Changing diet, changing lifestyle
Liliana Tosic never paid much heed to her diet. Until her father was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.
Her efforts to prolong his life changed hers.
Growing up in Bosnia, family meals consisted of a lot of meats, breads and fatty foods. When Tosic was a harried engineering student, breakfast was coffee and cigarettes. Working long hours as a software engineer on the Canadarm project, she ate out a lot.
“I didn’t think much about health,” she says. Her father’s illness changed that. She wanted answers to why he got sick and how he could get better.
“I knew there was a lot I needed to learn,” says Tosic.
Much of her research focused on diet. She worked hard to change her father’s strict eastern European ways. She herself stopped drinking coffee, started eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat.
Tosic’s father felt better for a stretch, but the cancer had already spread.
The changes in her own health and well-being were undeniable.
“I didn’t think I was sick, but I noticed my concentration improved, I was more productive and had more energy at work.”
While Tosic was on maternity leave with her first child, she took online courses in natural nutrition. By the time her year at home was up, she knew she wanted to make it her new career. Tosic says her journey to better health through diet and exercise is like so many others—precipitated by a health crisis, a confrontation with mortality. But getting better is so much more difficult and time-consuming than prevention.
“It’s better to be proactive. We have to learn ahead of time to make change.”
For Tosic that’s meant eliminating as many chemicals and processed foods from her diet as possible. Her family eats organic meats, fruits and vegetables. They drink homemade smoothies and avoid grain cereals. She relieves stress with exercise.
“Once we’re healthy, the body is so resilient it takes a long time to break down again. Your diet has to become part of your lifestyle.”