Knowledge is power.
If you want to do anything successfully, you must discover the proper path to enhance your journey, particularly if you have an illness you wish to overcome, and wish to lead and create a happy, productive life. Who doesn’t?
I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the beginning of January 2015, and have now been on an almost six-year journey trying to understand what went wrong in my life, and what I could do to heal and make my life normal again. I’ve had chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a “miracle drug” called Rozlytrek (twice), that my oncologists on both coasts (in Florida, LA and NYC) have claimed is a miracle drug. Despite the fact that I’ve had excellent medical care, I have been blessed with a lot of positive energy from caring people around the planet and I am now committed to never wanting to take a cancer medicine again as long as I live.
AMA approved therapies probably saved my life, but I’ve now come to the conclusion that the only way I’m really going to turn this around is to purify my diet and become completely vegan.
Your body is a temple so I am learning how to cherish it as I want to live to be a 100.
Having been blessed to lead an amazing life, I’ve met countless people from around the globe, and somehow, wind up meeting the wizards, scientists, healers, therapists, geniuses, chefs and extremely talented people that are devoted to certain practices and beliefs. One of those people is Chef Nicole Derseweh, who I met by accident at a truly wonderful vegan party in Venice, California, in June 2019.
A friend and client of mine, Deborah Kagan, arranged to get me on the invitation list to a birthday party at the home of Rainbeau Mars. I was invited, and also brought my oldest daughter Liseanne, who was returning from a business trip that afternoon. Rainbeau has a beautiful house in Venice CA, and I didn’t know what to expect at the party, but there were a lot of amazing, beautiful people attending. This included celebrity guest/vegan chef, Nicole Marie Derseweh. Nicole was not only preparing a delicious spread of vegan treats, but she was also giving a cooking demonstration. It turned out to be an informative, delicious, and inspiring get together.
Nicole was a Cordon Bleu chef who, as a result of the premature death of her grandmother, Martha from cancer, decided to devote her culinary wisdom to veganism. For this cancer survivor, veganism is now the miracle drug for me, and I can assure you with firsthand experience that being a vegan with the knowledge of what really good, nutritious, healthy, low-glycemic, organic food is about is a beautiful thing. I highly recommend opening your heart and mind about veganism as a healthy dietary decision.
I chatted with Nicole, befriended her, and coincidentally was contemplating throwing a birthday party in Santa Monica in August that I hoped she would cook for. Since I was in LA for a few months then, I managed to chat with her a few times and invited her to dinner at my summer home in Santa Monica. Little did I know that Nicole would be such a positive influence on the dietary shift that needed to take place in my life in order for me to survive cancer and heal. As of this day in December 2020, I’ve battled cancer now for almost six years, and have been treated for cancer four different times. The side effects of having chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted medicine (Rozlytrek) are severe. I have decided I never want to have cancer treatment or take a cancer medicine as long as I live. The side effects and depression you suffer is devastating but I am fortunate to have been through this as I was told over five and half years ago that I may have only three years to live. Here I am alive and ready to thrive.
After getting to know Nicole when I was in Los Angeles, I decided to introduce her to a filmmaker friend of mine, Eric Small, to see whether or not the concept of developing a reality TV series on veganism was intriguing to him. Nicole’s a very personable and a completely memorable spirit, and when it comes to veganism, she’s an expert. The few times I’ve dined with her, and consumed food that she made for others, I realized she’s the kind of friend a meat and potatoes guy such as myself who’s battling cancer should know.
For all you non-vegan people that may read this, you’re probably wondering, like most people are, “Oh I can’t get protein out of vegetables.” It’s genuinely fake news. Vegetables have protein. Bottom line is – we can’t sustain an animal protein-based diet on this planet. The energy required to raise animal food products is higher than it is to grow vegetables. Eat vegan and save the planet, and remember – meat makes you mean. If you go to a party and there are thirty people there how can you know which one is vegan? They will tell you!
Eric Small and I decided to work with Nicole, and develop a TV series concept for something tentatively entitled Plant Love, which has now morphed into Plant Love: A Vegan Makeover. On December 13th, 2019, Nicole, Eric Small and myself decided to organize a vegan menu to showcase her talents to many of our friends and entertainment industry folks as well as make a donation to The Amazon Conservation Team. We had a dinner party for forty-four people, which was absolutely spectacular.
After that December 2019 trip to LA, I wound up getting the flu, which unfortunately was severe and took several weeks to get over. And then COVID-19 hit and we unfortunately had to put the show on hold. However, I did mention the show to my good friend, Jon Zakin, and he and his wife Jan are the owners of Zakin Estates Winery in Napa . Jon had just told me he’d also become vegan and had lost 20 pounds and was happy with his transformation. I commended him on the choice and told him about Plant Love, the series which he said he’d love to know about. Jon liked the concept so much that Nicole, Eric and I decided to ask him to be on our team and he is. We are all partners now in building this bplantLove.tv brand, and Nicole is our star.
