Sep 12 2014

Guacamole

I’ve been making this guacamole recipe for a few years. I adjust the ratio of the ingredients based on what I have available and who is eating it. It’s delicious and goes fast!

Ingredients:

Guacamole Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small-medium sized tomato
  • 1 slice of onion
  • 1 slice – 1 whole jalapeno
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste

Method:

Dice the tomato. Chop the onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Spoon out and mash the avocado but leave some texture.

Dice the tomato. Chop the onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Spoon out and mash the avocado but leave some texture. Blend all ingredients in a bowl. Salt according to your preference.

While cilantro is the more authentic herb for this dish, if you don’t have it, you can substitute fresh parsley.

The traditional use is to dip into it with tortillas chips, but we liked zucchini sticks or whole grain crackers at my house.

Guacamole

Enjoy!

Sep 06 2014

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients and Survivors

When I had cancer there was no mention of exercise as part of my treatment or recovery. It was never brought up by anyone on my health care team. Advice for cancer patients used to be: “rest and avoid activity”.

Well times they are a changin’ and exercise recommendations are now a more regular part of cancer treatment and survivorship as new evidence is emerging on the benefits of exercise.

In an interview posted on YouTube, cancer exercise specialist Jay Herdson from Johns Hopkins Cancer Center had this to say about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients—he reports that with exercise, treatment is improved; and there is an improvement in many side effects such as fatigue (in as little as 1 workout), improved mood, better weight control, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep and mental clarity.

Benefits cited from other sources are: fewer falls and bone fractures and higher quality of life. Most importantly for many patients, exercise can prevent recurrence and death from cancer.

Exercise programs should include warm-up and cool-down, as well as the following 5 elements:

  1. strength
  2. cardiovascular
  3. core-stability
  4. balance
  5. flexibility

Avoid focusing on just one element such as doing only cardiovascular training. If you are a bit intimidated to get started on your own, there are now many exercise specialists who have done additional training to understand the unique needs of cancer patients. They would have the designation of CES—“Cancer Exercise Specialist”—so look for a trainer with this qualification.

Remember to set short and intermediate range goals to support your long-term goal. This will help you to see your progress and feel a sense of accomplishment as you achieve milestones on your way to the big prize.

Currently for cancer prevention, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends being active at least 30 minutes daily. The American College of Sports Medicine sums it up succinctly in their recommendation: “Avoid Inactivity!”

Take advantage of the fresh start September offers by getting started or renewing your commitment to your exercise program.

Sunrise view of the city

One of the advantages to my summer exercise routine has been the beautiful sunrises.

 

References:

Johns Hopkins Exercise Specialist Jay Herdson

AICR

American College of Sports Medicine

Aug 28 2014

Easiest Gazpacho Ever

Baskets of Tomatoes

Fresh summer tomatoes at my local market–perfect for this recipe!

I have been to Spain and tasted delicious cold summer gazpacho. At first it felt a little odd to be eating soup cold, but then that was forgotten as I felt really indulgent—I was able to enjoy my favourite summer fruit/vegetable (depending if you are a botanist or a chef)—tomatoes!

I don’t know the original source of this recipe but like many of my creations, I like to add and take-away to make the recipe my own. Here is my version of Easiest Gazpacho Ever!

Why is it the easiest? Because it all goes in the blender…I’m a purist when it comes to homemade salsa. I think it must be hand chopped, but using the blender for this recipe makes a delicious end product and the flavours don’t suffer at all.

 

Easiest Gazpacho Ever

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium tomatoes (or 3 beefsteak tomatoes)
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper*
  • 2 stalks of celery*
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 6-10 leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper (black or cayenne) to taste
  • Tabasco sauce 6 drops or to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce 6 drops or to taste

Directions

Place in blender/food processor and blend. No need to over blend, a bit of texture is nice. Serve cold in soup bowls or iced cocktail glasses.

Important!

*Buy celery and bell peppers organic if you can as they are on the ‘dirty dozen’ (high in pesticide residue) or rinse and rub down thoroughly if not organic.
Gazpacho Soup

Enjoy!

