Meal Prep

 Many have messaged me through the blog asking what some of my go-to meals are and how I make it work with a busy life style. So I thought I'd share with you what prepping for a crazy week of studying and exams looks like! 🙌🍏🍋🍌🍴📚📖😋 ✅ My favorite pasta - Zucchini noodle spaghetti + falafel meat balls and nutritional yeast as my parmesan cheese replacement

✅Salads: mixed greens + heirloom tomatoes + red onion + avocado + sprouts + pecans and lemon garlic vinaigrette

✅Quinoa Kale Butternut Squash + garlic and Himilayan salt

✅My FAVORITE protein bar.. Ever: @squarebars for post workout @barmethodkc. It's made with all organic and plant based ingredients and has the glycemic index of an apple. A good thing to have handy! Otherwise I bring raw cashews or a protein + greens smoothie from home.

✅Suja organic mighty greens cold pressed juice! (️Costco find for $6.99 - that's a steal) Making my own juice is the ideal option, but this is second best!

✅Kombucha - guava, raspberry lemon, and pineapple

I use to think meal prepping was a dreaded 3-4 hour task.. Until I discovered I can get all of this done in LESS than 45 minutes. Crazy, right? I had a slight epiphany when I discovered how simple it can be. It makes my busy days a lot more productive and a LOT healthier when I can "grab and go" these nutrient dense instead of snacking all day. Im still a beginner in the meal prep game but it always feels good to know i have a fridge full of healthy food ready for the week!

Aside from meal prep, this might me my favorite thing Ive ever made.. Paleo and vegan pizzas made extremely simple. (Jeremys:

Say hello to my favorite pizza.. Ever. It isn't raw, but it's 100% vegan, soy free, gluten free, dairy free (you know the works) and we make them pretty much every Sunday.. I look forward to it all week.

We use Ezekiel sprouted organic tortilla shells, Tessame's barbeque sauce (amazingly clean ingredients and tastes just like bbq), sprouted chickpeas, red onion, green pepper, some grated sweet potato, Himilayan salt, basil, and pepper - baked at 350 for 25 minutes!

Next is this go-to superfood+protein smoothie. Basically all of the ingredients above blended + ice and spinach.  On occasion I use the cafe mocha + energy flavor of Amazing Grass superfood powder for a pick me up... It tastes like a rich and creamy coffee drink! But I usually stick to the plain greens and the "creamy fudge" orgain plant based protein powder.

My diet isn't perfect, but it works for me. I have been working at achieving balance in every area of life to make my new lifestyle sustainable. And im falling in love with the process 👍💪

#VeganMealPrep #PaleoMealPrep #dairyfree #glutenfree #FoodIsMedicine #PrepareForProgress #healthyisntboring #eattofightcancer #eattolive #holisticHealing

Meatless Mexican and Meal Prep Monday

Something I'm asked very frequently: "Don't you miss meat? Don't you ever get sick of eating just salads and veggies all the time?" IMG_4278

My answer is always: not at all, because I eat so much more than that! Would I be bored  and feeling deprived if I felt like all I ever ate was plain salads and vegetables? Heck yes. But (praise the Lord) I have Pinterest to thank for being the loveliest resource possible in my plant-based transition. There are a plethora of recipes involving grains, veggies, and nuts that taste every bit as hearty and mouth watering for any "comfort" dish you can imagine. Ironically, I've actually become much more creative and cautious than I use to be in the kitchen after kicking animal products. (I never would have even thought about making my own sour cream out of cashews and apple cider vinegar had I not made the commitment to a plant-based lifestyle after my diagnosis.)

While I know that being full blown vegan is not in the interest of many, incorporating more vegetables and less processed foods is never a bad thing!

I may not miss meat much, which is the honest truth, but what I couldn't give up is anything that involves a tortilla chip. If there is a bag of chips and any sort of dip in front of me, self control laughs in my face. So finding some satisfying meatless Mexican meals and dips was an absolute must. One of my very favorite staples was introduced to me at treatment: walnut taco meat. Sounds kinda funky huh? How could walnuts taste like taco meat? I don't even really like walnuts.. Trust me-this is glorious, regardless of your take on walnuts. It is probably the most simple yet versatile recipe I've ever been introduced to! I use it in anything even remotely "Mexican-y."

Walnut Taco Meat Dishes Ideas:

Lettuce Taco Wraps

Nachos with Cashew Cheese sauce

Taco "Chipotle" bowls

Chunky dairy free chilli cheese dip

Homemade burritos

IMG_3659

WALNUT TACO RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 cups walnuts (I use raw)
  • 1-2 T Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 3 T Liquid Aminos (I use Braggs Liquid Aminos as pictured, this is a healthy alternative to soy sauce)
Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse the ingredients until they resemble taco meat. Adjust seasonings to your own taste.
How simple is that?! 5 minutes tops and you've got yourself some delicious hassle free taco meat that is chalk full of healthy fats and plant based protein!
FullSizeRender[1]
FullSizeRender[3]FullSizeRender
Being a full time grad student, prepping is essential for me to have healthy meals on hand that are easy to grab as I'm heading out the door to class or while studying for exams. Salad jars are God's gift to meal-preppers! You wouldn't think they could fit much, but if you're as determined as I am, you can fit more in a 32 oz mason jar than a standard "lunch sized" Tupperware.
I would recommend the "wide-mouth" mason jars if you plan on eating directly from the jar (most of mine are the narrow kind for drinking from and they aren't nearly as convenient to eat out of). My favorite feature of using the mason jars for meal prep is that they are inexpensive glass containers. Many plastic containers contain BPA and other carcinogens that can leach into your food, especially when heated. Pyrex glass containers are a great investment as well but can add up quickly, especially in comparison to the cost of mason jars! Anyway, enough about my obsession with mason jars versatility, lets talk about what I put in them.
IMG_3660
TACO SALAD JARS (5 jars) can easily be made dairy, gluten, soy, egg, and meat - free!
Ingredients
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 batch of walnut taco meat
  • 1 large bell pepper (I used red)
  • 1 small-medium sized red onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3 avocados mashed into a guacamole like texture
  • 5 large spoonfuls of your favorite salsa
  • Shredded cheese (I used Daiya soy-free cheese Mexican blend)
  • Thousand Island or Ranch dressing (optional: I used a homemade raw vegan thousand island

Assembling the jars: I get ready to prep by setting out my five jars and all ingredients almost like a taco bar. Make sure all ingredients are chopped properly so when you go to eat the salad everything mixes well and is easy to eat on the go! When assembling the jars ALWAYS PUT DRESSINGS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE JAR (this is to avoid the dressing from making the salad contents soggy and to keep the lettuce crisp).

