Colon Cancer & Lifestyle Changes

The NIH: National Cancer Institute, predicts 135,430 new cases of colon cancer in 2017. In a new study that I will be discussing in this post, the lead researcher, Erin Van Blarigan, ScD, said that there are over 1.3 million colon cancer survivors in the US. 

This newest study shows how important diet & life style can be in reducing the risk & recurrence of colon cancer. In my research I have found that these same guidelines should be followed by all cancer survivors/thrivers. 

What is colon cancer? 

Colon cancer locations The Mayo Clinic has an informational page about Colon Cancer  The overview states that: Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.

~Important to note~ WebMD writes; “Although most colorectal polyps do not become cancer, virtually all colon and rectalcancers start from these growths.”

Under Prevention, the Mayo Clinic recommends, besides yearly screening, the following:

Make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. I still have a difficult time with this recommendation to limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. It seems excessive to me. 
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. I recently read that 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise is recommended. 30 minutes a day on a bike or walking, 5 days a week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat. Age old sound advice. 

Following the Mayo Clinics recommendations not only will reduce the risk of colon cancer but for those diagnosed they will reduce the risk of recurrence. Lets look at the newest studies published this past week.

Medical Press article:  Eating right and exercising could reduce the risk of colon cancer coming back  May 18, 2017 by Elizabeth Fernandez

Colon cancer patients who have a healthy body weight, exercise regularly and eat a diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence or death, according to a research team led by UC San Francisco investigators. This finding represents an analysis of data collected on patients participating in a national study for people with stage III colon cancer. The analysis involved 13 other institutions and patients were evaluated over approximately seven years.

“We found that colon cancer patients who reported a healthy body weight, engaged in regular physical activity, and ate a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits that was low in red and processed meats, had a lower risk of cancer recurrence and death compared to patients who did not engage in these behaviors,” said lead author Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD, assistant professor in the UCSF departments of epidemiology and biostatistics, and urology. 

Researchers found that over a median follow up period of seven years, colon cancer survivors who adhered to the healthy lifestyle guidelines had a 42 percent lower risk of death and 31 percent lower risk of cancer recurrence compared to patients who did not engage in these behaviors. Those are amazing statistics! You rarely see such impressive results.

Another article on the same study was in Targeted Oncology: Healthy Lifestyle Linked to Improved Overall Survival, Reduced Recurrence in Colon Cancer  Beth Fand Incollingo, Thu May 18, 2017  Lost in the headlines is the reason the study was set up: Investigators enrolled the patients from 1999 through 2001, adding them to the study within 8 weeks of surgery and immediately starting them on 6 months of chemotherapy. The primary purpose of the study was to consider the effects of 2 types of postsurgical chemotherapy on cancer recurrence and death. But also during the study, lifestyle was assessed twice using validated surveys—at enrollment and 6 months after each patient finished chemotherapy. The participants were receiving conventional care at the same time their lifestyle changes were studied. This does not take away from the impressive results of the study.

The last paragraph in this article is important to note: One caution was mentioned about the findings. “It should be emphasized that the authors are not suggesting that a healthy lifestyle alone should be considered a substitute for standard chemotherapy and other treatments for colon cancer, which have dramatically improved survival. Rather, patients with colon cancer should be optimistic, and they should eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, which may not only keep them healthier, but may also further decrease the chances of the cancer coming back,” said Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, president of ASCO. 

Another study that ASCO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology reported on:  Chance of Colon Cancer Recurrence Nearly Cut in Half in People Who Eat Nuts May 17, 2017, Kelly Baldwin  “An observational study of 826 patients with stage III colon cancer showed that those who consumed two ounces or more of nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

A secondary analysis revealed the benefit of nut consumption was limited to tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. These findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.”

“Basic healthy eating can often be overlooked during cancer treatment. This study shows that something as simple as eating tree nuts may make a difference in a patient’s long-term survival,” said ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO. “Nut consumption and a healthy diet are generally factors that clinicians and patients should perhaps pay attention to as they design the approach to treatment for colorectal cancer.” The study participants were undergoing conventional chemotherapy at the time.

I am encouraged to see such a prestigious group as ASCO recommending that clinicians & patients should pay attention to diet & lifestyle changes before, during & after diagnosis & treatment of colon cancer. Again I say that this idea should be included in all medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends the following for colon cancer screening:  

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The decision to be screened after age 75 should be made on an individual basis. If you are older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened. People at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening, which test is right for them, and how often to get tested.

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. The Task Force outlines the following colorectal cancer screening strategies. Talk to your doctor about which of the following tests are right for you.

Stool Tests

  • The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. For this test, you receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
  • The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. It is also done once a year in the same way as a gFOBT.
  • The FIT-DNA test (also referred to as the stool DNA test) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. For this test, you collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab to be checked for cancer cells. It is done once every one or three years.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.

How often: Every 5 years, or every 10 years with a FIT every year.


This is similar to flexible sigmoidoscopy, except the doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Colonoscopy also is used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.

How often: Every 10 years.

CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy)

Computed tomography (CT) colonography, also called a virtual colonoscopy, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze.

How often: Every 5 years.

How Do I Know Which Screening Test Is Right for Me?

There is no single “best test” for any person. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each test, and how often to be tested. Which test to use depends on—

  • Your preferences.
  • Your medical condition.
  • The likelihood that you will get the test.
  • The resources available for testing and follow-up.

Our insurance recommends the stool screening which is done with a kit at home. They send us a kit every year by post & we take it to our local clinic to be tested. Could not be easier. If you haven’t been tested in the last 1-3 years, then you should ask your doctor about it. 

Next week I will report on all the interesting news items I have collected during the month of May. Until then…Mary 🙂


Vegan Comfort Foods.

Pannikan, Encinitas
Jennifer Moore

 This vegan website said it so well; even vegans need comfort food. VegKitchen “Vegans need comfort food just as much as anyone else. Salads and smoothies are great, but during sad or difficult moments, or when you’re under the weather, they just don’t do the trick. Warm and soothing, comfort foods also contain just the right amount of nostalgia — and love.” 

A sample of their recipes:  Vegan “Chick-Un” Noodle Soup “This simple, tasty soup recalls a comfort food from my childhood — minus the poor bird. Chickpeas or baked tofu do the trick, adding substance and flavor to this soothing soup. There’s a Yiddish proverb that goes: “Worries go down better with soup.”

Serves: 6 ~Click on the recipe to see photos & additional notes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large celery stalks, finely diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 32-ounce container low-sodium vegetable broth ~I like “NotChick’n” broth cubes.
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend (like Frontier or Mrs. Dash) ~Lemon pepper would be good.
  • 4 to 6 ounces small pasta rings (anellini) or
    short noodles (cut vermicelli or angel hair pasta work well)
  • 1 cup cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas, coarsely chopped,
    or 4 to 6 ounces baked tofu, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 
  1. Heat the oil slowly with 3 tablespoons water (or broth) in a large soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and onion. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the broth, water, and seasoning blend. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Raise the heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Add the noodles and simmer steadily for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. Add the chickpeas or diced tofu, then season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too crowded, add a cup or two of additional water or broth. Stir in the fresh dill and serve.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 157;  Total fat: 5g;  Protein: 7g;  Fiber: 2g;  Carbs: 21g;  Sodium: 163mg

Oh my, this page has too many to choose from! The list is from different websites. 15 Drool-Worthy Vegan Comfort Food Recipes That Will Warm Your Heart and Tummy “There are some days when you just need something that will comfort you inside and out. It may be your favorite sweats and a big sweater, it may mean a snuggly blanket, and it may mean certain foods that make you feel warm and cozy. On December 5th, we get to indulge in those feelings because it’s National Comfort Food Day.”

I particularly liked this one: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Casserole from OneGreenPlanet. 


  • 1 5-ounce pack of crackers
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 14-ounce box elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese ~There are many brands to choose from at the grocery store. You don’t need to make your own.
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 of 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

FOR THE SHIITAKE BACON: There are many brands of vegan bacon to choose from. This sounds good & not too much effort to make. You can do the same thing using tempeh sliced thinly if you can’t find shiitake mushrooms.


  1. First, make the Shiitake bacon. Slice the mushrooms, coat in all the ingredients (and leave coated for as long as possible), and place in the oven on 250°F for 30 minutes. Rotate the mushrooms at the halfway point for an even cook. Mushrooms should be crispy, not hard.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place cubed squash on a baking pan and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Add the almond milk to assist with puréeing. Soak the cashews in hot water for ten minutes, drain, and add to the blender with the butternut squash along with the nutmeg, nutritional yeast, sea salt, cayenne, and Dijon mustard.
  3. Boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. To make the topping, put the package of crackers in a plastic bag, smash for 3 minutes until you get crumbs of all sizes, and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the 1/2 cup almond milk and cook until just starting to thicken, about 3 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat, then stir in the 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese until fully incorporated. Add butternut squash mixture stirring to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  5. Combine the full mixture with the cooked pasta. Add the pasta to a baking dish and top with vegan Parmesan cheese, the flatbread crumbs, shiitake bacon, and chopped fresh rosemary and bake for about 20 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve.

~Just an added note. I bought a bottle of organic pumpkin pasta sauce but it had cream in it. I found this vegan version that sounds wonderful. Vegan Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce on the Detoxinista website under her vegan recipes.

OLIVES FOR DINNER; RECIPES FOR THE ETHICAL VEGAN  is a very interesting site. The photos, as well as the recipes are wonderful. I would say that if you love to cook, this would be a good resource for you. Read the home page about the author & her husband’s views on being vegan. Hi, I’m Erin! I love creating original and delicious vegan recipes and sharing them here. I cook and photograph food with my husband Jeff in Redondo Beach, CA”

I have shared  Chocolate Covered Katie  with you before. She is delightful & her recipes are amazing. 

Zucchini Banana Bread  Adapted from Flourless Banana Bread

Total Time: 35m, Yield: 9×5 loaf

Ingredients ~No flour!

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (260g)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (240g)
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini, loosely packed (200g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup oil OR milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • optional 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a 9×5 loaf pan very well, making sure to go up the sides. Put the oats in a blender and blend until a fine powder forms. Add all other ingredients (except optional chips) and blend until smooth. Stir in chips, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then bake on the middle rack for 35 minutes. Turn the oven off, but DON’T open the oven. Let the bread sit in the closed oven for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool completely before going around the sides with a knife, then inverting onto a plate.

