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Optimal diet for cancer: meat versus vegetarian--and related issues

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Find the current thread on the Paleo diet fascinating--and the ongoing controversies about all the following issues vital but confounding:

1) Whether or not cancer survivors should be eating meat--even organic, grass-fed meat;

Many alternative practitioners such as Dr. Russell Blaylock, recommend NO meat, or dairy, whatsoever because they are high in arachidonic acid; only raw goat's milk does he believe is entirely safe. Likewise, the China Study seems to endorse a diet very low in animal fat, correlating it with lower rates of cancer. Au contraire, Dr. Bruce West (publisher of Health Alert, the most intelligent journal of alternative medicine I have yet to read) claims that the last thing he would prescribe for a cancer patient is a very lowfat diet; he recommends a modified Mediterranean diet, "the healthiest in the world." And Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, renowned for success in treating pancreatic cancer patients, prescribes a different diet for every single patient, based partly on blood type (I, for example, with "B positive" blood, would be urged to eat meat about twice a week or so) and partly on the nature of the cancer (blood cancers calling for meat and fish oil whereas "solid tumors" such as uterine and ovarian calling for a mostly vegetarian diet and flaxseed oil.

Tethys has posted some interesting information about the rationale for the "paleo" diet, which has gained some recent currency, based on knowledge about how our ancestors ate. What I would question here is the extent to which evolution has, over milennia, enabled us to adapt to many different diets. Whole grains, once the darling of nutritionists, have recently started to take a beating, with questions not only about their digestibility (gluten, etc) but their tendency to raise blood sugar levels.

Tempted to reduce my consumption of grains and opt for mostly salads recently, I noted how much better I had felt when eating brown rice and black beans at least four times a week--and discovered how high they are in IP-6, now available as a supplement that has the alternative oncological community buzzing. (If you Google IP-6, you'll find that it allegedly does the following: bolsters production of NK white cells (the ones that destroy cancer cells), reduces the risk of metastasis, boosts energy, boosts mood, and chelates excessive iron (a search for the last property is how I found articles on this supplement).
Nuts and grains are high in IP-6--reminding me of why, perhaps, I was in such a good mood during my first three months of chemo, when I ate oatmeal with nuts and berries every single morning and brown rice with beans (and other veggies, of course) many nights.

2) Whether or not we should be eating (a la The China Project) a low protein diet;

Yes, the China Study would seem to urge us toward a vegetarian diet fairly low in protein. But as Tethys has noted, there are online some brilliant critiques of the book claiming flaws in its methodology. And although minimizing food intake has often been shown in clinical studies to increase longevity, just last week I read some fascinating studies showing that in mice (granted, just mice) implanted with sarcomatous tumors, those tumors grew fastest in the presence of a high-protein OR very low protein diet. Were I to take those studies seriously, moderate protein consumption would seem to make sense.

3) Whether we are defective in digesting protein because we lack vital enzymes and HCL.
Difficulty in digesting certain proteins are often ascribed to cancer patients. If this trait has been accurately observed, it bears to reason that we need to augment our digestive systems with enzymes and/or HCL (hydrochloric acid), both of which tend to become depleted as we age. (Many who are taking OTC anti-acids actually suffer from LOW stomach acid, claims Dr. Jonathan Wright and Dr. Bruce West; what they need is more HCL (a very inexpensive supplement), taking it with each meal for just a few months until their systems start producting more HCL of their own. Without adequate HCL or enzymes, all the vitamins in the world--and even nourishing food--aren't going to be absorbed.

I'd really like to hear your thoughts on any or all of these issues. If any one fo the intrigues you, perhaps we could even form research committees to try to resolve them!

Thanks,
Rosey

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

I am not ignoring you, I am thinking of all you have said. and sorta crying little tears of happiness at your tendency to ponder things.

We could start a cancer reading book club, where some of those interested read the books and say their opinions, and the others of us think on those opinions and offer some of own back after we've had a chance to dwell on things a bit.

There have been so many really interesting yet differing points of view of late, I feel like we are in a research discussion group.

You, being of the NY area are familiar no doubt with the easy, though often loud discussions that get going when friends get together and try to hash out some quandary.

You and Kate and Bea, Jill, etc have raised great questions of late.

You know, a great many of the most famous artists hung around together and inspired each other's work. Degas even painted on one of Mary Cassatt's paintings. I personally don't like people painting on my work, but were it Degas I might tend to let it slide.

One simple thing we could do is to try to remember to give the url of information we found on the net.

You know, Rosey, I do think it's the totality of what you do that determines how your body deals with cancer. I might hear that someone is on a vegetarian diet and yet has failed, only to find out that say, they ate no raw vegetables, or drank copious amounts of diet drinks, or were over balanced on the side of grains, or thought regular vinegar which is so acidic is the same as apple cider vinegar which is not acidic but alkaline, or they under the most enormous amount of stress and maybe have been for some time. Do we have a support system, do we slip in our endeavors, I think I have recently fallen off the cliff on really doing what I need to do, in my estimation, for myself. I am really risking things here by not doing what I feel I should. Kinda scares me some.

It might be prudent for those of us really interested t keep journals of food in and exercise done, stress in our lives, other health conditions. I know this has been mentioned, I probably mentioned it myself, but I just haven't yet embraced the idea. I'll try again.

Love ya,

Claudia

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

Tethys ---Interesting information from your naturopath (and Dr. Block). I am leery of some of Campbell's research methods for the China Study. His stated intention was to seek associations between animal food consumption and disease. This perversion of data is known as "confirmation bias". This is when a researcher only looks for data that will support a conclusion that s/he has already reached.

