Hi, my name is Oliver, a yoga teacher from London with a passion for healthy living. During this blog series, I’ll tell you a little more about myself, how I fell into a life dedicated to health and give you some great easy tips to lead a healthier life through nutrition and movement.
The day that everything changed
Let me take you back to the date when everything changed for me: The 7th of May 2017. Having been experiencing several different ailments for a few months, I finally decided to speak to a doctor about what was going on. It wasn’t long into the conversation when I sensed that he suspected things might be a little more serious than I thought. I was sent for a CT scan that day and when the results came through, I was told that I had advanced cancer. Stage IV cancer. At 24 years old, it’s something you never expect to deal with. I felt totally unequipped to face the severity of my situation.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV Germ Cell Cancer and due to the severity of the disease, I felt helpless, powerless, and unhopeful. I followed the advice of oncologists and started chemotherapy.
During my treatment, I also tried to surround myself with some incredible, knowledgeable people, including cancer survivors, reflexologists, yoga teachers, nutritionists, and herbalists – all offered snippets of holistic knowledge that I was able to incorporate into my treatment plan. All of which I truly believe contributed to my recovery.
The importance of nutrition
The thing I was most drawn to was the importance of nutrition. This was something I had never paid too much attention to growing up, but as I slowly gathered more and more knowledge, I realised that there were multiple ways I could boost my survival chances - which at the time were just 50%.
One of the most interesting statistics I read was that around 90% of cancers are down to environmental factors and lifestyle choices. The realisation that nutrition could play a key role in my recovery was empowering. It gave me a sense of control over the illness. Although the chemotherapy was really starting to take its toll, I no longer felt powerless and hopeless as I did when I was first diagnosed. I was determined to do everything I could to achieve my goal: Survive!
So, I swapped burgers for beetroots. I converted to a plant-based diet. And I became a juicing machine. Each day I would make at least three juices and smoothies, packed full of the most nutritious fruit, vegetables, and supplements I could get my hands on. Often these drinks, tinctures, and herbs that I was consuming didn’t taste particularly pleasant, but because I was now aware of what these foods were doing to me, how they were helping ‘heal’ me, my taste buds were no longer the driving factor for how I ate. After a month or so, I noticed changes in my energy levels, my mood and my appearance. Every positive change increased my motivation to learn more and continue this new way of living.
A smoothie to start your day with
I remember the first smoothie I was told about all those years back and to this day, it has become a part of my morning ritual. On a macro-nutrient level, this smoothie is great. It’s loaded with fibre, carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein to help keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day. On a micro-nutrient level, this smoothie works to detoxify and support your vital organs. Give it a go!
Just blend the following…
- 1 Banana
- 1 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
- 2 Medjool Dates
- 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs
- 1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon of Mushroom Powder (you can pick this up from Zen Maitri)
- 1 Teaspoon of Coconut Oil
- ½ Cup Oat Milk
- ½ Cup Water
About the Author, Oliver Plummer