  1. Begin by adding the thousand island and salsa to the bottom of the jar with the smashed avocado ontop of that to complete the bottom layer.
  2. Next add your walnut taco meat layer.
  3. Combine the black beans, bell pepper, onion, and cheese to make up the third layer.
  4. Lastly, add the ice berg lettuce to complete the top layer and seal the jars

I store the jars in the fridge on Sunday night and eat my last salad on Friday for lunch. I personally think the quality and taste holds up very well, some recommend only prepping three days worth at a time.

FullSizeRender[1]FullSizeRender[4]FullSizeRender[2]

Walnut taco meat's amazingness aside, this week I tried a new recipe found on Pinterest via crazyvegankitchen.com. I tweaked a few things within the recipe and added a few of my own favorites.  All of her claims were completely accurate about this delicious dish! Below is my rendition of the recipe.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa + Cashew Sour Cream
Healthy 100% Vegan One-Pan Mexican Quinoa. #vegan #recipe #quinoa | MyWifeMakes.com:

Her picture was just a little prettier than mine at the top of the page

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1 stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 small Carrot, diced
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 4 Jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1¼ cup Uncooked Quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne (more for a spicier dish, less for a mild dish)
  • 1 packet Stevia (or 2 T sugar)
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Butternut squash or sweet potato (optional)

 

For Homemade Cashew Sour Cream:

  • 1 cup Raw Cashews (soaked overnight in water and then drained)
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
  • ⅓ - ½ cup Water, depending on how thick you want it to be
Instructions
  1. For Quinoa: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, onion, pepper, and jalapeños and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, cayenne, stevia and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in avocado, spinach and squash. Season to taste. Top with cashew sour cream and oven-crisped tortilla strips.
  4. For Cashew Sour Cream: Combine ingredients in a blender and blend till very smooth. Keep in air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

 

 

"Cause I've still got a lotta fight left in me"

54bf2b5f2f44bbed22366929f6bdc608I sit here in the same spot I was sitting in about five months ago, writing and editing my very first blog post. How incredibly humbling it is to reflect on all that has taken place. I remember putting so much time, energy, and thought into that post. I questioned every single word I wrote. I made multiple drafts and I got to the point where I couldn't even look at the computer screen anymore. I was so afraid of what people might think. Not only about the post, but about the decisions I was making for my body. I knew the route I was choosing wasn't something that was mainstream, and certainly not something that many people would recommend for a young girl with cancer. But I wanted to share my burning desire to heal in this way with everyone I knew, and this was the best way I knew how.

Clicking "publish" on that initial post was similar to the highly anticipated feeling of ripping off a large bandaid. I clicked it, shut my computer, and went straight to my room to start packing for Arizona. I told myself I wasn't going to look at my computer or notifications on my phone until the next day, afraid that the response might be negative (but boy was I wrong).

Lisa came down stairs within minutes of me clicking publish. She had sheer disbelief and joy upon her face as she told me that I HAD to check my notifications. People were ALREADY sharing, posting uplifting comments, and donating to my treatment fund. We spent the remainder of the day, and the entire night refreshing the feed. It was a feeling of gratitude I had never known prior, with a magnitude so great that it is impossible to describe adequately.

Fast forward to now, as I sit here on the other side of everything, writing about my cancer free life. It's truly crazy how drastically my life has changed in such a short amount of time. If someone would have told me in December after I hung up the phone with my surgeon, "It will only take seven weeks. Before Summer even gets here, the cancer in your body will be history. It will leave you with nothing but wonderful lessons, a deepened faith, and a healthier lifestyle." I would have told them they were absolutely bat sh*t crazy (pardon my french). But it happened!! And the most amazing part of my journey is not at all about me, it is about what God has done in my life. It is about the tremendous amount of encouragement He has given me through every one of you as my support system. It is about the inner voice He has instilled in me to keep pressing forward in my beliefs, despite the naysayers. I always said "He will provide." And He did. He provided me with every thing I needed to fight, just as He promised. I believe that He will continue to do so and I am so eager to see what is in store for me next. One of the most important lessons I've learned (I know I say that a lot) is that praising God despite the darkness will make praising Him in the light that much brighter.

c37dc39b5f8ed717ebed7fe8435252b3

Check out Part 3, the final piece to the "Jessica Langel Story" by Beth Ryan, Fit Life Journalist.

https://youtu.be/fc1AMw1o4MI

The cancer is gone, but the fight isn't over. It is a much bigger emotional battle than I ever anticipated it being, but it is a beautiful one at that. There are a lot of good days and then there are few days where life just doesn't quite make sense to me. Little things bother me, like going through the motions of life when I should be spending my time doing something more important. I continue to grow as I work through different trials that come my way and I learn more and more about myself each day. I want to take a moment to thank everyone involved in any way, big or small. And also to acknowledge all of the beautiful fighters I've grown so close to along the way. You are all so close to my heart. This one's for you!

https://youtu.be/sLamZ_W73-s

With all my love and grattitude,

Jessica Lynn

It is not age, but experiences, that separate us.

Meet Pam: one of the most angelic people I have had the privilege of meeting. 10698708_729229470479553_3851763781169158125_n

My sister Lisa always shares this quote with me, "It is not age, but experiences, that seperate us." This quote holds true for my dear friend Pam and I.

I still remember the first time Pam entered my life in a big way.

I was in my apartment, eating lunch between classes. It was only a short time after one of my gynecology check-ups for my ovarian cysts, and I was feeling very distraught about possibly losing my fertility post-surgery. But a phone call from my sister Lisa changed my attitude around entirely.

