Cooking Up Cancer Prevention
Simple changes in your diet could mean the difference between illness and well-being.
"Eating well is the only way," insists Janet Gaffney on the topic of staying healthy. This devoted cooking teacher in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is also a six-year survivor of breast cancer. "When tragedy strikes, you really start to evaluate your health and what you can do to change it," says Janet.
One of her secrets to conquering cancer: Eat fresh, local, and organic--including lots of colorful, antioxidant-rich produce. "As I was going through treatment, I couldn't think of eating another vegetable that might possibly be polluted with pesticides," Janet says. She offers advice to any of us wanting to eat smarter.
Try her sensational recipes. She uses them in her cooking classes, a program called The Art of Cooking sponsored by her local Whole Foods Market. She says, "If I can help one person prevent cancer, then I've done my job." Janet says these recipes helped her get healthy, and we think you'll like them too. If you want to take a cooking class with her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food for Thought
- Go local. Visit farm stands and outdoor markets for an abundance of inexpensive produce. You can also subscribe to local produce deliveries. To learn more visit southernliving.com/localmarkets.
- Eat in season. "If it's not available to you now, then maybe you shouldn't be eating it," says Janet. Enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables while they're at their nutritional peak. "I always stock up and freeze some for later," she adds.
- Grow your own. What your body needs might be in your own backyard. Homegrown veggies and herbs offer the same amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as store-bought produce but without the pesticides and high prices.
- Shop smart. Nowadays, most major grocery stores and superstores offer organic products. Though some items tend to be more expensive, not all are. Shop around--you might be pleasantly surprised.
- Deep, rich color in produce is a key indicator of vital, cell-protecting nutrients. Eating at least five servings of various fruits and veggies a day can greatly reduce the risks of developing cancer and other diseases.
- Eating foods low in saturated fat--such as lean meats, olive and nut oils, legumes, and whole grains--can help keep estrogen levels down, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Tip If you can boil water, then you can poach salmon. First, create a flavorful poaching liquid by adding garlic, herbs, and lemon to water in a large skillet. Then simply bring the water to a slight boil, add the salmon fillets, and reduce heat to a simmer. You'll have a heart-healthy main dish in minutes.
Top 5 Healthy Cookbooks
Janet gets a lot of inspiration from the library of cookbooks in her home office. We caught her flipping through some of her favorites and asked for her opinion.
- Culinaria The United States by Randi Danforth and Peter Feierabend: "A great tour of our culinary-rich culture."
- The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon: "So complete for this area of the world. All the recipes work."
- The Way To Cook by Julia Child: "My mentor continues to be my best teacher for technique and inspiration."
- The Classic Italian Cook Book by Marcella Hazan: "Another of my mentors showcases the rich techniques and flavors of Italian cuisine."
- Vegetable Desserts: Beyond Carrot Cake and Pumpkin Pie by Elisabeth Schafer and Jeannette L. Miller, R.D.: "Very clever and a unique way to stoke our diet with more vegetables."