Foods to Fight Cancer

Taking charge of our health is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, including preventing cancer. Aim to be your best person, by choosing the best foods for your body. Looking at cancer prevention specifically, eat/drink more of these nutrient-rich foods.

Folate – a B vitamin, helps reduce the risk of colon, rectum and breast cancer. However, don’t mistake this naturally occurring vitamin for folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Where should one seek out this nutrient? Check out strawberries, melons, asparagus, pasture-raised eggs, liver, sunflower seeds and leafy greens, to name a few. You may see people tout the benefits of fortified cereals and grains, however, I do not advise these foods. They can indeed deplete your nutrient stores due to phytates and other anti-nutrients. Make it a simple choice, choose food in it’s natural form.

Lycopene – I say tomato, you say tomato…load up my friends, and if the tomato product is heated (i.e. tomato sauce or paste), the lycopene may be more bio-available aka better to absorb.

Hydrate – and I am not talking about drinking sweet beverages or sodas. I am looking at the power of tea. Change up the variety you consume too. With the weather getting warmer, brew up some tea, allow it to cool and pour over some ice. Benefits come from the typical green tea to the herbal kind. Here are some of my favorite flavors. 

Spice – spice up your plate, palate and entree with spices. Specifically turmeric. Yet, dried and fresh herbs are loaded with antioxidants. Don’t be shy to spice up your plate.

Berries – these are my fruit of choice for myself and recommendation for clients. They are packed with health and research even shows the deactivation of certain cancer substances and slowing the growth of cancer.

Overall, aim to eat real, whole food. The story doesn’t change and you are left with nothing but positives. Whole, real food provide vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, all helping you avoid unwanted gene expression (cancer). One more pointer, enjoy foods of all colors. Diversify your plate starting with your grocery list.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

Do You Know What’s in Season Right Now?

Back in the day, we could all probably answer this question within seconds, but with recent technology, communication and travel advances, our food is making it to our neighborhood grocery store, from around the world. So who knows if I would naturally be eating bing cherries right now? One way to tell, is of course, whip out a Google search, but also really pay attention to the food you are eating. For example, last month my typical lunch was a lettuce wrap of some sort, and when I made grassfed beef patties, I craved onion and tomato. How did my tomato taste and look? Guess. It was dull in color and nearly tasteless. Why? Tomatoes are provided year round but not at their peak. Before I run out and do my Sunday errands, I am gathering a grocery list and docking a few “seasonal” produce items on my list, so I can thoroughly enjoy the flavors of the season. Please note this list was pulled for the Illinois  Midwest area. If you live in another region, click here.

For April/May:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli (one of my favorites!)
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Cucumbers (I love cucumber and tahini sauce)
  • Greens
  • Herbs (I rotate the type of herbs I buy each week. They can dress up any meal)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Squash
  • Strawberries

Come June, I can enjoy some luscious tomatoes!

Cheers to you and good health, Kel

 

 

 

 

Food4Thought: Food Politics

When deciding what to eat, please consider this:

“If the members of the American Medical establishment were to have a collective find-yourself-naked-in-Times-Square-nightmare, this might be it. They spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins…accusing the Manhattan doctor of quackery and fraud  only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along. Or maybe it’s this: They find that their very own dietary recommendations-eat less fat and more carbohydrate-are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America. Or, just possibly this: They find out both of the above are true.”

Gary Taubes
“What If It’s Been a Big Fat Lie”
NY Times Magazine, July 7, 2002

I care about your health.

Cheers, Kel

5 Foods To Live Off Of

If the challenge was put before me – what 5 foods would I choose to live off of for the rest of my life? Do I choose purely by health; well that actually doesn’t limit me too much. The foods that I think are most nutritious are actually to me the most delicious. So this is what I am thinking:

Coconut – I could turn this into coconut oil, flakes, cream, water! The list goes on. Am I cheating? Fair enough though, a single coconut can be amended to all the things noted above meanwhile serving a nice helping of fiber, medium chain triglycerides, lauric acid, energy and more. Overall, coconut has so many health benefits including weight loss my friends. One study out of the Journal of Nutrition suggests that we can expend more calories digesting medium-chain triglycerides (coconut) than digesting long-chain fatty acids (found in almonds, avocados, olive oil).

