5 Weeks To Healthier Eating Challenge. Week 2: Quinoa

 

Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   However, the secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all of the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

If you missed week 1, “Hail to the Kale”, click HERE.

 

Week 2: Get Keen on Quinoa

The first thing you should know about quinoa is how to pronounce it. Repeat after me: KEEN-WAH. Yes, that’s it, keen-wah! The next thing you should know is that quinoa is packed with good nutrition. In our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, my smart and witty co-author, Susan, devotes a whole chapter to quinoa (p. 267). Here are some interesting facts taken from there:

1. One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, which is similar in calorie count to white rice (242 calories per cup). However, as you will see below, quinoa is much richer in nutrients and therefore a healthier choice. Try serving your next stir fry on a bed of quinoa!

2. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the building blocks necessary for cell growth and function.

3. Quinoa contains ZERO cholesterol. (Did you know that only food from animals….meat, eggs and dairy…contain cholesterol?)

4. It contains 5 grams of fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily allowance, or RDA. (Did you know that meat, eggs and dairy contain ZERO fiber?)

5. One cup of quinoa gives you 15% of the RDA for iron, which is necessary for healthy blood; 19% of the RDA for folate, which is an important B vitamin; 58% the RDA for manganese; 28% of the RDA for phosphorus; and 30% of the RDA for magnesium…all of which are important for strong bones.

So there you have it, five good reasons to make quinoa a part of your healthy eating plan. Now here are five of my favorite ways to eat it (Remember to always RINSE quinoa well before cooking it):

1. Cheesy Mexican Fiesta Casserole

quinoa 2

If you have a taste for Mexican, you will love this casserole! The sauce is so cheesy, you will never believe that it is dairy-free. I use the leftovers to make quesadillas, served with guacamole and salsa on the side. This is my favorite quinoa recipe.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 3 tablespoons flour of your choice avoid white flour and experiment with healthier choices like chickpea flour or brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne careful not to make it too hot!
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

(Here’s a cheat: rather than combine these spices, you can use a package of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning)

  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast. If you are making the switch to plant based eating, this is a necessity in your cupboard!
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, or plant based milk of your choice
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 19 oz. can well rinsed black beans

Directions

First cook quinoa: bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed (as you would cook rice). Transfer to large mixing bowl. Next sauté onion, garlic, green pepper and tomato in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with quinoa and add cooked black beans. Stir all ingredients.

Now it is time to make your cheese sauce: Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add flour, spices, and nutritional yeast, stir to combine. Add in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.

Add your cheese mixture to the bowl of ingredients and mix well.

Transfer to a casserole dish, top with a sprinkle of paprika, and bake for 20 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with salsa and/or guacamole!  Use leftovers to make quesadillas.

2. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

quinoa 1

Eat quinoa for breakfast? You sure can!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar OR honey OR pure maple syrup for sweetening (for overall good health, ditch the white sugar)
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries or other berry of choice, organic if possible

 

Directions

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar, or honey or pure maple syrup over each serving.

 

3. Best Veggie Burger In The World

quinoa 3

Yields 8 burgers

One of the things I missed most when I switched to mainly plant-based eating, is hamburgers. I tried various veggie burgers, but could not find one I really liked….until I met the quinoa burger! Trust me, even the carnivores in your life will love this one!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa if you can’t find red, white will do
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • •1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (Add other seasonings of your choice to spice it up the way you like it…unlike meat burgers, you can try the mix “raw” and season to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 flax egg mix one tablespoon ground flax seed, with one tablespoon warm water and allow to set 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans toasted, then finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one) To toast, put in oven on 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes, turining once
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared salsa OR organic ketchup OR barbeque sauce

Note: If mix is too soft, add a little flour so that it can be made into patties.

 

Directions

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Prepare flax egg. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, nutritional yeast, pecans flax egg, and oats; stir to combine. Scoop 1/2-cup portions of the mixture and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide. Roll the burgers in flour to hold them together for cooking.

Heat olive oil in frying pan, and fry the patties, about 5 minutes per side OR bake for 30 minutes on greased sheet, turning once, OR cook on BBQ as you would regular burgers.

4. Sweet and Sour Neatballs

quinoa 5

(I apologize, I don’t have a more appetizing picture…this is a pic I took myself…trust me, they taste better than they look here!)

