Posts Tagged ‘diet’

As the lower and central Midwest non-winter continues, we’re seeing daffodils and robins; people are jumping the gun and planting peas, 2 weeks early. It’s hard to remember that it’s still “dark days”–you have to put on your pioneer cap and remember that even during a warm winter you would have been relying on what you were able to preserve at home or trade locally. The larder is thinning as the sun climbs the sky. Just a month left before the new harvest starts with the early mushrooms and asparagus. Are we ready for the home stretch?


For me, (Xan), it’s been a strange month. Work schedules for Bill and me have been at odds, so that we’ve rarely been home for dinner together. It’s been a month of cooking once a week and then eating that meal as leftovers for days, of big meals at noon and a few handfuls of peanuts for dinner (no, not local–I’ve yet to find a local source for any nuts except chestnuts). The Mahlzeit blog has languished.  My daughter challenged herself to eat vegetarian for the month of March; it’s been eggs and pizza all the way for her as she struggles with the difficulties of altering a diet. And yes, we ate probably 60% to 70% vegetarian meals her whole life, which she didn’t eat–that one’s a carnivore through and through. So, ironically, I made meatloaf. It’s bona fide Dark Days– all local. Quick recipe: 1 pound ground beef, 1 Italian sausage, 2 cups roasted eggplant, 2 roasted and peeled bell peppers, 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (soaked in 2 cups water for 1 hour). Bake for 50 minutes at 350.


It’s been gorgeous the last few days up here in Philomath, Oregon as well. Daffies and croci are coming up in droves and the trees are showing buds already! That didn’t stop a random snow squall from presenting itself, or one of those lovely Oregon days of snow-sun-hail-sun-cloudy-pouring-sunny-hailing weather. I’ve been enjoying the weather from inside or out, and i’m most happy that the local organic farm, Gathering Together, has reopened their farm stand. I finally have access to plenty of fresh veggies! And there’s news on my eating: I went on a diet starting last weekend.

As far as i know, i’ve never actually ‘been on a diet.’ When i was younger, i disallowed most breads after lunch, any sugars ever, and had more self control than i have had since marriage. That honeymoon complete with dinner rolls seems to have messed with my eating habits. For the past 3 years. In Austin, i was an avid gym-aholic, going 6 plus days a week, sometimes several times a day to the point that i considered becoming a BodyStep instructor. Here in Oregon, i get some great 5 mile walks, but that’s about it. So, i’ve gone on a diet. Nothing fad. Nothing extreme: just a re-thinking of portion sizes and carb intake/time of day. That and significantly reducing our wine intake. So far so good! I’m feeling better and think i already lost a bit of weight. I’m not doing this for vanity, but rather health. I’m sure my body index is a bit high, and i have a bit more belly fat than i’d like: as most of us now is the ‘bad’ fat… anyway. A diet for health, and this week we’ve been eating tons of fresh salad and homemade soups. I didn’t snap a picture of last night’s dinner, but it was delicious and definitely SOLE. My version of The Splendid Table’s “Green Soup” it was light, fresh, and chock full of vitamins and minerals:

Green Soup from Pocket Pause

  • 1 leek (Gathering Together Farm – GTF)
  • 1 bunch kale (GTF)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Denison Farms – local/organic)
  • 1 pint condensed homemade chicken stock
  • salt/pepper/basil/rosemary (basil and rosemary grown in my garden)
  • 1 rutabega or turnip (GTF)
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower (not local, but in season)
  • 3 hot peppers of your choice (not local or in season)

Coursely chop the veg and cover with the stock plus about 1 1/2 quarts water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until cauli and turnip are soft. Blend well with immersion blender and serve with some homemade or live cultured yogurt. Warm and light: perfect for a chilly early Spring evening!


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Anti-Cancer, A New Way of Life

As I told you last week I have been intentionally and methodically reading and learning all I can about making wise diet and lifestyle choices for not only my mom who is going through chemotherapy, but for my family also.

I also let you know that diet seemed to be overlooked as way of fighting cancer in our community cancer center where my mom is being treated.

