Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sugar & cancer

This post is inspired by the many questions that arise about sugars and cancer...specifically natural sugars. This is my own opinion on the topic and I am not a trained nutritionists, doctor, oncologist,etc. I am a wife whose husband is LIVING WELL with cancer and who studies up hard on all things about cancer.

Refined sugar is a big no-no when fighting cancer. Cancer feeds on sugar. It loves glucose and even steals it from other healthy cells in the body. Many healthy foods, fruits & veggies, contain natural sugars. So what do you do if you are trying to avoid sugar when dealing with cancer? Do you eat the carrot or not? Well there are several theories on this topic but most agree, in my experience, that it is not possible to eliminate all natural sugars nor should we. If a fruit or veggie has proven cancer fighting nutrients than it is worth it to eat it. For example...carrots have a high level of glucose and cancer cells suck it up but they are also getting cancer fighting nutrients from that carrot when they allow in the glucose. So if a fruit or veggie is high glycemic with proven cancer fighting properties when it is eaten it directly delivers the fighting properties into the cancer cell. That pro outweighs the con. Our Naturopath says that our body talks to us so if we have a craving for a whole healthy food than we should eat it because our body is telling us we need it to function. An husband was craving pineapple but b/c it is high glycemic I did not buy it. We asked her about this and she asked him if he was having digestion issues and he was. So she said eat it b/c his body was asking for the bromelene to aid in digestion. He ate it and it worked. Certain berries are great cancer fighters but high glycemic. We eat them. Bananas are high glycemic with no cancer fighting properties so we do not eat them. I made a raw chocolate cake for Thanksgiving which called for dates. Dates are high glycemic so I used figs instead which have tumor fighting properties and it rocked. So I do not believe that we should eliminate fruit sugars and veggie sugars from a cancer diet but we do need to be educated on the cancer fighting foods so that we make the proper fruit and veggie choices. Our bodies need the natural sugars of fruits and veggies to function properly. When you toss in serious illness particularly one that feeds on sugar it is necessary to educate yourself on these foods. It is really not optional. It can be confusing and overwhelming but we have to do what we have to do. Food has a function in our bodies. I like to think of what we eat as the weapons that the immune system warriors need in order to fight off the beasts that might be lurking. I also think that we should eat to nurture ourselves and show love to ourselves. We feel good when we do this. And let me ask you when was the last time you ate a junk food meal followed by a large soda, make that a diet soda and felt good or nurtured? Honestly

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My breakfast & teas

Something that I eat every morning that keeps me satisfied just about all day until dinner time is chia seeds. I do eat lunch but I am never "starving". I mix 2 spoonsfull in with my plain soy yogurt, flaxseeds, pineapple chunks or berries. Sometimes walnuts or brazil nuts too. So good.
I have yet to find a soy yogurt without cane juice in it so if you are avoiding sugars make sure you read the labels and let me know if you find one without cane juice.

I also love a hot cup of tea in the early morning. Some of my favorites are Allegro Tropical Mate, Numi Mint Pu-Erh, Numi Gunpowder Green Tea, Numi Morrocon Mint, Sencha Green Tea (the real deal not sure which company..Allegro I think it is a loose tea) Bija Hawthorn Tea and Traditional Medicinals Raspberry Leaf (for the female system)
I also like Yogi Tea Cold Season when I start to feel stuffed up or sinusy. I love tea a lot even the "weird" ones like Twig Tea (a macrobiotic tea) for its' earthy flavor.
Just wanted to share these things b/c it seems like more & more people are skipping breakfast or stopping at a fast food place or convenience store for the first meal and drink of their day. We need to start our days off properly with a healthy nutritious meal & drink eaten without a sense of urgency. It is a beautiful way to start the day just like dinner is a beautiful way to end it. When we eat we are supposed to be nurturing our bodies and telling ourselves we love our self. If we eat junk and are in a hurry that is not nurturing or believable. Make the time for yourself and take care because you are the only you there is and life is short.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yummy raw chocolate cake

I made a yummy easy dessert for Thanksgiving. The original recipe comes from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet. I tweaked it a bit to suit us.

