Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What I’ve Learned About Eating for Health

My husband’s uncle and other family members are visiting Houston while the uncle is tested at MD Anderson Cancer Center following a cancer diagnosis by his physician. Whenever I learn about a family member’s or friend’s cancer diagnosis, I think about all the other times I’ve heard this news. Because both of my parents come from large families, I have a very large extended family, and I have heard about their cancer diagnoses and those of friends too many times to count. Cancers of all kinds have touched people I care about, taken the lives of some, and contributed to the deaths of others due to complications following surgeries and therapies. I have always been interested in eating in a healthy way, but several years ago, I began researching this intently, hoping to find a way to prevent future cancer diagnoses for my children, since they seem to have inherited a susceptibility. Here is what I’ve learned.

  • eat mostly plant foods, a large variety as close to their natural state as possible
  • eat fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • avoid conventional produce and animal foods (choose organic & grass fed if you eat animal meats, dairy, or eggs)
  • choose wild caught fish and seafood over farm raised (careful: some species are contaminated by pollutants)
  • avoid most processed foods (stuff that comes in boxes, bottles, cans, and bags)
  • sugar debilitates the immune system and encourages cancer growth

Little by little, I have been changing my family’s diet to incorporate these suggestions. It hasn’t been easy for a number of reasons. Obviously, a fresh plant based meal that includes raw and/or fermented foods and avoids processed items takes time to plan and prepare. Organic products often cost more than conventional ones. Sometimes, my family is reluctant to try a new dish, or asks me not to make it again. Yet, I have persevered. I’ll post my ongoing efforts from time to time. If you wish to suggest the topic of a future post based on the list above, please let me know in the comments section. Whichever topic gets the most requests will appear first. Or, maybe I’ll just have to share my plans to create more fermented foods right in my kitchen (yes, I already make my own yogurt)!

Perhaps you already know about the bullet points above, or maybe you are as surprised as my students are when I talk to them about this. Here is some good news: the diet described above can also keep you healthy in general and protect you from chronic and age related diseases. If you are interested in reading more, here is a list of some of the books I have learned from:


  1. Good to see your blog :) On Amazon, I noticed a few book titles that started with 'Superfood Rx' - which one are you recommending?

    :) Mieke

  2. Thanks, Mieke. The book I read is the first one that popped up when I searched just now. It has several big spinach leaves on the cover and is titled: _SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life_ by Steven G. Pratt and Kathy Matthews. Happy reading and good eating!

  3. Several readers mentioned via e-mail that they are looking forward to recipes. I will post some soon. FYI: each of the books mentioned above has recipes.

  4. A friend of mine also tries to do the same for her family; she experiments with different recipes and sometimes sends them to me. I definitely believe their is some linkage to what we eat today and the increase in so many cancers. Hopefully, you'll share some of your recipes as well.

    Also - GREAT blog - I look forward to seeing what comes in the future!


  5. Thanks, Alicia. Please share your friend's recipes, too. I'm always looking for new ways to serve healthy foods.


Your feedback, reactions, and ideas are appreciated!

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