Cook for Your Life

 

Today we have a guest post from our friends at Cook for Your Life. The Kicking Kitchen and CFYL share very similar goals in offering food and cooking support to those affected by cancer, and so we are so pleased to introduce you to this wonderful organization!

Good nutrition is always important, but during cancer treatment and recovery, it’s crucial. At Cook for Your LifeCook for Your LIFE we believe that good health starts in the kitchen. Our mission is to improve the health of people touched by cancer by giving them the practical knowledge, tools and inspiration to cook their way through treatment and into a healthy survivorship. Though the idea of cooking through treatment may seem a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be, and we’ve learned that making even the simplest meal or snack can be extremely empowering.

CFYL’s founder, Ann Ogden, is a two-time cancer survivor, ex-fashion designer, and avid cook. During her time in the chemo suite for breast cancer treatment, she learned that though she was able to make herself a comforting and healthy meal for her post-infusion bad days, most of her chemo buddies had no idea what they should eat, let alone how to make it. Ann knew first-hand that a cancer diagnosis can leave a sense of powerlessness, she thought that by teaching her fellow cancer patients how to cook she could instill in them, even if just a small amount, a sense of control. After this realization she couldn’t see herself going back to her fashion career; she was more interested in getting people to lay off skirt steaks rather than worrying about skirt lengths. Her travels around the world in her fashion career informed her understanding of taste. Because of this, she was able to adjust to her chemo palate — kimchi on the days she wanted to taste something, and a bland soothing risotto for the days she was nauseated. She started giving tips to her friends with cancer and then expanded to teaching 101 cooking classes at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, where she still teaches classes today 6 years later. Now, with the help of a small staff, Ann runs www.cfyl.org where cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors can find healthy, healing recipes, read about current cancer and nutrition news, and even watch cooking videos – all free of charge!

In little ways cooking can remind you of your strengths – it certainly did for Ann. There’s nothing more empowering than putting nutritious food into your body, especially at a time when you often don’t have control over what goes into or what’s going on inside of your body. Even just steaming a few vegetables can be extremely satisfying.  If you’re unsure where to start, or if cooking intimidates you, The Kicking Kitchen and our website www.cfyl.org , are great resources.  Our site is designed to help people take dietary recommendations from their doctor or registered dietician and turn them into real, healing meals. At www.cfyl.org, you can find recipes based on what type of treatment you’re in, dietary restrictions, or even how you’re feeling. Great resources like The Kicking Kitchen, and CFYL can help you fight cancer with your forks and Cook for Your LIFE!

 

Why You Should Eat Sea Vegetables

 

Why You Should Eat Sea Veggies

Sea vegetables are a group of plants that grow in the ocean. You may hear them referred to as seaweed. Sea vegetables have been part of the diet of many native cultures in Asia and the Americas for thousands of years. These awesome veggies contain molecules that slow cancer growth, encourage cancer cell death and protect cells against radiation damage. They also stimulate the immune system, including the powerful natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that is essential in rejecting tumors and virally infected cells.

Seaweed offers a broad range of minerals including all of the 56 essential and trace minerals so important for our health. It also is a good source of folic acid, iodine, magnesium, calcium and some of the B vitamins. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

The main sea vegetables used in the kitchen are nori (laver), kombu (kelp), wakame (alleria), arame, hijiki, agar-agar and dulse. Sea veggies can be used in soups and salads, to make sushi, shaken onto grains and beans in granulated form, and turned into delicious side dishes. Add a piece of kombu to beans or grains when cooking to up the mineral content and aid in digestibility.

If you are interested in learning more about how to simply add sea vegetables to your diet, let us know in the comments below! We may offer a webinar with instruction on making veggie sushi, seaweed salad and more!

 

Refresh Your Diet with Leafy Greens This Spring (Recipe Included)

 

Cashew Kale recipe from TheKickingKitchen.com

Spring is finally here! Even with the rain it brings, spring is one of my favorite seasons. Spring is a time of renewal and growth. We see it in nature as flowers bloom, grass turns greener, buds begin to open and the ground drinks up refreshing rainfall.

