80S CANCER JAM OF THE DAY:
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
― Julia Child
With all of the conflicting opinions out there about what one should or should not eat after a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s easy to just throw in the towel and curl up in a little ball of self-doubt and disgust. Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top:) You have the vegan camp, which is where all the popular kids seem to be going this summer. You know, if it has a face or a mother, avoid it. No dairy, no meat, no eggs, no fun…sorry vegans, that was rude.
Then you have those who believe that a vegan diet is a disaster because it encourages the consumption of fruits and whole grains and makes it difficult to obtain certain vitamins that are readily available in animal foods. The crux of their argument is that cancer cells are “glucose guzzlers” and carbohydrates readily break down into sugar, thus feeding the cancer. They propose that protein, fat, and low-carb vegetables should be the main focus of the diet in order to blunt the insulin response that funnels the sugar into cancer cells.
I believe that each side has some valid arguments. There is a lot to be said for trying to incorporate as many organic vegetables as possible into anyone’s diet, not just those with a disease. I also see the merits of eliminating any food sources of hormones, i.e. traditional meat and dairy products. What I haven’t seen is research exploring health outcomes of those who consume grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free dairy, meat, and eggs. These products actually have a very favorable ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, which is one of the goals of an anti-cancer diet.
THE BEST DIET IS THE ONE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
The bottom line is that we are all unique, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to diet. If you listen carefully, your body will tell you which foods bring you closer to health and which ones detract from your well-being. Symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, and irritability are the body’s way of letting us know that the ratio of protein, carbs, and fat in our last meal was wrong, or that we have hidden food allergies. Pay attention for a few days and see what your body tells you after each meal. For a good basic nutritional type test, click here (test link is at bottom of page). I’ve taken this test 3 times, and each time I come up as a “protein” type, meaning that my body will probably never be happy in a vegetarian lifestyle.
MY EASY (MOSTLY) DISHES TO SUIT VEGAN OR CARNIVORE
All this talk about food has made me hungry, so I’d like to share a few recipes with you that I’ve been trying out lately. They are easily adapted for our meatless, faceless friends and have turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. I have to admit that my diet is a work in progress, so come along on my journey. Any recipes or suggestions are welcome, just no tofu, please:)
MONDAY MEAL OF THE DAY:
THREE CHEESE TORTELLINI WITH VEGETABLES AND PESTO CREAM
This meal can be as easy or as complicated as time allows. I get refrigerated tortellini and boil it along with some frozen broccoli stir fry vegetables. I then mix in 8 oz of plain greek yogurt and some basil pesto (jarred or homemade). When I want to have meat, I fry some ground bison or grass-fed ground beef and add it to the mixture. Garnish with grated parmesan. Add a salad with some chopped walnuts and feta cheese. My favorite dressing is olive oil and lime juice (when the tummy allows). Voila! You have a healthy weeknight meal in a snap. P.S.- Vegans can substitute soy cheese:)
Let me know what you think. I’ll have more recipes through the week.