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Article: Imagine you are forced to change your diet, both on and off the bike!

Wat als je noodgedwongen je eetpatroon moet aanpassen, ook op  de fiets!

Imagine you are forced to change your diet, both on and off the bike!

Kaspar has been a passionate cyclist since he was 30 but his life journey took an unexpected turn when he was confronted with a diagnosis of testicular cancer. This unexpected news had many consequences. He suddenly had to begin a new stage in his life, focussing on recovery, which also meant a change of diet and lifestyle. However he has remained positive and is now sharing his story.



Illness came unexpectedly

Thirty years ago, Kaspar received the news that he had been diagnosed with cancer. “At that moment I really thought wow, this has an impact,” he recalls. Even though he has currently been clean for a long time, he had already made adjustments to his diet. “Eating the right foods can help detect cancer earlier and possibly prevent it.” This is also evident from research by the World Cancer Research Fund (WKOF). According to them, a varied diet with a healthy weight and plenty of exercise is the best way to reduce the risk of cancer. For this reason he has adjusted his diet. Since his diagnosis he has become a vegetarian and avoids certain foods, such as sugar. "They increase the risk of certain diseases. I also avoid foods that contain a lot of calories. I have made large changes to my diet, I began eating bread less often with salads as a substitute. I have focussed on living a much healthier life in general."

However, Kaspar also discovered five years ago that he has a palm oil allergy. He cannot eat foods containing palm oil without developing serious eczema. As a result, he had to abruptly change his diet again, as palm oil is contained in many common food products such as peanut butter, chocolate, granola and gingerbread. "It's even in some breads." To add to the complexity he discovered that palm oil has up to 30 different names.

Influencing diet and lifestyle

For Kaspar, these diseases mean that he cannot eat many common foods. He has put together his own diet based upon the Houtsmuller diet For example, he does not drink coffee, but only green tea. "Doctor Houtsmuller has the philosophy: it's good that you are on a diet, but if you ever want to deviate, you have to allow yourself to do that as well."

Kaspar notes that he has started eating much healthier. "I didn't use snack very much but I don't at all anymore." At first he missed chocolate, but now he's used to it: "I'm used to it, so I don't look for it anymore."

In addition to his diet, his lifestyle has also changed because palm oil is not only in food, but also in care products, for example. "I have to pay attention to what deodorant or soap I buy." In addition, adjusting his diet and lifestyle took a lot of time because he did not have the knowledge quickly. "It's a challenge to understand what's in a product. I'm not a nutritionist. You have to get used to new foods, but bananas alone won't cut it. That took me time." He is very happy that he discovered Kalkman. "It's clear what's in their products, there is no long list of ingredients that I don't understand." Moreover, he has become more creative. "Some foods (without palm oil) were not available and that's when I started experimenting myself, for example making oatcakes."

Family and friends

For Kaspar, the changes had to happen quite abruptly. Fortunately, this was not a problem for his family. "I had known my wife for a long time when I got cancer. And together we grew into the new diet. My children grew up with this, so they don't know any better either." His daughter has also become a vegetarian herself. Not everyone in the family follows Kaspar's diet. But it's also about respect. That's really important. If they want a coke or chocolate, they should do that."

His good friends also deal with it well and don't know any better. But for people who are less close to him, it is sometimes different: "I say it in advance, but sometimes there is something that I cannot eat. But I cannot expect people to take it fully into account."

Gradual change

According to Kaspar, adjusting your diet is a matter of experimentation. However he didn't really have time for this himself: "For me it happened twice, rather abruptly. I wish I could have done it more gradually." This is also his advice to others: "If you want to have a healthier diet, that's fine, but do it gradually. Then it won't have such a big impact." His second piece of advice is to do your own research in addition to consulting a dietitian. Even though the dieticians have completed extensive studies, Kaspar says it is also useful to understand some things for yourself. "Look for information and products yourself. I have viewed and ordered so many products. If something did not work, for whatever reason, I kept looking elsewhere for a better solution."


For Kaspar, maintaining his new pattern is easy. "As far as palm oil is concerned, it is very easy. If I don't do that, I get eczema, and for a cyclist in places that are not convenient," he says, laughing. Regarding his background with cancer, his motivation is to prevent it from coming back. "It is also important to me because I have always cycled a lot. That is something I like to do and if I want to continue doing that, I also have to eat responsibly." He wants to continue cycling recreationally for many years to come. In addition to all the trips in France and Italy, among others, he loves being outdoors, also here in the Netherlands. "The best part is being outside and getting to places you wouldn't get to without your bike."