Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Eat foods that closely resemble their form and color when plucked from the dirt, tree, or vine. Think: how did my body evolve to eat food? (this is not a subtle plug for raw food diets, so don’t get excited!) The more processing your  food has undergone, the fewer nutrients are left to help keep your immunity strong. What’s more? Processing often introduces novel proteins & other foods (those that are new and unusual and therefore not known to your body), which increases your exposure to harmful substances. These chemicals are linked to modern chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, obesity, malabsorption, food intolerances, digestive disturbances and more. Bleh! That is definitely not sexy!

For all y’all vegetarians out there, take a look at your fake meats, fake cheeses, fake milks, protein supplements. The ingredients are usually NO BUENO, friends. (Full disclosure: I was a vegetarian for 13 years and developed severe food intolerances largely in thanks to those highly processed fake vegetarian foods.)



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Most of us know someone who is a cancer survivor or is currently fighting this ravaging disease. I’ve taken a strong interest in cancer prevention and survival largely because I’m shocked over and over at how confused many healthcare providers and consumers appear when it comes to cancer and nutrition. I’ve met several people who tell me that their doctors believe there isn’t a connection between nutrition and cancer. Yet some nutrition professionals and researchers argue that the cancer-nutrition connection is almost 100%! When I talk with patients or families, they are often confused about what the connection is, and often consume foods that I think no cancer patient should consume (and these foods are provided by the hospital!). What further confuses patients is that the education around the connection is inconsistent, or even influenced by profit. For example, formulary companies have helped set industry standards to promote weight maintenance among cancer patients. This is achieved with high calorie, high protein supplements – also sold by these companies – and are vigorously promoted in many hospitals.

Interestingly, I’ve heard oncology dietitians emphasize normalizing weight as quickly as possible, which is definitely a different message. Many dietitians promote reducing inflammation, and our diets and body weights are two very effective ways to achieve this.

Often, the advice dietitians might give for anti-cancer nutrition is opposing that which hospitals are promoting. What’s up with that?

While most of us now know that there is a wealth of evidence-based research exposing the links of cancer to nutrition, it is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, preventing cancer through good nutrition holds more promise than curing cancer through good nutrition.  While I don’t expect MDs and surgeons to provide substantial nutrition education to their oncology patients, I do believe they are practicing responsible medicine by referring their cancer patients to a Registered Dietitian. It is a red flag if your oncologist does not believe that nutrition and cancer are related, as it is a sign that he or she likely lives under a rock in the bottom of the sea. To be fair to yourself and your provider, carefully clarify your MD’s position on nutrition and cancer to ensure you are understanding his or her philosophy. And ask for a dietitian referral if your MD doesn’t offer it initially.

So, what are the best answers for preventing and surviving cancer through nutrition? What does your body weight have to do with cancer? How do we chart the mucky and mischevious rivers, known as “nutrition guidelines”?


Join me as I interview Gretchen Gruender, an expert oncology dietitian at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She works closely with cutting edge oncologists and medical teams, guiding her patients with solid diet and lifeststyle advice. She will guide us along this river, giving us the tour of latest progressive insights behind nutrition and cancer. She will help us to identify the information we really need to know in cancer prevention and survivorship.

Are you interested in this topic? You have an opportunity to involve yourself in the audience. What questions do you have for Gretchen? Please write them in the comment box below, or post them on my Facebook page. I will select some of the questions to ask her on the show, and I will post this interview on my webpage for your review.

Love and Health,


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Eat Ginger

Ginger – rich in superstar antioxidants with exotic names, like gingerol, shagoal, and zingerone.  It is beneficial for a kaleidescope of ailments, most notably appetite loss, stomach upset, stomachache, colic, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, motion sickness, nausea, pain, motion sickness, arthritis, migraine headaches, coughs and upper respiratory illnessess. It can even be used as a topical anaglesic! Studies show that it is effective in reducing tumors, controlling inflammation, and inhibiting cancer growth and formation. Indian culture uses ginger in a large variety of dishes, and promotes it as an immunity enhancer to be consumed whenever you feel an illness on the horizon.

Ginger’s flesh comes in yellow, orange, and white varieties. In my opinion, it tastes best when fresh, and does not need to be peeled before shredding, grating, mincing and pureeing. It is easier to cut when slicing in the direction of the fiber, rather than against it. Pickled ginger can be enjoyed with more than just sushi as a palate cleanser – try pairing it with soups, sandwiches, salads and grains. Have you ever tried ginger ice cream? Mmmm, scrumptious! Teas are another wonderful way to help your palate adjust to ginger’s powerful kick and increase your consumption. Ginger is nicely combined in spicy chai blends, green teas, and other herbal blends. My favorite ginger tea is an herbal made by Yogi Teas – called “Ginger Tea”.