1 1/2 cups raw unsoaked walnuts
dash of salt
12 dehydrated black mission figs,destemmed (original recipe calls for 10 pitted unsoaked dates)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder/carob powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. water (original recipe calls for 2 tsp.)
1 tsp. agave nectar (my addition)

Put the walnuts & salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and grind until fine. Add the figs,cocoa/carob powder,agave, vanilla & water and process until mixture beginns to stick together. Using a rubber spatula transfer to a serving plate and form mixture into a rounded form. Serve ASAP or cover and refrigerate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Treehugger's rant

I am very concerned about the state of our world. The animals, environment, people are all threatened by the biggest predator this planet has known,us humans and many do not seem to give it a second thought. Whole species are being threatened with extinction like the orangutans of Sumatra, sharks world wide, amphibians world wide, elephants and rhinos. At the root of this is greed, money. In Sumatra the rain forests are being slashed and burned displacing the orangutans so that palm fields can be planted and palm oil harvested. Palm oil is in high demand nowadays and is used in just about everything on the grocery store shelves. Never mind the animals are being sacrificed and orphaned or that the precious rain forests of Sumatra are being eradicated at an alarming rate which causes all kinds of environmental problems. One big one it is causing now as I sit here typing is the carbon being sent up into the atmosphere because of the burning. It is said that the smoke over this region of Indonesia can be seen from space. It pollutes the air in Sumatra. Our oceans are so over fished that it is killing the shark population. They are running out of food sources. The practice of fining them in order to sell the fins to make shark fin soup in Asia and the US is also taking its' toll besides causing cruel,painful, torturous deaths to these creatures who have been in the oceans since the days of the dinosaurs. Pollution of the oceans as well as global warming are also causing big problems. Humans depend on the life that comes from these waters but we are destroying them thus we are destroying ourselves. The use of mass pesticides and herbicides being sprayed on our food is depleting the soil which is a source of many vegetables nutrients. It is also making us sick and contaminating everything surrounding these farm areas.
We have to wake up ans speak up. We can't keep letting the almighty dollar, a piece of paper, dictate how and what we do. We are part of this ecosystem too yet we act like we are above it and who cares if we crush it. We will be responsible for our own extinction and death of this planet. We must take responsibility now. The excuse "what difference will one person, me, make" doesn't get anyone out of this situation but makes it worse. Our choices make a huge difference not just for ourselves but for future generations of our species and other species. Collectively we have caused these problems and collectively we can solve them. No person can close their eyes and ears to these realities any longer.
I know it is Thanksgiving week and that is why I am writing this now. We have much to be thankful for but we have much to work on so we can continue to be able to be thankful for years to come and so will our children.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another kitchen blunder

Tonight I made a raw dinner. I have made this particular dish several times but I tried a new sauce recipe. The meal was raw spaghetti which is raw zucchini cut with a spiral veggie cutter and raw red sauce. The sauce did not come out like I had hoped. Too watery and the red onion I used was very potent so it overwhelmed. We ate it though but my husband did have to voice his opinion. So I had to remind myself of my earlier post about not getting discouraged b/c a meal doesn't turn out. I love to make raw meals but we aren't 100% raw. I like the idea I have heard many raw foodists talk about when it comes to making a meal which is to not worry about making the fancy complicated recipes. Keep it simple. Five ingredients is a good number. I have made the fancy complicated recipes and they were worth it but simple is sometimes better. I am going to attempt to put together a raw chocolate cake for Thanksgiving in addition to the raw no peanut butter cookies. I will substitute a few things so we will see. If it turns out I will share the recipe. Have a great Thanksgiving and don't be afraid of trying something new in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Peanut Butter Cookies

My husband Paul loves these cookies so much he asked for them for our dessert on Thanksgiving. They are from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people by Jennifer Cornbleet.

1/2 cup raw almond butter or cashew butter
1/4 cup pur maple syrup,agave nectar or raw honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
1/2 cup ground almonds

Place the almond butter,maple syrup, vailla & salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade & process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and freeze for 30 minutes. Form into 1 inch balls and flatten slightly. Roll each cookie in ground almonds and put back into freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. They will keep for 1 month in a sealed container in the freezer.
My twist is to add unsweetened carob chips to the mix.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't get discouraged in the kitchen

Last night I tried a new recipe to me for Miso soup. I am trying to use up things in my kitchen that have been sitting on the shelves before I have to throw them out. So I decided to use up some of the miso & wakame I had. I like miso soup usually. Wakame is a completely different story. All of the seaweeds gag me. The smell and the taste are awful to me but they are so healthy for us so I try to use them in recipes and it all most always goes wrong. My miso soup did. I could not eat more than one bite before having to apologize to my husband for the nasty dinner. He actually ate his bowl of soup. He has no problem with the seaweeds. I had no back up meal so I was happy that he ate it. I know I won't be trying to make Miso soup again but I am not discouraged that one of my meals in the last 2 years failed. I am not prefect nor do I strive to be. I am pretty proud that I am able to prepare our meals like I am. I did not grow up in a household with a Betty Crocker mother. I never really learned how to cook. In college I could make Ramen Noodles or microwave Mac & Cheese. When I moved out on my own my kitchen usually contained lots of packages, cans & jars along with a 12pack of Coke. I was clueless. My husband,then boyfriend, was/is a great cook so he would make dinners or most always we ate out. We moved to southern California for a few great years and I did try my hand at cooking there because we needed to eat at home to save on expenses. We still ate out alot but I did teach myself to make a few good dishes. It wasn't until last year that I took to the kitchen and changed my thinking about preparing meals. I love it now. I see it as a creative process and sometimes a challenge. Those two things usually come with a risk for error so I accept an occasional failure. Tonight is a new night. Try & try again. As with life there is much to learn and new things constantly coming out when it comes to food preparation. So don't let one or two failed recipes keep you from keeping at it. Making our own meals is not just about saving some money or trying to impress. It is about being healthy and nurturing our bodies. What better way to tell yourself "I love you" than a nutritious home made meal. It should feel that way every time we eat and you just don't get that in a restaurant.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lettuce wraps