Pumpkin – I love pumpkin year round. I roast it, I make soup out of it, I scramble eggs into it, I put it on salads, I spice it up with cinnamon, nuts and/or dates, I eat it plain or if I am feeling indulgent I will mix roasted pumpkin with either grassfed butter (savory) or drizzle some dark chocolate morsels over it. Pumpkin is so delicious and I really favor it’s texture/mouth feel. Pumpkin is packed with nutrients, it is versatile and economical. I should be a sales rep for pumpkin, eh? Please note, pumpkin in a can is not what I am preaching here. I buy the green pumpkin (Japanese) and make it fresh every time. More often than not, I make such a large batch and freeze a portion of it.

Macadamia Nuts – I have always liked nuts, but macadamia nuts get their own category. The first time I had fresh, and I mean fresh macadamia nuts in Australia, I thought heaven exploded in my mouth. I could taste the fresh juices (oil) as I was chewing them and it was unforgettable  Macadamia nuts are good with just about anything. I like them in my salad, on their own, as dessert with some fruit or dark chocolate and more. I have even put them in my eggs (when I cook eggs with fresh berries). Have you ever had macadamia nut butter? I make my own and it’s scrumptious. Going back to how I put macadamia nuts in their own category – it is not only because they are tasty but also because they are the least inflammatory of all nuts, with the best fatty acid ratio in comparison to almonds, walnuts, etc. Macadamia nuts are high in fat and protein and therefore serve as a good snack option (if you can control the amount). However, we all have to remember too much of a good thing, just is not good.

Beef or pork?!! Pork – This is really a tie. I like meat and always buy the grassfed, pastured raised sources. Both pork and beef are so good for us and really make us thrive, especially when we eat non-traditional cuts and homemade bone broths. But getting down to how I choose between the two, pork is a little more versatile. If I were to live off one of these meats for the rest of my life, I want to enjoy something that can be grilled to something that can be made in skillet (bacon!).

Eggs – An egg yolk a day will keep the doctor away as far as I am concerned. This is also factoring in the type of egg – free range, cage free, organic eggs are the best. Eggs contain fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. They also contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Did I mention eggs are delicious. I start most mornings with 2 Paleo Infused Breakfast muffins or 2 poached eggs.

Oh no – are you getting worried that I am eating too many eggs because of cholesterol? Well, let me explain something as fast as I can. Elevated serum levels of cholesterol is a symptom of an underlining problem, not the cause of the problem. The underlining problem is oftentimes inflammation at the artery level. Cholesterol is present because it was sent to the artery to help/heal the inflammation. When inflammation doesn’t subside, more cholesterol is sent to the problematic area and starts to accumulate around the artery as a band aid. At this point plaque can start to build up and you have “high cholesterol.” So long story short, dietary cholesterol is not the worry. If you want to know more about cholesterol and what foods should be demonized please read, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes. So bottom line, cholesterol is sent to treat a problem, not to cause it.

If I was allowed a bonus food, I add Wild Salmon!

**Wild Salmon – High quality protein with a nutritious offering of fat. Salmon is tasty whether it is smoked, raw, steamed or grilled. I will be picky too. I will not accept farmed-salmon. It’s like comparing a fresh beet to beets from a can, soaked in syrup.

Aww man – how did I not get dark chocolate in this list? I guess we have to pick and choose.

Here are what a few of my followers had to say (and when I raised the question, I limited it to 3):

Amy Gonsalves Avocados for sure!

Carly Smith coffee, grassfed beef for sure!

Mark Braceros Bacon, bacon and bacon.

Jon Boyd I would go eggs, pork and apples

Cynthia Zuber Eggs, almonds and apples

Anthony Rees Bacon, eggs, beef

Michelle McCartan Eggs, berries, salmon

@LowCarbRD – salmon, avocado, kale. Wish I could have 5 — would add almond butter and bell peppers 🙂

What 5 foods would you live off of?

Dairy & Bone Health

For frequent viewers and those new to my site, you will know or become familiar with the notion I do not advocate a diet rich in dairy, especially not pasteurized, grain-fed, non-organic dairy. Yet, with this, common questions arise regarding the avoidance of dairy and bone health.

Firstly, bone health is more than getting enough calcium. As far as nutrition, and not even addressing the importance of anaerobic exercise, bone health encompasses proper amounts of magnesium, calcium and fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and K2.

Some nutrient-dense food sources abundant in calcium includes dark leafy greens (kale, broccoli), bone broth, sesame seeds, dried figs, sea vegetables, to name a few. Furthermore, eating a whole food (not whole grain) diet increases your absorption rate of these important minerals. To clarify, this also mean limiting or avoiding grains. Grains contains phytates and phytates bind to the minerals we consume, reducing the overall absorption rate. So what does this mean? The nutrients listed on a bread (grain) food label will not all be absorbed. The phytates will leach to the minerals and therefore, you will have some nutrient-dense urine. Too far? Sorry.