I could barely understand what Lisa was saying through the tears. She was trying to say that Liz's mom, Pam, had unexpectedly found out she has ovarian cancer. (Liz is Lexi and Jude's nanny/babysitter/favorite-person-ever). It suddenly made my heart drop. I had never met Pam before, but I knew what a wonderful person Liz was and had heard such amazing things about her parents. I thought about if that were my mom, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and how devastated I would be. Then I thought about the pitty party I was throwing myself that day for the possibility of not being able to have my own children (ironically having no idea that, I too, had ovarian cancer).

Pam automatically entered my daily prayers from that moment on. I asked about Pam occasionally and thought about Pam often, but I had not met her yet. I remember hearing about what a cheerful person she was. Lisa told me a story about how the kids made her bracelets and her whole world lit up with joy. She explained to me that no matter how crummy she felt, Pam always wanted the company of Lexi and Jude. Lisa told me that Pam had a way of making everyone in her life feel like they were a blessing to her. I remember thinking what a compliment that was and what a beautiful person she must be.

The last way I expected to meet Pam was in the circumstance that we had ovarian cancer in common. But, God does crazy things like that. He brings people together that have a difficulty in common to give them someone to lean on, someone to vent to, and someone to make them feel less alone through dark and scary moments.

It was just a couple days before Christmas. We were sitting in Lisa's living room and I was so terrified with my recent diagnosis that I didn't even know how to think straight. Pam and Liz came in the door, faces beaming with delightful smiles, carrying a presence of peace. Pam shared with me what my upcoming appointments might entail, showed me what my port would look like, and gave me plenty of tips to keep the sadness away. She instantly became someone close to my heart.

Although what brought us together wasn't something either of us wished for, it created a very special bond. She was every bit as wonderful as I imagined she would be.

Along my journey she has gifted me many things that hold so much meaning: a lovely teal prayer blanket, a journal, and my favorite daily devotions book, Jesus Calling. Pam remembered all of my initial appointments and would send me encouraging messages. The incredible thing about her taking the time to provide outpouring support, was that she was also fighting a battle of her own.

While we both chose completely different methods in healing, we supported each other 100%. We kept in touch while I was in Arizona and shared our favorite passages in Jesus Calling with each other. We would talk about how great God is and all of the good things that we have found in a cancer diagnosis.

Shortly after receiving the news that I was cancer free, Pam received the same AMAZING news as well!! We praised God and thanked Him endlessly.

Pam and I still keep in touch from time to time, updating each other on what life is like now, and all of the adjustments that we are making. We don't get together very often, but when we do it is such a blessing!!

Last Friday morning was a very special morning. Pam and I had a juicing date! FullSizeRender[1]

FullSizeRender[2]

..along with two of our favorite side-kicks, Liz and my mom :)

FullSizeRender[4]

We made a green juice recipe and also a hot pink juice recipe, to add some variety! The sweet greens juice recipe is from Kris Carr herself, author of Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor, and it is deeeeelicious. Both of us assumed from the get go that we would like the hot pink one better (because it's more fun.. and it isn't green haha) but we both ended up agreeing that the sweet greens was our favorite of the two.

2f3c3b9a454f7308dc590b4fe648ff54

We modified the recipes slightly, replacing the kale, romaine, and dandelion greens with an Organic Power Greens blend from Costco, already washed and mixed, which is much easier prep wise. (Oh, annnnnd we decided to scratch the ginger all together ;))

864e1c11b7c99661b9d37ced0d2a4575 FullSizeRender[3]

FullSizeRender[2]

Liz, my mom, Pam and I sipped on juice and chatted about life. It was a beautiful morning and one that I will not forget. It's pretty amazing how God puts people like Pam in our lives. The people we don't even know we need, to remind us that amongst the darkness, there is still so much beauty in the world.

Thank you Pam for being an inspiration to me and having such a positive influence on my healing journey.

With Love,

Jessica Lynn

One

9ae5da41669c5f6e64b3f19e39682a81 Two weeks ago, I had my first post-treatment blood draw at Whole Health Omaha to check my AFP (Alfa-Fetoprotein) tumor markers. Yesterday I received confirmation from Dr. Murphy that my levels measured in at 1.0!! (which is wonderful news to those of you who have no idea what that means). AFP is the tumor marker specific to the type of tumors I that HAD, nonseminomatous germ cell tumors and are sometimes elevated for those with liver cancer. They are found in the pineal gland of the brain. The elevation of these markers indicate whether or not a tumor is reforming or if cancer is present. Thankfully, 1.0 is considered to be the very low end of the normal range of 0.0-8.3, meaning anything above an 8.3 would be of concern. HALLELUJAH!!

While this is awesome news that my family and I are all very happy about, my doctor does feel that we need to closely monitor my AFP levels and order a PET scan within the next 3-4 months. For personal peace of mind before moving to Kansas City, I would agree.

42571231ca394f22fae15690c5333f3e

I also wanted to share with you a lovely little video called:

"Healing Cancer Naturally: Jessica Langel's Story Part 1"

https://youtu.be/njUM-N86t3w

The title gave me goosebumps. I knew exactly what I said in the interview. but watching it for the first time was still incredible (aside from the fact that I don't like watching myself or listening to myself on video). I cannot thank you enough, Beth Ryan, for finding such deep interest in my story and taking the time to share it even further.

With love,

Jessica Lynn

"How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God that has none." - A.W. Tozer

a6e7ebaf1e0a0cbac777a3d1b95717e6 As many of you know, God has, without a doubt, been working miraculously in my life. I didn't really think or know that blessings could get greater than completely healing from a rare and aggressive cancer in just seven weeks, but I've recently learned that they definitely do.

Upon returning home, I went through a stage of confusion. I knew that I had been insanely blessed by God, but I couldn't understand fully why I was the one chosen to recieve such a gift. I knew there was a purpose, and a big one at that. However, I didn't quite know what it was or how to find it. In time, God slowly revealed to me my true purpose - helping others find the joy in healing.