Correlation doesn't equal causation. Campbell's is merely an observational study and does not prove causation any more than it can be proven that "a rooster crowing causes sunrises". Anyone who has ever done research knows that observational studies like this do not prove causation and are not meaningful in terms of causation. An hypothesis is not a fact.

Any scientist worth his/her salt will tell you that all you can do with data from observational studies is use them to form hypotheses that can be rigorously tested in randomized, controlled trials. Then and only then (assuming the study results show it) can you even begin to talk about causation. Campbell did no randomized, controlled trials. NONE

In reality, The China Study is not a study, but a collection of observations that were compiled. An actual study uses either animals or humans to test a theory. Dr. Campbell used neither.

In fact, Campbell says "The China Study was an important milestone in my thinking. Standing alone, it does not prove that diet causes disease." p 107

Campbell's association with PETA also makes me question his motives.

I have read many critiques of his work and they all have had very valid and logical points.

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

I was poking around online last night and found an article that said that those on plant-based diets need to be monitored to be sure all of their nutritional needs are being met. Of course, I cannot find that article now, but this doctor lists the same tests.

http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2011/08/25/top-10-blood-tests-for-vegetarians-and-vegans/

To summarize, these are the tests:

Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
Comprehensive Chemistry/Metabolic Panel
Ferritin
Folic Acid
Homocysteine
Iron, total and IBC
Lipid Panel
Methylmalonic Acid, Serum
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D3, 25 Hydroxy

culka's picture
culka
Posts: 158
Joined: Oct 2009

and do you know that many people are B12 or vitD deficient even if their are meat-eater.

Just saying.

Dr. Campbell spent 40 years studying nutrition and now it is what, vasted time? I don't think so. Maybe his speed of thinking is so fast, he was not able to put everything on paper.
And we already know what we can find on internet.

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daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I think this question is a good one but quite polarizing, like so many things in our society. There will be people on both sides of the animal product issue trying to convince the others that they are wrong or misguided. So, I have decided to look at the data that I have read, heard, experienced and make my own decision. I don't need to fight about it or convince others at this point.

Very few things in life are perfect or black and white. I think we all do the best we can. I agree that we all have our motivations and maybe some have hidden agendas, but I am basing my decision on what I think makes sense. And that decision is....

As much plant based as possible. I see evidence that makes me deduct that animal products are a friend to cancer and other illnesses (insulin growth factor-1 for example, hormones that feed cancer, cholesterol that clogs blood vessels, fat that stores toxins, are highly acidic, etc.). I "cheat" with a splash of milk in my coffee, a little butter on my bread, and a bit of cheese or fish here and there.

I started this last week - definitely a short time - but I'm hopeful it will become easier with time.... And that I won't feel deprived.

All the best to each of us and we find our way through all the decisions we need to make.

Mary Ann

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jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Ladies you've both brought up some very interesting ideas to ponder. Life as Mary Ann noted, isn't just BLACK AND WHITE...it's very complicated, as such are our bodies. I can be the best person to follow a "plant-based" diet, but on the other side, life for me is could be very stressful, depleting my body of proper nutrients. Or...not exercising or drinking enough water which all have a bearing on our systems. Or...I might have high blood pressure and on meds...causing side affects, which strain my bodily system. All these other external things cause our bodies to strain, outside of the normal routine of functioning.

I'd like to think we can all express our ideas and opinions, here, but in the end we all do what WE FEEL IS BEST FOR OUR BODIES.....

Keep the cross talking going...very interesting topics!!!

Hugs,
Jan

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

"Dr. Campbell spent 40 years studying nutrition and now it is what, vasted time? I don't think so. Maybe his speed of thinking is so fast, he was not able to put everything on paper."

This was meant to be funny, correct? If he could not put everything down on paper, how did he manage to write two HUGE studies? He did not really study "nutrition" as such......he wanted to prove that meat is bad and he manipulated his observations and data to prove it.

The fact is, he conducted NO tests. Without tests, there is no proof.

Sorry.....but I am a pragmatist and I require proof. Not just a hypothesis. Hypotheses are a dime a dozen.

It is like me saying "Five women in this group eat a lot of fruit. They have had recurrences. Therefore they need to stop eating fruit." Now, isn't that a silly conclusion? But it is what I observed. And that is all Campbell did, observe.

bea-mil's picture
bea-mil
Posts: 106
Joined: Jun 2010

There are so many diets: low carb, paleo, Budwig,s, Gerson’s etc. and many, many theories. Which one to chose? Which one to follow? What is really a proof? ...maybe some laboratory test is? Everyone can write a diet book followed by the line of supplements and energy bars (like paleo authors do) and make a big money on it. Can we just use our own sense and judgment?

There is no ideal diet for everyone, because everyone is different. Over the last century there have been two fundamental facts in the study of human nutrition that have kept coming up over and over again and they are:
-Food is most nutritious and healthy in its whole, raw food state.
-Each person has totally different nutritional requirements for food based on their genetics. These requirements apply to the macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and the micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace mineral)

Here are some examples of the different foods different people ate as witnessed by a 10 year study by Dr Weston Price:
-The Alaskan Eskimos lived on a highly carnivorous diet of protein, fat and nearly zero carbohydrate and defied the 'then known' laws of nutrition yet enjoyed vigorous health.
-The Australian Aborigines thrived on sea cow, shell fish, dugong and other types of sea food which was supplemented with some sea plants.
-The isolated Swiss from the Loetschental Valley thrived on dairy from pasture fed cows and rye bread.
-The Quechtus Indians of South America lived on a near vegetarian diet of vegetables and fruit but ate small rodents that were available to them and also enjoyed excellent health yet their diet was the polar opposite of the Eskimo.

