Category Archives: Let Food be Your Medicine

7 Tips for Reducing Pain Perception

CureToday magazine posted this article as my story. Note that it is best to talk to a health care provider before making changes based on these 7 tips.
If you click on the link and look at the article, that will help prompt CureToday to invite me to write more articles. It also will be helpful for getting the word out. Even better if you share the link. Thank you!
http://www.curetoday.com/share-your-story/7-tips-for-reducing-pain-perception

How to Survive Hospital “Nutrition”

From 1988 to 1993 there were over 2,700 articles dealing with milk recorded in the ‘Medicine’ archives. … They were only slightly less than horrifying. First of all, none of the authors spoke of cow’s milk as an excellent food, free of side effects and the ‘perfect food’ as we have been led to believe by the industry. The main focus of the published reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children as well as infections such as salmonella. … Contamination of milk by blood and white (pus) cells as well as a variety of chemicals and insecticides was also discussed…  In adults the problems seemed centered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy, sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer.

Robert M. Kradjian, MD

Juice, milk, something processed, sugar/corn syrup drinks and processed puddings containing artificial ingredients.

While staying in the hospital after my abdominal surgery, I was started on a clear liquid diet. Then I was moved to a “full” liquid diet. It consisted of adding dairy, wheat, sugars, and petrochemicals to the menu through milk, ice cream, cream soups, and artificial colorings and flavorings.

Fortunately, before the surgery, I was able to talk to a hospital dietitian to let her know my body does not properly digest dairy or wheat, I did not want sugar, and I needed a substitute with protein.

She suggested soymilk. Too estrogenic for me with my cancer background, I said.

She was temporarily at a loss for how to help me get something more substantial on my “full” liquid day. Then she remembered she could get me some almond milk.

That works for me, I said.

I knew this would be a problem because the last time I went through abdominal surgery I was still limited to clear liquids during the 24 hours when I was supposed to get “full” liquids. I felt like I was starving after not having eaten for more than a week. I desperately needed protein and the hospital did not supply any.

Whey protein is a dairy product. Sugar and corn syrup are hardly “therapeutic nutrition.” Note the apple on the cover, and the statement “contains no apple juice.”

The almond milk option indicated to me that hospitals are getting a little more up to speed on what actually is nutritious and what is not.

Another indicator is the hospital-floor refrigerator unit available to patients. When I stayed in the hospital years ago, those refrigerators were full of sodas. I cannot imagine anything worse for someone and who has had abdominal surgery than to add carbonated beverages that fill the abdomen with even more gas than is already added through surgery. My hospital roommate 25 years ago was drinking soda and complaining bitterly of her terrible gas pain. She did not make the connection between the soda gas and her gas pain.

So I am grateful hospitals are moving in the right direction.

However, there is still work to be done. I needed something substantial without dairy, wheat, sugar, or petrochemicals. I am grateful they did have the almond milk option.

And the hospital refrigerators… see the pictures of what they offered. Items filled with dairy, sugar, and long lists of unpronounceable chemicals. Really? For people whose bodies are so compromised they are in hospital beds?

Since when do sugar and corn syrup support advanced recovery?

Where are the fruit and vegetable smoothies? Where are the probiotic drinks? Or perhaps even trays of fresh fruits and vegetables for those ready for them?

Perhaps part of the reason the hospitals are not supplying these foods is because Americans are not used to eating them and therefore the foods might rot in the fridge unless health nuts like me come along to eat them.

And real food is more expensive than these standard options. Hospitals probably don’t have big enough budgets to provide real food for every patient.

Unfortunately, a poor diet can lead to health conditions that land one in the hospital to begin with…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you are going to stay in the hospital, find someone to bring you better quality food for each stage of recovery.

Source:

Robert M. Kradjian, MD, Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery, Seton Medical Centre, Daly City, CA, from http://www.notmilk.com/kradjian.html

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care

Psychosocial support in cancer care was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I have been reporting about.

Dr. Yasmin Asvat, clinical psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “What is a healthy emotional response to a diagnosis? All emotional responses are valid and appropriate. They’re human responses.”

Initial emotions can include sadness, anger, shock, disbelief, denial, and for a few, acceptance.

“Our bodies are looking for balance to be restored,” she said. “If we are not getting to adjustment and acceptance, how can we live well through this journey?”

Thirty percent of patients experience chronic distress after a diagnosis. “To what degree is the distress interfering with the ability to cope effectively?”