Some people find ginger is too strong and therefore avoid it. In my experience, it’s an acquired taste. I became accustomed to it mostly through drinking it in teas and eating an occasional Indian or Thai dish. Sometimes, I chop up a little candied ginger and cook it into my oatmeal. While preparing this article, I learned that fresh ginger should be stored at room temperature. Oops! I’ve always stored it in the refrigerator. Dried ginger is about five-six times stronger than fresh, so use five-six times more when substituting fresh for dried in a recipe. If ginger is too strong in your opinion, using it fresh may help you to tone it down in any dish. Another yummy ginger food is chocolate-covered ginger. Who can argue with that? =-)

Have another suggestion for ginger, or a recipe to share? Please put it in the comments below. I love your contribution! Thanks for reading.

With love,


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Grind flax seeds shortly before adding to food.

So you’ve heard the buzz about the importance of Omega 3s, and you’ve heard the emphasis about its proportions to Omega 6s being important. But why do they really matter?

It boils down to this: omega are essential fatty acids (EFAs), meaning that humans must acquire them from the diet because our bodies do not produce them. Omega 6s work by increasing inflammation in the body. Despite the buzz about the perilous nature of inflammation, it is actually a critical function in healthy immunity, blood clotting, and cellular reproduction. You need some level of inflammation. But we get into trouble because our modern diets promote ridiculous amounts of inflammation, which can lead to insulting conditions on our bodies. The goal is to achieve balance.

This is where our friend Omega-3 enters the center stage. This EFA downplays everything Omega-6 does. In a natural environment, we would probably enjoy a near-perfect balance among these EFAs, and might take it for granted that they matter or even exist. But thanks to government food subsidies of corn and soy, and cheap food manufacturing, our EFA intake has a serious tip in its scales. Soybean oil is so common in processed foods that the average American is estimated to receive a whopping 10-20% of its calories from soy oil alone. Think you don’t eat processed foods? Think again. Every food item you eat that was prepared outside of your kitchen, including restaurant foods and snack foods, are processed and likely contain corn, soy, and/or canola oils.

So, why should you care? This EFA imbalance may be a major contributor to asthma, heart disease, many types of cancer, obesity, arthritis, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dyslexia, dementia, depression, post-partum depression, and violence.  Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a psychiatrist at the National Institutes of Health, advocates bringing these fats into balance to reduce these conditions. He cited a study showing that after omega-3 fish oils and vitamins were added to British prisoners’ diets, the violence in the prison dropped by 37 percent. Here’s another view point: Japan is arguably the happiest and most peaceful developed country, and the average Japanese consumes 145 pounds of seafood yearly. In contrast, the average American consumes about 40 pounds of fish, and while we are more prosperous and enjoy more open land than Japanese, we are more depressed and unsatisfied with our lives.

While supplementing may seem like the obvious answer, examine your options before running out for the next bottle of fish oil that you can find. Not only is supplementing with fish oil taxing on the environment, fish oil supplements are not FDA regulated and may end up costing you a lot of money without giving you the benefits you are seeking. It is possible that these supplements may even contain more omega 6 fats than omega 3s, as explained in my last post. Plus, if you are watching the oils you consume, eat fewer processed foods, and consume more of the omega-3 food items, you should have no problem improving your omega 3:omega 6 ratio.

Consider options that are more environmentally friendly, such as vegetarian sources of omega 3s, outlined here. If you eat meat, eat more grass-fed animals, such as beef, lamb, and chicken. Even the milk from grass-fed dairy cows or goats will contain more omega-3s than when fed from corn, soy, and other food items. Purchasing grass-fed meats from a local rancher or butcher may give you more confidence in the source of this food, support your local food producers, and will likely support more humane animal husbandry.

If you do opt for supplementing your diet, seek oils with a five-star rating from the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) at www.nutrasource.ca. This Canadian organization monitors the purity of fish oil supplements to help ensure you are getting just what you are paying for.

Finally, we can all improve our EFA ratios by reducing the amount of omega-6 fats we consume. Omega 6s are abundant in processed and cheap foods, so cook at home more to avoid them. Again, check out this post to see the list of omega-6 EFAs.

Stay Happy & Healthy!


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“William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.” -Ted.com

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By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) — Cancer survivors who participated in a month-long program in the ancient art of yoga reported enhanced quality of life, better sleep, less fatigue and less need for sleep medications.