I have studied different diets, and I have incorporated into mine some of the rules from many of them, but my number one rule is to be close to the nature and follow my instinct.... so I stick to whole, raw food diet with some exemption (I cook legumes, potatoes etc), eat more veggies than fruits, don’t eat meat (which I’ve always hated even though my blood type is 0), eat some dairy products (organic kefir, cottage cheese and eggs only!!), eat organic fish once or twice a week(no small seafood which is very toxic, as these creature leave at the bottom of the sea were all heavy metals are cumulate), avoid grains, (eat only occasionally whole grain bread), don’t eat processed food, don’t eat sugar (bake my own sweat treats using xylitol), use a lot of anticancer spices.

I think we should always do what we feel is right for us. However, do so responsibly and consciously considering all aspects. Listen to your body and work with it to tell you how it feels what it needs and how it should be nourished. Listen to your mind and be analytical about any kind of health or nutritional advice you come across, and discern with wisdom. But above all, don’t forget to listen to your heart and soul and take into account what will give you the most inner peace.

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carolenk
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

Since you raised the subject of Dr, Price, I thought I would post the web site where folks could read more about his work:
www. westonaprice.org

Dr. Price did not find a healthy vegan group of indigenous people (based on his definition of health based on bone structure & teeth). Since I needed braces, it is obvious to me that my mother's diet was protein deficient while I was in utero...and my mother has type O blood, too. Mom is a carboholic but I'm the one who got cancer, not her. Go figure.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1224
Joined: Nov 2009

What it really comes down to is balance, because we all know that too much of one thing or not enough of another thing can cause problems. When you really look at it, there is a really thin line to balance. But I feel my best when I believe I am in balance with what I eat, etc. Our bodies require a certain amount of fat, sugars, salt, etc. Like everthing else, though, each of us is different and require different stuff to keep ourselves in balance.

I know, blah, blah, blah. Easier said. Although through my own experience, whenever I would eat certain foods, I would feel sluggish, etc. Other foods would give me energy. It wasn't until I was eating the right type of foods that I automatically began to lose the weight that I had gained on chemo (and that took over 5 years to get to).

Another thing, just because we eat the right things doesn't mean we wont get cancer or that it will keep cancer at bey for a long time. Environmental factors can contaminate the "good" foods and water that we eat and drink. For example, when I first started with eating the right food, I had made a vegetarian dish and after I had already eaten some, I got a computerized telephone call from my grocery store where I bought cucumbers indicating that the cucumbers that I just bought were being recalled for a possible ecoli contamination. (Yikes!) Tap water is full of stuff, bottled water is contaminated by using plastic bottles, you have teflon, microwaves, pollutants, hormone feed animals, etc.

So I am saying what Jan is saying, do what is best for our own bodies or at least feels best. I still do have a piece of cake (but I have like two bites not a 2 x 2 piece) and other ways that I cut down on things.

I wish there was a test to tell us what our bodies need (like fats, salts, etc.) then we would know more about what to eat! But then again, my body tells me that but am I really listening?

Thanks for the topics. It really makes you think!

Kathy

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jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

I can't say enough about how much control we hold and on other side how much of this is completely out of our control, regarding our health. Brings to mind people who smoke and how what they inject into our environment is inhaled into our bodies. How many of us have heard about people who die from second hand smoke???? I can list a few....and most of these people did have good health, but just happen to live with a smoker and/or associate with one outside of the home. Or...people who live by powder lines, as so much research has correlated living near power lines with a number of serious diseases....cancer, depression, miscarriage and alzheimers.

Life is complicated and so are our bodies! I for one, do what I can, as many of the cards aren't held in my hands....

Hugs,
Jan

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Kathy,
You bring up a very valid point. I have been working with a naturopath for the last two years. Read on, this post will end up being of interest to everyone. She has tested me and tested me and tested me. But we know how my body works, what my body metabolizes and does not metabolize and why. If you really are at a loss as to diet and supplements, I recommed working with a skilled naturopath or integrative practitioner. They can identify genetic issues related to processing of nutrients.
For example, we learned two years ago that I do not possess the GSTM1 gene. This gene is essential for the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Therefore, my body cannot produce glutatione. When we learned this, the approach was to supplement with glutathione, primarily via IV, but also sublingually. I've been merrily complying for the last two years, but at the naturopathic conference, weekend before last, the results of further research indicates that this polymorphism (lack of the GSTM1 gene) also means that my body cannot process glutathione.
So, the new solution is to completely bypass that pathway by supplementing with sulforaphane/broccoli extract or eating an inordinate amount of broccoli. So here is where it becomes more pertinant to the rest of you. At this same presentation they reported that 85% of people who develop cancer possess this same genetic mutation. This is essential information, but our medical doctors don't provide it. You can get tested, through hair sample, to show how your body is metabolizing nutrients, so can identify your deficiencies. You can have genetic testing done through Genova Diagnostics to identify most of your risks for disease and cancer. I've learned that my Achille's heel with regard to the cancer thing is stress and inflammation. Other people may have issues with regard to hormones. But once you know where to put your focus, you can reduce your risk. There are a lot of tools available to us to help us make these decisions.

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Tethys,

Although I'm interested in the "theoretical" rationales for the paleo and other diets, I agree that ultimately, we need to listen to our bodies. A highly intuitive person by nature, I've developed a way of eating that, I think, is working pretty well for me:

__________________

lots of vegetables (both raw and cooked as well as soups)
only berries for fruit (about half a cup a day)
grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice)and legumes nearly once daily
fish about twice a week
small portions of organic meat (usually turkey) and either goat or sheep cheese.
two or three handfuls of nuts a day (mostly walnuts, almonds, and some pecans)
loads of green tea
ginger, garlic, turmeric as spices, etc.
_________________

Like many, however, I am fascinated by new information on nutrition.

