When 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.)
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!
Black Bean Brownies
Yields 9-12 brownies
- 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!