Healthy Living: Cancer Minded Cooking

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By: Leroy Templeton

Healthy living; it’s what we all strive for. Good nutrition is a key part of developing a healthy life. This goes double for cancer patients. Dealing with symptoms and treatment procedures can be a hassle, however many of the hassles that come from cancer can be alleviated through one’s diet. Not only that, but diet can actually help improve a patients overall condition. By managing diet well, you can positively affect a number of aspects including the energy, recuperation and disposition of a patient.

Those with cancer often find themselves with a curbed appetite. Patients often find difficulties with eating due to a number of factors including stress and anxiety as well as the physical side-effects of many treatments. These can include nausea, upset stomach and difficulty processing foods. When this happens, it is a good idea to choose high calorie, protein-laden foods that are healthy. Olives, nuts and seeds are all good choices. Give these as snacks and as sides to meals and they should be a helpful in adding calories. This can be in a variety of easy to consume forms such as having nuts and berries mixed in. Also, keep in mind that you will want to stay away from empty sugars i.e. those found in milkshakes, candy and other sweets. Sugar and dairy has been known to create more cancer. This will help maintain a high calorie diet.

Water is another important part of a nutritious diet. All too often, cancer patients are often stricken with unfortunate symptoms. Those experiencing fatigue and nausea as well as vomiting and diarrhea, known symptoms of pancreatic cancer as well as pericardial mesothelioma, need the rehydration that frequent water consumption brings. This will help replenish the intestines during such stressful events.

There may also be difficulties with food tolerance for those with cancer. Many treatments interfere with the small intestines ability to produce lactase. Those undergoing radiation treatments may want to look to avoid dairy products as they can add further complications to this issue.

Vitamins from fresh vegetables and fruits can help boost the immune system; especially fresh fruits and leafy, cruciferous vegetables. This includes broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and radish. Try to remember to cook any vegetables before serving. This is because raw vegetables, though full of nutrients, are also rich in fiber, which can be tough for the body to process. By cooking them, you are getting a head start on the digestive process which can help ease the process. Fruits are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. You can help make them easier to process by blending them into a healthy smoothie; you might even want to add a little protein powder for added calories that are easy for a patient to consume.

A cancer patient’s body goes through a lot already without adding on additional difficulties. Many treatments and medicine take a toll on the body during their battle with cancer. Therefore it is important to take every precaution to make anything we can easier on the patient. With these tips in mind, hopefully, you will be able to create fun, safe foods that everyone can enjoy.

Spiral Pasta with Vegetables in Tahini Sauce (gluten free, dairy free)

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I have been cooking for a woman who has cancer and has many dietary restrictions. She also needs to gain weight. She is not allowed to have dairy, wheat, night shade vegetables (eggplant, peppers,small amount of potatoes), no citrus except for lemon juice, no vinegars except for apple cider vinegar, no sugars or sweeteners of any kind. Needless to say it is challenging cooking, however, whenever I am faced with these types of challenges it brings out my creativity and I blossom for the occasion. I have created some very interesting and delicious meals. If anyone has these type of restrictions or needs to gain weight they might find these recipes of great interest. The first recipe is with brown rice fusilli with vegetables in a Tahini sauce. It is vegetarian, but if desired, sauteed chicken or shrimp can be added for protein to balance out the carbohydrates and fat. Tahini is made out of sesame seed paste and has a delicious nutty flavor. It is very important to always add water to the tahini before mixing with other ingredients. It needs to blend well with the water and become very smooth before adding other ingredients. Click here for the recipe http://ChefGloriab.com

Grilled Bluefish with Citrus Marinade, Perfect for the summer

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Bluefish is not a wildly popular fish. However, it is native to the Massachusetts area, high in Omega 3 fats, and a very moist fish. Many people who don’t like it haven’t tried it prepared correctly. Bluefish is an oily fish, with a citrus marinade it pulls the oily taste out and imparts a more delicate flavor to the fish. It can take a lot of spice too. I don’t recommend marinading for longer than 1 hour or it will start to “cook” in the citrus juice as when making Seviche. I also recommend grilling on a very hot flame to get the fish crisp but not dry. For the full recipe go to www.ChefGloriaB.com.

Baked Haddock with Mushrooms and Scallions

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I was looking for something interesting to do with Haddock. Here in New England it is winter and we have a limited fish selection of locally caught fish. Haddock and Cod are the most plentiful now. They aren’t my favorite fishes because I really prefer oilier fishes. I found a recipe on line that sounded interesting however it had butter and didn’t have enough seasoning for my taste buds. I used it as a spring board to create my own recipe. It did call for shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, however being lactose intolerant I substituted a combination of Almond Cheddar and Almond Mozzarella instead. I also served it to folks who weren’t lactose intolerant and used the reduced fat jack cheese and no one knew the difference, they just loved the taste of it. I also didn’t have enough scallions and added a leek which I think made it more flavorful. Have fun with this recipe. It doesn’t take long to make, except for cleaning the mushrooms! I enjoyed serving this with wild/brown rice, butternut squash, and baby bok choy. Click here for the recipe www.chefgloriab.com.

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