Saturday, September 13, 2014

Food Can Be a Big Player in Surviving Cancer

Last weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a group of 15 cancer survivors at day-long retreat at the mountain home of a local oncologist.

He requested presentations on food and exercise as key factors in improving survival rates, even higher than chemo or radiation. While the traditional treatments are useful in eradicating cancer cells after diagnosis, they really aren't so successful at keeping cancer in remission ~ not like diet and exercise.

Rather than provide a long lists of foods and recipes to this group, I mainly focused on drinking lots of pure water throughout the day, and eating an apple ~ every day.

The apple has a long list of nutrients going for it, with lots of benefits for the body ~ not the least of which are improved regularity, reduced food cravings, lower cholesterol, healthier bones, to name a few.

So if that's the case for apples, why not for every other fruit or vegetable?  After all, collectively they represent more than 25,000 important nutrients that play an important role in reducing inflammation in the body.

That's really the bottom line, you know.

Inflammation comes from an acidic internal environment, as opposed to an alkaline system.

It's the common denominator for most all of those pricey conditions that deplete our health and our wallets!

Cancer cells don't do well in an alkaline setting, but they love the acidic chemistry!

So if we're eating lots of processed foods laden with sugar, fat and salt, we're feeding an acidic climate. On the other hand, if we're eating lots of high-fiber, whole foods, that internal climate can quickly become more alkaline ~ less inflamed.

Stress can kick it up,too. That's why exercise plays such an important role in making us healthier.

Eating whole foods and drinking good water sets the stage for a healthier body and a more positive outlook. It doesn't have to be a struggle. Start incorporating more of those wonderful fruit and vegetables into your diet and see for yourself!

Stretching Your Food Dollar

When we're treating ourselves, we like Mexican food. But a trip to the restaurant could easily cost $50 if you're ordering beverages, too.

Last night my granddaughters visited overnight, so here's how we planned a meal for four. I purchased a large bag of torn romaine lettuce at the grocery store, and then ordered two carry-out orders of blue corn enchilada dishes (each with two enchiladas) from our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Each order came with rice and beans. 

No sides or drink orders.

I brought them home, split them among the four of us, added a simple vinegar and olive oil dressing for the salad, and served water to drink.

Evenings, the cost is $10 for each order ; but during the day it's $7.50.

So about $20 for the four of us; but had we made it lunch, it would have been about $5 less; or less than $4 per person!

Tonight will be on the cheap with some sautéed mushrooms and onions, along with some spinach greens mixed with cooked fetticini noodles and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Salad greens with oil and vinegar dressing on the side.

(To make it more nutritious, I make sure the vegetables portions are more generous than the pasta.)

Pretty fast to prepare and also inexpensive, but it tastes so good!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Eating Simply is "Money in the Bank"

There's a challenge out now to food bloggers from Jennifer Silverberg (website is Eat Yourself Well) to see who can contribute the best tips for feeding a family of four on $100 a week.

"Impossible!" many would say. After all, the cost of food is going up and money is tight for much of middle-class America.

Part of the problem is our palate's cravings for sugar, fat and salt. We can spend plenty of time and money putting together meals that pivot on that, and get little nutrition for the effort.

I give the example of dinner for myself last night. I had about 3/4 cup serving of left over eggplant parmesan in the fridge, but I also had plenty of romaine lettuce in there, too. I decided to mix the greens with enough vinegar & oil to barely coat the leaves, along with a dash of salt and pepper.

The eggplant occupied a very small part of my plate, so I loaded the rest of my plate with the lettuce salad. (It was about a half a head, which would equate to about 85 cents in cost. The eggplant serving was less than many folks scrape off their plates and toss!)

Interestingly, I feel totally satisfied afterwards, and savoring the greens just felt "good."

Thus inspired, I went to the store and picked up some kale, some blueberries, spinach and a few apples.

The apples are a great mid-morning snack, or you can chop them and add them to yogurt smoothies, oatmeal or salads, to name a few options. The spinach can be added to hot pasta noodles with a few sautéed onions, a little parmesan cheese and some olive oil; or added to a salad or a smoothie, or sautéed with some onion and garlic as a side dish and then doused with a splash of vinegar. Same with kale.

Blueberries are for my waffles, but they are a great high-fiber snack anytime.

Even for four people, mixing it up that way can stretch your food dollar while you deliver good nutrition to your very cells!

I love the saying: "Less is more".  If we just think ahead, we waste less so we spend less.

