Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The C-Word: What's Left To Eat?

At this point, you've read all the things I gave up - wheat, dairy, processed foods, any kinds of preservatives, sugar - especially refined sugar, animal products (except for a little bit of organic, grass-fed meat or chicken or wild fish). Sometimes, when the weather was warm, I even ate totally raw - and gave up the rest of the grains, too. You might be despairing - WHAT do you eat?

Chokeules helps me out with this.
 
As it turns out, I did not have to become a breatharian. This gentle, detox diet would probably do wonders for almost anyone. It's very good for soothing the body, as well as giving it the support it needs to heal itself. If you are trying to kickstart a weightloss program, lower your blood pressure or cholesterol or simply soothe your body during a stressful time.

A lot of people follow the ketogenic diet very successfully to "starve" their cancer out but I didn't do that. Instead, I tried to make my diet at least 80% vegetables. These days, if you live in a major metropolitan area, you'll find many of the ingredients and even pre-prepared food in health food stores, supermarkets and amazon.com. Any time, I mention vegetables here, I mean organic and non-GMO - you must read labels carefully. If you absolutely can't find organic, wash and peel the vegetables before you use them. But personally, I think anyone with cancer should not eat ANY pesticides or GMO products, so it may be better to bite the bullet and try to find organic or at least, locally-grown from small farms.

I put my diet together by reading cancer diets online and by consulting with nutritionist Joel Fuhrman so some of my recipes are modified from his book which is totally worth reading when you are feeling strong.

Any time I use salt, I use himalayan pink salt, but you can also use sea salt. Commercial table salt is bleached and refined and, according to Max Gerson, the doctor who created Gerson therapy for disease, it causes an imbalance in the body.

On a different note, if you have radiation therapy, I suggest you bathe in sea salt and baking soda, half-a-cup of each, soaking in the tub for 20 to 30 minutes afterwards to recover. If you are getting chemotherapy, I'd suggest taking a little glutamine along with your other supplements to help re-heal your stomach lining.

A few suggestions, try to make everything as fresh as possible, don't eat leftovers too often and never microwave anything. Microwaving heats food by making the water molecules jump around and there is a theory that that affects the chemical composition of the food and how it reacts with the water in your body. Remember you are 70 to 80% water. 

A ban on microwaving can be tough in the morning when one is in a rush. If I really don't have time, I eat a handful of raw nuts along with a dried or fresh fig or two - as long as it doesn't have any preservatives or sugar.  I tend not to have smoothies for breakfast even though they're fast, but for me, they are too intense in the morning.

Before Breakfast

Here's what I do in the morning. I have two tablespoons of Essiac tea and then a big glass of water with 2 spoonfuls of PolyMVA Then I do some oil pulling since chemo can do a lot of damage to your gums and teeth. Lots of dentists don't like to work on cancer patients as we get infections so easily.

For my oil pulling, I use one tablespoon of raw coconut or sesame oil and one drop of myrhh essential oil because it is a good antibacterial. I put it in my mouth and swirl and swish it around while I take a shower and walk the dog or read emails - 5 to 10 minutes. I spit it into a paper towel or directly into the garbage and go rinse my mouth.

Next I have a green juice:

4 or 5 leaves of lacinato kale or 2 or 3 of regular kale
a small bunch of cilantro or parsley
a small bunch of dandelion greens, collard greens, mustard greens and/or swiss chard
broccoli stems or any raw vegetable parts that you didn't cook
one small lemon
one to one-half a cucumber, depending on the size
4 stalks of celery
1-1/2 inch of fresh ginger
1/4 green apple - to taste

All the ingredients must be organic (except maybe the ginger because it's hard to find), because when you drink the juice, you are getting a super concentrated dose of the vegetable and you don't want a concentrated dose of pesticides with it. I put all these in my Omega HRT 350 juicer.
I mix up the combinations so it doesn't get boring. Sometimes I add a couple of carrots instead of apples. I don't add beets because they don't agree with me but they are good for the blood. You can add some from time to time, but not too much because, of course, they are so sugary.

If I am in a hurry, I buy a cold-pressed Green Love from organic avenue in New York City. Or the Squeeze truck's Stand and Deliver. These brands are great because they don't (currently) use hpp - a way of preserving the juice by squeezing all the air out of it (which tragically kills enzymes with possible bacteria) and means that it really isn't raw any more.

Either before or after, I drink a cup of hot water with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I also take my probiotics.