I’ve always loved springtime because I feel like it offers the opportunity for a fresh start. I finished cancer treatment just before springtime a few years ago, and moving into this new, life-sustaining season helped me to move onto a new phase in my cancer journey.

This doesn’t mean we need to make dramatic overhauls in our lives just because spring is here – and we can often feel the pressure to do so! But simply by opening the mind to new things – new foods, new people and relationships, new habits, and new opportunities – we begin to lose some of that stagnancy we often find ourselves in over the winter. And the days just seem a little brighter, clearer and more energized.

Another reason why I love spring is the abundance of food that becomes available, especially leafy greens! Leafy green veggies (kale, spinach, collards, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and lettuces) bring vitality, energy and amazing nourishment to our bodies. They are the food most missing from modern-day American diets, and the food we usually need most. Greens are high in dietary fiber, calcium and iron. They also contain high levels of vitamin K, magnesium and folate and cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as vitamin C, lutein and carotenoids.

My first recommendation to clients who want to improve their diet for any number of reasons (increase energy, lose weight, balance moods, fight or prevent disease) is to add in more leafy greens. If you do nothing else – just get those greens in on a daily basis, if possible. Make a greens salad, steam greens or sauté kale, collards or spinach with a little olive oil, sea salt and garlic. Or try the recipe below from Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen.

Cashew Kale

Yield: makes 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into rounds (about 1/2 cup)

2 bunches kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the carrot for five minutes. Add the garlic, kale, tamari, cashews and raisins and sauté a few minutes until cashews begin to soften. Serve and enjoy!

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Fruits and Veggies with the Most Pesticide Residue

 

Do you know the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15? Get the list here.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come out with their annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce  report for 2013. Their list includes “The Dirty Dozen Plus,” (fruits and vegetables likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue) and the “Clean 15” (fruits and vegetables least likely to contain pesticides).

This list can be helpful in making choices around what produce to buy organic or conventionally grown. While purchasing organic as much as possible is what we would recommend (or, check with your farmer – some farms don’t have organic certification, but also do not spray), purchasing conventionally grown produce on the Clean 15 list is not a bad choice and may save you some money. It’s also helpful to know which fruits and veggies really should be purchased only as organic.
The Dirty Dozen Plus for 2013
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines (imported)
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

Dirty Dozen Plus: Kale/collard greens and Summer squash

The Clean Fifteen for 2013
  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Sweet corn
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet potatoes

Are You Eating These 7 Healthy Fat Foods?

 

Are you eating these 7 Healthy Fat Foods? Check our list!

We all need natural fat in our diet – it’s vital for optimal health! We are sharing some of the best healthy fat foods that are simple to add to your diet, will nourish your body, and help keep you feeling full longer. If these are not common foods for you, try adding one or two to start and add more when you’re ready!

  1. Avocado is loaded with heart and brain-healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are highly anti-inflammatory and help to stabilize blood pressure. Avocados contain more lutein, a cancer fighting carotenoid, than any other fruit. Use them in guacamole, salads, sandwiches, pudding, smoothies, and salads. Try our Avocado Frites recipe too!
  2. Walnuts, Almonds, and Hazelnuts all contain healthy unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids that improve your heart health, balance blood-sugar, and actually help to increase the feel-good chemical in your brain – serotonin . Nuts are an easy snack to take on the go. Eating them raw helps retain nutrients that may be lost in roasting. It’s also best for digestive purposes and mineral absorption to soak nuts in cold water for several hours, then let dry in a dehydrator or on a flat, dry surface. Add these nuts to salads, oatmeal, smoothies, stir fries, or just snack on them!
  3. Coconut is known as a one-seeded “drupe” that can be considered a nut, seed or fruit. Although coconut oil is a saturated fat, nearly 50% of the fat is lauric acid, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. It’s known to have healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil. Use coconut oil in baking, on toast, in oatmeal, for sautéing vegetables and rice, and add whole coconut to granola, smoothies and rice and veggie dishes.
  4. Hempseeds have a nutty flavor and contain one of the best known ratios of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, allowing the body to take in more Omega-3s, which we often don’t get enough of. Hempseeds offer support in reducing inflammation, increasing metabolism, balancing hormones and boosting the immune system. They are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral needed for optimal cell function, in every type of cell in the body. Sprinkle hempseeds over a salad, on top of granola or oatmeal, add to smoothies or use as a topping on desserts.
  5. Olives contain healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and are known to be anti-inflammatory. They help improve memory, control appetite and reduce wrinkles. Hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient in olives is linked to cancer prevention and helps prevent bone loss as well. Eat olives over salad, pasta, or alone.
  6. Flax Seeds are rich in nutrients and has a high omega-3 fatty acid content. It contains lignans that provide antioxidant protection. Flax seeds also have a mucilage (gum) content that offer special support to the intestinal tract. These three features are what make flax seeds unique.  Flaxseeds are high in fiber and beneficial for the cardiovascular system, inflammation, cancer and diabetes prevention, and digestive health. Add flax seeds or flax seed meal to your smoothies, cereal, oatmeal or homemade granola bars.
  7. Chia Seeds are easily digested seeds that have a mild, nutty flavor. When added to juice or water, chia seeds develop a gelatinous texture that also supports the intestinal tract. Chia seeds come from a member of the mint family and are high is Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of fiber and assists in weight loss, improving cardiovascular risks, blood sugar and satiety. Chia seeds can be sprinkled on your cereals, salads, made into a chia pudding, or added to smoothies.