God has sent many beautiful people into my life. But until recently, most of those people were lead to me in order to lift me up. But now the tables are starting to turn, and I'm getting to be that person for other people. I have been graciously blessed to experience what it is like to be able to be a resource of inspiration and information for someone else's healing journey.

This past week I received a text message from a friend and old co-worker of mine, asking for some guidance. She was asking in regards of a friend of a friend who is fighting for his health and willing to do anything to get it back. Like me, this man is not willing to obey his man-made expiration date. He had tried to reach out to An Oasis of Healing after hearing my story and wasn't getting through. After sending messages back and forth relaying between the four of us, the end result was a phone call from An Oasis of Healing!! He is excited about pursuing treatment there and I am so excited that God allowed our paths to cross and I was able to assist him in getting to the healing center. I ask that you beautiful supportive people pray for this man's willingness to walk God's path and follow His faith in this healing journey - WHEREVER it may lead him. 

 

I am also beaming with happiness as I invite you to check out Cheryl's Journey. Cheryl is from Kearny, Nebraska, battling stage 4 breast cancer with tremendous grace and courage. After her oral course of chemotherapy proved “ineffective,” she was told she was “running out of time." She chose to pursue treatment at An Oasis of Healing in Mesa, Arizona (whoop whoop!!!). It delights me to see the posts of positivity and progress that Cheryl is experiencing! I pray for continued strength and progress as she walks in the path that God has planned for her. I know what amazing support all of you are, and I ask that you keep Cheryl in your prayers. 

 www.cherylsjourney.com

These two fighters have chosen An Oasis of Healing, but it's important to know that every diagnosis, as well as every journey, is completely unique. I believe that each and every journey is beautiful and inspiring in its own way, no matter what the course of treatment may be. Trusting in the Lord and clinging to his promises are what lead you through regardless. I am so happy to have the pleasure of knowing fighters from multiple journies with unique stories. 

Thank you, supporters, for sharing my story with others - so beautiful things like I mentioned above can happen!! 

With love and appreciation,

Jessica Lynn 

And Like a Flood, His Mercy Reigns

"You'll need coffee shops, and sunsets, and road trips. Airplanes and passports and news songs and old songs. But people more than anything else. You will need other people. And you will need to be that person to someone else. A living, screaming, invitation to believe in better things."

The past couple weeks have kind of been a blur as I've been out on the open road with my favorite sidekick Lodi, making trips back and forth between Omaha, Iowa City, Des Moines, and home to LeMars/Okoboji. It has been a great privilege to feel like I'm actually able to just pick up and go. I remember being at treatment in Arizona just wishing that the people I love were closer than a plane ride away. Now that they are and now that I feel like I have a good grip on things, I am taking full advantage!

So yesterday I woke up at 6 AM to drive back from Des Moines to Omaha for a day full of therapies. I woke up feeling groggy with a bit of a swollen throat, and a very sleepy puppy. It took everything in me to just get up and go, when all I really wanted to do was just pull the covers over my head, cuddle Lodi, and pretend the appointments didn't exist. But, I had re-scheduled twice this week already, so I figured I'd better go.

I pulled into Omaha and stopped at Lisa's to drop Lodi off before leaving for my first appointment of the day at Whole Health Omaha (formerly named Alternatives). I was all worried I wouldn't be on time, but I made it there with ten minutes to spare. Usually when I walk into the infusion room for my appointments I'm the first one there, and sometimes the only one in there for the duration of my treatment. However, yesterday there were two ladies already sitting down in the chairs, one of them getting an IV. As I sat down to prepare for port access and to be hooked up for vitamin C, my nurse had a very sly smile on her face. She said with a perky voice, "You two will sure have a lot to talk about today." I didn't really know what she was referring to so I started making small talk with the other ladies. I introduced myself and they did the same. The woman getting the IV introduced herself as Alecia.

Neither I nor Alecia had any idea that yesterday would turn out to be such an amazing experience and one of the most honorable gifts God has granted me.

FullSizeRender
FullSizeRender

We started with small talk. Her friend joked to the nurse that she would take an IV of french vanilla cappuccino. I was basically salivating at those three words and sarcastically remarked that I'd take two of them. (I might have actually kind of been serious). I asked Alecia if the IV's made her tired like they do for me. She replied that the IV's take her pain away and allow her to sleep. I was curious as to what kind of pain she was in, so I asked and she said that the pain is a result from triple negative breast cancer.

"Aha" I thought, "So that's what we have in common."

The conversation automatically sparked and lasted the duration of the two and a half hour treatment. It was as if we automatically connected, like we knew each other for years. She went on to say that she had heard about me and my blog weeks prior and was hoping she would meet me someday. (Keep in mind, I was suppose to get treatment on Tuesday and rescheduled twice. You can't tell me God didn't have a hand in this!) Alecia thanked me and I was not sure what for. She said "You are touching the lives of people that you don't even know" as looked up at her IV bag. She then explained to me how she had been searching for a place to infuse a "cocktail" of therapeutic levels of vitamin c paired with therapeutic levels of zinc for the treatment of cancer. No where would grant that for her, not her doctors she had worked with or anyone in the area. It was not until I brought my protocol from Oasis to Alternatives/Whole Health in Omaha that it was available anywhere near her. Whole Health notified her that they were now willing to honor the same protocol for Alecia that they do for me. Alecia experienced great relief as she could now receive this IV treatment close to home, which meant she was able to be with her two children. Goosebumps covered my entire body as I too looked at our two IV bags, realizing they were the exact same. (I'm not sure how I didn't pick up on that prior). From there the conversation sparked even more. She asked me about my journey and I started from the very beginning, describing even the most intimate details. Alecia did the same. What made us both bring out our inner feistiness was the topic of "expiration dates." She shared with me a story about a certain oncologist that told her that her life was going to be taken from this cancer if she did not do the surgery recommended. Alecia explained to them she was going to use the vitamin C and zinc IV's, intense detox therapies, and diet/lifestyle change to cure her cancer. The woman told her, "In all of my 40 years of working in oncology I have never heard of that working for anyone else." Alecia exclaimed with the biggest smile on her face, "But I didn't listen to her because of you!!"

My world lit up.