“Neatballs” are my version of meatballs. You might notice that the recipe for making them is exactly the same as my burger recipe, but you form them into balls rather than patties.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa if you can’t find red, white will do
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (Add other seasonings of your choice to spice it up the way you like it…unlike meat burgers, you can try the mix “raw” and season to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 flax egg mix one tablespoon ground flax seed, with one tablespoon warm water and allow to set 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans toasted, then finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one) To toast, put in oven on 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes, turining once
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared salsa OR organic ketchup OR barbeque sauce

Note: If mix is too soft, add a little flour so that it can be formed into balls.

 

Directions

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Prepare flax egg. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, nutritional yeast, pecans flax egg, and oats; stir to combine. Form mixture into balls, and roll in flour to hold them together.

Heat olive oil in frying pan, and fry the balls for about 5-7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Here’s how to make the sauce:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • Thicken with 1 tablespoon corn starch or tapioca starch dissolved in 1/4 cup of water

 

Directions

Bring water to a boil. Add honey, vinegar, and ketchup. Stir until combined. Stir in corn/tapioca starch mix and stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour over neatballs. Bake 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees.

 

5. Honey Quinoa Salad

quinoa 4

No tribute to quinoa would be complete without a quinoa salad. There are lots of quinoa salad recipes out there, but this is my favorite. I like it cold, but it can be served warm.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • juice of one fresh orange (or 3 tablespoons orange juice)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cups quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. (In the same way you would cook rice) Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add honey and gently toss to combine. Set aside and cover for 10 minutes allowing honey to soak. Add all remaining ingredients. Transfer to serving bowls and serve warm or chilled.

 

So there you have it folks, 5 great recipes to choose from to get you back on track with your healthy living plan.

 

If you like these recipes, and you would like to learn more about eating for cancer prevention, please sign up for the Free 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart Program.  Just click below.  Bon Appetit!

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5 Weeks To Healthier Eating Challenge. Week 1: Kale

Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   The secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For the next 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

Week 1: Hail To The Kale!

Kale recipe

I recently shared a simple kale recipe on Facebook, and it practically went viral! (Well, mini-viral at least.)   So I can only conclude that there are people out there who are as enamoured with kale as I am. Who would have thunk it?

In our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, my esteemed co-author Susan, talks about 9 of the health promoting benefits of this fabulous super-food (pg. 193). I would now like to share with you 5 of these benefits. (Just because I know you have a short attention span, and 5 is a nice, easy number to work with.) So here goes:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to your health, the inflammatory response in the body is the root of all evil! Inflammation is the underlying cause of arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and a number of auto-immune diseases. Kale is an incredibly effective ANTI-inflammatory food, which may prevent and in some cases, even reverse the inflammatory response in the body.
  2. Iron content. It is a common misconception that most vegetarians are anemic. In fact, kale is a great source of iron and per calorie, it has more iron than beef!
  3. Calcium content. Move over milk! Kale contains 90 mg. of calcium per serving. This is more calcium, per calorie, than milk, and as an added benefit this calcium is more easily absorbed by the body than is the calcium from milk.
  4. Low calorie. One cup of fresh kale has just 30 skinny little calories, and less than one milligram of fat. (Plus loads of fiber to keep you feeling full longer.)
  5. Cancer-fighting kick. Here is why I love it!   Kale belongs to the cruciferous family of veggies, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These veggies are extremely high in phytochemicals, sulforaphane and indole 3-carbinol, which are not just fancy words, but have also been proven to protect against cancer.

So there you have it. Five good reasons to eat kale. Now let me share with you 5 of my favorite ways to eat it.

1. Kale chips. A delicious snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

kale chips

1 bunch of kale, washed and stems removed.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (I use “herb infused” olive oil for extra flavor)

Desired seasonings to taste (sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.)

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Make sure kale is COMPLETELY dry. Tear kale into pieces, toss in a bowl with olive oil and seasonings. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

2. Quick kale. Ok, I don’t actually have a name for this recipe, (or a picture, sorry) so I just made that one up in a pinch. This is a quick and easy side dish, which I also use on top of pasta.

1 whole Large Bunch Of Kale, Or 2 Regular Bunches

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2-3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

Salt And Pepper, to taste

1/2 Lemon, Optional

Thoroughly rinse the kale in cold water, soaking if necessary to remove grit. Tear the kale into chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir it around to avoid burning.

Throw in the kale and toss it around the skillet. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Or longer if you like.)

Remove the kale to a plate and serve!

Option: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top.