Take a look at her brownies 🙂 

I am adding this link for those of you who are vegan ~look for the vegan baking tab~ & for those of you who don’t use eggs. Madhuram is from India. Her story is very inspiring.   Madhurams Eggless Cooking  Hello and welcome to Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking, a blog fully dedicated for egg free baking recipes. Are you one among the millions who cannot eat eggs due to health concerns, religious restrictions or personal preference? Or are you simply out of eggs? Don’t let that stop you from baking crispy cookies, decadent cakes and delicious pastries because you are in the right place and I have the perfect solution. Find hundreds of truly tried and tested egg free and vegan baking recipes with drool-worthy pictures, easy to follow instructions and loads of useful tips to make your egg less baking experience as pleasant as possible.”

Take a look at her vegan cookie recipes. Lots of healthy comfort food there 🙂

ChowHound Vegan Comfort Food  has a gallery of yummy recipes. Eggplant lasagna sounded so good. The recipe is not as difficult as it looks. 

Vegan Lasagna 

  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs, plus baking time Makes: 8 to 12 servings

 What’s lasagna without ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan? To an Italian, it’s a travesty. But to a vegan or those with food allergies, it’s a delicious and healthy pasta dish that is bound to also please the meat- and dairy-lovers among us.


For the eggplant:

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 small)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

For the sauce: ~You can always buy a prepared vegan marinara sauce.

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers

For the noodles:

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces dried lasagna noodles

For the filling:

  • 2 pounds soft tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

To assemble:

  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves (from about 1 bunch), cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons


For the eggplant:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Cut the eggplant(s) lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place in a single layer on a flat surface or 2 baking sheets, overlapping slightly as needed, and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Flip the eggplant and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; let sit until water beads form on the surface, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:

  1. Using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the tomatoes and their juices, in batches as needed, until coarsely chopped (about 10 pulses). Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  2. Push the onions and garlic to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the empty side of the pan. Cook the paste slightly to remove the raw flavor, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the onions and garlic into the paste to incorporate. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to meld the flavors.
  3. Add the capers, taste, and season with additional salt and red pepper flakes as needed; set aside.

To finish the eggplant:

  1. Using paper towels, pat the eggplant slices dry on both sides. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add just enough eggplant to sit in a single layer in the pan and sear on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat, in batches, with another 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and the remaining uncooked eggplant.
  2. While the eggplant cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the seared eggplant to the oil-vinegar mixture and toss. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

For the noodles:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, lay the pieces flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

For the filling:

  1. Place the tofu, parsley, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, and measured salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside.

To assemble the lasagna:

  1. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce, about 3 regular-sized noodles. Top the noodles with a quarter of the tofu filling (about 1 cup) and spread evenly. Lay a quarter of the eggplant slices over the filling. Spread about 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the basil leaves. Make three more layers of noodles, filling, eggplant, sauce, and basil, omitting the basil from the top layer.
  2. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Serve with any remaining tomato sauce.

Here they are! From Cookie + Kate  “These easy vegan pancakes are my favorite basic pancakes! Who knew that eggless, whole grain pancakes could be so fluffy?! I made mine with healthy whole wheat flour, but I suspect that you could substitute other flours with great results. Feel free to throw in some add-ins like blueberries or chocolate chips, if you’re so inclined. Recipe yields 6 modestly-sized pancakes (perfect for 2 servings), so multiply as necessary.”

Simple Vegan Pancakes 

  • Prep Time: 10 mins/Cook Time: 10 mins/Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 pancakes
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk or dairy-free milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar of choice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • More oil to grease your pan/skillet, if necessary


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract until thoroughly blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with the cold milk, gently warm it in the microwave just until it liquifies again.)
  2. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until combined, so only a few lumps remain (don’t over-mix or your pancakes will be tough!). If you’d like to mix in any totally optional add-ins (like chocolate chips or blueberries), gently fold them in now. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes so your pancakes will be nice and fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, if you’ll be using an electric skillet, heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, heat a heavy cast iron skillet or nonstick griddle over medium-low heat. You’re ready to start cooking your pancakes once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact.
  4. If necessary, lightly oil the cooking surface with additional oil or cooking spray (I don’t oil the surface of my non-stick griddle and my pancakes turned out great).
  5. Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1/2-inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. You may need to adjust the heat up or down at this point. Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Solved my pancake dilemma 🙂

~Another possibilty:  Vegan Baked Buckwheat Banana Pancakes from Detoxinista

My lovely husband likes to cook. He is very good at it too. One morning he told me that he wanted French Toast for breakfast. He didn’t want to have a lot of bowls & ingredients. He had an idea he wanted to try.

He preheated our large flat cast iron skillet on medium & added a little bit of coconut oil. When it was ready he placed 4 slices of sprouted bread on the skillet. Then he poured plain hazelnut milk onto each slice & topped it with cinnamon. When he thought they were browned he flipped them. When they were browned on both sides he served them.

I thought this was ingenious of him 🙂 They were very good plain or with maple syrup. Sometimes simple is the best. 

 Pancakes are ready! Until next week…Mary 🙂

Don’t forget we have a Recipe page on this website!

Spring Recipes!


Spring is here. Flowers are everywhere, & so are the weeds. We have been busy cleaning up the flower gardens & planting veggies. My Sage & Thyme ‘drowned’ in the epic rain we have had in the Pacific Northwest. The other herbs did okay & are coming back. I have decided to try growing the sage & thyme in pots in my herb garden this year. Hopefully with well draining soil they will winter over better. I am so ready for the fresh salad greens & veggies that I have been looking on line for some new recipes. Here is what I found 🙂

One of the websites that I continue to go back to for recipes is Elena’s Pantry.  I like the way she writes & her recipes are delicious. She has a tab that says “Special Diets”. If you click on a diet that you are interested in, there are recipes for it. I chose this recipe from her latest Cinco de Mayo Newsletter, because I know many of you eat turkey & it is very simple.

Green Chili Turkey Burgers May 17th: “These 7-ingredient Green Chili Turkey Burgers are a super popular paleo recipe. Made with ground turkey, green chiles, cilantro, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt, my loaded paleo burgers are stuffed with spicy goodness! Better yet, they are an absolute cinch to throw together. 


  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 pound ground turkey ~You can also use vegan chorizo, ground seitan or even beans.
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt


  1. In a medium bowl combine turkey, chiles, cilantro, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt
  2. Form into 8 patties
  3. Grill 4-5 minutes per side
  4. Serve

I encourage you to read about Elena & her health journey. Very inspiring.

Summer or Spring rolls have to be the ultimate healthy dish. I have several recipes that vary according to country of origin & taste. Once the veggies are prepared along with the noodles, tofu or fruits they are simple & go together quickly. Our favorite Thai restaurant in Oregon has these available all year; much to my delight.

Minimalist Baker has several variations. Click on the recipe to see step by step photos of preparation.

RAINBOW SPRING ROLLS WITH GINGER PEANUT SAUCE  30-minute spring rolls filled with a rainbow assortment of fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs. So fresh, crisp and served with a spicy-sweet ginger peanut sauce! A satisfying, quick and healthy meal.

Author: Minimalist Baker, Prep time: Total time: 

Cuisine: Thai, Vegan, Serves: 8



  • 7-8 rice spring roll papers ~Easy to find in any store. They look like pale tortillas 🙂
  • 1 beet, skin removed and finely grated
  • 1/2 yellow and red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed*
  • 1 large bunch mint leaves
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, cut from stems
  • OPTIONAL: 8 ounces extra firm tofu, 1 cup cooked quinoa, or 8 ounces cooked vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 cup salted natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 2-3 Tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup (add to taste)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
  • hot water to thin 
  1. Prep veggies and set aside for easy assembly. For the beets, I used this mandolin
  2. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan or kettle and set aside to cool slightly for cooking rice papers.
  3. Prepare peanut sauce by adding all ingredients except water to a mixing bowl and whisking. Add hot water 1 Tbsp at a time and whisk until desired consistency is desired (should be pourable but thick). Set aside.
  4. Add hot water to a large shallow dish (I used a skillet) and submerge a rice paper to soften for about 10-20 seconds. If you let it go too long or if your water is too hot, they will get too fragile to work with.
  5. Once soft, transfer to a clean, slightly damp surface (I prefer a wooden cutting board), and gently smooth out into a circle.
  6. Add carrots, peppers, mango, beets, and a healthy handful each cilantro and mint (and any other desired fillings). Fold bottom over the fillings, then gently roll over once and fold in the side to seal, then roll until completely sealed. Place on a serving plate and top with a room temperature damp towel to keep fresh.
  7. Repeat process until all toppings are used – about 7 or 8. Serve with dipping sauce and sriracha, if desired.
  8. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a couple days, though best when fresh.

Notes: *I added mango in my spring rolls and while delicious, I found that their acidity ate through the rice paper lining overnight! So if you’re making these in advance, leave out the mango, yo!