I made up a great raw lettuce wrap recipe tonight based on a recipe for spring rolls from Ann Gentry and the Real Food Daily cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook and restaurant in southern California. It is one of my favorites there. I really did not measure anything so you will have to judge that for yourselves.

green cabbage sliced up maybe half a cup
1 carrot shaved using a vegetable peeler
1/2 daikon radish shaved using a vegetable peeler
1 avocado cut into chunks
4 red leaf lettuce leaves
1/4 cup raw cashews

place some avocado chunks,carrot & daikon radish shavings, cabbage slices and cashews in the lettuce leaf and roll it up.

Almond butter dipping sauce

3 spoonful almond butter
2 garlic cloves
a sliver of fresh ginger
5 dashes of Nama Shoyu
1/4 cup water

Combine all in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Might take less water you just need to judge this. if you want a thick sauce use less water. Spoon sauce into the lettuce wraps or use as a dipping sauce.

Enjoy! Easy & raw

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book Plug n an amazing book

I am going to proudly promote a book today. The book is called My Tree Called Life Writing & Living Through Serious Illness An Anthology of Poetry & Prose. My husband & I both have writings in this book. This book benefits a place in Kansas City called Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing. The name is so fitting. Turning Point has been like a rock for both of us since last year. It is a place where people with serious physical illness,their family & friends can come for support and to find resources to take charge of their lives ,find hope, healing and friendships all in a place where everyone gets it. This book gives voice to the many emotions that people have in dealing with serious illness and it will speak to anyone dealing with one,anyone who is a caregiver. There are messages of hope,positivity,happiness,sadness,fear,loss, etc. from people living with cancer,HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's,caring for elderly parents and a daughter who suffered 5 strokes from cancer treatment. The list goes on. These people including my husband & myself are able to break it down because why not? We experience life in a whole new way. The little things that used to be a big deal we realize are not worth a second thought. Living or laundry...Hmmmm which is most important today? So if you are interested in the book please contact Cathy at Turning Point 913-383-8700 and visit the website at Did I mention that the book was edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg PhD. and current Poet Laureate of Kansas also a cancer survivor. It is from her writing workshops at Turning Point that the poems & prose in this book come from. We are so proud to be a part of this. Yeah! We are published!
I have to add that I am an English Lit. Major and I used to write poetry and short stories throughout college and a few years after graduation but I gave it up. So I had not written much in many many years before we took the workshop last year and when we were writing it felt so good and wow! now I have 3 published poems. It is nuts that it took major health issues to get me writing again and published to boot. That's why I went to college. So I am on cloud nine about this project.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green Juice

I am shocked at myself that it has taken me this long to post about juicing and how great I think it is. For 2 years now I have been making fresh juices for my husband in order to make sure he is getting the proper nutrition from his veggies and all of the cancer fighting benefits they have to offer. Some say just eat the vegtable or fruit and I agree. We should do that too but liquid is absorbed easier and faster by our bodies. If you eat well and balanced and eat plenty of plant based foods you will get enough fiber while still juicing. Green juices pack a punch and boost the immune system. I always use organic veggies. Organic everything. I don't want to add pesticide residue to my healthy drinks.
Here is my green juice recipe...
Kale at least 3 big leaves if not more
Spinach...a handfull
Parsley... a handful
Dandelion Greens... a handful
2 carrots...whole
1 medium granny smith apple
2 or 3 celery stalks
1/2 medium cucumber

Add green leafy veggies to juicer first and follow with celery then carrots, apple, cucumber. The celery, apple and cucumber will push the rest of the veggie juices through. This makes about 5 ounces of juice. Eight ounces is optimal. Of course there are many other things you can add like lettuces, beets, chard,etc. but not the soft stuff like avocado..those can't go into a juicer. You can mix them in later in a blender though. Green juices are a great energy boosts as well as nutritionally packed. It is satisfying to make your own juices especially if you turn a bottle or carton over at the store and read all of the crap that is added to those juices with very little exception. It is easy and if you do the math not expensive.
I started off using a Jack Lalanne but have graduated to a Breville Fountain Juicer. There are many on the market to chose from. Get one and start making your own juices. It's fun!