Monday, March 21, 2016

Cucumber Noodle Salad with Spicy Sweet "Thai" Almond Butter Sauce

    This morning was a perfect example of- it all depends on how you look at things. If it was the middle of January right now, and there were big, fluffy snowflakes falling gently to the ground, I would have thought how lovely. Everything is snowy white and peaceful. But since yesterday was the first day of spring, I thought- really? Snow! No wonder I didn't hear any birds singing this morning. Even they know this sucks.
  Luckily the sun came out and changed my attitude, otherwise I probably would not have made this recipe. I would have curled up on the couch and said forget it. But happily since it is now sunny and spring like, I broke out my spiralizer for the first time this year, and made this salad with a thai inspired nut butter dressing.

     I was inspired to make this after having dinner with my friends Jenna and Jeff on Friday night, when they were nice enough to invite me to their house to join them and Jenna's mother and sister, who were visiting from Maine. I offered to bring something to contribute to the meal, and asked Jenna for ideas. First she suggested  these collard wraps. Which I would have been happy to make, but I didn't know if they were very Mom friendly, since they are vegan and raw. Jenna agreed, and knowing that her mother likes Thai food, suggested Thai lettuce wraps instead. Keeping her mother in mind, and knowing everyone at dinner ate meat, I made Thai meatballs to go in the wraps with a peanut dipping sauce, along with piles of crunchy veggies and tender herbs. They were well received, but I couldn't eat them. I don't eat meat or peanuts, so today I made a version of the sauce with almond butter, and am very happy with the results. 

     My intention was to make lettuce wraps again, like I did Friday night, except without the meat, but they ended up being overstuffed and messy, so I am calling it a salad. You could use less filling and roll them up like a wrap, or you could use the sauce as a dip for summer rolls. Basically you can use it any way you use peanut sauce. I might try it on rice noodles some day, which you are welcome to use here instead of the cucumber noodles. If you do, I recommend adding some cucumber slices to the salad. Their cool clear flavor contrasts nicely with the spicy complexity of the sauce, which is quite sweet from the dates, with a bit of heat from the cayenne, and a pleasant tang from the apple cider vinegar. It's delicious, and I think, very Mom friendly. I wish I had thought of it last Friday.

Spicy Sweet Almond Butter Sauce

2 dates chopped
1/2 c. hot water
1/2c. + 2 T. almond butter
1 small garlic clove chopped (1/2 tsp.)
1T. grated ginger
1T. tamari
2T. +2 tsp. cider vinegar
cayenne to taste-start with a couple of good pinches

In a small bowl add the dates and soak them in the hot water until soft (5 minutes).
Add the rest of the ingredients, and using an immersion blender or small food processor, puree until smooth. Adjust cayenne to taste. If you like a more salty sauce, I suggest adding a bit of sea salt, and not adding more tamari, which tends to get overpowering when there is too much. You could add a bit more vinegar though if you want it more tangy.

Prepare vegetables and herbs for the salad.
Note: if you don't have a spiralizer, that's fine. Just slice the cucumber.

carrots cut into matchsticks or grated
red pepper thinly sliced 
red cabbage thinly sliced or grated
cucumber noodles or slices
scallions thinly sliced
lettuce leaves

chopped cilantro
chopped basil
lime slices (optional)
chopped roasted almonds


Friday, March 11, 2016

Budwig Raspberry Parfait Recipe

   In yesterdays post about the Budwig diet I forgot to mention that I really like the taste of this mixture, so I am very happy to be eating it every day. What I can't believe though is that I waited until today to try it with fruit. After more than two months of being satisfied with mixing in some chopped raw veggies, I was feeling like it might add a little bit of excitement to my morning routine if I tried something different, something special. So, I made a parfait.

Budwig raspberry cheesecake farfait

     I took one bite, and thought Oh My God is this good! I don't know what I was expecting, something marginally good I suppose. This was creamy, and fruity, with a hint of cheesecakiness, and a bit of crunch. It really felt like something I shouldn't be eating. I kept running the ingredients through my head. Cottage cheese with flax oil, I can have that, and fruit, they said I could add fruit, nuts, seeds, no problem. I did add a bit of vanilla, but decided that was okay. Again, Oh my God I can eat this. And I did, a bit too quickly, so I have a bit of a  heavy stomach, the same heavy feeling you get from over indulging in any decadent dessert.
I could probably have done with half  a portion........

parfait recipe
Serves one, but really it's enough for two

Start by mixing your cottage cheese flax oil mixture of 1/2c. cottage cheese to 1/4 c. oil (see yesterdays post , Budwig Diet Basics, for the correct way to do this). Click HERE to read Budwig Diet Basics.

add 3/4 of a tsp. of vanilla extract
add a pinch of stevia ( to taste) but not too much because the fruit will add extra sweetness

add about 3/4c. of raspberries (frozen and thawed) to 3/4 of the cheese mix

prepare some chopped nuts for the top and flax seeds to hide between the layers 

I started by layering some chia jam in the bottom, that I made the night before, for an extra layer of fanciness and nutrition.
Then I put in 1/4 of the plain vanilla cheese mix and topped it with the flax seeds.
Then I mixed the raspberries into the remaining vanilla cheese mixture, and put that as the top layer.
I then sprinkled the chopped nuts on top with a few extra berries.