And what Tethys says about genetic testing makes the MOST sense to me, confirming our reminders to each other that we are all biochemically a bit different, with varied capacities to absorb certain nutrients.

And despite these variations, we may also SHARE--as cancer patients--certain genetic propensities. That missing GSTM gene could be crucial since glutiathione is so essential an antioxidant, and cancer patients, from what I've read, are often low in glutathione. (I drink whey protein powder shake most mornings partly because whey is a precursor of glutathione. Swear I feel better when I drink my daily whey shake; I add blueberries or half a banana.)

Thanks for great information, Tethys!

Rosey

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Given your informaton about sulphorane/broccoli, want to add that brussel spouts in my stir fries ALWAYS makes me feel better--perhaps because of their high sulfur content?

And that I eat small portions of organic meat or goat/sheep cheese just two to three times a week. Usually turkey, never chicken, rarely, beef or pork.

Mercola's post of the day notes how protective walnuts are against breast and prostate cancers, also slowing the progress of pre-existing tumors in at least one study.

For all of us interested in the nutritional dimensions of this disease, I think that refining our diets is a constant, subtle, ongoing process--and one we should approach less with stress than fascination.

And always, enjoyment. (Even when I have a prior misgiving, I ALWAYS enjoy my meals!)

Rosey

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debrajo
Posts: 795
Joined: Sep 2011

Ladies! I guess I am stupid, but all this is hard to grasp for me and has given me a headache! What you're saying is that depending on our cancer, our stage/grade, our bodies, and our type tumors, we are just going to have to figure out what works JUST FOR OURSELVES? We can't even live on air and water since they are polluded! I'm really confused now! Sorry for the rant!

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Yes vegetarians should so monitor their blood, but so should cancer patients BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER chemo and radiation.

Levels of D3 and B12 should be taken before surgery and esp before chemo. Levels of ferritin and iron are vital after treatment, especially after any blood transfusions.

How many of our own treatment centers monitored and kept you informed of our status? How many of them checked our B12 to be sure it was at least 500 before we started chemo to help prevent neuropathy, for example?

Rosey

soromer
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

I endorse your idea of a cancer book discussion group, Claudia! I'd participate!
And I agree--just hearing that someone had an XYZ diet has no information about what else was going on, to say nothing about the details being quite different than the general overview (theory v practice in other words).

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1224
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you ladies for the great topic and responses. I am going to look more into the suggestions here.

Hoping everyone is having a great day today.

Kathy

P.S. Finally sunny here in Pennsylvania!

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 496
Joined: Dec 2009

The food I eat changes from time to time. I do believe that my body will often tell me what it needs, and I generally follow certain cravings (I DO know, however, that my body might crave cheese doodles and potato chips without NEEDING them).

Anyway, this is what I am eating now. I would love some feedback on whether any of the women here have reliable information that any of these foods should be avoided:

Breakfast: A big bowl of fruit that includes blueberries, strawberries, half of a ripe banana, an orange, and raisins. Occasionally, I add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Late morning: I eat a bowl of organic oatmeal with the other half of the ripe banana, flaxseeds, a few chopped almonds, a few more raisins, cinnamon, and almond milk.

Lunch: A large salad with spinach, kale, romaine, shredded red cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes, and some beans. Most of the ingredients are organic. I usually make a lemon juice and olive oil dressing, sometimes use balsamic vinegar, but today will buy more apple cider vinegar and use that instead. From time to time, I will add some wild tuna (the kind sold at Trader Joe's).

Snacks: Fresh juice made with tomatoes, kale, spinach, cucumbers; organic carrot sticks with hummus; a handful of almonds; another bowl of fruit.

Dinner: A quinoa and vegetable stew; chickpea/yam curry; roasted vegetables with beans and spelt; mushrooms/onions/lentils/kasha; a mock chopped liver made with lentils, onions, and walnuts. I do eat out a fair amount and will have whole wheat pasta with vegetables, wild salmon, Mexican beans and guacamole, vegetarian Indian dishes. I do my best, but I will eat corn tortillas and have an occasional Margarita (includes sugar, I know), although I generally stick to a glass or two of red wine.

Spices: Lots and lots of turmeric and curry, ginger when I think about it. Caramelized onions are the basis for many of my dishes.

Everyday food: KALE. I eat tons and tons of kale--kale chips, juiced kale, raw kale salads, stewed kale...

I NEVER eat red meat or sugar (unless it's in my occasional Margarita); will occasionally have chicken (if I'm cooking it, I will look for grain-fed) and fish; include a bit of lowfat cheese and fat-free yogurt in my weekly diet; and do have whole grain bread.

Any comments are greatly appreciated. I want to eat a very healthy diet, but I live in NYC and am a major foodie! I love to eat and believe that enjoyment of our food goes a long way towards improving our (at least mental) health.

Love and hugs,

Jill

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Jill,
Overall what you're doing looks good. Keeping in mind that I'm a purist, here are the things I notice:

The banana and raisins are high glyemic. Better to stick to organic, dark skinned berries.
Keep the carrot content of your juice low. Carrots have sugar and juicing them concentrates it.
Chickpeas are high in carbs. Carbs end up being sugar when we digest it. One of the rules of thumb that my naturopath has is not eating anything that has more carbs than protein. I make humus using zucchini instead of chickpeas.
There's a lot of grains in this diet. Grains = carbs. There are those who believe that we should not consume more than 45 grams of carbs per day during most of the year ("Lights Out" T.S. Wiley).

