Foods, Uncategorized

Homemade Marshmallows

marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

 

Vegetarian Marshmallows

 

(from U of Indiana)

 

This recipe uses agar agar, which is vegetarian, instead of gelatin. If you want to use gelatin, use 4t of gelatin for every 1 t of agar agar (2T for this recipe).

 

Finally, my boys can have marshmallow treats… and they’re better than store bought! Substitute vanilla with candy oils (peppermint is my favorite) and add food coloring for a nice touch. You can make whatever shapes you want: I like snowflakes for Christmas! They keep for over a week in Tupperware. The longer you have them, the crunchier they get, making them perfect for hot cocoa.

 

1 1/2 t. agar

 

1 t. pure vanilla extract

 

1 1/2 C sugar vegetable-oil cooking spray

 

2/3 C light corn syrup

 

1/8 t. salt corn starch

 

Coat a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.

 

Place 1/3 C cold water into bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle with agar agar. Let mixture soften for 5 minutes.

 

Place sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 C water in small to medium saucepan (if you use to large of a saucepan, the thermometer will not be covered by mixture). Cover. Bring to a boil. Remove lid. Cook, swirling occasionally until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage) (~5 minutes).

 

With mixer on low speed, whisk agar mixture while slowly adding syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase mixer to high. Beat until mixture is thick, white and has almost tripled in volume (~ 12 minutes). Add vanilla (or other flavoring/food coloring) and beat 30 seconds more.

 

Pour mixture into baking sheet and smooth with spatula sprayed with cooking oil. Let sit (uncovered) overnight.

 

Cut out with cookie cutters or cut with kitchen scissors, sprayed with cooking oil. Roll marshmallows in corn starch to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in air tight container, with wax paper between layers.

 

Happy Holidays

 

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

 

As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.

 

Red Grapes

 

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).

 

Cherries

 

Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.

 

Berries

 

Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.

 

Pineapple

 

Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.

 

Broccoli

 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.

 

Spices and Herbs

 

How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.

 

Foods that Create Inflammation

 

Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:

Tomatoes

Peppers

White Potatoes

Eggplant

Paprika

 

Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Whole Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

 

 

Why lifestyle-based therapies — including nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, and other alternative practices — are becoming essential components of traditional cancer treatment.

 

When I was a kid, my dad spent a lot of time in the bathroom. He didn’t have a large intestine, so things moved through him fast. The loo was his home inside our home.

 

He lost his colon, piece by piece, at his other home, Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where he sought treatment for a rare genetic condition that causes polyps to grow in the intestinal tract. Every year, his gastroenterologist would do a series of scopes and cut the polyps out. A couple inches of intestine usually went as well. Eventually he had no colon left.

 

My dad didn’t seem to mind the hospital or the bathroom. He loved to read, and both places gave him ample opportunity. My mom, my brother, and I found the whole situation unfortunate, but also something to tease him about. Leave it to my dad to get the world’s least romantic disease, one that entailed an annual colonoscopy.

 

We joked, that is, until his Peutz–Jeghers syndrome (PJS) was reclassified as a hereditary cancer disorder. It turns out the gene mutation that triggered those annoying but benign polyps also increased his cancer risk manyfold.

 

My dad didn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on his new circumstances. Just as PJS was getting reclassified as a cancer syndrome, his lungs proved the point. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that same year.

 

He died six months later, and he left a legacy: I have PJS, too.

 

Cancer, Then and Now

My dad was diagnosed 20 years ago by the calendar, but light years away in terms of cancer research. Back then, the disease was considered primarily genetic, and genes were viewed as an immutable part of our biological architecture: The only cancer-prevention strategy was to cross your fingers and hope you didn’t get it. If you did get it, the only treatment options were chemo and radiation, so you crossed your fingers again and hoped they worked.

 

Today, we know that genes are only a part of the picture, and that there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to prevent cancer. Even more promising, many of the strategies that help prevent cancer can also help combat the disease if it crops up.

 

“It seems like the big, bad cancer-cell story is just that — a story among stories. It holds up when viewed from certain angles, but it doesn’t hold up when viewed from every angle,” says Michelle Gerencser, MS, a nutrition consultant in North Logan, Utah, who specializes in cancer nutrition and nutritional immunology.