In Paul Pitchford's famous Healing with Whole Foods, he suggests waiting for an hour or two after you wake up before you have solid foods. This is a brilliant book on healing the body with food but it's heavy reading so if you are in the throes of chemo or radiation, maybe a friend can start it out for you.

If you have a few cups of green or black tea after the juice and everything else, you probably won't be hungry for a little while. When you are ready, here are some possible foods.

For Breakfast:

 Chia porridge

2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
1 handful of goji berries (for sweetness)
pinch of salt

I put everything together in a bowl and then add a cup of almond or coconut milk, stir it up well and let it sit. Within a few minutes, it will be thick and custardy. If it's too thick, I add more nut milk and/or a little hot water to warm it up. Sometimes, if I really need it a little sweeter, I add a sprinkle of coconut sugar on the top. You could also use a few drops of stevia extract but I don't like the aftertaste. You'll notice that if you don't mix it in, it hits your tongue first and you need less.

Black rice toast and Avocado.

Toast a slice of Food for Life Black Rice bread (which tastes more like a soft-baked cracker than bread, it's relatively low-carb and gluten-free), top it with artichoke pesto* and slices of fresh avocado. Since I still need protein, I might add an organic, cage-free scrambled egg or a strip of organic turkey bacon or some chopped roasted almonds.

Artichoke Pesto*

I put this on everything - from quinoa pasta to grilled salmon. You can buy it but it's better if you make it because there are theories that corn and canola oil contribute to the growth of tumors whereas olive and coconut oil do not. So here's a recipe, but I suggest you play around with the ingredients to taste. I don't use parmesan cheese but if you do, make sure it is organic and adjust the salt accordingly.

small bunch (1/4-1/2 cup chopped) cilantro/coriander
8 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspon of cayenne (or maybe a fresh green chili if you like it spicy)
1 cup of walnuts (especially good for prostate cancer)
1 cup of olive oil
1 8 oz package of frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
sea salt to taste

I just put it all in the Vitamix and pulse until it is chunky but spreadable texture. It keeps for a week or two in the refrigerator. You can dip carrot sticks in it or mix in more olive oil and lemon and use it as salad dressing. Artichokes are great for clearing the liver and blood.

Oatmeal

Joel Fuhrman suggested I make it using Steel-Cut Oats which is quite slow-cooking. I used to cook a large amount in advance and then put it in a container in my fridge and heat it up a little at a time. I cook two cups of oatmeal with three cups of water, one cup of fresh apple cider, one tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses, fresh cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, nigella sativa (onion seed) and ginger, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I add 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, hazelnuts and/or walnuts and sometimes chopped dried figs which (along with sour apples) are one of the fruits that good for killing cancer cells. I eat the oatmeal as is or I add a little nutmilk to make it more liquidy. If you desperately need it sweeter, add a tiny bit of raw honey on top after you serve yourself. In Chinese medicine, all the spices are warming and cancer quite often makes a person cold, so this is a Qi-building tonic.

Indian Scrambled Eggs

Three scallions
One or two cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, chopped very fine
1 green chili (with the seeds removed if you don't want it too spicy, wear gloves or ask for help while doing this as your skin is very sensitive during chemo)
1 or 2 free range eggs
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or grass-fed butter)

Heat the oil or butter in the pan and lightly brown the garlic, scallions and ginger, add a bit of sea salt or himalayan pink salt. Then add the eggs, the coriander and the chilies and cook quickly so the eggs are still slightly soft and the coriander bright green. Eat it up!

You can, of course, just make ordinary scrambled eggs. This is just to jazz it up. Also, while I was having chemo, I found myself craving strong sharp tastes to awaken my appetite. I was tired and not very hungry most of the time. Since I refused to take prednisone (or steroids) with my chemo, I kept my bones strong but I had bad nausea. I counteracted the nausea with A LOT Of fresh ginger. It actually worked very well.

Sometimes, I have a small amount of grilled salmon over baby kale with artichoke pesto and olive oil on top.

If I'm in a rush but want something savory, I chop some broccoli, quickly parboil it in the tiniest bit of water and eat it with tamari or a little bit of miso.

