Archive for the ‘Food Do’s & Don’ts’ Category

Having Cancer is the one time in your life when you need to concentrate on yourself first before all the other people in your life. If you don’t make your well-being a priority you won’t have the stamina to do the things in life that might have seemed effortless before.

Someone close to me has joined the Cancer Club, what an unexpected blow. I had hoped this members only Club would stay quite exclusive; the fewer members the better. Remembering the initial days and months of my initiation into the C Club led me to think of the research I did and the steps I took to arm myself for battle with this most formidable of foes.

One of the first things I looked at was my diet. Through the reading I did, I decided to take a holistic approach to my diet and  decided I wouldn’t go on a “diet” but to make a lifestyle change. I have always been concious of the importance of eating healthy and have studied nutrition for years. There is a significant difference in my mind to eating according to a formula such as the “Food Pyramid” and eating for optimum immune system support. When trying to eat more naturally & to support a body that has had or is going to have surgery, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy – whatever the challenge the fuel being put into the body needs to be mindfully chosen to enhance your health not harm it.

There are a few things I would suggest as the first steps in making your food choices healthier and once adopted as your new program for health should become a permanent part of your eating habits. If you search you will find much of the same information I am suggesting and if you visit a naturopath will probably have similar advice. The benefit of visiting a naturopath is that they will know you from their questionaire and the diagnostics they may use to tailor a plan specifically for you. I don’t want to in any way discourage you from visiting a naturopath or a dietician.

First steps Elimination of the least beneficial things in your diet and lifestyle choices.

  • The Number ONE food change to make would be eliminate everything white from your diet. No more white sugar, no more white bread, no more white flour, no more white pasta, no more white potatoes, and no more white rice.
  • No more cold cuts of any sort. Ham, salami, all of it is loaded with nitrates, fat and salt and is of no benefit to your body that is fighting cancer.
  • No more soda pop, no more sugared drinks, & even more important than sugared drinks is diet drinks which are absolutely forbidden.
  • Cut down on fat and salt. Try to stop eating chips, popcorn, etc.
  • Reduce the amount of red meat in your diet.  (tricky that I know, when I was undergoing treatment and for a long time after I had low iron) giving up red meat wasn’t recommended for me. You can cut down on red meat to a couple of times a week just keep it lean and not fried.
  • Get rid of – (throw it right out) any and all instant packaged convenience foods that besides being loaded with salt is also loaded with chemicals and preservatives that does your poor body a great deal of harm.

If you are able to achieve some of these things Fantastic, don’t stress yourself out over it. Just tell yourself you will feel better (and you will) if you can support your immune system and make it easier for your body to concentrate on the most important task at hand.  I will talk more about what should be INCLUDED in your Cancer Fighting Arsenal next post. If you are interested in visiting a site with fantastic food advice, nutrition recipes and much more visit the Real Age web site which includes a section by the Drs. Roizen and Oz.


I know from experience that in the coming days and months for some people undergoing cancer treatment, food becomes  part of the battle. Trying to eat when you don’t want to, but you need to. Trying not to lose too much weight, trying not to gain too much weight. There are some soothing foods, comforting foods, foods that seem to make you feel good as soon as you start eating them. I will get to them in the next post and will include some recipes from time to time. Meanwhile you will find that most of the recipes I have featured on this blog are truly delicious and healthy.  Stay strong.

Learn wisdom from the ways of a seedling. A seedling which is never hardened off through stressful situations will never become a strong productive plant. Stephen Sigmund

there is always light at the end of the tunnel

there is always light at the end of the tunnel


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The author of ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food” Michael Pollan whose golden rule is one worth living by as much as one is able- “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” answers questions from readers about how the Eater’s Manifesto should be interpreted by people who live in a cold climate.  The answers are one’s that many of us struggle with. Should I buy local when the only organic product available has been shipped from another country or continent?  Read the article for Michael Pollan’s answer. What would you do?


