Thursday, February 18, 2010

First the food!

2. Mix and match your vegetables: Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together -- broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic. Get in the habit of adding onions, garlic or leeks to all your dishes as you cook.

3. Go organic: Choose organic foods whenever possible, but remember it's always better to eat broccoli that's been exposed to pesticide than to not eat broccoli at all (the same applies to any other anticancer vegetable).

4. Spice it up: Add turmeric (with black pepper) when cooking (delicious in salad dressings!). This yellow spice is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent. Remember to add Mediterranean herbs to your food: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, etc. They don't just add flavor, they can also help reduce the growth of cancer cells.

5. Skip the potato: Potatoes raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth. They also contain high levels of pesticide residue (to the point that most potato farmers I know don't eat their own grown potatoes).

6. Go fish: Eat fish two or three times a week -- sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have less mercury and PCBs than bigger fish like tuna. Avoid swordfish and shark, which the FDA says pregnant women should not eat because they contain a high concentration of contaminants.

7. Remember not all eggs are created equal: Choose only omega-3 eggs, or don't eat the yolks. Hens are now fed on mostly corn and soybeans, and their eggs contain 20 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than cell-growth regulating omega-3s.

8. Change your oil: Use only olive and canola oil in cooking and salad dressings. Go through your kitchen cabinets and throw out your soybean, corn and sunflower oils. (And no, you can't give them to your neighbors or your relatives. They're much too rich in omega-6 fatty acids!)

9. Say "Brown is beautiful": Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc.) and favor organic whole grains when possible since pesticides tend to accumulate on whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour (used in bagels, muffins, sandwich bread, buns, etc.) whenever possible, and eat white pasta only al dente.

10. Keep sweets down to fruits:
Cut down on sugar by avoiding sweetened sodas and fruit juices, and skipping dessert or replacing it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) after most meals. Read the labels carefully, and steer clear of products that list any type of sugar (including brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.) in the first three ingredients. If you have an incorrigible sweet tooth, try a few squares of dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa.

11. Go green: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day. Use decaffeinated green tea if it gets you too wired. Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing cancer.

12. Make room for exceptions. What matters is what you do on a daily basis, not the occasional treat.

How much do you love No. 12? Even the good doctor recognizes we are not meant to be perfect.


  1. I am so happy to read this. We've been hearing about eating less meat, adding more veggies and omega-3 foods for years. Maybe it's just because of the bad economy but people seem to be eating -- and wanting -- less meat.

    For me, in the food business, food has to not just be healthy. It has to taste good too. Otherwise no one will eat it or like it.

    I LOVE whole grains. Mostly farro, wheatberries, bulgur wheat, barley and brown rice. Don't particularly love quinoa but will continue to experiment with it in recipes.

    I grew up in a house where my Mom was a great cook but would never have cooked a whole grain. In those days whole grains were regarded as the foods of poor people, who couldn't afford refined and processed foods. People overcooked the grains too, just as they did with vegetables. No wonder they were so disliked.

    Whole grains are a great side dish. Filling. Delicious. Healthy too. I rarely have my beloved potatoes anymore :(. But I feel as if I get lots of starchy seeming filler with the grains. Here's a recipe for a dish using farro. I serve it hot as a side dish but also at room temp as an hors d'oeuvre. Change it if you like. Use chopped dates or dried apricots. Corn. Change the herb. It's very versatile. EASY too.

    Farro with Peas and Dried Cranberries

    1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
    3 thick scallions, chopped
    1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
    3/4 cup frozen peas
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, approximately
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Place the farro in a saucepan and add enough water to cover by one inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the farro is tender. Drain the farro if any liquid remains and place it in a bowl. Let cool slightly. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the apple, peas, cranberries and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the farro and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the remaining olive oil if desired and toss ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4–6 servings.

  2. I only use olive or canola oils for cooking, but have discovered I love walnut oil - especially on salads. Is that an OK oil? Off to google that and grape seed oil. Love that too.

  3. Walnut oil is terrific: High in monounsaturated fats, and like flaxseed, is also a good source of linolenic acid, which converts into omega-3 fatty acids. You are correct -- it is terrific on salads. Once opened, be sure to store in the refrigerator.