To know that my journey has had that much of an impact on someone else's life, even that it has just allowed her to receive the treatment she feels best for her body, was absolutely outstanding. I was so honored that God brought us together, face to face, to meet one another and cross paths.

We discussed all of the difficulties in going the non-traditional route and how much pressure it can be. I shared with her how my experience at An Oasis of Healing released a lot of the stress of figuring it out for myself. She was so incredible in the way that she listened to every word I said with a sheer glow upon her face. I could see such a genuine soul with a giving heart of gold. After our IVs were done dripping, we exchanged numbers and agreed to schedule our treatments together because we had such a wonderful time.

IMG_2180
IMG_2180

If you asked me when I woke up yesterday what kind of day it was going to be, the last thing I would've said was wonderful. Which goes to show that you never know what God has up his sleeve for you, and at any moment, someone can come into your life, making the ugly parts a little more beautiful and the dull moments a little more full of life. 

FullSizeRender
FullSizeRender

I am already looking forward to our next IV date, Alecia. I will never forget yesterday's experience and I continue give God thanks and praise for connecting us. I know it has been tough, but I am cheering for you.. always.

With love,

Jessica Lynn

When life hands you lemons... make juice!

22325_10153257210394500_853215804404336194_n        11150464_10153257200044500_6798646021470997994_n Mothers day was beautiful. I got to spend the day with my amazing mother in Omaha doing whatever we wanted. We spent the morning having coffee and conversation and watched Sunnybrook church while we got ready for a nice brunch with my sister Lisa and her family. It was awesome! Last night we made a Costco and Trader Joe's run to stalk up on a bunch of healthy foods and juicing essentials for the week. This morning we worked as a team to cut, wash, and prep the juice. (It was much more fun to do with her goofiness. When we get the giggles there is no stopping us.)

images

What is juicing? I always thought juicing was one of those "health fads." Something only rich women in California did in between yoga classes and facials. It wasn't until I went to treatment at An Oasis that I learned what the true purpose of juicing is and also how beneficial it is in the healing process.

Flash back to a little green juice happy hour with my sister at treatment.10428594_949771058408829_1714345803580717485_n

What makes juicing so healthy for you? Most of us are not consuming as many vegetables as our bodies truly need to function optimally. The problem with today's Standard American Diet (SAD.. coincidence? I think not) is that we are consuming a lot of food, but we are not properly absorbing the nutrients, which leaves us still feeling hungry or satisfied for only a short period of time. We can eat and eat and eat without truly fulfilling our cellular need, whether our stomachs feel full or not. This is why we are often left unsatisfied even after consuming a large amount of food, because our cells are starving for proper nutrients. Fresh juice is instant energy and satisfaction to our cells as they gulp up all of the nutrients and antioxidants from juices.

Why not just eat the fruits and vegetables?  I use to think: "Well, good for you.. thats great.. you go girl, drink that juice. I'll chew my food and actually feel like I'm eating something," (which is still sometimes true).

But once I understood the the benefits of consuming some fresh juices in conjunction with eating fruits and veggies, juicing became a lot more important to me. The main benefit of juicing is that it eliminates the middle step of digestion and gets right to absorption. Juicing will “pre-digest” the veggies for you, allowing you to receive optimal nutrition and save your body's energy for other functions such as HEALING and repairing any ailments.

Okay.. but I don't really even like to eat greens, let alone drink the stuff. That is the beauty of juicing! YOU select what fruit and veggie combinations are delicious to you. It's a good way to consume a large amount of greens without fully tasting them. At treatment, each patient was provided with two mason jar quarts of fresh green juice daily. At first I really liked it, but as time went on, I wouldn't let that stinkin jar near me. (Probably because of the effects of the chemo drugs and just getting sick of drinking the same juice each day). But now that I am home, I'm able to switch up juice recipes and control what goes into my juice, it is a much more enjoyable (and tasty) experience! I've found that juicing is an opportunity to consume veggies I don't really like to eat plain. I am not a huge fan of kale, but juiced with green apples and lemons, kale is actually really good. Don't get me wrong, there are some things that no matter how you shake it I won't consume it (AKA ginger, can't do it without gagging). It takes a little experimentation to find what juices you like the most, but that's the best part.

Juicing sounds like something very minuscule, but it was an essential part of my cancer treatment at An Oasis, and is something that everyone can do on their own. There are certain cancer/chronic disease centers such as the Gerson Institute that focus a large portion of their treatment plan on consuming tons of fresh vegetable juices daily. "Fresh-pressed juice from raw foods provides the easiest and most effective way of providing high-quality nutrition. By juicing, patients can take in the nutrients and enzymes from nearly 15 pounds of produce every day, in a manner that is easy to digest and absorb." - Gerson Institute

Well I don't have cancer, should I be juicing? Of course! Juicing is for healing ALL ailments and chronic diseases. Such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes (especially type II)
  • Allergies
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Inflammation
  • Weight management/loss
  • Strengthen bones
  • Purify blood
  • pH balance
  • Alkalinization
  • Restore organ optimal function
  • Edema
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Candida overgrowth (yeast)
  • Alleviate symptoms of celiac disease and IBS

The list goes on and on.. amazing isn't it?

My favorite juice combinations: power greens, lemon, celery, cucumber, and green granny smith apples

FullSizeRender

864e1c11b7c99661b9d37ced0d2a4575

Leaving out the ginger of course ;)

Juicy Tips:

  • When juicing fruits, choose low glycemic fruits such as green apples, lemons, grapefruit, and berries. Juice's nutrients absorb directly into the blood stream, including the sugars. A large amount of sugar directly into the blood stream is never a good thing!
  • Drink your juice right away or store it in airtight mason jars, filling them all the way to the top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air will “oxidize” and damage the juice.
  • If the green color freaks you out add things like carrots to make it orange or strawberries or beets to make it a pretty pink color.
  • The fruit flavor generally overpowers the flavor of the veggies so don't be afraid of adding things like carrots, broccoli, cucumber, etc!
  • Always modify juicing recipes according to your pallet.
  • I store my juice in mason jars in the fridge and when I am ready to drink it I add a little ice and a straw (I purchased these from Target after getting the idea from my sister) they make juice much easier to take on the go!

