The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

How can you tell if someone is a vegan? They write a blog post about it.


Yeah, so, my oncologist wants me to try a whole-food, plant-based diet.

He thinks a whole-food, plant-based diet is healthier, and considering that I’ve had cancer twice, he thinks it’s a good idea for me. The conversation went like this:

Doctor: “After chemotherapy is finished, I think you should try a whole-food, planted-based diet.”

Me: “HAAAAAA! I’m not doing that.”

Long-time readers of The Sonia Show probably remember that I was vegetarian for a while. I wasn’t very good at it. I fell off the vegetarian wagon whenever I was in the presence of fried chicken. There was also the time I got drunk and forgot I was a vegetarian and ate a bunch of sloppy joes at 2 a.m.

My oncologist and I have discussed my diet in the past. When I got cancer the first time in 2009, he encouraged me to go vegetarian. And I did … for a while. I fell off the wagon hardcore when I went on my honeymoon to Paris and Belgium with the idea that I’d jump back on the vegetarian wagon when I got home. Then I came home pregnant and, well, fuck it, I just started eating anything I wanted because I was knocked up.

Considering that I couldn’t handle being a vegetarian for very long, I’m pretty sure my attempts to be a vegan will fail miserably. Of course, it would make for really entertaining blog posts.

  • “Yeah, so, I got drunk and ate an entire vat of processed cheese … again.”
  • “Yeah, so, there’s no real meat in hot dogs, right? I mean, they are practically vegan.”
  • “Yeah, so, you know how I always have a lot of birds at my bird feeder … well, it turns out those birds are delicious. Let me explain.”

When the oncologist encouraged me to go vegetarian the first time, I didn’t eat that much meat anyway. It wasn’t a huge sacrifice. I followed his advice. I wanted to be healthy. I didn’t want cancer again. I had the mastectomy of my left breast. I took the tamoxifen. I was doing the things I needed to do to discourage a re-occurrence of cancer. But as time went by I started to take the diet less seriously. And then the cancer came back in December 2014. I had a mastectomy of my right breast. I’m doing chemotherapy. And now the doctor is telling me to try a vegan diet.

I am not suggesting that I got cancer because of what I ate. I don’t believe that at all. The doctor is not suggesting that I got cancer again because I stopped being a vegetarian. He just wants me to do everything I can to stop it from happening again.

I feel lucky that both times my cancer was caught early and hadn’t spread, but I also feel unlucky that I got cancer twice. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do to prevent getting cancer a third time. Maybe it’s just some random shit. But you know what’s not random? My diet. I can control that. And, if changing my diet will improve the odds that it won’t happen again then I need to at least try it, right?

I’ve been tested twice for the cancer gene, and I don’t have the gene. But I have had cancer TWICE, so I feel like I need to act like I’m genetically predisposed to cancer even though I may not be. I don’t want to make it easy for cancer to come back. If eliminating meat and dairy from my diet will make it more difficult cancer to return, then OK fine, let’s try that. Why not? It can’t hurt to at least try this diet, and if it doesn’t work out, well, that’s OK – at least I tried.

I can already predict that I won’t be super hardcore. I am not on board with never eating another It’s-It or never having another fancy steak dinner. Plus, I think cheese is delicious. But I think, generally, I can stop eating meat (I’ve done it before), and I can – at least – cut down on dairy.

I was talking to my acupuncturist about the diet, because I like to talk to the guy who is sticking me with needles. He is vegan. I told him that I’m not comfortable with the word “never” – like I’m NEVER going to eat cheese again. And he said that it’s about moderation. If his family is having dinner at a friend’s house and that meal has dairy or meat, they are going to eat it anyway. If he eats some meat or dairy he doesn’t use it as an excuse to bail on the diet. I found that comforting. It makes the diet sound more doable to me. I could treat meat or cheese as, well, a treat. I’m down with that. I don’t want to be the person that always asking, “Is there butter in this?” I don’t want to be high maintenance. It’s my nightmare to be considered high maintenance. Of course, it’s also my nightmare that I might get cancer again.