3. Colorful Kale and Cabbage Stew….try saying that fast 3 times. It is quite the mouthful…and quite the delicious tummy full too! With super foods like kale, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic, this stew is a winner for cancer fighting nutrition. (And a great Fall comfort food)

kale stew2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 medium red potato, cubed skin on, well scrubbed
  • 2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium stock pot, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cabbage and kale with about 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vegetable broth and carrots and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Then add the sweet potato and red potato, and continue to simmer, covered for about another 20 to 30 minutes. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

4. Kale and Quinoa Salad. As beautiful to look at as it is to eat.

kale salad blog

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice…about 2-3 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste taste to see if you need it

1 tsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds for thickening

Salad:

  • 4-6 cups chopped kale leaves (about 4-5 ounces)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 avocado sliced or cubed (optional but recommended)
  • additional lemon juice and seasonings to taste

Directions

Heat a saucepan that has a lid. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa and the garlic and toast it until almost dry. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl or measuring cup: whisk together the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons broth, chia/flax seeds, chile powders, cumin, and salt. Allow to stand until the chia seeds start to thicken the dressing.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Add half of the dressing and massage it into the kale using a wringing motion until the kale is very tender. Two minutes of massaging should do it, but the longer, the better. Add the quinoa, black beans, carrot, and bell pepper, along with the remaining dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before serving, check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, chile powder, cumin, and salt, as needed. Stir in chopped avocado, if desired, or serve with slices of avocado on the side.

5. Kale Chowder

kale chowder

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 heaping tsp dried rosemary
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed, finely chopped

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes and stir. Then add in the carrots, parsley, and rosemary, and cook for five more minutes while stirring.

Add in the vegetable stock and chopped cauliflower. Simmer until the cauliflower is softened.

Place the soup into a blender, but leave some pieces of carrot and cauliflower behind so it will be a bit chunky. Blend the rest of the soup until it’s smooth and then place it back in the pot.

Add in the chopped kale. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the kale is fully cooked.

Kale recipe

 

So there you have it folks, 5 great recipes to choose from to get you back on track with your healthy living plan.

Another thing I really love about kale is that it is so easy to grow from seed. My mother, who is a fabulous gardener, has it growing in abundance. So needless to say, kale is finding its way into many of our meals. If you have more kale than you can digest right now, don’t fret, here is an easy way to “keep” it: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place kale in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, just until it turns a bright green color. Immediately put it in a drainer and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in containers and freeze.  Of course, you would not make chips with this “blanched” kale, but it works great in other recipes.

If you like these recipes, and you would like to learn more about eating for cancer prevention, please sign up for our Free 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart Program. Bon Appetit!

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Set Them Free!!!

 

tatas

As I was scrolling down through Facebook this morning, this hit me in the face.   Is it just me, or does anyone else find this ad offensive?

Can anyone tell me how setting one’s ta-ta’s free by going bra-less is in any way “supporting breast cancer”?

And what’s up with trying  to make breast cancer look SEXY?

Here is a picture of me a few days after my mastectomy.

post mastectomy

Pale, skinny, and bald. Believe it or not, I was even wearing make-up here! (I can tell by my neatly drawn on eyebrows.)  Sexy? I think not. (Cute? Maybe.)

Or how about this?  (Taken from the Scar Project).  Folks, this is what breast cancer REALLY looks like.

scar project

So, needless to say, on October 13th I will not be setting my lone ta-ta free. It will be held snugly in place in my mastectomy bra, right next to the bag of rice that currently serves as my left ta-ta.

However,  since November is prostate cancer awareness month, I would like to issue  a challenge of my own: On November 13th, lets…..

SET THE BALLS FREE!!!

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Click below to get your……

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Free cancer survival!

A great post by my beautiful, smart and funny co-author, Susan. Well worth a read, and if you know any cancer survivors who could benefit from this information, please pass it along.

Why I Don’t Eat Sugar (and why NO cancer survivor should!)

 

sugar postWhen I was going through treatments for stage 3 breast cancer in 2012, my chemo nurse, Linda, would often say, “Cancer LOVES sugar!” I really didn’t get what she meant at that time, but now I do. The truth is, cancer actually feeds on sugar.  A PET scan (positron emission tomography), which is used to detect cancer in the body, works precisely on this premise. Before the scan, patients drink a glass of glucose (sugar) water, and then the scan detects where the glucose is being metabolized fastest in the body. These “hot spots” are the areas of the body that most likely contain cancer, since cancer cells consume anywhere from ten to fifty times more glucose than normal cells do! So in fact, when you feed your body sugar, you are actually feeding cancer cells. If you have EVER had a diagnosis of any type of cancer, chances are, there are still cancer stem cells living in your body. Do you want to FEED these cells, or STARVE them? It’s a no-brainer, right?