However, the bottom-line is a diet including whole, natural food, including quality protein will make us thrive. Some people can continue eating dairy, but I do not recommend for it to be the center of our plates.

Know this, not all dairy is one in the same. Raw and grass-fed dairy products are far superior to pasteurized, homogenized,  processed, low-fat dairy. It is important to get dairy from cows raised naturally, healthily and to eat full fat dairy – that is where the naturally occurring (not fortified) vitamins A, D and K2 are found along with healthy fatty acids (CLA).

If ranked, raw dairy is the winner as far as nutrition content and overall health benefits. Second, grassfed dairy and third would be organic dairy. If you can get raw, grassfed and organic dairy, rock on! But it’s not all that easy. A few brands I recommend for patients who can handle dairy (who do not have an auto-immune condition, who do not have type 1 diabetes in their family medical history age pending and who do not have a weak digestive track) include:

  1. Noosa Yoghurt
  2. Join a CSA and get raw dairy through a farmer
  3. Natural by Nature Grassfed, Dairy Products
  4. Eat Wild Grassfed Products
  5. Trader Joes has a Raw Cheddar cheese
  6. Whole Foods has raw cheese
  7. Kerrygold butter (can be found at more supermarkets, including Trader Joes)
  8. US Wellness Meats 

Indeed, we can live and thrive without milk, cheese, cream, okay maybe not butter (or ghee from grassfed cows), but health and healthy bones include consumption of a combination of natural nutrients. The best way to help your frame is to eat foods in its natural state. Furthermore, it is not supported to supplement with calcium for recent data indicates detrimental affects on our health when doing so. (1,2,3)

Ironic enough, our country (USA) has the highest occurrence of calcium supplementation and the highest occurrence of osteoporosis. The Nurses’ Health Study followed 72,337 women for over 18 years and found that dairy intake did not reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures.(2)

This is some food for thought, don’t you agree?

Fueling our bodies and our health with whole, unmodified food is and will always be the answer.

1. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC. Comment on the IOM Vitamin D and Calcium Recommendations. Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source, 2010.
2. Zoler ML. High Vitamin D Intake Linked to Reduced Fractures. Family Practice News, 2010(November 16, 2010).
3. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Orav EJ, Willett, WC, et al., A Higher Dose of Vitamin D is Required for Hip and Non-vertebral Fracture Prevention: A Pooled Participant-based Meta-analysis of 11 Double-blind RCTs, in The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2010 Annual Meeting2010: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
4. Tsukahara N, Ezawa I. [Calcium intake and osteoporosis in many countries]. Clin Calcium. 2001 Feb;11(2):173-7.
5. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(2): 504-11.

Similar articles on this topic:

Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Worth the Risk?

Raw Milk – Interview with Mary McGonigle-Martin

Drinking Raw Milk Is Worth The Risk, Advocates Say

Milk 101: Whole, Raw, Organic, Low-Fat, etc

When/What to Buy Organic

It’s been a fair bit of time since I last posted information on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 and over the years, the information does change as you can see in this list I posted 2-3 years ago.

For those of you who have not heard of these terms simply put the Dirty Dozen includes produce you always want to aim to buy organic and the Clean 15 includes produce that is okay to buy not organic, hence the pesticide content in the non-organically grown produce is not rationally different to the organic version. See below for the lists.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Apple
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – domestic
  12. Potatoes

Clean 15

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantelope
  12. Sweet potato
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

 

Source EWG.org

Foods to Choose – My Recommended Food List

Depending on what your family health history looks like, I would recommend some of the following foods. For those of us who live with an auto-immune disease, it gets a little more restrictive. No doubt though, there is still plenty of good food to be had. Have any questions? Please comment. Cheers to you and good health.