For Lunch:

Smoothie

I usually save my smoothies for lunch because they keep me full for a long time. My favorite smoothie is still the same:

1 avocado
3-4 leaves of kale or swiss chard, stems removed
packet of unsweetened acai
1 scoop of delgado protocol stem cell strong (this has lots of good mushrooms and parasite-killing herbs) but you can use other brands.
1 scoop of delgado slim blend (not trying to lose weight - this is very filling and nutritious) - again, this is the brand I use, you can use other vegetable-based protein blends, just read the ingredients carefully.
1 cup of vanilla unsweetened hemp milk
1 cup or so of coconut water, more if it gets too thick


Big Green Salad

I am very organic when I cook and even more so with salad because I think respecting your vegetables and their combinations is key, otherwise chewing it feels like a chore for horses. I do what the French do and start with a big salad bowl. I make the dressing at the bottom, put the salad on top and then toss it all together. All the measurements are approximate and you will have to see what works for you.

1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin organic, cold-pressed olive oil
2-3 big tablespoons of pesto, basil or artichoke or one of each.
1 tsp black olive tapenade (check the ingredients to make sure there are no preservatives)
a few anchovies very finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup of fresh herbs - whatever you have, basil, coriander, oregano... if you use thyme or rosemary, of course, you will need much less and have to chop very finely
a few squeezes of fresh lemon

stir this all up and taste, maybe add some Coconut Aminos if it needs more salt.

If it's summer, you can chop in some fresh tomatoes, but otherwise, don't eat unripe tomatoes. In Chinese medicine, nightshades cause inflammation and unripe tomatoes seem especially suspect.

Add a small washed bag of organic baby greens - spinach, arugula, kale, swiss chard, watercress, whatever you can find. If I have some leftovers in the fridge - like roast chicken or grilled fish or meat or vegetables, I heat them a little in a hot oven (just in case of mold or bacteria) and throw them in, too. You can also add cooked beans, edamame or corn (as long as it is organic and not canned or frozen).

If you want to add something really tough and chewy, like carrots or cabbage, be sure and grate it well first so that it mixes together with everything else. After it's tossed, throw in the broccoli or kale sprouts because they wilt very quickly - though peat shoots really hold their own. Eat this up immediately, it won't keep.


Vegetable Slaw

I make this more like an Asian-style slaw and it's good way to eat lots of cabbage and carrots. If you add cucumber, know that it will get much more drippy and liquid. You can do that whole thing of removing the seeds of the cucumbers first but it's tedious.

1/4 head of cabbage chopped
3 or 4 carrots grated
1 daikon grated (daikon is a japanese radish that has cancer-killing properties)
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup of broccoli or kale sprouts
1 cucumber grated (optional)
1/4 cup chopped almonds or hazelnuts (I use these instead because peanuts cause inflammation and when you have cancer, you are trying to keep your body as calm and uninflamed as you can).
 1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil, coriander and mint, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the sauce

1 clove garlic minced
1 small shallot or three scallions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon nam pla (fish sauce - more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1-4 thai chili (seeds removed) chopped very fine, depending on how spicy you want it.

Toss it all veggies together and then add the sauce a little at time to taste. You can put it all in fridge to marinate for a day if you like. If you do prepare it ahead of time, don't add the cucumbers or sprouts til you're just about to eat. This makes me one serving, but I eat a lot of salad.

The dressing is very Asian-inspired, but you can try out your favorites. If you decide you want to use a mayonnaise-type dressing for a classic cole slaw, I'd suggest you make your own. Most commercial mayonnaises use soybean oil which is usually GMO, pesticide-laced and too high in omega-6s. If you can find a local, small batch organic mayonnaise using olive oil and cage-free eggs, go for it.

Zucchini "Pasta" with Basil Pesto

For this, you need a spiralizer. They are not too expensive and they are a super cool kitchen tool to have around because you can cut spirals of all kinds of vegetables and that makes them more interesting to eat.

1-2 small zucchinis/courgettes
2-3 tablespoons of vegan basil pesto (this just means pesto that has no cheese, but you can just as easily do it with a little parmesan)

This is kind of a trick food because it's so easy. You chop off the top, impale the zucchini in the spiralizer and put a bowl in front of it. Then spin it around until long, "spaghetti" strands start filling up your bowl. Toss it with the pesto and add more or less to taste. It's wonderful to eat if you are missing the "pasta" texture. You have to eat this relatively quickly too, as the zucchini can get watery from the salt.

For Snacks:

I usually have lots of fresh carrots, celery, daikon, jicama and cucumber chopped up that I can dip into hummus, artichoke pesto, or even olive oil and lemon.

I like oat cakes (homemade made using coconut oil or grass-fed raw butter rather than goosefat or Nairn's) with almond, hazelnut or cashew butter.

