Breast Cancer Survivor Blog Series: Managing Health & Nutrition

Writer, business woman, passionate traveler, and breast cancer survivor, Melanie Young is an advocate for the empowerment of women through education, peer support and mentoring… and now she’s offering her words of wisdom to Paula Young customers via a 10-part blog series.

This Q&A interview-style blogs series offers insight on Melanie, her book – Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer – and her battle with breast cancer.

I hope you enjoy the second installment of this series which discusses how to manage your health and nutrition.

PAULA: What advice do you have for women to take charge of managing their health?
This is both a cancer and healthy lifestyle management book. If you take the cancer section out, I address practical matters like health insurance, assembling a health care team, skin and dental care, smart nutrition, fitness and sexuality. These are every day issues that need to be understood and managed for the rest of your life after you beat cancer.

PAULA: As a wine and food industry professional, how challenging was it to face changes in your diet and palate during treatment?
Before cancer I lived the high life enjoying many meals at restaurants and drinking wine professionally. I also ate erratically around my busy work schedule which is not good. During treatment I needed to adhere to a strict, simpler, low fat/high protein diet and abstain from all beverage alcohol. Chemotherapy affected my sense of smell which became much stronger and more sensitive, and food tasted differently. I really did not want to eat too much for fear I would have a reaction or become nauseated; yet, I felt eating smaller, more frequent meals was very important for my energy. The good news is that, because of healthier diet and steady exercise, my skin looked better and I was in the best physical shape. I decided to retool my diet permanently as a result.

PAULA: How did you change your diet?
Today I focus on greens, whole grains, fish, fresh fruit and other lean proteins. And I eat smaller portions. I no longer eat red meat, pork or anything processed or artificial. During treatment I lost all taste or desire for red meat and pork. Today, I embrace vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt and, occasionally, white meat chicken. I still drink wine in moderation and I opt for drinking better wine when I do imbibe (it’s my business after all). My husband and I eat out less and cook in more which is a huge change since I ate out a lot and never turned on my oven when I was single. Now I like to cook and try new ways to prepare healthy dishes.

For more about Melanie or to order her book, please visit

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