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 8 spring roll with dipping sauce and NO added protein sources (tofu, quinoa or otherwise). Serving size: 1 roll with dipping sauce Calories: 226 Fat: 8.9g Saturated fat: .8g Carbohydrates: 23gSugar: 6g Fiber: 4g Protein: 6g

VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS WITH CRISPY TOFU 30-minute Vietnamese-inspired spring rolls with fast crispy tofu and a savory-sweet almond butter dipping sauce. Flavorful, crisp, delectable, and so fresh and perfect for spring and summer. Author: Minimalist Baker

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: 

Cuisine: Vegan, Vietnamese, Serves: 4 (8 spring rolls total)


Spring Rolls

  • 1/2 cup each julienned carrots, red pepper and cucumber
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 4 ounces vermicelli or rice noodles (the thinner the better)
  • 8-10 Rice Spring Roll Papers
Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
  • 1/3 cup salted creamy almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (GF if gluten free)
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar, agave or honey if not vegan (depending on preferred sweetness)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • Hot water to thin
Crispy Tofu
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and thoroughly dried/pressed
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2.5 Tbsp almond butter dipping sauce
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or agave nectar
  1. Start by preparing rice noodles in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes (read instructions on package), then drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3 Tbsp cornstarch and flash fry in ~3 Tbsp sesame oil, flipping on all sides to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Prep veggies and prepare almond butter sauce by adding all sauce ingredients except water to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add enough hot water to thin until a pourable sauce is achieved. Adjust flavors as needed (I often add a little more chili garlic sauce and brown sugar).
  4. To add more flavor to the tofu, transfer ~2.5 Tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and add an additional Tablespoon each of soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar (or agave) and whisk to combine.
  5. Add tofu back to the skillet over medium heat and add “sauce/glaze,” stirring to coat. Cook for several minutes or until all of the sauce is absorbed and the tofu looks glazed, stirring frequently (see photos). Set aside with prepared veggies and vermicelli noodles.
  6. To assemble spring rolls, pour very hot water into a shallow dish or skillet and immerse rice paper to soften for about 10-15 seconds.
  7. Transfer to a damp cutting board or damp towel and gently spread out edges into a circle. It may take a little practice, so don’t feel bad if your first few attempts are a fail!
  8. To the bottom third of the wrapper add a small handful of vermicelli noodles and layer carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, fresh herbs and 2-3 pieces of tofu on top (see photo). Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until seam is sealed.
  9. Place seam-side down on a serving platter and cover with damp warm towel to keep fresh. Repeat until all fillings are used up – about 8-10 spring rolls total.
  10. Serve with almond butter sauce and sriracha or hot sauce of choice. I like to mix mine and go dip happy.
  11. Leftovers store well individually wrapped in plastic wrap, though best when fresh.
Notes: *Inspired by the lovely Heidi at Foodie Crush

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1 roll with dipping sauce Calories: 274 Fat: 12g Saturated fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 25gSugar: 3.6g Sodium: 172mg Fiber: 1.5g Protein: 6.5g

***Instead of frying tofu or tempeh, I bake it in the oven. I either put it in unadorned or I toss the slices or cubes in a small amount of olive oil with spices. I place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet & bake it at 450 for 30 minutes. Tastier than fried & healthier. 

Show~Me~The Yummy, Healthy Spring Recipes ~Lots of good recipes here. Most of them have shrimp or chicken. The recipes are such that you can substitute the meat or fish with turkey, tofu, or beans if you are so inclined. Here are a couple of examples.

Shrimp Avocado Salad: So, you guys, here ya go, the best, most refreshing, crazy flavorful snack/lunch/dinner: Shrimp Avocado Salad. 

ALMOND BUTTER ENERGY BITESThese Almond Butter Energy Bites are SO healthy and delish. They’re nutty and rich from the almond butter, chewy from the oats, and sweet from the maple syrup and dark chocolate chips!

HEALTHY TURKEY TACO CHILI This Healthy Turkey Taco Chili comes together in just over 30 minutes! It’s healthy, gluten free, loaded with veggies and lean protein, and absolutely delicious! ~This recipe would be wonderful with vegan chorizo or beans!

Martha Stewert, Our Favorite Spring Recipes ~I chose asparagus recipes to show you.

Asparagus, Peas, and Radishes with Fresh Tarragon To save time, the asparagus in this bright salad can be cooked, cooled, dried, and then wrapped up and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

  • PREP:


  • 3 pounds asparagus, tough ends discarded, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter ~You can substitute Olive Oil 
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) radishes, greens discarded, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS ***I never boil vegetables. I steam them because they retain more of their nutrients.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water, and line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels.

  2. Add asparagus to pot; cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer to ice bath. Let cool completely, then transfer to prepared baking sheet and pat dry. (Wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 1 day.)

  3. In a large pot with a lid, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and peas. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in radishes and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Asparagus, Leek, and Gruyere Quiche This spring dish is made richer with Gruyere — an aged Swiss cheese with a nutty flavor that tastes great with eggs.


  • 1 tablespoon butter ~Substitute Olive Oil.
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced, then well washed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 large eggs ~It is richer with whole eggs but I use 2 whole eggs & 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half ~I substitute an unsweetened nut milk for half of this.
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Our Favorite Pie Crust, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate, well chilled  ~I like to use organic Phyllo Dough sheets layered as the crust. If you prefer a traditional crust, then substitute coconut oil for the butter.
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (4 ounces) ~When making a quiche, always put the cheese in first on the crust. It keeps the crust from becoming soggy. 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese; top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture on top.

  3. Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Epicurious, Spring Recipes  ~Lots of yummy recipes for Spring on this site; including asparagus recipes 🙂 The recipe that I found intriguing was:

SPRING PEA BUTTER WITH SHALLOT AND LEMONThis creamy compound butter is packed with bright spring flavor. Spread it on toast, stir into pasta, or slather on grilled lamb chops for the springiest meal ever.

YIELD: Makes about 1 1/2 cups, ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes, TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes


  • 1 1/3 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 1 pounds pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, divided ~ I don’t use butter. I wonder if coconut oil would work. Must try.
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


1. If using fresh peas, cook in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes (if using frozen peas, do not cook). Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add peas, pepper, lemon zest, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/2 cup butter; pulse until just combined.

Do Ahead: Pea butter can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Mother Earth Living Food & RecipesOne of my favorite magazines. The online recipes had one for salmon. The salmon could be substituted with either tofu or tempeh. 

Harvest Garlic: Lemon-Mustard Salmon Here’s a quick and easy way to prepare salmon with gourmet appeal.


• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon thyme
• 6 salmon fillets (about 1 1⁄2 to 2 pounds total)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard, honey, oils and lemon thyme; set aside.

2. Coat a large baking pan or sheet with cooking spray. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in pan. Liberally brush each fillet with sauce. Bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve and enjoy. ~I use parchment paper.

Contributing Editor Kris Wetherbee tends her herbs in western Oregon. 

Another substitution for meat & fish, besides tofu, tempeh,or beans are mushrooms. My favorite are Cremini. They are related to the Portobello mushroom. They hold their shape & are “meaty” like the Portobello; also less expensive. The Portobello, marinated & used as a veggie burger are fantastic!

On the Show~Me~The Yummy website is this gourmet recipe for Portobello Mushroom Burgers. If you aren’t into this much work, there is a more simple recipe that follows this one.

Portobello Mushroom Burger: This Portobello Mushroom Burger is vegetarian, healthy, can be gluten free, and is topped with caramelized onions, a homemade basil pesto, and goat cheese!

Servings: 4 people, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Caramelized Onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter ~ Olive Oil
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 2 splashes white wine
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 whole wheat buns~ Your choice of bun
  • 1 (4 oz) log goat cheese softened
  • baby spinach
  • caramelized onions from above
  • 1/4 cup pistachio pesto or store bought, if preferred. ~There are a lot of wonderful organic pesto’s at the store.


Caramelized Onions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium/medium low heat. Once hot, add in butter.
  • Once the butter has melted, add in sliced onion and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized.
  • In the last minute or two, deglaze the pan with a couple splashes of dry white wine. Cook until the wine has absorbed.
  • Set aside.

Portobello Mushrooms:

  • Preheat broiler (ours is at 500 degrees F).
  • Gently wash and dry mushroom caps. Place them ribbed side up on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Brush half of the oil/vinegar mixture on the ribbed sides of the mushrooms.
  • Broil for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the mushrooms and brush on the remaining oil/vinegar.
  • Broil for another 5 minutes.*
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt.

Assembly for one burger:

  • Spread softened goat cheese on the bottom bun.
  • Top with spinach, then portobello mushroom.
  • Top that with some caramelized onions and 1 tablespoon of pesto.
  • Top with burger bun, repeat with the remaining burgers and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Some of the oil/vinegar will roll off the mushrooms and may start to smoke on the pan. Don’t worry…it’s totally normal!
  • After the mushrooms were cooked, Trevor cut the mushrooms to fit the size of bun we have on hand. This isn’t necessary, but makes for a really pretty presentation!
  • Gluten free? Make sure to use a GF bun! 🙂

From Portabella Mushroom Burgers  ~Serves 4 people & yes, both spellings are correct. 


  • 4 large portabella mushrooms
  • 1cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 -4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces sliced provolone cheese ~Optional
  • 4 whole wheat rolls ~Your choice
  • sliced tomatoes (optional)
  • romaine lettuce leaf (optional)
  • sliced grilled onion (optional) ~Or raw
  • Dijon mustard (optional ~When it comes to any mustard, optional is not a choice as far as I am concerned. Love mustard!


  1. Cut stems off of mushrooms and place smooth side up in a shallow dish.
  2. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, and garlic.
  4. Pour the marinade over the mushrooms and allow to stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
  5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  6. Place the mushrooms on the preheated grill, reserving the marinade for basting
  7. Grill mushrooms for 5 to 8 minutes per side, basting frequently with marinade.
  8. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, top with cheese.
  9. Serve with the whole wheat rolls and condiments of your choice.

Sounds so good! Texting husband to bring home Porobello or Cremini mushrooms 🙂

A new vegan website I found through our volunteer Dana Wylie: Wallflower Kitchen. I posted this fantastic recipe on the SDCRI Facebook page.

GUT-HEALING VEGETABLE BROTH (AND WHY IT’S BETTER THAN BONE BROTH) A nutritious, gut­ healing broth as a vegan alternative to bone broth. If you don’t like or can’t find any ingredients, don’t worry. Add what flavours you like and try to get as much variety and nutritional goodness as you can! 

Ingredients: Serves: 8

  • 12 cups (2¾ litres) filtered water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or extra ­virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, quartered (with skins)
  • 1 garlic bulb, smashed
  • 1 chili pepper, roughly chopped (with seeds)
  • 1 knob ginger, roughly chopped (with skin)
  • 1 cup greens such as kale or spinach
  • 3-­4 cups mixed chopped vegetables and peelings (I used carrot peelings, red cabbage, fresh mushrooms, leeks and celery)
  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 30g dried wakame seaweed
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos*
  • A bunch of fresh corriander or other herb of your choice (plus extra, to serve) (optional)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast, for extra flavour and vitamins


  1. Simply add everything to a large pot. Bring to a boil then simmer, with the lid on, for about an hour.
  2. Once everything has been cooked down, strain the liquid into a large bowl.
  3. Serve immediately with some fresh herbs, for decoration or cool for later. 


  • It also freezes well.
  • Coconut aminos can be very salty, depending on what brand you use so taste before adding any additional salt. 

Until next week…Mary 🙂

Fraudulent Cancer Cures?

Miracle Cure: FDA Website


The FDA is once again cracking down on companies that are making the assertion that their products prevent, treat or cure cancer in people & in pets. Let’s look at why these products were targeted & what to look for on labels. I will also look at individual products that have been around for a long time & continue to be popular. 