There's not much protein and fat in this diet. Adding more healthy oils, oilive oil, coconut oil, avacado oil and grapeseed oil would really help your body maitain essential tissues, such as the protective layer of your nervous system. Also, are you supplementing B12? Very essential nutrient. "Autoimmune: The Cause and the Cure."

If you are going to continue eating so many grains and higher glycemic fruits, have cinnamon or a cinnamon capsule with these meals, as it will help regulate your blood sugar.

The spelt and whole wheat pasts is of concern. There is research, which I unfortunately can't site, that states there is a link between gluten and cancer. There is a definite link between gluten and autoimmune and to all neurodegenerative conditions, like alzheimer's. And there is cross contamination into other grains, like oats and corn, and buckwheat and barley. When buying your oats for oatmeal, Bob's Red Mill has on that is gluten free.
If you have time, I urge you to listen to the presentation on this website about the Why of Gluten Free
http://www.namastehealthcenter.com/resources.htm

Also, there is a presentation on this website about the Thriving with Cancer Workshop my naturopath held last Fall. Her photo appears next to the link for the presentation. Keep in mind this is the woman who was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer 20 years ago and treated it without surgery or chemo. She is a very dynamic presenter.

http://www.namastehealthcenter.com/bios.htm

Hope this helps,
Kate

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 496
Joined: Dec 2009

I was concerned about consuming too many carbs and wheat. Today, I bought Ezekiel's Sprouted Grain bread, which is healthier that plain wheat but not gluten free, and a cereal that is free of gluten. Bob's Red Mill is the brand I use for my quinoa; I will look for their brand of oatmeal. Also, I am going to switch from wheat pasta to a gluten-free pasta; this may not make a difference in terms of carbs, but I will be staying away from wheat.

As for the high glycemic content, I chart my food and try to keep the number very low. Per your advice, though, I will cut down on the bananas and raisins. I was having only one banana and a handful of raisins a day, which did not push the glycemic index out of range; but I will limit consumption anyway. I eat lots of blueberries and some blackberries. Are strawberries ok?

I never juice carrots and hardly ever cook them; almost always, I eat them raw as a snack.

As for hummus, I don't want to give it up entirely, but I can certainly add zucchini and other vegetables in place of 2/3 of the chickpeas. That might work!

I did not mention that I use quite a bit of olive oil--daily on my salads, to caramelize my onions, added to my roasted vegetables. Also, I eat plenty of avocados--although I OD'd on them and have not had one in a while--and handfuls of almonds, which I assume provide "good" fat.

WHERE do you get your protein? You probably indicated that in a previous post, but right now I can see only the post to which I am responding. I look forward to watching the presentations over the weekend.

I really appreciate the time that you took responding to my concerns.

All the best,

Jill

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm not as educated at Tethys but here are my thoughts, Jill.

1. I think you should flip breakfast and your morning snack. Eating only fruit on empty stomach I would think would elevate blood sugar and I have read that spikes in blood sugar feed cancer.

2. I would eat at least one macadamia nut daily which has selenium and other mineral benefits (as mentioned on the Food for Life thread)

3. Carrots and broccoli are big antioxidant "superstars". I would definitely not shortchange them.

I didn't see any reference to almond milk. Do you put anything on your cereal? I use the unsweetened almond milk in coffee and cereal and it is very low calorie - only 60 for cup. I use this for my shakes. I eat the sprouted Ezechial bread. I avoid peanut butter and eat almond butter my toasted ezechial bread. Frozen grapes make nice snack.

Jill, You are a wonderful role model for me. And tethys, I will incorporate your feedback too. I think I eat too many carbs and gluten which I will be more conscious of. Nuts are fattening but have protein.

Tethys, I like your idea of hummus with zuchini. Would an olive tapanade be healthy?

Mary Ann

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Very interesting article from LIVESTRONG.com. Note: what it mentions in paragraph 4 about fiber and glycemic type foods. Cooking foods increases the glycemic level, therefore RAW IS BEST!! The acids in lemon juice and lime juice, reduce the glycemic index of other foods.

Trying googling for lists of foods and their glycemic numbers.

Jan

P.S. Mary Ann, did you know brazil nuts are loaded with selenium...as I eat 2 each morning.

-----------------------------

Low Glycemic Vegetables and Fruits
Comments
Dec 16, 2010 | By Adam Cloe

If you have diabetes or are concerned about high blood sugar, you may benefit from tweaking your diet. One important aspect of this is understanding the glycemic index of the foods you eat. Although most fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index, understanding which ones have the lowest glycemic index values can help you optimize your diet.

The glycemic index is a measurement of how a food affects your blood glucose levels. Foods with a high glycemic index can cause your blood glucose levels to rise faster and higher than foods with a lower glycemic index, the Mayo Clinic explains. By following a diet that utilizes low glycemic index foods as staples, you can help keep your blood glucose levels under control.

Fruits and Vegetables

As a general rule, fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index. For example, fruits such as cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears, plums and strawberries all have glycemic index values of 40 or lower, according to WeightLossForAll.com. Most nonstarchy vegetables also have low glycemic indexes. For example, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans and onions all have glycemic index values under 20.

Fiber

One of the reasons why many fruits and vegetables have low glycemic indexes is the amount of fiber they contain. Foods high in fiber reduce the speed at which carbohydrates are digested. The slower the release of carbohydrates, the less effect the carbohydrate content of a food has on blood glucose levels. Thus, by virtue of their high fiber content, many fruits and vegetables not only have low glycemic index values, but when eaten with higher glycemic index foods, also can help mitigate the increase in blood glucose levels that these higher-index foods can cause.

