Does It Matter What You Eat ~ during chemo?

A roast chickenIt matters what you eat during chemo.

I was told, “It doesn’t matter what you eat during chemo. Eat whatever you want, whatever you can get down.” But I found that only lead to constipation which lead to exhaustion which lead to depression. Oh how I fought that depression and won. So, yes, it does matter what you eat during chemo. Very much so.

Isaiah 55:2b ~ Listen carefully to me:
    Eat what is good, and enjoy the best foods. ~ God’s Word Translation [GW]

I was pretty healthy going into chemo, so I wasn’t having a lot of the side-effects many cancer patients face. And, here’s the real biggie, I’d given my side-effect to God, and I feel he took them. Now chemo has not, repeat, has not been a walk in the park for me. They were, pouring big-time toxins into my veins…very serious, big-time toxins that kill the cancer. But the rest of my body was screaming, “HELP!!!”

I’d not only given my side-effects to God, I’d given my entire treatment to God. Let my doctor and medical staff handle that. They went to school for it. I zoomed in on the spiritual (healing study, prayer, etc.) with the Holy Spirit right next to me. And I zoomed in on the nutrition of healing with the Holy Spirit right next to me. As many can tell, this blog is aimed at Christians, mostly aimed at blood bought, full-gospel Christians. Worldwide, there are more than 30,000 Christian denominations. So, some Christians will identify with what I write more than others, some pretty much not at all. I also have a nonChristian following. Maybe because I’m not condemning. I present my spiritual and nutritional cases in a Biblical context and let them speak for themselves. I don’t condemn Christian who believe differently than I do, and I don’t condemn nonChristians. Jesus called believers to love. In fact, I have quite a large following in India…Christian, non-Christian, I don’t know. Hi, India.

So, after I tried the ‘I could eat anything I wanted during chemo’ theory with sad results, I went on a pretty strict Mediterranean-ish Diet. I say “ish” not because I wasn’t on the diet, I didn’t restrict it to foods found only in the Mediterranean. If the recipe from a country not bordering on the Mediterranean Sea had no food elements that were off the diet I’d include it. Ukrainian Summer Borscht is an example. I’m not a Food-Nazi. I will not look at what you’ve got on your plate…even if it’s all made from chemicals. However, for me, they are pouring enough toxic chemicals into my body to kill the cancer. I won’t add toxic chemicals the food companies put in so they can sell year-round and transport the items all year long in airplanes, ships, and trucks. I personally won’t do that.

I cook most of my food from scratch, but not all. Increasingly, super markets and even some smaller markets sell healthy organic foods, some already prepared (salsa, salad dressings, etc.) There are also some pretty healthy frozen foods out there from all types of food companies. You have to read the label. If it has a string of unreadable, unpronounceable chemical ingredients, I won’t buy it.

Because of copyright laws I can’t post a Mediterranean Diet Food Map, but I can give a link to Wikipedia’s food map and their article on the Mediterranean Diet.

ribbon pink

In HARMFUL INTENT, Brooklyn (NYC) gal private-eye finds herself in Texas where she is the prime suspect of the stalwart sheriff’s deputy in the murder of her cheating husband. She knows the real murderer has something to do with the local high-end health spa. So, she takes a health food/organic cooking class with the spa’s nutritionist and it tonally changes how she looks at food. But will it help her catch the killer?

Harmful Intent 400 P

My New Pressure Cooker ~ also a slow cooker

Impulse purchase, but a good decision.

I had no thought yesterday of purchasing a pressure cooker while shopping at Walmart. However, the price was GREAT and there was only one left on the shelf. Nuff said.

Now mind, I have a pressure cooker, a classic T-fal that I’m leery of using only because I don’t use it often enough to be skilled at it, and they can be dangerous. I have it on my list to donate of a local thrift shop that supports several shelters for abused women in the city.

Of course the first thing I did, even before I unpacked the pressure cooker was to look at the enclosed recipe booklet…only a few recipes. However, the Chicken Cacciatore recipe caught my eye. It looked pretty authentic. The list of ingredients was exactly the same as my husband’s godmother’s recipe. We called her Aunt Anna.