As an RN, a Reiki Master/Teacher, certified in homeopathy, flower essences & growing/working with medicinal herbs, I want to get my two cents in. The above therapies are legitimate & can boost your immune system, lower your stress & help with side effects of cancer treatment. But they will not “cure” cancer. They can help you to “heal yourself”. “Cure” is a physical outcome. To “heal” is to balance your body, mind & spirit. A cure can take place when you believe 100% + that something will cure you. These are miracles & we all know that they can occur. 

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, there is a small window of opportunity to start treatment to get the rogue cancer cells under control to effect a cure or to treat the cancer as a chronic disease. If that person goes for the alternative therapy~ claiming a “cancer cure”~ that they heard or read about, & not go for the conventional treatment, then they are putting themselves at risk of the cancer growing larger or spreading. That is not to say that you should not use other treatments of your choice. Get a diagnosis, talk with your oncologist & make decisions together. I have had patients choose other therapies while they were being monitored by their oncologist to see if it was working. Other’s had the conventional treatment while using complementary therapies with the blessing of their health care team. Both scenarios have positive outcomes.

It is ultimately your choice. Be informed. 

I will let the FDA tell you in their own words why they review what is being targeted to cancer patients. Products Claiming to “Cure” Cancer Are a Cruel Deception  “Anyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does, understands the fear and desperation that can set in,” says Kornspan. “There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.”

Legitimate medical products such as drugs and devices intended to treat cancer must gain FDA approval or clearance before they are marketed and sold. The agency’s review process helps ensure that these products are safe and effective for their intended uses.

Nevertheless, it’s always possible to find someone or some company hawking bogus cancer “treatments,” which come in many forms, including pills, capsules, powders, creams, teas, oils, and treatment kits. Frequently advertised as “natural” treatments and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, such products may appear harmless, but may cause harm by delaying or interfering with proven, beneficial treatments. Absent FDA approval or clearance for safety, they could also contain dangerous ingredients. 

That holds true for treatments intended for humans and those intended for pets. “Increasingly, bogus remedies claiming to cure cancer in cats and dogs are showing up online,” Kornspan says. “People who cannot afford to spend large sums at the animal hospital to treat cancer in their beloved dogs and cats are searching for less expensive remedies.”

Remember that the word cancer is an umbrella term describing how a rogue cell acts. Each type of cancer is a disease in its own right. Due to our unique health history as an individual, even the same cancer diagnosis does not progress in the same way for each person. Treatments must be individualized. “One size does not fit all.”

 FDA: Red Flags  “While some fraudulent products claim to cure a variety of diseases and conditions, fraudulent cancer products often use a particular vocabulary, Kornspan says. Consumers should recognize certain phrases as red flags, including:

  • Treats all forms of cancer 
  • Miraculously kills cancer cells and tumors
  • Shrinks malignant tumors 
  • Selectively kills cancer cells 
  • More effective than chemotherapy 
  • Attacks cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact
  • Cures cancer

This is an example of recent headlines. CBS News: FDA cracks down on bogus cancer treatments Herbal tea remedies, asparagus extract, and a number of topical creams and ointments are among the products that fraudulently claim to prevent, treat or cure cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Yesterday, the agency issued warning letters to 14 U.S.-based companies peddling more than 65 of these bogus cancer cures. The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly on websites and social media platforms.

“Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially life-saving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” Douglas W. Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement. “We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult a health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

The herbal tea remedies that are usually targeted by the FDA are Essiac & Flor Essence Teas. PubMed has an excellent site about these 2 teas; their history & the results from clinical trials. Essiac/Flor Essence 

Essiac Tea is traditionally made with these 4 herbs. My links are to information about each herb at Mountain Rose Herbs. It is a company that I trust & use to purchase herbs for my personal use.

  • Burdock root.  I see this used mostly for skin conditions.
  • Indian rhubarb root. Turkey Rhubarb Root This is the root used in the Essiac tea later when Rene Caisse, the Canadian public health nurse responsible for the formula, switched the herb because she thought this one more effective & more palatable.
  • Sheep sorrelGaining popularity. It is usually used for diarrhea & inflammation.
  • Slippery elm (the inner bark). Slippery elm lozenges made from the inner bark are wonderful for GERD or any upset stomach. I use the powder sometimes but it must be used at least an hour before or after you take medications as it slows the absorption.

The problem with these herbs, together & separately, is that they contain tannens & oxalic acid. Both cause permanent kidney & liver damage when taken in large amounts or for long periods of time.

Flor Essence uses the same four herbs plus these three:

  • WatercressI use it in salads 🙂 It has been used for everything from diarrhea to baldness & coughs. When used medicinally, in small amounts, it is safe, but in larger amounts, or over long periods of time, can cause kidney problems & stomach upsets.
  • Blessed thistle. Used as an appetite stimulant & supports healthy digestion. I have seen it in Bitters.
  • Red cloverI see this in menopausal remedies. The profile I linked to has a reference area with NIH clinical research links.
  • Kelp. Culinary use is the most popular. In teas it is used as a diuretic. Be cautious because it is very high in natural iodine.

These teas are safe to use in moderation, but not when used several times a day over a long period of time. I would also be cautious if you have a history of liver or kidney health issues.

Asparagus extract is another popular one sold as a cancer cure. Asparagus is safe when eaten as a food. There aren’t any studies that I could find that says it is safe as an extract. Extracts, like supplements, are not checked for safety before being sold in the US.

In the past the FDA has tested a few extracts & supplements; they found differing amounts of the product in the extract or pill than what is stated on the label. They also found added ingredients that were not on the label. This is why choosing reputable companies is so important.

Asparagus is one of my favorite foods that I pig out on when they are in season. I can’t wait until our asparagus bed will be ready! They are an antioxidant & full of vitamins & minerals. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic. Eat it!

These are good examples of a food & an over the counter drug that can help cancer patients. Both have research behind them. Notice that they are not labeled as “cancer cures”.

Dr. Weil: Can Medicinal Mushrooms Benefit Cancer Patients? These 4 May “For people with cancer, medicinal mushrooms are one way to help strengthen the body’s defense. This non-toxic therapy can boost immune function – especially important for people going through radiation or chemotherapy. Four mushrooms I have recommended for their proven anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects are:

  1. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). This common medicinal mushroom is shown to have anti-cancer effects in ongoing research in the United States. I suggest liquid or encapsulated extracts.
  2. Maitake (Grifola frondosa). This mushroom not only has anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, but it may also help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  3. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). Animal studies have shown that reishi inhibits the growth of some malignant tumors and improves immune function – it also has natural anti-inflammatory effects as well.
  4. Agaricus blazei (Agaricus brasiliensis). This mushroom contains beta glucans, a group of polysaccharides (complex sugars) that may be the reason behind its immune-boosting effects. Oncologists in Japan and Brazil use this mushroom in treatment protocols.

When research is done on herbs & plants, they may use the entire plant, a particular part of the plant or an extract. It is important to look at the research to see what was used & how much & for how long. Just to say that reishi mushrooms in ANIMAL studies, inhibits the growth of SOME malignant tumors does not give us enough information. Unlike the fraudulent products, we do know that culinary mushrooms are safe to eat.

Medscape: Aspirin to Prevent Cancer: What to Tell Patients “Patients might be asking you if they should take aspirin to prevent cancer. And depending on their age and health status, the answer may be “yes.” Data show that overall mortality is lowered with regular aspirin use. That benefit is due primarily to reduced death from cancer —in particular, colorectal cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and lung cancer.

Note that the author says it depends on your age & health status. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant, has side effects, and interacts with other drugs, so it is not a particularly safe drug for everyone. If you are interested in adding aspirin to your tool box then make sure you talk with your health care team.

The governmental agency, NCBI, The National Center for Biotechnology Information, has a very interesting site about herbs & spices. Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention and Treatment “Today, spices are increasingly revered not only for their culinary properties but also for their potential health benefits. Although the health attributes associated with spice use may arise from their antioxidant properties, their biological effects may arise from their ability to induce changes in a number of cellular processes, including those involved with drug metabolism, cell division, apoptosis, differentiation, and immunocompetence.” 

If you are thinking about trying an herb or supplement that claims a “cancer cure”, you can use these links:

I guess the bottom line would be “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” We need to be vigilant & talk with our health care providers before we try something that may be detrimental to our treatment. I use the word we because there are fraudulent products out there for every disease or health problem. 

Until next week…Mary 🙂

New Mediterranean Recipes:

Additional Resources

  • Chicago Tribune: FDA cracks down on companies peddling fraudulent cancer treatments : The Food and Drug Administration ordered 14 companies to stop making bogus claims about cancer cures – including asparagus extract, exotic teas and topical creams for pets – or face possible product seizures and criminal prosecution.
  • FDA: Illegally Sold Cancer Treatments : The FDA has issued 14 warning letters and four online advisory letters to companies illegally selling more than 65 products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure cancer. The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly on websites or social media platforms. They have not been reviewed by FDA for safety and efficacy, and can be dangerous to both people and pets.

April Nutrition Nuggets


April’s Nutrition Nuggets have been very interesting. I had quite a few to choose from. Of course the one that intrigued me most was about coffee 🙂 I will start with that one & end with my other favorite subject; the Mediterranean diet. But don’t miss out on the fish & frozen veggie guides along with other nutritional information.

As much as I love coffee, this article worried, no, actually scared me a bit. Only in the USA is “more” better.  KTLA5: Black Insomnia: ‘World’s Strongest Coffee’ Now Available in U.S. “The “world’s strongest coffee” is now available in the US, but just one cup could spill you over the daily caffeine limit….“If you want to stand out, you need to be the ‘est’ — the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest,” said Black Insomnia founder Sean Kristafor. “So when we wanted to compete in coffee, as a caffeine product, we had to be the strongest, but obviously, we don’t exceed the world guidelines.”

At $19/pound you get this….“For the same amount of coffee, you will get double the amount of caffeine,” said Mary Sweeney, who researches the effects of caffeine at John Hopkins School of Medicine.

“This makes it easier to consume more caffeine than you intend to and effects can range from mild to severe, for example, jitteriness, nervousness, restlessness and trouble sleeping. The most serious effect would be cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).”

Kallmyer calls Black Insomnia and its competitor, supposedly the second world’s strongest coffee Death Wish, “insanely strong coffees.” I think I will take a pass on this coffee. 