When she was first diagnosed I turned to books, those that had been through this before, and the internet for information.  One of the books that I purchased is called ‘Anti cancer A new Way of Life’ by  David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD.  He himself is a 2x cancer survivor.

Of everything I have read this book was the one that I was most deeply moved by, as it is a book that is memoir, part scientific study as to the inner workings of cancer and what makes it grow. It takes a practical view of the roles traditional western and alternate health care can play in cancer treatment and prevention.

In the very center of this book is a glossy colored section called ‘Anticancer Action’ which in tables and and easy to read graphs summarizes the actions to take to help avoid cancer. It even has a grocery list of things to have for an anticancer diet!

Here are a few of the suggestions:

Avoid products containing industrial chemicals whenever possible.

Example, air our your dry-cleaned clothing, avoid chemical cleaning products, avoid parabens and phthalates in cosmetic products.

Eat Grass-fed organic animal products

Eat a balanced diet.  Reduce your intake of sugar and white flour and trans-fats.  Increase your omega-3 intake.  Increase you intake of anticancer products like green tea and specific anticancer vegetables and fruits

Filter you tap water

Spend 20 to 30 minutes a day in physical activity

Expose yourself to sunlight for 20 minutes a day (vitamin D)

Here is what the ‘anticancer plate’ looks like

A colorful plate full that is divided between the largest portion of fruits, vegetables, and vegetable proteins like beans and lentils. The next largest being filled with multi-grain breads and whole grains like rice and quinoa.  Next is good fats high in omega 3’s like olive oil and flaxseed.  Herbs and spices are an important part of this plate too, tumeric, mint, and garlic are included.  Lastly is the optional animal protein section that included organic meats, eggs, and dairy products.

This is certainly the most insightful, well-documented and practical of all that I have read so far.  There is deep and  compelling evidence that we all have the capacity for not only prevention of disease but to actually participate in healing of our own bodies.

I highly recommend this to not only cancer patients and their families but anyone interested in prevention of disease.


I would also like to thank you all for your great comments last week.  I learn so much from all of the readers here!


Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!


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I have learned so much over the past few weeks about the treatment of cancer…specifically breast cancer.

There are so many drugs, treatments, and surgeries that can be used in the modern medical arsenal in this life and death struggle

We have received loads of paperwork describing the symptoms to expect with the varies methods of treatment. We have received an equal number of paperwork describing how each treatment effects the body.  And even more on how to cope with them.

I have read every single word on every single line on each page of information.

What I have found completely shocking is the lack of reference to good nutrition before, during, and after cancer treatment.

Actually there had not been one word…NOT ONE!

How is that even possible?

The link between what goes in our mouths and the health of our bodies is very clear.  Study after study shows that basically ‘you are what your eat’.

Yet in the fight for her life not one single doctor, nurse practitioner, RN, or CNA  has even mentioned diet or nutrition.

I asked the very nice nurse in charge of her ‘chemo training’ about getting some information on nutrition.  And note that this is a fairly large dedicated cancer center my mom is being treated at,  full of different oncologists, chemo treatment rooms, labs, radiation treatment rooms, and such.

Here is the conversation I had with her….

Do you have any hand-outs on what to eat during chemo to help keep her healthy and her immune system up?

A hand-out?

Yes, one covering nutrition.

Ummm…we don’t have anything like that.

You have hand-outs covering everything else including how to buy a wig but you don’t have anything on nutrition?


Me looking confused.

But there is a dietitian over at the hospital that you could possibly see.

Does she specialize in treating cancer patients.

Well no, she mostly sees heart and diabetic patients.

Me looking astonished.

To be honest we usually tell cancer patients to eat whatever sounds good.

Even if its McDonalds Big Mac and fries?


Me sitting there dumbfounded and speechless

I did not expect diet to be a big part of her treatment.

But to completely ignore the effects of diet on a sick patient seems utterly inconceivable to me.  It is short-sighted and ignorant in my personal opinion.

So I have been devouring every book I can get my hands on, reading website after website on the subject of diet on disease, especially cancer.

I will be back next week to let you know what I have learned.

And be assured I firmly believe that diet does indeed play an important part in treatment of disease…cancer included.

Even if the medical establishment in our town chooses to think otherwise.

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