It is practically impossible to cut sugar completely out of the diet, since it is contained in so many foods….like my favorite bottled spaghetti sauce. But be smart, read the labels, avoid processed foods, especially those high in sugar, and avoid white sugar like the plague!!!!

Just because I don’t eat sugar, does not mean that I can’t enjoy a sweet treat from time to time. For example, these black bean brownies (recipe below) are absolutely delicious, and contain no sugar, flour or dairy.  (OK, I will admit that the first time I heard of them, I thought, “beans in brownies, YUCK!  But then I remembered at one time thinking, “carrots in cake, YUCK!”  I was wrong then too.)

brownies

Not only do these fudgey, chocolatey treats taste fabulous, they are also good for you. Black beans are nutritional gold. They are rich in protein and contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps the digestive process and lowers “bad” cholesterol, guarding heart health. The fiber in beans also keeps you feeling full longer, so you will eat less. What’s not to love about them?

What about the sugar, you ask? Well, technically speaking, maple syrup is sugar, since it is mainly made up of sucrose. However, unlike white sugar, it is not refined, and is therefore a more natural source of sweetener.   Also unlike sugar, which is just empty calories, maple syrup contains minerals and antioxidants. 100 grams of maple syrup contains:

Calcium: 7% of the RDA.

Potassium: 6% of the RDA.

Iron: 7% of the RDA.

Zinc: 28% of the RDA.

Manganese: 165% of the RDA.

Finally, maple syrup is sweeter tasting than sugar, so you need only about one-third the amount to get the same sweetness as sugar. (Keep this in mind if swapping out for healthier alternatives!)

Making healthier food choices (while not scrimping on taste) is an important part of MY cancer-fighting lifestyle. If you want to learn more about living a cancer prevention lifestyle, then I encourage you to check out our new on-line cancer survivorship program, Cancer Plan 4 Life. We are now offering a FREE 4 day kickstart program for those of you who want to learn the basics of living a cancer prevention lifestyle. This black bean brownie recipe is just one of hundreds of cancer fighting recipes that you can access on the kickstart program (and you have 30 days to review the program, with a full month’s access to hundreds of mouth-watering cancer-fighting recipes). We teach all about healthier alternatives, so that you don’t have to give up any of your favorite foods, but rather you “swap out” for healthier alternatives. (Which, in most cases, are lower in fat and calories, so as an added bonus, you will likely lose weight while eating for cancer prevention!) You will also be given daily meditations which were specifically recorded for cancer survivors, as well as a daily journal and lots of other cool, cancer-fighting tools. Are you ready to live life by our motto? Survive and Thrive!

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Black Bean Brownies

Source: http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com

Yields 9-12 brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15 ounce can, drained and well rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup (NOT “pancake” syrup!)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (at room temperature it is in solid form, like butter or margarine, but it is MUCH better for you)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (make sure it is aluminum free)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (OPTIONAL)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and walnuts in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips and nuts, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies. (Best when refrigerated for a few hours, to give them a really fudgey texture.) ENJOY!

 

 

 

Finding The Perks To Beat The Odds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUhQoeatU8Y

TED 3

“Finding the Perks to Beat the Odds” is the title of my recent TEDx Talk (link above). The title was not chosen by me, but rather by the TEDx committee. When I first heard the title, I was a little dubious. After all, what kind of a message do I want to convey? I mean, do you think I actually BELIEVE that finding the perks of having cancer helped me to overcome the disease? You betcha!

I remember when I was doing my under-graduate degree in Psychology many moons ago, I was fascinated by stories about the mind-body connection. I remember one study in particular of a person with multiple personality disorder, who was diabetic and required insulin as one personality, but was perfectly healthy as another. (You can read more about it HERE.)