Black Insomnia has 720 mgm of caffeine per 12 ounce cup! Starbucks Blonde Roast has 475 mgm in a 20 ounce Vente cup. Here is a chart to check the caffeine in your favorite coffee, tea, soda or energy drink: Caffeine Chart from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

According to the Mayo Clinic: Caffeine: How much is too much?  Mar 8, 2017 – Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks. 

Looks like all the health benefits of coffee would be nil with one 12 ounce cup of Black Insomnia or Death Wish. With names like that it will appeal to some people. Insanely bad choice 🙁

While we are on the subject of drinks. This newest study regarding artificial sweeteners in diet soda’s is interesting. I want to warn you that more research is needed & that a direct link has not been established. As the article states, it only shows an association. 

CBS News: Diet soda study looks at dementia, heart risks  Apr 21, 2017:  Much has been written about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages; research has linked sugary drinks to a number of serious health risks, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and an early death.

Now, new research suggests diet drinks with artificial sweeteners may have some health concerns of their own. According to a new study published Thursday in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, people who drank at least one artificially-sweetened beverage a day had almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia. The researchers caution that the study only shows an association — it does not prove that diet drinks actually cause stroke or dementia. Still, they say the study warrants more research in the area.” 

The study prompted the following, unsurprising, reaction: The American Beverage Association issued the following statement in response to the study: 

Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact. The FDA, World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion – they are safe for consumption.

While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not – and cannot – prove cause and effect.

The above statement is true, but, anecdotal evidence has shown a different story. I believe that water should be your first choice of a drink, but when you just need a Coke or Pepsi, then drink a regular one. Have 8 – 12 ounces only. No refills & no “BIG GULPS”. Skip the diet drinks. Revisit my post on Artificial Sweeteners. 

For more information see Additional Resources at the end of this post.

Here is some much needed GOOD NEWS! Hooray! NBC News: Trans Fat Ban Saved Lives in New York, Study Shows “Heart attacks and strokes fell by more than 6 percent three years after some New York counties banned trans fats, researchers reported Wednesday.” Nothing to add to that 🙂

I have given you links to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site before; here is another good guide for those of you who eat fish.  

Click here for the guide: A Safe Guide to Eating Fish, April 13, 2017, “Need the straight scoop on fish that’s safe to eat and what you should absolutely avoid? Get this comprehensive list of good (healthy and sustainable) and bad (high mercury levels, over harvested) seafood, from ***The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil.” Informative & well written. 

***Link to the book at end of post.

This is another helpful guide that EWG just came out with. EWG’s: 5 Fabulous Finds in the Frozen Food Aisle Health experts often advise shoppers to cling to the outer edges of the grocery store – where they can find fresh produce and less-processed foods. But, while fresh food is typically the best option, you don’t need to bypass all options in the frozen aisle.

In fact, a 2016 study found that frozen food can help dramatically decrease your household’s food waste. We scoured our Food Scores database to find five great options in the frozen food aisle that maximize nutrition, and can save you time and money.” As you scroll to the bottom of the article you will find a box with good information on “How to Microwave Wisely.”

I keep frozen organic corn & peas in my freezer. They are great to throw into my vegetarian soup, pot of beans or stew. They are also simple & fast side dishes. Having healthy, frozen choices is just the ticket on those days when we are just too tired to cook. 

Last but not least, the Mediterranean diet. I am including this article I found in the health news a few days ago because it included a link to a chart I thought you might be interested in. First, the article.

(HealthDay News) —Get to Know the Mediterranean Diet “The diet followed by people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea has been shown to be more than just delicious. The so-called Mediterranean diet can help you limit daily calories so you can lose weight. Plus, it’s a healthy long-term way of eating.

The main focus of the Mediterranean diet is on eating plant-based foods. That means including fruits and vegetables in every meal, and eating them for snacks and dessert, too.

Switch from refined to whole-grain foods, including breads, cereal, rice and pasta. Also add legumes like peas and beans. Try to eat a vegetarian dinner one or two nights a week.

People who successfully lose weight while following a Mediterranean diet generally get about a third of their calories from healthy fats, including a small handful of nuts each day.

The chart from on the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020, mentioned in the article:  Appendix 4. USDA Food Patterns: Healthy Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern has the daily portions of food in each food group by your calorie intake. It has 12 calorie levels. Useful to see how much you should eat based on 1,000 to 3,200 calories a day.

Here is a new recipe for you: This Cauliflower Fried Rice Bowl Will Make You Forget About Takeout Forever  I need to try this one. Looks so good!

It has come to my attention thru an email that I may need to reiterate my focus for this website. As I have said on the welcome page:

“I have always felt that we need to be our own advocates when it comes to our health. We need to make choices that fit our personal lifestyles, culture, gender, age and physical well-being. We are not a statistic! One size does not fit all! Each one of us is a unique individual on our own unique path. Your path happens to include cancer.

Educating yourself abut your disease will be the strongest tool in your arsenal against cancer. That is where this site comes in. Stay updated here. Learn about nutrition do’s and don’ts. Find food facts to help you eat healthy, and discover new tools to add to your cancer-fighting tool box.”

I would like to add that what I choose for my personal well-being is not going to be the same as you. We each walk our own path. I am here to give  you the most up to date, scientifically based, nutrition information available. Using today’s post as an example, if you choose to eat fish then I want to give you the information to make a healthy choice. When I was a child, I refused to eat meat & seafood because I didn’t like the texture, the smell & the taste. Much to my parents chagrin 🙂 I was a natural born vegetarian. Views about nutrition came much later. 

I am not here to add stress to your life, quite the opposite, I want to help you to see that a healthy, balanced diet is not that difficult whether you are vegetarian, vegan, flexatarian, Paleo, Gluten Free, or omnivore. Okay, I am off the soap box.

Now for my last cup of coffee of the day…Mary 🙂

Additional Resources 


Clean Eating~are there risks?


I was listening to NPR’s A Way With Words last week when the term “clean sandwich” came up. Host Martha Barnette mentioned the following: Some restaurants now advertise that they sell “clean” sandwiches. But that doesn’t mean they’re condiment-free or the lettuce got an extra rinse…. In the food industry, the word “clean” is taking on a whole new meaning. The word clean, as in clean food, has taken on a whole new life as a buzzword describing food free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, or added color. A restaurant chain now boasts clean sandwiches, and the topic is now covered by the magazine Clean Eating.” “Clean” has taken over the word “Green” & is gaining momentum. Green energy is now clean energy. Green eating is now clean eating. Are there real risks with clean eating?

This concept of clean eating has really taken off recently. A series of clean eating guide books & cookbooks, by Tosca Reno, started in 2007. It is said that she invented the clean eating diet based on her own experiences losing over 70 pounds. Here is a review of her book from 2016. WebMD: The Eat-Clean Diet: Diet Review  “It sounds so simple and so trendy. “The Eat-Clean Diet is a lifestyle way of eating that allows you to eat more, weigh less, and become the healthiest you can be,” says Tosca Reno, author of The Eat-Clean Diet series.” 

The Eat-Clean Diet: What You Can EatFoods allowed include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nonfat dairy, and healthy fats — preferably organic and eaten in proper portions every few hours.

The Eat-Clean Diet recommends avoiding all saturated fat, trans fats, overprocessed, refined foods — especially white flour, sugar, sugar-loaded colas, juices, and alcohol.

The bottom line: “The Eat-Clean Diet is a pure approach of healthy eating and exercise taken to the extreme. It is so structured, restrictive, and unrealistic that it may be difficult to follow long term. Take the questionable advice peppered throughout the book with a grain of salt, as there are lots of inaccuracies that are more opinion than scientific evidence. The best part of The Eat-Clean Diet is the motivation, nutrient-rich recipes, and meal plans that can help dieters shift toward including more healthy wholesome foods into their menus.” I looked at her cookbooks & they are very nice. 

Here are the guidelines from her website: Tosca Reno 

  • Eat Clean foods only: whole, nutrient dense, well-sourced and properly prepared Excellent. 
  • Avoid all refined foods including sugar, refined grain products and fats Good advice.
  • Eat several smaller meals per day spaced 21/2 to 3 hours apart (about 6 per day) Difficult to do if you are on the move.
  • Never skip a meal especially breakfast We agree with that.
  • Adjust portion sizes to suit your body and physical output Hmm, interesting concept. Not sure we can be unattached enough for that one 🙂
  • Combine healthy fats + lean protein + complex carbohydrates in each meal Ok, that works for “My Plate”.
  • Consume healthy fats, even those that are saturated Good.
  • Drink 2 – 3 litres of water per day  3 litres = 12.75 cups.

After reading her site I agree with the WebMD review. It is too difficult to follow because it is so structured. But, I do like her guidelines & her recipes are wonderful! 

Here is another point of view. According to the vegan website OneGreenPlanet: What is Clean Eating “In short, clean eating is saying goodbye to excess ingredients and getting back to the basics. Rather than focusing on the banning of foods like a diet does, the clean eating lifestyle focuses on making choices that naturally drive you toward consuming whole, unprocessed, unrefined, honest to goodness foods. Think of it as stepping away from the apple flavored Poptart, moving back to the applesauce, and then eventually back to the apple itself.” Dare I mention the Mediterranean diet here? 🙂

“Eating clean is among the more prominent buzz phrases being used in nutrition circles. Although you won’t find a textbook definition of what this means, there are countless ways to put this idea into action. It can be as simple as swapping out ingredients and making small changes or more complex with meal plans and lifestyle choices. For example, If you like to make fruit smoothies, try bumping up your veggies by adding a handful of spinach. Try and progress to multiple handfuls and get to the point where greens are the base of your mixtures. Eating more greens will also help cut down on saturated fat. This is another area where substitutions can reap benefits for body, heart and mind. When preparing salads with a mixture of brightly-colored vegetables, use nutritional yeast instead of cheese. You don’t have to ditch the desserts; many treats can be prepared with avocados, black beans or sweet potatoes.”

This makes more sense. Make a start by slowly increasing your vegetables & fruits in your meals, thus guiding you towards a balanced, plant based way of eating. Their recipes are simple & tasty. Worth a look.

So what happens when it is taken to the extreme & becomes too restrictive? In the UK, the National Osteoporosis Society did a survey of young peoples diets. The charity surveyed 2,000 adults, including 239 under the age of 25 and 339 aged 25-35. BBC Health: Dairy-free diets warning over risk to bone health “A National Osteoporosis Society survey found a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet…..The charity’s survey suggests that many young people seek dietary advice from bloggers and vloggers on the internet.” This article is talking about clean eating & becoming vegan.