Acid

Some fruits can affect glycemic index in another way -- through their acid. The acids in lemon juice and lime juice, for example, reduce the glycemic index of other foods, HealthCastle says, because when acid is added to a meal, the stomach holds onto the food longer, so the food is digested more slowly. By slowing digestion, acid can slow the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down, resulting in a lowered glycemic index.
Considerations

Although fruits and vegetables typically have a low glycemic index, the way in which they are prepared impacts their glycemic index. As a general rule, the more cooked or processed a food is, the higher its glycemic index. This means raw fruits and vegetables have a lower glycemic index than when cooked

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/336179-low-glycemic-vegetables-and-fruits/#ixzz1oeRa0L00

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
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Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. As for your question about olive tapanade, I'll bet it would be very healthy. Olives, after all, are very anti-inflammatory.

--Your first thought, about flipping my breakfast and morning snack, makes sense to me; and I may simply combine the two. A decade or two ago, a book called "Fit for Life" made a case for eating fruit on an empty stomach; but I just did an Internet search of multiple trusted websites that all say it generally makes no difference how fruit is eaten and that it may actually be beneficial to combine fruit and other foods.

--I eat carrots but am not fond of broccoli. However, I eat cauliflower and tons of other antioxidant vegetables as well as the green leafy kind.

--Yes, I use almond milk in my coffee and cereal and use only the unsweetened kind.

--I generally eat Ezekiel Bread (now I will eat it exclusively) and have it with warm olive oil, turmeric, and freshly ground black pepper.

I'm worrying a bit about protein. I tried adding tofu, but based on what I've read and some comments here, I think I'll stay away. Fish has been too expensive, but I've started working again and may include wild salmon in my diet once or twice a week. How about wild canned sardines, the type sold in Trader Joe's and Whole Foods?

The B-12 I get comes mostly from my B-100 daily supplement, which I have taken since starting chemo (originally in an effort to combat neuropathy; it failed in that category). I'd like to move more toward food sources.

THANKS, Mary Ann, and Kate. I am learning a lot.

Jill

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Rewriter
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I strongly recommend this food tracker, which "provides a summary of the quality of your diet in terms of macronutrient ratio, satiety, nutrient density, nutritional completeness, protein quality, and impact on blood sugar and inflammation."

http://nutritiondata.self.com/mynd/mytracking/tracking-analysis#ixzz1oelamNOU

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daisy366
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Jill, it sounds like you think protein is just in animal products. Google plant protein and you will find lots there.

I think you are amazing because it takes alot of time to fix those salads and other healthy foods that you eat.

One issue we have not discussed much is the eat food as fresh as you can get it. I tend to buy more than I can eat in a few days so the fresh food sits in fridge for awhile - I'm sure losing alot or even all of it's value. JoAnn mentioned frozen and that makes sense to me since it is flash frozen and kept that way.

Happy and healthy eating. Mary Ann

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

I do not know when all you gals find time for "life" - it seems that you spend a lot of time planning, plotting, and implementing your foods.

Please do not tell me that it becomes routine, because even if it does, you still have to implement it and shop and cross things off your mental "list".

And there is so much conflicting information out there. You read one thing one place and something else in another. And then another and another. I agree with whoever it was who said we need a "do over" to make any difference in the course of this disease. And as our dear Linda said...it's a crapshoot.

JoAnn

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Tethys41
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Joined: Sep 2010

Mary Ann
Yes, olive tapenade is a great option. What you put it on, may not be so great. When I eat dips and spreads, I either put them on celery, or on crackers I make with almond meal instead of grain-based flour. If anyone wants the recipie, I can post it.

Jill,
Organic strawberries are great. Olive oil is best used without heat, or at very low heat. Better to use coconut oil for cooking. Spectrum has two refined forms, one for medium heat, and one for high heat. As you will recall, I am eating Paleo. So, I get protein from eggs, raw cheese and meats. I too think you could benefit from protein sources with fewer carbs. Sardines are great, I wish I liked them. You can also add protein to smoothies. You can use undenatured whey, although some people hesitate due to concerns related to dairy. Alternatively, you could use hemp protein. If you would consider using an animal product, you could add organic gelatin powder (Great Lakes brand). I use the gelatin and a raw egg in mine. There is some very expensive pharmeceutical grade whey protein, that actually has cancer fighting properties. If you use it for smoothies, you have to add it after you blend it because even the heat from the blender can alter the proteins.
I can't say enough good things about coconut milk. I also used to use almond milk, but coconut milk is loaded with healthy fats. I use that in my smoothies, along with coconut milk keifer.
Also, wonder if you'd be willing to have some bone broths mixed into some of your other dishes. I make bone broth every week, either from organic chicken or grass fed and grass finished beef. Boil the bones for 3 or 4 hours with 1/4 cup of Bragg's vinegar. The vinegar releases the nutrients so they are more bioavailable.
Kate

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kkstef
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I really enjoy these interesting and thought provoking discussions...Thank you all for sharing! Will check out the sites mentioned, etc. LOTS to ponder!

Jill, I was getting rather weary of chickpea hummus so here is one I have been doing with sweet potatoes:

Roasted Sweet Potato hummus:

3 c. chopped peeled sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
2- 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 c. chopped carrot
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 C. tahini
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1 tsp. of cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Place mixture on a jelly-roll pan; bake @ 350 degrees 30-45 minutes until tender. (timing just depends on what size you chopped the vegetables. Stir once.

Combine sweet potato mixture, and rest of ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. May need to thin with a bit of water.

