Easy Plant Based Recipes

After my reconstruction surgery, I decided to do a two week trial of eating  plant based.  I had seen documentaries and articles about the benefits of plant based diets, and I wanted to give it a try! I wanted to cut out cancer causing foods–most of those foods are meat related (processed meat, red meat, charred meat, farmed salmon).  So I did a little research and saw the pros of eating fruits, vegetables, and beans.  Side note: when I say “plant based”, I don’t mean vegan–I still ate dairy products and eggs. I thought it would be hard to cut out meat, but it turns out it wasn’t too bad! Did I slip up a few times? Of course! But luckily I found some recipes that I really liked and helped me stick to it.  I plan on continuing this diet, because I feel a lot better and healthier.  Also, I saved money–when I would go grocery shopping, I always spent less then $40 and the food would last me a week or more.  Below are some of my favorite recipes.  Some of these recipes are vegan, and the ones that aren’t can easily be adapted.  Let it be noted that these are super easy meals that take less than 30 minutes, because I’m not the biggest fan of cooking.  Enjoy!

Breakfast:

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Toasted english muffin with peanut butter and raisins

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English muffin with fried egg, cheese, tomato, spinach, salt, and pepper

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Toast with peanut butter and banana

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Tortilla with scrambled eggs, tomato, mixed greens, mayo, salt and pepper

Lunch/Dinner:

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Egg salad sandwich with a side of vegetables

Egg salad recipe: I didn’t follow it verbatim–you can tweak it however you would like.

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Buddha Bowl: chick peas, quinoa, mixed greens, guacamole, and red pepper dressing

Buddha Bowl Recipe: This recipe was definitely way out of my comfort zone.  It was my first time eating quinoa.  It called for avocado, but I didn’t have one so I used guacamole instead.

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Mixed vegetables with brown rice

For this I just sautéed onions, potatoes, squash, zucchini, and red pepper in a pan over medium heat until the vegetables were tender.  I seasoned it with turmeric, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. I added a little teriyaki sauce to my rice to give it some extra flavor.

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Mexican bowl: Uncle Ben’s Spanish style rice, tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob, guacamole, and sour cream

Please share any advice or recipes with me!

xoxo,

LT

Life Afraid

One thing I didn’t prepare for was life after cancer. Although I’m trying to move on from cancer, I find myself being reminded of it constantly.  Whether I’m watching tv or talking to a neighbor, cancer seems to come up. The other day, I was talking to a neighbor, and he told me about his sister who battled with breast cancer for 20 years before passing away from it. Not exactly the kind of story I want to hear! I was watching my favorite show, The Bachelorette 🌹, and one of the contestants told the story about how his mom passed away from breast cancer. Triggered! Literally as I’m writing this, the tv show I’m watching right now is talking about the mom who just found out she has breast cancer! I guess I just wasn’t prepared for it to always be present in my life and to be reminded of it. One of my biggest fears is having the cancer come back–whether it’s in 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years from now. I have to remind myself that I survived and to take it one day at a time. One of my favorite songs says it best–it’s called Life Afraid by Set It Off:

I, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
And letting all these negative thoughts collide,
Why betray my mind, when I know the control is mine.

Got no time to sit on the sidelines and watch ‘em play,
People around the world, people around the world,
Gotta strike like lightning, and shine like we’re not afraid.
People around the world say,

I’m alive,
I’m breathing today,
I’m alive,
Just dying to make,
A good vibe,
I’m still in the game,
And I won’t live my life afraid, hey!

No, nobody can relieve me of my ghosts,
But I refuse to let ‘em define my soul,
Though they come and go, I’m the one with the guts to stay.

My friends and I got to meet two of the band members from Set It Off.

xoxo,

LT

Inclusive Resort Experience 

Last summer my husband and I stayed at an all inclusive resort in Riveria Maya. There were so many resorts to choose from! But after a lot of research, we chose Secrets Maroma. Some of the reasons we chose this resort was because it was decently priced and adult only.

Rooms: The resort has multiple rooms to chose from depending on the amount you want to spend.  We chose the swim out suite.  This room has it’s own private patio with direct access to a swim out pool.  It’s a nice way to have some privacy from the main pools.

Food: Throughout the resort, there are seven restaurants to choose from.  Although the food isn’t great, there are several options to choose from.  Some of the options include French, Mexican, Asian, and Italian cuisine.  One of my favorite features was the 24 hour room service. Bars are located throughout the resort.  My favorites were the swim up bar, pool side bar, and beach bar.  Tip: Be sure to bring cash to tip the staff. They prefer US currency.