Aug 21 2014

Book Review: Slow Death by Rubber Duck, by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, Vintage Canada, 2010

Admittedly, I am slow to the show with this book review. I’ve had this book on my bedside reading table for several years. Yes, years! It didn’t get shuffled to the top of the stack until I learned that the authors published their latest book, Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World on Dec 31, 2013. I heard this and thought—enough is enough!—I need to read this already.

Slow Death by Rubber Duck Book Cover

My copy of “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

I’m glad I did. It was a much easier read than I expected. I was pleasantly surprised by the story-telling style of the book. The basic premise is that two men, both environmental crusaders, put themselves through several experiments to see if they can raise the levels of various environmental contaminants in their bodies.

According to the authors, people are sponges and we absorb things from our environments. No longer should we think of pollution as smokestacks billowing out toxins, but the very cells inside our bodies.

In their self-proclaimed “adult science fair project”, Rick Smith, the Executive Director of Environmental Defense, exposes himself to phthalates, brominated flame retardants, anti-bacterial triclosan and bisphenol A.

Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation, exposes himself to Teflon, mercury, and the weed killer 2,4-D. What these intrepid explorers show us is that it is indeed possible to increase levels of these chemicals in blood and urine with some every day practices people do unwittingly.

Thankfully, the book includes lots of tips on how to limit our exposure to these chemicals. Here are some highlights:

Phthalates

  • Avoid toiletries containing “fragrance” and “parfum”
  • Replace your PVC shower curtain with recycled polyester or natural fibres
  • Do not use air fresheners
  • Check out your toys on healthytoys.org
  • Reduce consumption of fatty meat and dairy foods
A variety of toiletries

Items I found in my home containing dangerous chemicals (Left). I have since stopped using these! Products I purchased (Right) to replace these items.

Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

  • Stop using old non-stick frying pans
  • Limit use of Gore-Tex, Stainmaster and Scotchgard non-stick products
  • Stop using microwave popcorn and take-out food contains (burgers, pizza)
  • Read labels to make sure items don’t contain perfluoro- ingredients

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

  • Use natural products like wood, hemp and cotton
  • Buy PBDE-free furniture, upholstery and electronics
  • Dust and vacuum regularly
  • Recycle your old electronic equipment safely

Mercury

  • Eat fish that is lower on the food chain and avoid large predatory fish
  • Avoid white albacore tuna
  • Choose wild over farmed fish
  • Take mercury-containing products to household hazardous waste depots (old thermostats, paint)

Triclosan

  • Avoid using “antibacterial” products
  • Avoid nanosilver and nanozinc products (usually labelled “anti-bacterial”)

2,4-D

  • Do not use synthetic weed killer on your lawn or garden
  • Choose organic whenever you can
  • Wash your produce well (CLICK HERE to read my blog on washing produce.)

BPA

  • Check the recycling number on the plastics in your home; remember this ditty “4, 5, 1 and 2, all the rest are bad for you.”
  • Do not use plastics in the microwave
  • Store your food in glass containers
  • Choose fresh or frozen over canned foods
  • Use cloth instead of plastic shopping bags

Included in all of their tips are also links to more resources, as well as plenty of ideas and encouragement for you to engage your political leaders at all levels of government to support legislation that bans or restricts use of these invasive chemicals.

Bottom Line: This is a great book. While some of the information will be familiar to you, I’m sure there are things in your life you can improve to reduce your exposure to these chemicals. I am going to order Rick and Bruce’s latest book and this time, I won’t wait so long to read it.

Aug 12 2014

Super Green Parsley Pesto

Summer is well underway and it’s time to harvest some of those herbs that you planted in the spring. Depending you where you live, it may not be too late to plant herbs. If you missed my blog post on the Top 7 Herbs I recommend, you can read it here.

Parsley in my garden.

It may not be too late to plant. I just planted this parley after taking out my pea plants that were finished for the season.

Herbs are more than just a garnish. You can feature them as a main ingredient. A great way to do this is to make pesto. For a twist on traditional basil pesto, here is my version. I call it Super Green Parsley Pesto.

Why super green? Parsley contains important plant nutrients (phytonutrients). In laboratory work, these phytonutrients have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce proliferation of cancer cells, stop angiogenesis (creation of blood supply by the cancer) and induce apoptosis (natural cell death by the cancer). It truly is a ‘super green’.