How do you get healthy fats in your diet? Do you eat any foods on this list on a regular basis?

 

 

 

Resources:

http://weightloss.about.com/od/nutrition/a/aa043007a.htm

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/why-avocados-have-good-fat-to-consume.html#b

http://www.classicalmedicinejournal.com/the-classical-medicine-journal/2011/5/13/the-avocado-anti-cancer-and-high-in-nutrition.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=46

http://www.livestrong.com/article/167905-what-are-the-benefits-of-hemp-seeds/

Diet, Genetics and Making a Difference

A gift for cancer survivors - Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen

We continue to hear that our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, makes a wonderful gift for women facing cancer (or even if cancer isn’t on the table). This is something we love to hear, because when we wrote it, our goal was to get this book into the hands of as many women as possible after a cancer diagnosis – because it’s exactly what we wanted when we first heard the words “you have cancer,” but couldn’t find anywhere. We felt like if we had been given this book, we may not have felt so alone, confused and lost. We also realized, as we wrote the book, that it was also fitting for any woman trying to prevent disease and be healthy and happy.

In light of all the buzz about Angelina Jolie’s surgery after discovering she carries the BRCA-1 gene mutation (making her a cancer previvor), it’s important to note that diet and lifestyle does affect genetics – crazy, right? And this is why The Kicking Kitchen’s, Annette Ramke, as a breast and ovarian cancer survivor and carrier of a mutation to the BRCA-1 gene, chooses to eat well and use food as a tool in her cancer-kicking toolbox. No matter what personal decisions are made around preventative surgery and other treatment options, what we put into our bodies either supports or hurts overall health.

In quoting David Katz, MD, the amazing voice behind the foreword for our book: “We can, in fact, nurture nature.” He refers to a study in which 30 men with prostate cancer had major lifestyle and diet intervention – they ate a plant-based, whole food diet, included moderate activity and addressed stress management. Katz says they found “roughly 50 cancer suppressor genes became more active, and nearly 500 cancer promoter genes became less so. This, and other studies like it, go so far as to indicate that the long-standing debate over the relative power of nature versus nurture is something of a boondoggle, for there is no true dichotomy.”

So while many factors contribute to cancer and our health, including genetic makeup, diet can indeed play a role, even if you carry a genetic mutation, such as one on the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes. As we always say, it may help a little, or it may help a lot, but food will make a difference.

The information and recipes in Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen are designed to help the person in cancer treatment, dealing with side effects like nausea, mouth sores, fatigue, healing from surgery, etc., but they also support the the immune system and offer cancer-fighting foods. The recipes are simple, healthy, so yummy, and an enjoyable way to take back a bit of control in your health.