Apparently, there is a difference between the vegan diet and the whole-food, plant-based diet (You can check out “Forks Over Knives” to learn more about the whole-food, plant-based diet). The diets are very similar, but the plant-based diet also eliminates oil, refined sugar and processed foods. Honestly, it would probably be easier to go vegan. I could eat fries all day and claim to be a vegan. Maybe I could start there and transition to the more hardcore whole-food, plant-based diet if I so desire.

I’m not going to start the diet right away. I’m still doing chemotherapy, and I think I should be able to eat whatever I want while having poison injected in my body. That’s only fair. In the meantime, I will prepare myself by watching documentaries about how everything we eat is killing us.

I will try not to go on and on here about my diet, because this isn’t a food blog, and I don’t want to bore you.


You know, I started writing this blog back in 2003. This blog used to be about a single lady who liked to booze it up and rant about pop culture. Now it’s a boring-ass mommy blog about a lady with cancer. I’m surprised you’ve stayed with me this far, you guys. But I think if you can handle parenting and cancer blog posts, you can handle the occasional blog post about how I suck at diets.

What do you guys think? Have you tried a vegan diet or whole-food, plant-based diet?


Author: The Sonia Show

I'm a writer/podcaster/mother/goober in San Francisco who likes to drink beer, shop, laugh and make other people laugh, watch old movies, feed my unhealthy obsession with pop culture, kick breast cancer's ass, go on adventures with my mighty, mighty good man David and my awesome autistic son, Calvin, wear orange and root for the San Francisco Giants, participate in general jackass-ery, talk about TV, eavesdrop on strangers' conversations, make nerdy “Star Wars” and “Simpsons” references, and post personal things about myself on the web for all to read, which makes me some sort of literary exhibitionist.

18 thoughts on “How can you tell if someone is a vegan? They write a blog post about it.

  1. i thought ‘vegan’ meant ‘from vega’ ( learn something new every day.

  2. A friend of mine tried something similar after she had cancer (it was a blood cancer, either leukemia or lymphoma), had beaten it, but then started to have some troubling symptoms. It really helped her for a while, alleviating the worst of the symptoms (such as her lungs filling with liquid). I think she also did a RAW plant-based diet. She and her husband had a friend mentor them through it, which made a big difference.

  3. I super duper loved this blog. That is all. 🙂

  4. I love this typo: “I can – at least – cut down on diary” because I’m like, no! Don’t cut down on diary, I love your blog! Heh. Word nerd.

    I also want to say that I first found the Sonia Show years ago when someone linked to a post you had about a cartoon ad telling people not to get a pet if they’re not going to stay the course. You pretty much said that it totally makes you cry, and I was all, me too! And then you were this Star Wars nerd, and beer fan, and then you got married which, aw, had a son and named him Calvin, and I have a son named Calvin! I don’t think I was reading for the first cancer go-round and, well, now I feel like I know you somewhat (which is funny, ’cause you TOTALLY don’t know me – stalker alert!) and, well, just kick cancer’s ass, okay? Otherwise I’ll cry as much as I did at that abandoned pet cartoon ad.

    • Michaela, thank you so much for your comment! Comments like yours make me so happy that I write this blog. I will definitely continue to kick cancer’s ass.

      And thank you for pointing out the typo. I need to fix it now, or I won’t sleep tonight. 🙂

  5. Hi Sonia. Just ran across your blog and love your writing style! I’m really sorry to hear about your cancer recurrence. As they say, cancer is a bitch! My husband and I transitioned to a plant-based whole foods lifestyle almost four years ago. There is definitely a learning curve but once you figure it out, it is really not that hard and we feel great! There are also a ton of great resources out there to help you transition to plant-based. I have a blog called that focuses on oil-free plant-based recipes. I’m not nearly as prolific as many others out there. Check out the following for recipes and information on plant-based basics:

    These sites contain information on medical studies and other health issues that can be treated or impacted by plant-based diets:

    I’m not a doctor or healthcare provider and the decision is obviously yours, but introducing more nutrient rich foods even during chemo could help rid your body of toxins more quickly and give your immune system a boost. Up to you of course. 🙂

    Best of luck to you and please reach out if I can be of assistance.

  6. I have a lean towards a plant based dishes in my recipe lexicon, but I am a pescatarian (I love seafood) and have been at it for over 20 years, it is second nature for me now.

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