As well as being super green in colour, this recipe, with its cancer fighting potential, is like a super hero on your plate, let’s call it “Super Green” to the rescue!
When you harvest the parsley you don’t have to pull out the entire plant, just pick off the leaves you will use. They will grow back and you may get a second harvest before summer is over. Enjoy!

 

Super Green Parsley Pesto

Parsley

You can use curly or flat leaf parsley to make this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups freshly harvested parsley, washed, with excess stems removed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans

 

Method

  1. Pat dry washed parsley and place in food processor with processing blade.
  2. Add parmesan cheese and olive oil.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. Add toasted pecans and process until desired texture.

Serve over hot pasta or use as a spread on sandwiches.

Important!

Optional: Add garlic, basil, cilantro or a combination of other herbs. If you want a thinner texture, add more oil.

Finished Pesto

Aug 06 2014

What is that Wax on my Produce?

When researching What is the Best Way to Clean Produce? (click here to read), I found a website selling a fruit cleaning spray. The spokesperson said,

 “at least 85% of most commercially grown produce is waxed. There is a plethora of things that are trapped under the surface from dirt to contaminants, microbes, things that you pretty much wouldn’t want to ingest”

 but before I clicked on the ‘buy’ button, I did some more digging. Other information I found actually reported the benefits of wax. Here is a sample:

According to Auburn University Professor of Horticulture, Dr. Joe Kemble: Apples, plums, pears and other fruits produce their own natural wax.This natural wax helps the fruit to resist moisture loss, keeps the fruit firm, protects from mold and is a natural preservative as well as a physical barrier to prevent microorganisms from entering the fruit.

So, what is that White Stuff on My Fruit?

white wax build-up (bloom) on an organic Red Plum

Wax Bloom on an Organic Red Plum

That is wax. But more visible wax doesn’t mean more wax. As it turns out, added wax can appear white if the fruit has been exposed to high humidity or heat, allowing moisture to crack the coating of the wax.

Plums have a more notable natural waxy ‘bloom’ than pears or apples. They don’t have more natural wax but rather a wax of a different composition and appearance.

If you see white build-up on organic produce like apples, pears, citrus, pomegranate or some vegetables, it could be kaolin clay. This is a clay mineral, which has many uses: paper, toothpaste, porcelain, cosmetics and in organic farming as a spray applied to crops to deter insect damage and prevent sunscald in apples. Kaolin clay is generally regarded as safe and has a long history of use.

What is Natural Wax?

Natural fruit wax is made up of up to 50 different chemicals. One of the main chemicals is a compound called Ursolic acid, which is capable of inhibiting various cancer cells. Waxes are not broken down in our digestive system and will pass through our bodies without being absorbed.

When harvest fruit is washed to remove dirt, some natural wax is also removed. After being washed, a wax is then applied, but in a much smaller quantity then the original natural wax. About 1-2 drops are applied thinly and evenly within a water mix.

What is Wax is Added After Cleaning?

Food grade wax added to produce comes from a variety of sources. Some of them are natural like carnauba (from Brazilian carnauba palm leaves) or shellac (a natural insect wax).

Not-so-natural waxes can also be used. These would be mineral oil, petrolatum and paraffin that are regulated as food additives under the Food & Drug Act and Regulations. Collectively these waxes are referred to as “food grade wax”.

Petrolatum is also used in cosmetics and is commonly known as petroleum jelly. There does seem to be concern with cosmetic use of this product as it can be contaminated with PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). I wasn’t able to find similar concerns for its use as a wax coating on produce.

How Much Fruit is Waxed?

As I previously mentioned, the spokesperson for vegetable rinse said “at least 85% of most commercially grown produce is waxed”. Having grown up in a second-generation produce-selling family…I know my produce, as does my brother who is still in the business. We both agreed, 85% seems way to high. I did a bit more digging.

According to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, the 24 fruits and vegetables listed below may have protective edible coatings and waxes.