Is it really possible that the mind is powerful enough to turn disease on and off in the body, as this study suggests? While the study cited above is rather dated, recent research confirms the power of the mind-body connection. Best-selling author, Lissa Rankin, in her book, “Mind Over Medicine”, presents hundreds of examples of how the mind-body connection can be used to induce healing. While it may sound rather “woo-woo”, the underlying premise is actually based on Science. It is a well-established fact that the stress response can wreak havoc on the body, and disrupt its healing mechanisms. So when we are under stress, from let’s say for example, being diagnosed with cancer, the body is catapulted into “fight or flight” mode. This is NOT the ideal state for healing. The time that the body is best able to do the job of healing itself is when it is in a relaxed state. (Which is precisely why babies and teens sleep so much….in this relaxed state, they are better able to grow!) So if you want to put your body into the perfect healing mode, you must RELAX! Anything that you do to help you to relax, and turn OFF that stress response, will help your body to heal. That’s why things like practicing gratitude, gardening, meditation, and yes…blogging the perks of having cancer, were all important parts of my survival plan!

(Note: if you need help in designing your own survival plan, please sign up for our free kickstart cancer survivorship program at www.cancerplan4life.com)

survive and thrive

 

Introducing……..Cancer Plan 4 Life!

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I think one of the scariest parts of the whole “cancer journey” for me, was when treatments ended. Don’t get me wrong! I mean, being told at 44 that I had stage 3 breast cancer, and that my odds of surviving for 5 years was just over 50%, REALLY struck terror in my heart. But as long as I was getting my treatments…mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation…I knew that something was being done to kill the beast. However, once my year of treatments ended, I felt like I was on my own to figure things out. Even though I was declared cancer free, I didn’t feel like celebrating. I had watched too many others do their “survivor victory dance”, only to have that very same cancer that they beat, come back with a vengeance… months, years or sometimes even decades later. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

I said to my doctor, “I know I am cancer free right now, but how do I keep it from coming back?”

“Just keep doing what you’re doing”, she replied.

“Keep doing what I’m doing!” I heard a voice inside my head yell, “Aren’t 90% of all cancers related to lifestyle and environmental factors? DOING what I am DOING may have been what caused me to get cancer in the first place!” (Before getting cancer, I assumed that my odds of getting cancer were low because it didn’t “run in my family”. I have since learned that only 10% of cancers are inherited.)

Heck no! I wasn’t going to keep doing what I was doing. I wanted to make changes that would reduce my risk of a cancer recurrence! So I set out on a quest to learn all I could about a cancer prevention lifestyle. My search led to me to a fabulous blog: The Savvy Sister: Simple Changes for Healthy Living. This cancer survivor, Susan, really knows her stuff! She is a nurse, and avid researcher.   She leaves no stone unturned when it comes to finding reliable health tips for beating cancer. I simply fell in love with her…..well not with HER really, but with her blog. So I asked her to marry me. There I go again, what I mean is, I asked her to “marry” or join the content from both of our blogs. I was blogging right here, at “The Perks of Having Cancer”.   In general, my blog deals with the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of survival. Susan’s blog is about the physical part of survival. We married the two, and gave birth (ok, somebody stop me!) to our baby/book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It” , a resource for body, mind and spirit. And the rest, as they say, is history.

fooling aroundSusan and Flo goofing around at a cancer prevention session.

Not to sound braggy, (I just made that word up), but our book is awesome. Read it for yourself, I am sure you will agree. But what is even awesomer (made that one up too), is our new online cancer survivorship program, Cancer Plan 4 Life (CP4L)! CP4L is a revolutionary, 28 day on-line cancer survivorship program, designed to maximize your chances of surviving cancer while minimizing your risk of recurrence. It is a holistic program, meaning that it gives you the tools you need to achieve optimal health of your body, mind AND spirit. Best of all, it is a personalized program, which connects you with a team of experts who will tailor the program to take you from where you are right now and lead you to your own, personal optimal level of health. (You even get to work with a cancer exercise specialist who will design an exercise program just for you. It’s like having your own personal trainer right at your finger- tips!) CP4L is changing the face of cancer survivorship by empowering survivors to take control of their health. There is no other program like this in existence.

Don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself by clicking HERE.  If you are really serious about kicking cancer’s butt and keeping it from coming back,  you can sign up for our FREE three day trial.  If you sign up for our FREE newsletter before September 1, you will be eligible to WIN a one month membership. (Sign up HERE at the purple bar to the right.) Hey, if you are not a cancer survivor yourself, sign up anyway for great cancer prevention and healthy living tips. (And if you happen to win a membership, I am sure you know of a cancer survivor who would love to take the journey to optimal health). Until then, live life by our motto, Survive and Thrive!

 

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