I live in Pompano Beach, South Florida, and Nicole’s in Los Angeles, California. On the phone recently in late October we jointly decided that Nicole might spend a week with me, lucky man that I am, and teach me whatever she could about veganism. I was scheduled for a PET CT scan on November 13th and Nicole came on November 7th so I was prepared in that I had been on a sugarless diet and was eating clean food well before she arrived. I willed and wanted the scan to show I was cancer free and it did and Nicole helped insure that outcome.
Jon arranged to drive down to Los Angeles from Napa Valley to meet with Eric and Nicole. We are all on board, had decided to work together and expand Nicole’s vision and desire to help move the planet to a plant-based civilization.
Through many of my conversations with Nicole I’d mentioned to her that I was up for a PET/CT Scan on November 14th, and that I wanted to make sure that I was going to be cancer free. I’d already started shifting to a substantially plant-based vegan diet. I spent a solid week working with her, wherein Nicole prepared vegan meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a result of being around her and her vegan wizardry, she performed major surgery on my brain which has afforded me to embrace veganism from a lifesaving point of view.
I’ve always considered myself a lucky guy, but knowing Nicole at this stage of my life is like winning the lottery. I hit the trifecta! On November 8th, was our first full day together. We went shopping and there were no-holds-barred and I had committed to letting Nicole take control – for all that is healthy and organic and natural, and fortunately, there are some wonderful places to buy quality produce and vegan food in South Florida like The Boys in the phot above.
This is a new journey and a necessary daily business that I must practice in order to achieve my goal of being cancer free for the rest of my life. I share this story with you for two reasons. One, I think my experiences and my respect for Nicole’s wisdom, as applied to me, Peter Miller, her guinea pig, is valuable information for anyone that may face cancer, diabetes, or any other disease. The second reason is I want something from you: I want to believe that out of my sharing this journey, I’ll get the joy of knowing that I may have triggered somebody to help them change their diet and thoroughly understanding that is necessary as because of the big corporations we’ve all become victims of their profit mentality that really has nothing to do with the nutritional value of food and the consumer’s well-being.
In designing the menu for our impromptu dinner party, the first night Nicole was here, in lieu of the normal cheese and crackers. Nicole recommended Miyoko’s cream cheese on a tamari rice cracker. Having eaten my share of cheese and crackers in my lifetime, I assure you this was an absolutely delicious treat, extremely flavorful, and satisfying. The next course was a kale salad, and Nicole shared a kale joke with me: “What do kale and women have in common? They’re both less bitter after a massage!”
Nicole is not a believer in store bought salad dressings, and instead made one out of organic tahini and lemon juice. With the massaged kale, she added some raw walnuts. My recommendation if you ever make a kale salad is to find organic baby kale, and massage it as much as you like, because the more it’s massaged, the more the tartness of the kale and toughness of the texture breaks down, becoming much more palatable.
There was going to be a third course to the meal, which was going to be sautéed broccoli, which we didn’t get a chance to make. During our preparation for dinner we were amidst the approaching Hurricane Eta, and our power went out! We couldn’t have it until the next day.
In our shopping journey, we came upon a great number of exotic fruits, so I suggested we have a fruit plate, which consisted of tangerine sections, dragon fruit, goldenberries, pear slices, raspberries, and shaved dark chocolate with a squeeze of lime juice, and I love to put cayenne pepper on fresh fruit. Try it sometime!
I promised Nicole that we would document the menus that she designed and what we cooked. After seven or so tedious hours of shopping that first day, I decided we should have a little pre-Thanksgiving dinner party of five people to celebrate Nicole’s presence and her culinary abilities. Throughout the day, Nicole advised me to make a soup or regular broth so she decided to make a squash soup, whereby we got two organic squash, one butternut and the other kabocha, a Japanese squash I had never heard of before, which she roasted and then pureed, and cooked with fresh ginger, and added a sautéed leak.
Here is the squash soup recipe, which I highly recommend. Strain the soup for a silkier texture.
- 1 small/medium Roasted butternut squash (Seeds removed)
- 1 small/medium Roasted kabocha squash (Seeds removed)
- 1 Leak
- 2 cups Cauliflower
- 2 sprigs fresh Thyme
- 1 teaspoon White pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped Ginger
- 1.5 cups whole Coconut milk
- 4 cups Water
- 2 tablespoons veggie bullion (or more to taste)
Roast squash at 350 until tender, once cool remove seeds and skin setting flesh aside.
In large stockpot sauté leek and cauliflower with olive oil, pepper, ginger, and thyme.
Once leak starts to cook down add squash and bullion paste to pot.
Pour in coconut milk and water and allow soup to simmer until veggies become very tender, remove from heat.
Blend soup in vita mix until a silky-smooth texture is achieved.
Pour soup through a strainer back into pot to heat and serve.
So the aforementioned appetizer, salad, soup, and fruit dessert was the first meal that Nicole prepared for me and it was scrumptious, nutritious, and completely in keeping with the spirit that cancer is not gonna live in my body anymore because of toxic foods.
Your body is a temple so let’s celebrate it. I am eternally grateful to Nicole Derseweh for sharing with me the light for this vegan path which I am confident has improved and extended my life. Now that I want to live to be 100+. Thank you, Nicole, and good luck to all the people that want to live longer, better, cancer-free lives as vegans.
Bon appetite! Live long and be happy.
Peter Miller, The Literary Lion