 

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Cherry
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Melon
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Passion Fruit
  • Lychee Fruit
  • Peach

 

 

  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Bell Pepper
  • Field Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Parsnip
  • Pumpkin
  • Rutabaga
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato
  • Yucca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a book on my bookshelf called Dr. Richter’s Fresh Produce Guide. It was a gift from a friend and I used it in my private practice to look up various fruits and vegetables clients would tell me they eat, or to show pictures to my clients of items I recommended they try. This book doesn’t have every fruit and vegetable in it, as I had the experience of not being able to find something in it. It lists 300 fruits and vegetables, let’s just say, that is a complete list. With 24 fruits and vegetables that have wax coatings out of 300, that’s 8% of produce.

I think it’s clear that 85% is indeed too high. I suspect I can file that bit of information under the title of ‘fear-mongering’ in order to entice visitors to the website to buy more vegetable wash spray.

Removing Wax

Whether the white build up is natural wax, food grade wax from natural or synthetic sources or organic kaolin clay solution, the health risks from its application on produce appear minimal. However, it is still recommended to wash your produce before eating. Not only will this remove wax, but also dirt, bacteria, mold spores and pesticide residue.

As I wrote in What is the Best Way to Clean Produce? (click here to read), wax can be removed by rubbing produce with a cloth (or sleeve), washing with water alone or washing with a solution of 3:1 water and vinegar.

Enjoy the delicious and healthy summer harvest without fear!

 

 

 

Jul 28 2014

PLU Numbers on Produce

PLU stands for Price Look Up. These are the codes that the cashier will scan when you check out at the supermarket.

The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) is a voluntary organization for the fresh produce industry. The IFPS coordinates the use of these standardized PLU codes. Their objective is to support an efficient supply chain of fresh produce throughout the world.

Currently, there are 1,400 different PLU codes assigned for produce. Producers can apply for a PLU code for a new product provided it is available to multiple growers in worldwide markets and not a niche item available from a single grower.

Encoded in the PLU is the type of fruit, the variety and the size.  Here are some examples:

  • 4688: Bell pepper, greenhouse, red
  • 4044: Peach, yellow flesh, tree ripened, read-to-eat, large

Look for Number 9

There are 2 prefixes allowed in the PLU coding system. Those are 8 and 9. The number 9 in front of any PLU number means the product has been grown organically. For example:

  • 94688: Organic, Bell pepper, greenhouse, red
  • 94038: Organic peach, yellow flesh, large
Red Pepper

Conventional

Organic Red Pepper

Organic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Likely Won’t See Too Many 8s

The number 8 prefix means the product has been genetically modified. The reason you won’t see many of these is because the items that might have a PLU sticker, are approved for genetic modification, and are commercially available are few. They are, some varieties of:

  • Cantaloupe (U.S. only)
  • Corn
  • Papaya
  • Squash
  • Radicchio (U.S. only)

Since learning that a variety of sweet corn called Attribute is approved for genetic modification in Canada, I haven’t been able to determine if the sweet corn that I see is genetically modified. Since I’ve never seen a PLU sticker on a cob of corn, I doubt the PLU system will help me much with this objective. But of course, my objective is not the same as the IFPS in that regard.

A lot of PLU stickers I have looked at include the variety of the fruit or vegetable, but this isn’t mandatory. If you come across a sticker without this information, you can check for additional information in one of 2 places:

  • Option 1—go to www.ifpsglobal.com and use the “Search PLU codes” database to enter in the 4-5 digit PLU code.
  • Option 2—download an app called Fruit Checker. It’s a very basic 99 cent app that allows you to enter the PLU code and it will give you the corresponding information assigned to that code.

Happy shopping! And have fun finding those number 9s!

 

Plum and Nectarine

4042 Plum: red, large and 3035 Nectarine: white flesh, tree ripened, ready-to-eat, large

Organic Watermelon

93421 Watermelon: Organic, mini, seedless

 

 

References
http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2009/09/are-you-looking-9-when-you-buy-produce

www.ifpsglobal.com

 

 



PLU Numbers Conventional Versus Organic

Jul 23 2014

What is the Best Way to Clean Produce?

Vegetable washes, vinegar, distilled water, tap water, soap—what is the best way to wash fruits and vegetables?

