Being Proactive With Nutrition As A Cancer Patient

 

Picture by Bill Ebbesen, use under Creative Commons

If you’re a regular reader to the blog, you’ll know that sometimes we discuss my own personal health struggles living with fibromyalgia, chronic anemia and migraines. But today we venture away from those ailments to hear from Jillian McKee, an advocate from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. She has healthy eating tips for people with cancer.

Unfortunately, in today’s world one of the sad realities is that most people in some way have been affected by cancer. It has either taken away a loved one or a friend, or affected him/her personally. For me, my husband’s mother was taken by the evil C-word when he was a child. It also recently stunned the life of a dear friend.

While there is no cure for cancer, there are treatments to help combat it. But after the chemo and other therapies of modern medicine, some times people want to try other methods to improve their life and well-being. There are complementary and alternative treatments – such as dietary changes – to help a person be more proactive and take control of his or her health.

Take it away, Jillian…

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Recipe: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Last night I told you about my renewed plan to get healthy. Here it is in summary:

  • Step 1 – Start seeing a dietitian.
  • Step 2 – Write down what I eat.
  • Step 3 – Keep to 1,500 calories per day (no restrictions on carbs or other food groups, just watch my portion sizes. Eat slowly and take breaks during my meals.)
  • Step 4 – Plan my meals for the week.

Another one of my takeaways is to try to come up with our dinner menus on the weekends. Brett and I often find ourselves wandering the grocery store after work and opting for some bad meal choices. This way, we plan in advance and have everything on hand for later in the week.

Here is one of the first recipes we tried and it is a WINNER! I’ve heard of the rumors of this one for a little while now but was reluctant to try it. Really? A pizza that doesn’t use dough for a crust, but instead uses cauliflower. So, it’s low carb and veggie friendly? Yup!

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Recipe: Red, White & Blue Kefir Smoothie

Kefir smoothieSince starting Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17 Day Diet in mid-May, I have lost 15 pounds and 7 inches. One of my favorite recipes that you can have for breakfast, lunch or a snack during all phases of the diet is the Kefir smoothie.

I was completely unaware of Kefir until this diet. In essence, it is a drinking yogurt with a lot of great nutritional qualities including the “good” bacteria that keeps your digestive tract happy. You can find Kefir in most mainstream grocery stores and other stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

The recipe in “17 Day Diet” is pretty basic with some Kefir, and fruit or jam to add some flavor. While fresh fruit is the best and has the most health benefits, I still keep bags of frozen fruits at the ready – strawberries, peaches, mangoes and blueberries – so I can have a smoothie whenever I want one. (I find they are really great after a Zumba workout.)

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My Triumphant Return

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I said that I needed to take a mini-break from blogging due to health reasons. While in my absence, I thank AJ Wolfe from Disney Food Blog for serving as a wonderful guest poster. But, it has been long enough way. I’m feeling much better and I will be returning to the helm soon. For those who sent their well-wishes – THANK YOU!

I’ll be honest with you all – I have iron-deficient anemia. My blood counts were getting too low for some reason, which was causing me extreme fatigue, hair loss and other issues. As a precaution, there were a lot of blood tests done to figure out what was wrong with me. At first, my lab work looked like I might have Von Willebrand’s disease – a rare, genetic type of anemia that would make childbirth and having a baby very difficult. As many of you know, I’m trying my “eating-restructuring plan” to lose weight before Brett and I start a family. This news left me spinning through scenarios about the future. However, when the tests came back – luckily – it’s not VWD.

I have spent a few weeks now on some new iron supplementation (and more than a few pounds of liver and onions) to help raise my blood counts, and I’m feeling more like myself. I have taken to my eating restructuring plan with more vigor, tenacity and determination. I started Dr. Mike Moreno’s “17 Day Diet” on May 17. All I can say is “WOW!” I will post very soon about those results and more about the adventure soon.

But, I’ve felt like I’ve neglected this blog for the last few weeks. So I make this promise that I will return with some great recipes for a healthy smoothie, a childhood classic and a few guest surprises thrown in. Plus, updates about our Disney Cruise Line planning – the dining reservations are complete for the land-portion of our vacation.

Please stay tuned for more new content coming in the coming days and weeks!