 

While most medical protocols for curing cancer are still based on the timeworn theory that the disease is a genetic mutation, Gerencser says, that theory is no longer supported by contemporary research.

 

There are plenty of reasons to question the genetic hypothesis: Cancer can be triggered by smoking or viruses like human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr. Conversely, the damaged nucleus from a cancer cell can be injected into a healthy cell and not turn the healthy cell cancerous. Genes may play a role, but they don’t tell the whole story.

 

So what does?

 

Almost all cancer experts agree on one factor: inflammation.

 

“Inflammation is fertilizer for cancer,” says Colin Champ, MD, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He notes that pathologists often find inflammatory cells near cancerous sites on pathology slides. “The more inflammation people have, the more likely they are to get certain cancers.”

 

Many factors fuel inflammation, including toxic exposures and chronic stress. But one of the biggest drivers is imbalanced nutrition — consuming too much nutritionally bankrupt food and not enough whole, unprocessed fare.

 

Researchers have also examined other potential triggers for cancer: mitochondrial function, microbial DNA, even the effect of our thoughts and beliefs on the immune system.

 

We still don’t know if cancer is the result of one, some, or all these things. We do know, however, that it’s a condition that involves multiple changes in health over time, and that the environment and our daily habits and behaviors are important factors.

 

As such, there’s good reason to think that the nutrition and lifestyle choices we make can improve our chances of avoiding the disease — and minimize its progress if it does take hold.

 

Better Together

Significant research in recent years has shown that lifestyle interventions and complementary therapies can help prevent and heal cancer. Most practitioners, however, insist that these are not replacements for conventional therapies — the two approaches are often most powerful when used together.

 

“There are plenty of lifestyle approaches that show promise,” says Champ, who’s a strong advocate for paleo-style nutrition to support cancer patients. But he’s firm about employing a multipronged plan. He dreads hearing from patients who had a treatable cancer a year earlier but refused standard treatment in favor of a ketogenic or vegan diet — and have recently learned the cancer has spread.

 

Acknowledging that cancer has environmental and lifestyle components does have a downside: a temptation to blame the victim. “We’re a society that likes to assign guilt,” says Cheryl Johnson, an oncology massage therapist and president of the National Alliance of Medical Massage and Bodywork. “We want to say that patients ‘did something wrong’ or ‘made bad lifestyle choices.’ But illness is not a punishment.”

 

For my part, I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and was shocked at how quickly I slipped into self-blame. Was cancer brewing because I hadn’t meditated or exercised enough? Was I doomed because of my genes? No, no, and no. But it took time to realize this — as well as to wrestle back the frightening idea that torrents of stressful thoughts might make me even sicker.

 

Rather than continuing to accuse myself, I soon started to focus on the degree to which I controlled my situation. I fell back on my health-journalist training and set out to learn about everything I could do to prevent cancer’s recurrence. I’ve kept up the high-risk screenings that I get for PJS, while researching every other means of cancer prevention and support, much of which I’ve integrated into my daily life. Here are some of the practices with the strongest research backing.

 

Exercise: Keep Moving

A wide body of research shows that movement has a powerful, positive impact on cancer prevention and treatment. The National Institutes of Health is especially laudatory of exercise’s positive effects, highlighting studies that show exercise can lower insulin and estrogen, both of which have been linked to cancer development and progression. Exercise also can reduce inflammation, improve immunity, and alter how the body handles bile acids that have been linked to gastrointestinal cancers.

 

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that qigong improved symptoms, side effects, and quality of life for cancer patients. And studies show that regular exercise of any kind lowers breast-cancer risk in women by up to 20 percent, while decreasing breast-cancer-specific mortality risk.

 

“The improvement in the quality of life that exercise provides is well known. For some reason, we often forget that exercise can provide the same benefits for the cancer patient,” writes Champ on his website, CaveManDoctor.com. “Living longer is great, but living longer and feeling better is a whole different level of happiness.

 

“Cancer treatment is no walk in the park. It is clearly a physically and emotionally taxing time,” he continues. “However, whether it is during treatment or after, maybe we should take more walks in the park — and vigorous ones at that.”

 

Nutrition: Eat Your Plants

With the recent surge of research on nutrition and cancer, it’s tempting to believe in magic-bullet foods and miracle diets — but paths that lead to cancer are multiple and overlapping, and every body, and every cancer, is different. There’s no one “right” anticancer diet.