IMG_2041IMG_0650

Cheers to health!

I also wanted to share with you also an article that Carly Rain Schmidt sent me this weekend. Below is an article I was featured in this months issue of Corridor Corners that is distributed in the Iowa City area. It all started when I received a random phone call in Arizona from chiropractor Dr. Karim of the Iowa City area, who was interested in sharing my story and starting a fundraiser in his office to help with expenses. Thank you Dr. Karim for all of your support and to Corridor Corners for sharing my story!!

10956938_10153256083179500_8486536484224200077_n11251268_10153256083319500_7955405963074483940_n

Xoxo,

Jessica Lynn

Teal & Twenty One 

Last weekend was a feeling I'll never forget. I woke up in Omaha with pure gratitude to see "Saturday, April 25" on my phone's home screen. It started off as a rainy and dreary morning, but nothing could dull the light of excitement within my heart. I had known about the benefit bar crawl for a while, but I knew there was a possibility that I would be watching it all unfold at a distance. So to wake up at home, and to know that I was able to make the trip to Iowa City to see everyone was such an amazing feeling!   

    Teal shirts flooded the streets of downtown Iowa City. The sight of it all brought goosebumps to my body and tears to my eyes. I was reunited with so many beautiful people that have supported my journey and were ready to CELEBRATE LIFE! A big bright smile was permanently plastered to my face as I walked around all night, throwing gratitude around like confetti (and taking pics with my new selfie stick).       I often found myself caught up in the appreciation of just being able to be there, especially with so many friends and family in one place. It was hard to fathom that all of it was for me - a truly rewarding moment!   

Saturday we celebrated life.

Sunday night we celebrated my 21st birthday. Another beautiful blessing, to see another birthday. Especially considering the surgery that I was suppose to undergo prior to chemo would have had me technically still turning 21 years old, but my body/physical state would be similar to that of a 45-60 year old going through menopause (leaving a whole nother slue of health problems). I felt so fortunate to feel 21 in every way shape and form. We went out for dinner as a group and danced the night away (Well.. I danced the night away. Haha)

         Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for such an amazing memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Seeing that weekend through my own eyes is a gift I cannot really describe. My 21st birthday was better than I ever could have dreamt it to be.

Through trials of life it is important to give thanks and grow. Through life's blessings it is important to give thanks and CELEBRATE. Even if that blessing be a breath of fresh air or hearing your own heart beat wildly. 

I thank the Lord for giving me so many trials to grow from and so many blessings to celebrate (including such wonderful people in my life to celebrate with me!) 

 

You are truly incredible. Xoxo.

Jessica Lynn 

48 Days. 2,570 Miles. One Month Cancer Free

"No matter how long the Winter, Spring is sure to follow"

picstitch

Spring has sprung in many ways!

One month ago today started off as a nerve wrecking day to say the least. I remember checking into the appointment for my (highly anticipated) follow up PET scan with such a numb feeling. The nurse directed me to a room by myself as the contrast worked its way through my port for an hour before starting the PET scan, which realistically felt like at least three hours. I don't know if doctors and nurses realize how much torture it is for a cancer patient to sit in a room alone for an hour, with nothing to think about other than what the upcoming scan results are going to be. I sat there with my eyes closed and prayed so deeply to see this day... never knowing if it was going to come. I painted a beautiful mental picture of what it must be like to feel free and to be on the other side of this. I prayed for this day, to confirm my inner belief that focusing on healing the body can, and DOES, cure cancer. I wanted to show people that sometimes listening to your inner voice is more important than listening to "standard protocol." In my mind, I was healthy and things were going great, but to see a PET scan confirm that in all aspects - was breathtaking… literally. So cheers to the glory of God and to one month of being cancer free in the books!! (It is so wonderful to be able to type that.)

After the news had sunk in, I knew in my heart that God granted me this blessing for the purpose of helping others see His light in healing. Which is why I wasted no time in figuring out how to get back on the track of becoming a chiropractor :) My lovely, supportive advisor from Cleveland Chiropractic College met me for lunch last week to go over my options. I was ecstatic to hear that I will be able to take all of the required classes online this summer in order to begin school at Cleveland this fall!! I never thought I would actually be excited to sign up for classes and buy books, but I am so eager for the opportunity to be a student again and to learn even more about wellness.

I expected to feel a giant relief the second I got home, but surprisingly it wasn't exactly a weight lifted off the shoulders. On one hand, I felt a continuing pressure to fill my time doing things to fight cancer, because that is all I had known for months. But on the other hand, I felt an enormous urge to scream from the roof tops, or run until my legs gave out, or go do something spontaneous and crazy, just to celebrate being alive. Finding a balance between the two extremes took quite a bit of time. It was (and is still) difficult to jump back into the surrounding of others who haven't experienced cancer and trying to find my "middle ground" so to speak. Thankfully, after about two weeks of exhausting myself, my sister helped me make a weekly schedule, fitting in colonics, IV's, exercise, lab work, juicing, coffee enemas, lymphatics, sauna, acupuncture, adjustments, castor oil packs, and meal prepping. It helped to visually see on a piece of paper all of the things I am still doing, I'm just not doing them at a treatment facility in Arizona, surrounded by others in the same situation like I'm use to. Now that I actually breathe in my spare time, I've started to be able to get some good sleep and even nap every now and then, which is more necessary than I thought! Over the last several months, I have collected a variety of books, articles, and resources about health and finally have the desire to read them in my spare time. I wanted to share with you one of my favorites (even prior to cancer). I've gotten a chance to re-read her books and have found even more juicy information the second time around.

606c4f0aead61d801ca5ac7bd5a10953

Meet Kris Carr, New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, wellness activist, and CANCER THRIVER!! What a lovely woman she is. I did not originally read her books in hopes of learning about cancer, but in hopes of learning about health and wellness. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer she was one of the first people to come to mind, as she has been living WITH cancer for over a decade! Not just any cancer, but MULTIPLE tumors on her liver and lungs. Over time she has been reversing them slowly. How is that possible??? Kris thrives by bridging Western Medicine and Integrative Care (Amen to that!).

