So what am I supposed to eat??

| Friday, January 8th, 2016

Eat Your Greens

Every five years the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture publish dietary guidelines, and those recommendations were released January 7, 2016. There are reports that an advisory committee had recommended that the guidelines advocate a primarily plant-based diet, but food lobbyists argued against it. Yet, even with the watered down recommendations if we would follow these guidelines — especially eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, avoiding saturated fats, and drastically curtailing sugar consumption, there would be a monumental improvement in our health and a dramatic reduction in disease and health care expenses.

At Peaceful River Farm we grow a wide range of nutrient-dense, disease fighting vegetables and berries. We teach healthy cooking classes on a regular basis and enlist colleagues to focus on particular health issues or introduce us to new recipes. Our farm dinners showcase our produce, and we have recruited talented and creative chefs who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about healthy cuisine.   They eagerly prepare plant based menus  that showcase our vegetables and fruits rather than smothering them with sauces and spices.

A friend gave Lee a recipe book by Rebecca Katz featuring 150 recipes using whole foods, big-flavor ingredients and attractive presentations. Her book, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen should be utilized by every group, friend, or relative of a cancer patient. It is equally important for folks seeking to keep cancer at bay and for those wanting to keep cancer from returning.

Katz has a reference section early in her book she calls the “Culinary Pharmacy”. The good news for you is that many of the healing foods she champions – herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables can be found at your local farmers market, food co-op, or grocery store. We grow many of the nutrient-dense, disease-fighting vegetables and berries included in her “Culinary Pharmacy”, and Lee’s recipes champion these superfoods. Here is just a few of the health benefits of the beautiful whole fruits, legumes and veggies Katz touts:

Beans are anti-inflammatory lowering breast cancer risk in women as well as lower colon cancer risk. They also help control blood sugar and carry toxins from the body.
Beets are powerful anti-inflammatory food that are high in beta-cyanin helping to fight colon cancer.
Bell Peppers are anti-inflammatory with lycopene (also found in tomatoes), vitamin C, and lots of fiber offering protection against colon, cervical, bladder, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
Broccoli is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, rich in sulforaphane which slows the growth of leukemia and melanoma. Eat broccoli and tomatoes together to to increase the potency of broccoli’s cancer fighting.  This is the combo that Lee first began to prepare when diagnosed with lymphoma.
Cabbage is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and along with other cruciferous vegetables is high in anticancer phytochemicals.
Carrots are anti-inflammatory with studies showing that a carrot a day could cut lung cancer risk in half. They are high in Vitamin A and rich in beta-carotene helping to prevent lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestinal, bladder, prostate, and breast cancers.
Garlic is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. The pungent smell created by allicin in both garlic and onions accounts for its cancer-protective qualities, especially colon cancer.
Kale is anti-inflammatory and contains a lot of indole-3-carbinol which studies show changes the way estrogen metabolizes. This may prevent lesions from turning cancerous or keep cancer cells from proliferating.

We’ve gotten half way through the alphabet leaving out a lot of the foods that Katz touts in between A and K and a whole lot more from L to Z. These are foods that we grow, that we champion to our customers, and that Lee showcases in her classes and at our farm dinners. The ominous sounding book is actually a great read — often amusing, highly informative and inspirational. It is filled with delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy but especially those facing cancer. We know personally from Lee’s experience (she was diagnosed eleven years ago today with non-Hodgkins lymphoma) that good nutrition is critical when you are undergoing chemo, but your taste buds go haywire and your appetite plummets. Friends undergoing treatment, who have read the book at Lee’s suggestion and employ Katz’s recipes, have reported that it has been an amazing aid in their recovery and the recovery of their appetite and fighting spirit.

Read the book. Keep buying and growing and eating wonder foods. Discover delicious, disease-fighting recipes and share them with friends. Give this book to a friend in need of hope and a “culinary pharmacy”.                                                                -To your good health, Lee Newlin