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Lessons on Living Well with Survivors

Working with patients teaches you deeper lessons, ones in which can be thought about and applied to our everyday lives.  Here are a few:


Exercise does not have to be a chore

Use the time, even if it is just 15 minutes, to engage your body in something you love to do.

Exercise often becomes another thing to check off of the list.  Clients provide friendly reminders to stop thinking of exercise as a chore and instead realize it’s time to release stress that built up during the day.

Making time to be fully present and get in touch with yourself is important, and exercise can help with that.  Some days, challenge yourself with a class at the gym. Other days find time to do a loop around the park when running errands.  Get creative with the process.


Work smarter, not harder

Use your time wisely for meal preparation.

Make healthy eating easier:

  • Chop up fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them in the fridge to grab as a snack
  • Cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers for future meals
  • Keep things on hand to throw together for quick, healthy meals:
    • simple lean proteins (organic eggs, veggie burgers, cans of wild salmon, beans, etc)
    • frozen vegetables
    • quick cook whole grains


Focus on simplicity.

Don’t get crazed by the latest health trend.

The news may be reporting on a great new diet, but our bodies haven’t changed. Regardless of what’s popular, a healthy diet is full of unprocessed whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds and lean proteins.

Stick to a diet consisting mostly of plants. Ingredient lists should be short and easy to pronounce. Don’t sweat the small stuff.


Have fun.

Enjoy your food and keep it interesting.

Nature has given us so many amazing different natural ingredients that food should never be boring. Pick out something different from the grocery store and find a new recipe to use it in. Cooking can be really fun — don’t be afraid to experiment.


Listen to your body.

Our bodies give us signals to help guide us each and every day. Are you hungry or just tired or bored? Are you cold to your core and in need of a hot meal or a hearty soup instead of a salad or something cold or raw? Take time to hear the signals and address them accordingly.

Hillary Sachs, MS, RD, CSO, CDN

Hillary is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO). She received her BS in Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and MS in Clinical Nutrition at New York University, and completed her dietetic internship at the James J. Peters Bronx VA Medical Center. Hillary works as an outpatient dietitian at the North Shore-LIJ’s Cancer Institute, where she counsels patients and their families before, during and after cancer treatment. Additionally, Hillary counsels clients on nutrition through her private practice, Recipe for Health, L.L.C., and has been invited to present at several nutrition-related events including the Breast Cancer Update Symposium at North Shore-LIJ (2013) and Adelphi University’s Farm to Table lecture (2014). Hillary strives to translate the science behind health, nutrition and prevention into practical and easy-to-follow recommendations.

    1. As a registered dietitian, I believe all foods can fit into a healthy diet. Complete deprivation is not healthy either. Enjoy your brownie once in a while (who knows, maybe you need some magnesium?!); Just take time to eat it slowly and “savor”!

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