"Kris titillatingly turns a supermarket into a pharmacy" - Dr. Oz

Kris has done very well for herself in her decade of thriving. She has written five books and shot one documentary that aired on Oprah and TLC. My favorite thing about Kris that makes her unique to most wellness junkies is her down-to-earth (NON INTIMIDATING) approach to health that I deeply admire. She was my initial inspiration to find my inner voice and to look at cancer as a wake-up-call rather than a death sentence and is my ongoing inspiration to live like I mean it.

Below is a little sneak peak of her bio:

"What I learned transformed my life forever and I think it can help yours too. Through my books and film, my journey has resonated with thousands of health, spiritual wealth and happiness seekers. CanSer babes and “Prevention is HOT” cheerleaders have hopped on board the Crazy Sexy train to learn how to look and feel better, lose weight, reduce stress and suffering, have more energy and nourish their spirits—even Oprah got excited about our wellness revolution.

My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out. It taught me how to listen to my brilliant inner guide, brought me back to nature (my church), the garden and kitchen (my pharmacies), and connected me more deeply with the people and animals who set my heart ablaze. I learned that a nutrient dense, plant-passionate diet rules, the Standard American Diet destroys (everything), stress sucks (life-force), exercise is non-negotiable (great for your head, heart, cells and ass-ets), joy is utterly contagious, and having fun must be taken very seriously."

5f2eafec99ee693e395f0b19bf10f676 c7efddb4ffa5f7587a5455d8543e8c3c

I highly recommend checking out Kris' books available. The Crazy Sexy Diet is the first one I read. In ten chapters with titles such as "Cupcakes, Coffee, and Cocktails," "this is your wake up call, pick up gorgeous!," and "Make Juice, Not War" - she makes learning about health very entertaining. I was searching for a new "diet" and got something a whole lot more valuable - a lifestyle change (and a good laugh). It's almost like reading a really awesome magazine, with some sarcastic humor here and there, about the true meaning of health.

Fun fact: Kris Carr actually received some therapies at An Oasis of Healing!! How cool is that? At treatment, one of the therapists shared that with me. I almost felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity, it was special to me that our journeys crossed in a similar manor. She is my continuing inspiration for positivity, sassiness, living faithfully, and focusing on what does the body good. Check her out!

She has some freebies on her site, is fun to follow on Facebook, and has a lot more information at:

www.kriscarr.com

With love,

Jessica Lynn

Strong Enough 

God works in mysterious ways.   I woke up this morning to the munchkins singing Happy Birthday. We had fruit "cake" in our PJ's and opened presents. The next thing on my list of wishes for the day was to go enjoy a cup of coffee at my favorite coffeeshop in Omaha called Stories. When I got to Stories to meet Lisa and Aaron, they said some Matthew West guy was here with his tour bus (not knowing he is one of my favorite Christian singers). His song "Strong Enough" was a theme song of mine that got me through some dark moments these past several months.

"Cause I'm broken. Down to nothing. But I'm still holding on to the one thing. You are God, and, you are strong when I am weak. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and I don't have to be, strong enough."

He was here in Omaha to debut a new song written about the lovely girl pictured below. He chose from about 40,000 stories submitted to him, and ended up choosing to write for this beautiful soul, sharing her inspirational story through the lyrics of his new song.

After listening in awe and as things wrapped up,  I found the courage to share my story with him. I got the opportunity to thank him for what he has done in my heart and in my journey with Christ. He has NO idea how much his music has impacted me and lead me through the darkness to see God's light. ❤️ God knew what he was doing this morning, what an amazing birthday gift!!

http://youtu.be/A8JsRxVczmQ

Pain will change you more profoundly than success or good fortune.

"You do not get to choose the events that come your way, nor the sorrows that interrupt your life. They will likely be a surprise to you, catching you off guard and unprepared. You may hold your head in your hands and lament your weak condition and wonder what you ought to do. To suffer, that is common to all. To suffer and still keep your composure, your faith, and your smile - that is remarkable. Pain will change you more profoundly than success or good fortune. Suffering shapes your perception of life, your values and priorities, and your goals and dreams. Your pain changes you. Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain."

54bf2b5f2f44bbed22366929f6bdc608     4082ec9fdbbc104084fbf249bfc53a20

I have always known that this pain would change my life, but I never knew how it would come about. The past few days I have truly opened my eyes to see how my pain has changed my perception. I believe each one of us has different pains in our lives that build our character and allow us to grow. We only know our own experiences with pain, but all pain has a purpose. I firmly trust that. Any one can be positive when all is right in their world, but when things completely fall apart, that is when true character shines. Things in my life are different in many aspects and adjusting to that is a work in progress. Sometimes it is hard to take a deep breath knowing how incredibly blessed I am to have this opportunity to wake up to life every day. I find myself torn between trying to celebrate life and fight for life each day, but as time goes on, the easier it becomes to find a balance. I know that this pain has brought me many amazing things: a healthier life, a deepened faith, an ability to realize what is most important in life, and a way to help others in spite of their pain. Which is why I encourage anyone battling chronic illnesses, wanting to improve their health, or who know someone who could use help fighting their "pain," whatever it may be - to consider reaching out. I've had a couple of people contact me over the past few days for some guidance, resources, or support, which has been WONDERFUL. I am so glad that I am able to give back in that way. One of the biggest blessings I've received is the ability to use my pain for greater purpose and any opportunity to do so is a gift.

With love,

Jessica Lynn

Knowledge.

Everyone knows the quote, "knowledge is power." 

Until you are aware of something or have the knowledge about it, you cannot do anything about it. But the thing is, you have to be open to that knowledge and accepting of it - whatever it may be - in order to change or grow. Sometimes we tune things out simply because we don't want to hear it. Sometimes it's because we want to pretend it isn't true, sometimes we want to think we have a better way of doing things, and sometimes we just aren't open to straying from the norm. 

I myself am very guilty at times of having selective acceptance of knowledge. We all are. It makes us human. But I want to applaud all of those in the basis of Cancer who are open minded and accepting of ALL possible cures, those researchers who are willing to go beyond what seems "normal." 