 

“Don’t listen to anticancer claims that tell you what to eat,” says Gerencser. The right nutritional approach will be based on an individual’s specific needs, she adds, not on “one study, or on doing what someone else did.”

 

Although there’s no one magic diet, some approaches are more effective than others. While no integrative oncologist encourages consuming crates of doughnuts, most will emphasize the need to eat more plants. The antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber in dark leafy greens, vegetables, and deeply hued berries are unmatched in their capacity to fight inflammation and support overall health. (For more on this, see “Cancer-Fighting Diets,” below.)

 

Experts also tend to agree on a couple of other tenets for cancer prevention and support during treatment:

 

  • Ditch the sugar. Low-glycemic dietary protocols help keep insulin and inflammation in check. These protocols emphasize proteins and fats — avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and grassfed meats — and steer clear of foods that spike blood sugar, including processed grains and sweet fruits.

 

Still, experts note that even blood-sugar regulation is highly individual.

 

“I have clients with perfectly low blood sugar who eat white rice three times a day,” says Gerencser. “Then I have other clients who seem to become prediabetic from just looking at a sweet potato.”

 

She encourages experimentation with starches and fruits to test your tolerance, rather than blindly following any one protocol. Pay attention to whether certain foods tank your energy, and, above all, monitor your efforts with blood work. Regardless, cutting out high-sugar processed foods and beverages is key.

 

  • Fast intermittently. A 2016 meta-analysis found that periodic fasting — even brief fasts of 16 to 18 hours — improves insulin resistance and supports mitochondrial health. (For more on fasting, see “The Insulin Connection,” next page, and “The Case of Intermittent Fasting“.)

 

“Fasting isn’t fun,” says Thomas Seyfried, PhD, professor of biology at Boston College. “But it works really well.” Fasting stimulates a cellular process called autophagy, which destroys junk cells and clears their debris, he explains. Researchers theorize that this process helps eliminate malfunctioning cells that might otherwise become cancerous.

 

Acupuncture: Go With the Flow

Many hospitals now offer alternative or complementary treatment options for battling cancer. Chief among them is acupuncture.

 

Research backs its effectiveness in relieving cancer-treatment side effects, including radiation-related hot flashes, dry mouth, peripheral neuropathy, and fatigue. A 2017 report published in Current Oncology found that acupuncture significantly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms from chemotherapy.

 

“It’s not a magic bullet and it doesn’t work for everyone,” says M. Kay Garcia, DrPH, LAc, associate professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “But for many patients, it works when nothing else does.”

 

Acupuncture tends to be inexpensive, especially compared with pharmaceutical options. And for some patients, it can provide as much pain relief as opioids do, with fewer side effects.

 

Studies emphasize acupuncture’s utility in relieving side effects of treatment, but show it can be part of a preventive strategy, as well.

 

“Cancer is usually the result of a lot of imbalance that has been going on for a while,” says Tomás Flesher, LAc, owner of Three Treasures Natural Healing in Minneapolis.

 

“We often hear people say, ‘It just came out of nowhere,’ but it didn’t really.”

 

The body is a collection of dynamic energies, Flesher explains. Acupuncture practitioners often compare these energies, called chi (pronounced “chee”), to a river in the body: When it’s high, everything flows as it should; when it’s low, debris gets stuck, causing illness.

 

Acupuncture works to balance those energies before disease sets in.

 

“What’s interesting about acupuncture and other energy medicine,” Flesher says, “is that they seek to influence the changes that are happening in the body way before they manifest symptomatically.” (For more, go to “Acupuncture: Getting to the Point“.)

 

The Best of the Rest

Acupuncture is one of the most common alternative interventions, but it’s not the only one. While clinical evidence for other therapies lags behind public demand, the anecdotal evidence that they work is strong.

 

The following are a few less-studied, but often effective, therapies.

 

  • Oncology massage: Cancer patients are like the athletes of the medical world — their treatment schedule is physically taxing, and massage can mitigate the side effects. It helps reduce anxiety, support relaxation, and boost immunity.