Unfortunately young people look to the internet for answers rather than professionals, like a dietitian. Being vegan is a big step. Learning about the basic nutritional requirements to maintain a healthy body is a must with any diet but especially one that is restrictive. In this case cutting out dairy.

“A spokeswoman from the British Nutrition Foundation said: “While it’s not necessarily dangerous to cut out dairy from your diet it’s important to ensure you get enough calcium from other sources.” The people surveyed didn’t balance their diet enough to continue to get the calcium needed. This is especially important to younger people who are still developing their bone health. The survey showed that 1/4 of the teens in the UK consume less than 400 mgm of calcium a day. 1000 mgm a day is the minimum requirement for that age group. 

“Dairy tends to make the biggest contribution to our calcium intakes and so this needs to be replaced by other sources such as bread, cereal, canned fish, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables as well as choosing dairy alternatives that are fortified with calcium.” Check out my topic page for Calcium sources.

I see no risk associated with this idea of eating clean, as long as it is a way of saying that you are going back to the basics of eating a whole food diet. It isn’t a new concept just a new buzzword. We should be grateful, because this means going out to eat will be healthier. A clean sandwich sounds good now!

From Clean Eating Magazine ~click on link for more recipes~ A Better Monte Cristo Sandwich Ditch the traditional butter-fried Monte Cristo for a healthier, tastier take. Sautéed turkey, pear, baby spinach and low-fat Swiss spare the fat but not the flavor” 

Serves: 4,  Hands-on time: 15 minutes,  Total time: 15 minutes


  • 1 lb turkey breast scallopine (thinly sliced turkey), cut into 4-oz pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • Ground cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 4 1-oz slices low-fat Swiss cheese


  1. In a small bowl, season turkey with 1 tsp oil, oregano, salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and sauté until light golden at edges and fully cooked throughout, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish, whisk together egg whites and milk. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Set aside.
  4. Spread about 1 tsp (adjust to taste) Dijon mustard on 1 side of each bread slice and place, Dijon side up, onto a flat work surface. Layer equal parts spinach, pear and turkey onto 4 slices of bread. Top each stack with 1 slice cheese and another slice of bread, Dijon side down, pressing gently.
  5. In a medium nonstick sauté pan, heat remaining tsp oil over medium heat.
  6. Using a spatula, carefully dip 1 side of a sandwich into egg mixture (egg mixture should go about halfway up the bread slice when immersed). With your hand on the top of the sandwich and spatula underneath, carefully flip to immerse the other side in egg, then gently transfer to hot pan. Sauté sandwich, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Nutrients per sandwich: Calories: 420, Total Fat: 7 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Omega-3s: 160 mg, Omega-6s: 1,270 mg, Carbs: 34 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 53 g, Sodium: 750 mg, Cholesterol: 105 mg

TIP: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and use it to transfer dipped sandwiches to sauté pan.

From the magazine: Clean Eating Recipes Check out the latest Clean Eating recipes­–featuring whole, unprocessed foods–to help you stay on track from morning till night. From gluten-free dishes to clean vegetarian recipes, we’ve got loads of meals that are low in calories and sugar but high in protein, essential nutrients and healthy fats – like our Hungarian chicken polenta recipe, our cheesy butternut squash bake recipe, and our decadent chocolate pudding recipe. Trust us, eating clean recipes like these will help keep you on track.”

 Now when you are asked what kind eating style you follow, you can say; “clean eating the Mediterranean way!” Until next week…Mary 🙂


Strengthening Your Immune System

We recently added a new educational page on the San Diego Cancer Research Institute website: Current Integrative Research & News. “With all the new and exciting Integrative Medicine research and news out there, SDCRI has decided to start sharing any relevant and interesting articles that we discover.” 

The first article we shared was Cancer Is Partly Caused By Bad Luck, Study FindsThis article is very important. “Cancer can be caused by tobacco smoke or by an inherited trait, but new research finds that most of the mutations that lead to cancer crop up naturally…. Science agrees that 40% of cancers are preventable. The rest, according to this study, are mutations of the cells that are caused by random error. “… 66 percent of the total mutations are random, about 29 percent are due to the environment and the remaining five percent are due to heredity.” 

Why am I sharing this on our nutrition site? Because the article suggests that 66% percent of cancers are not your fault, which is good to know, but it also says that there was nothing you could do to change the outcome. The article should give you some peace of mind knowing that the Snickers bar you succumbed to while pursuing the ultimate healthy lifestyle didn’t cause your cancer. It simply was not your fault. Does this mean that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily help? 

Every person is unique. Each of us has a medical history to some degree. This medical history has an impact on your immune system. A compromised immune system opens up your risk of other opportunistic diseases & maybe even that cell that went crazy & has become cancerous. Having a healthy lifestyle may not change the crazy cell mutation but it can prevent other medical issues & it can strengthen your immune system. 

We tend to think of medical terms as being one entity & having one definition. For example cancer. Cancer is an umbrella term for many kinds of cell mutations that act differently, effect different parts of the body & respond to different treatments. The same for immune system. The article below explains it very well. “Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.” To understand how to strengthen your overall immune system the following article is a must read.

The Harvard Medical School Publication website published this comprehensive article: How to boost your immune system: Tips to fight disease and strengthen immunity Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat. Funny how this pops up on every list 🙂 I like what the author says under “What about diet”Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.”
  • Exercise regularly. For those of you in treatment experiencing fatigue, this could be walking to your mailbox once a day. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight for you.
  • Control your blood pressure. Stress reduction therapies can help to lower your blood pressure: Yoga, mindfulness meditation, support groups & art for example.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

Continue reading the article, click here, for even more detailed information.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Eating Well During Cancer site has several links to helpful articles. Here are two of them that would enhance your healthy lifestyle goal.

  • The Cancer-Nutrition LinkEating a balanced diet means primarily choosing minimally processed and natural foods. In addition, drinking plenty of water and choosing plant-based or lean protein (fish, low-fat dairy, lean meats) is part of a balanced diet. A plant-based diet doesn’t have to be 100% plants or vegan, but it can be if you wish. The goal is for a majority of the foods you are eating to come from plants. These foods include bright, colorful fruits and vegetables. But they can also include other foods, such as spices, herbs and seasonings, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.”
  • Why a Balanced, Plant-Based Diet Is Good for Your Health“Good nutrition also plays a critical role during cancer treatment and needs to be an important part of your overall treatment plan. The foods you eat have an impact on your health on a daily basis, from increasing your energy level to supporting your immune system. Eating a healthy, minimally processed, plant-based diet not only benefits your overall health, but can also help you manage symptoms during treatment and promote survivorship.”

An article in Time: Health, published 3 years ago, is relevant to our topic today.  Processed Food Hurts Your Immune System—And Your Kids’ Too Society’s over-indulgence on foods full of sugar, salt and fat may be ruining our immune systems, a new study says. A study published in Nutrition Journal  looked at the impact the Western diet and lifestyle has on people’s immune function. It found that the large number of calories in processed and fast food may lead to health problems such as increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.” 

Whether or not your particular cancer could have been avoided or not is no longer an issue at this point. What is an issue is your immunity. Rather than focusing on why you have cancer, focus on building a strong immune system. The solution to strengthening your immunity is to move towards a healthy lifestyle. 

As we have discussed in nearly every post; make one change at a time. Rather than trying to replace what you consider “bad habits”, add healthy habits. When you make & focus on positive changes you will find the “bad habits” disappearing on their own. Give it a try! 

Added Resources & Recipes:

For you smoothie lovers, here is an addition to my post, Cholesterol & Cholesterol Fighting Foods ; information about lowering your cholesterol & smoothie recipes to help in that endeavor: Lower Your Cholesterol With These 7 Smoothie Recipes  I want to thank Jennifer Pelegreen, editor of  Easy Healthy Smoothie , for bringing their site to my attention.

Another website brought to my attention by Natasha Goins, the content editor, is:  positivehealthwellness Check out their healthy recipes!

Passover begins Monday, April 10th. Here are some interesting recipes that were in a couple of newsletters I received: Healthy Paleo Passover Recipes & The Nosher website with Passover recipes that are also vegetarian.

Until next week…Mary 🙂

Is a Gluten-Free Diet Really Linked to Diabetes?

The gluten-free diet seems to be in the news every week. There is even a new medical term for those who avoid gluten, PWAG’s; people without celiac disease avoiding gluten. According to Joseph Murry, M.D., a celiac disease researcher at the Mayo Clinic, 3.1 million Americans are PWAG’s. 

Dr. Murry & colleagues published a study in January this year. The study’s objective: “To investigate the trends in the prevalence of diagnosed celiac disease (CD), undiagnosed CD, and people without celiac disease avoiding gluten (PWAG) in the civilian noninstitutionalized US population from 2009 to 2014.” This study has led to discussions as to why PWAGs are avoiding gluten & is this trend causing nutritional deficiencies.  

The Washington Post article about this study, Why the ‘gluten-free movement’ is less of a fad than we thought , states that the researchers really didn’t expect the results they saw. At the time, they didn’t think to ask the participants why they were avoiding gluten. The number of people with Celiac disease has decreased but the number of people avoiding gluten has increased, tripling between 2009 & 2014.  Whatever the motivations of the PWAGs, Lebwohl said, he’s hopeful that their growth will spark more discussion of the complex questions that still surround gluten intolerance. As hot as gluten-free has gotten in the past 10 years, the research behind non-celiac gluten sensitivity remains “tremendously uncertain. “The science is in its infancy still,” Lebwohl said. “We need to take these patients seriously in order to nail down their problems.” This is a very good article for those of you who are gluten sensitive.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It causes bread and other baked goods to feel stretchy when worked with; especially when kneaded. After being baked it gives the products a chewy texture.

What is Celiac Disease?  from the Celiac Disease Foundation: “When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. The only treatment currently for celiac disease is a strict, gluten-free diet. Most patients report symptom improvement within a few weeks, although intestinal healing may take several years.” Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease.

Gluten sensitivity, according to the Beyond Celiac website, “has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. 

Gluten sensitivity shares many symptoms with celiac disease. However, according to a collaborative report published by Sapone et al. (2012),  individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have a prevalence of extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested, a response typical for innate immune conditions like non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Internationally, Celiac researchers have decided that the correct term to use is gluten sensitivity not gluten intolerance. They are one & the same.

