Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cancer Patients Need a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is important at any stage in life, but it's especially important during a serious disease or infection, such as cancer. Having a good nutrition plan and sticking to it is an important part of successful cancer treatment.

Awareness of the quality of the diet is especially important during cancer treatment because the mental and physical stresses can make it difficult to focus on getting good nutrition. The side effects of chemo and radiation therapy for cancer such as mesothelioma can reduce appetite and interfere with digestion. The physical changes cancer causes in the body can also affect the ability and desire to eat. This means that it's vital to plan ahead for good nutrition as soon as a diagnosis is made, in order to prepare for the challenges ahead.

While proper nutrition can't cure cancer by itself, it can help to mitigate its effects. A well-fed patient will have more energy, which makes it easier to exercise and stay physically active and keep the patient's body strong and healthy. Good nutrition is also the first step in keeping up the patient's quality of life, which in turn supports the positive psychological outlook that's important for the fight against cancer.

If the body is well prepared with nutrients, it will also be better able to ward off any infections that might crop up, as well as resist the negative side effects of cancer treatment and heal faster after surgery.

A good cancer diet is not much different from a good diet in general. Avoid fatty foods, which are difficult to digest, and get plenty of fruits, vegetables, and water or other clear liquids. It's a good idea to discuss specifics with a nutritionist or dietitian before beginning nutritional treatment, as well as during treatment when it may become necessary to adjust the diet. If your cancer treatment causes constipation, diarrhea, or other digestion problems, your doctor may suggest changing the amount of fiber in your diet.

During cancer treatment, the patient will probably need extra fluids, protein, and calories to help deal with the stresses that treatment puts on the body. High-calorie, high-protein foods such as milk and milk products, beans and other legumes, and eggs can be beneficial, as well as commercially produced dietary supplement drinks. Talk to a doctor or dietitian before using supplements.

The National Cancer Institute's Nutrition in Cancer Care page has many other topics and in-depth discussion of the role of nutrition in cancer care.

By: Jillian Mckee from The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Monday, October 15, 2012

Teff - Just discovered this awesome grain

Last week I bought a packet of "Teff" grain from my local neighborhood health shop. (Still prefer these shops to the mighty heath food supermarkets !). The sight of the smallest grain in the world was love at first sight for me and I could hardly wait for my next meal when I could try this out.

At home we make "dosas" (Indian version of crepes) and I decided to add 1:1 Teff grains by weight to the dosa batter. To that I added freshly chopped cilantro, green long chilli pepper, onions and tomatoes. As a preference I dont add salt :-) .  I also added a sprinkling  of oregano and thyme to the batter.

Preheat a nonstick pan for about 3 minutes on full gas stove heat and with pour 3 spoons of batter in the center and gently spread it with a wooden soup ladle so that it is as flattened as possible. Cover the pan with a glass dome and put the stove on HALf the heat. After 5 minutes flip it and then after 5-10 minutes it is ready. Keep it on the pan a little longer (but on slower heat) if you like it crispy.

I like my Teff crepe with Karoun non fat yoghurt....mmmmm...delicious and filling !  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

If they look like cookies, smell like cookies, they must be cookies...
I have been wanting to create a healthy substitute to cookies or in general some dessert like thingy ! This is what I came up with.

  1. Take equal parts of flour - buckwheat / quinoa / barley/ oats and mix them up dry
  2. Roast  the mixture on a skillet at low/medium temperature while constantly stirring it to avoid the flour burning.
  3. Keep roasting till medium brown/golden color
  4.  Switch off gas stove and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. This mixture after cooling down can be stored in glass containers inside a fridge
  6. Soak whole grain amaranth in cold water for about 24 hours till the amaranth soaks in the water and becomes soft.
  7. After the soaked amaranth softens up , decant the water and store it in the fridge
  8. To create healthy cookies : These cookies can be created when you want it and in as small quantity as possible. No need to premix. No need to create large quantities. To make 4 cookies (of say diameter 3 inches) 
    • Take 2 tablespoons of water softened amaranth
    • Add 2 table spoons of roasted flour
    • Add Splenda to your taste
    • Add water and mix till the consistency seems like mixed hot chocolate fudge ! 
    • In general don't make the mix "Amaranthy".
    •  Heat a "non stick" pan on a stove turned to Max
    • Wait till pan becomes hot
    • With a nonstick compatible spoon pour out 4 cookie portions on to the pan.
    • Flatten out the cookies as much as you can with  the spoon 
    • After a few minutes when its easy to flip them over, do that
    • Check to see that the cookies are not burning
    • Remove cookies with a flat spoon and serve   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Tortilla and snack bar options

Last few days I have been successfully experimenting with many different kinds of flour to make tortillas and snack bars

Amaranth and Dates Snack
Roast Amaranth flour (available in many health food stores) in a pan or a skillet over a medium fire till about golden brown. Make sure you are standing next to the gas stove stirring the flour so that it does not burn. After its nice and roasted, switch off the gas stove and let the  roasted flour cool down. Next take a box of medjool dates (available in Costco) and first remove the seed from each date. Then mash them till they become a uniform paste. Keep 1/4 cup of flour aside. We will use this  to powder the snack bars After the amaranth flour cools down, mix the mashed dates and flour till its well mixed. (If you don't mind nuts then you can add slivered almonds and walnut pieces into the mix, but that increases the calories as well !). I roll them into small balls(called "laddus" in India). Then I roll the snack balls in flour kept aside to make sure they get a dry coating on the outside and don't stick to each other. Put the snack balls in a box and refrigerate them. Take them out when you feel hungry and eat and enjoy !