but you do really have to love your seasonal veg and in Dundee that might mean more potatoes than I can stand in one week :) good luck with the Dukan!

  • Don't forget the neeps, Cat, surely they have those locally. I give a load of my potatoes to my next door neighbour, actually! Especially nowadays. I do like the seasonal stuff though and love all veggies. This way of eating suits me really and I've lost a bit of weight, although I don't worry too much. Good health is still a huge bonus! You're right there, Hayley! I agree about not getting too carried away with what you "should" do. A calm approach is important in recovery.


  • I honestly think the fear of recurrence is enough motivation! It scares me so much that id try anything! I read up on the green box scheme and there is one in my area, they deliver organic locally produced fruit and veg boxes at a reasonable price so I shall be doing that! Thanks for all your advice ladies, Hayley

  • Glad you found a local box scheme Hayley.if you're very nervous of recurrence maybe there are other tips the ladies on here can offer.I don't worry so much about it,but I do try to reduce my stress more than anything else, so I'll have the occasional 'unhealthy' thing rather than stress myself'll find your's the running going?love Cat XX

  • Its going well thankyou, raised over 1000 pounds! How are you doing? Well I hope, lots of love, p.s thankyou for the inbox message too! Xxx

  • Wow that's amazing!well done you!cat xxx

  • Hi Catherine. You have already receive lots of good advice. It depends on how much you like food but I found that taking a real interest in receipes for vegetable dishes helped a lot. If I see a recipe that is interesting I try it out as soon as possible and if I am using the dish as a main meal rather than an accompaniment I can afford to be more extravagant with the vegetables. We have always enjoyed cooking but finding new ways to serve vegetables has become a hobby. Fruit is the main ingredient of breakfast and again we enjoy mixing different flavours - and finding ways to use seasonal fruit. But we don't stress about food - we just enjoy it. It sounds as i you are already on pretty motivated and are on a good diet.

    Good luck


  • Thanks Angela!I think reading your and the other ladies' replies is encouraging and I feel affirmed that im on the right track at least!have just ordered a new veggie cookbook,I loved trying some of Hugh fearnley-whittingstall's new veggie recipes from the Guardian last weekend,cooking is a fun way to keep healthy!

    Cat XX

  • Hi Catherine

    I read one doctors comment (I think it was the Barefoot Doc but don't quote me) and he said stick to the 80/20 rule ie eat well 80% of time and then have some treats. Seems fair enough to me.

    Lots of love Clematis

  • After thinking I wouldn't bother changing my diet after having cancer and chemo, I've just readdressed my eating habits in the desperate hope that it will stop the cancer from returning. I am noticing a difference in how I look and feel after only three days. Red bush tea bags (antioxidant), eating quinoa (a Super Food, I believe), adding flaxseed to my wholemeal bread in the morning, eating manuka honey (amazing healing properties - bit expensive, though) and taking coenzymeQ10. Lots of raw vegetables, and drinking red wine instead of white. And drinking water (I have to admit, I don't get on with tap water these days since pregnancy and then chemo so have to drink bottled - this, I hope, eliminates the chlorine intake that is in our tap water.)

    Changing your diet also gives you the feeling that you are in control in some way. it's a positive contribution in fighting cancer.

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