Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rebecca Katz and Cancer Fighting Foods

My sweet friend, Shirley, put me in touch with Jaymee, whose husband has been down the cancer road.  She has already been a GREAT source of inspiration, support, and information.

She messaged me yesterday and included a recommendation for the Rebecca Katz book, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen:   "This was my bible throughout Dave's treatment, and there are so many helpful tips here about how to combat that metallic taste that chemo causes at times, nausea, etc. It felt really good to cook him healthy meals from this book."    

I had told Jaymee about how the only thing I felt I had any control over at all was nutrition.  She understood completely.  I have been feeling particularly out of control this past day because of my husband's increasing pain and the appointments that we can't seem to get soon enough.  Jaymee's message was the first thing I saw this morning (on my ipad while still in bed) and it truly put a spring in my step.

The first thing I did was look at the book reviews on Amazon.  Wow!  Here are some comments that jumped out:

  • This is the very first book that I have found that every recipe contained in it will help seriously combat the disease while you are dealing with it. 
  • The Culinary Pharmacy section in her "Cancer fighting Toolkit" is worth the purchase price alone. It's a virtual encyclopedia of what we're all trying to learn about ingredients that add health-supportive magic to what we slave over in the kitchen.
  • This book briefly discusses research that has been conducted with regard to food and cancer, the healing properties of ingredients found in these recipes, strategies for eating before and after treatment, and how caregivers can set up support teams for patients so that no individual feels overwhelmed by the caregiving task.
  • From Chapter One's Cancer-Fighting Tool Kit and learning things about the four pantry staples, to easing side effects from treatment to easy recipes to relieving symptoms such as anemia, constipation, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. There is something about everything in terms of easing this tough period of a patients life.
  • It is so thorough, filled with concrete helpful tidbits to help ease many of the side effects of chemotherapy in natural ways - which I find more and more people are searching for...
  • My dad has been fighting cancer the past six months and chemotherapy has made it a struggle for him to eat due to the fact that nothing tastes good to him. This book has been amazing! He actually looks forward to and asks for things made from this book. Especially helpful are the guidelines given that tell you what to add to a recipe if things are tasting bitter, salty, like cardboard, etc. What I also love is that the food doesn't just taste good but they have meshed it with the science of what someone needs nutritionally to fight cancer.
  • The information in the first section -- especially on how to deal with the various ways in which food can begin to taste strange to the patient -- is in itself worth the price of the cookbook.
  • What this book is about is helping the cancer patient get the nutrition they need to fight through treatment. As anyone who has been diagnosed with or is a caregiver for a cancer patients knows, nutrition is one of the most complex issues facing them. The patient's tastes will change, the foods they love will be no longer taste "right", and they will have problems with just feeling hungry and wanting to eat. In the longer term, the foods that they find comforting will turn out to be a reminder of their treatment and avoid them.  Where this book really shines is telling you it is OK to eat the things the way you like them. Some patients will like sweet, some salty, some acid, etc., it is OK to eat any of them as long as it helps you eat. There needs to be some basis in nutrition for the food, but if it doesn't taste good to you, you won't eat it.

The Rebecca Katz web page includes some of her recipes.

Here are more of her cancer fighting recipes I found online:

  • Magic Mineral Broth - If you try only one recipe, let it be Magic Mineral Broth. I've never liked vegetable broth from cans or boxes, but this is delicious -- as a tea or as the basis for a very simple soup -- in a cup or two of broth, throw in a handful of rice or pasta and cook. When it's ready, add a little chopped greenery -- parsley, celery leaves, green onion tops. I'm amazed at how such a lunch keeps me from being hungry all afternoon.
  • Beyond Just Good Cornbread  note - see this link for more comments on this recipe.  
  • Gluten-Free Blueberry Mini Muffins
  • Cancer Healing Tea - also see link 2 and link 3   According to Katz, this tea is good for fatigue and building white cells.
  • Green Tea Ginger Lemonade
  • Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs  (will Rudy eat soup?)
  • Sweet Potato Soup - One of my favorites is the sweet potato soup - full of flavor (you'll need to replenish and add to your spice collection)!. I make big batches and freeze in mason jars.
  • I heard the Vegetable Pinwheels on page 153 were favorites, but couldn't find that recipe online.  I plan to get the book (today if possible!) but I'm using a couple of these online recipes to make a grocery list so I can start cooking when I get home with the book.  

According to reviews, the recipes are easy to follow, but are not exactly fast-food. One reviewer noted that she made things and froze them so that during times when she was too tired/sick to cook, she could just thaw and heat.  I need to start doing that more.  Rudy doesn't like leftovers, but maybe if I pull something out a week or two later, it won't seem like leftovers.  I sure hope so because I know for a fact that there will be many days that cooking will be really hard.  

Katz has 4 ingredients that she says should ALWAYS be in the pantry: lemon, maple syrup grade B, olive oil and sea salt. Hmmmm.  I thought we were to give up ALL sugar.  However, I have read amazing things about REAL maple syrup in the past.  In fact, several years back I went on a kick of only using maple syrup to sweeten things after researching it.  So maybe I need to reconsider.  I can't wait to get her book to read more about her take on maple syrup and sugar.

And once again, Jaymee, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You pulled me out of a pity party and put my focus right back where it needs to be.