For Jessica Ainscough, the force behind health and nutrition website The Wellness Warrior, about of cancer was just what the doctor ordered.
“A life that started with cancer”
It’s difficult to imagine being handed a death sentence at 22 years of age. It’s even more difficult to imagine taking that death sentence and building a new life around it. But for blogger, author and health coach Jessica Ainscough, it’s all part of her amazing story.
In 2008, Jess was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. In her words: “No one had ever heard of it, and no one knew what to do with it.” With a left arm that was riddled with cancer, she was told the only way to prolong her life was to have her arm amputated at the shoulder – and even that wasn’t a certainty.
Fast forward five years and Jess still has all her limbs. Not only that, her dreams and ambitions for life are so much bigger than she ever could have anticipated and she is a health muse for tens of thousands of people around the world.
Jessica’s transformation from a self-confessed party girl to the picture of mental and physical health she is today was not an easy one – but success was her only option. “Cancer and death are pretty good motivators to juice and to eat properly and to treat my mind and body with respect,” she says.
Each cancer patient has their therapy, their own way of living with cancer. For Jess, it was Gerson Therapy – an all-organic, radical lifestyle detox with hourly juicing, countless coffee enemas, strict diet guidelines and a major mental makeover. Now on the other side of her two-year treatment time, she thanks cancer for everything in her life.
“It’s like my guru,” she says. “It’s the biggest teacher that I’ve ever had and I don’t resent having cancer one little bit.
“People say: ‘You’ve battled cancer’ and I say to them that I haven’t ‘battled’ anything. I’ve healed. I’ve lived with cancer. We’ve gone on this journey together. Without cancer, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I don’t think you can go into battle with your own body and win.”
Jess admits her story is just one of many in a changing world of health. As people are getting sicker, so too are people choosing healthier lifestyles, each armed with knowledge that has otherwise never been available to the masses.
“Things are shifting. We have access to so much information and everybody is sharing,” she says. “You don’t need to have cancer to have the need to start changing things in your life.”
It is that notion that prompted Jess to create her 12-step health and wellbeing program, the Wellness Warrior Lifestyle Transformation Guide. She admits that although cancer forced her lifestyle transformation, when you choose it for yourself, it’s an easy and rewarding journey.
“When you take the steps and just do them at your own pace, they kind of permeate into your life in a way that you don’t even miss anything that you’re letting go of, so it becomes easy,” she says. “When you treat yourself good, good things come to you – you become a magnet for greatness and goodness.”
These days you can find Jess traipsing the globe, blogging about what amazing organic goodness she finds and sharing her story with others. She is a star of online TV series Healthtalks and has written some incredibly inspiring e-books. You can find her at www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au
12 steps to a healthier life
Jess gives us a sneak peek at her Lifestyle Transformation Guide…
STEP 1: SELF-LOVE
You’ll begin your Lifestyle Transformation with an exploration of self-love – from the thoughts you allow into your mind, right down to how you greet your reflection in the mirror. Because without love, life isn’t much fun (and changing old habits is a hundred times harder).
STEP 2: GOOD MORNING!
It all starts by revolutionising your morning routine. Learn how, with juicing demos and recipes, daily checklists, nourishing breakfast options and inspiring interviews with Wellness Warriors who’ve designed magnificent morning rhythms.
STEP 3: POWER TO THE PLANTS
You don’t have to be a nutrition nerd to get passionate about plants. Get ready for salads like you’ve never seen them before – colourful, crunchy and crazy-delicious. Once you’ve introduced even just a few more plants into your diet, you’ll be amazed at how different you feel.
STEP 4: MORE GREEN, LESS MEAN
Eating animals is not always the most nourishing choice for your body. Learn about veggie-based protein sources like whole grains, legumes and dairy alternatives. Experiment with ancient grains (like quinoa and farro), homemade veggie burgers and a decadent chocolate milkshake made from nuts and raw cacao.
STEP 5: SUGAR AND SUPERFOODS
Transforming your life isn’t about saying no to everything delicious, sweet and creamy. But you can start to explore how sugar affects your mood (and why it’s so addictive) and gradually replace highly processed treats with nourishing, plant-based options.
STEP 6: GORGEOUS FAT. GLORIOUS SALT.
Fat and salt are your friends – promise! You’ll continue to refine your diet with pure and clean plant-based fats and unprocessed sea salts. The good news? Your kitchen cupboard is about to get a glamorous upgrade. And the best part? Your food’s going to taste so much better.
STEP 7: CHEMICALS, LABELS AND DIRTY TRICKSTERS
Find out which fruits and vegetables have the most chemical nonsense – and which tend to be clean and safe. Learn how to read food labels, make sense of the small print and spot definite no-nos.
STEP 8: THINK LIKE A WARRIOR
You’ll explore how meditation can actually re-wire your brain making you stronger, more committed to your quest and more resilient in the face of tough circumstances and obstacles. You’ll start to think like a Warrior – a Warrior who knows your life is worth fighting for.
STEP 9: MOVEMENT AND SUNSHINE
By now, you’ve cleaned up your diet, you’ve re-wired your mind and you’re feeling better, cleaner and stronger. You’re ready to create a movement and fitness practice that supports all of your excellent food choices or take your current exercise regime to the next level.
STEP 10: NATURAL BEAUTY + BODY + HOME
Learn how to identify chemicals in beauty products and create your own natural beauty remedies at home. You’ll learn how to get your home spick ’n’ span and totally sparkling, with essential oils, vinegar, baking soda and other body-friendly miracle-workers. And you’ll set up a home spa, with luxurious bathroom rituals to cleanse and detoxify your body – inside out, and outside in.
STEP 11: DREAMING BIG
Now you’re ready to create your first Vision Board – a powerful collection of images and affirmations to reinforce the promises you’ve made… to yourself.
STEP 12: REFLECTION AND INTEGRATION
You’ve made hundreds (maybe thousands!) of nourishing choices, since the beginning of your Lifestyle Transformation adventure. In your final step, you’ll reflect on who you were then, who you are now and where you want to go next.
Get the guide and all the extras at lifestyletransformationguide.com