Yield: 3 cups

Karen

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Rewriter
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I am so lucky to benefit from the generous efforts of women on this board to share what they've read and their analyses of this information. This is probably the most intelligent group of women I have ever encountered. Heartfelt thanks.

Jill

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Jill,

Your diet looks great in my opinion but would agree that so much fruit in the morning could create a glucose spike you might want to avoid. I'd either cut it in half or be sure to eat some fat/protein beforehand to slow down the glucose absorption.

Like you, I too include a bit of goat cheese occasionally. But I might stay away from LOW-FAT dairy products which are, paradoxically, higher in casein than regular ones. (Casein is the element that some studies link to greater incidence of gynecological cancer.) Regular fat organic products are best in this respect--eating the food in its natural form. (So half and half in your coffee if it's a dash would be better than low-fat milk.) By the way: goats and sheep cheeses are lower in casein than most others.

Because I so used to love good cheese, did a lot of research into dairy a month ago. And found that casein, get this, is used to lace many white wines and cans of tuna. (The only brands free of this process are Trader Joe's and Starkist.)

xo,
Rosey

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bea-mil
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if you would like to be worry free eating grains and at the same time have good amount of protein in your diet you should include in your recipes Amaranth, Buckwheat, and Millet plus continue eating quinoa. They are thought to be neutral or alkaline and they are a perfect source of protein. I find quinoa the best. Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its cooking characteristics.

“The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a child protein needed for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavourful for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition.”

I have read your post about your diet and looks like it is very healthy one. Just substitute brown rice with quinoa or these alkaline grains that I have mentioned above include more coconut oil which is a super food. I also start my day with the fruit; usually I blend a whole apple with cinnamon and coconut water (the one without sugar). I eat about 5 meals a day but very simple and small. Fruits and nuts are my snacks. I have 1 or 2 cooked meals and the rest is raw whole plant shakes.
Below some info about proteins” from the book: “How to be Your Own Doctor” by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon.

“Few proteins are water soluble. When we eat proteins the digestive apparatus must first break them down into their water-soluble components, amino acids, so these can pass into the blood and then be reassembled into the various proteins the body uses. The body has an interesting mechanism to digest proteins; it uses enzymes. An enzyme is like the key for a lock. It is a complex molecule that latches to a protein molecule and then breaks it apart into amino acids. Then the enzyme finds yet another protein molecule to free. Enzymes are efficient, reusable many many times.

Enzymes that digest proteins are effective only in the very acid environment of the stomach, are manufactured by the pancreas and are released when protein foods are present. The stomach then releases hydrochloric acid and churns away like a washing machine, mixing the enzymes and the acid with the proteins until everything has digested.

So far so good. That's how its supposed to be. But. Dr. Henry Bieler, who wrote Food Is Your Best Medicine, came up with the finest metaphor I know of to explain how protein digestion goes wrong. He compared all proteins to the white of an egg (which is actually a form of protein). When raw and liquid, the long chains of albumen (egg white) proteins are in their natural form. However, cook the egg and the egg white both solidifies and becomes smaller. What has happened is that the protein chains have shriveled and literally tied themselves into knots. Once this happens, pancreatic enzymes no longer fit and cannot separate all the amino acids. Cooked proteins may churn and churn and churn in the presence of acid and pancreatic enzymes but they will not digest completely. Part becomes water soluble; part does not.

But, indigestible protein is still subject to an undesirable form of consumption in the gut. Various bacteria make their home in our airless, warm intestines. Some of these live on protein. In the process of consuming undigested proteins, they release highly toxic substances. They poison us.
What is true of the white of an egg is also true of flesh foods and dairy. Raw meat and raw fish are actually easily digestible foods and if not wrongly combined will not produce toxemia in a person that still has a strong pancreas. However, eating raw meat and fish can be a dicey proposition, both for reasons of cultural sensibility (people think it is disgusting) and because there may be living parasites in uncooked flesh that can attack, sicken and even kill people. It has been argued that a healthy stomach containing its proper degree of acidity provides an impenetrable barrier to parasites. Perhaps. But how many of us are that healthy these days? Cooked flesh and fish seems more delicious to our refined, civilized sensibilities, but are a poor food.”

Bea-Mil

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Rewriter
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Your posts are so reassuring that I am on the right track.

I'm not sure that I mentioned this earlier, but I eat lots and lots of quinoa and kasha (buckwheat groats), primarily for the reasons you cited. In the morning, I add quinoa to my oatmeal or multigrain hot cereal. Later in the day, I might have a quinoa and vegetable stew or "tabbouleh" made with quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh basil or parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Every week, I eat some type of quinoa stew. My "go-to" kasha recipe is this: I toast the kasha in a dry saute pan before adding water; I separately caramelize some onions and mushrooms in olive oil and turmeric; then I combine the ingredients and eat this as a side dish with either a salad or soup.

I eat many RAW vegetables, both in my one large salad a day (spinach, kale, raw cabbage, cukes, carrots, and whatever local vegetables sound good) and as snacks (e.g., carrot sticks). Cooked vegetables include a wide range. Lately, I have been sauteing cauliflower in olive oil, curry, and turmeric until it is caramelized (and eat this with quinoa or the kasha dish). I just bought lots of brussels sprouts, and I will likely roast them with some olive oil.

Bowls of fruit are a staple of my diet. I may try to eat more strawberries and blueberries and cut down on bananas and raisins, but I still start my day with fruit (this week I may combine the fruit with oatmeal or a cold multigrain cereal).

I've stopped eating sushi when I started chemo and until recently ate no fish or animal products. Lately, I've added to my diet a VERY small amount of free range chicken, wild salmon, and wild sardines (a health food store brand), and I will see how that goes. My body feels pretty good on a mostly vegetarian diet, no matter what other "experts" may say.

