Simple and Delicious Tips For Eating To Prevent Cancer
Monday, June 25, 2012 • 7:09pm
He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about one third of cancer related deaths may be diet related. One of the best methods of protecting against cancer is to eat a diet that is full of real, high quality food.
Studies suggest that people who eat meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cancer. This has been attributed to the phytochemicals and antioxidants in these foods. Phytochemicals seem to prevent cell damage and mutations. They are not vitamins and minerals, cannot be found in supplements and are only available in plant food.
Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the oxidation process. Think about an apple that has been cut in half and allowed to sit out in the air. Oxidation will turn the apple brown. If you squeeze lemon on half of the apple, the vitamin C protects it from turning brown. That is antioxidant protection. Antioxidants act as protective agents in our bodies. They protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals (by-products of the body’s normal chemical processes). Free radicals attack healthy cells, which changes their DNA, allowing tumors to grow. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is your best bet. Snacking on things like berries, grape or cherry tomatoes and carrots will serve you well.
The reality about our food supply today is that two of the same ingredients may be very different. Depending upon how or where something was grown, can dramatically impact how it harms or benefits us. Much of our food today is sprayed with pesticides and/or has been genetically modified like the Roundup Ready Crops. To learn more about GMOs visit www.nongmoproject.org.
So knowing that what we eat can make us sick and can also make us well, I strongly suggest eating organic food as much as possible. If you are not inclined to buy everything organic, you can visit www.foodnews.org for a list of the produce that absorbs the least and greatest amounts of pesticides (while corn is included on the clean list, it may be GMO so I personally wouldn't include it).
In choosing food that supports your health it essential that you choose the highest quality ingredients that you can find. Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Shop Farmers’ Markets: When they are available, this is the easiest way to get the freshest food. Many vendors at these markets sell only what they grow while others sell things from other producers as well. Shopping this way will allow you to talk with the Farmers and ask important questions about how your food got to you. If they are not certified organic, you can ask about their growing practices.
At Farmers’ Markets you can get produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, eggs, fish and an assortment of other things. Short of producing your own food, this is the best way to know what you will be eating. Establish a relationship with your farmers and it will be mutually beneficial.
2. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): This is a similar concept to shopping at a Farmers’ Market. You are buying directly from the farmer here but are paying a lump sum of money up front to receive your share at a later date. In my CSA, we pay in January and receive a weekly share from June through November. Unlike the Farmers’ Market, I don’t get to pick what I want, I get what is brought to us but I know where my food is coming from and the standards used to produce it. CSAs vary in their offerings from only vegetables to fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and various other items. If this is something that interests you, do a search in your area to find out what is available. Again, this is a great way to meet like-minded eaters who can be a great support during your transition.
3. Maintain a relationship with a Farmer in the “off season”: When the Farmers’ Market is not open in my area there is one Farmer who will deliver certain items like grass-fed meat to my home. See what is possible where you live, again it can be mutually beneficial.
4. Shop trusted online sources and keep food on hand: There are companies that are local to certain communities and can provide you with food from local farms year round. Then there are also companies that are national and ship grass-fed meat, fish and other organic items to your door. Ask if you can buy in bulk to save money. Store things in your freezer if you have the room or invest in a stand- alone freezer for this purpose. You’ll also be able to store meats and fish from the Farmers’ Market in the freezer as well.
5. Buy the highest quality items you can find at the store. Educate yourself. If you haven’t seen the movie Food, Inc., I consider it required viewing for anyone who eats (parental discretion may apply) as it is an eye opening view on the current state of our food. You’ll be inspired to purchase products from smaller companies whose production standards are high. There are often local farmers and artisans whose products are in neighborhood stores. If I don’t buy eggs from a local farmer, I typically buy a brand at the store that admittedly costs more money but has standards I can trust.
Whether your goal is weight loss and maintenance, disease prevention and/or optimal wellness, these tips are foundational can provide you with guidelines for health supportive eating.
If you’d like to talk about this in greater detail, send me an email at Randy@TheConsciousPlate.com.
Randy Rabney is the founder of TheConsciousPlate.com and the author of “Delicious For Life: Your Everyday Guide to Making Quick & Healthy Meals. Drawing on her experience as a board certified health counselor, trained chef, food lover and parent, she offers a variety of signature programs, both virtually and in person, where participants learn the key secrets to finally changing their relationship with food so they can easily and enjoyably shop, cook, eat and maintain a healthy weight! She is a firm believer that healthy eating does not mean deprivation.
Following a personal health crisis, Randy became aware of the impact of what we eat on our health and the importance of choosing wholesome ingredients. She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health as well as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, both in NYC, has cooked in the kitchen of the Golden Door Spa in CA and has taught classes at Whole Foods Market.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.