Food is Medicine
Surprise - Healthy Anti-Cancer Foods Can be Tasty!
I love introducing new healthy foods to individuals, especially those who have been affected by cancer. As a facilitator and group leader for cancer survivorship wellness workshops, I have had the great pleasure of working with oncology dietician colleagues who have offered their expertise in presenting on the vast topic of nutrition and cancer. During sessions on nutrition, the dieticians would demonstrate how to make a healthy dish and we would have other side dishes for the participants to “test out” as well. It was always so fun to watch the looks on participant’s faces when we would talk about foods such as kale, quinoa, chia seeds, and adzuki beans, since many of them had never tried any of these foods. While they may not have looked very excited about trying these new foods, most of the time participants actually discovered that they liked what they were eating. It was always great to see that happy look of surprise!
The recipes that we choose were often relatively easy to make and did not include many ingredients as we were aiming for simplicity and low cost, yet high in nutritious value. We always provided the participants with recipes and most of the participant felt as though they could try making the recipes at home. Some even talked about making enough for leftovers that they could bring to work for lunch. It stimulated lots of great discussion among the participants about how they could begin to make some small, realistic healthy dietary changes. It brought me such joy to find out at subsequent sessions that some of the participants actually made the dishes at home to enjoy with their families. Getting them to begin making healthy dietary changes can be the start for improving their chances for a longer, healthier life without cancer.
Here is a recipe we shared with our groups in the past and it was a BIG hit (not just for me and my colleagues😊):
Blueberry, Kale and Quinoa Salad (Serves 4-6)
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled ½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup of fresh blueberries 3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups shredded kale 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¾ crumbled feta cheese Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, kale, feta, and almonds. Mix until well combined.
2. Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss to fully coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.