I also eat Brad's Nasty Hot Kale Chips. You can see the spicy food is a theme for me. There are other versions, too. But it's good way to keep up your cruciferous vegetables. If you can't buy them and you don't have a dehydrator, I suggest tossing kale with salt and garlic and putting it in the oven at the lowest temperature you can possibly use and letting it dry out for a couple of hours. Just check it from time to time to ma

Tart green apples or fresh or dried figs are the few fruits that you can eat without much trouble. I wouldn't eat large quantities but they are a nice snack when you need sweets.

Hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chickpeas all have anti-cancer properties, so you can eat a handful of them whenever you want. These days you can buy them in all different flavors, too.

I just discovered this recipe online for when you are craving chocolate.

Coconut chocolate sea salt fudge

Melt an equal amount of coconut oil and unsweetened chocolate into a pan at very low heat so the fat doesn't separate from the cocoa solids, add a pinch of himalayan or sea salt.
Sweeten with coconut sugar, stevia extract or lo han guo extract - all low-glycemic sweeteners that you can actually eat from time to time. Don't add too much though because they can still trigger sugar cravings if it gets too sweet.
 Ladle mixture carefully into an ice cube tray.
Put in freezer for thirty minutes.
When solid, loosen from ice cube tray with a knife and pop out into a plate or freezer-safe container. Return to freezer til you are ready to eat.

You can eat one or two when your sweet cravings are driving you crazy.

One of the best way to detox from your sugar cravings is a glass of water with a tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar.  Put all the sweets out of sight and then chew some chlorella tablets which are also good for quelling sugar and junk food cravings.

For Dinner

If it is winter, I like a hot, hearty meal to warm me up - and also heat up my kitchen - in the evening. But there are sometimes, especially in the summer, when I find I don't feel very hungry at dinner and I skip it all together. For the most part, if you have cancer, I don't believe you should force yourself to eat if you are not hungry. It's better to rest and eat small amounts of food when you do feel hungry. It may seem scary when you lose weight, but rest assured it will come back when your body is in balance. DO NOT EAT JUNK FOOD IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN WEIGHT! That can backfire and weaken your immune system even more.

Here a bunch of warm things you can make so you eat more vegetables without feeling like you are eating a tragic meal of cold leaves while everyone else has something hearty.


Lentil or Split Pea Soup

If I making dinner for myself (without kids), I usually make soup. Since I am an Asian, I like the taste of browned onions and garlic, so I'll start by browning them in a little coconut or olive oil.

One onion, sliced or chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
2-3 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
1 cup of dried lentils, split peas or dried beans - or a combination. If you are impatient like me, I suggest you soak them the night before, or in the morning when you are doing your oil-pulling.
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 to 1 cup of maitake, shitake and reishi mushrooms, chopped
any other vegetables cooked or raw you have lying around, broccoli, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, chop them up and throw them in.
4 cups of purified water

Brown the onions and garlic with a little salt in the oil. You can even add the other raw vegetables and brown them a little because it changes their texture and adds a little sweetness, but you don't have to. Then add the beans/peas/lentils, mushrooms and water and anything else you want to put in. I often add anything that is leftover in the fridge - sometimes it's a little roast chicken or steak or fish, sometimes it's raw or roasted vegetables. Then you let it simmer forever (that's what it seems like to me) but it can be a few hours unless it's well-soaked. You have to check on it and add water when the pulses suck it up, so that it doesn't get too thick. Once it's finished, you can eat it immediately and save some for the next day or two as well.

Roasted Broccoli

This is a delicious way to prepare broccoli that my youngest daughter discovered online and that we have customized. We make it often because everyone likes to eat it and we go through several heads of broccoli in one sitting.

1 head of broccoli
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
Sea salt/himalayan salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper (only because it tastes better)
One fresh lemon to squeeze

Preheat the oven to 425 (farenheit). Cut up the head of broccoli, separating the florets and leaving the stems (you can juice those tomorrow morning). Put it in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Put it in the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes, check on it from time to time. If it's nicely browned around the edges and slightly crispy, you can take it out. If it feels too soggy, reduce the heat to 300 and leave it in for a few minutes longer so that it gets drier and crisper.

Put it in a serving dish and squeeze a little lemon over it if you like. Or don't, if you don't feel like it. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is similar to the broccoli, those sometimes bitter brussel sprouts become slightly sweet and crispy and quite luscious after roasting.