Normal feelings like sadness, fear, and vulnerability can become disabling feelings like depression and anxiety.

“Distress can be experienced throughout the cancer care trajectory,” she said.

Dr. Asvat sees her role as partner in balancing patients’ goals with fears. She tries to provide physical interventions and strategies for fatigue, pain, insomnia, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Thriver Soup Thursday–So this Writer Walks into a Chocolate Bar…

The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink [cocoa] permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.

Montezuma, Aztec Emperor (c. 1480-1520)

 

20160624_135358I agree that chocolate is heavenly. This summer I sought the sublime through a self-styled safari for savoring some sensuous sweets.

First stop: Pittsburgh, to visit my friend Judy and give my talk, “Subduing the Cancer Dragon,” at the local cancer patient organization.

Judy directed me to the local chocolate store and I bought a couple expensive bars for us to indulge in.

“Life is too short for cheap chocolate,” I told Judy. Turns out it wasn’t an original utterance, yet we enjoyed repeating it.

Then off to Long Island for ten days, with frequent jaunts into Manhattan. One day, armed with my mapped-out list of chocolate boutiques, I boarded the train to Penn Station, then the subway heading to the farthest location. I meandered to each boutique on my map, filling little sacks with truffles to savor as I walked.

After several hours I strolled into La Maison du Chocolat and noticed a short set of stairs going up to another room with chairs and tables. I wandered up and into my first chocolate bar.

It was a cocoa lover’s paradise. The extensive menu featured chocolate desserts, including a page dedicated to their truffles paired with teas.

Fortunately I had walked for hours without getting lunch. I sat down and ordered two desserts—an almond-flour chocolate cake and La Traviata, their best seller.

For an hour I surrendered to a sensual and sublime sugary samādhi.

Filled with divine refreshment, I continued my trek into boutiques and back to the train station. Yup, I could walk all day on chocolate. And walk all day for such a precious, divine treat.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

If you love chocolate yet want to limit your sugar intake, I found that for me, chocolates sweetened with erythritol were the best non-sugared treats. A good option for an occasional treat might be dark chocolate made with organic raw cane sugar.

To avoid gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and soy, I make my own fudge. Combine 1 cup each of organic coconut oil, raw organic honey, and raw organic cocoa powder. I add a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and lots of organic, raw pecans that have been soaked overnight in salt water, then dehydrated. I mix it well, then store it in my refrigerator for an occasional treat.

Weed Smoothies: No Greens Left Behind

Garlic mustard, an edible brassica weed
Garlic mustard, an edible brassica weed

“I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, Then I would step on them, I would burn them completely.”

Isaiah 27:4, New American Standard Bible®

 

Did you ever wish your weeds would just disappear?

Even the Hebrew Bible describes the Divine as one who would step on and completely burn up weeds.

I get even better revenge on my weeds. I eat the ones I recognize.

Some weeds provide wild, natural, bitterly nutritious greens that can be added to salads or smoothies. I prefer smoothies so I can gulp them down rather than taste the bitterness.

During this past weekend I went on an edible weed walk at Turner Farm in Indian Hill, Ohio. Nancy Ogg from Shady Grove Farm in Kentucky provided expert guidance for what common weeds could be eaten.

Please do not pick weeds without knowing exactly what they are and what parts are safe to consume.

I asked if dandelion flower stems were edible. Nancy said yes, though they are quite bitter, probably because they are the most nutritious part of the plant. Smoothie filler for me.

Apparently violet blossoms are safe, because they can be added to salads for color. At the end of the class each of us took home a small jar of violet jelly. Delicious!

We found three black mustard plants growing in the compost heap. I brought them home because I love stir-fried black mustard seeds with fresh radishes, a great anti-inflammatory meal for cancer thrivers. I planted the foot-tall weeds in my compost bed.

Because weeds resist cultivation, my friend Kathleen suggested I threaten the plants periodically by waving and whirring a weed wacker over them so they’ll think they are wild and free.

In the meantime, I forage on my property, adding a little variety beyond dandelions with hairy bittercress and garlic mustard. No recognized weed will be left behind.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Here is the recipe I use for my mustard seed stir-fry, using black mustard seeds:

https://giniann.wordpress.com/2006/12/23/radish-curry-saute-with-onions-garlic-and-chili/

Here is the recipe for violet jelly using half the normal amount of sugar:

http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/violet-jelly.html

Source:

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,

1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)