 

“After a medical massage, cancer patients often express appreciation for being reminded that they still can feel good in their body,” says Johnson. “I don’t know if it’s a physical response or a psychosomatic effect, but if they feel better, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

 

Oncology massage may feel a lot like conventional massage, but therapists are specially trained to work around active treatment sites and modify touch for each client’s needs. They also help patients tap into their bodies’ intrinsic self-healing wisdom.

 

“I don’t interpret what I do as ‘me healing someone,’” says Nissa Valdez, a holistic and oncology massage therapist in Minneapolis. “The person’s body is already set up to do that on its own. I’m there to help them be closer to parts of themselves, so they can heal themselves.”

 

Patients in active treatment should check with their oncologists first to make sure massage is safe. (If they’re in the middle of a course of radiation, for example, it could feel miserable.) They should seek only certified therapists.

 

“The bottom line is to find someone experienced to work with,” says Valdez. “Even if someone has been your massage therapist for 15 years, if he or she hasn’t worked with someone with cancer, I’d think twice about continuing.” (The Society for Oncology Massage website, http://www.s4om.org, offers a list of certified practitioners.)

 

  • Music therapy: Now used at most integrative cancer centers around the country, music therapy may help reduce acute, cancer-related pain, according to a 2017 study published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. A 2017 survey of integrative interventions during breast-cancer treatment found that many doctors recommended music therapy — which typically involves listening, singing, and improvisational dancing — for anxiety and depression during treatment. In addition to boosting mood and relieving pain, singing and movement often help cancer patients express difficult emotions.

 

Board-certified music therapist Sara Fisher works in three Denver-area hospitals. She doesn’t need research findings to know that music therapy works. She relies on the feedback of those who work most closely with the patients: nurses.

 

“A nurse will grab me and say, ‘You need to go work your magic on so-and-so. They just got a tough diagnosis and they won’t talk to anybody, but they’ll talk to you,’” she says.

 

  • Psychoneuroimmunology: Though only recently named, the connection between emotional and spiritual experiences and the immune system has been recognized in some cultures for hundreds of years.

 

“The idea of immune surges that lead to immediate healing has been around since the 13th century, or the beginning of recorded cancer,” says researcher Kelly Turner, PhD, author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds.

 

Turner began her career as a thera-pist working with cancer patients. After encountering hundreds of terminal patients who had exhausted conventional treatments but then found their cancer in inexplicable remission, she started studying their cases by asking them what they believed helped them heal.

 

“When we think about cancer, we think of a problem with the physical body,” Turner explains. “So, I expected people to tell me what they did to their bodies.”

 

But most patients recounted emotional changes — how they’d forgiven an ex-spouse or found antidotes to their boredom. Some were confident that watching four minutes of funny cat videos a day had made a difference. Others told her that gardening or burning ceremonies or having a weekly “girls’ night” had helped put them into remission — because these things helped them come into the present moment.

 

“Our emotional state impacts our immune system, often instantly,” says Turner. “It’s immunotherapy — just the natural version.”

 

Turner identified eight common factors in radical remission cases: Survivors took control of their health, deepened spiritual connections, overhauled their diets, used herbs and supplements, got more social support, increased positive emotions, followed their intuition, and found strong reasons for living. Of these, only two were physical: changing diets and taking herbs and supplements.

 

The rest were emotional and spiritual, and the details, highly individual. Whatever connected a person with the present moment — whether growing dahlias or playing with dogs — seemed to do the most good.

 

“Cases like these are plentiful,” says Turner. “They’re just severely underreported. The real problem is that we’re not studying them, and we should study everyone who has healed from cancer.”

 

The New Anticancer Life

My genes predispose me to cancer, but I don’t live in abject terror.

 

I feel empowered because the research of the past 20 years tells a new and different story. I know that I can talk to my genes through food and lifestyle medicine. I balance my energy with acupuncture and yoga. I avoid dairy and eat more vegetables in a day than I used to eat in a week. I still don’t meditate, but I’ve embraced the spiritual outlet that works for me: dumb action movies. I relax on a deep cellular level (and thrill like an 11-year-old boy) whenever I watch  Vin Diesel race across Siberia in a Dodge Charger.

 

The cancer that came for me in 2012 has (blessedly) remained at bay. I’ve got some suspicious spots in the rest of my body, so I embrace my PJS-screening protocol, and I watch and wait. Every year, like clockwork, I drink a giant jug of laxative and get a colonoscopy, while my long-suffering gastroenterologist tolerates my efforts to fight him off — kung-fu style — each time I go under anesthesia. Then I go home, chug a low-glycemic green smoothie, and cue up an action film.