The latest research has suggested that a gluten-free diet is linked to developing type 2 diabetes. I have cited several articles about this in the Resources below.

There is a link between the auto-immune disorder, celiac disease & type 1 diabetes. This is because type 1 diabetes is also an auto-immune disease & is genetically similar to celiac. People with type 1 should be tested for celiac disease. There is not an increase in type 2 diabetes with celiacs. Type 2 is not auto-immune in nature. You can read more about this here: Diabetic Living: Gluten and Diabetes: Is There a Connection? 

So, what is all this new fuss about? Do you remember the Nurses Health Studies 1 & 2? From the Nurses Health Study website: “The Nurses’ Health Studies are among the largest prospective investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. 

Starting with the original Nurses’ Health Study in 1976, the studies are now in their third generation with Nurses’ Health Study 3 (which is still enrolling male and female nurses) and count more than 275,000 participants. Learn about the history of the Studies.

Due to their unique strengths, including regular follow-up of study participants since 1976 and repeated assessment of health and lifestyle factors, the studies have played an instrumental role in shaping public health recommendations. Also, the studies’ investigators are leaders in developing and evaluating questionnaire-based methods to assess a variety of factors, such as diet, physical activity, and adiposity.”

It is from these studies that the supposed link between gluten-free diets & type 2 diabetes is based. The problem with this is that none of the participants in the groups from the 70’s & 80’s, were aware of the gluten-free idea. The trend came along much later. An article in Popular Science: Gluten-free diets are not actually linked to diabetes clarifies this. “People who eat low gluten diets are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, according to results presented on Thursday at the American Heart Association Meeting. It’s crucial to point out here that these researchers weren’t looking at people on gluten-free diets. The researchers were only studying associations between eating less gluten and getting diabetes. Their study size was massive—199,794 people—because they looked at data from three of the largest long-term studies in the United States: the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. These studies have been following hundreds of thousands of medical professionals for decades, gathering data of all kinds about their lifestyles and overall health, with the intention of understanding more about disease risk. That gives scientists a plethora of data to figure out what lifestyle factors make you more likely to get particular diseases.

When these studies began in the ‘70s and ‘80s, though, gluten-free diets weren’t a thing. They were a thing if you were among the less than one percent of people with celiac disease, but beyond that most people had never even heard the word “gluten.” So instead the researchers had to estimate gluten intake based on the study participants’ answers to questionnaires about their diet, and then look to see how many people who ate low or high gluten diets ended up with type 2 diabetes. To be clear: there was no data in this study about people who totally abstained from gluten. None. This study was not about gluten free diets, it was about low versus high gluten consumption as estimated from surveys taken mostly at a time when gluten free food options were few and far between. And most importantly, it cannot say anything about gluten free diets because it did not study anyone actually on a gluten free diet. It can say that eating less gluten is unlikely to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, but that’s pretty much it.” We also have to remember that the people in the study were self reporting what they ate. The downside is that some of them couldn’t remember how many grapes or oranges or slices of bread they ate that day & answered to the best of their knowledge. Not always accurate.

In an article from Health Line: Low-Gluten Diet May Be Linked to Diabetes Risk the subject of fiber was raised: “Smith is not alone in suggesting a possible link between type 2 diabetes and a low-gluten diet could in fact be due to restricted fiber intake. Susan Weiner, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, holds a similar view on the research.

“My initial thought is that people who restricted gluten [also] restricted fiber from whole grains as well in their quest to limit their gluten intake,” Weiner told Healthline. “Additionally, if they ate cake, crackers, and cookies which were gluten free without looking at carbohydrates or calories, that could have caused an increase in weight associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The cause is not conclusive, but this seems likely.” When gluten-free became a trend, companies added fat, sugar & salt to make their processed products more palatable. Gluten-free, yes, healthy, no. 

Of those who participated in the study, individuals who ate less gluten also tended to eat less cereal fiber, which is considered a protective factor against the development of type 2 diabetes. Weiner says it is important those who follow a gluten-free diet ensure they are not eating too much processed food.

“When folks go ‘gluten free’ for reasons other than a legitimate reason such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they often purchase processed gluten-free foods such as cookies, crackers, and chips. These foods have low nutritional value, pack on calories, and are low in fiber,” she told Healthline. “The health consequences of following a gluten-free diet composed primarily of processed foods can lead to weight gain and detrimental long-term consequences associated with low fiber intake,” she said.” I agree with this idea. I think it is a good explanation for the link. Eating a gluten-free diet can be easy but you must plan in advance. You need to make sure you are getting adequate fiber intake & that you are not eating a lot of processed foods. 

Based on the research so far, I would say that there is no direct link between gluten-free diets & type 2 diabetes. The link appears to be the lack of fiber & weight gain due to processed foods. This would be the same outcome with any “unbalanced diet”. I would recommend that no matter what diet you are following, you make sure that you get the recommended daily allowance of fiber & limit the processed foods. 

I found this article from Gluten-Free & More: The Gluten-Free Quick-Start Guideuseful for beginners.Here’s a simple overview of the gluten-free (GF) diet. We want to provide you with a list of gluten-free and glutenous foods to get you started on your journey without wheat. Keep in mind that not all areas of the diet are as clear-cut as portrayed by this guide, which is intended to be used as a safe and temporary survival tool until you can obtain additional information. Understanding these dietary requirements, however, will enable the newly diagnosed to read labels of food products and determine if a product is gluten-free. Products do not have to carry the Gluten-free sticker. Read the labels.

Eating Well: Starting a Gluten-Free Diet: A Beginner’s Guide is another useful site. There are also links to recipes at the bottom of the page. Maybe eliminating gluten-containing foods just helps you feel better—something the estimated 18 million Americans who suffer from gluten sensitivity can attest to. No matter what your reasoning, starting a gluten-free diet the right way can keep you happy, healthy and satisfied. The author states that 18 million people suffer from gluten sensitivity but didn’t provide a source for the figure. She did site a Gallup Pole: One in five Americans say they try to eat gluten-free foods, while one in six avoid gluten altogether, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.

Surprisingly, it’s similar to a traditionally healthy diet—few fancy foods required. Fill up your plate with naturally wholesome gluten-free foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meat, says Begun. “This is what dietitians recommend makes up the majority of your diet whether you’re gluten-free or not,” she says. And if you love your grains, you can still eat them. “So many people think that gluten-free means no grains at all, but there are so many great gluten-free options out there,” says Begun. Rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat are just a few examples. Today, you can easily find gluten-free pasta made from corn, quinoa or beans.” You can eat a Mediterranean diet with a few substitutions to make it gluten-free. I like that 🙂

I must admit that the gluten-free craze has irritated me from the start. I could not understand why so many people jumped on this band wagon. My main concern has always been that the adherents to this diet would be nutrient & fiber deficient if it wasn’t planned correctly. 

Many people I know do have problems with gluten, and eating a low gluten diet has helped their symptoms. They didn’t need to be on a strict gluten-free diet to see improvements. They continued to eat a plant based diet with few processed foods, but limited the amount of gluten they ate. I also found it interesting that when traveling to other countries these same people reported no problem eating breads, pastas & grains with gluten. 

Why are more people sensitive to gluten now? There are quite a few ideas regarding that question but no research to back them up so far. A subject for another time.

I saw this on Facebook & thought it was appropriate to share this week. From Sunset30 outstanding ways to cook beans  Often overlooked as a boring old staple, beans (and their little cousins in the legume family, lentils) can be downright fantastic when cooked with respect and imagination.”

Until next week…Mary 🙂


March Nutrition Nuggets



The health headlines were varied this past month. They made for interesting reading. Let us explore what the new trend is 🙂 ; what’s new at EWG; and what studies scientists & researchers have published. “Inquiring minds want to know!” I have also included some new recipes at the end of the post. 

Fooducate: New Trend: Shop with your Doc “California is the trend-setter when it comes to food, nutrition and health. It’s no surprise then, to learn about a new program whereby doctors in white coats greet shoppers at a supermarket and help advise on healthier food choices. Many grocery chains have already implemented dietitian guidance into their stores, but medical doctors are a novelty.

On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. Most Americans get their nutrition advice from their doctor, not dietitians. If doctors can prescribe “food as medicine” instead of more pills, everyone wins (expect for the pharma industry). By changing health care systems into “health systems” where the focus is prevention of disease instead of fixing things after they break, the US can save hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

However, there is a problem with doctors prescribing nutrition advice. The vast majority of physicians receive almost no nutrition education when in medical school. They often provide generic advice such as “lose weight, exercise more, and stop smoking”. Dietitians are much better suited to help people in the trenches, with practical advice on specific food choices in the supermarket. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your health, consider getting advice from a registered dietitian.” I agree. A dietitian can be compared to a physician with a specialty; more knowledgeable about the subject. A Board Certified Oncology Dietitian is even better & becoming easier to find in large medical centers.

This new trend didn’t just bring a smile to my face but made me laugh visualizing a physician in a white coat wandering the isles of Ralph’s grocery store! This is the program that Fooducate based their information on. Food As Medicine: It’s Not Just A Fringe Idea Anymore“Several times a month, you can find a doctor in the aisles of Ralph’s market in Huntington Beach, Calif., wearing a white coat and helping people learn about food. On one recent day, this doctor was Daniel Nadeau, wandering the cereal aisle with Allison Scott, giving her some ideas on how to feed kids who studiously avoid anything that tastes healthy.” Read the article & one mothers reaction to his advice. It is an interesting idea & I applaud their efforts to try to help people on the spot to learn how to eat healthier; thus reversing some diseases that respond to diet. 

 NPR’s article: Eating More — Or Less — Of 10 Foods May Cut Risk Of Early Death confirms, yet again, what we have been discussing on this website.Scientists at Tufts University identified the foods that seem to contribute the most to the risk. At the top of the list? Salt. Consuming too much salt was associated with 9.5 percent of the deaths. Just saw an article this morning that another study has found that too much salt means getting up at night to pee 🙂 Check your salt intake!

Next — and I sympathize with all of you who love to eat these — high intake of red meat and processed meats such as bacon was linked to 8 percent of the deaths. And sugary drinks were a factor in 7.4 percent of the deaths. We know, it may be tough to cut back on foods you love. Bacon is so alluring to many that it has even been called the ‘gateway’ to meat for vegetarians! 

