A RAWk Star Story
Think the power of a plant based diet is luck? Think there is no way you can’t heal cancer with plants. Do you think that your diet has nothing to do with your health? I have a story for you!
I met Amanda through my livestreaming show Lunch with Leslie. We became fast friends! We do not eat the same, she is a Vegan, and I am a 90% plant based eater. One day I get a message from her that her godson Mathew had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I could feel her fear through the words she spoke. I knew he not been given much hope to live much less be cured. She told me her plans to go raw vegan with Mathew, and I was excited for them. I knew it would be hard, but I also know when your life is on the line your human nature kicks in and your desire to live wins out.
I watched the food progress from plates of raw fruit and veggies to beautiful raw creations. I won’t give away their story that Amanda tells so well, but they are my RAWk Stars for sure!
“Our journey began in March 2017. My nephew Mathew, 21 years old at the time began having symptoms. He had been suffering from headaches and blurred vision for awhile. Then he had a seizure and did not tell anyone then he had a second seizure. Mathew was hospitalized, and testing began. I have always been close to my nephew he is even my godchild, and I just love this kid with all my heart, and now he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor! Our family was devastated, of course, Mathew was the strong one. He began chemotherapy. With five rounds there was no success. The chemo made him very frail, very thin, he lost his hair, and he was out of options. The brain tumor was inoperable and worse was growing. The fear we all felt was indescribable. His doctor told him his next option would be radiation, and the chances of it working were slim. They even went as far as to say to him to start checking off events on his bucket list. My family, especially my sister, felt so lost, there were no real options, we were all confused about what to do next. My sister began calling other doctors trying to get answers. She desperately needed to hear some good news, but unfortunately, with everything she heard everything became more and more devastating.
“I have been vegan for several years knew the power of plants.”
I have been vegan for several years knew the power of plants. I did some research on raw veganism and Chris Wark from ChrisBeatCancer.com. I was so amazed at his life story and how he beat cancer. I knew we had to try raw foods. Now I just needed to convince Mathew and my sister. Mathew decided to do the research and came back to me and said this way of eating sounds so hard. He then fell completely apart. I believe it was the first time I saw him get so emotional during his cancer journey. At that moment, I knew I could not let my nephew down. I told him “I am doing it with you!” I am on this journey with you, and I will be by your side every step of the way! We cried, and gave each other the biggest bear hug ever! Then we told my sister, and she was very happy for us and decided to let Mathew do what he felt was right. So on June 18, 2017, our raw food journey began.
The beginning of raw food eating was not easy! We were eating plates of fruit and vegetables, and that was all. Mathew had a tough time because he was not used to eating so many fruits or vegetables. He went through several weeks of detox with unpleasant side effects. He had intense cravings for his old way of eating. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to sustain this raw vegan diet. I understood his feelings because it was difficult for me and I was eating a vegan diet before we started. Even I experienced a couple of days of detox but nothing like Mathew. I suspect the chemo was still in his system and created havoc at this time. I did a lot of motivating during this time. He knew this might be his only chance to survive and he mustered all the inner strength he had and just kept on going. It was hard!
“He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to sustain this raw vegan diet.”
I did some thinking and praying about how to make this diet more sustainable and less hard. I had to find a way to keep Mathew feeling satisfied, full, and once again enjoy the food he was putting in his body. He knew this was the nutrition he needed but honestly; he was bored with it. I have so much respect for my now 22-year-old nephew he was honest with me and told me, as bored as he was with the raw food, he was not giving up, and I wasn’t either. I had to dig deep into my creative side and figure out how to replicate some of the food he loved before his cancer diagnosis. Boy did we have some epic failures a long the way. Some of these disasters left Mathew shaking his head, he did not want to hurt my feelings, but he just couldn’t eat them. I have to agree; I couldn’t eat them either. The biggest failure that comes to mind is the first time I tried to make a raw taco. One would think it would be easy but not using the right seasonings can and will make them inedible. My first attempt at raw sushi didn’t go so well either. I couldn’t keep it together for the life of me.
I cooked a lot of vegan food, so I did have some kitchen skills and basic knowledge. I started to deconstruct recipes I cooked as a vegan and looked for replacements for ingredients in the raw world. Little by little I started to figure out exactly what would work as replacements and became more proficient in the use of seasonings and sauces. This opened up a whole new raw vegan world to Mathew and me.
“Mathew is loving this way of eating now…”
I love to create all of his favorite meals raw and make them as nutritionally sound as I possibly can. Mathew is loving this way of eating now and tries to help me come up with ideas. He has learned how to dice, chop, and slice vegetables. He enjoys being in the kitchen, and I love having him with me. I am convinced anything vegan and cooked can be made raw vegan. Mathews favorite is raw pizza, I must say, it’s one of my favorites too. I think he was most happy with having his all time favorite lunch as an omnivore made raw, philly cheesesteak.
We will continue to eat a raw vegan diet forever if need be. For myself, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. But most importantly, this diet is working for Mathew. He had an MRI on July 21, and by doing nothing but eating a raw vegan diet, his brain tumor has shrunk significantly. This brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. I am just so proud of him for doing this and sticking with it. Mathew is a true testament to using food as medicine. I know he will beat this and I’m so happy to be on this journey with him.” By Amanda Esposito
UPDATE August 31, 2017: Mathew just had another scan, and the brain tumor has reduced by 70%! He has only been eating raw vegan for 75 days! Everyone is different, and every cancer is certainly different. Having a coach or professional on your side to help makes can make this process a little easier although like you read a pivotal shift is never easy and requires work. Amanda had dedicated herself to Mathew and helping him beat this cancer. It has been most exciting to watch. Thank you, Amanda and Mathew, for sharing your story with us. It is impressive the work you have done to make #cancerhateit!