 

Cancer is a multidimensional disease. I want a multidimensional plan of attack.

 

The Insulin Connection

The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin every time we eat. Insulin’s main role is to escort glucose into our cells, where it can be used for energy.

 

No matter what we eat, the pancreas releases insulin, but it releases more of it when the foods are sweet. When the body produces substantial amounts of the hormone for too long, cells stop responding, becoming insulin resistant.

 

“High insulin levels and insulin resistance are closely linked to mitochondrial damage,” says Jason Fung, MD, coauthor of The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Damaged mitochondria might be the underlying problem with cancer cells.”

 

Too much insulin may cause another problem, too. “Insulin is a growth factor, and cancer is uncontrolled growth, so anything that causes growth can make things worse,” he explains.

 

Brief periods of fasting can help lower insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance. Nutritionist Michelle Gerencser, MS, notes that it can produce beneficial metabolic changes in as little as 13 hours (which can include sleep time). So, if you stop eating at 7 p.m. and don’t resume again until 8 a.m., you can help restore lower insulin levels.

 

Low-glycemic foods — dark leafy greens and vegetables, grassfed meats, and low-sugar fruits like berries — also keep insulin in check and help reduce inflammation.

 

Cancer-Fighting Diets

Eating more plants and less sugar, while avoiding processed foods and beverages, is the foundation of all cancer-fighting diets. From there, the best approach is the one that works best for you.

 

So how do you know what that is? When you try a new anticancer food protocol, work with your healthcare provider to test your inflammation and blood-sugar levels after a few weeks. When your blood sugar and fasting insulin are well controlled and your inflammatory markers are low, you’ve likely found an effective food plan.

 

You can also use your current health status or treatment protocol as a guide. You might generally eat an anti-inflammatory diet, for example, but if you enter active treatment and your platelets are low, you might want to temporarily kick up the sesame oil and tahini, both high in inflammatory omega-6 fats, to help the platelets recover.

 

These are three of the top nutrition protocols you can use to prevent and heal from cancer.

 

Vegan

  • What it is: A 100 percent plant-based diet that eliminates meat, dairy, and honey.

 

  • Benefits: Plants and more plants supply a load of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.

 

  • Challenges: Blood sugar can be harder for some to control on a vegan diet. It’s critical to get enough healthy fats for blood-sugar regulation and to avoid processed foods like faux meats.

 

Paleo

  • What it is: A nutrition protocol that focuses on grassfed meats and wild-caught fish, high-quality fats and oils, and as many plants as you can eat; avoids dairy, cereal grains, legumes, potatoes, and refined sugar.

 

  • Benefits: A diet rich in healthy fats and lean protein helps keep blood sugar under control. The omega-3 fats in grassfed meat and coldwater fish like salmon are anti-inflammatory. The absence of sugar keeps insulin well-regulated.

 

  • Challenges: There’s a tendency to overconsume meat and neglect vegetables. Consuming meat from factory-farmed animals, which contains fewer omega-3s and more omega-6s, can promote inflammation. Healthful paleo eating means sticking with grassfed and wild-caught protein, in modest amounts.

 

Ketogenic

  • What it is: A metabolic therapy that requires getting 75 to 80 percent of daily calories from fat, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from carbohydrates. Periods of fasting also boost nutritional ketosis, a state in which your body burns fat for energy.

 

  • Benefits: Tightly restricting glucose while increasing fat intake forces the body to switch from burning glucose to burning fat; this improves mitochondrial health and puts stress on tumor cells. (Fasting also puts stress on tumor cells.)

 

  • Challenges: It’s hard to eat so much fat and so few carbs. If you decide to adopt a full ketogenic protocol, it’s best done under the care of an experienced health practitioner. And if you do not have cancer, most researchers advocate avoiding prolonged periods of ketosis, as it can lead to phytonutrient deficiencies. “It may be good to go in and out of nutritional ketosis for general health and cancer prevention, but it may not be optimal for those using it for clinical management of existing disease,” says Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida. He suggests intermittent fasting and low-glycemic-index diets as a good alternative.