-Christina

Raw Food Diet: Faux Salmon Pate

I’m always investigating new diets and trends in foods. Recently, I learned about the Raw Food Diet, or Living Food Diet, where you eat mostly uncooked, unprocessed and organic foods. In the Raw Food Diet, you don’t cook your foods higher than 115 degrees F because many foods lose their nutritional values and essential enzymes at higher temps.

There are several different off-shoots of the Raw Food Diets – Raw Veganism, Raw Vegetarianism and Raw Animal Food Diets.

There are many benefits to eating a raw food diets, according to experts like Alissa Cohen, author of “Living on Live Food.” She writes:

When food is cooked at over 112 degrees (this temperature can be felt as warm to the touch) we destroy all of its enzymes. This is a problem because we need enzymes for every function in our body. To walk, to talk, to breathe and to move; life itself depends on them. As we age, our bodies natural source of enzymes becomes depleted and we need to replenish this source through the foods we eat. If we do not do this and we continue to eat cooked foods, then we eventually begin to use up our body’s enzyme reserves. Cooking makes it harder for our bodies to break up and digest the foods that we eat. This food then begins to get stored in our bodies as toxins; which can lead to all kinds of diseases and illness.

While I’m not on the Raw Food Diet, I am intrigued by it and its purported health benefits. There even is a raw food restaurant in nearby Beverly, Mass., called Rawbert’s Organic Garden Cafe. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts. Menu items are made of quinoa, kale, flax, squash, and nuts. You can get pizzas, pastas, pies and more. I’m especially intrigued by their Nut Butter “Squash” Ravioli with beet ravioli shells, walnuts and cashew alfredo.

I don’t quite get all the science behind not cooking your foods to certain temperatures, but I really want to learn more about this interesting diet. So, I was really impressed when I found out one of my coworkers is on the Raw Vegan form of the diet. She was even planning on going to a raw food potluck but it was canceled so she had some leftovers of this Fake Salmon Pate made with nuts, red peppers, onions and olive oil.

Raw Salmon Pate

I didn’t really know what to expect. It looks exactly like a pate. (I won’t repeat what Brett said it looked like.) But, served with some whole grain crackers from Trader Joe’s, this faux pate was like a great, homemade hummus. It had lots of notes of the red peppers and it wasn’t gritty from the ground nuts. Even Brett thought that it tasted really good… and if you can fake the hubby out with something, that’s a true winner!

Here is a similar recipe that I found from Alissa Cohen’s cookbook in case you’d like to try it out yourself:

Mock Salmon Pate
from Alissa Cohen’s Book, Living on Live Foods

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large red sweet pepper
  • 1 large scallion
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serving suggestions: This can be served on a plate as is, over a salad, rolled up in a green leaf, or spread on crackers.

Weigh-in: Through Week 12

I thought I would take this opportunity to do a video blog of my progress. It’s been about 8 weeks since my last update for my “Eating Restructuring Plan.” This is a new thing for me doing the video on my computer – so bear with me. It’s good to know that my vocal tic is the word “um,” so please don’t flog me for that. I’ll work on that before the next video post. 🙂

 

Here’s my roundup through week 12:

  • Weight: 172.8 (-4 pounds overall)
  • Waist: 34.5 inches (-2.5 inches overall)
  • Hips: 40 inches (-2 inches overall)

Things to watch in the next two weeks:

  • Get to the gym 3 times a week. Zumba at least one.
  • Watch the carb cravings. No more biscuits!
  • Stay positive!

Weigh-in: Through Week 4

Well, I made it to 30 since the last time I wrote an “Eating Restructuring Plan” update. The best news is that Brett gave me the bestest gift for my b-day – a 4-day cruise on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay next December! That gives me about 300+ days to get in 2-piece body condition.

Yes! You heard right! I’m going to try and tone my body so I can wear a 2-piece for the first time in my life. I don’t know if it will happen but with all the Zumba on Wii that I have been doing lately, it is a good possibility.

And yes, I did get Zumba for Wii…and it’s AMAZING! I forgot how much that workout – for even 15 to 20 minutes – kicks your butt. I like how the game gives you various level options from beginner to expert. So someone like me who has done Zumba before can opt for higher level workouts, while Brett, who admirably is learning how to shake his little groove thing, gets quite a vigorous workout on beginner.

Here’s a little video of me doing the beginner routine “La Twist de la Munequita:”

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