To me this is really what cooking is about. The sharing of recipes, the enjoyment of the process of cooking, eating with family and/or friends, and having food centered memories. All good. Well…Aunt Anna made her own from-scratch marinara sauce. She might’ve used canned tomatoes, but in season she used fresh tomatoes for her sauce, and it took hours to cook. In Brooklyn (NYC) they have green grocers in all residential neighborhoods where you can get  fresh produce. Aunt Anna liked to make fresh marinara for Sunday dinner.

On the Sundays we were going to eat at her house, we’d go to Mass with her, then take her out for breakfast at the local Greek diner. After that, she’d cook and we’d watch TV until dinner was on the table. She always went out to the green grocer looking for a few pounds of ripe tomatoes on Saturday. With all the settings, bells and whistles on the pressure cooker, a fresh marinara sauce that took Aunt Anna hours to make can be made in about 30 minute. And I like that.  And I like remembering Aunt Anna and her excellent Sunday dinners.

If you like foodie fiction you might like to try HARMFUL INTENT, a fast moving murder mystery with wit, humor, and it’s also uplifting.

Sweet Potato Soup ~ with apple

sweet pot soup

 

Simple and Healthy

 

I made Sweet Potato Soup Thursday. I’m having the second helping today and am enjoying it

1] peel, chop, boil 1 good sized sweet potato. When nearly soft, chop into chunks a good sized Gala apple with the skin on and add to the pot. When both potato and apple are very soft but not falling apart, drain.

2] Pour half of the mixture into a blender. I used a Ninja mixer. Add half of 2 cups of chicken broth (if it doesn’t have salt, add to taste). Add half a cup of plain yogurt, preferably Greek. Mix well.

3]Pour into a large bowl or pot and set aside. Then repeat the process. Place remaining potato/apple mixture in the blender,  the remaining 1 C of broth, another 1/2 C plain yogurt, and wiz.

4]Pour this into the bowl with the other half of the soup. Add boiling hot water to obtain the consistency you desire. Mix well with a large spoon, careful not to splatter it out of the bowl. Eat what you want and refrigerate the rest for later in the week. I have not tried to freeze this because I eat it right up.

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:7, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

What’s A Virus Busting Diet? ~ healthy eating in a dangerous world

My people are destroyed for lac of knowledge;… Hosea 4:6 [English Standard Version, ESV]

I’ve researched a great number of websites on antivirual eating/foods. Most of them quote studies and research. I didn’t include those notations. I did select the foods that were common to and showed up on most of those sites.

These are the viruses we mainly deal with in 2020: covid19, the flu, HIV, cancer, hepatitis, the measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and shingles, polio, common cold, rabies, ebolavirus disease and hantavirus fever,  herpes and cold sores. These viruses are much more difficult to heal than bad bacteria which we treat with antibiotics. However, we are not helpless. We can eat a diet that is hostile to viruses. And we can follow the advise of our doctors. And we can pray for healing. You can believe what you want. I, personally, believe food is not the healer. The Healer is God. God can work through prayer, doctors, a healthy diet. I believe healthy food provides a supportive environment for health and healing.

Antivirus Foods to add to your diet:

a garlic

Garlic and Onions: Garlic gives a threefold punch. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. . Raw garlic when it’s crushed or sliced gives the most benefit, but most people can’t eat it that way. When you cook it, peel and crush/slice it right before it goes into the pan. Jarred garlic bits in water is second choice, garlic powder third. Don’t use garlic salt. Studies have associated over salting with stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Garlic is part of the Onion Family (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots) Everything in the Onion Family has anti-viral benefits.

            Steamed Broccoli w/Garlic and Red Onion: Combine ¾ C water, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1Tbsp fresh sliced garlic in a skillet and bring to a boil over a high hear. Add ½ C very thinly sliced red onion, 2 C broccoli florets and boil at high heat for 5-7 minutes (or to the tenderness you like). Individuals with a thyroid condition will have to boil the broccoli until it is very tender. If there’s too much liquid, drain some of it. At the end, add 1/4  tsp- salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, toss, and serve. You can sprinkle grated cheese on at the table, if desired. Serves 2.

