An angry woman stands behind an array of different foods

Food Makes Me Angry

There has been a lot of talk about the potential causes of the various blood cancers. The one I’ve heard and read about the most is chemical exposure. And I’ve learned over the years that the amount of chemicals in the foods we consume continues to rise.

So many chemicals in food

So I guess It’s not the food itself that makes me upset, it’s the fact that so many chemicals are being allowed in the foods we eat. And I’m baffled at how the marketing of so many products can frame things to appear healthy for us when they clearly are not.

Convenience foods easy to prepare when you don't have energy

Full disclosure, in my bouts with leukemia, I have fallen prey to convenience and have eaten the things that were easiest to prepare. Or I have eaten packaged food that I knew was not the healthiest choice. But when we’re in the thick of things and have no energy, most of us take the easiest route, right?

I think that’s where the frustration hits the hardest. If they are handing out Pepsi and PopTarts at the hospital, how likely are we to make the healthier choice? It often feels like there’s no escaping it! I’ve hesitated to share this article knowing that we all do what we need to do to get by when we are living our weakest physical moments, and I don’t want to present another obstacle during an already difficult time. But when something is lending to the problem, I feel it deserves attention.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

What is safe to consume?

I read a statistic recently that 50% of us will experience cancer in our lifetime and cancers in children are rapidly on the rise. If you compare these rates of change to the changes in the food industry, it seems pretty clear that the two go hand in hand. The changes themselves can be quite frustrating, but the confusion in the labeling and marketing of these products makes it nearly impossible to know what is truly safe to consume.

Finding chemicals in food that are banned in other countries

We have to be detectives in the US just to make healthy food choices. Many of the chemicals found in our foods here in the US have been banned in other countries. They still have a lot of the same products that we have here, but the list of ingredients is much cleaner. Many of these ingredients are allowed here simply because they are more cost effective. But are the costs to the consumer ever considered? I’m sure anyone would agree that the cost of blood cancer is very high, and not just in the monetary aspect.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

Food additives impacting my energy levels

There is a lot of discussion about fatigue in the blood cancer community. I know for me personally, the food I eat impacts my energy levels immensely. I am definitely not suggesting that it is the only factor, because I know so many have endured some rough treatments.

But I challenge anyone to notice how packaged, processed or chemically laden foods make them feel in comparison to fresh, organic produce and sustainably raised meat and fish. In my experience, there is a highly notable difference. But this is not the way it should be. All food should give us energy. Food should nourish us and improve our focus, and it feels wrong that healthy foods are not the norm. We shouldn’t have to be so discerning with every choice.

I know many are fighting the fight to improve both food ingredients and labeling, but it’s frustrating that obtaining clean food has become such a battle.With all of the tricky phrasing and inaccurate claims being allowed in food marketing, it simply is not our fault. It seems the only thing the average consumer can do is to slow the demand for unhealthy products by not buying them.

How to know what is healthy

But when we are being tricked into thinking something is healthy, how do we even know what we should or shouldn’t buy? There are various apps where you can scan barcodes at the store to help understand the safety levels of the ingredients list. Over time with reading labels and journaling how I feel, I have been able to uncover what food additives are particularly triggering for me. But it still aggravates me that this is something I even have to consider.

There is also information on how we can support ourselves through blood cancer despite the onslaught of chemicals in our food and in the environment. My favorite book on this topic is The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Nasha Winters. Without education on this topic, most of us are not aware. And without awareness, we have no choice for change. What are your favorite resources for staying informed?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.