But, here’s the flip side: The researchers also found there’s a significant risk in eating too little of certain healthy foods. So, think of it this way: You can start consuming more of the foods that are protective. For instance, the study found that low consumption of nuts and seeds was linked to about 9 percent of deaths.

In addition, diets low in seafood, whole grains and fruits and vegetables were found to contribute to about 6-8 percent of the deaths. Think about this with some of the fad diets. A balanced diet using all the food groups is so important. It is the only way to get all the nutrients your body needs. Cut out one group or eat less of it & you are cutting out nutrients that the other groups don’t have. 

EWG, my favorite website, has a new section: Rethinking Cancer  We all know that diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthier for us than those dependent on processed foods loaded with added fats and sugars. But, did you know healthy diets can actually help fight against the development of several common cancers?

Produce and whole grains, and the nutrients they contain are good for us – but why and how do these food help defend against cancer? How can you make the most of their beneficial properties? Use our resources…….”

Their resources include a Nutrition Calculator for Cancer Prevention “Are you eating enough of the foods most likely to help lower your cancer risk? …A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of cancer. See how your diet stacks up. Use our calculator to find out.” Try it!

This is a “bookmark-able” addition to your resources for a healthy lifestyle. 

I looked at several headlines about this study & felt that they were misleading. Tech Times: Components In Soy Products Slow Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells, New Study Finds The study found that: The decrease in risk was largely limited to patients with hormone receptor-negative tumors and women who have not undergone anti-estrogen therapy.

“Based on our results, we do not see a detrimental effect of soy food intake among women who were treated with endocrine therapy,” said Dr. Zhang. She added that soy food products can act as a shield for women diagnosed with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. A weaker but significant association was also observed among women who did not undergo endocrine therapy treatment.” The study is talking about patients with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer & those who have not undergone anti-estrogen therapy.

If you read just the title of the article you think soy is okay for everyone. The article doesn’t mention what types of soy products they were using in the study or if they isolated the isoflavons for the study. Makes a huge difference. I agree with the last paragraph: “Although the research provides positive results pertaining to consumption of soy-based products by breast cancer patients, Kathy Chapman, chair at Cancer Council Australia warned women to be cautious as the “jury is still out.” 

This article reports the study more accurately: Tufts University: Isoflavones in Food Associated with Reduced Mortality for Women with Some Breast Cancers ““Since we only examined naturally occurring dietary isoflavone, we do not know the effect of isoflavone from supplements. We recommend that readers keep in mind that soy foods can potentially have an impact, but only as a component of an overall healthy diet,”  Too many variables for me. I still recommend being cautious with soy, especially supplements & products that are processed. 

USA Today: Strawberries and these other foods have the most pesticides     “Just about all the samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples contained pesticide residue, the analysis found. The most contaminated of the strawberries had 20 different pesticide types.” This article is based on the EWG’s 2017 “Dirty Dozen List” 

This is a very good article to read. This paragraph still amazes me. The Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents organic and non-organic growers, is opposed to the EWG’s list. The alliance’s Executive Director Teresa Thorne said the list has been “discredited” and dissuades people from eating fruits and vegetables.

“If EWG truly cares about public health,” Thorne said, “it will stop referring to popular produce items that kids love as ‘dirty’ and move toward positive, science based information that reassures consumers and promotes consumption.” I wonder what word they would use. Bad? Tainted? Toxic? I can’t think of a positive word to describe foods with 20 different pesticide residues on it. 

The article that required me to read over & over again & then ponder its content is about the reason people join the diet culture. It is a long read but definitely worth it. Not all of you will appreciate this article as I did. I often wonder about what drives us to go on a fad diet just because a celebrity endorses it or a friend, worse yet, a stranger swears it will cure what ails you, instead of sticking to a simple plant based, balanced diet. I have been as guilty of this as you have. So what is the reason? 

Basically this article is about our quest for immortality. We aren’t eating just to survive anymore, we are chasing the dream of being immortal or at least to extend our life. 

The Atlantic: Eating Toward Immortality “Nutrition is a young science that lies at the intersection of several complex disciplines—chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, psychology—and though we are far from having figured it all out, we still have to eat to survive. When there are no guarantees or easy answers, every act of eating is something like a leap of faith…….By creating and following diets, humans not only eat to stay alive, but they fit themselves into a cultural edifice that is larger, and more permanent, than their bodies. It is a sort of immortality ritual, and rituals must be performed socially. Clean eating rarely, if ever, occurs in secret. If you haven’t evangelized about it, joined a movement around it, or been praised publicly for it, have you truly cleansed?”

Later in the article: “The act of ingestion is embroidered with so much cultural meaning that, for most people, its roots in spare, brutal survival are entirely hidden. Even for people in extreme poverty, for whom survival is a more immediate concern, the cultural meanings of food remain critical. Wealthy or poor, we eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat because it’s mealtime, we eat as a way to bond with others, we eat for entertainment and pleasure. It is not a coincidence that the survival function of food is buried beneath all of this—who wants to think about staving off death each time they tuck into a bowl of cereal? Forgetting about death is the entire point of food culture.” 

I haven’t decided if I totally agree or disagree with this article. It certainly presents an interesting premise. No matter, it is thought provoking, and I enjoy anything that makes me think the subject through. Let me know your thoughts.

Next week I want to tackle the research connecting a gluten-free diet with the risk of diabetes. Is there really a link? Until then….Mary 🙂

New Recipes: Fresh greens at your local farmers market beckon!

  • Ordinary Vegan: Top 5 Oil-free Salad Dressing Recipes “I love oil-free salad dressing recipes. While some oils may be healthier than store bought commercial salad dressing, oil-free salad dressing can provide just as much flavor without all the fat.”
  • Ordinary Vegan: One-Pot Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta “I ran across this recipe from a friend of mine. I was very skeptical. One-pot vegan tomato basil spinach pasta? Impossible. I thought something won’t taste right. To my surprise, I was 100% wrong. This one pot pasta was delicious and so easy to make.
  • Epicurious: 14 Main Course-Worthy Vegetarian Salads These salads are very versatile. You can add hard-boiled eggs or a portion of chicken, turkey or fish to them. Perfect for a brunch or a main course for dinner.


The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources by Joey Bruno

When I returned from vacation I checked my email & there was one from a Joey Bruno. He introduced himself & told me about an article he had written regarding vegan protein. I get quite a few emails like this but Joey’s was different. His article is the most comprehensive, informative, scientifically based article about the vegan diet I have read. It is a treasure chest of information laid out so that you can easily understand the vegan diet, detailed information regarding protein sources & it also includes recipes! 

You should look at his article even if you have no interest in a vegan diet because the information is useful for everyone. 

Most Americans get way more protein than is beneficial each day. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average American male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average female eats about 70 grams. That’s almost twice the daily recommended protein by the Food and Nutrition Board. Adults should eat 10% to 35% of their daily calories from protein foods. That is about 46 grams for women, and 56 grams of protein for men. The World Health Organization recommends 10-15% of your daily calories, or the minimum protein intake at about 1/3 of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is the minimum to maintain a healthy body. For 140# that would be 46 grams. 

When you are confronted with a disease such as cancer you should increase the amount of protein you consume to help maintain your weight. It is important to look at your unique situation. I would recommend you speak with an Oncology Certified Nutritionist to decide what is right for you. It depends on the individuals health picture.

Before I introduce the link to the article, I would also like to give you the link to his website. Thrive Cuisine His mission statement matches ours!  “The mission of Thrive Cuisine is to make plant-based eating easy and accessible for all people and clear up many of the misconceptions floating around online.”  Check out his Blog 

My favorite part of Joey’s website is: How To Go Vegan: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide Deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle can be a daunting and seemingly challenging task. One may think they need to give up all the foods that they love, cut ties with all their non-vegan friends/family, and drive a Prius. This is simply not the case….” Listed are many reasons people choose a vegan diet. Under health he states: “While one of the more controversial subjects of veganism, the topic of health and veganism can lead many people astray. Despite conflicting opinions from bloggers and online news websites, scientific consensus is clear…..Click on the link to read on 🙂 

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources  January 17, 2017 / By Joey Bruno   Many people in the Western world have been brought up with the idea that you need to consume animal products (especially meat) to meet your daily needs for protein. Without doing so, you’re liable to end up frail, weak, and unhealthy. However, in 2017, there is more than enough peer reviewed scientific evidence to know this is not the case.

We’ve put together this article order to help educate people on the truth of vegan protein sources, as well as protein itself. By understanding plant protein can be just as adequate, if not better, than animal based protein for staying healthy and building muscle, one can make informed choices about the food they consume and it’s impact on the well-being of animals, the environment, and their own bodies.”

As you read through the article you will come to this section: Vegan Protein Sources, Benefits, & Recipes  To make sure you’re eating the right foods, especially in the beginning, it’s important to know what to look for. Here we’ve listed the most protein-heavy vegan foods that can be used in a variety of recipes and eaten as staple foods. Most of these are inexpensive, they are all easy to cook, and they can all lend themselves to different cuisines and styles of cooking. Check out the recipes linked, too – they’ll give you new ideas on how to jazz up old favorites.” 

Here is how he has laid out the protein sources: under Beans & Legumes for example: 

Navy Beans

  • 100g = 22g protein
  • The navy bean is so named because it was a staple food of the United States Navy in the early 1900s. Many battles were fought on this little bean, which has historically been used to make baked beans and provides a hearty dose of magnesium, folate, and potassium – all of which can improve your heart health.
  • Read more about Navy Beans….


  • 100g = 26g protein
  • Lentils are fiber powerhouses, and are also very high in iron. One of the greatest virtues of lentils is their versatility: there are so many different varieties, each of which lends itself best to a different style of dish. They’re quick-cooking, too, so there’s no excuse not to reach for them in the cupboard.
  • Read more about Lentils….

He has sections like this one for Grains; Nuts & Seeds; & Soy Beans & Soy Products. Recipes are at the end of each section. 

Using this information you can easily set up a vegan diet for yourself, add a vegan day to your diet plan or apply the information to wean yourself off of red meat. As I said in the beginning, this article is a treasure trove for everyone! This is a good article to bookmark for protein sources. I have! 

Thank you Joey! Until next week…Mary 🙂 

About the Author Joey Bruno…Also known as the “Hairy Vegan Animal”, cooking healthy, delicious, plant-based meals has been Joey’s true passion since he went vegan in 2015. He’s committed to making the internet a place of education and knowledge rather than misinformation and clickbait. He currently lives in Delaware with his wife,