“This is a readily applicable approach that improves quality of life and reduces medicine intake in cancer survivors. This is a real positive,” said Dr. Douglas W. Blayney, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). “This is also a creative application of scientific technique to complementary and alternative medical approaches. This applies real science.

“There is an increased importance of amelioration of the complications of therapy in long-term cancer survivors,” added Blayney, who is medical director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Michigan. “There are literally millions of patients to whom this might be applicable.”

The results of the trial, the largest randomized, controlled study on this topic to date, are to be presented at ASCO’s annual meeting, being held in June in Chicago.

Some 80 percent of cancer patients have trouble sleeping while undergoing treatment, and about two-thirds say the problems persist after treatment ends.

Despite these large numbers, few solutions exist.

The study authors involved 410 cancer survivors, average age 54, who had finished treatment two to 24 months before and who still reported greater-than-average sleep disruptions. Almost all of the participants were women, and three-quarters had had breast cancer, although the cancer had not spread. None had done any yoga in the past three months.

Participants were randomized either to receive regular follow-up care for cancer survivors or to receive regular care plus two 75-minute sessions of yoga per week for four weeks.

“We pulled components from gentle Hatha yoga and restorative yoga,” explained study author Karen Mustian, an assistant professor of radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “The actual components of each class included seated, standing, transitional and supine postures, and breathing exercises known as pranayama.”

Emphasis was on breathing from the diaphragm rather than the chest and on mindfulness, visualization and guided meditation, she explained.

Yoga participants reported an improvement in sleep quality of 22 percent, while controls reported an improvement of only 12 percent, Mustian said.

Thirty-one percent of participants in the yoga group who had started out with clinically impaired sleep quality recovered vs. only 16 percent in the control group.

Fatigue in the yoga group was decreased by 42 percent, compared with only 12 percent in the control group.

Yoga participants reduced daytime sleepiness by 20 percent as compared to only 5 percent in the usual care group.

Quality of life improved, on average, 6 percent in the yoga group and not at all in the other group.

While the yoga group was able to get by with less sleep medication, people in the control group actually used more.

“It is possible that gentle Hatha yoga classes and restorative yoga classes might be useful to cancer survivors in communities across the U.S. in helping with side effects of cancer treatment, which help create impairments in quality of life,” Mustian said. “What we can’t say at this time is that other forms of yoga, such as heated, or more rigorous types of yoga would be effective in mitigating these side effects or be safe for cancer survivors.”

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on cancer survivorship.

SOURCES: May 20, 2010, news conference with: Karen Mustian, Ph.D., assistant professor, radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York, and Douglas W. Blayney, M.D., ASCO president, professor, internal medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, and medical director, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan

Last Updated: May 21, 2010

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Article can be found at http://healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=639340

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How did we get so lucky? We get our blueberries and get to eat them too?! Bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet so low in calories that they almost don’t count, blueberries also rank highest among 60 fruits and vegetables in their capacity to destroy free radicals, according to a recent study by Tufts University. Does it get much more awesome??

Blueberries contain potent warriors, which are phytonutrients known as anthocyanidins. These tiny chemicals are some of your best friends because they combat free radicals, which act like terrorists against the collagen matrix of cells and tissues. If the free radicals succeed in unleashing their internal tyranny, they can leave you with a menu of problems: cataracts, glaucoma, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, heart disease, peptic ulcers and cancer. Anthocyanins are what give blueberries their pigments, armoring up the support structures in your entire vascular system, improving its overall function and integrity.

Research studies with aging animals have shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved their motor skills and learning abilities, making them mentally comparable to much younger animals. How? Blueberries have been shown to help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which may improve or reduce the impact of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

My friends, it’s time to get blue in the face over blueberries. Enjoy their bounty and tell everyone!



Mango-Blueberry Cobbler by McCormick

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 40 minutes  Servings: 6

Mango-Blueberry Filling:

3 cups sliced peeled mangoes

2 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger

Biscuit Topping

1/2 cup flour

4 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt 1/3 cup buttermilk

Filling: Mix mangoes, blueberries and lemon juice in large bowl. Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger in small bowl. Sprinkle over fruit; toss to coat well. Spoon into 11×7-inch baking dish sprayed with no stick cooking spray.

Topping: Mix flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add buttermilk; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into 6 portions onto fruit mixture. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake: in preheated 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and topping is browned. Serve warm with yogurt.

Tip: Use sliced peeled peaches in place of the mangoes. Or use frozedn, thawed blueberries in place of fresh blueberries.

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