Two containers of brussels sprouts, maybe a pound and a half
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of coconut oil or grass-fed butter
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
himalayan or sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the sprouts, remove the outer leaves, chop them in quarters and put them in a big bowl. Toss them with the oil or butter and garlic. Put them on a cookie sheet or a wide baking pan. Roast for 10 minutes, then toss in the hazelnuts and reduce the heat to 300. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned but not burned.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Yams

This is a regular dish in my house and the prep is quite similar to the other roasted things.

4 big yams, washed and chopped into bite-size pieces
4 or 5 shallots, peeled, maybe cut in half if they are big
1 or 2 additional root vegetables if you have some, washed and chopped.
8-10 big cloves of garlic
Vietnamese cinnamon, ground
Fine Herbes or Trader Joe's 21 Salute
Sea salt or Himalayan Salt
4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 450. Basically, add the vegetables (and shallots and garlic) to a roasting pan. I use my 13 x 9 cake pan. Sprinkle with spices, salt and coconut oil and stir it all up with a big wooden spoon. Shake the pan slightly so everything is distributed evenly and put it in the oven. I leave them there for about 20 minutes and then I reduce the heat to 350 and leave them in there for a really long time - like maybe another 45 minutes. If I have time, I take them out in the middle and toss them around the pan a bit so they cook evenly. But even if I don't, they seem to do fine, the slightly burned ones taste nice too.

Sauteed Kale or Spinach

I go back and forth between the two - sauteed kale has a lot more body and can stand up to longer cooking so it can become a nice combination of bitter and sweet. Sauteed spinach becomes soft and soothing and it's a good comfort food.

If I am making sauteed spinach, I heat a few tablespoons of olive oil first along with slices of three or four garlic cloves and a few sprinkles of himalayan or sea salt and pepper. I like to let the sliced garlic brown a little before I add a big bunch of spinach. I add salt to taste and cook the spinach just until it's wilted and bright green.

If I am sauteeing kale, I add the oil and garlic but then I devein (take out the hard stems) and chop the bunch of kale and add it as soon as I am finished chopping it. I cook it for quite a long time so it is not too chewy.

What is crucial is that you never heat the olive oil to smoking point. Olive oil is full of anti-oxidants as long as it is not overheated. So let it brown your garlic gently. If you feel you want a nice crispy, stir-fry sensibility, switch to coconut oil.

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

I adapted this from a recipe I found on PureWow - and you could use theirs instead, just never use "vegetable" oil - always choose coconut, olive or palm fruit. Then I followed some advice from my friend Purvi and made a nice tahini and garlic dip for the cauliflower on the side. The recipe I found used yogurt, but I used coconut yogurt without much trouble. Since the point of the yogurt is to keep the cauliflower moist and to hold the marinade to together, you could probably even substitute coconut butter.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 head organic cauliflower
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt/coconut yogurt/softened coconut butter
1 organic lime or lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons tandoori marinade (i use Shan Masala but there are a number of brands that make it)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt or himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with coconut oil. Set aside.
Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
In a big bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)
Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving it with a tahini dip or a nice raita (yogurt, mint, coriander, cucumber and roasted cumin seeds) and a salad.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I recently made this but substituted ground chia seeds mixed with water for the egg (I am allergic to eggs) and the teenagers ate it all up. If you're avoiding dairy, you can use daiya mozzarella in the place of the cheese.

There are a lot more recipes in Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live and Alexander Junger's Clean Eats- and even just looking online. When I eat raw - way easier in spring and summer - I like Organic Avenue's cookbook. Or I buy pre-made stuff at my current fave raw food place, Juicepress. I WISH Karliin Brooks of The Squeeze would write one because her moc' n' cheese is worth going vegan for,

See? Not too hard! Start with one or two meals a day and then gradually ladder back!

If you fall off the wagon, do not stress.  Have a bite or a taste of something you crave. Eat it slowly, enjoy it, savor it. They say we most appreciate the first and last bites of everything we eat. Two bites should be enough then. Eventually, your taste buds will be cleaner and you will find the taste of artificial colors and flavors will be harsh and chemically. Sugar will give you a sudden headrush and you'll discover how quickly grains bloat you and make you sleepy. It's ok to have a little from time to time. But let your body rest, too.

The most important thing is to take the time to believe that your food is made with love and cooked to nourish and heal you. Take the time to bless your food and feel gratitude for the planet and the Source which gives you food to eat.

Sometimes the belief alone will transform your food.



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