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Foods, Uncategorized

Holiday Green Bean Casserole

Elegant-Green-Beans_EXPS_TGCBBZ17_31193_D05_03_3b

ELEGANT GREEN BEANS RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 small onion, chopped

1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

6 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( I use coconut flour)

1 cup 2% milk ( I use less than ½ c)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Dash salt

1 package (16 ounces) frozen French-style green beans, thawed

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( Philadelphia cream cheese is good)

1 cup crushed French-fried onions

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small skillet, saute water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside.

In large skillet, melt remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Stir in milk, broth, soy sauce, pepper sauce and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in green beans and cheese.

Spoon half of the bean mixture into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Layer with water chestnut mixture and remaining bean mixture.

Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Top with French-fried onions. Bake 5 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

3/4 cup: 218 calories, 15g fat (8g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Pumpkin Pie

pumpkinpie

Pumpkin Pie

 

This is a great recipe !  It does not contain the evaporated milk, or corn syrup that most have in them.

This is made with Maple Syrup

 

INGREDIENTS

1 can (16 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 eggs

1 unbaked pie shell (9 inches)

Whipped cream, optional

 

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except last two. Pour into the pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

1 piece: 308 calories, 11g fat (5g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 148mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (32g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet-Potato-Casserole_EXPS_TGCBBZ_3234_D05_10_1b

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

CASSEROLE:

2-1/4 to 2-1/2 pounds (about 4 cups) sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten ( adding protein is smart when you use sugar)

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute

TOPPING:

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Spread into a greased 1-1/2-qt. casserole. For topping, combine all ingredients and sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Chinese Chicken Broccoli : Paleo Friendly

Paleo Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Paleo Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

 

Ingredients

 

4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets

4 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 cup 1/4-inch-thick half-moon slices onion

2 tablespoons minced ginger (about a 1-inch piece)

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 whole small dried chiles or 1/2 teaspoon chile oil

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in 1-inch cubes

4 teaspoons cashew butter

3 tablespoons tamari

1/2 cup unsalted whole cashews

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

 

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

 

Heat the canola and sesame oils in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chiles and sauté until the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

 

In a small bowl, whisk the cashew butter and tamari and pour into the skillet, stirring to remove any lumps. Add the chicken back in the pan, stir in the broccoli and cashews, and stir to heat through and completely coat with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Hummus Dip

hummusdip

Hummus Dip

 

Ingredients

 

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed, plus more for garnish

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin

12 to 15 grinds black pepper

1/4 cup water

Paprika, for garnish

 

Directions

 

In a blender combine all the ingredients except the parsley and paprika to be used for garnish. Blend on low speed until smooth. You’ll have to stop the blender often to push down the ingredients. If the mixture is too dry and you’re having trouble blending it, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to help things along.

 

Scrape the hummus onto a plate. Sprinkle the paprika over the top, drizzle lightly with olive oil, scatter some parsley on top, and serve. You can make the hummus up to a couple of hours before you serve it. Cover the top with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature.

 

Per Tablespoon: Calories: 57; Total Fat: 4 grams; Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams; Protein: 1 gram; Total carbohydrates: 5 grams; Sugar: 0 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 96 milligrams

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Buffalo Cauliflower

buffalocauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

 

Cheese Sauce:

1/3 cup nonfat sour cream

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 tablespoon skim milk

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Buffalo Cauliflower:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

8 cups cauliflower florets (from about 1 medium head)

 

Directions

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

For the cheese sauce: Whisk together the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, 1/8 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes

 

For the Buffalo cauliflower: Meanwhile, microwave the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl on high until melted. Whisk in the hot sauce and lemon juice and set aside.

 

Mix olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss until well coated. Spread the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beginning to brown and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Whisk the hot sauce mixture again, drizzle over the cauliflower and toss with tongs to coat. Roast the cauliflower until the sauce is bubbling and browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes more. Serve hot with the cheese sauce.

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Killing Cancer Cells with This!

turmeric_article

Killing Cancer Cells with This!

 

Not long ago, researchers at the world-renowned University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center published a groundbreaking scientific review of their favorite anti-cancer nutrient — curcumin. Curcumin, along with several other nutrients, is remarkable in that it can actually tell the difference between a healthy cell and a cancer cell.