What is it you are trying to remove? First, there are food-borne bacteria that could make you sick such as E-coli and Salmonella. These outbreaks sometimes make the news and are managed in the U.S. by The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and in Canada by The Public Health Agency of Canada.

Many times, contamination happens in the home when raw meat comes in contact with raw fruits or veggies from an unclean counter top or cutting board. But other times, contamination happens on the farm. Raw fruits and vegetables can become contaminated while in the field with E. coli for example, by improperly composted manure, contaminated water, wildlife or poor hygiene of farm workers.

Second, there are chemicals applied by the farmer, collectively known as ‘pesticides’. There are different classes and it’s easy to interpret what they are for:

  • Fungicides: kill fungus and mold
  • Herbicides: kill weeds
  • Insecticides: kill insects
  • Rodenticide: kills rodents
  • Pesticide: kill pests (but this term is also used by many to mean all of the above)

Wax is the third item on the surface of your produce. I discovered a lot about wax on produce, so much so, that I created an entire blog post (What is that Wax on My Produce?) on it just for you! Click here to read. In short, wax is not as bad as I used to think it was.

Mold is the fourth item you will want to remove from produce. Mold is in the fungus family and mold spores are transported by air, water or insects. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Many crops at “pick-your-own” farms are routinely sprayed with fungicide after rainfall.

The CDC and the Public Health Agency in Canada, both recommend washing produce. I looked around the internet for evidence of various techniques and the following list is the result (references are listed below). I assembled this from various piece-meal sources as I wasn’t able to find one study that compared all the methods and looked at bacteria, chemical residues, wax and mold.

You and Your Kitchen:

  • Wash your hands with hot soapy water before and after preparing food.
  • Clean your counter top, cutting boards and utensils after peeling produce and before cutting and chopping.

Detergent or Bleach:

  • Do not wash produce with soaps or detergents as these can add residues.
  • Detergent and bleach can also be absorbed into the fruit or vegetable.

Friction:

  • For produce with thick skin, such as potatoes, use a vegetable brush to help wash away hard-to-remove microbes.
  • After washing, dry with clean paper towel, this can remove more bacteria.
  • Rubbing a waxed fruit like an apple with your hands or a cloth will remove wax.

Soaking Versus Running Water:

  • Produce with a lot of nooks and crannies like cauliflower, broccoli or lettuce should be soaked for 1 to 2 minutes. This recommendation is contradicted by some sources who recommended only running water rinses because of the risk of cross contamination from the sink, so I suggest make sure your sink is clean first, then rinse after the soak.
  • Some produce such as raspberries should not be soaked in water, instead put fragile produce in a colander and spray it with distilled or tap water.

Re-Wash the Pre-Washed:

  • Do NOT rewash packaged products labeled “ready-to-eat”, “washed” or “triple washed”. Washing these can actually introduce new contaminants.

Vegetable Rinses:

  • Vegetable rinses do not remove any more contaminants than distilled water.
  • Save your money and use distilled water or cold running tap water.

Vinegar Spray and Soak:

  • A solution of 3 parts water:1 part vinegar applied from a spray bottle can remove more bacteria than water alone.
  • Vinegar will also remove wax.
  • It was not possible to find a scientific reference on this, but many websites recommend vinegar and water and lots of bloggers gave testimonials for this one: to prevent mold growth on berries soak your berries in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. Then rinse and eat or refrigerate. (This contradicts other recommendations that state delicate fruit like berries should not be soaked and to wash just before eating.) The anecdotal evidence was strong for this one and vinegar is safe, so I am including it on my list. Plus, I tried it myself and I’m still standing ;)

Thick Skins Need Washing Too:

  • You may not be used to washing your bananas, oranges, melons and avocados, but these need to be washed too.
  • Cutting through an unwashed melon can drag bacteria from the outside of the fruit into the flesh.Remove bruises as these can contain bacteria.

Outer Leaves:

  • Discard outer leaves of veggies like lettuce, cabbage etc.

Organic Versus Conventional:

  • Organically-grown fruits and vegetables have less synthetic chemical residue, but can still be exposed to microbes. They are probably touched by just as many people before you eat them as conventional so organic still needs to be washed.