If you are looking for a gift for a loved one, perhaps a gal pal or woman you know who is dealing with Cancer World, we hope you’ll consider Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen. Please help us spread the word and get this book into the hands of those women who need the support, information and recipes, from two gals who have been through it and want more than anything to make a difference for the next person. Cancer sucks, but we don’t need to sit back and just let the doctors do their (important!) jobs – what we do makes a difference. The food we eat, how we live every day, affects our health more than many of us realize.

7 Reasons to Drink Warm Water with Lemon

 

 7 Reasons to Drink Warm Water with Lemon, The Kicking Kitchen

Not only does adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice to your water add some tasty zing, but it also has some amazing health benefits! Starting your day by drinking 8 to 12 ounces of warm water and freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to start your day. Read on to learn more reasons why this habit is so darn good for you!

  1. Strengthens Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which is great for fighting colds and other illnesses. Vitamin C shows anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms. It also enhances iron absorption in the body, and iron is important for optimal immune function.
  2. Supports Healing. The high amount of Vitamin C in lemons promotes wound healing. It has high anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage.
  3. Balances pH Levels. Lemons help to support the body’s natural pH level, which is more alkaline. Even though we consider lemons to be acidic, the body processes them as alkaline (once metabolized). Helping to maintain the body’s slightly alkaline state is important for fending off disease, since a disease state in the body is far more likely to exist when the body is too acidic.
  4. Aids Digestion. Lemon juice encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also help loosen ama (toxins) in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society even recommends drinking warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements during treatment.
  5. Cleanses and Detoxifies. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. This is in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep the urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons also helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
  6. Boosts Energy. Lemon naturally energizes the body by hydrating and bringing oxygen to blood cells. It will leave you feeling more revitalized and rejuvenated!
  7. Improves Skin’s Appearance. Lemon water purifies the blood and purges toxins to help keep skin clear and glowing. The high antioxidant content helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and counters free radical damage from pollution and sun exposure. Lemon also helps preserve collagen and elastin to keep your skin looking youthful.

Do you start your day with water and lemon juice? Have you noticed a difference in how you feel since beginning this healthy habit?

 

 

Green Juicing

 

Join Annette in her kitchen as she shares her favorite, go-to Green Juice with you. 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

3 Health-Boosting Plant Oils to Add to Your Kitchen

 

Three incredible plants oils we love for a healthy, happy lifestyle are Coconut, Hemp, and Olive. 3 Plant Oils for Optimal HealthIf you don’t already include them in your diet, you may not have know what you’re missing….until now! Read on to learn more about these oils and their benefits. We hope you feel inspired to try them out, if you haven’t already.

Coconut Oil. This nutrient-dense oil is obtained from the coconut and is high in saturated fat. But don’t be alarmed! Because of its high lauric acid content, this saturated fat is good for the body and optimal health! Coconut oil has a reputation for being one of the healthiest oils on earth when it is not hydrogenated. Look for virgin coconut oil, which is good for baking, stir frying, and as a dairy replacement for butter. It is solid at room temperature like butter, but will liquefy around 86°F. It doesn’t break down in heat or light and become rancid like many oils.

  • Maintains healthy cholesterol
  • Good for your heart
  • Helps support thyroid
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps stimulate metabolism
  • Can help prevent cancer
  • Helps brain function
  • Benefits your skin
  • Higher smoke point for cooking – can safely cook at high temperatures. Smoke point is 350°F.

Hempseed Oil. This oil has one of the healthiest ratios of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. Most experts agree that the best ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ranges from 2:1 to 4:1. Hempseed oil has a ratio of about 3:1, or maybe slightly less. Unrefined hempseed oil has a nutty taste and a grassy-green color. It works well in a salad dressing or add a tablespoon to your smoothie!

  • Lowers risk of heart attacks
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • May offer protection against colon, breast and prostate cancers.
  • Reduces the amount of side-effects of chemotherapy
  • Anti-aging
  • Counteracts Cardiovascular Disease
  • Fights Psoriasis
  • Helps with Hormonal Balance
  • Rejuvenates hair, skin and nails
  • Good for digestion
  • Low smoke point for cooking of 330°F – don’t cook at high temperatures

Olive Oil. Olive oil is a monounsaturated (MUFA), Omega-9 fatty acid. It’s high concentration of MUFAs, promotes  “good” cholesterol (HDL) while lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Olive oil is also gentle on the digestive system, and the unrefined, good quality stuff is loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients.

