David Haas, a researcher and writer about nutrition and how it is beneficial for those battling cancer recently contacted me about writing a guest post and I obliged. Enjoy!
Cooking with Cancer – Eat with All Your Senses
When the diagnosis confirms cancer, there are a lot of changes to expect in your life. Some courses of treatment and even things like mesothelioma symptoms can diminish the appetite and make eating a chore, particularly when you feel like all you have to look forward to is a bland diet or simple foods. However, eating for your health doesn’t need to be difficult or even unappealing. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed, you’re going through treatments or you are finally in remission, a healthy diet will not only improve your chances of survival; it will help give you the boost you need to get motivated to fight.
A healthy diet has long been touted as the cure for many ills. While your diet won’t cure cancer, it can improve your odds of keeping it at bay. Different cancers respond to different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but with a few tips, you’ll be able to devise a nutrition plan that best suits your needs. For many people, food is something done for survival or for pleasure, but that just isn’t good enough of an outlook. The first thing to do is change how you view food. What you put into your mouth impacts your entire well-being, and you should think of your food as nourishing the person you want to be.
Food isn’t something to be dreaded. Food is something to be enjoyed and appreciated as the fuel that takes us where we want to go. For cancer patients, what you eat is even more important, not just to combat the disease itself but the symptoms as well. Fatigue and nausea are some of the most common symptoms cancer patients face, and with appetite loss, you can experience other symptoms like dehydration. Particularly when you’re undergoing treatment, the food you eat needs to motivate you to consume it.
Meat can be particularly harmful when you’re living with cancer, so you may be at a loss for how to get the essential protein and iron you need not to mention B vitamins and zinc. For the average cancer patient, you’ll need about 55 grams of protein a day to maintain energy levels. Greek yogurt, eggs, almonds, quinoa and tofu are all excellent sources of protein, and vegetable proteins will not utilize enzymes that could be better used fighting cancer. Keep in mind that any food that is not helping you on your journey should be eliminated from your diet, and since meat does not contribute anything, you will want to avoid it.
For a simple meal, enjoy a roasted vegetable quinoa. This recipe is big on flavor and contains members of the allium family – currently under research for their cancer-fighting properties – and vegetables bursting with vitamin A and C to support a healthy immune system. Quinoa is a lot like rice and packs a nice punch of protein. As an added bonus, quinoa is not a true grain, so it is an excellent alternative for those with gluten-sensitivity.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
1/2 c carrots, diced
1 c bell peppers (any colors), diced
1 c zucchini, diced
1/2 c sweet potato, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c of Romano cheese, shredded
1 c quinoa
2 c water
Basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
Place all vegetables into a large roasting pan, and toss with olive oil and seasoning. Put the pan in a 450° oven for 15 minutes or until softened.
In the meanwhile, bring two cups of water to a boil.
When the vegetables are done, separate the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Put them into a blender or food processor, and pulse gently until mixed.
Add the quinoa to the water, and season with salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, and fluff with a fork when done. You can use a rice cooker to simplify this process.
Mix the quinoa with the sauce and roasted vegetables. Add the combined mixture back to the pan, and sprinkle the Romano cheese on top. Place the lid over the top to allow it to steam for five minutes.
Stir and serve