The Cancer Project, launched by PCRM, teamed up with Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., for a series of summer cooking classes focused on cancer prevention and survival. Lectures and cooking demonstrations revolved around these eight important keys that you can put to use, too.
1. Fuel Up on Low-Fat Foods
Few people realize that dietary fat increases cancer risk by encouraging hormone production and hindering the immune system.
2. Favor Fiber
Fiber helps rid the body of toxins, excess hormones, and other cancer-promoting compounds. It’s also very filling, leaving less room for low-nutrition junk food.
3. Discover Dairy Alternatives
Even low-fat dairy products may encourage cancer growth. But calcium-fortified milk products made from soy, rice, almonds, and oats are widely available and healthier by far. Highly absorbable calcium can also be found in dark leafy greens and beans.
4. Replace Meat
Besides the fat and cholesterol, meat forms carcinogens in the cooking process. Tasty, high-protein plant foods such as beans, lentils, seitan, tofu, and tempeh can easily take the place of meat.
5. Plan Healthy Meals
The healthiest meals are full of vibrant colors, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
6. Add More Antioxidants
Different plants have unique phytochemicals with distinctive cancer-fighting properties. The cruciferous family—Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens—have indoles and lutein, which help remove carcinogens from the body.
7. Boost Immunity
Avoid animal products and eat plenty of foods rich in selenium (garlic and Brazil nuts), vitamin E (blueberries, almonds, sunflower seeds), beta-carotene (carrots, mangos, yams), vitamin C (grapefruit, bell peppers), and zinc (whole grains and beans).
8. Keep Trim
Maintaining a healthy weight not only helps ward off a variety of chronic diseases, but it also improves cancer survival rates.
A Favorite Fall Recipe: Lentil and Artichoke Stew
Serves 4 to 6
This aromatic, fiber-packed, and tasty Middle Eastern dish is great served over brown rice or your favorite pasta.
1 cup dry red lentils (3 cups cooked)
1 bay leaf
3 cups water
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups canned tomatoes (18-ounce can), chopped and liquid reserved
1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke bottoms (9-ounce package frozen or 15-ounce can)
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and ground black pepper
Bring lentils, bay leaf, and water to a boil in a saucepan. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Heat olive oil in a separate pan. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add lemon juice, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and crushed red pepper (if using) and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Drain lentils, reserving the liquid, and add to tomato and artichoke mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes more, adding about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid if the sauce seems dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites by The Moosewood Collective