We give everything to our careers but do not invest in the greatest gift we have — our health
LESSER KNOWN INGREDIENTS WE SHOULD INCLUDE IN OUR DIET
ing in ourselves first and I can tell you first- hand, this never pays off in the long run.”
It was almost as if life had given her a wake- up call. The doctors told her it wasn’t too late as she started sessions in chemotherapy and radiation — but as the side- effects of the intensive treatments weighed her down, she was increasingly feeling like “the solution was worse than the problem”.
She decided it was time to give her body something more than conventional cancer therapy: all- round sustenance. So she quit her job, started practising yoga and watched her diet carefully. Priorities had to be shifted. “[ Earlier], I had the money and time to buy nice things and enjoy nights out but I couldn’t make time for a home- cooked meal, a yoga class or a daily self- care practice. When you’re young, you feel you are invincible. Often, you don’t quite realise the consequences of that mentality…
“I knew I had to deal with my emotional issues and the baggage that was holding me back,” she continues. “In addition to weekly therapy sessions, my days were spent juicing as many vegetables as I could get my hands on, turning myself orange from all the carrot juice I drank, and over- hauling my diet. I went vegan for the first year post- diagnosis. I became a sponge, and tried to learn as much as I could. I researched Gerson Therapy, the Budwig Protocol, and many more alternative methods. I explored colonics, yoga, meditation, the up- and- coming vegan restaurants in LA ( at the time there wasn’t much of anything!), and set out to heal myself one day at a time.”
To her surprise, it started to work, and Elissa was soon on the path to recovery. However, after the birth of her two daughters, tragedy struck the family when cancer came back into their lives — only this time, it was her husband Marc who was affected. Undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, and going in and out of hospitals, weakened his immune system, and in the end, Elissa says it wasn’t cancer that claimed his life, but an infection.
Although she did see this as something of a sign, in no way does she believe that alternative therapy is a substitute for chemotherapy or other more traditional treatments. She simply believes that ‘ it’s different for each person’. “For some, chemotherapy may be the best decision they could have made. But I do know this — no treatment can make up for an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and emotional issues. In fact, I prefer therapies that are complementary to scientific ones, because we cannot simply disregard modern science and research. [ You have to] find out what complements your treatment plan ( alternative or otherwise) and focus on healing not just the body, but the mind and soul too.”
After the death of her husband, Elissa chose to study complementary medicine and become a certified holistic nutritionist. Today, the best part about her job is knowing that she is ‘ helping others heal’. Wanting to share her knowledge with a wider audience, she wrote the book Cancer Hacks: A Holistic Guide to Overcoming Your Fears and Healing Cancer. She’s also a big advocate of cleansing — but fret not, it is not an advocacy of those extreme liquid
Organic Indian Tulsi Tea – I drink a cup of tulsi almost every day. Tulsi is prized for its therapeutic aspects, and one of the most unique things about tulsi is that it is an adaptogen. Essentially, adaptogens bring the body into balance, increase our resilience to stress, and help the mind and body cope with everything from disease to everyday stressors. Tulsi tea is also full of antioxidants that protect you from free radical damage.
Coconut Water Kefir – Fermented coconut water has all the probiotic benefits of kefir, without the addition of dairy. Coconut kefir is healing to the digestive system and liver, contributing to a strong immune system. Regular consumption promotes glowing skin, relieves intestinal issues while aiding with digestion, and even cleanses the endocrine system.
Barley Grass Juice Powder - Barley grass has incredible antioxidant properties that can prevent development of diseases caused by oxidative stress. One of the most significant benefits of barley grass is to cleanse the liver and eliminate toxic build up. It also contains far more vitamin C than oranges, which is another immune- boosting nutrient. These two factors increase your resistance to illness, helping you fight off stress and fatigue.
Spirulina – Spirulina has one of the highest concentrations of chlorophyll of any food known. It can break down and eliminate toxins and heavy metals, is beneficial for GI issues, and is a complete protein that contains all 22 essential proteins. It contains three times the B12 found in liver, and 3 4 times the protein found in beef. It also provides cardiovascular health benefits and reduces inflammation.
Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil – It is excellent for your thyroid health, beneficial to your metabolism and can fight off pathogens and viruses. It’s brain fuel that is easy on your digestive system and provides long- lasting energy without any crash.