REMEMBER this should be eaten as soon as you make it. The cottage cheese, flax mix cannot be made ahead.

chia jam

1c. thawed frozen raspberries crushed
1/4 c. water
2 T. chia seeds
pinch of stevia 
1/2 tsp.cinnamon (optional) 
mix and let sit until the seeds absorb the liquid - about 1 hr. 

Of course you could just mix it all together in a bowl and be done with it, but then you can't call it a parfait. Then it's just a mess in a bowl, and even though it would probably be just as delicious, I don't think it would be as special. You couldn't call it a parfait! And parfait is such a fun word that it would be a shame to replace it with mess in bowl. Wouldn't it?

p.s. I'm sure you wouldn't even taste the flax oil in this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Budwig Diet Basics

    A few months ago I started sharing what I call my Beat Cancer Bootcamp routine. You may remember the post about coffee enemas. If you missed that one, you can read it here.   Today I want to tell you about the Budwig diet, which is based on a mixture of cottage cheese and flax oil. But before I begin telling you about that, I want to share a bit of cancer news.

   In the article in which I talk about how to do a coffee enema, I also mention the Navarro urine test. It is a test that anyone can do on their own by sending a urine sample to the Navarro  Clinic.  Click here to find out how to do it.  The test is a reliable way to monitor your progress, and see if your cancer fighting protocol is working.  I did my first one in January, after my CA 125  (blood test) jumped from 70 to over 300 in just two short months. I then did another one in mid February. I just got my results this Monday. It can take a few weeks to get the results, since your pee is going first class (mail) all the way to the Philippines. The news is that there has been no change since January. While I would have liked to have seen it go down, the point is it did not go up! That means that the amount of cancer in my body has not increased.  

   A test result of less than 50 means that you do not have cancer. A result of 50 or above indicates that, yes, you do have cancer. While some cancers can push this number very high, 50-70 is the typical range. Mine was 52.2 both times. This has given me the validation that I needed to continue treating cancer on my own. I am more determined than ever that I CAN DO THIS!

    The Budwig Diet is a cancer fighting protocol that was developed by Johanna Budwig back in the  1950's. It includes a diet free of processed foods, sugar, and meat. It includes pure water, sunshine, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a mixture of cottage cheese and flax seed oil. 

   Dr. Budwig was a leading authority in the study of dietary fats. While studying the metabolism of fats in the body, she discovered that blood samples from people with cancer lacked phosphatides and lipoproteins . In order to replenish these essential nutrients, and maintain good health, one needs to have adequate essential fatty acids (omega 3's, and 6's) in their diets. Essential fatty acids are important components of our cell membranes, and are needed for proper cell respiration, and cell division. 

   Dr Budwig discovered that when you mix flax oil with sulfur rich proteins (such as cottage cheese) the oil becomes water soluble, and increases oxygenation of the cells, as these essential fatty acids bind with the oxygen in our blood, and get pulled into the cells.

   The cottage cheese mixture can be eaten plain, or with added fruits, nuts, etc..  I like to eat it with some raw broccoli florets, red onion, and red pepper mixed in. And I always add a bit of turmeric and black pepper for added cancer fighting properties, and top it off with 1 T. of freshly ground flax seeds. Flax seeds should be eaten within 15 minutes of grinding, because their oils go rancid quickly after they are ground.

   The recipe is simple. It is two parts cottage cheese, to one part flax seed oil.  Some recipes call for 2/3 c. to 1/3 c. oil, others 1/2 c. cottage cheese to 1/4 c. oil. Both the cottage cheese and the oil should be organic. I like Barleans flax oil, and Nancy's Cottage cheese, which has a bit of a tangy flavor from the probiotics.

   Start by adding your measured amount of cottage cheese to the mixing container. Then add the measured amount of flax oil. The oil must be completely incorporated into the cheese, and I believe you need an immersion blender to do this. At least to do it easily. If you don't have one, they are not that expensive, and come in handy for so many other things. Such as making salad dressing. I have this one by Cuisinart. You can buy that or another one online here.  

