Green Series – Food for Life

I am taking this weekly course for the next 7 weeks.  It’s a courtesy course that my company is providing and is taught by The CANCER Project.  Ten minutes into the course my first reaction was: Oh, I’m not in the right class… but I was wrong.

“The Cancer Project advances cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.”

Now I am far from being a vegetarian or a diet follower, but like everyone, I would like to be healthy.  I hate to say this, but now that I’m older and starting a family, the importance of health is raising on my priority list.  We all know someone, if not ourselves that is suffering from some sort of ailment, health problem, or disease.  Finding prevention and healing powers of food is a much gentler, natural, and appealing approach than chemical medication.

This class comes at a strange time because a lot of the ideas behind it come from health studies.  Having recently watched the TED presentation “Battling bad science” from epidemiologist, Ben Goldacre, I now question all health studies.  Of course having said that, there is always something to be learned.  I am excited about the course and look forward to folding the knowledge and yummy ideas into my life as long as it doesn’t force me to veer from my middle-path living.

Every week we are reviewing a chapter in The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods That Help You Fight Back. Lucky for you, I’ll be posting the high points “Trivia” here.

How Foods Fight Cancer

  • During enterohepatic circulation, fiber shuttles excess hormones (such as estrogen and testosterone) out of the body, which would otherwise be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is found in milk and produced in greater quantities after the consumption of milk is a potent prostate cancer stimulus.
  • Beta-carotene, found in orange-colored fruits and vegetables help protect against free radicals.
  • The Cancer Projects “New Four Food Groups” are: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, & fruit.

These are other notes I made, and pardon the short-hand, but I’m sure you can google a wealth of information on each of these.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially any opposing or alternate beliefs to these.

  1. Avoid isolated soy protein, which is found in many meat substitutes and soy milk.  Instead try organic or non-gma soy beans, tofu, or tempe.
  2. Aim for a low-protein diet (8-9% or 40-60 grams/day).  A high protein diet may be hard on your kidneys.
  3. Always use red onions instead of white or yellow.  The more color a vegetable has, the more antioxidants it has.

A few recipes we tried are:

Black KaleOil-Free Salad Dressing – Mix up a dressing of 3 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar and 2 Tablespoons orange juice.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Easy Bean Salad – Combine 1.5 cups each of cooked & drained kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans, & thawed frozen corn.  Add 1/2 a medium red onion diced.

Banana-Mango-Kale Smoothie – similar to this Kale-Banana Smoothie but with almond milk and frozen mango instead of the soy and flax seed.  I think the key here is to put enough fruit in to mask the Kale and use a strong enough blender to make a smooth purée.  Another tip was to try using black kale, which is sweeter and less spicy than the curly kale.  I recently tried this and the kale flavor was so mild it was almost  undetectable.  Put it in a tinted or opaque glass if the green color is unappealing.

There you have it!  See you next week!