Activities: You will never get bored at this resort! There’s something to go each day.  The resort offers kayaking, snorkeling, putt putt, ping pong, tennis, and more.  Each day they have a pool activity.  My favorite was bingo and volleyball foam party.  Tip: Each morning, they leave a schedule of the day’s events.  Use that to help plan your day.

Excursions: Even though they cost extra money, I highly recommend taking an excursion.  The lobby has different travel companies that will help you choose which excursion you want to go on.  While we were there, we did two.  The first one we did took us to Talum and Akumal to snorkel with sea turtles.  The second we did was a snorkeling excursion that took us to a cenote, cave, and lagoon.  Lunch was included with both excursions; it was nice to try traditional mexican food (it was delicious).  Tip: Choose an excursion that gets you the most bang for your buck and allows you to see multiple places.

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The swim out pool from our suite.

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My favorite place to drink was in the hammock by the pool.

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On our excursion at Tulum to see the ruins.

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At our second excursion, snorkeling in a cave.

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Beautiful, clean beach

xoxo,

LT

The story behind the name

Out with the old and in with the new! Now that my cancer journey is coming to an end, I thought my blog could use an update. Although I still plan on writing about cancer, I want to broaden my topics.

Chasing Life came from a tv show I watched when I was going through chemo.  The show is about a journalist in her twenties who gets diagnosed with cancer.  Obviously, this show hit home with me.  It was an emotional roller coaster ride for me to watch! Throughout the show, there were so many things I could relate to, and watching the show helped me cope with cancer.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the show:

“When you get out of there, you’ll be a survivor.  And take it from me, survivors are the ones who appreciate life the most.”

“Life is always gonna throw you curveballs, you can’t control that.  All you have to do is keep swinging.”

“Never stop thinking about your future.”

I chose Chasing Life as the title because being diagnosed with cancer makes you realize the importance of life.  I want to live everyday to the fullest by doing what makes me happy.  Life is short, but I’ll keep chasing it.

Chase Hope. Chase Love. Chase Life.

xoxo,

LT

 

Staying Cancer Free

Now that my cancer journey is coming to an end, I want to focus on staying cancer free. My oncologist is doing everything to make sure that happens by still giving me treatment through August and putting me on the hormone pill for ten years. However, there are lifestyle changes that I can make that might make a difference! So this summer I am focusing on those changes. It might not be easy, but I’ll give it a shot. Although there are tons of studies about how to stay cancer free, I am going to focus on the ones recognized by the American Cancer Society.

  1. Alcohol: Sadly, some studies have shown a connection between alcohol and many types of cancer (including breast cancer).  Although I only drink socially, I do plan on cutting back on the amount of alcohol I drink this summer. Moderation is key!
  2. Physical activity: This seems like an obvious one. Physical activity is so beneficial for your overall health. Studies have showed that cancer survivors who did physical activity daily lived longer and were less likely in having the cancer return. It can be a simple as going on walk. Just do it!
  3. Nutrition: I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been slacking on this one. And I feel like it is the most important one. What you put into your body is going to determine how you feel. Studies show that fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, and fiber will decrease your chances of getting cancer. Meanwhile red meats and processed foods could increase your chances of getting cancer. A lot of people take supplements to get their nutrients, however doctors prefer their patients to get their nutrients from the food they eat. My main focus is cutting out processed foods. Although they are convenient, they are very unhealthy. In the future, I hope to post some easy recipes that follow these rules.

My aunt mailed me this book when I was going through chemo. It is an excellent resource for healthy recipes. Also, it tells the benifits of different foods.

Xoxo,

LT

Positive Thoughts 🌞

So I decided to switch things up and not write about cancer! Instead I want to do a postitive vibes post. I got inspired from a Facebook friend’s status. Cassandra Gaine’s status read: There are going to be times when people are going to be mean, rude, or nonchalant towards you and you’ve done nothing wrong. The key is knowing that it’s them, not you! So don’t beat yourself up, don’t try to force anything, and don’t ponder on it too much. Keep on pushing towards the best you that you can be. Only YOU can determine your happiness. 👊🏽💁🏽👌🏽#wordsofwisdom #alessonwelllearned #happyyouhappylife. I couldn’t have said it better myself. No matter what you do, some people will always judge you and try push their opinions on you. The key is to ignore these people and focus on the supportive people in your life. So to all those out there struggling with “mean”, “rude”, or “nonchalant” people,  keep your head up and let it go.

Nothing but love ❤️

LT

Mastectomy or Lumpectomy?

Anyone who has had cancer knows that one of the biggest fears is that the cancer will come back. It’s something that weighed on my mind daily. It kept me up at night thinking about what I could do to make sure this never happened again. It seemed like all I ever heard about was women getting breast cancer a second time.  This is what led me to getting a mastectomy…

The hardest decision I had to make throughout this process was deciding what to do with my misbehaving breast. In the beginning, the surgeon had only  talked about doing a lumpectomy. It wasn’t until I was almost done with chemo that I heard the word mastectomy. I mean, I always knew that was an option, but I didn’t give it much thought.

