Happy March! March is National Nutrition Month so the theme this month on the blog is…drumroll…RECIPES! I know you love them. Food makes everyone happy but knowing what is healthy to eat and what is not can be confusing and make eating to fight cancer challenging. Well, follow along this month as I offer up easy recipes with a cancer-fighting bent since that’s what we are about here at The Permanent Remission Project.
If you are new to the blog, read up on the Permanent Remission Project Diet to get my guidelines for what to eat and what not to eat. This week, I will be tackling vegetables, particularly the green variety since they are the Top Cancer Fighters. Next week, I’ll look at fruit, in particular berries. The third will be looking at healthy fats (did you know cancer hates fat, which means you should be eating it!) and the last week of March, I’ll be tackling fresh herbs and spices, in particular cancer killers turmeric and ginger. And lucky you, you’ll get a recipe each week to add these healthy nutrients to your body.
Green vegetables are nutrition power houses. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, bok choy, arugula) are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. All of which makes them the top cancer fighting vegetables to consume. Whenever possible, choose organic. But eating non-organic greens is much better than not eating any greens at all!
Some of the benefits of eating dark leafy greens are:
- Blood purification
- Cancer prevention
- Improved circulation
- Strengthened immune system
- Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
- Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
- Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus
How to Add Greens to Your Diet
One of the easiest ways to eat greens is to add them to a fruit smoothie. This may sound weird but when you whirl them up in the blender, the color of the smoothie changes but the flavor really doesn’t. It’s a great way to add greens to your day starting at breakfast. Another way I love adding them in the breakfast meal is to sautée a big handful of baby kale or spinach in a little olive oil while I cook an egg in another pan. Serve the egg, cooked over medium on top of the greens with some salt and pepper.
Salads are an obvious way to add more leafy greens to your diet. We have a big salad of mixed greens nearly every night with avocado, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds on top.
Broccoli, however, is the vegetable that tops all of the cancer-fighting foods lists. The biggest complaint I hear is that broccoli is boring. So here are a couple of ways to jazz up this super healthy side dish. The main thing to remember is to not overcook it so that is gets mushy. Al dente (like pasta) is the best way to serve it if steamed, and golden is the best if roasted.
Broccoli Four Ways
First, choose your cooking method: steamed or roasted. If steaming, put about half an inch of water in the bottom of a pan with a steamer basket inserted. Place broccoli florets in the basket and turn on the heat to high and set a timer for 9 minutes. The water should come to a boil and steam the broccoli to al dente in that amount of time. Test the broccoli when the timer goes off (may take longer with an electric range that takes time to warm up) for a soft exterior but medium firm interior. Put in a serving dish and add sauce of your choice (below) or simply sprinkle with sea salt and eat it plain. Do not put the lid back on to “keep it warm”. This is how your create broccoli mush and nobody likes that!
Alternately, roast it! I love broccoli roasted, in fact I think just about every vegetable is delicious roasted because roasting adds a wonderful nutty flavor. Here’s how to do it: Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lay all the broccoli florets on a baking sheet and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil all over it. Roll it around in the oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt. Put the tray in the oven and roast for about 12 minutes. Check to make sure it’s golden and not too brown. Top with sauce of your choice (below) or just eat it plain this way. Yum.
Two Tasty Sauces for Vegetables
Spicy Tahini Sauce
⅓ cup tahini
juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp tamari or organic soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cayenne (or to taste)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to a sauce. Check flavors and adjust to your preference. Thin with a bit of water if needed. Leftover sauce will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks (whisk with a little water if it gets thick).
Vegan “Cheeze” Sauce
1 cup raw organic cashews (soak in water for an hour or two first, especially if not using a high powered blender)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and blend on low for 30 seconds, increasing to medium or high for another minute until you get a smooth sauce consistency. Leftover sauce will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks (whisk with a little water if it gets thick).