What's not to like about that?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tumeric Tea ~ My New Favorite Drink!

I fervently believe in the alchemic powers of whole foods.

That's why I totally embraced blending up a batch of turmeric ginger tea. The recipe I stumbled across called for it to be served as a refreshing cold drink.

Turmeric has long been recognized in other cultures for its healing powers. It reduces inflammation in the body, it's a strong antioxidant, and serves as a natural antibiotic. Coupled with ginger, also noted for its medicinal properties, and some fresh lemons, it offered a remedy either for a malady or two, or a few ounces of prevention.

I had to go out and buy fresh ground turmeric, but I had everything else to make a three-day supply. I quickly blended the concoction together and prepared myself for shock and awe.

To my dismay, I could hardly choke it down.

The lemons delivered a mighty "bite" to the taste buds, and pretty much over-powered the drink.

I was going to work on this.

The next morning I poured about 4 oz into a cup and added hot water so I could drink it as a hot tea. Not too bad, but still not something I would look forward to drinking. 

The planets must has been re-aligning in my favor, because the same day I saw a Facebook post with Dr. Sanja Gupta's recipe for Tumeric Ginger Tea, so I decided to give it a try. 

Verdict?  I LOVE it!  It tastes much like chai tea, but minus the caffeine.

If you want to try it:  Heat one cup of almond milk in a small saucepan, stirring in 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ginger and 1 tsp on honey.

Pour it into your favorite cup and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eat Well ~ Be Well

A few years ago, I compiled what I felt to be my main messages into a coaching booklet entitled "Eat Well, Be Well."

It's only about 35 pages, but I found people appreciated having a lot of information condensed into a book that could be read in one sitting. Most recently, I self-published it on Kindle.

My challenge now is the same as that faced by any self-published author, and that's how to let folks know that it's out there.

I invite my followers to check it out. I'd love to hear your feedback!

Monday, March 31, 2014

No One Does It Perfectly!

So how's your Lenten journey going? Or your spring cleanse ... Or your New Year's resolutions ... all aimed at eating healthier?

As long as we're doing as we always do, or thinking as we always did, things probably have not changed a whole lot.

Disappointing as it may be, there's a nugget of truth there. Nothing changes unless we really want it to, and that usually means leaving a part of ourselves ~ our ego ~ behind. Few of us consciously want to do THAT because it will probably be uncomfortable.

It's called growth ~ that level of transformation that finds us different today than we were yesterday.

Food can do that.

There's an alchemy that awaits when whole foods are allowed to work their magic. Well, it's not really magic; it's just what food can do. That's why food rituals have been so prominent a part of religious customs, because it was recognized that the body is where the spirit resides and the quality of the spiritual experience can be tied to what's going on in the body.

When we can get out of our heads and be present with what our body is telling us, we can usually make better food choices and actually feel the benefits.

Consider this: processed foods laden with sugar, fat and salt build up a level of toxicity in the body that can affect our level of sleep and our ability to focus, not to mention increased feelings of anxiety and stress. Switch to whole, high-fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables for a week or two, and you begin to feel the difference. You don't have to analyze it. When you feel better and have more energy, you know it's a good thing and you naturally want more of it.

Make it a daily practice to drink more water, eat more whole foods and add a 10 or 15 minute walk each day, and see what happens.

It's my mantra: healthy eating is affordable health care!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lenten Season Supports Mindful Eating

Lent is once again upon us, offering the opportunity to be more focused on healthy eating.

Most would associate this historically religious season with fasting and abstinence, a period when we "go without", while we eagerly count the days until Easter when the Lenten season concludes.

Framing it as a period of penance, we fail to see the advantages. 

But there are many.

Biologically, eating foods and drinking beverages rich in chemicals and preservatives gradually builds up a toxicity that fertilizes our internal environment for inflammation and illness.

However, even making slight, but consistent changes during this six-week season could be framed in the context of a cleanse.

For the most part, the guidelines call for meatless Fridays, and only one full meal a day, except on Sundays. Those who participate are also called to give up something they really like ~ in the old days it was TV or candy. Now it could be any of the many forms of digital entertainment, or a whole realm of junky foods we might regularly and mindlessly ingest.

The desired outcome, of course, is to become more in touch with our inner selves.

So while we might resist cutting back on all that stuff that tastes so good, but is so bad for us, we're delivered this golden opportunity to dial it back.

Our bodies are the temples where our spirit resides. To the degree that we clean out some of those pollutants, we enhance both our bodies and our souls!