I am so happy that some awareness of completely non-toxic Cancer treatments are being brought to attention. I am NOT saying that chemotherapy and radiation are not good sources of Cancer treatment in some cases. Both of them have saved lives and have worked in numerous cases. BUT it is pretty cool to know and be aware that there are OTHER options as a Cancer patient. Which is something I was never told in any oncology appointment in the Midwest, I had to do some researching to gain knowledge and awareness for myself. What is completely and miraculously wonderful is that university hospitals around the country are starting to accept the idea that other methods could work and try them out, to gain the knowledge from them. Perhaps for those patients who do not tolerate the chemo, those patients who are "too far gone," or those patients like me who feel that they need a different way to heal their bodies as a whole can sleep better at night knowing THEY HAVE OPTIONS. 

The University of Iowa makes me even more proud to be a Hawkeye with this article. THANK YOU for being open, and spreading the knowledge and awareness. 

Go Hawks!

http://www.kcrg.com/subject/news/university-of-iowa-researchers-taking-second-look-at-vitamin-c-for-cancer-treatment-20150413

Slowly, but Surely.

Hello lovely supporters, I apologize for my lack of keeping in touch through blog posts. Life has been so crazy and beautiful that I haven't taken the time to just sit down and reflect.

I have taken the time, however, to celebrate and embrace the wonderful news. I got to spend the Easter holiday and Lexi's Gotcha Day at home and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was also able to make a trip to Iowa City to see my roommates and visit my college life which was an indescribable gift. I never knew if that was going to happen again and to be there to just take it all in was pretty amazing. I've also gotten to celebrate the engagement of two of the most deserving people I know, Madi Baack and Brayton Ringsdorf. I was so thankful to be able to be apart of that special time. Today, Janna was able to come to treatment with me in Omaha and see what that was like. It was amazing to have her company and support.

IMG_1478 IMG_1525 IMG_1542

Today marks THREE WEEKS since I left Mesa CANCER FREE. Which is still entirely surreal to me, because the days, weeks, and months prior were completely consumed with cancer. First it was about taking in the news and not completely shutting down. Then it was about taking initiative and making appointments for additional testing to figure out the stage and grade of my cancer. Then it was about figuring out what the recommended steps were. Then it was going to more appointments for second, third, and fourth opinions. In between those appointments it was about researching options and reaching out for guidance. Then it became about choosing what path I was going to take in the hopes of conquering cancer. And once I found my path of treatment, it was about finding the means to make it happen. When I finally got to that point, it became about fighting with every thing I had, even on the days I wanted to give up. Long story short, the days of NOT being completely consumed with cancer still feel so far off that some times I don't even know how to act or how to just relax and take a deep breath. Coming home and being put back into the fast-paced reality of life has been quite an adjustment, but a wonderful one at that. I stop and find myself in awe very often because I never knew if this day was going to come.

My days after cancer are much different than my days before cancer. My mindset has taken a 180 and my gratitude is so endless that I am not even sure how to express it at times. I look at even the littlest things in life so much differently. I use to wake up each morning and instantly think about that days tasks ahead. Whether it be studying, working, going to class, or crossing things off of my to-do list. Those days of waking up like that are gone. Mornings are so beautiful. I wake up at home and praise The Lord for being here. I thank Him for renewing me and giving me new life. Every day that I wake up cancer free is full of bliss, but it also comes with a certain pressure to keep working toward my health. I have been given such a rare opportunity and also such an enormous amount of support. I have received too many blessings to just stop now. While my PET scan is clear, the fight is not over. I am continuing to fight and I will fight for my health for the rest of my life. I cannot un-learn or un-experience the journey I've been taken down, and for good reason. I have said many times that I know God has placed this journey in my life for great purpose. I also know that agreeing to taking this route and pursuing it whole-heartedly means never giving up, never letting go, and never forgetting how much of a gift a healthy life is. Why waste it?

c817f6c87ef5b9721a6c78a0994591b0

My goal with this blog is to continue to update you about my cancer-free lifestyle and how I continue to work for my health. I want to share with you some of the things that I do and why I do them for my health. I have had a desire to share my journey with absolutely everyone and this seems to be a good way of doing so :)

My hope is that people continue to benefit from reading my posts. I want to share bits and pieces of the knowledge I have gained in hopes that they may be applicable to your own lives or spark a healthy thought here and there.

9381a0081bdb99c041a7ce2aa193c57a

With Love,

Jessica Lynn

Rainbows and Puppy Kisses

Many families are spending the weekend amongst pastel decorations, dyed eggs, little peep candies, a variety of jelly beans, and big chocolate bunnies. Our family's Easter weekend use to consist of the same. But five years ago we were blessed with another holiday to celebrate at this time. A holiday filled with rainbows, balloons, chocolate cake, a special movie, and a very special little girl that we cherish deeply - Lexi Jewel Nielsen.

April 5th is Lexi's "Gotcha Day," the day her adoption was finalized in the courts, she was ours FOREVER! What an amazing gift to celebrate as a family!    Lexi adds color to life without even knowing it. She brightens my world and gives me so much hope for the future. There is no doubt in my mind that God knew what he was doing when he brought Lexi Jewel to Lisa and Aaron, she was made for our family.  Yesterday, we celebrated with lunch at her favorite restaurant and came home to Lexi's rainbow Hawaiian party! She requested we serve "Steak & Pancakes" for dinner and chocolate rainbow cake for dessert :)     After dinner we all gathered to watch Lexi's Gotcha Day video. This year makes 5/5 for all of us turning into puddles.     

Our family grew with another wonderful little babe this weekend as well.. Except he has four legs, tiny paws, and lots of fur. 

  

Meet my new best friend, Lodi. I named him after Dr. Lodi, one of my doctors in Arizona who helped me save my own life in the battle against ovarian cancer.

This little ball of fur is a constant reminder to enjoy the little things in life, like puppy kisses and waking up WAY too early just to play outside.  

       

Thank you to my amazing family and boyfriend for an early 21st birthday present that will bring me so much joy and happiness every single day of this beautiful life!🐶🐾

 "A dog has a way of filling an emptiness you didn't even know you had."