ANDERSON -- Anderson University student Allison Boyle is a typical college student in nearly every way except one. She is more careful about food choices.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2009. At the time I was 15 years old,” Allison said. “Her particular form of breast cancer was estrogen positive. That means that the cancer fed off of her estrogen hormones. She started limiting her diet to foods that would limit the amounts of estrogen her body produced. She cut out all sugar, processed foods, dairy as well as red meats. . . .”
Allison is a sophomore at AU studying public relations and marketing. Her parents, Heather and Damon Boyle, have been married for 22 years and live in Eldersburg, Md., with her three younger siblings.
“My mom had a very strict diet. I call it her ‘rabbit food,’” Allison said. “However, she was very careful not to make us eat exactly everything she ate. She did, however, make sure that the meals she prepared for us were healthier. For example, we no longer eat red meat. If we have meat, it will be either chicken or turkey. We have a lot of dishes that consist mostly of vegetables. Sometimes the food is ... interesting. It was a bit of an adjustment getting used to all of the vegetables. You miss junk food after a while.”
Allison’s mother felt forced to make radical dietary changes in an attempt to overcome her family history.
“My mom had died of a brain tumor when I was 17 and being the ‘half glass empty’ kind of girl, I had always said that either I would die of cancer or my sister would,” Heather said. “But when you are actually faced with your own mortality, it’s a different story.”
At 40, with four children ranging in age from 8 to 15, Heather Boyle and her family were eating “the typical SAD, (standard American diet), full of processed foods and limited intake of fruits and vegetables.