Keeping Abreast of Healthy Eats

Cancer Websites, Nutrition — By on May 13, 2009 at 8:05 am

catherine1October has always been a month associated with the colors of black and orange. Now it’s pink as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Of course, the pink ribbon and its symbol are ubiquitous and plastered on everything from coffee mugs and bejeweled t-shirts to pricey bling like the pink beribboned Cartier watch faces.

The membership roster to the Breast Cancer Club is non-discriminatory, and is filled with women of all colors, religions and socio-economic groups, although Asians are sparsely represented, and some men do slip into the club.

Members include politicians, athletes, everyday folks and celebrities like Sheryl Crow, Nancy Reagan, Elizabeth Edwards, Shirley Temple Black, Olivia Newton-John, and the mothers of Madonna, Andrew Agassi and Paul McCartney.

Since you are what you eat, dedication to a healthy diet and a mindful lifestyle are critical in the arsenal against breast cancer.
I would like to give you something special from my bosom — woman to woman — a primer on Breast Cancer Eats 101. Glean what you want, but please, pass on these precious tidbits to your daughters, sisters, nieces. . .as I have done.

A large percentage of women with breast cancer have hormone-sensitive tumors. That is, estrogen makes a buffet in the breasts and cancer cells pig out on it.  Sneaky estrogen hibernates in fat pockets so you want to cut down on the bad fats and hormone-laced foods which will ultimately reduce your body’s estrogen supply.

Organic meat, chicken and dairy products are the first step. These cows and chicks are fed pure, pesticide-free nutrients, and are not injected with antibiotics and hormones. I’m sure you’ve noticed ten-year-olds sprouting breasts – that’s from chowing down on burgers, chicken fingers, string cheese and ice cream pumped with hormones. And don’t confuse “free range” with “hormone-free.”

“Free range” simply means the chickens are granted the freedom to stretch their legs for an hour or so a day. You also want eggs from these hormone-free chicks. These are a good source of Vitamin D that is believed to pack a punch against breast cancer.

Eat the colors of the rainbow – red peppers, tomatoes, yams, carrots, squashes, and especially the cruciferous greens like broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. These contain indol-3-carbinol that weakens the estrogen so the cancer cells won’t recognize this diluted form. Tomatoes are a red powerhouse of lycopene, and garlic, especially raw, contains breast cancer fighting compounds.

Organic whole grains and pastas including couscous, rice and barley are also an important part of the diet game plan. Since the conventionally grown (Frankenstein) grains are genetically engineered, that means the grains are crossed with bacteria and viruses, and that’s not a good thing.

Load up on Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and sardines. If you’re not a fish person you can get this Omega magic from flaxseed that has been touted as a great boon for healthy breasts, high in lignans and anti-inflammatory properties.

Anti-oxidants like green tea, pomegranate juice and wild blueberries rid the body of toxins. Dark, bittersweet chocolate is another great detoxifier. I’m sure I won’t have to twist your arm on that one.

Soy advocates claim that isoflavinoids contained in these foods work as an estrogen decoy to block the strong estrogens that stimulate cancer cells. Others contend that soy is a phyto or plant estrogen that provides food for cancer cells. In this complicated soy maze, I follow my Grandma’s standing advice — everything in moderation.

How to eat is almost as important as what you eat. Five “how to” eat rules include, eat in a peaceful ambience. No heated discussions at the kitchen table as this disrupts the delicate digestive system.

Also, don’t multi-task when eating. Let your digestive system do its job without your energy flowing into reading, texting, emailing. . . yadayada. Eat foods like Goldilocks’ porridge — not too hot, not too cold, just right. Don’t stuff your face. Stop when you’re satisfied, not busting at the seams. Finally, eat breakfast like a queen (or king), lunch like a commoner and dinner like a pauper.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating boring and insipid. It can be gourmet and yummy.

Stay healthy, get healthy, eat smart and enjoy!

Asian Salmon Burgers with Brocslaw

(Serves 4)

1 pound of salmon filet (wild caught, preferably, skin removed)

1 teaspoon of grapeseed or sesame oil

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

½ to 1 teaspoon of wasabi mustard

2 scallions, finely sliced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Japanese Planko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the salmon in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil, juice, mustard, scallions, salt and pepper, and pulse until well blended. Add the bread crumbs until the mixture is the desired texture to form patties (about ¼ pound each).

Lightly grease a baking dish with grapeseed oil and bake for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Garnish with sesame seeds, daikon radishes, and serve with wasabi mustard and Asian Brocslaw (broccoli coleslaw). As space is limited, email me for the recipe – kitchenshrink@san.rr.com.

Catharine Kaufman is a food columnist, devoted chef to critical young patrons, (her two daughters), and the most demanding palate, the big kid (her hubby), and a Del Mar resident.

Check out the Kitchen Shrink and Company’s food safety and healthy eating blog at: The Kitchen Shrink Columns
and The Free Range Club

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