Note: cancer patients who are cautious about frying foods can steam/saute foods. Spray the pan with pan spray, add the onions, garlic, veggies, meat/fish/poultry and begin to cook over a low flame. Slowly add 1/4 C – 1 C water, broth, cooking wine, wine, or even fruit juice. Slowly raise the heat to the desired temperature. Don’t drown what you’re cooking. This steaming/sauteing will remove the fear of carcinogens that comes with pan frying and grilling.

a tea

Black Tea/Green Tea: Tea plants have properties that protect the plant from viruses and fungi. This does translate to human consumption. Tea has been shown to fight a number of viruses.

a salmon

Fish/Seafood with Omega 3 Fatty Acids:  Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, oysters. Foods with Omega 3 Fatty Acids reduce inflammation and acts as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral agents. Chronic inflammation has been shown to lead to heart disease and cancer.

A orange-4663073_1920

Citrus and Leafy Greens:  provide Vitamin C which boots the immune system. Flavonoid rich foods. Many of the articles I’ve looked at report that when an imbalance of healthy antioxidants and harmful substances called free radicals occur in the body there is increased risk of stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Foods rich in Vitamin C help to restore the balance.

A nut-1569252_1920

Nuts and Seeds: provide supportive Vitamin E, Selenium, and Magnesium. All it takes is a small handful of walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds. Caution: portion control is important. Nuts are a healthy virus fighting food but are calorie dense. Keep the portions small because overweight has no health benefits. 

A yogurt

Yogurt/Kefir: Yogurt is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that support intestinal health. A large proportion of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating yogurt regularly (daily or at least 4 times a week) can improve immune function because it increases the body’s production of antibodies that fight off viruses. Best is unsweetened plain yogurt, but any yogurt is better than none. At least one brand of Greek yogurt has no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. It is slightly sweet. Drinking Kefir is also very good.

A asparagus

Foods rich in zinc: Zinc helps to keep viruses from attaching to cells and helps prevent them from replicating. Among the foods with the highest zinc content: garbanzo beans and other beans, asparagus and spinach, mushrooms, dark chocolate, nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts), oysters, shrimp and scallops, beef, lamb, and poultry.

My personal advice: take a multi vitamin every day and add a zinc and a vitamin C supplement to that.

Portions: Imagine your plate is divided into three sections like summer picnic plates. Your veggies go in the large space. Protein (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, cheese, etc) go in one of the small spaces. Carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes or red skinned potatoes with the skins on, whole wheat pasta, 1 slice of whole grain or multi-grain bread) goes in the other small space. If you are having fruit for dessert put it in one of those little bowls that look like finger bowls. Those are dessert bowls. The ones we tend to use are actually a cereal bowls.

A fruit

 

 

 

 

Salisbury Steak ~ stuck at home, make it homemade

A Salisbury Steak jpegMy Little Cooking Journey

I’ve never had homemade Salisbury Steak before. I’ve selected it in college and hospital cafeterias, but homemade is a totally different culinary experience. The opposite of gummy cafeteria fare, it’s full of flavor. And, it’s easy to make.

I had a pound of organic ground beef and I had yellow squash. So, Salisbury Steak was a logical choice with the squash as a side. I can’t give you recipes because I almost never use them.

The first thing I did, which I often do, is google “easy Salisbury Steak recipes”, then “Salisbury Steak with Brown Gravy recipes”. Basically you need a pound of ground beef, 1/2 C or so of bread crumbs. I didn’t have bread crumbs so I used the oats on hand which wasn’t enough for breakfast. Was it a 1/2 C? I don’t know. I just mooshed it into the meat with minced onion, Worcestershire sauce, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic. I had some made-from-scratch savory golden gravy (chicken stock base), and I threw a couple of tablespoons of that in with the meat for added flavor Then you make them into four oblong shaped patties. Sear them on both sides, and pour the rest of the gravy over them in the pan.  I didn’t let them get charred. In a few Youtube demonstrations, they got charred. Up to you. If you’re not experienced, don’t char them the first time. It takes 35 minutes to cook Salisbury Steak. If you’re a beginner, don’t walk away from the stove. Even if you’re not a beginner, don’t walk away from the stove.