Shirt Rub:

  • If you find yourself hankering for a piece of fruit but there is no running water in sight, it’s still beneficial to do the ol’ sleeve rub prior to eating….provided of course that your shirt is clean.

Bruise and Mold on PeachDiscard or Cut Away:

  • Remove any bruised areas on produce as bacteria hang out here.
  • Don’t try to salvage soft fruits and vegetables with high moisture that have mold (for example, cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes).
  • Hard vegetables (for example, cabbage, bell peppers, carrots) can still be used after you cut off at least 1 inch around and below the mold spot. Be sure to keep the knife out of the mold so you don’t cross-contaminate.

Timing:

  • If visiting a pick-your-own farm, call ahead and find out when/if they sprayed. Pesticides break down after they are sprayed, so the longer you wait to harvest after the spray the lower the residue level will be.
  • In the case of strawberries and other produce that get regular fungicide application after rainfall, pay attention to the weather report and call before you pick.

Grocery Bags:

  • Don’t forget to wash your reusable cloth shopping bags.

Enjoy beautiful fresh produce and know that all my sources agreed water, a scrub brush and vinegar are your main defenses against dirt, bacteria, pesticide residue, wax and mold. The only sources that disagreed were the ones selling vegetable rinses.

 

References:

CDC Outbreaks

Nancy Dell: Washing produce with vinegar; Evaporated cane juice

Public Health Agency of Canada

University of Maine, Department of Food Science

Video Clip on How to Wash Fruits and Veggies

Driving Surface Contaminants into Flesh

Vinegar Rinse

Bruises

Detergent or Bleach

Mold

Jul 12 2014

Cancer is A Word, Not a Sentence Book Review

Cancer is a word, not a sentenceSeveral years ago, I heard Dr. Robert Buckman speak on the subject of humour in palliative care. The talk was funny, sensitive and compassionate. It made my partner and I a fan of his, in as much as a doctor can have a fan group.

When I saw his book Cancer is a Word, Not a Sentence, I was quick to buy it, remembering his talk that I found very uplifting.

It was easy to read and incredibly informative. The first three chapters reminded me of chapter one of my own book, The Essential Cancer Treatment Nutrition Guide and Cookbook, in that he provides an introduction to all things cancer, giving the newly diagnosed the heads up on common questions and concerns. He does this in much more detail than I have done in my book.  For that reason it’s a great companion for newly diagnosed patients and their families.

Here are some key points in the book that I found particularly noteworthy:

  • Cancer includes 200 different diseases. He suggests we should call them the cancers to emphasize their individual aspects. While they share the fundamental cancer process- uncontrolled cell division, the 200 different types actually have very little in common with each other.
  • Think of the word cancer, like you would infection. Infection is not a disease in itself and ranges from the innocuous common cold to life threatening infections like Ebola virus. Cancer too ranges from the basal cell skin cancer to advanced pancreatic cancer. Cancer should be thought of as a process and not a disease in and of itself.
  • In addition to being a successful doctor, speaker and author, Dr. Buckman also hosted a TV series called Magic or Medicine? He writes in this book about some of the cases of magical cancer cures that he and his team investigated as part of the TV series. The show essentially de-bunked patients claims of magical cures and he provides his reason on how these cases can be mislabeled including wrong diagnoses and misinterpretation.
  • Regarding the use of complementary therapies he states he does “not mind his patients trying any complimentary remedy that they wish, as long as they have realistic expectations of it and will not be crushed and disappointed if it doesn’t do them any physical good”. This is an interesting one to get your head around, as I’m not sure why you would take a complimentary medicine if you didn’t think it would work for you.
  • His interpretation of the common term cancer survivor made me reflect on my own use of this label. His belief is that someone who survives a plane crash is a survivor. A cancer diagnoses is not a plane crash; although some cancers carry a high mortality rate, many do not. Therefore to call everyone who has survived any cancer a survivor maintains the ill-informed idea that most people with a cancer diagnosis are expected to die. He thinks living well post cancer is a better term and encompasses more than just being alive but thriving post cancer.
  • His opinions and mine though take a divergence when he talks about the power of prayer. In short, he provides research that refutes that prayers said on your behalf have any benefit in your cancer outcome.
  • Another area of divergence is that he does not believe in the connections between “attitude” and the development or successful treatment of cancer. He admits that while patients who participate in support groups such as Dr. Bernie Siegels’ E-CaP (see my review of Dr. Siegel’s book Love, Medicine and Miracles here), have some benefit to their quality of life, they do not in fact live any longer or affect their cancer diagnosis than patients who don’t participate in such groups.

