Today's inspirational interviewee is coming to us from sunny, California, only not so long ago Candice a.k.a. HealthOC was facing much darker days.
HH: Let's start with the million dollar question. How long have you been following a vegan diet and why did you go vegan?
I've been a vegan since August 2008. In October 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and after 10 months of hormone therapy I sought other alternatives which lead me to veganism.
HH: Was the hormone therapy not working?
The tumor was responding to the hormone treatments but it wasn't getting any smaller. At that point, my doctor said surgery was in my best interest but that I might also have to go through chemo or radiation. I resisted and turned to alternative medicine instead.
HH: How did a vegan diet become part of your alternative treatment plan?
After meeting a holistic practitioner I started researching the effects of nutrition on cancer. The strongest influence was Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study). The evidence that plant-based nutrition could heal cancer was compelling so I adopted a vegan diet.
HH: Was your transition to vegan gradual or overnight?
Overnight. My first week I was totally raw, which felt amazing. Then I started trying tempeh, faux meats and other vegan alternatives. I really like vegan food!
HH: What was the result?
After 1 month the tumor had decreased in size and after 3 months it was completely gone. [That's amaaazing!]
HH: You now follow a predominately raw vegan lifestyle. Tell us about that.
I've been 100% raw since June 1st. While I believe any consumption of vegetables is good, raw broccoli has greater healing powers than grilled broccoli.
HH: Since your recovery you've been on a mission to educate others about healthy living. Tell us about your community involvement.
I work with personal trainers and healthy living advocates to educate the community about the effects nutrition has on health. I'm a strong advocate of healthy living practices to prevent or reverse chronic illness and disease. I truly believe Hippocrates' theory of "Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food."
HH: A lot of people view veganism as a lifestyle and not just a diet. When you're working with others and promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet, what do you tell them about veganism?
I think people who try veganism and give up do so because of the lack of education and compassion. I always tell people while it was the health aspect that motivated me to become vegan the compassion is why I have stayed vegan. There is a deeper meaning behind veganism than just eschewing animal products. I encourage people to educate themselves about veganism, the food industry, nutrition, etc. so they can make an informed decision.
HH: Anything else you'd like to share?
I can be found on twitter (@HealthOC) and Facebook. I welcome questions, comments and feedback -- I love being able to help in any way that I can. I'm thinking about starting my own website or blog, it would be to help others and answer their questions, so I'm open to suggestions!!
Also, thank you, Lindsay, for this opportunity to share my story!
HH: Thank you Candice -- and we wish you continued recovery and good health!