Friday, September 28, 2007

Some cancer care recipes

The internet exerts a siren call to people like me, so I'm back, despite my last bleak entry vowing not to return until my paradigm shifted. I guess a shift has indeed occurred. I have shifted my focus from changing the world to healing myself. And the results of that process? So far, so good. I am suffering from a rare type of ovarian cancer and am half-way through my chemo treatments. Who knows what the months ahead will bring? All of you, dear readers, are living with uncertainty, but most of you just don't know it yet. I can report that uncertainty is not an impossible thing to live with; there is still time for everyday joys and lots of learning.

I am very grateful to all the people who have communicated with me by phone, email or in person. Changing and healing myself is clearly a group venture, and I have benefited from the wisdom of many. I have been spending a lot of time trying to make sense of this whole new journey, attempting to discern what gives me pleasure and what offers the opportunity for healing. Conventional medicine doesn't have a great deal of experience with my particular form of cancer, and it can be overwhelming sorting through all the information out there on complementary and alternative forms of treatment.

Nutrition and healing has been an interest of mine for at least ten years. This interest has grown since my diagnosis. There are many different cancer diets out there, and I have also discovered at least one good cancer cookbook. Some people have reported great cures from macrobiotic cooking, while others swear by juicing. Cancer diets seem to be long on general principles and short on tasty specific recipes, and tasty and healthful food really contributes to my quality of life. So I am going to share 4 tasty recipes, all of which have potential cancer fighting benefits. I'll share my sources for this assertion. All these recipes have been tested by me and are extremely tasty.

Fettuccini With Shiitake and Garlic Butter

Click on the recipe title to view this recipe on the recipezaar website. This recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms, found fresh in some parts of the country, otherwise available dried in stores with oriental cooking supplies. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website has information on the research that has been done on shiitake mushrooms as a cancer cure. These mushrooms are a staple in certain oriental recipes, and substantial research has been done on their healing properties in Japan. If you use dried shiitake mushrooms, I would rehydrate at least 10 of them overnight in water. We found some fresh shiitake mushrooms at an area farmer's market, and thought the flavor in this recipe was out of sight!

Bran Flax Muffins

I found this recipe on the All Recipes site, where it was positively reviewed by 190 different reviewers. It uses an ingredient vital in any cancer fighting arsenal: freshly ground flax seeds. There is lots of discussion in user-oriented cancer groups about cancer preparations using flax seed and flax oil. Sloan Kettering's take on flax is here, but Stephen Martin, blogger at the Grouppe Kurosawa Natural Medicines blog, comes right out and says a flax muffin a day can have wonderful benefits. I'm not capable of sorting out the science on this, but Martin's credentials and orientation are impressive. Most important, these muffins, which I made for the first time today, are delicious!

Add-on note: where to find flax seed? I found flax seed at my local natural foods grocery store. If you don't have something like that nearby, you can check it out at your favorite online store. For example, and both carry flax seed. It's best to get organic, and then store what you buy in the freezer until you use it.

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage Slaw

1/2 C. Cranberry Honey Vinegar (or substitute some other light vinegar)
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp. coarely cracked pepper
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 medium head red cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Directions: Combine vinegar, pepper, thyme, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add cabbage and onion. Toss until coated. Salt to taste.

Cabbage is one of those cruciferous vegetables everyone has been telling you to eat. Cabbage is loaded with anti-oxidants, and red cabbage is loaded with vitamin C. The American Institute for Cancer Research has another red cabbage recipe on their website, which I view as a endorsement for the health benefits of red cabbage.

Lime Sorbet

2 cups sugar
3 ¾ c hot water
2 ¼ c lime juice (abt. 15 limes)
3 t. lemon juice
1 ½ T dark rum
2 drops green food coloring
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Dissolve sugar in hot water, add ingredients .Freeze. Before serving, process in food processor, then put back in freezer. This gives it a nice texture.

This recipe makes a ton of lime sorbet. A couple of days after my surgery, a friend of mine brought some of this stuff over. I swear the sorbet VIBRATED, it had such a dramatic effect on my taste buds. Man, this is good stuff. It is extremely high in vitamin C, and my system must have been calling out for this elixir. There's lots of controversy about whether vitamin C helps cancer; all I know is that my body LOVED it. Here is how Sloan Kettering describes the studies, debates, and some of the evidence about vitamin C.

My opinion is that science is not the answer to everything! Happy eating and abundant love and good health to one and all.