Most important, at my last physical, everything was in range--even my Vitamin D--and, as I mentioned before, I dropped my cholesterol 40 points (it was never high, though) and was able to throw away my hypertension meds.

For those people who wonder how I can have a life if I spend so much time thinking about what I am going to eat, it is in large part BECAUSE I spend so much time fine-tuning my diet that I HAVE the life that I do. Some aspects of my health "may" be a crapshoot, but my food choices improve my energy, mood, and so many other areas of my overall health. I am also in the camp that believes in food's anticancer properties.

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daisy366
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Do you shop often? Sounds like you do - which is good to have fresh foods.

I like your diet. Healthy cooking is a lot of work vs. grabbing prepared or fast food. But like you say, it's a good investment in your health and quality of life.

And can you or others tell me if a Tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar a day is a good idea? My mother-in-law, a healthy 87 YO swears that this is the secret of her good quality of life - that and being active and hardworking all of her life. I used to drink this with water every morning but got away from it. I'm thinking of resuming it.

Mary Ann

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Rewriter
Posts: 496
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I shop once every few weeks for items that will store well. For example, I may need to replenish my supplies of quinoa, almonds, lentils, kasha, and various dried beans, which I store in mason jar.s in my cupboard. That's another thing that we haven't touched on in a while: the idea that we shouldn't be storing food or cooking in plastic. I also buy containers of almond milk, organic low-sodium soups, and dried fruits (dried figs are highly alkaline and have other positive nutritional value)

Every few days or so, I shop for a fresh supply of fruits and vegetables. I'm fortunate to live near NYC's flagship Trader Joe's; and although they used to have horrible produce, lately I've found fresh and delicious pea shoots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and baby zucchini.

One day a week, I will cook one or two big pots of stew or soup and then freeze several portions. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has suggestions on the type of container I should be using for freezing--hoping to completely get away from plastic.

Today, I bought some Bragg's apple cider vinegar, having gotten away from using it. I'm not sure it's necessary to drink it with water; but how about using it in your salads and perhaps on some vegetables?

Now that the weather is warming up here on the East Coast, maybe we can share recipes for cold salads and "dips" that can keep for more than a day--cabbage salads (healthy cole slaw), chopped raw vegetable salads, bean salads, tabbouleh made with quinoa, vegetable hummus, mock chopped liver made with lentils, onions, and walnuts... Some of these dishes can be made with a cider vinegar dressing, making them all the healthier.

I want to stress that this is the way I eat, and it works for me. If I sound as if I am trying to proscribe a diet for the other women here, that is not my intention.

Love, good health, and HAPPY eating.

Jill

P.S. By the way, tonight I am having dinner with a group of friends who call ourselves The Margarita Four--so I am not an angel. HOWEVER, I generally have a burrito made with a corn tortilla, beans, avocado, NO rice, lowfat yogurt, salsa, and spinach. I might have ONE margarita, but generally I stick with a glass of red wine.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I like your approach to all this.

I switched to glass jars years ago. I like the (I think) 12 oz. size jars that Paul Newman's salsa comes in. I even freeze in these (don't totally fill & leave the lid ajar until frozen and then tighten). Mason jars are good and can be purchased in hardware or department stores.

Enjoy that margarita!!

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

Jill, does your flagship Trader Joe's sell most of its fruits and vegetables pre-packaged?

That is how my TJ's is and I do not buy them like that. Who knows how long ago the were packaged or how far they have traveled....and under what conditions?

I would rather eat TJ's frozen vegetables and fruits. At least I know they were probably frozen the same day they were harvested.

JOANN

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

25 years ago I nursed my mother through cancer. I did the same thing for two friends, 15 and 7 years ago, respectively.

I did lots of research during those times and without a doubt, everything changes every few years. What was recommended 15 years ago was not recommended 8 years later. Or now. It is all about FADS .....who can shout the loudest, get the most press and attention, etc. Pretender-prophets abound, many of them with few or no credentials.

All of these diets and food suggestions go in cycles, which is why I will not go overboard....because it will all change. That is the ONE thing we can be sure of.

I think the best thing we can do is to eat a varied diet and be sensible about what we eat ----and stop stressing so much over every bite that goes into our mouths, every container we use, every cooking method, etc. We should eat good meats, fish, and poultry; lots of fruits and veggies; less fat, dairy, and sugar......and enjoy life!

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daisy366
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...but if it adds to my quality of life and feeling of empowerment to use glass jars, eat fresh veggies, limit those desserts, etc, then "no harm no foul". To each his/her own.

Mary Ann

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jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Sure do love reading ideas from all of you ladies, as I couldn't possibly accumulate half of the information you've posted. Great team effort.

ENJOY LIFE, IT HAS AN EXPIRATION~~

Jan

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 496
Joined: Dec 2009

generally come from somewhere else to NYC during the winter months. I guess I could consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables; so thanks, JoAnn, for pointing that out.

I I agree with everything Mary Ann said; I take great pleasure in thinking about what I eat, and I feel empowered when I make food choices that improve my health.

Jill

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HellieC
Posts: 459
Joined: Nov 2010

Every time I read your food-related posts, Jill, I come away from my computer feeling hungry and with new ideas to try - they all sound scrummy. I don't think the odd margharita or two is going to upset the balance!
By the way - if you are going to add more millet to your diet you might like to know that it is high in B17 (the "cancer fighting" vitamin found in bitter apricot kernels). i don't like the smell of it when it cooks, but I am happy with the taste (weird, huh?)
Kindest wishes
Helen

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