I looked online at five or six recipes and a few Youtube demonstrations. One of them said to add diced red pepper. I had jarred roasted pepper, so I threw what I had left, drained, into the meat mixture and mooshed that baby up. Note: Preparing Salisbury Steak is like making meatloaf, except you use 1/2 C bread crumbs or rolled oats instead of bread. No bread in Salisbury Steak, and it has a higher meat content than meatloaf. You also must use Worcestershire sauce. You can cook the patties in jarred beef gravy. I’d add a little water to the jarred stuff when cooking.

Here’s the secret to making Southern Style Yellow (Summer) Squash. You wash and then cut them into rounds. Spray a pan and saute them for a bit. When they sizzle, add water, salt, pepper, some garlic…and simmer them to within an inch of their life. As the water evaporates, add more. Easy Peasy. You can let one or two of them get charred, for visual interest but don’t let them burn.  I add about a 1/2 C of cooking wine. That’s not traditional Southern, so don’t tell anyone. You can cook them for 35 minutes and they’ll be ready to serve with the Salisbury Steak. As with the meat, don’t walk away from the stove.

If you need a recipe, here’s one for Salisbury Steak I think is really easy to follow. It explains the difference between and hamburger patties and Salisbury Steak patties https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/salisbury-steak.

Multi-Grain French Toast ~ a breakfast brew-ha-ha, my second attempt

Bkfst Casserole Savory (2)

Healthy Home Cooking, Cooking For One

 

My second try at a Breakfast Casserole or Baked French Toast using multi-grain bread. This one is ‘savory’ (2 beaten eggs, then beat in 2 C 2% milk, 1/4 finely chopped pecans, 1/2 pkg Hormel less fat real bacon bits, Lawry’s season salt to taste and my advice is take it easy, ground pepper, 1 rounded Tbs sugar). Spray baking dish well. Bake at 350 for 45-50 min or till done. I had to moosh the bread down and crush the crusts to get them to absorb the liquid. It rose back up in baking. I could’ve cut off the crusts but that would’ve eliminated seeds which are healthy. ~ Can serve warm with maple syrup or honey, raspberry jam, sprinkled confectioner sugar. Or eat as is. ~ 3 servings.

In my first casserole/French Toast/bread pudding attempt I used multi-gran bread, the egg and milk bath (no seasoned salt) and apples with brown sugar. Didn’t crush the bread and it didn’t look as good coming out of the oven. I called it bread pudding, which it wasn’t. It tasted good.

BTW, there will be a third attempt. This is a work in progress. And a fourth and fifth…gotta get it right someday as I eat my way thought the test trials.

I Intensely Dislike ~ traditional Thanksgiving green bean casserole

grean beans bacon-steak
Green beans with steak wrapped bacon.

Social Media is asking: What Thanksgiving foods do you like best, or dislike?

I like all Thanksgiving foods except the traditional green bean casserole made from frozen or canned French cut green beans, mixed with canned mushroom soup and topped with canned French fried onions, then baked. Sends shivers up my spine thinking about it. Not good chill bumps.

 

greem beans bacon
Green bean wrapped bacon. This has to go in the oven.

I moved to northeastern coastal Florida three years ago and was introduced to traditional Southern green beans and bacon. In someone’s momma’s or grandmomma’s house, it’s often sauteed in a cast iron skillet and they scrape the sides of the skillet to get all that bacon goodness. I love that. I make a lower calorie version all the time with packaged fat reduced real bacon bits. Love it. Green beans seem to go well with bacon.

There are so many great ways to eat green beans.

green beans EVOO garlic

 

When I lived in Brooklyn, NYC, we frequently ate green beans sauteed in extra virgin olive oil with garlic. In Italian neighborhoods, everyone’s momma and grandma made this and they scraped the sides of the frying pan too to get all the flavor.