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Decreases risk of heart disease
  • Helps in Cancer Prevention
  • Aids in Digestive Health
  • May help prevent gallstones soothe ulcers
  • Supports overall Bone Health
  • Improves Cognitive Function
  • The smoke point for cooking olive oil ranges from about 200 to 438°F, depending on the quality of the oils. The more refined it is, the higher the smoke point. Extra virgin oil, for instance, is best kept for uncooked uses, as it becomes carcinogenic when heated at even low temperatures.

 

 

References:

https://www.healthambition.com/150-uses-coconut-oil/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/522893-will-coconut-oil-shrink-my-cancer/

http://www.naturalnews.com/030971_coconut_brain_function.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html

http://hempworld.com/hempworldhotels_com/htms/Health/Therapeutic_Hemp_Oil.html

http://www.veria.com/herbs-supplements/hemp-oil-good-for-so-many-things

http://www.livestrong.com/article/137249-benefit-hemp-oil/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/439679-does-hemp-oil-have-all-the-omega-3/#ixzz2ScjL89Na 

http://www.naturalnews.com/029202_olive_oil_smoke_point.html

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5883617_hemp-seed-oil-cancer-treatment.html

http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/olive-oil-benefits-uses-460609

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mompreneurs – Balancing Motherhood, Work and Eating Well

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

To say it’s a challenge to balance motherhood, work (whether at home or outside) and eating well often seems like a bit of an understatement. It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed and that we can’t seem to do more than head to the drive-thru or order another pizza. But we know we should do better: for our children and for ourselves. Here are some tips to help you out of the momrpreneur-and-food maze:

1) Cook once eat twice: when planning your meals, think ahead for how you can “repurpose” leftovers from one meal and then make extra food when you cook and use again in the next day’s lunch or dinner. Whether you are making one cup of beans of two, steaming one head or broccoli or more, there’s not really more work and it saves you time the next day.

2) Cook in bulk on the weekend: Mornings tough cause you’re always rushing out the door? Make a big batch (in your crockpot) of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend and then scoop out portions throughout the week to warm and go. Do the same with other grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa). Cook protein foods like beans and tempeh on the weekend as well and use them throughout the coming days in dishes. Prep veggies and salad fixings and place in containers to have handy throughout the week. Veggie dishes can be cooked ahead and can, in general, be enjoyed for several days as well. Create trail mixes, make kale chips and bake some healthy treats your family can enjoy during the busy week.

3) Enjoy convenience: It costs more but can sometimes be the saving grace we need: you can grab cut fruit and veggies at the produce store. Some grocery stores have veggies chopped and packaged together in fresh stir-fry mixes or veggie dishes ready to just sauté and enjoy, check the produce section. This makes dinnertime a little easier and, though it is a bit more expensive, is much healthier and cheaper than a meal out.

4) Soup’s On!: Have a weekly soup night. Soups are a nutritious and easy way to create a meal. Add a salad with everyone’s favorite toppings and you’re set. Leftovers can be the next day’s lunch. Soups can be varied based on the season and what you have on hand. They can be made the night before and simmer in your crock-pot during the day.

5) Ask for Help: Sometimes as women and moms we feel like we have to do it all. It’s not easy for us to ask for help. And then we wonder why we are feeling run down and frustrated. Ask the people (partner, children) you live with for support around food shopping, preparation and cooking. Create a communal cooking night where the whole family creates the meal – maybe make-your-own burrito night – where all can be involved in prepping and cooking the ingredients (and cleaning up afterwards!). Or get even more creative: find another family that would like to share cooking duties. Maybe once a week you cook a double batch of what you’re making and share with them. They return the favor on another evening. You can have 2 or more families in such a meal-share arrangement.

It definitely requires some forethought and planning but being a busy mom and eating well don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the effort you make to provide healthy food for both yourself and your family will pay off in great well-being and energy to enjoy your days.