 

According to Wellness Resources, here is how the researchers explained their interest in curcumin:

 

“’ … Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) … is one of the most powerful and promising chemopreventive and anticancer agents … How curcumin exerts its powerful anticancer activities has been thoroughly investigated, and several mechanisms of action have been discovered … curcumin exerts its biological activities through epigenetic modulation.’”

 

In other words, curcumin changes the regulation of DNA to help kill cancer. In fact, curcumin not only influences epigenetic settings, it also manages the downstream consequences, helping to guide multiple steps in the way gene orders are implemented.

 

But genes are in fact NOT self-regulating.

 

Having “bad genes,” does not at all mean you’re doomed to suffer some inevitable fate. Genes are merely blueprints, and these blueprints are activated and controlled by something else entirely, namely their environment. This environmental information—which includes diet, toxic exposures, as well as thoughts and emotions, and more—can create more than 30,000 different variations from each blueprint, allowing for an astounding amount of leeway in modifying the expression or “read-out” of each gene!

 

The Power of Food as Medicine

As a result of these findings, we’re now finally seeing science alter its course to investigate the power of optimal nutrition to improve health and prevent chronic disease from occurring in the first place. To anyone who is well-versed in alternative medicine, this is simply common sense. But many are still in denial about the power each individual wields over their own health, and that preventing disease and even treating disease can be as simple as modifying your diet and lifestyle—essentially, altering the environment of your body, to provide the best, most health promoting growth medium possible for all your cells.

 

Part of the explanation for why food can have such a powerful influence on serious diseases such as cancer is due to its influence on a biological process called angiogenesis– the process your body uses to build blood vessels. Cancerous cells, like all other cells in your body, cannot thrive without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by your capillaries.

 

Excessive angiogenesis (too many blood vessels) promote diseases such as cancer.

 

Most of us actually carry around microscopic cancer cell clusters in our bodies all the time. The reason why we all don’t develop cancer is because as long as your body has the ability to balance angiogenesis properly, it will prevent blood vessels from forming to feed these microscopic tumors. Trouble will only arise if, and when, the cancer cells manage to get their own blood supply, at which point they can transform from harmless to deadly.

 

As our ancestors intuitively understood, Nature has laced a large number of foods and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis, rendering them natural “anti-cancer medicines.” Simply by consuming these anti-angiogenetic foods you can naturally boost your body’s defense system and prevent blood vessels from forming and feeding the microscopic tumors that exist in your body at any given time.

 

I’ve previously written about a number of different foods found to have particularly powerful epigenetic influence, such as broccoli and resveratrol, but many researchers consider the curcumin in turmeric to have the greatest potential in combating cancer.

 

Curcumin—One of the Most Powerful Cancer Gene Regulators

It’s now becoming more widely accepted that cancer is not pre-programmed into your genes, but rather it’s the environment of your body that regulates your genetic expression that can trigger cancer to occur. Adverse epigenetic influences that can damage or mutate DNA and alter genetic expression, allowing cancer to proliferate, include:

 

Nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances             Toxins and pollution        Chronic infections            Infectious toxic byproducts

Chronic stress    Chronic inflammation     Free radical damage        Thoughts and emotional conflicts

Curcumin currently has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer among all nutrients. Interestingly this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous. Best of all, curcumin appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers.

 

Researchers have found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:

 

Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells     Decrease inflammation

Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation

Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body               Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)

However, much of curcumin’s power seems to lie in its ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells, and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, i.e. it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth as discussed above.

 

For example, a 2005 study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.

 

“Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch,” said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. “Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.”

 

Another study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.

 

Other Health Benefits of Curcumin

The growing interest in curcumin over the past 50 years is understandable when you consider the many health benefits researchers have found when studying this herb. According to studies, curcumin may help:

 

Reduce cholesterol levels             Prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation             Inhibit platelet aggregation

Suppress thrombosis and myocardial infarction   Suppress symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes               Suppress symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Suppress symptoms of multiple sclerosis               Suppress symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease               Inhibit HIV replication

Suppress tumor formation           Enhance wound healing Protect against liver damage

Increase bile secretion    Protect against cataracts              Protect against pulmonary toxicity and fibrosis

How to Use Curcumin

To get the full benefits curcumin has to offer, look for a turmeric extract that contains 100 percent certified organic ingredients, with at least 95 percent curcuminoids. The formula should be free of fillers, additives and excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid), and the manufacturer should use safe production practices at all stages: planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final product.