When it comes to explaining the cancer process, treatments, tests, getting back on track and helping yourself Dr. Buckman does an excellent job of laying out the facts in a very organized, readable and informative way. I recommend it for that reason.

His opinions will also resonate with you if you are a skeptic and see only the physical side of cancer without any emotional connection to your disease or the benefits of prayer. I can say though, in my case, I still appreciated reading his side of these issues even though his opinions are different from mine.

Bottom line:

A recommended read.

Jul 07 2014

Blueberries for Cancer Prevention

Blueberries are not only beautiful and delicious; they are partners in our fight against cancer. Much of the health benefit of blueberries is credited to a group of pigments called Anthocyanidins.

These are responsible for blue, red, pink, mauve and orange colours in fruits and vegetables.  While we don’t know for sure how these work in our bodies, laboratory work has shown that Anthocyanidins added to cancer cells grown in a petri dish will stop cell growth and lead the cell into apoptosis—termination of the cell by itself—like cell suicide.  Work on blueberries also show its components can stop angiogenesis – the creation of new blood supply by the cancer.

Blueberries, Anthocyanidins and the Cancer Cell

In addition to the Anthocyanidin pigments, there are other beneficial nutrients in blueberries—vitamin C and K, the mineral manganese and fiber.

Wild blueberries tend to be higher in plant nutrients (phytonutrients). However, they are not actually ‘wild’—they are cultivated and farmed—but from the lowland bush as opposed to the highland bush.

The best way to enjoy fresh blueberries I think is just like they are, but if you want to jazz them up a little without going too crazy with added sugar and fat try the following recipe from Foodland Ontario:

Pear, Apple and Blueberry Granola Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ontario Pears, cored and sliced
  • 2 Ontario McIntosh Apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Ontario Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) granola with raisins
  • 4 parfait glasses

Preparation:

Gently toss together 2 Ontario Pears, cored and sliced, 2 Ontario McIntosh Apples, cored and sliced, and 1/2 cup (125 mL) Ontario Blueberries. Spoon half of fruit mixture into each of the 4 parfait glasses. Top each with 1/4 cup (50 mL) vanilla yogurt and 1 tbsp (15 mL) granola with raisins. Repeat layers.

Freezing Blueberries

Wash blueberries and pat dry and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid and then transfer to freezer bags. When you want to use your frozen blueberries, don’t defrost them; add them frozen to recipes to ensure their blue hue doesn’t bleed.

When blueberry season is over and you need a little flashback to summer then use your frozen blueberries for this recipe:

Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie (from page 298, Refreshing Beverages, of my book, The Essential Cancer Treatment Nutrition Guide and Cookbook):

Blueberries and green tea are two foods that should rank high on your cancer-fighting menu.

Ingredients:

  • Blender
  • 2 tsp green tea leaves (or 1 bag) (10 mL)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water (125 mL)
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey or agave nectar (15 mL)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (125 mL)
  • 1/2 cup probiotic plain yogurt (125 mL)

Preparation:

  1. In a measuring cup or tea pot, combine green tea and boiling water; let steep for 8 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve (or discard tea bags), without squeezing leaves, into a bowl or container. Stir in honey until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 1 day.
  2. In blender, combine chilled tea, blueberries and yogurt and blend until smooth.

Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Tip: If you are nauseated or put off by food, try drinking from a cup with a lid and a straw.

 

Resources:

Find a U-Pick Farm near you (U.S.A.): http://www.nabcblues.org/upick.htm

References:

Freezing Blueberries: http://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/freezing-ontario-peaches-and-blueberries

Blueberry Granola Parfait Recipe: http://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/pear-apple-and-blueberry-granola-parfait

Older posts «