I ended up meeting with a new surgeon and a plastic surgeon. The new surgeon was great! He gave me the facts about each type of surgery.  He never tried to persuade me to get a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. His only concern was making sure that all the cancer would be gone. Of course that was my concern as well. But so was making sure I would still have a normal looking breast one day. I didn’t want to have to look down and be reminded of cancer. I didn’t want to pick out clothes that would hide this part of my body.  That’s where the plastic surgeon came in. I had a breast augmentation a few years back, and his concern was that the lumpectomy and radiation would leave me with deformed or asymmetrical breasts. With the mastectomy, he would be able to do reconstruction to both breasts to make sure they are symmetrical after surgery.

After talking to both doctors and doing my research, I decided to go ahead and get the single mastectomy.  I still question if this was the right choice. Should I have gotten the double mastectomy? There wasn’t much research that supported getting a double mastectomy. Just a personal decision that women have to make. I figured I could always take away my other breast down the road. But here’s to hoping I don’t have it!  So to the women out there who will also have to face this decision, don’t let anyone persuade you. Do what you think is the best choice for you. Ultimately, it’s your decision.


Xoxo,

LT

Life on Pause

Hearing the words “you have breast cancer” at an older age is devastating.  Being 26 and hearing those words, it’s no different.  No matter what your age, it sucks to hear that you have breast cancer.  Prior to being diagnosed, I was living a happy, adventurous life in San Diego.  I was happily married and had an amazing friend group.  It really seemed like life was perfect!  When I found out I had breast cancer, my world got turned upside down.  It seemed impossible that someone so young with no family history of breast cancer could have it.  But here I am!

Since being diagnosed, my life has been anything but “happy” or “adventurous”.  Now I like to think that my life is on pause.  Not stopped.  But paused.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to push play again, but I’ll be ready.  I see all my friends’ lives continue on and I’m envious.  I want to be able to go out, have fun, eat, drink, and be merry.  But my body and mind won’t allow it.  For now I’m stuck on pause.

Being in your twenties with breast cancer definitely messes with your mind.  Every time I go to support groups, I’m the youngest woman there.  I can’t help but ask myself why me?  As a 26 year old, there’s all these questions and variables I have to worry about now: will it come back when I’m older, will I be able to have kids (if we decide to, calm down people), will I have early menopause, is a copper IUD really my only birth control option, do I really have to take a hormone pill for 10 years? These are not questions I thought I would be dealing with in my twenties.  Before cancer my biggest issue was “what am I going to to wear?” or “how does my hair look?”  Well, jokes on me because now I don’t have any hair!

Right now my biggest fear is not being able to push play and get back that happy, adventurous life I had.  I feel like cancer has aged me 10 years, and I want to get back to the young-at-heart, fun person I was before.  I know I’ve come a long way since first starting this journey, but I know I still have a long way to go.  I only have two chemo treatments to go, but they feel like a lifetime away.  I’m hoping that once I’m done with chemo, I’ll start to feel more like myself.  Until then, I’ll stay paused.

I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from before I got diagnosed.  I can’t wait to back to this life.

XoXo,

LT

 

See Ya Later Hair!

About two weeks after my first chemo treatment, I began to notice my hair falling out.  Every time I would shower, brush my hair, or even sleep I would notice a significant amount of hair coming out.  One day I was watching tv and when I looked down, there was a bunch of hair starting to fall out.  That’s when I decided to go ahead and buzz my hair.  I couldn’t take the clumps of hair falling out anymore.  If my hair was gonna fall out, I was gonna have some control about when and how it happened!  I told my best friends, Rachel and Alex, about my decision to buzz my head.  Of course they supported this decision and told me how hot I would be bald.  Little did I know that they were already planning a surprise head shaving party for me.

When I showed up to the party, everyone was already there, and the hair salon was decorated in pink decorations.  It was absolutely perfect!  Rachel began to give me gifts, and to my surprise, one of them was from my mom.  She even facetimed her so that she could see me open the present.  Of course seeing my mom caused me to cry! All of Rachel’s family members were getting their hair done as well.  That made me feel so much better, because I didn’t want all the attention to be on me and my hair.  Rachel’s aunt informed me of another surprise…Rachel was going to donate her hair! And I got to be the person who cut it!

I am so thankful for my friends and Rachel’s family who helped put the party together.  It was an emotional day, but they made it better then I could ever imagine.  So for now, I’m saying see ya later to my hair!

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XoXo,

LT