   Once the mixture is completely smooth and homogenous, with no streaks of oil, let it sit for a few minutes, and then mix in whatever you like, by hand. I usually eat it for breakfast as pictured above, but sometimes I divide the portion size in half, and have it as a snack with carrot and celery sticks.You can also add spices and vinegar to make it more like a dressing. One thing to note though; is that this should be eaten shortly after it is made. You cannot make it ahead and save it for later. So if you divide the recipe, you will have to make it twice that day to get the full amount, and it can be difficult to mix the smaller amount due to the height of the blade in most hand blenders.

   Due to the fact that I have had chemo-twice, I expect that my body has a lot of repairing left to do, and I may not see a drop in my test number for a couple more months, but the fact that it is stable makes me feel confident that I am on the right track. I believe that this diet, juicing, supplements etc, have been instrumental in supporting my bodies efforts to heal.  I will do another test in a few weeks. If the results do not show improvement, then I will add some other things to my protocol to strengthen it's ability to fight cancer.
   Even though I call this my Beat Cancer Bootcamp, it's not because I see this as a war. No, cancer is part of my body. Cancer is something my body makes. It is not an invader. So I have always seen this as more of a journey than a battle. But we're not in the Girl Scouts here. No! This is hard core training for a new life. It takes hard work, dedication, and faith. And there are no cookies allowed, just major cancer ass kicking nutrients! So eat your salad soldier!


To read a great article/ interview between two of my favorite cancer blogggers  chris beat cancer and green drink diaries, who both used the Budwig Diet as part of their healing
click here.

For books and sites providing more info on the Budwig diet and other cancer protocols check these out: cancer tutor website, and Cancer Free a book by Bill Henderson

p.s. This isn't just for people with cancer-the cottage cheese flax oil mixture is a great way for anyone wishing to maintain good health to get their  essential fatty acids. If you don't have cancer you could eat half a portion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Full Circle

      I'm feeling a bit worn out these days. February was a bit complicated, and all the gear shifting  I did has left me feeling a bit numb, and unable to process it all.

    I started the month in the peace and quiet of the Insight Meditation Society retreat center, focusing on my inner terrain in noble silence. I left the retreat feeling rejuvenated by the deep sense of calm and focus that I gained there. When I returned home I got the results of my PET scan, and found that while some of my tumors are still stable, the ones in my liver are very active, and there is a new one just outside of my spleen. This news was disturbing, but at this point in my cancer journey it caused a ripple, not a wave of emotion. More than anything it let me know that as hard as I am working at rebuilding my body, in order to stop it from making cancer, I have to try harder. Then my 84 year old father ended up in the hospital. He had pneumonia which turned into sepsis. He is home now, and seems to have made a full recovery - thankfully. But for the first time in my life, I found myself feeling like he needed me to take care of him.
   So, here it is March first, and I'm trying to make sense of the past month. I'm not worried about my dad anymore, but his illness has altered our relationship. I feel like the experience has brought us closer together. Illness can do that. At least one that shoves your own (or a loved ones) mortality in your face.

    I know that my own cancer has brought me closer to myself.  It has shown me my strengths, and my weaknesses. It has put me in touch with my true feelings, and what I value most. It has not taken away the fear, or the anger, or the sadness that are all a part of life. I still deal with those. But it has taken some of the strength away from these emotions by giving me the courage to explore them more deeply, and to recognize when and if they are imprisoning my true self. 

   I also believe that my cancer has made it easier for me to understand my Dad at this point in our lives, since we are both quite possibly near death. For my Dad this is almost certain. As for myself, even though I feel I have the chance to live many more productive years, at 52 years of age, I know what it's like to live with death just a breath away. 
   I thought about death a lot during my meditation retreat. I thought about it in a straight forward manner, as just another experience in life. I thought about it in practical terms-burial arrangements, wills etc.. I thought about it with wonder. Would it be beautiful? peaceful? scary? All of this may sound morose, but all this thinking about death actually relieved me of any lingering fear I may have had of dying. It made me realize that when my time came, I could welcome this inevitable natural event. It also made me wonder if I could actually control the experience. If I didn't fear it, and it had no power over me, could I choose how I experience my own death?  And could it be beautiful? I believe it could.

  Thinking about death in this way has given me even more courage to face my cancer, and to take even more control in how I choose to live with cancer. When I found out the results of my PET scan, I knew I would have to go it alone from now on-no chemo, no oncologist. I would have to direct my own healing. I couldn't let myself be a cancer patient for the rest of my life. Whether I drove myself to a full recovery or my own funeral, it would be okay. I'd be driving myself to where I need to be.

  It seems that instead of shifting gears as I called it at the beginning of this post, I have come full circle this month in accepting the inevitability of death- both my own and my fathers, whenever they may be.
                                          May we both live and die without fear.