When the going gets tough, the tough get goingPublished on 13 January 2022
The news came like a bolt from the blue. Roslina Manaf was at the peak of her career as head of human resources in an oil and gas company when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She had also recently earned her diving licence and was a highly driven mother of three.
About one in 19 women are affected by breast cancer, making it the most prevalent cancer among women in Malaysia as well as women around the world. While modern medical advancement has led patients like Roslina to seek different kinds of treatment, there is a side effect that cannot be seen by the naked eye but has tremendous implications internally.
“Most people think that breast cancer is just a physical burden we carry. The truth is most of the challenges are internal,” shared Roslina. Furthermore, if one part of the body hurts, then the whole body will be in pain; that is how Roslina began to find ways to heal herself holistically.
“I need to make sure I’m not only healing on the surface but much deeper than that. This means I need to correct my perception and train myself to let go of the self-blame, anxiety and negative thoughts as well as heal the body from a dietary perspective,” she emphasised.
The game plan: healing holistically
Recent findings suggest that carbohydrates may be feeding cancer cells as most of their energy is received by breaking down glucose. There is a possibility that having a low-carb diet may help boost positive effects of cancer treatments. After much discussion with doctors and dietitians, the decision was to try adopting a low-carb diet that can still provide the energy and nutrients Roslina needs for recovery — in essence, the answer is to try keto.
A ketogenic diet (commonly known as keto) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that drastically reduces carbohydrate intake in order to put one’s body into a metabolic state called ketosis. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels which may also aid in reducing the feeling of lethargy.
But the road to recovery is a long and winding one. Much to Roslina’s dismay, most of the recipes and suggestions are Western-centric. Malaysia is a gastronomical paradise and Malaysians are just unwilling to let go of our delicious food.
On top of that, most of the recipes provided online are Western-centric too, listing ingredients that are not easily attainable here. Bearing similar frustrations, she embarked on her journey of healing, recovery and self-acceptance through meticulous research and documentation. This is the birth of Asianketo.
One tough cookie
Today, Asianketo is a result of Roslina’s love for food and tenacity for recovery. Although she herself had to endure much hardship, she pours herself into giving back by concocting recipes, organising classes and recommending products that will help in any person’s road to healthy eating.
“Instead of blame and guilt, I wanted to rise above and beyond. A lot of people say that cancer is the worst thing to happen to a person, but I would also say that it could also be a new beginning to learn about and take care of ourselves better. From there we can become a much better individual.”
Roslina is still a high-powered mother of three kids but instead of swimming with the fishes and working in the corporate world, she is now a Neuro-Linguistic Programme (NLP) practitioner, a product influencer, and a coach on healthy eating who designs menus for restaurants.
The circumstances may have changed but she is still a strong, optimistic mother, wife, mentor, sister and friend that many people know and love. A woman on a mission to support those afflicted with cancer and advocate for healthier eating among Malaysians, we can’t wait to see what she will do next.
Watch the video below to find out how Asianketo has enriched Roslina’s life for the better.