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Eat for a Future

OK Kids the biggest risk to your health is heart disease. Heart disease is affecting younger and younger people every year. Here is a strategy to minimize your risk, if you are young and healthy and want to stay that way learning now to Eat for a Future might be one of the most important things you ever do. It is most very significant for the young person whose health has been compromised. Today more and more of our young people are facing serious health challenges at younger ages. NEVER doubt for a moment that all life is created equal and precious. You who feel marginalized, overlooked, spurned by the in-crowd have more in common with the stressed weight obsessed young social butterfly than you know. The isolation and loneliness so many of us live with is a crushing burden. A burden that is harder and harder to bear if you develop vitamin deficiencies, weight control issues and health problems. Unfortunately the skinny among you can have just as much or more to worry about when it comes to blood pressure. If you: smoke, eat too many salty food/snacks, don’t exercise, and eat poorly you may be at even greater risk of High blood pressure.

The thing is that having a larger perspective and imagining a future that is healthy and happy is something you can and should do. You must value your life, I know it’s hard sometimes to care about tomorrow in this screwed up world but take it from me when you are really standing face to face with your mortality the vast majority of you will wish for the choice to choose life. Take pleasure in the small things, be the best person you can be. I have tried sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully to inspire those close to me to eat in a healthier way. Imagine if you will that you have been told that unless you change your habits that you will develop a terminal illness. How does that make you feel? Like a large foot just kicked you in the stomach? Well my dear, it is quite literally true that unhealthy lifestyle will kill you sooner or later. The problem really is this; for you cynics out there that say “I don’t care.” You think that dying young is preferable to dying sick and old, but you don’t get it yet; you will be young and sick and dying.

The most difficult hurdle to cross is accepting that you have to make a change and following through with the desire to change. My eldest son was critically ill during the blackout of August 2003 with life threatening antibiotic resistant pneumonia; learning at the age of 19 that life can be fragile was a difficult lesson for all of us. (more…)

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Jay my youngest son is away at college- he suffers from allergies and like so many people today has developed sensitivities to foods and cleaning products. Often our conversations revolve around food.  In particular how to eat on a frenetic schedule & maintain a modicum of well being.  Probably one of our first discussions revolved more around WHAT NOT TO EAT than what is OK. Read the ingredients, if the ingredient list reads more like a chemical compendium- Avoid! Our rule of thumb to make it easier to remember is ” if an ingredient ends in ates or ites give it a miss.”  Always READ LABELS.  There is a dizzying array of food additives; I am including those that have been most problematic for my family and are prevalent in so many foods. SOME FOODS  on our AVOID LIST – most salad dressings, cheese slices, orange cheddar, canned soups, flavoured chips, cold cuts, pop, diet anything, processed or instant foods.

sulphites- preservative in frozen burgers to salad dressings, mayonnaise – Can cause bronchial problems, flushing, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock  and should be avoided by people with Asthma, breathing and cardiac issues.  You can find mayonnaise, salad dressings etc that are sulphite free.

MSG Monosodium Glutamate. – flavor enhancer.  Found in many canned soups, most flavoured chips, Motts Clamato juice,  Can cause to name a few Headache, chest pain, nausea, seizures, migraines, obesity.

Potassium nitrate -preservative in cured and canned meat products.  Can cause dizziness and headaches. May adversely affect the adrenal gland.  Evidence suggests potassium nitrate can cause cancer & is banned in some countries.

Tartrazine A.K.A. FD&C yellow #5  – is a coal tar derivitave used to color food cosmetics and other products.  Tartrazine may be found in  Jello, Kraft dinner,  orange colored cheeses, Doritos and many other foods. Research has shown a link to hyperactivity in children, people sensitive to tartrazine may also suffer from asthma, rhinitis (runny nose) skin irritations, swollen eyes and more. Banned in some european countries.

Aspartame A.K.A. nutrasweet -artificial sweetener used in snacks, deserts, “diet” foods. There have been more than 90 reported health side effects associated with the use of aspartame.  Everything from vision disturbances to migraines, headaches, dizziness, depression and too many other problems to list.

Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative to kill bacteria yeast and fungi  in acidic foods and soft drinks. There is some concern that sodium benzoate while mostly “safe” may when combines with ascorbic acid or Vit. C may form the carcinogen benzene.  Therefore there are many who suggest the avoidance of  soft drinks.

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