Overall recommended guidelines:

1.  Eat relatively high amount of animal protein compared to that of the typical American diet
2.  Eat carbohydrates only coming from fruits, starchy tubers (sweet potato, yams) and vegetables. Avoid grains and refined sugars.
3.  Eat a large amount of fiber from non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
4.  Eat a moderate amount of healthy fat from avocado, grass fed meat, coconut oil, olive oil (not at high heat), etc
5.  Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Recommended Foods:

  • Meats and poultry – important to be free range/grass fed
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Quail
  • Venison
  • Seafood
  • Bacon, bio-dynamic preferred and nitrate free
  • Eggs (pasture-raised, local, organic, free range and/or omega 3) no limit on how many per week
  • Olives
  • Ham, nitrate free and sugar free
  • Salami, uncured
  • Butter or ghee, from grass feed cows
  • Pickled foods
  • Fermented foods
  • Smoked, dried and salted fish & meat
  • Palm oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Olive oil
  • Tea
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp hearts (hemp seeds)
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk and cream
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Carob powder
  • Dark chocolate, 80% or greater
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, yams
  • Pumpkin, squash, acorn, butternut
  • Spaghetti squash, Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Leeks
  • Capsicums/Bell peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Seaweed
  • Watercress
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Parsnip
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Buk Choy
  • Bone broth (homemade)
  • Black rice
  • Quinoa
  • Herbs and spices
  • Red wine

 

Best fruits:

  • Avocados
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Lemon
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Fruits still okay (limit to 1 or less per day):

  • Grapes
  • Passion fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pomegranat

Blood Type – Do I Eat Right?

Do you believe in the idea that we should all eat for our blood type? I think there is some truth to it, but should not be the only thing considered when designing someone’s or your own diet. Most recently I confirmed that I have type O positive blood. According to the literature for a type O positive blood type, I should be doing the following:

  • Avoid gluten containing grains (Check! I avoid gluten like the plague.)
  • Eat dark, leafy greens rich in vitamin K (Check!)
  • Eat lots of animal protein (Check! Bring on the meat.)
  • Restrict legumes and beans (Check! Beans are not the magical fruit.)
  • Restrict cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard green (Ughhh – I love my cauliflower. Perhaps I conduct an n=1 experiment on myself and see how I feel restricting then introducing this vegetable.)
  • Avoid nightshades (I could make a stronger effort here.)
  • Avoid dairy (I go easy on dairy, but again, could make a stronger effort.)
  • Avoid eggs (Oops – I nearly eat these daily. Perhaps I can do another n=1 experiment. I recently did this with nuts, and wow, I am feeling different in a good way.)
  • Restrict heavy consumption of nuts (Check! See above.)
  • Avoid corn (Check! Every so often I will have some corn chips, but avoid corn the best I can; it’s everywhere.)

If my current food intake was graded against these guidelines, I would get, I say, a B. I have a diet clean of gluten and legumes and rich in vegetables but have a few other tweaks to make, if I choose to take this information literally. Overall, it’s something fun to consider. I mean, it is ironic I don’t handle gluten well and apparently this is the norm for someone with type O.

Overall, I am adding nutrigenomics to my lab wish list. Yes, I have a lab wish list. Once I get some true DNA indications, I will take the eat for your blood type to heart (no pun intended). Have you dabbled with nutrigenomics? I predict it is the next big thing for the diet and health industry.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Food4Thought: Nitrates

At a girls breakfast the other weekend, I was telling one of my friends (who also avoids grains, dairy and legumes) about some awesome bacon I found at the market. We both seek out bacon sourced from free-range pork, but this recent find of mine was free-range and nitrate free (I tastes AMAZING). 

After gushing over this breakfast staple, I failed to consider my friend’s perspective on Nitrates. She did not have a clear understanding of what nitrates are nor what they mean for our health. So allow this post be an opportunity for me to geek out on bacon, I mean nitrates…

What Are Nitrates?

Nitrates are produced for use as fertilizers because of their high solubility and biodegradability. Common forms include: ammonium, sodium, potassium, and calcium salts. In the food supply, nitrates are used to preserve food. They can be found in drinking water, meat and produce (fruit/veg).

What Are Some of the Health Risks in Consuming Foods with Nitrates?

Nitrates have been studied for decades and overall claims have not been substantiated. However, the lack of data does not let me bat an eye at munching away on Nitrates. Nitrates themselves are not know to be harmful but when heated and converted into nitrites, some health risks have been observed:

  • Cancer Risk – nitrites can form into carcinogens when heated. The carcinogens can increase the risk of oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain cancer.
  • Pregnancy Risk – research has shown women who consume large amount of nitrates have a higher risk of nueral defects.  
  • COPD – increase the chance of lung disease.

Kelly, What Do I Do?

I recommend taking this research with a grain of salt. Eating PERFECTLY is not good for you and it is hard to watch for every questionable ingredient in our food supply. However, seek out nitrate/nitrite-free cured meats, shop as closely as you can with the Dirty Dozen guideline in-minds, and continue to eat a variety of foods.

Cheers to you and good health! If you need any help, that is what I am here for.

-Kel