 

Unfortunately, at the present time there really are no formulations available for the use against cancer. This is because relatively high doses are required and curcumin is not absorbed that well.

 

According to Dr. William LaValley, one of the leading medicine cancer physicians I personally know, typical anticancer doses are up to three grams of good bioavailable curcumin extract, three to four times daily. One work-around is to use the curcumin powder and make a microemulsion of it by combining a tablespoon of the powder and mixing it into 1-2 egg yolks and a teaspoon or two of melted coconut oil. Then use a high speed hand blender to emulsify the powder.

 

Another strategy that can help increase absorption is to put one tablespoon of the curcumin powder into a quart of boiling water. It must be boiling when you add the powder as it will not work as well if you put it in room temperature water and heat the water and curcumin. After boiling it for ten minutes you will have created a 12 percent solution that you can drink once it has cooled down. It will have a woody taste.

 

The curcumin will gradually fall out of solution however. In about six hours it will be a 6 percent solution, so it’s best to drink the water within four hours.

 

Be aware that curcumin is a very potent yellow pigment and can permanently discolor surfaces if you aren’t careful.

 

Please Remember the Cancer Treatment BASICS

It is encouraging to see cancer research on herbs such as turmeric. However, it’s virtually impossible to discuss cancer prevention and treatment without touching on one of the absolute best cancer prevention nutrients ever discovered, namely vitamin D.

 

Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a powerful neuro-regulatory steroid, and it’s likely more potent than curcumin, as its epigenetic influence covers more than 2,000 genes in your body—or about 10 percent of all genes! There are also more than 830 peer reviewed scientific studies showing vitamin D’s effectiveness in the treatment of cancer.

 

Personally, I believe it is virtually malpractice to not optimize vitamin D levels when treating someone with cancer. In this case, your vitamin D levels should be around 70-100 ng/ml. For more information about optimizing your vitamin D levels, please see my previous article Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.

 

Cancer Treatments: Chemo or Natural?

Contrary to ‘conventional wisdom,’ chemotherapy is rarely the best option for cancer treatment as it usually typically doesn’t cure cancer or extend life, and it rarely improves the quality of life. Dr. Ralph Moss, who is the author of eight books on cancer treatment, has reviewed thousands of studies as part of the research for his books — and he has not found one single good study showing that chemo cures cancer or extends life.

 

What chemo does do, however, is expose your body to toxins that kill all cells that multiply and divide rapidly. This includes not only cancer cells, but also other rapidly multiplying and dividing cells, such as bone marrow, reproductive system cells and hair follicles.

 

These are powerful drugs that present an assault on your system — one that your body must then overcome along with the cancer. And the effects do not end right after the treatment. One UCLA study found that chemotherapy can actually change the blood flow and metabolism of your brain in ways that can linger for 10 years or more after treatment.

 

Natural (and Epigenetic) Cancer Prevention Strategies

I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer and other chronic disease, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following some relatively simple risk reduction strategies—all of which help promote a healthful biological environment in which your cells can thrive and combat disease naturally.

 

You don’t read or hear much about these strategies because they have not been formally “proven” yet by conservative researchers. However, did you know that 85 percent of therapies currently recommended by conventional medicine have never been formally proven effective either?!

 

My top 12 cancer prevention strategies include:

 

Reduce or eliminate your processed food, fructose and grain carbohydrate intake.

Normalize your vitamin D levels by getting plenty of sunlight exposure and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, it would be prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.

Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels. (Improved insulin and leptin control is the natural outcome of reducing or eliminating fructose, grains, and processed foods from your diet.)

Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil or fish oil and reducing your intake of most processed vegetable oils.

Get regular exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks. If you have limited time, Sprint 8 is your best bet but ideally you should have a good strength training program

Get regular, good sleep.

Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are sorely underappreciated. However, some cancer specialists are now using nutritional typing as an integral part of their cancer treatments.

Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.

Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from EMF produced by cell phone towers, base stations, cell phones and WiFi stations. On May 31, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead.

Have a tool to permanently reprogram the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. Energy psychology seems to be one of the best approaches and my particular favorite tool, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique. German New Medicine is another powerful tool.

Eat at least one-third of your food raw.

 

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